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Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine

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Erin L

Erin L

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine Are you a coffee snob? I’ll admit I am. I have at least one double espresso every single morning, and usually one mid-morning or after lunch. I’ve tried a lot of machines to get the prefect espresso, including manual machines like a Rancillio, as well as fully automatic machines like a Jura. So when I had the opportunity to try out a Philips 3200 LatteGo EP3241 I was pretty excited. While machines like Rancillio’s Silvia mean you have to do everything yourself and it definitely takes practise to get your coffees right, fully automatic machines like the Jura line will do everything for you, but they can be prohibitively expensive.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine

The prospect of the Philips 3200 LatteGo EP3241 is a fully automatic machine at a more affordable price, so I was interested to see if it can deliver the goods for my snobby sipping preferences.

What is an Automatic Espresso Machine?

Automatic espresso machines handle all the work of making espresso for you: they grind the beans, tamp the grounds, heat the water and extract the espresso under high pressure. They will also clean themselves and give you automatic feedback and instructions. It takes all the work out of enjoying espresso and espresso-based drinks. The machines don’t use pods or plastic cups; you get fresh ground espresso from exactly the beans you want, made fresh at the moment. Many automatic espresso machines will also have some kind of milk heating and frothing ability; some use a traditional wand steamer while others have containers and tubes that do it automatically. As I noted, these machines can be expensive. The Jura lineup will set you back about $2000. The Philips 3200 LatteGo EP3241 by comparison is about $999CAD. That price difference alone made me wonder if a machine like the Philips could possibly hold a candle to those other premium machines.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machinePhilips LatteGo Milk System

I’ll get to the details on the espresso in just a sec, but first I want to touch on one of the key components of this machine and that’s the LatteGo milk system. The ‘system’ is basically just a special container that you fill with milk, clip to the steam wand, and then let it do its work. The LatteGo frother mixes milk and air at high speed in the chamber, then pours a splash free creamy milk froth layer into your cup at just the right temperature, promises Philips. The container is just two parts; a lid and the cup, and Philips said it’s designed with minimal tubes and small parts to make it easy to clean. You can rinse it under hot water for a quick clean, or toss it in the dishwasher. I was actually quite surprised at how easy this was to use, to clean and how well it worked. While I wouldn’t call my milk distribution ‘splash free’ most of the time, it does work quite well.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machinePhilips 3200 makes 5 espresso drinks

Coffee lovers have their favoutites and the Philips 3200 LatteGo is designed to make the core beverages at the touch of a button. The machine makes Black Coffee, Espresso, Americano, Cappuccino and Latte macchiato. It will also dispense hot water. To make a drink, choose your beverage from the control panel and press start. We’ll start here with an espresso. The machine will grind the beans, and make your espresso shot on the spot. To brew one shot of espresso from start to finish it takes about a minute. If you want a double, just tap the double shot option and it will make two individual shots, unlike some machines which just use the same amount of beans but with twice the water. You can customize your drink too… if you do want a longer shot, you can tell the machine to add more water; you can also adjust the strength of the brew too, and the amount of milk in your drink. The control panel is actually pretty easy to understand and adapt to and gives you everything you need to know at a glance, including notifications when the grinder bin is full and needs to be emptied or when you’re out of water or beans.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machineMaking drinks with Philips 3200

I tried making a few different drinks on the Philips 3200. Double espressos were my daily go-to but I also tried a Latte and a cappuccino. When you turn the machine on it will heat up and automatically rinse the machine without you needing to press any more buttons (my Jura requires this rinse to be manually executed). The espresso was great; the shots brewed up pretty fast and I loved that the double shots were perfect doubles, not just double long shots. The espresso came out hot and creamy with a nice crema on top. I was actually really impressed with the overall quality of the espresso. My fist cappuccino was a bit lackluster, since it was mostly milk and hardly any foam. It actually came out more like a small latte. There are markings on the milk container to guide how much milk to use for each drink but you can add more or less as you wish.

How to adjust heat settings on Philips 3200 espresso maker

It’s possible to make your drinks hotter or cooler, even if your machine doesn’t have a visible heat setting. Press the on/off button to switch off the machine. When the machine is switched off: press and hold the coffee quantity icon until the lights in this icon go on. Tap the quantity icon to select the required temperature: normal, high or max. Respectively 1, 2 or 3 lights are on. When you have finished setting the coffee temperature, press the start/stop button. Press the on/off button to switch on the machine again.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machineCeramic grinder & sealed bean hopper

I was impressed to see this machine has a ceramic burr grinder built in. Philips says this more durable grinder will “deliver exceptional coffee for up to 20,000 cups”. I bought a dedicated ceramic burr grinder a few years ago when I was making manual espressos and I can tell you they are expensive but worth every penny thanks to their durability and precision of grind, as well as the evenness of the grind. You can adjust the grind to one of 12 settings too from coarse to fine. The large bean hopper can easily hold a pound of coffee and it. Seals up well too to keep beans from getting stale. The lower the grind setting, the finer the coffee beans are ground and the stronger the coffee. There are 12 different grind settings you can choose from.The machine has been set up to get the best taste out of your coffee beans. Philips recommends not to adjust the grinder settings until you have brewed 100-150 cups (approx. 1 month of usage). Worth noting too is that you can use pre-ground coffee to make regular coffee.

Large water tank & adjustable spout

Another impressive feature is the large water tank which holds 1.8L or water. A filter can also be inserted into the machine to cut down on the need for descaling or if you have crappy tasting water. The drink spout on this machine is also adjustable to accommodate many sizes of cups.

Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machineEasy to clean up

A machine like this is no fun if you’ve got to work to keep it clean. With just a handful of parts, the Philips 3200 is super easy to keep clean. The grounds bin and water tray slide out and can be rinsed quickly or tossed in the dishwasher and they only need emptying after about every 12 drinks or shots. Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine The machine will also apparently brew up to 5,000 cups of coffee without having to descale and the machine should tell you when it’s time. This machine also has a removable brew group, or the mechanics that actually make your espresso. You access the brew group via a door in the back of the water tank, and Philips recommends you clean it weekly.
Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine

The brew group.

Overall Review: Philips 3200 LatteGo automatic espresso machine

I can’t believe how impressed I was with this machine. The espresso is outstanding, it’s so easy to use and to clean. It’s got a huge water tank and a smaller footprint than my Jura. I love that it has a ceramic burr grinder and that the brew group is removeable and easily cleans under running water. Ditto for the LatteGo container which cleans up well and couldn’t be easier to use. Downsides? For me, I feel like this machine needed emptying about every 4-5 days, compared to my Jura which only gets emptied about every 7-10 days. But honestly, I am struggling to find something about this machine I didn’t like. When it comes time for me to get a new automatic espresso machine I am absolutely going to make it a Philips 3200 with the Latte Go. And at $999 CAD its substantially more affordable than a lot of other similar machines.
Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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