If you like milk-based coffee drinks such as cappuccino, latte or flat white then a coffee machine with milk frother is the best and most convenient way to make quality coffee. You can froth the milk yourself or let the coffee machine do it for you with a built-in milk carafe.
If you decide to choose a coffee machine that takes pods then with some of them you can get milk pods so you don’t need to bother with a milk frother at all.
Something to be aware of is that pod coffee machines that use milk pods do not contain fresh milk. The milk is either a creamer liquid or powdered milk.
If you want coffee that tastes as good as a coffee shop then you should use fresh milk. More on that later.
When deciding on a coffee machine with milk frother one of the most important things to consider is how much time you have available to make a cup of coffee.
You will get the best results using a coffee machine with an integrated steam wand. The fresh milk gets added to a milk pitcher and the steam creates a velvety, creamy texture that, when added to a double espresso, creates the perfect cappuccino or latte.
This article explains more about the benefits of steaming your own milk:
And this article has some suggestions for the best value milk frothers:
However, heating and frothing the milk yourself takes time and if time is a commodity that you don’t have much of then you may wish to consider a coffee machine that has an integrated milk carafe.
With these types of machine the milk container is integrated into the machine and the milk is frothed, heated and added to your cup automatically.
These types of machine can cost more for the convenience they provide but there are some downsides to this method as well.
With a manual steam wand you have total control of the whole process so you can get the milk exactly how you want it.
Large coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks use this method, not because it’s the easiest way to froth milk but because it’s the most effective.
Although coffee machines with automatic milk frothers have settings for heat and frothiness they don’t always produce the results that are specific to your requirements.
If you like your coffee really hot and super frothy or less hot and not very frothy then you may struggle with the settings that automatic machines provide but if you steam it yourself then you can tailor it exactly how you like it.
It’s all about how picky you want to be about replicating the experience of a coffee shop and balancing that out against how much time you have to prepare your coffee.
There is also another option which can be classified as semi-automatic where the coffee machine comes with a manual steam wand but the machine can sense when the desired temperature is being reached and stops automatically when the milk hits that temperature.
Let’s have a look at the different options in some detail.
Pump espresso machines with milk frother
These machines offer the best value for money when it combines creating coffee of the same quality that you find in a coffee shop with a price that won’t break the bank.
Coffee shops use this method because it produces the best tasting coffee but you do have to put a little effort into creating your coffee of choice.
Some come with a grinder built-in and others you need to add a coffee grinder but all of them require you to heat the milk via the steam wand.
Some of the more expensive ones will stop at the desired temperature but with most you will need to turn the steam off once the correct temperature is reached.
You can use a cheap milk frothing thermometer to see when the temperature is right or you can just feel the side of the milk jug and judge when the milk is hot enough yourself.
Alternatively, you can opt for a milk pitcher with a thermometer built in.
These are the best coffee machines that have a steam wand to heat your milk:
This is a very affordable entry-level coffee machine with milk frother. it’s a great place to start if you are looking to make your latte’s or cappuccino’s yourself for the first time or if you just want something simple to operate that won’t break the bank.
You turn the dial on the front to start coffee delivery and turn it back again to stop when you have the desired amount of coffee in your cup.
The steam arm is activated by turning a dial on the side of the machine and you simply turn it back again to stop the flow of steam.
This is a well priced, easy to use coffee machine from a top brand.
If you don’t have much space then this is a great option. At just 15cm wide it will fit into almost any space on the work surface. It’s also automated so with the press of one button on the top of the machine your coffee will be delivered in 30 seconds.
The milk frother sits on the side and is easily operated and stopped by twisting a dial on the side of the machine.
If you are looking to get as close as possible to a coffee shop experience without going into the realms of commercial coffee machines then this machine offers control of all the variables that make up a great cup of coffee.
I have been using this machine in my home for a couple of years and I hardly ever go to a coffee shop now because this does it better and at a fraction of the cost.
It has a built-in coffee grinder that allows you to get the ground coffee fineness exactly how you want it and a pressure gage so you make sure your coffee is delivered in the required 25-30 seconds for the perfect extraction.
The steam wand is very powerful and this machine comes with a milk pitcher included that shows the temperature of the milk so you can see exactly how hot the milk is.
This is a more affordable machine from Sage and has a semi-automated milk frother. Just place the milk jug under the steam wand and select the temperature you want from one of three temperatures and the machine will automatically stop once that temperature is reached
If money isn’t much of an issue or you simply have to have the very best, this top of the range machine delivers…… and some.
It takes away almost all of the manual elements and will tamp your coffee for you and will allow you to select the exact temperature that you want the water delivered into your cup.
The steam wand is inserted into the milk and then you can choose the exact temperature you want it to stop at.
If you like your coffee precise then this coffee machine makes that happen.
Bean to cup coffee machines with milk frother
If you have no time and you don’t want to get involved with the coffee preparation but you want a freshly ground cup of coffee this is as close as you will get to a coffee shop experience without the hassle.
If you choose a machine with an integrated milk carafe then you won’t even need to do any milk frothing because the machine will do it all for you
These are the best bean to cup coffee machines with milk frothers:
This has been one of Delonghi’s best selling machines for a number of years and for good reason, it delivers great coffee at an affordable price.
Coffee delivery is fully automated, the machine will grind your coffee beans and deliver your desired coffee drink straight into your cup without you touching a grain of coffee.
Then just place the milk just under the steam wand, turn the dial on the side to activate the steam delivery and turn it back once your milk is perfectly frothed.
For a truly fully automated experience, this machine has a milk carafe built right into the main unit.
Press one button and the machine will deliver a perfect double espresso into your cup and follow it up by just the right amount of milk and froth according to the drink you have selected.
By using just one finger this machine will deliver a cappuccino, latte or flat white in under 60 seconds. The milk carafe is easily detachable so you can store it in the fridge for the next use.
Pod coffee machines with milk frother
Nespresso doesn’t get involved with milk pods because they believe that fresh milk is important to a great-tasting cup of coffee but they do a few machines with a milk frother.
Dolce Gusto and Tassimo don’t do any machines with milk frothers because they provide capsules of powdered milk.
These are the best pod coffee machines with built-in milk frothers:
This is one of Nespresso’s top of the range coffee machines but it really does offer the best of both worlds in terms of hassle-free coffee delivery and fresh milk easily frothed and heated.
Pop a pod in a press a button for coffee delivery. Then select from one of 11 temperature settings for your milk and press another button. The steam will stop when the selected temperature is reached and you are good to go.
This delivers a hassle-free quality coffee with fresh milk in about 60 seconds.
If you don’t want to get involved with the milk at all then this machine does it all with the press of just a single button.
The milk carafe can be stored in the fridge and clipped back onto the machine in just a few seconds every time you want a latte.
Add your pod of choice, press go and then your coffee is delivered inside a minute.
Manual milk frother or automatic?
You are now fully armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision on which type of coffee machine with milk frother is best suited to your needs.
If you want quality coffee but you have no time then a fully automatic bean to cup coffee machine with an integrated milk carafe will be best suited to your needs.
Press one button and the coffee beans are freshly ground, a double espresso is delivered and the milk is heated and frothed and delivered into your cup and a cappuccino, latte or flat white is produced with zero intervention from you.
These machines come at a premium though as there is a lot of technology that goes into a one touch freshly ground cup of coffee.
If you are not up for spending that kind of money then a pump espresso machine with a manual milk frother won’t cost as much and arguably you will get better frothed milk by doing it yourself with a steam wand.
The only downside compared to a fully automated bean to cup coffee machine is that it will take a few minutes to heat and froth the milk yourself but as long as you don’t mind spending the time this is the best option in our opinion.
You get to control the temperature and how frothy you like the milk to your exact specifications without having to rely on one of the default settings on the fully automatic machines.
And if all of that sounds like a bit too much hassle then you can always opt for a pod machine which takes all of the work and mess out of the equation completely.
A couple of Nespresso machines have milk frothing capability incorporated into the machine in either a fully automated way with a built-in milk carafe or a steaming wand that stops when the temperature you set is reached.
Dolce Gusto and Tassimo go a step further and have milk pods for the ultimate convenience so that you don’t even need to worry about frothing the milk but these contain milk powder or creamer and can potentially impact on the overall quality of your coffee compared to using fresh milk.
Decide on the budget you have available for a coffee machine with milk frother and then decide the level of convenience you want to have from zero interaction to spending a little time frothing and heating your milk.
The options listed above will help you to choose from the best options in each category.