coffee cup sitting on hardwood table

I owe my better budget and constant caffeine to this perfect espresso machine

“That’s future me’s problem.” It’s a phrase you hear on TV, mostly sitcoms, and even from friends as they joke about things that are actually quite stressful. At a certain point, I realized I couldn’t make my worries future me’s problem if I wanted to manage my stress levels and cut the drama out of my life for good. Maybe it’s because I’ve passed 30, but one huge contributor to my daily stress levels is finances and my future financial security. So it only makes sense that figuring out how to save more money is a big priority of mine. 

Financial experts will tell you to tackle the big expenses first, like your rent. But with my rent as low as it’s likely to go in overpriced New York City, and my student loan repayment plan sorted out, my attention turned to my “fun” spending. Yearly spending on Starbucks has been written about so much at this point that it’s almost a cliche. But when I looked—and I mean, blinders off really looked—at what I was actually dropping at coffee shops, it was painful.

I swing between coffee and matcha kicks. Since I started worrying about my coffee shop spending during a matcha phase, that was the first thing I tackled. I found a delicious solution that I could make at home, or even the office, that would save me over $100 a month. But I just couldn’t find a solution to my coffee kicks. Things I tried at home simply didn’t match the quality of what I bought at the cafe—until I met the Philips Espresso 3200 Series with LatteGo.

philips 3200 series home espresso machine

Picking a home espresso machine

Being a writer has its perks. Sometimes I’m able to get an editor to pay me to write a story about something I want to research anyway. Coffee makers, and what makes some better than others, was one of those things. So I talked to two experts who know the art of brewing coffee inside and out: Scott Rao and Jessica Easto. They dished about everything I needed to truly set myself up at home for the best coffee experience possible. You can get their tips and insights in the piece that was published for NBC.

We already had a coffee maker that miraculously was listed among those approved by the nonprofit Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCA). It does a good job, makes quality coffee, and features copper-colored accents that match our apartment—so we have no complaints. But I also wanted to stop paying for the occasional latte, macchiato, or even red eye. And we were going to need a home espresso machine in order to do that.

So I went back to what Rao and Easto had told me and looked for a machine that:

  • Had a built-in burr grinder for the beans
  • Kept the water between 195 degrees and 205 degrees
  • Kept the water in contact with the grounds for long enough
  • Controlled the temperature throughout the brewing process

Meet the best home espresso machine

The Philips Espresso 3200 Series with LatteGo found me by way of email, and it fit all the criteria. It even featured an attachment that would heat milk—any milk, even alt-mylks—and froth it perfectly without any skill on my part. It looked great on paper, but it’s amazing in person.

This home espresso machine not only brews perfect cups of coffee but also pulls an espresso with a perfectly caramel-colored crema. You can brew an espresso straight or water it down into an Americano. Push a different button to opt to add a milk of your choice, frothed to the perfect height and temperature, for a cappuccino or latte. And if waking up, pushing a button, and getting the coffee shop drink of your choice doesn’t sound amazing enough, there’s more. You can even customize the strength of the espresso brewed and the amount of water used or milk added. Essentially, it lets you become your own barista with no training. You just need to be able to push a button pre-caffeine.

aroma seal lid on home espresso machine philips 3200 series
The aroma-seal lid on the coffee bean compartment of the Philips Espresso 3200 Series is just one of the many reasons it’s the best home espresso machine.

But if you boil down my Philips Espresso 3200 Series with LatteGo review to pros and cons, you’ll find that it’s not a hard decision.

PROS

  • Allows for a variety of espresso-based drinks
  • Also brews hot water for tea or a matcha latte
  • Brews regular coffee, replacing your coffee maker
  • Customized drinks to your personal preferences
  • Easy to clean and refill with water and beans
  • More sustainable since it doesn’t use pods
  • Uses whole bean coffee, which is cheaper than grounds
  • Easy to create drinks for different tastes

CONS

  • Initial investment can feel like a lot
  • Encourages me to drink even more coffee

I would even go so far as to qualify both of these cons. I love the taste of coffee, so it wasn’t difficult to get me to drink more of it. Working from home as a freelancer also encourages this habit since the machine is right there and I’m always just a couple feet away, even when there isn’t a global pandemic keeping me home. It has also encouraged me to branch out and try new beans because I know I’ll experience them at their best—something I could never guarantee with my old blade grinder and traditional coffee pot.

Though the cost, $999, may feel high, it helps to qualify that initial purchase. One espresso drink from a coffee shop can easily set you back more, but for the sake of easy math let’s say will cost you $5. If you drink only one a day—and, believe me, you’ll use it more than that—the machine pays for itself in 6 months. I enjoy closer to three coffee drinks a day with this home espresso maker (sometimes more), which means it would pay for itself in just 2 months. Any drinks I enjoy going forward are beyond breaking even. I’m now saving money.

The dirt on the Philips Espresso 3200 Series with LatteGo

This home espresso machine can create 5 different drinks and customize them to your personal tastes. It uses the best equipment and brewing method—techniques approved by coffee experts—to deliver the best quality drinks without having to go to a coffee shop (or change out of your pajamas). With how easy it is to work and clean, I know it will last me years, making the initial high price tag well worth it and a money-saving investment in the long run.

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