Philips 3200 LatteGo Review
Our coffee connoisseur and writer Jack Simpson takes a look at this mid-range espresso maker in our Philips 3200 LatteGo review. Does it live up to the promises of great coffee at home? Find out if this is for you below…
I was excited when I was asked to review the Philips 3200 LatteGo. I have always had a soft spot for an automatic espresso machine as it was machines like this that got me really into coffee. I hadn’t tried one made by Philips up to that point, so I was keen to give it a go.
Founded in 1891, initially producing carbon-filament lamps, Philips have risen to become one of the most recognisable brands in the world, with annual revenue in the tens of billions of pounds. They produce all kinds of electrical and healthcare products, from light bulbs and hi-fi systems to toothbrushes and defibrillators.
Their secret to their success is pretty simple – they make great products. All the more reason for me to be excited about trialling the 3200 LatteGo.
In the interest of complete transparency, I should disclose my initial grumble with this product – the name. As a father to young children, I couldn’t help but sing ‘LatteGo’ to the tune of ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen – again and again in my head, for what felt like weeks. (Apologies if it’s now stuck in your head!).
In this review of the Philips 3200 LatteGo we will first take a look at the specifications and features of the automatic espresso machine, to get a picture of what the machine is intended to do. Then, the fun part – we will test it out, walking you through the process of making a coffee in an effort to give you a complete understanding of what it is like to use this machine, before then conducting our all-important taste test. Finally, we will deliver our verdict.
Philips 3200 LatteGo Specs & Features
Let’s dive straight in and take a look at this machine in more detail. Before we get on to what it can do, let’s take a quick look at the aesthetics.
It’s a feature that many people can overlook but we think that it is important to consider what a coffee machine looks like. After all, this is going to stay in place when it isn’t being used – it won’t be stored away, so people are going to see it. It is important, therefore, that it fits in aesthetically with its surroundings.
You shouldn’t have a problem with the Philips 3200 LatteGo – it’s a really nice looking machine. Sleek and stylish, this is a machine that you will be proud to have out on display in your kitchen or office. The black finish contrasts perfectly with the little hints of silver, giving it a classy feel. The clear and simple user interface on the top of the machine is pleasing on the eye, and the milk frother on the side looks great when you are using it – the white of the milk really standing out against the black background.
In short – this is a very attractive coffee machine.
Another attribute that is often overlooked is the size. If your kitchen is anything like mine, you will have plenty of various appliances out on the side – competition for kitchen ‘real estate’ is fierce. The last thing I want is for my new coffee machine to take up too much space.
Fortunately, the good people at Philips have thought about this. Measuring just 24.6cm x 37.1cm x 43.3cm (width, height, depth) this is one of the smaller espresso machines available today. It is quite compact for a machine with this amount of capability, so if you’re looking for an automatic espresso machine that won’t overwhelm your kitchen counter, this could be the one for you.
Okay, that’s enough of what it looks like, let’s get into the real meat of the matter – what can it do?
I have used the phrase ‘automatic espresso machine’ a few times so far in this Philips 3200 LatteGo, and you’re about to see why. The big selling point is that you can make a number of drinks, all at the touch of a button.
It all starts with the integrated grinder on the top of the machine. It is a 100% ceramic burr grinder – these are the best grinders. You get a really even grind as the plates crush the beans into the desired size, a much more accurate method than the blade grinders which just chop the beans into more uneven grounds.
The grinder is built to last as well – the claim that it will be able to grind 20,000 cups worth of coffee, which should keep you going for a while! There are 12 different grind levels, which is more than enough for an espresso machine. You can experiment with them to get the exact flavour you crave.
The bean container on top of the machine, directly above the grinder, has a capacity of 275 grams and is airtight. This will keep your coffee fresh when it is not being used, trapping in that beautiful aroma, and also it will dull the sound of the grinder a little.
The Philips 3200 LatteGo is fitted with the ‘Aroma Extract’ system which is designed to ensure the optimal brewing process for your coffee. The temperature will be maintained at 90–98°C (the ideal temperature for the perfect extraction without burning the beans) and the water flow is regulated. This is important as the amount and speed that the water passes through the coffee will have a huge impact on how your coffee tastes. Too much water and too quick to pass though will result in a weak coffee. Too little water and too slow will give you a very bitter coffee.
The water tank, accessed from the front of the machine has a capacity of 1.8 Litres, which is a very good size for an espresso machine. For context, this will make you around 60 single espressos.
You also get a water filter built in to your LatteGo, which will help you prepare up to 5000 cups of coffee without having to worry about descaling. This is particularly useful if you live in hard water areas.
Now we move on to the system that gives this machine its name – the LatteGo System. As you have probably come to expect, this is an automated system, and this one concerns the milk frothing. It consists of a plastic container on the side of the machine which you fill up with the desired amount of milk – and then press a button. The frother will then mix the milk with air at high speed until it has given the milk the required amount of density, before depositing the milk directly in your cup to join the coffee.
The frothing steam wand is completely detachable which is great for cleaning it thoroughly, and what is even better is that it is dishwasher safe – along with the drip tray and grounds container. This makes cleaning the machine so easy.
Another factor in this is the brewing system, which is completely removable as well. It just needs a quick rinse to ensure it is always running at its best.
Finally, the user interface. Many coffee machines have been accused of making things too complicated – that you need to spend hours reading the instruction booklet just to know how to make a coffee. That is not the case with the Philips 3200 LatteGo – there are some ‘one-touch’ buttons which you can press to make an espresso, espresso lungo, black coffee or americano in – you guessed it – one touch of a button. You can also get hot water if you need to top up your drink.
The other buttons are concerned with customising your experience – altering the grind size, the strength and size of your coffee and the density of your milk. All of these are controlled with incredibly simple buttons.
That covers what the LatteGo can do, let’s now take a look at how this all works in practice.
Using The Philips 3200 LatteGo
As we alluded to in the introduction, the best way to give you a full picture of what it is like to use the Philips 3200 LatteGo is to walk you through the process of making a drink, step-by-step. Let’s go for a cappuccino.
Before we begin, first we need to check that the machine is fully loaded with coffee and water. For the water, you can access the tank from the front of the machine. This is already a nice little bonus when you compare it to many other coffee machines that have the water tank around the back. It can sometimes be a little difficult to access, but here there are no such problems. Just lift it out, fill it up and replace – then you’re good to go.
For the coffee, just take a look on the top of the machine to see if there are enough beans in there, and if not, pour a few more in. This is where the airtight seal on the bean container really comes into its own – it doesn’t matter if beans are left in there for an extended time before you use them as they won’t lose any freshness, so you may as well fill it up to the max so it is ready for the next time you want a coffee.
Next you’ll want to position your cup underneath the spout, ready for your drink. You can move the spout down or up to get the perfect height for your cup, avoiding any splashing as it lands.
Once that is all sorted, it’s time to press some buttons! Well, one button to begin with. As we are making a cappuccino, we will need a shot or two of espresso. In order to do this we just need to press the ‘Espresso’ button (once for one cup, twice for two cups) and then when we are happy, press the ‘Play’ button on the right-hand side.
This will kick everything into life – the grinder will begin to whirr and then the brewing process will begin. It doesn’t take very long at all, and your shot or two will be poured into your cup.
Then it’s time for the milk. This is traditionally seen as the most complicated aspect of making a drink like a cappuccino – it is certainly the point where most can go wrong. With an automatic machine, though, there is little that can go wrong.
All you need to do is to fill up the milk container. There are little markers on the container so you can get the exact amount of milk that you need – I found this little detail to be very helpful. Once the milk is in the container, simply replace it back into position, and lower the milk wand until it is about 1cm below the surface of the milk. Press the ‘Steam’ button on the user interface and then the ‘play’ button.
This will start the frothing process. You can just let it go until it runs its course, but you may want to be on hand to stop it once you have reached the required milk density. If you would like to stop it, simply press the ‘play’ button again and it will come to a halt. Once you are happy, simply add the milk to your pre-prepared coffee.
That’s it – the whole process could be summarised with – press ‘Espresso’ button, add milk, press ‘Steam’ button and combine the two. What could be simpler?
If you would like a little bit more control over your drink, you can personalise the default settings. To do this, simply tap the button of the drink you want, and you will see that the ‘Aroma Strength’, ‘Quantity’ and ‘Temperature’ buttons will light up. You can tap each of these buttons to alter the settings to get a more tailored drink. Each one has three settings, so just press the buttons to toggle through the options. If you would like to permanently adjust one of the settings, simply hold down on the drink button of choice for three seconds to enter ‘Programming Mode’.
That’s all there really is to making a drink with the Philips 3200 LatteGo. It really is a simple process that doesn’t take very long to master at all.
To clean, everything is similarly straightforward – most of the main parts are detachable, which makes it much easier to give a thorough clean, and you can also put most of the bits in the dishwasher. For the exterior, just wipe it down with a damp cloth. Easy!
Philips 3200 LatteGo Taste Test
So it’s easy to use – great. But what really matters is how good the taste is, right?
Well, the Philips 3200 LatteGo has a big advantage over many espresso makers with the integrated grinder. We often speak on this site about
how important freshness is to the taste of a coffee – the less time between the grinding and brewing process the better. With an integrated grinder, that time is minimal and so you get the freshest coffee possible.
So we’re off to a good start. The coffee itself is then brewed very well. You get a rich, creamy espresso, with a great crema, at the touch of a button. The fact that you can play around with the settings – both the grind size and strength of your coffee – gives you a surprising amount of control for an automatic coffee machine.
The milk is also frothed to a good standard. The wand does its job credibly, creating a thick foam for your drinks. The one drawback is that you don’t have very much control over how your milk is frothed, other than stopping it when you reach the required density. Having said that, if you want to create fantastic milky coffees yourself, I doubt you will be looking into purchasing a fully automatic coffee machine like the Philips 3200 LatteGo.
The Philips 3200 LatteGo performs like you would expect. For a product made by one of the world’s leading manufacturers, there is a certain amount of expectation when it comes to performance, and it certainly lives up to those expectations.
It is incredibly easy and intuitive to use, with a range of different drinks made with minimal effort on your part. That’s what you would expect. Also, the drinks are genuinely great – the sort of quality you might expect in a coffee shop. Again, you would probably expect that, but it is worth reinforcing – this machine produces great coffee at the touch of a button.
The most surprising aspect of the Philips 3200 LatteGo, though, is the price. For a fully automatic espresso machine, it is one of the cheapest options around – half the price of the competition in some cases.
Performance wise, it is a very decent machine that is worth adding on to your automatic espresso machine shortlist. Price wise, it should be elevated to the very top – I don’t think you will find a machine that has the same capabilities and performance as the Philips 3200 LatteGo in this price range.