An Expert Guide to Philips Espresso MachinesPublished on 09/28/2022 · 8 min readPhilips is a well-trusted brand of fully automatic espresso machines that don't break the bank! Read on for more info about their machines and most popular models!
Photo by Samson Katt
Are you looking for a fast, efficient, and consistently delicious fully automatic espresso machine for under $1,000? You may want to consider Philips’ selection of automatic espresso machines.
It can be shockingly difficult to find an affordable fully automatic espresso machine that does it all: grinds, brews, froths, and customizes your drinks at the touch of a button. Before we take a look at Philips’ offerings, let's cover some basics.
What Is a Fully Automatic Espresso Machine?
A fully automatic espresso machine will brew several pre-programmed espresso and milk-based drinks (think espresso, latte macchiato, americano, cappuccino, latte, etc.) at the push of a few buttons. It is unlike a semi-automatic espresso machine, which often requires you to grind and measure the amount of coffee, tamp and brew it through a handheld portafilter, steam and froth milk, and combine milk and espresso to create your drink of choice. While semi-automatic espresso machines offer more customization and control over each beverage you make, they can be time intensive and have a steep learning curve. Fully automatic espresso machines are quick and easy, and require little to no espresso knowledge or expertise to operate.
Is a Fully Automatic Espresso Machine Right for Me?
Let's consider some pros and cons of an automatic espresso machine.
- Easy-to-use interface allows you to make cafe-style drinks with barista-like crema by pushing a button or two.
- Most machines have a selection of pre-programmed drinks that you can choose between for each use.
- It makes your drink quickly.
- Hands-off experience allows you to multitask while making your coffee.
- Many have built-in water filters to improve the quality of your water.
- You are limited in how much control you have in your drink. Different machines offer different levels of customization, but you are limited to the options that the machine gives you.
- The quality may not be as good as a barista-made drink or beverage from a semi-automatic machine.
- They can get pricey when looking for a high quality, durable, and customizable machine.
The Bottom Line
An automatic coffee machine might be the right purchase for you if you want to replace your daily coffee shop latte with a dependable, quick, and easy-to-use machine at home, but you don’t have much interest in perfecting and playing with your espresso or milk frothing techniques. If you aren’t sure what type of espresso machine is best for you, chat with a Coffee and Espresso Expert here at Curated.
Philips’ Lineup of Automatic Machines
Philips offers several models of fully automatic espresso machines for a range of budgets, which tend to be fairly small sizes (compared to other super automatic machines). Philips’ machines offer slightly different features, with additional customizations in the LatteGo milk frothing system. Philips‘ current lineup of machines include the Carina, 2200, 3200, and 4300.
Included in All Philips Automatic Espresso Machines:
- 10oz built in ceramic grinder with 12 adjustable grind size (and the option to bypass the grinder using a scoop of pre-ground coffee)
- A milk frothing system (either LatteGo or classic)
- Adjustable height espresso spouts
- A drip tray
- A builtin 1.8L water tank with an optional add-on AquaClean water filter to reduce the frequency of descaling
- A variety of pre-programmed drinks displayed on icons
As you move up in price (from the Philips Carina at the lower-end, all the way up to the Philips 4300 with LatteGo at the higher end), you'll get more options to customize as well as more chrome and less black plastic on the exterior.
With or Without LatteGo?
Each of the Philips machines comes with the option of a LatteGo milk system or a traditional steam wand. The LatteGo system is more expensive but does offer some significant benefits over the classic milk frother. LatteGo is easier to clean than other milk froth systems on super autos (they can be detached and put straight in the dishwasher). Super autos often use tubes and siphons, which can be difficult to properly rinse and clean. The LatteGo system is also better than many other super autos in terms of achieving the perfect temperature for steamed milk, which other competitors sometimes struggle to achieve. Compared to the classic Pannarello milk frother, the LatteGo provides a more hands-off experience and superior convenience, allowing you to make high quality milk foam without needing to learn how to steam milk.
1. Philips Carina
The most affordable machine in Philips' lineup offers the fewest drink options. Sometimes referred to as the Philips 1200 Carina, this machine has fewer options and an entirely black plastic exterior. Pre-programmed drinks include single and double espresso, single and double coffee (technically a Lungo espresso), cappuccino (on the LatteGo version) or steam milk (on the classic version), and a hot water button. In terms of customization options, you can adjust the dosage of beans and the volume of the shot or drink.
2. Philips 2200
The 2200 is one step up from the Carina (and the more widely available replacement of the Carina), with overall similarities. The 2200 has the same drink options as the Carina: a single and a double espresso option, a single and double coffee option, cappuccino (on the LatteGo version) or steam milk (on the classic version), and a hot water button. To customize your drinks, you can adjust the dosage (amount of coffee beans dosed for each espresso) and volume of the shot or drink. The biggest differences between the 2200 and the Carina is that the 2200 is more widely available and features more chrome accents on the machine.
3. Philips 3200
There are a few different versions of the Philips 3200: The Philips 3200 Classic, Philips 3200 with LatteGo, and Philips 3200 LatteGo Iced Coffee. First, we’ll look at the first two: the 3200 Classic and 3200 with LatteGo.
The Philips 3200 offers more customization options and is a higher-end machine than the Carina and 2200, and is also at a slightly higher price point. The 3200 Classic comes with the following programmable drink options: single and double espresso, single and double espresso Lungo, single and double coffee, single and double Americano, steam button, and hot water. The 3200 Classic allows you to adjust the temperature of the coffee. The 3200 LatteGo comes with the following drink options: single and double espresso, single and double coffee, single and double Americano, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and hot water. The 3200 LatteGo also allows for slightly more customization, allowing you to adjust the amount of milk in your milk-based drinks, the temperature of the coffee, the aroma strength (dosage), and coffee volume. Finally, this machine also adds some extra chrome to the black plastic exterior.
4. Philips 3200 LatteGo Iced Coffee
The third version of the 3200 is the 3200 LatteGo Iced Coffee, which adds an iced coffee feature to the 3200 series, and is the only Philips model with this feature.
The 3200 Iced Coffee with LatteGo is a new addition to the Philips lineup. Essentially, it is identical to the Philips 3200 LatteGo but with an added drink option for a single or double iced coffee. The iced coffee setting lowers the brewing temperature and slows the flow rate, so you have well extracted coffee at a slightly cooler temperature which won't get too watered down when brewed over ice. If you are a die-hard iced coffee fan, this new machine might be a better choice for you.
5. Philips 4300
The 4300 offers significantly more customization, drink options, and pre-programmed drinks than the other models, and it also carries a higher price point. The 4300 features an LED screen with an intuitive touch display that none of the other Philips models offer. A particularly nice improvement in this model is the option to have user profiles (two users and one guest profile) that save exactly how you like your coffee drinks. This is a great feature for those who share their machine (with a spouse, roommate, etc.) and have different preferences for their daily cups of coffee. In addition, the 4300 with LatteGo features eight pre-programmed drinks (10 including milk froth and hot water) including: espresso, ristretto (a shorter espresso shot), coffee, Americano, cappuccino, cafe au lait, latte macchiato, cafe crema, milk froth, and hot water. The 4300 Classic offers slightly fewer options: espresso, ristretto, coffee, Americano, cafe crema, hot water, and steam milk. Most of those drinks are available in both a single and a double option. The machine features the same customization options: dosage or aroma, volume of coffee, volume of milk, and the water temperature for your coffee. Finally, the exterior of the 4300 offers the most chrome accents of the Philips models.
How to Choose the Best Philips Machine for You
At the end of the day, the significant differences in the Philips coffee makers come down to customization, personalization, and price. All of the espresso makers share the same technology (with the exception of machines with LatteGo versus Classic steam wand) and will produce the same basic delicious coffees. If you have iced coffee every day, all year round, the 3200 LatteGo Iced Coffee might be a good fit for you. If you share your espresso maker with another person with very different coffee preferences, then the 4300 with LatteGo might be a great choice. And if you are looking for a simple and low cost option, consider the Carina or the 2200.
For personalized recommendations on the perfect machine for your exact needs, talk with a Coffee and Espresso Expert at Curated. They'll help walk you through the options and craft recommendations just for you.