Philips 3200 LatteGo Review: Less Is More!

Have you noticed for some time now how manufacturers of super-automatic espresso machines are slowly but surely saying goodbye to overdesigned products?

Philips Latte Go 3200 Main

Have you noticed for some time now how manufacturers of super-automatic espresso machines are slowly but surely saying goodbye to overdesigned products?

While in the past, there was no such thing as too complex or too high-tech, the latest generation of super-automatics is reverting to simple usability and functionality.

Since the Philips 3200 LatteGo super-automatic espresso machine is typical of this simpler style, I’m guessing it will prove popular with older folks in particular.

Not that other age groups won’t take a liking to this super-automatic machine, too. I mean, after all, who can deny being able to operate their kitchen appliances without a degree in IT and engineering?

But minimalism always means compromises, and in the case of the Philips, you’ll find them in rather unexpected places.

High-Quality Simplicity

Philips 3200 LatteGo

Thought-through simplicity and decent coffee.

Highly intuitive operation

Good espresso and milk froth

High-quality construction

Compact

Generally noisy operation

Very dense milk froth

The No-Frills, No-Fuss Philips 3200 LatteGo at a Glance

Since I’ve had appliances with a plasticky smell get up my nose a lot lately, the Philips EP3246/70 is a pleasant surprise.

There’s barely a whiff when unboxing it and even during the first hours of operation there’s no “new car smell.”

CategoryEntry
ManufacturerPhilips
Name3200 Series LatteGo
TypeSuper-automatic espresso machine
Removable brew groupYes
Casing MaterialStainless steel
Milk frothing systemAutomatic
DisplayYes
AppNo
User profilesYes (1 profile)
Water tank capacity61 Oz
Maximum discharge height6 In
GrinderDisc grinder ceramic
Bean container capacity0.55 lb
Two bean compartmentsNo
Grinding5 levels
Coffee grounds trayYes
JugNo
Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a buttonEspresso, Hot Water, Cappuccino, Coffee, Milk Foam, Latte Macchiato, Café au Lait, Americano
Adjustable coffee temperatureYes (3 levels)
Milk (foam) temperature adjustableNo
2-cup functionYes (no milk drinks)
Hot water functionYes
Hot milk functionYes
Obtain milk foam onlyYes
Water filterYes (1 water filter supplied)
Weight16 lb
Dimensions (height x width x depth)13.0 x 8.6 x 16.9 In

Then again that’s probably because the stainless steel style plastic casing not only looks high quality but is so, surprisingly. And the main components are just as impressive.

An overview of the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

What’s more, the ceramic flat burr grinder with 12 grind sizes definitely sets the Philips 3200 LatteGo apart from other machines — at least at this price point.

In fact, the current leader in this category, the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM 350.55.B, “only” has the brand’s standard stainless steel conical burr grinder.

On the one hand, I don’t want to spark any new hostilities between the flat and conical burr camps and the ceramic versus steel camps. But the ceramic flat burrs currently enjoy a better reputation and features on much more expensive super-automatic espresso machines.

Although the Philips 3200 doesn’t officially include “LatteGo” in its name, it still features the same type of milk system as the Philips 5000 LatteGo series, which is why this system was touted as hot stuff at IFA 2018.

And there’s some truth in that.

That’s because the automatic system doesn’t have any tubes of its own and consists of just two easily cleaned parts. The controls and menu navigation are also easy to use — there’s no display, only touch buttons.

Plus, depending on the function, these are supplemented with a three-step illuminated scale icon.

The Philips 3200 LatteGo's milk tank.

I’m a big fan of clear, front-panel indicators of this kind — as long as there are no issues with the main functions — though that’s certainly not the case here. You can select from five preset coffee options:

  1. Espresso
  2. Cappuccino
  3. Black coffee
  4. Latte Macchiato
  5. Americano

Plus, you can adjust all the key parameters using the corresponding three-step scale icons.

The front of the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

What more do you need? Nothing really. Though as a rather roundabout solution, if you remove the LatteGo System, you can even draw hot water. And that’s about the extent of the fiddling required.

Sounds like a pretty ideal package, doesn’t it?

I think so, too, which is why I have to say that roughly $750 on Amazon is a totally reasonable price tag. Even better at delivering value for money, I think, is my top pick in this category, the DeLonghi. Still, that doesn’t make the Philips 3200 LatteGo a bad choice.

Philips 3200 Series vs 2200 Series: What's the Difference?

Once again, Philips has managed to engage us all in a confusing game of three-card monte by offering super-automatic espresso machines with very similar model numbers but very different price tags.

But as always, the devil is in the detail — and the infernal figures in the product codes — as you’ll see with our test model, the Philips 3200 super-automatic espresso machine with LatteGo, which many of you like to compare to the 2200. 

After combing through all the sub-models and color variants, I agree that comparing these two machines is most helpful:

To save you (and me) having to plow through long-winded explanations, let’s compare them in table form.

CategoryPhilips 3200 SeriesPhilips 2200 Series
ColorBlack/SilverBrushed Black
Main materialPlasticPlastic
ControlsTouch buttonsTouch buttons
GrinderCeramic flat burr Ceramic flat burr
Grind settings1212
Specialty coffees52
Adjustable coffee strength3-step setting3-step setting
Adjustable reference amount3-step setting3-step setting
Adjustable milk foam quantity3-step settingNo
Water tank capacity60 oz60 oz
Milk frothing methodLatteGo systemSteam wand
Weight 17.6 lb16.5 lb
Dimensions9.7 x 4.6 x 17 in9.7 x 4.6 x 17 in

The differences between the 2200 and 3200 Series are pretty small. So one specialty coffee more or less isn’t exactly a real selling point. Now the automatic LatteGo milk system versus a steam wand is the only distinction that makes sense to me.

Setting Up Your Philips 3200 LatteGo: Grind Size, Volumes and Temperature

It would be absurd if you had to consult the operating instructions for a simple device like the Philips 3200, which is why you basically don’t need them at all.

You adjust the grind settings (as is pretty standard) via a wheel located inside the bean container — but only when operating the machine. As always for espresso, I used the finest grind setting possible.

The Philips 3200 LatteGo's grind setting.

After that, programming is a breeze. For espresso, you first select the relevant beverage button and can then customize the shot volume and temperature by adjusting the three-step scales at each of the buttons.

And if you want a Cappuccino or Latte, just triple the amount of milk.

It’s kinda dumb that you can customize the default setting of each drink at its highest level but not at its lowest.

That said, the minimum setting for espresso is not very generous. Instead, it just manages to scrape in the 25-milliliters (0.85-fluid- ounces) mark that I consider optimal.

An espresso from the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

As regular readers will already know, I maxed out the coffee strength (3 out of 3), minimized the water volume (1 out of 3) and selected the highest possible temperature for my espresso.

Philips Espresso Machine: Brewing and Operation

Usually, the ceramic flat burr grinder enjoys a premium reputation because it’s often quieter than its conical burr stainless-steel rivals, though I really can’t vouch for this in the case of the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

That’s because this grinder makes quite a racket and is even louder than many of its conical burr counterparts. And the same is also true for the LatteGo milk system, which makes more of a din than you’d expect. Why? Beats me.

Noise levels — which are pretty tolerable — during brewing aside, the extraction process is a bit too fast for my taste. 

It’s also a sign of insufficiently compacted puck or other shortcomings in the way that the coffee grounds are automatically processed. Having said that, the brew flows evenly from the spout without sputtering.

A Cappuccino from the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

On a side note, Latte glasses up to 5.9 inches in height fit below the spout, and even very small espresso cups are a reasonable distance from the coffee outlet.

Espresso and Milk Froth — Wrong Way, But Still Good

For this super-automatic espresso machine review, I chose a brand of organic Robusta beans, which may come as a surprise to some of you, considering that I normally gravitate to light roasts and less bold, pure Robustas.

Preparing espresso with a Philips 3200 LatteGo.

Then again, a super-automatic espresso machine always lends itself to brasher Italian-style coffee with a serious caffeine kick. On top of that, climate change and Arabica’s vulnerability to pests and variable weather make the Robusta bean the better all-around choice.

What’s more, Robusta always delivers a decent crema. And the Philips 3200 definitely comes to the party in that regard.

Admittedly, a coffee snob would point out that the crema isn’t as dark and speckled as what you’d get with Robusta roasts in a portafilter. But it blankets the coffee evenly and is very stable in nature — a solid achievement by the Philips 3200 super-automatic espresso machine.

Espresso with crema from the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

On the “Cappuccino,” the microfoam is a little too dense and too hot for me, though I know many of you really value a high milk temperature.

The espresso is also a very good temperature and a well-rounded, robust affair — as you’d expect from a perfectly roasted Robusta.

I write “Cappuccino” in quotation marks because the Philips 3200 LatteGo not only puts this coffee together the wrong way but also makes it look like a Latte. Usually, the espresso goes into the cup first, then the milk. Philips does it the other way around for some reason.

Preparing milk froth with the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t the end of the world, but it does cause confusion — not just for me but also for those who’ve tried the Philips 3200 LatteGo.

Aside from microfoam’s serious density, the espresso and milk froth from the super-automatic espresso machine are more than drinkable. It’s just that I’d have liked it if you could somehow tweak the microfoam’s consistency — which isn’t a problem with the DeLonghi Dinamica.

How's Cleaning the Philips 3200 LatteGo? No Biggie

With its two-part milk frothing system, the Philips 3200 LatteGo scores well when it comes to cleaning, though in other respects, it’s on par with other good competitor products.

In other words, what should be removable is — from the brew group to the milk container.

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It’s also great that you can remove the main things, such as the water tank, coffee grounds container and brew group from the front or side. So no need to fumble around blindly behind the super-automatic.

Overall, I give the Philips fully automatic machine a high score for cleaning. It really does make life easy.

Even more good news is the built-in water filter, which means fewer automatic descaling.

Verdict on the Philips 3200 LatteGo Review: Simplicity Does a Body Good

Ok so the Philips 3200 LatteGo doesn’t have me gushing like the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM 350.55.B. But that’s a big ask. It’s hard to find better value for money in this price category.

High-quality simplicity

Philips 3200 LatteGo

Thought-through simplicity and decent coffee.

Highly intuitive operation

Good espresso and milk froth

High-quality construction

Compact

Generally noisy operation

Very dense milk froth

This Philips model places less on high-quality functionality than high-quality minimalism — and hits the mark. So if you’re looking for a super-automatic designed for everyday use and does the job without a lot of fuss, you’ll be happy with this machine.

Yes, the noise levels are annoying, but ultimately it’s pretty average compared to all the other models in the super-automatic espresso machine reviews. At least if you know in advance that it’s not whisper-quiet, so you can decide how much noise you can handle.

Though I was pretty fed up with the brand after the Philips LatteGo’s mixed reviews and the disastrous appearance at trade shows, this sensible super-automatic machine managed to restore some of my faith. That’s something, too, I guess.

As always, this post thrives on your comments, opinions and questions. And as usual, the entire comments section is ready and waiting for your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

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