The Philips 3200 LatteGo Espresso Machine: Less Is More!

I've noticed for some time that the manufacturers of super-automatic espresso machines are 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 are reverting to simple usability and functionality.

Philips Latte Go 3200 Main

I’ve noticed for some time that the manufacturers of super-automatic espresso machines are 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 are 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. Back at the Berlin Consumer Electronics Show (IFA), I mused out loud about the marketing potential in the affluent target group of over 50s.

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

But minimalism always means compromises. 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

This could be because the stainless-steel-style plastic casing not only looks high quality, but is surprisingly so. And the main components are just as impressive.

Philips 3200 LatteGo overview

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.

I don’t want to spark new hostilities between the flat and conical burr camps on the one hand and the proponents of ceramic versus steel on the other. But the ceramic flat burrs currently enjoy a better reputation and features on much more expensive fully 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. 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. Depending on the function, these are supplemented with a three-step illuminated scale icon.

Philips 3200 LatteGo 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. That’s certainly not the case here. You can select from five pre-set coffee options:

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

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

Philips 3200 LatteGo front

What more do you need? Nothing really. It’s a rather roundabout solution, but 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. I think my top pick in this category – the DeLonghi – delivers even better value for money. But that doesn’t make the Philips 3200 LatteGo a bad choice.

The Philips 3200 and 2200 Series – Important Differences

In the Philips 3200 video review, I mentioned that this manufacturer is once again playing a confusing game of three card monte by offering super-automatic espresso machines with very similar model numbers but very different price tags.

As always, the devil is in the detail – and the infernal figures in the product codes. Our model is called the Philips 3200 fully automatic espresso machine with LatteGo. Many of you would like a comparison with the 2200.

After combing through all the sub-models and color variants, I believe 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.

 Philips 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 piffling. One specialty coffee more or less is not exactly a real selling point. The automatic LatteGo milk system versus a steam wand is the only distinction that makes sense to me.

Set 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. 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 the machine is operating. As always for espresso, I used the finest grind setting possible.

Philips 3200 LatteGo grind setting

After that, programming is a breeze. For an espresso, you first selecting the relevant beverage button and can then customize the shot volume and temperature by adjusting the three-step scales at each of the buttons. If you want a cappuccino or latte, you can also 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 milliliter (0.85 fluid ounces) mark that I consider optimal.

Philips 3200 LatteGo espresso

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

Philips Espresso Machine: Brewing and Operation

Ceramic flat burr grinders enjoy a premium reputation because they’re often quieter than their conical burr stainless-steel rivals. I really can’t vouch for this in the case of the Philips 3200 LatteGo however.

That’s because this grinder makes a fair 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 during brewing are tolerable, but the extraction process is a bit too fast for my taste. 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.

Philips 3200 LatteGo cappuccino

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 Round, But Good

I chose a brand of organic robusta beans for this super-automatic espresso machine review. Considering that I normally gravitate to light roasts and less to bold, pure Robustas, that may come as a surprise.

Philips 3200 LatteGo espresso preparation

But a super-automatic espresso machine lends itself to brasher Italian-style coffee with a whopping caffeine kick. Plus, climate change and arabica’s vulnerability to pests and variable weather is making the robusta bean increasingly important.

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 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 nature — a solid achievement by the Philips 3200 super-automatic espresso machine.

Philips 3200 LatteGo espresso with crema

On the “cappuccino,” the microfoam is a little too dense and too hot for me personally. But I know many of you greatly value a high milk temperature. The espresso too is 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 round, but also makes it look like a latte. Usually, the espresso is added to the cup first, then the milk. Philips does it the other way around for some reason.

Philips 3200 LatteGo milk froth preparation

This isn’t the end of the world but does cause confusion – not just for me, but also for who commented on my Philips 3200 LatteGo YouTube video.

Aside from microfoam’s serious density, the espresso and milk froth from super-automatic espresso machine are more than drinkable. I’d have liked it if you could somehow tweak the microfoam’s consistency. This is no problem with the DeLonghi Dinamica.

Cleaning? No Biggie

With its 2-part milk frothing system, the Philips 3200 LatteGo scores positively in terms of cleaning. In other respects, it’s on par with other good competitor products.

What should be removable, is – from the brew group to the milk container.

Philips 3200 LatteGo clean milk container

It’s also great that the main things such as the water tank, coffee grounds container and brew group can all be removed from the front or side. No need to fumble around blindly behind the fully automatic.

Philips 3200 LatteGo water tank Philips 3200 LatteGo drip tray

Overall, I give the Philips fully automatic machine a high score for cleaning. It really does make life easy. More good news is the built-in water filter, which means fewer automatic descaling procedures.

Verdict on the Philips 3200 Series: Simply Does it

The Philips 3200 LatteGo super-automatic espresso machine 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 about high-quality functionality than high-quality minimalism – and hits the mark. If you’re looking for a super-automatic that’s designed for everyday use and which does the job without a lot of fuss, you’ll certainly be happy with this machine.

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

The Philips 3200 also has another claim to its name: I was pretty fed up with the brand after the Philips LatteGo’s mixed reviews and the disastrous appearance at IFA (German technology fair). But this sensible super-automatic machine has restored 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.

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