In recent years, coffee machines with integrated milk tanks have brought a new dimension to the household coffee machine industry. These coffee machines are no longer limited to making coffee but also emulsify milk and automatically serve the resulting milk foam into your cup. What is the point? So that you can enjoy cappuccinos, lattes, mixed drinks, in short, freshly made with fresh milk, without any effort.
Well, if you are thinking of buying one of these machines and forget about making the milk foam on your own, even with a coffee maker with a vaporizer, we will, as usual, guide you through the necessary steps.
The first thing you need to know is that the integrated milk tank is a quality of the coffee makers that make espresso, whether they are armoured (manual), super-automatic, or to a lesser extent, capsule machines.
Capsule coffee machines with milk tank
Capsule coffee machines with their milk tank are rare. We can only find two models: the Lattissima by Nespresso and the Latte Duo by Senseo.
The Lattissima is one of Nespresso’s star models and has several versions (the normal, the touch or the Pro). It is a super famous coffee maker within this brand because you know that Nespresso capsules are only suitable for making black coffee.
In other words, this machine is the only way for us to enjoy mixed drinks with milk (without having to serve it ourselves afterwards, of course). You can learn more about it by reviewing its review in this summary:
An identical but cheaper alternative is the Fiorella NP-150, compatible with Nespresso capsules but manufactured by the Spanish company NPG.
Its star feature, apart from being able to enjoy fresh milk foam instead of the powdered milk that comes in the capsules, is to be able to prepare two cups simultaneously (hence the “Duo”).
Espresso machines with integrated milk tank
In the case of manual espresso machines (the armoured machine), the range of models with integrated milk tanks is somewhat more extensive than for the capsule machines. But there’s not much to choose from either. We can now talk about these four machines, all very similar in terms of performance and price:
We start with the Ariete Cremissima, a high-end coffee maker from the prestigious Italian firm Ariete. We can also find it with the reference Ariete 1384, which is a 1.2-litre capacity coffee maker with a large milk tank: 700 ml. It is also worth mentioning its stainless steel body. Naturally, it is a little more expensive than the other machines in this ranking.
The Oster Prima Latte II, on the other hand, is the natural evolution of the 1st generation Prima Latte, one of the best-selling coffee machines both in Europe and in the US. A model with a long history and worldwide success.
The 2nd generation Prima Latte by Oster adds as its main novelties a larger milk tank (650 ml), the possibility of regulating the amount of foam to our taste, and the programming of personalized elaborations.
The Power Instant-Ccino is Cecotec’s most ambitious arm machine (they have another more basic model, the Power Espresso 20). It stands out from the rest because of its 20 bar pressure pump and also because of its slightly lower price. The milk jug is 500 ml.
Finally, we will talk about the Klarstein Bellavita, a 2018 launch by this famous German manufacturer. It also has 20 bars of pressure and a 1.4-litre water tank, as well as a complete circuit for rinsing and cleaning the internal pipes after each processing.
Automatic coffee machines with milk tank
Super-automatic coffee machines with milk tank are much more common, and here we have already dozens of models to choose from. They correspond, to give a reference, to the medium range of the segment of the automatic ones. They differ from the previous ones of arm logically for their speed and because they have a built-in grinder that allows us to enjoy the espressos with just ground coffee.
Let’s say that the cheaper super-automatic coffee makers only allow making espresso (not milk foam). From the medium range (350-400 pounds onwards), we already find this milk tank function in almost all models.
There are dozens of options to choose from, and from the 500-600 pounds barrier, virtually any automatic coffee machine will have its milk tank.
It’s common for some models to be given the option by the manufacturer to purchase the coffee machine with or without a milk jug (to save us a handful of pounds in case automatic cappuccinos are not our priority).
We are only going to recommend three of the most representative models in the sector, but remember that in this segment, you have dozens of milk tank coffee makers to choose from.
We start with the Saeco Incanto, perhaps the most representative machine of Saeco and that we mention it for its excellent value for money (this can be purchased in a more basic version without a milk tank).
Since the Incanto, all superior models of Saeco automatic coffee machines include their milk tank.
Delonghi ECAM 23.460
Delonghi also has a wide range of automatic coffee machines, many of them with milk tanks. In this case, we have chosen the ECAM 23.460 model because it is one of the most economical that we can find with this quality.
Philips Series 5000
Finally, we would like to highlight the Philips 5000 Series, the highest-ranking exponent to date of the Philips Series (also the most recent of the three automatic milk tank coffee machines we have highlighted in this article). It has a massive 1.8-litre water tank, and the milk tank holds 500 ml.
We would also like to make a special mention of the Cecotec Power Matic-Ccino, which has its milk tank and allows automatic cappuccinos to be made but is not integrated into the body of the coffee machine (it is a separate container).
However, you can find out more about these models in our guide to super-automatic coffee machines with an automatic cappuccino.
What is the milk tank of these coffee machines used for?
Irrespective of the type of coffee machine and the method of preparation used, all machines with a separate milk tank work in a similar way.
The milk tank usually has a capacity of half a litre (500 ml or at most 600 ml in some cases) and should be kept in the fridge if there is fresh milk inside.
When we select any preparation on the machine’s control panel (let’s say a cappuccino, for example), the coffee maker itself takes care of sucking the fresh milk in the tank, emulsifies it (i.e. converts it into milk foam). The resulting foam is served directly into the cup or glass under the spout. The coffee maker itself usually knows the order in which it should be served (before or after the espresso, depending on the preparation we have chosen) and the amount of foam required.
In some of the most advanced super-automatic coffee machines, there is even the option of customizing the amount of milk foam we want in each case.
If you have any doubts, here is a video of how these machines work when they take milk to froth from their tank (in this example, it is an Oster Prima Latte):