Phillips 3200 Review
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|Pros||Super convenient, easy to use||Excellent espresso, can achieve near-perfect microfoam, relatively easy to use for a semi-automatic machine||Great taste, cafe quality lattes and cappuccinos||Great espresso, impressive milk steaming performance, compact design||Good espresso and milk steaming, quite inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive, lacks cafe quality taste||Pricey, requires more effort/practice than fully-automatic machines||On the pricier side, requires some effort and a learning curve||No built-in grinder||Doesn't quite achieve cafe quality results, somewhat slow, no built-in grinder|
|Bottom Line||A viable option if you're more concerned with convenience than how your coffee tastes||A cafe-quality machine that manages to still be friendly towards beginner baristas||A perfect choice for those that don't mind putting in a little work to get the best tasting shot||One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality results||Offers good taste and overall quality at a far below average price|
|Rating Categories||Phillips 3200||Calphalon Temp IQ||Breville Barista Ex...||Breville Bambino||Gevi|
|Espresso Quality (40%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (15%)|
|Milk Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Phillips 3200||Calphalon Temp IQ||Breville Barista Ex...||Breville Bambino||Gevi|
|Dimensions||9.5" x 17" x 14.5"||5.6" x 14.5" x 17.3"||13.2" x 12.5" x 16"||7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2"||13" x 10" x 16"|
|Milk Frother||Automatic||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Steam Wand|
|Measured Water Tank Capacity||60 oz||94 oz||67 oz||47 oz||42 oz|
|Cost per Shot||$0.45||$0.45||$0.47||$0.45||$0.45|
|Lifetime Cost per Shot||$0.87||$0.70||$0.76||$0.58||$0.50|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price||392||235||277||118||51|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price||234||141||165||70||30|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Phillips 3200 offers push-button-get-Cappucino convenience, but we feel it's a bit lacking in the taste department. If you're not fussy about how your coffee tastes and don't mind making an investment in a convenient morning routine, it may be a worthwhile purchase. Otherwise, we think there are better options out there.
No matter how much we tinkered with the settings of the Phillips 3200 its espresso always came out tasting a bit over-extracted and bitter, as well as slightly weak and watery. Adding steamed milk to create a cappuccino or latte somewhat covered up these defects, but we generally found the milk this machine steamed to be somewhat lackluster. That's not to say the espresso and milk drinks this machine serves up are bad. If you're not expecting a cafe-quality drink, there's a decent chance this machine can satisfy your craving. However, we think there are a lot of other machines that far outstrip the taste quality of this one, though most can't match its convenience.
Ease of Use
This is where the Phillips 3200 shines. It uses an intuitive touchscreen interface to navigate between making straight espresso shots, cappuccinos, and lattes. You can also adjust the strength of the espresso. Once you press to brew the machine grinds and tamps the coffee beans, brews the espresso, and steams the milk, all automatically. It doesn't get much easier than that.
The only reason this machine didn't score higher in this metric is its initial setup. This is the one time we felt the need to consult the instruction manual, as the machine is otherwise so intuitive to use. However, the manual is a bit unclear and we found the initial setup process to be a bit clunky.
Ease of Cleaning
The Phillips 3200 is relatively easy to clean, with a few small caveats. The container that holds the milk is the one thing that will need to be cleaned with each use, or at the very least stored in the fridge in between uses. Cleaning this container is not difficult, but takes a bit more time than just wiping down the steam wand of more traditional machines.
One small annoyance we ran into was the fact that the drip tray snags on the grind catcher when you pull it out, so you have to remove the grind catcher before you empty the drip tray. This is minor but worth noting. The descaling process is straightforward as well, but you will need to purchase a descaling solution separately from Phillips.
This is where our major complaint with the Phillips 3200 lies — throughout our tests, it failed to create a good texture with its milk. It only slightly aerates it, leaving just a bit of foam on the surface. Because of this we never felt like it got close to recreating a cafe cappuccino or latte. Still, if you're not too fussy about taste or milk texture, it can still create a reasonable imitation of one of those drinks.
The Phillips 3200 is quite expensive, and you're largely paying for convenience while (in our opinion) sacrificing a good bit of taste quality. If you're not too picky and greatly value convenience, it may be a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, we would think your money would be better spent elsewhere.
The Phillips 3200 fills a niche for people that want an incredibly convenient, hassle-free espresso machine — that is, if you aren't too particular about how your lattes taste and don't mind dropping a sizeable amount of cash.
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