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Philips EP1200/EP3200/EP3200 Series Espresso Machines Review

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Philips EP3246/70 with LatteGo and SensorTouchIn May 2019, Philips, not only introduced a new coffee machine onto the market, but along with it a whole new platform that included, at the time of writing this review, 11 modifications to the 1200, 2200 and 3200 series.

There are no prizes for guessing, even from the numerical designations of the series, that all this is the entrance level class of automatic ground coffee machines, divided into sublevels, depending on the availability of some additional function and/or recipe configuration.

Philips Series 1200 features the Philips EP1220 coffee machine. This is the most basic model with a manual panarello cappuccino maker and without an AquaClean water filter. There are two beverage buttons: “espresso” and “coffee” (cafe lungo), plus buttons for steam and hot water for the cappuccino maker.

The Philips Series 2200 features six versions, but in reality these are just two models:

  • Philips EP2220/EP2221/EP2224 are the same as EP1220, but with the AquaClean filter included (everything below is also with AquaClean). They only differ in the shade of color for each version. And they are all dark, one is glossy, one matte and the third slightly lighter.
  • Philips EP2231 are versions with the LatteGo automatic cappuccino maker in the form of a 250 ml pitcher. Beverage buttons: “espresso”, “coffee” (i.e. cafe lungo), “cappuccino”, “hot water”. It’s important to note that there is no separate setting for the volume of milk, only the choice of the total volume of beverage. The versions differ, as in the case above, only by the nuances of color.

The number after the slash sign (e.g. EP2224/10 or EP2224/40) designates the color. It means that functionality is the same, only color is different.

Philips Series 3200 features four versions, but again in reality only two models:

  • Philips EP3221/40 is the flagship of the platform in this version with a manual cappuccino maker. Yes, you need to froth the milk manually, but here is the biggest choice of black coffee recipes: “espresso”, “coffee” (i.e. cafe lungo), separately “long coffee” (this is just another programming cell), “americano” (special mode, the machine pours espresso first, and then it adds hot water from the same nozzles). Plus, the panel has a separate temperature setting that can be changed at any time – 3 levels in total.

The other versions also have a brewing temperature setting, but it is the same for all modes and can only be changed when the machine is turned off, using the following combination: hold down the choice of portion volume for a few seconds, set the level with the same button, press “start”.

  • Philips EP3241/EP3243/EP3246 are the flagship models of the platform in the version with LatteGo automatic cappuccino maker. Beverage buttons: “espresso”, “coffee” (i.e. cafe lungo), “americano”, “cappuccino”, “latte macchiato”, “hot water”. There is a separate setting for the volume of milk. Here, again, the versions differ only by the nuances of color. EP3241/50 is black, EP3243/50 is white with dark and silver elements (looks elegant!), EP3246/70 is black with silver elements (the photos in the review mainly show this version).

Philips EP1200, EP2200 and EP3200 spresso machines model range

New espresso machine by Philips are sold only in Germany, Poland, Russia and few other countries so far. Not yet available in the US, UK, Spain, Italy and France – I expect Philips to launch new models in Europe till the end of 2019, and in 2020 in North America. You can compare prices on German Amazon:

There are actually 4 models in different colors before us, all told.

Two of them are simpler, providing a manual cappuccino maker, with two recipes, and the other two are more elaborate, with four recipes and a separate temperature setting on the control panel.

And two more models with LatteGo automatic cappuccino maker. One is simple, with one button for milk and setting only the total volume of the beverage, and the other has two milk recipes and a separate setting for proportions.

I think that you can interpolate the information below for simpler modifications. Personally, I tested the flagships with LatteGo.


The major feature about all these machines is the new platform

Let’s clarify once again, we have the basic coffee machines that are lower in the company’s model range than Philips Series 4000, Series 5000 and all Saeco (read here about similarities of Philips and Saeco).

In reality, these are replacements for the really outdated Series 2000/2100, which originated from Saeco Xsmall and for one from the Series 3000. Xsmall was and still remains a compromise machine, which I recommended for readers with a limited budget, it used to cost under £150/€200 on sales. It makes no sense to buy one more expensive due to its limitations in functionality and convenience.

New platform of Philips automatic espresso machines = bigger tanks for water, beans and used pucks + better usability

In the new platform, many flaws are fixed. For example, now all reservoirs have normal volumes: for water – 1.8 litres, for beans – 275 grams, for wasted coffee pucks – 15 portions. And the drip tray is usefully sized now, it does not need to be drained every 5 cups. The water reservoir has been removed from the front, as for Xsmall, but on the other side, to the right. Like this, the machines are very much competitors for De’Longhi.

The bewing unit is used exactly the same as before, as on all other machines of this type. Here is a photo with it next to the Saeco PicoBaristo Deluxe brewing group – only the nozzle at the inlet is different:

Brewing unit of Philips EP3241/50 vs Saeco PicoBaristoDeluxe

But the positions have changed in an interesting way. Now the brewing group is located behind the water tank (which must be removed beforehand) and is in the center inside the coffee machine. The 15-bar ULKA pump, the 1500 watt thermoblock and the ceramic grinder with flat burrs are old acquaintances. Unless, the number of grind levels was extended to 12.

Strength setting. It became fully-fledged (I’m reminding you, I’m comparing it with the old Series 2000/2100). Not so much that any difference in taste is possible, but you can choose one of three degrees for any drink. Yes, this is not 5, like in Philips Series 3100 and “higher”, but actually these three are quite enough, because the minimum and maximum ones are almost the same (approximately 7 and 11 grams of beans, respectively), there are intermediate ones, which usually are not needed, “three” or “five” (out of 5) are commonly used for brewing.

The control panel giving a choice of 3 volumes for any beverage may be considered globally new

I don’t know why everywhere it is alleged that in the Philips Series 3200/2200/1200 coffee machines a certain screen is used, and a touch screen at that. Yes, buttons are all touch, including on/off and start/stop. But there is no screen here. All indications are provided by LED lights. There are a lot of lights, I counted 25, but as they say, quantity did not turn into quality, they didn’t turn into a screen because of this 🙂

So, the control feature is that there are 3 volumes of beverage for each recipe. That is, you press, let’s say, espresso, and nearby you can choose one of three volumes, with the third being adjustable (press the recipe button for programming until the volume light flashes, start brewing with the start button; when the necessary amount is in the cup, press the start button again).

The first two volumes for each beverage cannot be changed, they are rigidly set at the factory. But the machine remembers the last choice of strength/volume for each beverage and the next time it offers them by default. The default values of volumes are as follows:

  1. Espresso: 35/50/80 ml. The third volume is adjustable from 40 to 230 ml. Personally I was extremely saddened by the lower limit, because I usually drink 30 ml, and in this case – no way!
  2. Coffee: 110/140/230 ml. The third volume is adjustable from 40 to 230 ml
  3. Americano: (50 ml of coffee + 60 ml of water) / (50 ml of coffee + 130 ml of water) / (50 ml of coffee + 180 ml of water). It is tricky to program: coffee may be from 40 to 230 ml, the rest is water, but so that the total volume of delivery is not more than 400 ml. 400 is the upper technical limit for all recipes of these coffee machines, apparently not to overheat the boiler or the pump.
  4. Cappuccino: (60 ml of milk + 35 ml of coffee) / (100 ml of milk + 50 ml of coffee) / (200 ml of milk + 80 ml of coffee). Programmed: coffee from 40 to 230 ml, milk to about 340 ml.
  5. Latte macchiato: (120 ml of milk + 35 ml of coffee) / (230 ml of milk + 45 ml of coffee) / (340 ml of milk + 55 ml of coffee). It is programmed the same way as cappuccino: coffee from 40 to 230 ml, milk to about 340 ml.
  6. Hot water: 60/160/400 ml, the maximum programming is 400 ml.

An interesting feature of americano brewing is that firstly, the machine can brew it simultaneously in two portions, pouring two espresso in a row, and then adding twice the amount of water, and secondly, it can be done in one cup. Then americano will be as I like, two espresso + hot water. I’m not particularly fond of americano, but if I drink it, then that’s about it.

A less interesting feature is that the machine does not prepare separately foamed milk. Even in the “past” initial milk machine of the concern – Philips HD8654 Easy Cappuccino – could (and still can) deliver milk without coffee when taken off into “milk clean”. It would be possible to assume that the solution is to interrupt the milk program after the milk is delivered, but the machine still first grinds the beans. You can interrupt the program, but the grounds will be thrown off into the waste.

As for the brewing of black coffee, in this, the machine, as expected, repeats all the other models of the company. This is not surprising, as the main components remain the same.

LatteGo – two halves milk frother

A cappuccino maker foams a little worse than Phillips Saeco’s “standard” integrated milk jar, but this was previously known from testing the Series 5000. The foam itself is almost the same in consistency, but it is somewhat smaller, and the separation into milk/foam is more pronounced. This can be readily observed by the layered latte macchiato, the layers are not only visually distinguished, but also more noticeable in taste:

This time, I additionally compared the convenience at a long distance, noise, temperature with a milk jar frother from Saeco PicoBaristo Deluxe. The LatteGo noise, as in the case of the standard Phillips frother, prevails in the overall ensemble, producing up to 60 dB (when brewing black coffee, the machine produces a typical average noise level of 50 dB). The temperature of the coffee and milk drink is also no different, about 70 °C. For me personally, this is a lot, I have to wait for a while until it cools down.

LatteGo is a lot easier to disassemble and clean. But there is a nuance.

The “ordinary” milk jar has the ability to quickly clean – the machine passes water through the milk tract without sucking the milk into the channels. LatteGo has no such possibility. I tried to pass the water without removing the pitcher, as it worked on Saeco Minuto, Philips HD8828 and the like, but LatteGo still sucks the milk, and there is no real cleaning of the channels and vortex module. That said, it turns out that cleaning with disassembling LatteGo is much easier, but it should be done much more often, almost every day. Quick cleaning of the “ordinary” pitcher allows you to disassemble the cappuccino maker once every 4-5 days.

What I liked and where the cons are

 Series 3200 Kaffeevollautomat EP3243/50

White modifications looks and feels better than older premium models. On photo: EP3243/50

The first impression, and it’s a positive one, is the quality of the finish, materials and assembly. It’s really better than the more pricey Saeco PicoBaristo Deluxe. The fit of the parts is better, the plastic itself is thicker. To reach the drip tray, it is not necessary to push through tight side clamps. Wide dispenser height adjustment (both for tine espresso cups and high cappuccino glasses), comfortable controls, albeit without a screen.

By the way, very good sensitivity of the touch buttons is provided, although I’m still not a fan of sensors, but now it is all about them. From above – a platform for cups. I would not say that there is at least a passive heating there, but Philips having a platform is not common anymore.

It is convenient to fill beans into a wide bunker, I liked it, especially for the basic models; the lid of this bunker is surrounded by a thick rubber seal. It sits very tight, there is hope that there is really some protection of the beans from weathering. With the new LatteGo milk pitcher, there is no need to install a separate dispenser for pouring water, because the cappuccino maker itself is hung directly on the spout for dispensing water, it is always installed.

I liked the program for americano, in which you can easily, almost with a single click, make it on the basis of a double espresso with hot water.

But there are some things that confused me:

  • Impossibility to foam milk without coffee.
  • The restriction of the espresso’s lower limit is not enough for me – 35 ml, I need at least 30 ml, and I often brew a double ristretto of two 20 ml each. Here, it is impossible, this is important for me.
  • The material of the water tank leaves much to be desired. Especially as this stands out from the rest of the materials for the casing.
  • The cappuccino makers noise. However, this does not apply to Philips Series 3200/2200/1200, but to LatteGo, and to Philips automatic cappuccino makers in general.

I also focus on the design of the LatteGo cappuccino maker, which consists of two split halves without any tubes. The convenience of washing it – especially with rare use – is evident. However, nothing is known about its reliability over the long haul. I have a purely theoretical suspicion, not based on practice, that over time, when the sealing rubber (it is glued into the “right” black part) loses elasticity, the pitcher may start to leak out into the cup tray. I repeat, these are just my assumptions.

A desultory remark about panarello on the cheaper models:

The classic manual cappuccino maker with panarello in Philips EP1220/EP2020/EP2021/EP2224/EP3221 coffee machines is a bit different from what we are used to seeing in Philips. It has become somewhat longer and is lower relative to the cup holder.

It is convenient to control it – big angles to the sides, optimum forward bend and solid length make it possible to froth the milk even more conveniently than in older versions. Moreover, if we take the appropriate wares and pour milk to a certain level, just slightly hiding the cappuccino maker dipped in it, the container may be put on the cup holder and the process goes well with no overhanging.

Review Summary

In all, the new Philips 1200/2200/3200 platform looks nice and is pleasant to use. At first glance, it seems even higher class than it actually is, it is presented with a solid appearance and elegant casing lines. Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand soberly that these are basic coffee machines, and even the flagships of the new platform – the ones with LatteGo automatic milk frother – have functional limitations.

In terms of making both black coffee and milk delicacies, revelations did not take place, but they were not expected after the hardware base became clear. In terms of convenience, everything is at a decent level within the class.

I NEED your opinion. Please rate my review:

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Philips EP1200, EP2200 and EP3200 Series Coffee Machine Specifications:

Download manual: Download pdf manual
Machine type: Bean-to-cup super-automatic machine
Width х Deep х Height: 24 x 43 x 37 cm
Coffee used: Beans or ground coffee
Grinder: Ceramic burr set, 12 steps adjustable
Brewing group: One, removable (extractable)
Heater: Thermoblock 1500 W
Max pressure: 15 bar
Water container: 1.9 l (accessible from front)
Bean container: 275 g
Waste container: 12 servings (accessible from front)
Cappuccinatore: EP 1220/2020/2021/2224/3221 – panarello (manual)
EP 2030/2035/2231/3241/3243/3246 – automated 0.25l milk jar LatteGo
Max cup height: 85-145 mm
Controlling: Adjustable coffee strength (3 grades), temperature settings (3 grades)
Peculiar properties: Special recipe for Americano (long black) - only models EP3221/3241/3243/3246
Colors: various

Author: Dmitriy Yurchenko

06/08/2019

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