It’s a little like having a personal barista.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated January 23, 2020
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Confession: I don’t like coffee. Sure, I love hanging out at coffee shops, researching coffee bar ideas, and asking people to grab coffee with me, but I don’t drink coffee. Instead, I drink sweet, indulgent, expensive lattes. I’ll take a vanilla latte, a mocha, or a chai tea latte over a cup of coffee any day, a preference that is good for my taste buds but horrible for my wallet.

I try to stay up to date on personal finance trends and tips, so I’ve seen all the quotes from financial experts about how spending $5 a day on a latte is ruining my chances of retiring or ever owning a home. Does that stop me from craving a foamy latte in the morning? Absolutely not. Friends and family encouraged me to just get over my love of lattes and buy a coffee maker to have at home, but I refused: I knew I wouldn’t use it, so I kept on dropping $15 a weekend at my favorite corner coffee shop.

Then I discovered the Keurig K-Cafe ($180; amazon.com). Launched in the summer of 2018 or so, this coffee maker has all the single-serve capabilities of your typical Keurig—plus a milk frother. The K-Cafe is primed to make lattes or cappuccinos at home, so I can have my morning drink of choice and save a few dollars, too. I’ve had mine for more than a year, and it’s saved me a fortune, made my mornings easier, and given me a new appreciation for at-home coffee makers.

The built-in milk frothing machine consists of a heating element and a dishwasher-safe cup. The cup has two measuring lines, so you can pour out the appropriate amount of milk (I prefer oat milk) for your drink, and a lid so there’s no mess. I simply add enough milk for a latte and press the latte button. (There’s also a cappuccino setting, plus a cold setting, so I can enjoy iced lattes in the summer. Delicious.) It takes the milk a few minutes to warm up and froth, and then it’s a satisfying, tasty drink.

Of course, the milk is only one part of a latte. The K-Cafe also has coffee shot capability with all K-cups, so you can turn any K-cup into a coffee shot and then pour the frothed milk over it.

I’m not a coffee purist, so I’m perfectly content with my K-cup espresso shot and steamed milk—and I’m saving a lot of money, too. Yes, home espresso machines can do almost the same thing (and can even steam milk), but using the Keurig K-Cafe is much, much more doable for those of us without barista-levels skills. Plus, compared to an espresso machine, this is much more affordable: less than $200, depending on the model. Learning how to clean a Keurig seems like a small price to pay for such affordable convenience.