Pros:Looks adorable on the stovetop. Does steam the milk resulting in an acceptable froth.
Cons:Leaking results in a bad cup of cappuccino and a huge stovetop mess. Pricey.
The Bottom Line: After resolving problems, unit works as expected.
While cute in concept, I haven't been able to get the thing to make a decent cup of cappuccino yet. The concept: make cappuccino in one step. The bottom unit houses the water that makes the espresso and the top unit houses the milk that automatically froths after the espresso is passed through the grounds. No separate steaming of milk required. All this in about 4 minutes max. Only 1 pot to clean. Costs about $80.
Recommend this product?
The problem: the unit leaks horribly between the bottom and top units. The result, at least half of the coffee seeps out onto your stovetop before it ever reaches the top unit which houses the milk and steaming valve. Not only does this make for a huge mess to clean up, but it also results in an extremely weak cup of cappuccino as not enough espresso gets to mix in with the milk.
According to the directions, the way to combat the leaking is to 1) make sure you use the correct grind (I am using Illy fine grind espresso coffee); 2) make sure there are no coffee grinds on the threads or top of the coffee holder (did that); 3) make sure you don't pack the grinds (I didn't pack them); 4) make sure heat is not too high (did that, had gas stove set at medium); 5) make sure you tighten the two units as much as possible (did that). So far I've attempted to make cappuccino about 10 times. All times were a bust.
I've done all I can do and still the leaking is horrible. It also seems to be getting worse not better.
I've tried to contact Bialetti's customer service but all you get is an answering machine. I've emailed their service dept. and still haven't heard back. Hopefully they'll resolve this issue.
In the meantime, I CANNOT recommend this product. DO NOT BUY.
UPDATE: Found a fix for the leaking seal between the lower/upper units on another website from an owner who experienced the same problem. Applying a drop of vegetable oil around both gaskets prior to assembling the pot will end the leaking. I've made 4 pots of cappuccino thus far without leakage problems. Once the leaking problem is fixed, it does make a quite decent cup of cappuccino with a nice froth and works as described on the Bialetti website and in the manual.
Given that the gaskets must be oiled every time before use and the product does NOT work properly straight out of the box, I'm still not comfortable recommending the product.
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