Pros: Inexpensive, efficient, sturdy
Cons: Lacks a few professional components
As a coffee lover, I have always wanted to be able to make my own espresso creations at home, without spending the big bucks on a fancy espresso maker. I find that the Mr. Coffee 4 cup espresso and cappuccino maker is an excellent buy at a relatively low price.
The espresso maker comes with a 4 cup glass carafe, metal brew basket and filter, and a frothing aid with a plastic cover.
The components of the machine are sturdy, and the black color and seamless design give this machine a sleek, professional look.
I have been using this machine for a month now and have not experienced any functional problems. It brews a nice espresso, and the frothing aid works surprisingly well, better than I expected, for such a small one. Even though the brew basket and carafe don't actually come in contact while brewing, I haven't experienced any spills. The drip tray and drip grid are extremely easy to clean and removable making it easy to clean messes if they do happen to occur. The frothing aid sometimes about 40 seconds to start up, but works excellently thereafter.
The settings on the control knob can appear confusing at first glance, but the instruction manual is thorough and makes usage easy. One setting, designated by a coffee cup, is for brewing espresso, and the other setting, designated by a cloud of steam, is for steaming and frothing.
One drawback of the structure of this machine, however, is the fact that there is no outer gauge of the amount of water in the water reservoir at any given time. It is hard to tell how much water will be needed to steam milk or any other liquid since it can vary depending on the liquid itself, or the liquids temperature. So, after steaming, in order to make sure no water is left to sit in the reservoir, it is necessary either to pour it out (which can be difficult and dangerous to the machine) or to the set the machine back to the brew setting until it uses the water that is left. I mention this because I myself have accidentally left water in the reservoir until the next brewing, resulting in a weaker-than-desired espresso.
Another drawback is that the set does not include a metal frothing cup. It is wonderful that the frothing aid works, and works well for it's price range, but it is disappointing to learn that in order to froth and steam best, you need to purchase an additional component.
Overall though, I think this espresso machine is a great buy at a great price, and recommend it to any coffee lover on a budget.