Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines in 2020



Nespresso by De'Longhi EN85BAE Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine, Black Review:


I have been using Nespresso for decades - ever since the machines first debuted in the European market - and have probably owned every Nespresso model made. So yes, I am a devoted Nespresso user.
This particular machine is very well made - my experience has been that DeLonghi branded machines are slightly higher quality than Nespresso's own branded machines. While this is made mostly of plastic, it is sturdy and well constructed.
I really like the small size - this takes up much less room on a countertop and is easily transported if you want to take it along when visiting family or friends over the holidays.
But with that smaller size comes the expected trade off - you will need to refill the water and empty the capsules more often - neither of which is a big deal given the space gained with this unit.
The most noticeable trade off comes in that you are limited in the height of the cup or mug you can use without removing the drip base (approx. 4"). Only espresso and traditional cappuccino mugs (low but with a wide mouth) will work. None of my regular coffee mugs fit under the dispenser without removing the drip base. It's so close, which makes me wonder why this wasn't designed with another half inch to allow for common coffee mugs to be used with the drip base in place. Not a deal breaker but definitely something to be aware of.
Also, there is no on/off switch on this machine. Instead, you hit either the espresso or lungo button on the top of the machine, which then flashes while warming up and stops when ready to brew. Simple but different if you are switching from another Nespresso model.
The Aeroccino3 frother works great for both hot or cold milk. It is priced separately at around $100 so if you want/need a frother, this bundle is a great value. The difference between this frother and the previous design is mainly aesthetic - this is taller and narrower, so the inside frothing device is slightly harder to reach. And the previous frother has a handle, which I prefer. But the frother itself works the same and produces great results.
Overall I really like this machine - it is well made and brews excellent espresso. The smaller size won't replace my regular Nespresso but it is perfect supplement to an office, RV, party room or guest room or for any location where space is limited.



Nespresso by De'Longhi EN267BAE Original Espresso Machine Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by De'Longhi, Black Review:


I bought the CITIZ DēLonghi Nespresso machine. I did a lot of research before i made my decision to buy either a DēLonghi or a Breville. All of the positive reviews tended to be for the DēLonghi and DēLonghi has been making the machine longer, so…
I chose the CITIZ machine because it uses the OriginalLine pods and are a little less expensive than the VertuøLine. (all are recyclable). A prepaid postage plastic bag can be ordered free of charge from Nespresso to return the aluminum pods to a recycling plant. There is a video on the Nespresso website explaining the recycling process. I wouldn’t buy the Keurig coffee maker because their pods are plastic and are not recyclable. So glad I because the creamy foam the CITIZ makes is delicious.
The CITIZ makes a wonderful espresso with a rich foamy creme that lasts for the entire latte. I could have bought the milk steamer along with the CITIZ but chose not to and now I regret not purchasing it as I make lattes and the steamed almond milk would really be nice to have. Oh well. There is a small container in the CITIZ that collects the pods which makes it easy to dump the pods into the plastic recycle bag. The container which collects the pods fortunately has about 1/2 “ at the bottom to collect coffee that drips out of the machine. I wouldn’t let more than 6 pods collect as the container might overflow. There have been reviews that this machine is rather noisy but it’s not any noisier than my former Senseo espresso machine. Not that noisy in my opinion. The water heats up in apprx 20-25 secs. I would have a cup underneath the spout when pressing the button to turn on the machine, as one time in the middle of heating the water, it started making the espresso! Don’t know what happened but hasn’t happened since, but i always have a cup under the spout before turning it on.
I did buy some 3rd party pods that are advertised as Nespresso compatible, but the pods i bought are plastic, a little smaller and the coffee was inferior compared to Nespresso’s coffee. I think its worth the few extra pennies for the Nespresso pods. I like a milder espresso and have found that for me, the Pure Origin Rosabaya de Columbia is the best tasting for me and the Caramelito, A caramel flavored coffee that is very good. There are also decaffeinated espresso pods.
I love this machine and I would and have recommended it wholeheartedly.



Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless Steel Review:


This is my first espresso machine, and I’m very glad with my purchase. With some practice and the help of some online videos, I’m now able to make great-tasting shots in my kitchen. Be advised: you’ll likely need to pick up some accessories that are not included with the machine. I ended up buying a milk jug, metal tamper, leveler, measured shot glass, knock box and digital scale (I prefer to weigh my input and yield). Finally, if you have no experience with making espresso on a semi-automatic and are not willing to do a bit of trial and research regarding factors such as bean selection, grind size and extraction timing, you may want to look for a super automatic.



Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL Review:


Despite some of the negative criticism sprinkled throughout this review, keep in mind that (1) I am giving this machine 5 stars, and now that I have spent a few weeks getting to know it (intimately), I love it - so much, that if a burglar broke into my house and stole it, I would order another one the same day - I have not been back to Starbucks since. All that being said, you NEED to read this review so that your machine does not frustrate you and so that you get the most out of it. Read on my coffee-loving friend:

1. I am a guy, who knew nothing about espresso machines before this. I am very mechanically inclined and don't usually read instructions. This was different - this machine is NOT self-explanatory and you NEED to read the instructions (which are well written, and even include a troubleshooting section). Don't get frustrated with this machine until/unless you have read (all) the instructions.

2. This is not a 'stand-alone' purchase ... this machine costs around $500 (give or take), you need to invest another $100 right from the start (preferably at the same time) to get the most out of it, enjoy it to the fullest, and not get unreasonably frustrated by making your own lattes and mochas.

3. The other things you REALLY should order at the same time (and all are available on Amazon) are:
a. ($29) 100-pack disposable 20oz. cups with lids and sleeves (sold by Yes!fresh). Trust me, you want to get these. It's only $0.29 per cup and are far more convenient that trying to clean out a million dirty coffee cups from your car/office each week. These are worth twice what they cost in the long run. And when your friends are over, you need not 'loan' them a nice coffee cup to go (which you may never see again) - just give them a paper cup to take with them.
b. ($5-15 for 25 oz. / $20-30 for 64 oz.) Torani syrups and sauces, AND the pump tops that go with them (always sold separately). IF you drink the same thing on a regular basis (like I do) such as a white chocolate peppermint mocha, buy the 64 oz. white chocolate sauce and not the smaller 25 oz. bottle.
c. ($14) Amazon Basics Cotton Washcloth - 24 pack - grey (the grey matches the espresso machine, but the color doesn't matter). Again, trust me, you want a nicely folded stack of these sitting next to the machine - you will use 1 each time you make espresso, and then it will be dirty and needs to be washed. At my house (3 people using the machine) we bought two 24-packs because we make so much coffee - two 24-packs is not too many for our house (I'm thinking about buying a third pack).
d. ($10 for pair of single shot size, $15 for pair of double shot size) Set of double-walled espresso shot glasses. Do NOT buy the rounded ones (ie: Cutehom espresso coffee cups) because they will not pour very well and drip all over the place (down the side) each time - very frustrating. Buy the JoyJolt Javaah Double Walled Espresso Glasses instead - you'll be glad you did in the long run. And, if you're planning to make mostly double-shot lattes/mochas, buy a set of Dragon Glassware 6 oz Espresso Cups (also double-walled) so that you don't have to keep fidgeting with the single shot cups to keep them in the right spot under the coffee dispenser. It's important to buy double-walled glasses for two reasons. First, it keeps the espresso hot while you're steaming your milk, second, it keeps you from burning your fingers when pouring the espresso into your coffee cup.
e. ($15) Breville BCB100 Barista-Style Coffee Knock Box. Again, TRUST me, you want this right next to your machine - the coffee grounds will start piling up quickly and you don't want your portafilter anywhere near a garbage can. This thing is a must.

4. Space requirements: This machine (and all that you want to go with it) will take some counter space - allow AT LEAST 34-inches of counter width to accommodate - slightly more is even better. You will from my picture, this is a 34-inch setup, and there is no room to spare.

5. Making espresso. After you read the instructions, here are some tips that they don't include to help avoid frustration:
a. When the beans are grinding, lightly knock on the top of the hopper lid (just like knocking on a door) so that the beans keep feeding down to the grinder (sometimes they get hung up - a light knock each time keeps this from happening). Do NOT overfill the portafilter (after tamping) or it will jam coffee grounds into the water outlet and could possibly damage the portafilter or locking guide. After the grounds are tamped down in the filter cup, the silver part of the tamper should be just hidden beneath the rim of the portafilter (the machine includes a tool you can use if you accidentally overfill the filter cup, but after a short while, you'll figure out how much to grind each time and the tool will not be necessary).
b. You ALWAYS want to watch the pressure gauge when making espresso. It NEEDS to be in the dark grey area of the pressure gauge (and ideally in/near the middle of the grey area) during the brew cycle, otherwise you are not making good espresso - rather, you are making either watered down espresso (not enough pressure) or not enough espresso which is too rich (too much pressure). There are two key things that affect pressure: the fineness at which the coffee is ground (which is adjustable) and the volume of grounds in the portafilter (also adjustable). Although there is a one or two shot size setting, I have found it best to do two, 1-shot grinds, tamping down the grounds in-between each single-shot grind. I have the grind (volume) setting on the 4th click setting, and I have the grind (fineness) setting on either 2 or 3 (play around and see what gives you the best results). IF the pressure is too low, then either your coffee is ground too coarsely, or your have not tamped it down tight enough, or the filter is not filled with enough coffee grounds, or a combination of any/all of these things. IF the pressure is too high, then either your coffee is ground too finely, or you have tamped down the grounds too hard (tightly), or a combination of the two.
c. IF using two, single-shot espresso glasses to collect a double-shot brew, keep an eye on them during the brew cycle and make sure they are centered under the espresso being dispensed (this can be avoided by using a double-shot size collection cup).
d. IF making a mocha or other syrup/sauce drink, pre-mix the espresso and syrup in the glass and stir thoroughly before adding the steamed milk.
e. Steaming milk is 1/2-art, and 1/2-science (seriously), and it does not come naturally. If you've never worked at a coffee shop and been trained to steam milk, do yourself a favor and watch a few good (short) YouTube videos on the proper way to steam milk. You will THANK yourself for taking 5-10 minutes on You Tube and learning the proper way to steam milk (and things to avoid). Understanding the steaming process will allow you to control the amount of foam on top and not make big mess.
f. Before you steam your milk, VENT the steam wand to remove the residual water from the boiler line (you don't want a few teaspoons of water in your milk). Vent the line, then turn the steam off ... wait 5 full seconds ... then insert the steam wand into the milk, then turn the steam back on. Hold the handle with your left hand, and place your right hand underneath the stainless steel milk steaming cup, when the cup is too hot for your right hand to touch (I mean really to hot to hold), keep the steam wand in and start counting along with the pump (which sounds like a metronome in the background ... dit ... dit ... dit ... dit ...). For a semi-hot latte/mocha keep the steam wand in the milk for 30 double-dits (don't start counting until after you can non longer touch the bottom with your right hand ... "and-one, and two, and three" and so on until you get to 30 (the equivalent of 60 single dits). For hot (but still drinkable) count to 40 double-dits, and for very-hot, 50 double-dits. Anything above 60 and you risk burning the milk (which will ruin the flavor and you will need to toss it out and start over). When finished, turn the steam off, and remove the steam wand from the milk about 3-5 seconds before it finishes blowing steam (to avoid having milk sucked back up into the steam line).
g. After you steam your milk, VENT the steam wand again to remove any milk that inadvertently got sucked up into the steam wand line and prevent any from making its way into the boiler. IF milk makes its way back into the boiler unit (because you failed to vent the line after use) you will DESTROY the boiler (permanently), in that, the milk cannot be cleaned out, will burn during the next use, and every cup of milk you steam in the future will have a burnt-milk smell/flavor - yuck! DO yourself a favor and vent the steam line religiously after each use - and make sure others who use your machine know that they can ruin it if they don't do so also! (there goes $500!)
h. The bottom tray is easy to remove, empty and clean (comes apart in 3 pieces). You should empty this every 2-4 days of use because it fills up despite you not pouring liquid into it - reason is, each time you finish using the steam wand or hot water dispenser, the machine auto-vents out the line from the boiler into the bottom tray (sneaky little devil) ... so even though you don't realize it, it's filling up a little with each use. (Fun fact - the hot water dispenser can be used for instant hot water to make tea!).

6. Cleaning up.
a. I unfold a clean washcloth each time I make espresso. When you tamp down the grounds, it will help avoid damaging/scratching your counter, and will catch the spill-over grounds (there will always be some spill-over).
b. When finished, use hot water (from your kitchen sink) to rinse the espresso cup(s), milk steaming cup, portafilter and filter insert (remove the filter cup from the portafilter each time you clean them), then use another clean washcloth to set them out to dry upon.
c. The washcloth used to make espresso: fold it in half, twice (into a square), and use the hot water dispenser (on the machine) to get one corner of the square wet with hot (boiling hot) water, then fold the square into a triangle so that the boiling water corner is exposed, then fold that triangle into another triangle around the steam wand and thoroughly clean the steam wand. It will take a little time and firm pressure - make sure the wand is clean so that you don't get nasty milk residue build up on your steam wand.

7. Keeping things stocked:
a. Milk. If your family uses milk for other things (cereal, baking, etc.) and up until now you have been a '1-gallon at a time' household, it's time to go up to a 2-gallon at a time household. Trust me - once you (and others in your house) discover the delicious lattes/mochas which are quick at hand, the milk will begin to disappear quickly (my house is now a 3-gallon at a time household with 3 people regularly using the machine).
b. Keep a spare box of to-go cups/lids on hand, when you open it, order another one - it is not cost prohibitive and you never want to be out of to-go cups in the morning.
c. Keep a spare bag of coffee beans on hand - also not cost prohibitive and if you run out of beans, well, there's no reason to ever run out of beans.
d. Keep a spare bottle of your favorite syrups/sauces. If you run out, all the fun is over.

8. Quirks and tips.
a. Keep a close eye (and refill often - like every morning) the water tank in the back (you need not pull it off each time, just take a 4-cup measuring cup and refill it when it gets 1/2-way down). Reason being, the machine is not smart like a Keurig - it has no sensor telling it when the water is out and it will run itself (to its peril) dry when the water runs out - this is not particularly good for the machine or the pumps.
b. Use top quality beans - I recommend buying 1 lb. bags of Starbucks Espresso Roast beans - whole, NEVER pre-ground. WHY would you spend $600 on a coffee bar setup and then use crap beans or pre-ground (aka: not fresh) coffee? When you use top quality Starbucks beans (I have no financial interest in Starbucks by the by - so if you prefer something else like Pete's or Dutch Bros., fine - but make sure you're buying whole bean bags of their Espresso Roast). 2-4 double-shot lattes/mochas per day will go through a 1 lb. bag of beans every 1-2 weeks.
c. Transitioning to decaf beans...? Nope, not easy, nor was the machine set up for an easy transition. To transition from regular espresso beans to decaf beans you must unlock the bean hopper and remove it - then pour the regular beans into a ziplock bag, then take your vacuum cleaner (I'm not joking) and vacuum out the remaining regular beans from the grinding gear mechanism, then replace the (empty) hopper - lock it in place, then fill it with decaf beans. We did this once at my house ... and will never do it again.

I hope you enjoyed my review and it helps you make awesome lattes and mochas!



Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express Coffee Machine, Black Sesame Review:


I have been using the Brevill BES870BSXL The Barista Express Coffee Machine for a couple of weeks. We have very pure well water, though it is hard since it contains calcium and magnesium. This has no taste, but can affect the clogging of any water heating appliance. I mentioned this because the flavor of the espresso and the function of the machine can be affected.
I have used and reviewed several espresso machines through the Amazon Vine program and bought one other, this one I researched specifically for several months and purchased it myself. I have received for review/used mostly the cheaper units of several manufacturers, (Mr. Coffee, DeLonghi, Capresso, etc.) The comparison between this higher priced Breville and the less expensive machines is not entirely fair except on the level of taste.
This Breville machine is far beyond the functioning of any that I have had. As I learned about espresso, I mostly drink latte, and my taste has refined, the cheaper machines would not satisfy. This Breville machine makes amazingly great latte and espresso.
The biggest difference in using this machine rather than using the less expensive machines is the ability to control the strength, flavor and coffee grind; and the pressure. The flavor of my latte is not only as good as the latte purchased from the better coffee shops, it is consistently better. I had to fight to get a good flavor out of the other machines and work them to the maximum.

THE PLUSES OF THE BARISTA EXPRESS:
The beans are held in a storage unit on the top of the machine, they can be ground to powder if you desired, but it has multiple grind settings.
The water tank holds a lot of water and is easy to remove and fill or fill while attached.
The function buttons are easy to see and the functions make sense and are easy to use.
The correct amount of ground coffee goes directly into the filter basket automatically. The tamper stored under the machine by a magnet. The amount of coffee has multiple settings for both one and two cups of espresso.
The ground coffee basket holder goes into the group head with ease.
The pressure gauge lets you know the pressure of the tamped coffee being extracted with an indication of the optimum pressure point. The pressure of your tamping is a learned function by using the gauge. In this way you learn the strength of your tamp for your best espresso.
When you are finished, the machine purges itself of stream and hot water in the tray.
The streamed milk function works better than any machine I have used. Very small bubbles to big foam can be made easily. You decide what you want.
Hot water is also available on the unit.
The machine comes with cleaning tablets, tools, tamper, milk frothing cup, extra filter cups, and a place to store them.
NEGATIVES:
As far as I am concerned there aren't any. It is important to clean the milk frothing wand immediately after frothing or the milk gets hard on it from the heat, but I did not find this an issue.

Overall:
I really love the way this machine works and the espresso and latte that I can make. It makes the espresso easily and much quicker than any machine I have used. The taste and texture of the lattes are beyond compare. My only regret is that I should have got the red one instead of the black, though the black unit looks really great. I never realized that the price of the espresso machine would make such a huge difference in the quality of the espresso and the latte.



Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser Espresso Machine, Black Sesame, 2.3 Review:


I have been using the Brevill BES870BSXL The Barista Express Coffee Machine for a couple of weeks. We have very pure well water, though it is hard since it contains calcium and magnesium. This has no taste, but can affect the clogging of any water heating appliance. I mentioned this because the flavor of the espresso and the function of the machine can be affected.
I have used and reviewed several espresso machines through the Amazon Vine program and bought one other, this one I researched specifically for several months and purchased it myself. I have received for review/used mostly the cheaper units of several manufacturers, (Mr. Coffee, DeLonghi, Capresso, etc.) The comparison between this higher priced Breville and the less expensive machines is not entirely fair except on the level of taste.
This Breville machine is far beyond the functioning of any that I have had. As I learned about espresso, I mostly drink latte, and my taste has refined, the cheaper machines would not satisfy. This Breville machine makes amazingly great latte and espresso.
The biggest difference in using this machine rather than using the less expensive machines is the ability to control the strength, flavor and coffee grind; and the pressure. The flavor of my latte is not only as good as the latte purchased from the better coffee shops, it is consistently better. I had to fight to get a good flavor out of the other machines and work them to the maximum.

THE PLUSES OF THE BARISTA EXPRESS:
The beans are held in a storage unit on the top of the machine, they can be ground to powder if you desired, but it has multiple grind settings.
The water tank holds a lot of water and is easy to remove and fill or fill while attached.
The function buttons are easy to see and the functions make sense and are easy to use.
The correct amount of ground coffee goes directly into the filter basket automatically. The tamper stored under the machine by a magnet. The amount of coffee has multiple settings for both one and two cups of espresso.
The ground coffee basket holder goes into the group head with ease.
The pressure gauge lets you know the pressure of the tamped coffee being extracted with an indication of the optimum pressure point. The pressure of your tamping is a learned function by using the gauge. In this way you learn the strength of your tamp for your best espresso.
When you are finished, the machine purges itself of stream and hot water in the tray.
The streamed milk function works better than any machine I have used. Very small bubbles to big foam can be made easily. You decide what you want.
Hot water is also available on the unit.
The machine comes with cleaning tablets, tools, tamper, milk frothing cup, extra filter cups, and a place to store them.
NEGATIVES:
As far as I am concerned there aren't any. It is important to clean the milk frothing wand immediately after frothing or the milk gets hard on it from the heat, but I did not find this an issue.

Overall:
I really love the way this machine works and the espresso and latte that I can make. It makes the espresso easily and much quicker than any machine I have used. The taste and texture of the lattes are beyond compare. My only regret is that I should have got the red one instead of the black, though the black unit looks really great. I never realized that the price of the espresso machine would make such a huge difference in the quality of the espresso and the latte.



De'Longhi EC9335M La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel Review:


Written entirely by a espresso-maker novice. I am, however, quite the Starbucks lover. I am married to an ex-barista who is quite the snob about drinking coffee at home. I am not as picky, but I know a good cup of coffee when I have one in front of me. I figured between the two of our tastes and experiences that we could provide a well-rounded review. Setup was fairly simple. After yelling at my husband to read the instructions for the fifth time, it got cleaned & put together in about 20 minutes. This machine does not include the water softener filter so if you deal with hard water, plan to buy one in addition to the price of this machine. We’ve made two drinks so far and both have been amazing. We’ve made an iced caramel macchiato and a vanilla latte. The flavor is strong and brewed just right. Even for me, with no experience working an espresso machine, it was easy enough to figure out. Prep, brew, & clean up time took a total of 6 minutes from whole beans in the grinder to finished grinds in the trash. To compare to how much you’re spending on coffee already, when broken into daily payments over a year, it ends up being about $2.05. Way less than a grande or vente Starbucks drink price and according to the hubs way better in taste! I spent maybe $15 on Starbucks coffee beans, more almond milk, and some caramel drizzle that will last me over a month. Although it’s a lump sum in the beginning, you will be glad you made the investment. This machine is well worth it.
UPDATE ON 8-11-19:
I’m updating my review to add a few very important notes that I have learned since I posted my original review:
1. Any coffee beans are “espresso” beans. This is probably basic knowledge to some, but I didn’t know that! I spent a good 30 minutes in publix looking for “espresso” beans. Lol.. live & learn.
2. Watch all the YouTube videos! Making the perfect shot of espresso takes practice. I went to Costco & bought a big bag of beans and made about twenty shots just trying to perfect my skill!
3. Only put the beans in the grinder before you go to make a cup. It makes for a much fresher tasting espresso.
4. If you’re going to be making lots of espresso, invest in a good set of espresso glasses. I originally was using a stainless steel shot glass I had and my finger tips about burned off! I ordered JoyJolt double walled espresso glasses (the 2 oz ones) on Amazon and they have been a lovey addition to my morning espresso routine.
5. The machine will stop grinding depending on where you turn the knob. I have found for a single shot of espresso, turning the grinder knob to the center and just a tad to the left that it makes the perfect amount for a great shot of espresso.
6. The closer the espresso glass is to where the espresso is coming out is important! It creates a thicker level of crema.
That’s about all I can think of right now. It truly is an amazing machine and I have enjoyed waking up knowing I get to go downstairs to this bad boy.



De'Longhi America, Inc. EN750MB Lattissima Pro Original Espresso Machine with Milk Frother by De'Longhi, 10.8" L x 7.6" W x 13" H, Brushed Aluminum Review:


I definitely don't consider myself a coffee connoisseur. I simply enjoy coffee, whether it be from a coffee shop like Starbucks or from my machine at home. For me, as long as the coffee tastes good, I'm happy. I was able to pick up this machine for $437 during some sale here on Amazon. I still would consider it worthwhile at the current asking price of $585. You buy this machine for three main reasons: convenience, consistency and speed. If you want a coffee quickly before heading to work, you don't even need to read the rest of this review. Buy this machine, you will not be disappointed. For those who are interested in hearing why I bought this machine and what my thoughts are, read on.

--Pros--
- Fast
This machine is seriously fast on startup. I turn it on, grab my milk frother from the fridge, and before I know it the machine is ready to go. Not only that, The frother itself is the fastest I have ever seen on a machine. It instantaneously froths milk as it passes through into the coffee cup.

- Simple
At work we have a $1500 espresso machine that grinds the coffee automatically, has a frothing wand that lowers into the cup and froths your milk automatically for you. I find myself preferring to use my machine before work. Why? Because this crazy machine we have at work sometimes doesn't froth properly, or doesn't grind the coffee properly and you end up with a cup of warm milk. The De'Longhi is amazing in that it is simple, there is so much less that can fail.

- Quick
Now wait a second Alex, you already said it was fast. Where are you going with this? So what do I mean by quick? The machine is intuitively easy to use. There are six quick and easy presets to choose from. There is no need to go digging through the mass of menus like the crazy machine at work has. The De'Longhi is like the race car of espresso machines. Not only does it start up quickly, the use of this machine is fast and responsive.

- Fresh Coffee
This one is pretty self explanatory. You get the freshness of beans coupled with the convenience of pre-ground coffee with the Nesspresso pods.

--Cons--
- Expensive Pods
This is the Achilles heel of this machine. The pods are not cheap. There are off brand pods, however these are not guaranteed to be the same level of quality of those from Nesspresso. Personally, I think this is a compromise that is well worth it.

- Difficult to self service
Like any automatic machine, if this one breaks it will have to be sent back unless you are comfortable opening it up to see what makes it tick.

- Not for everyone
I imagine the espresso connoisseur would raise his nose in disgust at this machine. However, this machine is a constant source of delicious coffee and happiness for me. If you simply enjoy coffee for both the taste and as a wake up in the morning, this bad boy is for you.

--Conclusion--
By no means is this a full review. I consider myself a terrible writer and a very forgetful person. However, I hope this pushes a few people who are on the fence into buying this machine because I promise you you will not be disappointed. I have only owned this machine for a few months, but it has performed flawlessly during that time.

Good luck fellow shoppers, let you make the best of decisions.
Alex



EspressoWorks 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker Barista Bundle Set w/Built-In Steamer & Frother (Inc: Coffee Bean Grinder, Milk Frothing Cup, Spoon/Tamper & 2 Cups), Stainless Steel Review:


Having worked in a coffee shop I was familiar with espresso and milk steaming machines. While this product is not intended for commercial use, it is perfect for the home. The machine itself has an amazingly small footprint, and puts out adequate pressure for brewing single/double espresso shots and for properly steaming milk. The inclusion of different sized "inserts" which allow switching depth of the coffee filter attachment is a novel idea and well executed. Bought this item as a gift for my wife who loves it, but I use it myself frequently as well. Keep it clean and it should serve you for an extended period of time. For the price, I don't believe this item can be beat.

As for the seller: when the unit was originally delivered the steam wand wasn't performing well. After following the typical trouble-shooting tips and conferring with the seller, we found the unit was simply unable to produce enough pressure to steam or properly brew. Within a week the seller had replaced the unit, and I'm happy to report it works perfectly. No matter the production value there is always a possibility of a defect here or there. The seller standing by the product and immediately replacing it to our satisfaction really sealed the deal for us. I highly recommend both this product and the seller from whom we purchased it.



Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, Red - BVMC-ECMP1106 Review:


I'll give tips after a little background info, what wasn't right and what customer service said to do, that WORKED!

First off my background. I am not, nor have I every been a barista. I am an average person who likes mochas from the coffee shop, but I live 80 miles from town, so I don't get them very often and wanted to try making them at home. This is my first espresso machine. I read a lot of blogs and watched online videos from real baristas giving tips how to make good espresso drinks at home before purchasing this. I got this thing and things didn't taste right to me, bitter. So I did more research and figured out the problem, it wasn't heating up well. I checked temperature and it was only getting to 157*F on average (too cold) and took 14-15 seconds to make one shot (too fast). NOT what the online advice says you need. Online advice says 170-180*F and 27-30 seconds is about right. So I called Mr Coffee for help before I sent it back to Amazon. GLAD I did.

The call: In short, customer service told me to run a cleaning cycle per directions from page 16 in the user manual. Which is 1/2 tank of white vinegar, hit the button for double shot. Repeat as many times as you need. Also run a cleaning cycle through the milk dispenser. My thought was, "what the heck, its a new machine! I did the priming as directed before use, how can it be dirty?" But I had to give it a try or send it back. Well I'll be go to heck, it WORKED!

While directions said you only need to run it few times. I had the time, so I ran the whole 1/2 tank white vinegar through (double shot at at a time) since I has to toss the vinegar anyway, so why not really clean it eh? Anyway, after a couple times running the double shot espresso button the temperature went from consistent 157*F to 175-182*F. Wahoo! It seemed to matter how long I let it warm up between shots. Running two times consecutively got the 175-177*, which is just what you want. Letting it sit and warm up a few minutes before runs got it 180-184*, which is getting a little too hot. BTW, I was using a good quality quick, calibrated thermometer that I use for caramel making, which is a very exacting process to do right. So I figured it could accurately measure the espresso before it cooled from air temperature, which by the way is mere seconds I found out.

NOTE: The higher temperature is NOT for drinking comfort (how hot you like it) it is what the espresso NEEDS to properly extract and not be bitter. You can let it sit a few minutes if you don't like it that hot, personally I don't want a burned tongue, so I wait a little. Coming out of the machine perfect drinking temperature is NOT a good thing.

SECOND NOTE: Running the vinegar through is NOT descaling, it is cleaning. Descaling is something else you do, read the manual on how. The vinegar clean is NOT priming, it is cleaning. Don't know why you need to clean the new machine in addition to priming, but DO it anyway. Make sure to rinse the reservoir out, then run some PLAIN water through to remove the vinegar afterwards, do it as many times as it takes to get the smell out, mine took a full reservoir. Honestly though it's faster shipping it back and waiting for a replacement machine because it doesn't get hot enough, this WORKS.

When I first got it, as I said it was taking 14-15 seconds to run the shots through. During the cleaning process they got longer and longer. Now that it's clean, it's about 28-30 seconds. Again, just what you want. I use my cell phone stop watch feature to be accurate.

In summary, based on what I've read and how I got it to work well, at least for "normal" person standards. This a good machine. Here's my TIPS TO GET IT WORKING RIGHT:

1. Learn to grind grounds well. Do NOT buy pre-ground, buy beans and grind them yourself. It has to do with when the oil is release one how well it works. If you are going to the trouble to use a machine like this (rather than just normal a coffee machine) you can go to the effort to grind as well, it's just part of the process.

You can use the hand held cone burr grinders for the most accurate fine ground. Or you can spend a bundle on an electric burr grinder. From what I read, you REALLY do need to get a good one if you go electric. In fact that is almost more important than the machine they say. Inconsistent size of grounds will yield inconsistent shots. Too fine (Turkish grind, which is like flour) and it clogs the filter making the machine unable to push all the water through. Too course (regular coffee machine grind) and the water goes through too fast making it bitter. Espresso grind has to be the consistency of table salt.

I'm cheap, so using the hand grinder does work and I advise it for other cheap people. However, in the morning I am cranky and impatient, I'm also lazy, so I've ordered a couple different electric burr grinders to see if that works as well. I plan to return which ever (or both) that don't grind as the espresso NEEDS (good ol Amazon prime and their return policies). No, I did not take the online baristas advice and buy a $200 burr grinder (I am cheap after all), but I did spend about $50 on a burr grinder and $20 on a blade style. Will update when I have decided what works or not, which I kept or if I end up just doing the hand grind.

2. Learn how full to fill the cup. At least to the top of the rim, or a little higher. You want the end result about 1/8-1/4" from the top. The amount in the cup DOES matter.

3. Learn how to pack your grounds to 30lbs of pressure. How to do that, put your bathroom scale on the counter. Use your tamper to push until you get the feel of 30lbs pressure. Repeat several times until you can push it pretty accurately. This is very important. Also, but a metal tamper, the plastic one isn't sturdy enough for 30 lbs pressure, it bents and packs unevenly. You can get metal tampers cheap, it's worth it.

4. Before you make your cup each morning, warm the machine as directions indicate, but ALSO run a shot of plain water through first. The second time through will be hotter, and it only takes 30 seconds.

5. Even though it's a new machine, and you did the priming as the manual says, run 1/2 tank of white vinegar through it (directions on page 16 of manual) and it will make a tremendous difference. Don't argue, just do it.

6. You can open the lid and fill the reservoir with it ON the machine with a pitcher if taking it on and off is too hard.

NOTE: I did NOT receive this at a discount in exchange for an honest review. This is a good machine for the average espresso based specialty coffee drinker. I gave it a full 5 stars because it's pretty idiot proof (I'm not the most mechanical person) and it makes mochas that are pretty darn good in my average persons opinion. I have no idea what a real coffee expert would say, and really, shouldn't they have a professional machine anyway? [...]