Did Mr. Coffee Just Become Sir Espresso?
Ahhhh, Mr. Coffee.
Every now and then, there is a brand that just seems to embody an entire industry. For coffee makers, that brand is Mr. Coffee. My mother and grandmother had Mr. Coffee machines when I was a kid, and they both swore by them for their morning coffee. I have never had one because I am only just getting back into drinking coffee, and the last time I did drink a lot of it, I could get it from the coffee shop where I worked.
What I didn’t know until just recently, however, was that the gold standard for coffee making has also made entries into the espresso maker arena. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker does a pretty good job of making a really functional machine with a lot of perks many other options in this price level don’t have. Now let’s just see how they stand up to the brand’s reputation.
With espresso, hot water isn’t enough to make the coffee taste the way you want it to. You also need enough pressure to push the water through the grounds quickly and with a lot of heat at the same time. The Cafe Barista has 15 bars of pressure, the industry standard, which means it provides all the pressure needed to get the maximum flavor out of your beans.
Controls, Controls, Galore
If you haven’t figured it out yet, there are a lot of different kind of drinks you can make with just espresso beans, milk, and sometimes some flavoring. The ability of your machine to adapt makes a big difference when you’re putting together your drink of choice. The Cafe Barista has all sorts of controls on the front so you can choose exactly how you want your coffee made, and that makes it much more like a professional espresso machine than a regular coffee maker.
Seriously, let’s just take a gander at this thing. Just by hitting a button you can pick between a single shot, a double shot, a cappuccino or a latte. Push button, get drink, go on your way.
A lot of espresso machines don’t let you choose between a latte and a cappuccino because the difference is not in the coffee, but in the way the milk is frothed and poured. And yes, it does make a difference in the taste and texture of the drink. That’s why the cappuccino and latte buttons on this machine are so special. The Cafe Barista comes with a reservoir for milk, and the machine froths it up all on its own. That’s a huge deal and makes a big difference in the amount of active time you have to spend working on making your drinks. I’m not sure it works perfectly, but just the idea of it is intriguing.
In addition to the automation of the milk frother, the Cafe Barista gives you control over deciding how you want your milk even if you don’t actively prep it yourself. How cool is that? You still get to make decisions about your drinks without actually doing the work. That sounds like my kind of morning. There is a knob above the milk frother that lets you set how you want the milk to be prepped so you can get a super foamy cappuccino or a milky latte with just the right amount of heat. And no burned milk!
More Than One Reservoir
I’ve already told you about the place to fill with milk so you can get the kind of texture you want, but there’s also a reservoir for water so you don’t have to refill the pot all the time. You can get a bunch of drinks out of it without having to run to the sink, and that really helps a lot with the automation options.
You Have The Control But Do You Have The Power?
While we have walked through a bunch of different ways you can control what your espresso machine does, there is a concern with this one that it can lose power and stop turning on after a little while. I have to say I’m not convinced it’s a problem with this machine as much as it is a common problem with kitchen electrics in general, so it’s hardly worth mentioning, but I thought I should, just to make sure I cover all the bases.
Not Cheap, Not Expensive
We’ve talked a lot about espresso machines that come in well under $100 as an option, but this is not one of them. Even though it is nowhere near the price of a professional machine or even a really high end consumer machine, it is still going to cost you more than your friend, the regular coffee maker.
The price tag may make a slight impact on your wallet, but it won’t set you back as much as a lot of other options. Say that by using this machine you’re saving $3 to $5 a day on your fancy coffee drink from your local coffee shop. That means this guy will pay for itself in just one or two months, and then the real savings will start to add up.
Where Is Your Steam Pointed?
When you’re getting this machine ready to use, you have to pay attention to where the frother is pointed before you get it up and working. If you don’t, you may be a bit shocked to see the steam misfire and, as a result, toss the newly filled cup of milk all the way across the room. I mean, who would expect that? It’s not a common a problem, but it is one that will keep you laughing for a really long time if you’re not expecting it.
All joking aside, if the milk is already hot, someone could get hurt, so just be careful.
You Have My Attention…
Besides the possible concern of, you know, scalding milk shooting across the kitchen, there is really not much I don’t like about this machine. It’s not terribly expensive, it does everything with ease, and it will take some of the labor intensiveness out of my morning routine. I think I’m on board for what this one has to offer.