I Want Coffee, Not A Heart Attack

On my in-depth hunt to find the perfect creator of my morning caffeine jolt, I have come across a lot of different options. There are really inexpensive machines which will do the trick but probably miss the real mark, and some super high end options that will do everything but are much harder to justify because I’m trying to save money. I really want to find something for a reasonable price that will get the espresso brewed up and tasty without pillaging my wallet. It might not have all the features in the world, but if the drink tastes good and the machine is reliable, I may be able to make that work.

The Capresso EC100 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine doesn’t include all the bells and whistles, and it doesn’t look like a spaceship that could zip out of the kitchen and right into orbit like some of the more expensive models. What it does do is make espresso and cappuccino, which is my main concern, so we’re starting out on the right foot.

Single Or Double

You aren’t going to get too many shots of espresso out of this machine at the same time, but you can at least get two for your double-shot cappuccino before you hit the road. I usually don’t make much more than that anyway, though, because I want a pick-me-up, not heart palpitations. I could probably make two shots at a time work, and it would keep me from having to spring for something way more expensive.

To Sleeve Or Not To Sleeve

There isn’t a professional milk frother on this machine, but I don’t think anyone expects that. It does, however, have a frothing sleeve which goes over the steam wand and helps build up milk without a whole lot of active movement on your part. It is really important, though, to understand it can be really tough to get true cappuccino foam with the small frothers that come with consumer machines. You’ll get something, certainly, but it won’t be that light as air foam you get at the coffee shop. If you want a latte, though, just take the sleeve off and you’re good to go.

Plenty Of Room For Storage

One of the more annoying aspects of making early morning brew is needing to fill the water canister all the time. Even though this is a smaller model, it still holds 46 ounces of water so you don’t have to fill it every time you use it. You can just fill the tamper with espresso, tamp it all down and go, without splashing yourself early in the morning.

Keep It Warm

One feature I did not expect to find with a machine at this level is the warming platform that you can use while the milk for your espresso is steaming. With it, you don’t end up putting cooled espresso into the milk you just got ready. That’s a really nice perk and it’s a serious vote of confidence for this machine.

Not Fully Espresso

If you’re not really an espresso aficionado, this probably won’t bother you. The way the Capresso brews the espresso does not really make espresso, but rather more concentrated shots of coffee. The speed and pressure at which the water gets pushed through the grounds dictates what kind of flavor you get, and that’s a big difference when you’re trying to make one over the other. Personally, I would notice it and it would bother me, but I have plenty of friends who would be entirely fine with it.

Actually Does The Foaming Trick

A lot of espresso makers don’t have much to offer in the way of actual foam, even though they purport to be the best machines in the industry. This one, however, does exactly what it says it will with regards to the foam. You really can get a good foam for your cappuccino using the sleeve that comes with the machine. It probably won’t be coffeehouse good, but it is saving money good.

Get Out Of The Kitchen

Some mid-grade to lower end espresso machines have one really big issue which creates a really good reason to spend more money for a better machine. Espresso machines use a lot of pressure, because that is how they get the flavor out of the beans. So, obviously, the machines need to be built to withstand that pressure. They have to be constructed in a way that allows for the release of some of the pressure when too much builds up, and they need failsafes in place so people don’t get hurt.

One of the problems with this machine is that it doesn’t always do a really good job of releasing excessive pressure. There have been instances reported of the brew head being blown off, splashing everything everywhere. In some more extreme cases, the whole machine exploded. These things don’t happen often, but they can happen, even with machines that aren’t cheap. This unit is not professional grade, but for $120, you should be able to expect quality craftsmanship even if it doesn’t make the world’s best espresso.

Not For Me

If you’re going to use your espresso machine a lot and give the parts a good run for their money, this espresso maker is probably not the right one for you. However, if you will only use it occasionally, and you won’t be screwing and unscrewing things all the time, you probably don’t need to spring for one of the higher end, professional style models. I would not suggest this particular model for regular use, though, because it appears that excessive wear and tear can cause some serious issues. But if you are in need of an occasional use brewer that won’t break the bank, you may have found your perfect caffeine companion.