Big Thing. Small Package.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the espresso machines I have seen. It’s not the features that get me, it’s the amount of space I have to give up on my countertop to get an espresso machine that makes actual drinks from beans, like the machines they have in coffee shops. I don’t need a completely professional one, but I do want something that gets close and tastes just as good.

I’m limited on counter space as it is, and if I have to pull the machine out and put it away every time I use it, I will be a grouchy person. Since it’s the caffeine in my morning espresso that makes me a not-grouchy person, you can see how this could prove to be a conflict of interests. Anyway, I went on the hunt for an espresso machine that would fit all my needs and be small enough to fit in an overhead compartment (or the small amount of available space on my counter).

The KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine with Frothing Nozzle just might hit the mark. It’s not much wider than the small espresso cup it fills with liquid heaven, and the height is minimal compared to a lot of other models. The small size only requires a bigger radius when the cup is in place and brewing, because the handle sticks out past the body. Nice.

Easy To Use

Making drinks from espresso beans can sound like a lot of work if you’re used to pre-ground coffee, but it’s really not. It’s probably no more labor intensive than brewing a pot of coffee, it just looks different. The XP1000 is made to be simple to operate. You fill it with water using the measuring cups that come with the machine, replace the filter, and set it to make the espresso. Give it a few minutes, and it will be heated up just right to provide you with a cup of concentrated coffee joy.

One Set Of Controls

I don’t particularly care for a lot of buttons, and I don’t think an espresso machine should need a lot of them. This one masters the simple execution that should be found in an espresso machine by having just three settings, which are on one knob. Set it to espresso, steam (milk) or off. Boom, boom, boom. It’s pretty hard to make a mistake with those settings.

Get Frothy

I am hesitant to believe the claims about the strength and ability of milk steamers because I have seen a lot of lackluster attempts, even on high end machines. I am a big fan of a lot of foam on my cappuccino when I’m in the mood, and the small amount of warming steam you get on most consumer appliances just doesn’t hit the mark. The XP1000 is supposed to be able to provide the right amount of steam to heat the milk but not burn it and, depending on how you use it, you should be able to get the right amount of foam for your liking.

Don’t expect top class froth, but for the price I think it does a pretty good job. A lot of frothers just heat and don’t actually froth. It’s not a perfect appendage, and it can be difficult to use because of the placement, but you’ll notice the difference between regular milk and the foam for the top of your latte or cappuccino. It won’t be coffee shop quality and it’s not particularly easy to use, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Cutting It Close

One of the drawbacks to this machine’s compact design is the literal lack of space for cups. You can get an espresso cup underneath the nozzle, of course, and you can also make it work with the carafe that comes with it. Beyond that, though, if you’re hoping to brew into a tall cup you’re going to drink out of, the 9 inches of space between the pour mouth and the base isn’t going to be enough, whether you’re making espresso or frothing the milk from the side. You may be able to get a little more room for the steam function, but it still won’t be enough for the tall cup that you want to take with you.

Priced Right For The Power

If you’re looking for a good machine at a decent price, you really can’t go wrong with the XP1000. It’s small, effective and very affordable. That makes a big difference with what you’re able to do, and it will pay for itself fairly quickly with my newly emerged coffee habit.

I Scream, You Scream

We really shouldn’t scream, and neither should an espresso machine, but this one kind of does. The cap that fits onto the top of the machine where the boiler is does not fit as snugly as it should. That doesn’t seem like a problem until you really think about it or try to use it. Then you realize that, like an old tea kettle, if you push steam through a small opening it makes a loud screeching noise that is less than pleasant. Combine that with the fact that it’s the top of a boiler and it’s going to be really hot. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to have some burn salve handy if you’re going to try to fix the problem while it’s active.

Not A One Hand Operation

While the operation of the knob for the settings should work easily enough, it’s very stiff and not easy to turn with only one hand, and there are times when you’re making drinks that you’re going to need both hands to be doing different things. If you’re in the middle of getting your froth on, you aren’t going to be able to use both hands to turn the steam off because one needs to be holding the nozzle in the milk, and if you pull the nozzle out while it’s still going, you’re going to have a mess to clean up.

Size Might Really Matter

While I like what this machine has to offer as far as size and functionality are concerned, it also helped me to see that a small machine might not always provide the best functionality. The frother is good but not great, the size is nice but can be limiting, and the construction leaves a bit to be desired as far as ease of use. It’s not a perfect machine, but I would still recommend this guy if you don’t have a lot to spend, it’s definitely the best option in its class.