Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker (BVMC-ECMP1000) – Full Review
If you’re looking for an affordable espresso maker that offers fuss-free performance, you may have met your match in the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker. Complete with an innovative automatic milk frother that takes the guesswork out of steaming and frothing milk for lattes, cappuccinos, and other espresso drinks, the BVMC-EMP1000 comes with a handy recipe guide with twenty tasty treats to try.
With a user-friendly control panel that makes brewing simple even for beginners, this espresso maker has indicator lights that let you confirm your choices.
Like many higher-priced machines, the Mr. Coffee Barista espresso maker is equipped with 15-bar pressure that ensures your espresso emerges with a rich crema topping. It also features a large water reservoir that lets you go longer between refills.
While this espresso maker has quite a few bells and whistles, it isn’t terribly large. With its footprint of just 12 by 14 inches, it takes up only a little bit of real estate on the countertop, making it a nice choice for a kitchen without much room. Because the entire unit is self-contained, there’s no need to worry about clearing a lot of extra space to make room for prepping drinks.
It would be great if there were a grinder attached, as that would make the unit even better, however that would increase its size and price substantially, taking away two of the things I (along with some other reviewers) like most about it.
I have not encountered difficulty with this machine, however I’ve noticed that several other reviewers have had issues, so I’ve added a section with the details. Read on for more about what’s great and possibly not so great about the Mr. Coffee Barista Espresso Maker.
Innovative Design in a Small Package
I’m pretty good at frothing milk myself, but the concept of having the machine do the work for me was one of the things that led me to take a closer look. Even though the Mr. Coffee Barista has a footprint of just 12 by 14 inches and is just 12 ½ inches tall, it delivers high-quality beverages without much effort at all on your part. Complete instructions for use are included in the accompanying guide, but in a nutshell, you can make frothed milk by filling the milk reservoir with your choice of dairy or nondairy milk (soy, almond, or coconut, for example), setting it in place and aiming the dispenser at the center of your cup, and turning the froth control knob to the desired beverage or milk foaminess setting.
First, it’s important to note that this isn’t quite as glamorous-looking as some of the pricier espresso makers out there, however the design is balanced and has an appealing appearance. The stainless steel front is easy to keep polished with a bit of glass cleaner and a soft cloth, and the rest of the unit is an unobtrusive black color.
15-Bar Pressure for Quality Espresso
The 15-bar pressure feature makes the Mr. Coffee Barista a real powerhouse when it comes to delivering a satisfactory cup of espresso. As long as you’re using quality beans, you should like the way the finished product comes out. If you store your beans in an airtight container and take the time to grind them fresh before making drinks, you’ll find the results are even nicer, with lots of crema on top of the shots.
One- and Two-Shot Functions
I can’t remember the last time I had a drink made with a single shot of espresso, which is one reason I like the fact that this machine has the ability to make one or two shots of espresso at a go. You can also make larger shots by pressing the espresso button. This allows you to get as much as five ounces of espresso at once. Single and double shot filters are included, making it easy to get the correct amount of espresso grounds into the portafilter.
Convenient to Use
Most espresso makers require that you physically handle the milk frothing portion of the beverage making process, and this takes time. Because this unit can be turned on, set to perform a certain function, and left to its own devices throughout the process, you can leave it alone and do something else for a few minutes while your drink is made for you. This is a really nice feature for busy families who have lots of tasks to run through while getting ready for the day.
Large-Capacity Water Tank adds to Ease of Use
Few compact espresso makers have refillable water tanks. This one does, adding even more convenience.
Removable Drip Tray Accommodates Taller Cups
The Mr. Espresso Café Barista comes with a removable drip tray for easier cleanup. You can fit a standard-height coffee mug underneath the spout with it in place. A cup that’s five inches high has to be tipped in order to keep the drip tray in place while the machine is doing its thing. If you remove the drip tray, which is about an inch tall, you can fit an even taller mug. If you want to take your drink along in a standard travel mug, you’ll need to make it in a shorter container such as a glass measuring cup, then transfer it to your to-go cup.
Instruction Book and Recipes Included
Prime the unit before using it the first time, be sure to snap the water reservoir into place completely, and remember to push the milk reservoir all the way in before getting started. These are just a few of the important notes you’ll find in the instruction book, and they can help you avoid some of the common user-related performance issues people have had with the machine. Not only does the instruction book convey the insight required to create espresso drinks at home, it also contains 20 fantastic recipes that will have you rethinking those trips to the coffeehouse.
Measuring Scoop / Tamper Combination Tool
The measuring scoop / tamper combination tool that comes with the machine is pretty handy. If you make espresso drinks often or want to make firm pucks faster, you may find a metal tamping tool easier and more durable. Professional-quality espresso tampers cost a few dollars and are easy to find online and at kitchen specialty shops.
Most reviewers are happy with the way this machine works, and it is important to note that I personally have not had any problems with the Mr. Coffee Barista Espresso maker. At the same time, I would be remiss in not including a short description of commonly encountered problems in this review:
- Water reservoir leaks: This has been associated with not snapping the reservoir into place completely in some cases, but in others, it has been associated with a manufacturing flaw in the gasket. One reviewer actually fixed the issue with duct tape before ultimately returning it for a replacement.
- Milk reservoir leaks: This is usually associated with not pushing the milk reservoir completely into place, but it is sometimes caused by a manufacturing flaw.
- Machine is loud: The Barista espresso maker produces a fairly loud gurgling / whooshing noise when steaming the milk. It doesn’t seem any louder than a normal espresso machine steaming milk to me.
- Machine is hard to clean: There are a lot of moving parts and parts that come into contact with edibles, and the cleaning process is pretty detailed although I don’t find it difficult as long as I clean up immediately after making drinks. I feel like the users who complain about the cleaning process might be comparing it to standard coffeemakers that simply need a bit of a rinse.
- Loses pressure after 12 to 14 months: I have not had the machine this long, so I’m unable to chime in on this issue personally. One reviewer noted that even though the machine was unusable several months after purchase, it had more than paid for itself and a second machine was happily purchased. This being said, Mr. Coffee is a commodity brand, not a high-end espresso machine manufacturer. Longevity and price seem to be related here.
Many reviewers who reported problems with the unit’s pump noticed the issue right out of the box or within a few weeks of purchase and were able to return the defective units they had received. Checking the unit’s functionality immediately and putting it through its paces before the refund period is up seems advisable.
In the event an issue is encountered, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker comes with a one-year warranty. Be sure to read it as soon as you unbox the unit so that you understand what is covered.
“Can you use espresso pods with this machine?”
This espresso maker is not expressly designed to work with pods, however it seems as if they would fit into the filters. It might pay to experiment.
“Is it possible to make regular coffee with this espresso maker?”
Yes, make a double espresso, and once the cycle stops, run it again with the same filter in place. You will get a strong cup of coffee this way. If you like your coffee a bit lighter, try the same process, but with the single shot filter in place.
“How long does the machine take to preheat?”
Preheating before the first cup of the day takes about two minutes. If you make a second drink immediately after the first one, the warmup time is pretty much negligible.
“Which one comes out first, the milk or the espresso?”
If you’ve got previous experience making espresso drinks at home, you know that just about all espresso makers brew the coffee portion first and then it’s up to you to use the steam wand to heat up the milk. This one heats up, then froths and pours the milk. The espresso comes out last.
“How is the milk frothed? Is there some kind of mixer attachment?”
There’s no mixer attachment. The milk is drawn up from the reservoir, heated with steam inside the machine, and is then pumped into your cup.
“How do you clean the frother?”
While you need to wash the milk reservoir separately, the frother has its own cleaning cycle. Be sure to read about it in the instructions before running it, but basically, just push the brew button for a few seconds to get the frother to run its automatic cleaning cycle. Be sure to clean it after each and every use to prevent clots and curdled milk.
“Does the water tank come with a filter?”
No, this espresso maker is not equipped with a filter, so you’ve got to be sure to use filtered water to keep mineral buildup from occurring. It’s a good idea to clean / descale on a regular basis to prevent gunk from accumulating.
What People are Saying
In my experience, the Mr. Coffee Barista Espresso Maker is a very handy little unit that offers plenty of convenience while making very nice drinks. It looks nice, has a compact profile, and doesn’t require much effort on the part of the user. The water reservoir adds a nice touch, and a few users have mentioned that they get around the potential issue for seal failure by pouring water into the machine while it is assembled rather than pulling the reservoir out and filling it separately. The instructions are concise and the machine is user-friendly. The recipes that come with the instruction booklet are fantastic, and will help you get started with making yummy drinks at home. Although the machine has some common performance issues, these seem to be associated with manufacturing defects and ought to be covered by the one-year warranty. Again, I did not encounter any of these problems, I just feel it’s important to mention them. All in all, I am happy with the machine and feel it offers good quality for the price. I don’t expect it to last for years on end like a more expensive espresso maker.
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