What Does A Portafilter Do
Semi-automatic espresso machines have a portafilter, sometimes referred to as a potholder. When you make espresso, it houses your filter basket and coffee grounds. Then, using the handle, twist and lock the portafilter into your machine’s brew head after filling your single or double filter with grounds.
How To Get The Best Shot Out Of Mr Coffee Cafe Machine
Even though the control over the brewing with Mr. Coffee Cafe is limited, some external factors influence the resulting taste of your espresso. Using dark roast coffee helps the extraction to happen more readily as well as not having to be ground so finely to get the full flavor.
What Is A Portafilter
You will quickly come across this term when searching for espresso-cappuccino machines, and it may very well be unfamiliar, especially for those who have only owned drip machines before. A portafilter is the handheld basket that you attach to the machine in order to brew. Also referred to as a group handle, portafilters are commonly seen in coffee shops and typically have a stainless steel basket attached to a black plastic handle. The quality of a portafilter will certainly affect the quality of espresso. Portafilters can be purchased in two varieties: pressurized, which is great for beginners, and non-pressurized, which is ideal for those who want more hands-on control over their espresso.
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Cleaning And Maintenance: Not So Bad Not So Good
The water reservoir of the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista espresso machine is removable, so it can be topped up and cleaned with ease and without the need of moving the machine too much. As mentioned, the milk reservoir is removable too but it is not that easy to clean.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista machine will require standard cleaning procedures and the portafilter needs to be disassembled and cleaned every 90 days, together with the unit descaled every 40 to 80 brew cycles.
The machine also features an automatic clean up function that runs for 30 seconds and will run and turn off automatically, which adds to the ease of the cleaning process. Also bear in mind that the drip tray that comes with Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is small, which means it needs to be emptied and cleaned more often, which can be annoying when making a higher volume of coffee.
Mr Coffee Cafe Barista In A Nutshell
First of all, what is Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista? It is an espresso machine, of course, but the specifications dont stop there. This is a hybrid coffee machine or a mix between a manual and a super-automatic machine. It is manual because you still have to pull the shots yourself but also super-automatic because it can make lattes and cappuccinos at the touch of a button.
One of the key characteristics of this coffee machine is an easy and user-friendly operation that allows you to brew a single or double shot of espresso as well as cappuccinos. This means Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is an ideal entry-level espresso machine for those who want to drink espresso-based drinks but dont want to go through the process of learning how to perform every step of the process.
The ease of use and affordability comes with a low of downfalls. Some of them include a lack of control over the brewing and milk frothing, inconsistency of the espresso shots as well as shortcomings in performance. Well talk more about all of those further along in our review.
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Milk Frother Produces A High Quality Finish
As for the milk preparation stage, the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista includes a very simple dial on the milk reservoir. This lets you choose the type of milk foam you want for the drink youre making.
Turning it to the right sets things up for a pretty good foamy cappuccino. Move the dial to the left instead if you want to prepare a smoother latte.
Although you do get a reasonable amount of control over the density of the foam you create, you shouldnt expect to flex your barista muscles too much with this thing.
Theres a very narrow range of options to work with, but ultimately this is a machine designed to do the hard work for you.
If you want a coffee machine thats going to give you much more control over this stage of the process, you might look to read our guide to the best semi-automatic espresso machines.
Ive also highlighted a similar Mr Coffee machine that provides more frothing control towards the end of this review.
Milk Frothing: Dont Expect Latte Art
Since it is a semi-automatic coffee machine, the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista also features an automatic milk frother that allows you to make milky espresso-based drinks without any expertise in the milk-steaming field.
When it comes to the froth it produces, it can be considered average. Mr. Coffee Cafe produces thick frothy foam but the overall satisfaction comes from the milk you use as well. Similar to the inconsistency of the espresso shots, the milk foam is inconsistent too.
While it might be good enough for those who just want a milky latte, the automatic milk frother limits your ability to influence the steaming process. Thats why you shouldnt expect silky microfoam or making latte art. For those, you would need a powerful steam wand that comes with commercial and more high-end espresso machines.
It comes with a removable milk reservoir that can be stored in the fridge with the leftover milk but it still needs to be cleaned every few days. The milk frothing process is quite noisy, so you should keep that in mind in case noise is a determining factor for you.
Another missing detail is that the reservoir doesnt have any volume measurements, which means you need to measure the milk separately before pouring it in, which adds a little more hassle to the process.
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Automatic Removable Milk Reservoir
The milk reservoir can automatically froth your milk at just the touch of a button. So, no experience is needed and the milk will be dispensed straight into your waiting cup.
A thick frothy foam is created and can be adjusted depending on your drink of choice more for cappuccino, less for a latte.
As the milk reservoir is removable and refrigerator safe, you can store any excess milk.
Who Should Go For A Semi
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Price: An Inexpensive Semi
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista retails around $250, which is a really affordable option for an at-home espresso machine. Compared to some of the cheaper alternatives, this one wins out because it is semi-automatic. With this machine, its easy to make cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. Other machines often require a much more involved process.
Who Should Buy Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Machine
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is recommended for the following people:
People who drink espresso regularly and want an espresso maker that delivers better crema than regular pump machines
People on a budget or dont want to spend $4000+ on a commercial machine but still get good quality coffee & beverages
Espresso drinkers who want to use their ingredients to create cappuccinos, lattes, or just plain espresso.
People who enjoy latte art & other pouring techniques that require manual operation of the machine
People who want a good home espresso machine but are not willing to pay much money for it.
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Make Life Easy Features 35/5
Though there are real challenges to the brew capacity of the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista, it excels in being user-friendly. With three buttons and simple indicator lights, there isnt much to learn in order to get started making coffee.
One minor gripe is that each button does three things. A single press of the button brews a single espresso, two presses a double, and a long press activates a third feature which varies from button to button. It is not particularly challenging to figure out, but it is something to keep in mind.
Perhaps the most convenient feature the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista offers is its one touch programs. With just one or two presses of a button, the machine will steam and froth your milk and then dispense espresso, all without user intervention. Regrettably the programs are preset and cannot be customized to your tastes or glassware size.
The cappuccino and latte programs are only distinguished by the volume of milk dispensed. Users must manually change the milk froth setting.
Like with the Saeco Picobaristo, this machines water reservoir can be removed. This is a nice feature because it means the whole unit doesnt have to be moved around to clean the reservoir.
Making An Espresso With Mr Coffee Cafe Barista
To make your first drink, you need to run 3 shots of water through the machine before making a drink. This will warm up the machines system and prevent any initial flareups from occurring when you make your first drink.
Filling The Water Reservoir
Turn off power switch at back & then fill the reservoir with cold tap water making An Espresso With Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Add your favorite ESE pod or scoop of ground espresso into the machines portafilter. It is recommended to use pods for this machine because it is easier and there are more flavors available however, you can also use scooped coffee if you wish.
Shaking The Portafilter
Hold the handle with one hand & shake the portafilter back & forth 40 times or until all grounds are leveled out and there is no trapped air.
Pouring The Water
Turn on the power button at back & flip the drip tray up. Pour water into the reservoir, keeping the reservoir close to the edge of the counter. Do NOT fill beyond the MAX mark! Milk Frothing Using Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
To heat the milk, press the Steam button on your machine located at the back of the portafilter. Rotate the steam knob to a high heat position & turn the cup size selector dial to Cappuccino. When finished steaming, place the hot water wand nozzle into the pitcher of cold milk. Rotate the steam knob to low heat position and turn cup size selector dial to Latté .
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Alternative On The Market
If you dont have the space for the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker in your kitchen but still want excellent tasting coffee, then you could consider the 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine, also made by Mr. Coffee.
Measuring 8 x 6.5 x 10.5 inches, this machine is two or three inches smaller than the other machine. As a result, much less countertop space is needed to accommodate it.
It uses steam to heat and brew the coffee and can make up to four shots of coffee at one time. This is great if you have guests round! There is a milk frother on the side as well so that you can still make great drinks! You do have to froth the milk yourself and guess how long to froth for though.
That said, this machine is also a bit cheaper than the other option. However, each cup of coffee requires more work and practice to get everything just right. Nevertheless, if price and/or kitchen space are an issue for you, then the Mr Coffee 4-Cup Steam Espresso Maker is a fantastic coffee machine that, when used correctly, will provide you that great coffee house quality brew in your own home.
Which Type Of Espresso Machine Is For You
You might be looking for an espresso machine but the classification doesnt stop there. There are many different types of machines that can make your morning cup of joe. Before choosing an espresso machine, it is important to clarify which type would suit your needs and preferences. What are the main differences between them and how do they influence the resulting cup?
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At A Glance: Mr Coffee Caf Barista Review
Mr Coffee Café Barista
Easy to use is the main calling card of the Mr. Coffee Café Barista.
This simple coffee maker makes not only your espresso but also your milk at just the touch of a button. Your morning coffee just got a whole lot easier!
It does, unfortunately, struggle a little when pulling several espresso shots in a row.
Plus, if youre not interested in the automatic milk frothing feature there are better alternatives at the same price. That said, it is a great feature and rare on an espresso machine at this price.
- Automatically makes espresso, cappuccino, and latte
- Very easy to use
- Large removable water tank and milk reservoir
- Automatic milk frother
- Brews single or double shots
- Easy to clean
- Espresso is a little weak on the recommended settings
- Easily clogs up when using very fine coffee grounds
- Cant get good coffee from lightly roasted beans
- Cant pull hot water only
- Small drip tray
- Instructions must be carefully followed
- No lines on milk reservoir to indicate quantity
- Time-consuming to clean
Materials And Quality: Matches The Price Tag
The exterior of the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso comes in plastic rather than the metal casing. You can also choose from different color finishes which add elegance to the design. Even though the materials are not the highest quality, the coffee machine seems sturdy, but it receives mixed feedback about its durability. The size is compact enough to fit any kitchen and the color variations make it easy to match with your style too.
The important detail is that Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista espresso machine comes with a plastic tamper which is not good enough, not even for an entry-level brewing. Therefore, we recommend upgrading to a better stainless steel tamper as soon as possible to enhance the extraction and consistency of your shots.
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Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Vs Delonghi Ec 155 Manual Espresso Machine
A top-competing low-cost espresso machine is the DeLonghi EC 155 Manual Espresso Machine, which we also tested. Retailing around $100, this machine also makes fresh espresso shots and froths milk for cappuccinos and lattes. The main difference, however, lies in their systems. The DeLonghi machine has a more involved process.
As the name suggests, it has a manual system and requires the user to froth his or her own milk and control the espresso dispersal. This kind of control can be to the benefit of more experienced users, but newbies may find this troublesome as it can lead to bad-tasting beverages on the first few attempts. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista, on the other hand, is semi-automatic, which makes the process of making cappuccinos and lattes simple.
For someone who is new to making espresso drinks, the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is much more ideal because of its easy-to-use system and doesnt require any prior knowledge of espresso-making to get a decent drink.
Yes, buy it!
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is a great choice because its so easy to use and tastes pretty good for the overall effort required. Its especially perfect for someone who is just getting into espresso drink-making because the machine does most of the work.
You Want More Control Over The Brewing
One of the other frustrations that come with this espresso machine is that you cannot froth the milk yourself or manually adjust the settings. As your interest in coffee grows, your skills develop, and with Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista, there will be a moment when you will question whether you might be able to do some parts of the process better than your espresso maker.
While not being able to steam the milk yourself, you also cannot customize the settings on any of the brewing modes, which leaves little room for experimentation and makes it impossible to adjust the brewing according to your taste.
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What Is A Cappuccino
Even die-hard coffee lovers may not know what exactly is in a cappuccino. Fortunately, the recipe is simple. Start by picturing the timeless Italian drink in three equal layers. The bottom layer is a shot of espresso, the middle is steamed milk, and the top is milk foam. Thats it. A surprisingly simple beverage that can be made at home with an espresso-cappuccino machine. For a more personalized cappuccino, you can add flavored syrups like vanilla and caramel, or sprinkle the top with cinnamon or cocoa powder.