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on March 3, 2006
I bought a Capresso 114.01 espresso machine via Amazon in December of 2005. I had selected it in part, because of the high "bar" pressure rating. Upon receiving it, the first shot of espresso took several minutes to make. The coffee just drips out one drop at a time. The manual suggests "using a coarser grind than other espresso machines". I tried progressively coarser grinds until I was at the coarsest setting of my burr gringer...the coffee was getting weaker, and coming out a little faster, but still taking many minutes for one shot of espresso, with a weak and bitter result and no crema. The manual suggests tamping the coffee ever so lightly. Good suggestion, because if you tamp it with more than a feather's weight of pressure, you get no coffee flow at all. I called Capresso technical support numerous times. They suggested disassembling the machine--unscrewing the metal screen on the body of the machine where the water comes through-- and cleaning it. I did this to no avail. Besides, one shouldn't need to service a machine that is less than a month old in this way! After two months of frustrating, hit-and-miss results, I returned the machine to Amazon. Because it's after the 30 day return period, I may not get a full refund, but I'm glad to be rid of that piece of junk. I have since purchased a $180 Krups XP 4000 espresso machine that just works beautifully, with any grind of coffee (even very fine), any tamping pressure (even quite firm), the machine produces 2 shots of espresso in 25 seconds flat with tons of crema. What a relief!
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on December 3, 2006
I have had several of these for almost a year (one at home, two at work). If you figure out how to use it right it makes very good shots. The trick is to find the right grind and then pack it just right. Since it's a pressurized portafilter you don't want to tamp the grinds too hard. If you do, little to nothing will come out - especially with a fine grind. The steamer is a bit "wet" but for this price you will not find a top notch machine. Don't try and steam a lot of very cold milk at once and it's not a problem. I place my pitcher (with milk) on the stove while I'm grinding beans and pulling shots to help get it started but it's really not that necessary. It makes a great cup of coffee. If you have trouble, chance your technique until you find the right one.

On the downside, one of the ones we use at work has a tendency to pull a small amount of milk up the steamer wand. I don't know what that's about. The other two don't do this. The same one also has a switch that sticks a bit. I probably should just return it under warranty. Aside from these problems, this is a good little machine. All 3 that I use get quite a bit of work and have few problems. Best of all, the coffee it makes is very good (if you start with good, fresh beans).
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on March 12, 2011
Keep in mind that a five star rating on a $100-200 machine is NOT the same as a five star rating on a $1,000 machine. Obviously, this doesn't stack up to the very pricy commercial grade models. But for what I paid for this machine, I have to say I'm more than impressed with it. It makes a tasty, strong espresso every time. I use it alongside my Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder, and it makes a heavenly concoction every time. You have to be careful not to grind the coffee too fine. I made that mistake when I first got the machine.

But just as importantly, Capresso stands behind its warranty and offers great customer service. I once had a problem with the grinder (which was my fault.. I turned a part upside down when I put it back in, and it got stuck), and the agent over the phone instructed me on how to easily fix the problem. I then had a problem with the heating element on the espresso machine, which burned out after about six months. I had no problem at all getting a shipping label to ship it back at their expense for repairs.

This is a great purchase. The only complaint that I have is that the steam wand doesn't work so well for frothing the milk. It works fine for lattes, but at least I haven't been able to figure out how to make the milk frothy enough for a cappuccino. That's not a big deal though. What I do is use the steam wand to heat the milk and then use a simple frothing wand to do the frothing. You can buy these wands on Amazon for about $10-15. (I have an Aerolatte wand that cost me about $10 that I've been using for about a year, and it works GREAT.)

Bottom line: If you want really good espresso at a great price, with a company that will back up its promises, this machine may be for you. If you like paying $4+ for a coffee drink that tastes not quite as good as you can make with your own machine to your own taste, you may want to stick with Starbucks.
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on August 9, 2007
I bought this after lots of research prompted by the untilemly demise of my Krups cappuccino machine. After receiving it, I immediately read the manual (yes, I actually READ the manual before doing anything else), set it up, filled the water tank, and gave it a test run. I purchased some Illy espresso pods with it so I could give it a test with some real Italian espresso, also I was new to pods. The machine is very user friendly, heats up quickly, and gave me my first cup of espresso in well under a minute. I've used pods as well as fresh ground espresso and coffee and have had no trouble. I've ground beans using a few different courseness settings and have had no problem making the espresso or crema coffee. I was trying to see which grind worked better and which to not use, but I found that using fine, medium, and course all worked well. There was a lot more dust when using fine, though. The dual froth system works very well, giving you excellent flexibility in your choice of drinks to make. Cleaning is a snap, also. I tend to take out the steam nozzle and clean the pipe thoroughly after every milk steaming and it takes hardly any time. The ability of continuous use makes this machine top notch for company and gatherings as I can keep the cappuccino flowing, giving guests the choice of steamed or steamed with froth, without slowing me down. Note - I use distilled water when making drinks so no scale will build up in the machine. If you need a great machine that you won't have to worry about - BUY THIS MACHINE!
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on August 30, 2009
I bought a reconditioned unit through Amazon for a little over $100. No ergonomic problems with the frothing wand, but it does add a bit of water along with the steam. Froths fine if you pay attention, and keep the tip just under the surface. I will agree to an extent that the machine's performance varies according to tamping pressure. In my experience -- about a month, now -- altering the grind slightly doesn't seem to have much affect. I have a standard coffee mill, not a burr grinder. Maybe I'll put a burr grinder on my Xmas list, as all the espresso afficionados seem to think one is a necessity. But getting the coffee tamped right is the issue, and it's almost impossible to do it the way it likes it every time. Sometimes it comes out pretty fast, doing a pull in twenty seconds. Other times it would dribble some, but would still crank out the pull in a little over a minute, at worst. When I manage to tamp the coffee such that the pull takes a little over 30 seconds, the flavor seems best. The long pulls from overtamping don't really yield any crema, so try to err on the side of tamping lightly.

The clear water tank is indeed handy, so you know when to refill.

So I'd say I get a perfect pull about half the time, but the other half are quite acceptable. I might get better with even more tamping experience.

One has to be a little careful when washing the frothing tip, it's so small. My wife and I managed to lose track of it in the dishwater; we drained it and ran the pig. Result: a chewed frothing tip. I called Capresso's customer service, and told them what had happened. They very kindly sent me a couple of spares at no charge -- they are not sold separately from the wand (which is $7) -- even though this was clearly my fault. But best to use a protocol so this doesn't happen.
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on March 17, 2006
This was a gift to my wife for Valentine's Day. A good friend of hers had one and after she tried it, that's all she wrote! We have been extremely pleased with this unit and would recommend it to anyone considering purchasing one.
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on January 1, 2006
I have a huge weakness for coffee and thus Im a Starbucks junkie. About one year ago I reccived the Capresso 114.01 as a present (in '05). I have been very impressed on how user friendly this model is and it makes a darn good cup of whatever you want to whip up. I have owned 3 different Krups models and each died after 8-12 mths and the quality of the coffee drinks were just so so. For under 300 dollars this is the best value and quality you can find and I did a ton of research. The only issue I had was it was difficult to find just the right grind for espresso, so I started using the pods. The Starbucks pods work but they dont produce as much creme (spelling)as ground. If more than 2-3 people use this every morning/evening I would suggest upgrading to the more expensive model, it would be more efficient. After having my Capresso for a year Im ready to move up to the automatic Capresso but until I have almost 3K to blow all at once I will contuinue to use this one.
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on December 23, 2007
this product came poorly packaged from Amazon. Because of this the machine came with many broken parts including the pump.

The only saving grace is that Capresso has great customer service and will be sending me out a new one after the holidays.
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on January 9, 2007
The espresso machine works well, and makes a great latte. I recommend it. I've had no trouble.
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on January 4, 2007
I have had this machine for about 2 years. I quit using it for a long time because it is almost impossible to get the right grind. The coffee just drips one drip at a time. I have tried my own burr grinder and had 3 coffee shops grind it from a #5 settin to a #8 and nothng works.

I started using it again and I found that it will work it I use factory ground Starbucks, but I can't find decaff pre ground. I just ordered a different brand machine and I will junk this one.

It has never worked right. I have spent hours experimenting and calling the factory. The want $60 to check it out, but I will put that toward a different machine.
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