81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2005
So I didn't buy this on amazon but at Crate and Barrel instead where you can return the product should anything go wrong.
That being said, my husband has enjoyed latte's 5-7 times a week now for over a month and the machine works great each time. The one thing you just have to make sure you do is release the pressure in the machine after you've let the machine cool down for some time. If you don't I think the seal would have issues.
Also, the milk steamer should be cleaned periodically with hot water or else you get junk built up on it.
Anyway, it's a great little machine and I love it.
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2006
I'm a pretty big coffee snob, but for the price, this is a great machine. One of these days I'll be off a grad-school budget and I'll invest in a nicer one, but this one has served me almost daily for over a year, and I love it. It took me a lot of trial and error (having started off as basic coffee brewer), but I've mastered it and saved reduced my Starbucks costs. Though steam-driven machines like this one don't give you quite the flavor richness of pump-driven machines, adjusting your brewing practices can compensate for the difference:
1. If you will be brewing espresso for entertaining, you may be better off investing in a pump driven/more expensive machine that can continuously brew. However, if you only brew 1-2 drinks at a time, this machine does the trick.
2. When steaming milk, particularly milk with higher fat content or soy milk, the frother nozzle is so narrow it can EASILY get blocked by super small milk droplets that congeal when they cool (1-2 uses is all it takes). When it happens the first time, you'll be convinced, as I was, the machine broke, as the steam's just not coming out even though you hear the water boiling inside. I'm almost positive this was the glitch that some reviewers had. I've taken to briefly switching this machine to the espresso setting long enough to remove the milk from under the nozzle without spattering, then setting it back to the steam setting for 2-3 seconds to blow out any milk that would otherwise congeal. Wiping the nozzle down after use won't get the stuff out from inside (though you can unscrew the bottom part of the nozzle, soak in a cup of warm water and rinse).
3. Invest in the good beans. The stuff in the store rarely cuts it because the beans are dry and there's no telling how long they've been on the shelf. By no means use pre-ground beans designed for coffee makers since they're not ground fine enough (the finer the grounds, the richer the flavor). The only pre-packaged beans I'll buy are ones sold in coffee shops because they're better at switching out older stock. Fresh beans are even better. Stick to bold roasts if you really like the flavor of Starbucks' lattes and caps.
4. If you don't have a grinder at home, have the coffee shop grind your beans for you. You may want to buy a grinder though because freshly ground beans yield a much better flavor (grind for 20-30 seconds to ensure a very fine consistancy).
5. NEVER store your beans in the freezer. Keep them in an air-tight container at room temp. Large spaghetti sauce and/or mason jars are great for this.
6. Milk type makes a big difference. Whole milk gives absolutely the richest flavor, while skim milk gives the flattest. For the health-conscious, a happy middle is the 1-2% line (I'll be first in line at Starbucks when they give me an option other than skim or whole).
7. I typically only brew enough espresso for 1 drink at a time and have found that grinding 2 - 2.5 scoops (the scooper that comes with the machine) of fresh beans, 1.5 - 2 oz of espresso, and 8-9 oz of steamed milk yeilds a pretty Starbucks-worthy latte, especially when you experiment with flavored syrups and spices (I sometimes tap a little cinnamon or nutmeg into the grinder before grinding).
8. Be sure you descale the machine as often as the manual suggests.
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2007
If you follow the manual that comes with the unit,
this machine will make large quantities of burnt espresso.
This is because there is no temperature control on the water. When
making espresso, the water must be kept below boiling point inside the espresso holder. If it boils, nasty bitter taste is imparted and all is lost.
To make this machine work properly, you need to control the brewing process carefully.
Begin by buying some good espresso. Illy or Lavazza or comparable. Grind the beans to a really fine powder. A good blade grinder is perfectly adequate.
Fill the espresso holder completely, but do this in increments - pack the coffee with moderate force with your fingertips when you get half way and when it is full. I do this through a piece of paper towel. The manufacturer says not to pack the espresso. I suppose it is possible that this may destroy the machine or pose a danger of explosion, but I have done this hundreds of times with no problems. Do this at your own risk.
Add 1 cup of water to the boiler and switch on.
Ideally, the first liquid to emerge is a sticky, thick black resin. This is followed by some more watery dark coffee and crema. As soon as the exit nozzle begins to sputter (the water starts boiling inside the espresso holder), remove the receiving container and substitute it for another to collect the dregs.
You will be left with a 2-4 ounces of excellent strong espresso.
Pressure may remain in the espresso holder even after depressurizing the rest of the machine. Be very careful when detaching the holder, as hot coffee grounds may fly out at high speed even after several minutes of quiescence.
Its definitely worth the effort.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2006
I don't know what people are complaining about here. This thing makes 4 shots at a time, has a great milk steamer, and is less than $40!
For those that don't know the secrets to steaming: Start the espresso. Let the espresso get about half-way up to the 2-cup mark on the carafe. There's usually a "steam" icon on the side where you should switch over to start steaming the milk. Switch over to "Steam". No water comes out, only steam. You have to do a little work as far as holding the frothing pitcher, and moving it up and down to catch some air to shoot into the milk along with the steam, but it's not rocket science. My 5 year old daughter helps me make my coffee every morning and steams the milk for me.
When the milk is hot enough, switch it back over to espresso, and finish making the coffee...
The real secret is removing the black plastic thingy and just steam using the pipe. Then wipe it with a sponge before the milk dries on it, and you're all set for next time.
I've bought pump machines and other steam machines, and this model (and the Bravo before it) have been the best ones for me. I make 4 quad shot lattes a day on weekdays, more on weekends. I've never had a problem with this machine...
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2005
My mother has had this same model for the past 6 years or so (uses it about 2 times a day every single day) and loves it, never any problems. So I bought one for myself after getting sick of spending a grand fortune everyday for my Starbucks lattes...and I love it!
It is small which I needed since I have limited counter space, and my lattes tastes just as good as the ones I used to buy at Starbucks.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2005
I had this machine for about a week before returning it - it was easy to use, and made ok tasting lattes, but nothing got hot. The espresso was quite warm, but I couldn't get the milk warmer than lukewarm using the steam function. I'm upgrading to a better model.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2006
This is our 2nd Krups espresso machine. The first one lasted a reasonable 3 years. This replacement was much cheaper, Krups is a good brand name, what could go wrong? Well, we've used it 3 months and I'm ready to throw it away. It barely steams anymore, won't get hot enough, and leaks all over the counter.
I'm searching for a different brand today.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2005
This machine makes good espresso, and the steamer is a nice touch however it is too closely located to the machine so it is hard to steam your milk properly. The steamer handle also get REALLY hot and I burned myself once already. Other than that I would say the machine is worth the money I spent, I will be enjoying a cup every morning now thanks to my espresso maker!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2007
I have had my Krups espresso maker for a couple years now and have enjoyed it. It makes decent espresso and I have had no problems with it at all. You have to remember to clean the frothing wand regualrly, or it won't work as well.
Does a great job actually for the low price! Will save you lots of money over going to Starbucks if you can get your technique down using this machine! I reccomend if you are thinking about getting an entry level model. I just got a gift certificate for a graduation present, so time for me to upgrade!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2005
I recieved this machine for Christmas. It works wonderfully, but you MUST read all instructions before use. It makes hot, hot drinks, and the foam is lucious.