Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine, Black
Price:$56.85 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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643 of 654 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2009
I've had this machine for over a year. I have tried other machines, even a pump. It makes good cappuccinos/lattes when the milk is steamed properly at the right temperature. If your only into espresso shots, I would go with a different pump driven machine.

-Inexpensive, Small
-Frother is strong, plastic tip is removable
-Quiet (then a pump machine)
-Latte art hearts (SEE picture)

-Supplied tamper is just a slightly flattened end of the coffee scooper.
-No frothing pitcher.
-Multiple shots requires de-pressuring the machine.

There seems to be a lot of reviews stating it works fine in the beginning then after a while is poor or just stops. Ive noticed that during regular use, water starts to build up in the tank. This is because you never really use all the water in the tank per brew. This excess water I believe causes a problem. Either dump it out after, or what I do is, brew it out "before" I make a cappuccino as to warm up the machine on a cold start.

There also seems to be a lot of reviews saying it's not real espresso or there is no crema. This is true. It's a steam driven machine they've been making this type of machine for years. It can not match the pressure or the amount of crema produced by a pump driven machine. BUT it can produce a decent 'steam' espresso w/ crema ready to be made to a latte/cappuccino. The problem with the reviewers is that there are so many factors involved in why are not producing crema or a good cup. It could be the bean, the grind, the tamp, perhaps it's a cold start, not enough water, or too much water, etc etc the list goes on. It's something you'll have to figure out yourself.

Another thing to note is that the bean grind/freshness is directly proportional to the effectiveness of the steamer wand. If the beans are old and/or too course the water will brew through the coffee so fast that no pressure built up for the steamer wand to be effective. Likewise if the beans are too fine or the tamp too hard, the water will have a hard time passing thru the coffee and too much pressure will build up which isnt good either for this machine.

Do the descaling with vinegar per instructions.

Also want to note I added a picture of a latte heart I made, just to prove minimal latte art is somewhat possible with this machine.
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606 of 630 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2008
Love this product. I read all the other reviews before buying, so I knew it didn't come with a steaming pitcher and ordered one to go with it. However, I didn't realize that it didn't come with an espresso tamper either. I would have ordered one had I known, now I have to wait for the one I ordered to come in and hope it fits this machine. Would have given it 5 stars, but as a former barista, I know that to make a good latte I need a steaming pitcher and a tamper. So for an espresso machine not to come with these items is like getting a pair of sneakers with no laces. I have had no problem with leaking, and as long as the user READS THE INSTRUCTIONS, they shouldn't have any problems either. For $40, I've already gotten my money's worth in the last week. And anyone interested in buying, I would say "GO FOR IT!!!" but order a steaming pitcher and espresso tamper along with it.

Note: P.S. Get a 49mm espresso tamper to go with it. Doesn't fit "perfectly" but its as close as I could find that wouldn't be too big.
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529 of 554 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2008
I bought this at Targét for $29, and it is freaking awesome. To the two reviewers above... if you actually read the manual you would know that the cord underneath the base can be unraveled to the desired length. This is to eliminate excess cord on your countertop.

Anyway, I discovered I was spending almost $200 at Starbucks... a near crack habit. My previous espresso machine broke over the summer--a $300 Gaggia. Prior to the gaggia I had a krups.

So I plunked down a few bucks for this one knowing I was taking a wee gamble. Usually you get what you pay for.

Let me tell ya, this little machine is great. First, it is super super quiet. My previous machines were deafening especially when frothing. Secondly, it takes up little space. Third, it's fairly nice looking and matches our coffee maker. And of course last, it makes great lattés.

So, don't waste your money on some huge hulking espresso machine that will only last a few years. This one does the job and won't cause ear trauma.
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175 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
I have owned my Mr. Coffee Espresso maker for about 5 years now and it has never disappointed. I make a latte/cappuccino for my wife and myself almost every morning and sometimes at night as well. The steam wand works great once you get the simple procedure dialed in. The espresso comes out great every time. This has been one of the best investments because before we bought this unit we made a stop at Starbucks quite often and that get pricey. And now that we figured out you can purchase the flavors from Starbucks, such as vanilla, I can make a latte that taste almost exactly like the latte we used to get at Starbucks.

I had trouble at first figuring out a good procedure to fallow so for those who are interested,
Procedure I use to make Latte/Cappuccino:
1. Fill reservoir with 4 cup water. (I use store bought drinking water)
2. Fill 2 large coffee cups with about 1/3 cold milk and 4 pumps Starbucks vanilla flavor. (Starbucks vanilla flavor purchased from Starbucks)
3. Fill espresso filter to top and tamp down to about 2 cups. (purchase a decent tamper because the scoop does not work great for tamping)
4. Put espresso filter and carafe into position for brewing.
5. Plug Mr. Coffee unit in and turn dial to steam. (Good idea to put an empty cup under steam wand tip to catch and dripping water while steam gets up to temp)
6. Wait to see that the steam comes out of the wand without dripping water. (looking for a "dry" constant steam)
7. Turn steam off
8. Holding the coffee cup containing your milk, insert the seam wand into the milk and turn steam back on full.
(while steaming milk I like to move the wand in and out of the cup, don't take wand out of milk, until the froth reaches the top of the cup, almost overflowing the cup. Try not to create bubbles as much as you can. It's a little unavoidable at first. After froth reaches desired level I'll put the wand deep into the cup to get the temperature of the milk up. Hot to the touch.)
9. Repeat step 8 for second cup.
10. Turn Mr. Coffee dial to brew and brew two cups of espresso.
11. Pour espresso into coffee cups with frothed milk, stir mixture with spoon, then serve.

Make sure to clean your machine after every use! I am sure this is why my unit has lasted so long.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I got this for Christmas and after using it several times a day since then, I can tell you that this is a wonderful espresso maker and there's nothing in the $100-$1000 machines I'd find worth the extra money.

- Steam is the only way to make proper coffee or espresso. Other methods don't produce the smooth, rich taste of a real espresso. In fact, it wasn't until the 1940s that added pressure and lower temperatures were used in espresso machines; this was not done to make a better espresso, but to make it cheaper and have a larger amount of foam on top (the crema). The hot water doesn't extract the oils in the same way as steam, so if you're using hot water, you're not making a true espresso. And for those who've written reviews saying this kind of espresso machine can't make a decent crema, check out the pictures I've posted (using Lavazza Super Crema).
- Milk frother runs from the same reservoir you're making the espresso with; only one heating element, no second reservoir to fill and check, and no delay between finishing the espresso and starting the frothing.
- Everything you need is in the box. The coffee scoop has a flattened bottom for use as a tamper (not the best, see below) but it will do for a while; the other end of the coffee scoop is the wrench you'll need to removing the frothing arm for cleaning.
- Actually faster than my single-cup drip machine. If I want a 12-oz coffee with a double shot of espresso, the espresso machine, even having to make steam, finishes before the coffee maker gets done. Considering that both are starting from room-temperature water, I think this is wonderfully fast.
- The Mr. Coffee customer service is top notch. I had a problem with the decanter lid and they took care of it quickly and courteously.
- If you fill the basket to the first notch but use 4 cups (8 oz) of water, you'll get a really nice cup of what I'd call American coffee. It will still have the richness of good espresso because the steam will get all the different oils out of the grounds, but it will be less strong with no crema or aftertaste.

- Pretty long cool-down time. The best thing to do here, if you have the time, is to wait about five minutes after you've made the espresso, turn the selector to froth and let the pressure escape for a couple seconds, then remove the reservoir top; this will let the reservoir cool down faster.
- Going anywhere over 3 shots (6 oz) will destroy the crema; there's just too much steam coming out too close to the top of the liquid for any foam to survive.
- This is related to the first two, actually putting the two together. It's hard to use this if you want to prepare espresso for a lot of people, say at a party or holiday dinner. If this really is a big concern, at this price, buy two. I'm serious...for less than the price of the fancy machines that don't do anything more than this one you can buy a couple of these to keep the drinks flowing.

- Buy a good tamper, it will make a lot of difference. I use Red 49mm Espresso Tamper Stainless Steel Coffee and am very happy with the results.
- Remember to always release the pressure through the frothing arm before removing the reservoir lid. This applies even if you've steamed milk because there always seems to be a pressure difference after the machine cools down.

I just want to clear one thing up that I'm sure is just a typo on the Amazon page but some people might be unsure of. This will not make 20 ounces of coffee per use. Where the page says, "Steam espresso machine brews 1 to 4 cups (20 ounces)" it almost certainly means to say, "Steam espresso machine brews 1 to 4 cups (2.0 ounces per cup)."

Buy this espresso maker.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
Maybe this is not a SECRET to you, but for the first week it was a SECRET to me. My problem is my milk was not steaming or frothing (sniff). Why me, Lord, I wondered? It turned out the SECRET was in the Instructions: Put water up to Top of Metal band, i.e. put in more water than you want to come out for your 4 ounces of expresso, then TURN OFF the machine when the four ounces comes out (!). This leaves a little extra water behind, and this is the water for steaming the milk. (Duh).

For any and all in Great Gratitude for this Revelation, simply Submit a modest donation to the charity of your choice...or else treat a friend to a real cappuccino.
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65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2009
This machine made great espresso. Until, about a month after it arrived, it stopped working. As far as I can tell the heating element wouldn't turn on. When we called the Mr. Coffee help line, no human was available. We were informed by recording that we would have to take it or send to a repair place about 6 hours from here. Of course the cost of shipping would have been almost what we paid for the thing. So I'm writing it off, and buying another espresso of another brand. And writing off Mr. Coffee in general. Things break, I understand that. But this sort of lack of consumer support in response to problems is just unacceptable.
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84 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
Please read THOROUGHLY!!! With respect to the others who have left less than 4 stars, BOO HOO! ITS 39.00! THIS THING ROCKS FOR 39.00 bucks. I must tell you, I thought, Mr. Coffee, it must be a piece of s_hit, but I bought it anyway cause it seemed simple and I liked the weight and feel of the potential piece of crap. A great man once said "Contempt prior to investigation is a bar against all information."

Buy this even if you don't need it daily. I spend over 200.00 a MONTH at Starbucks, I used their Expresso Dark Roast in this thing and it was AWESOME! I hate Mr. Coffee, but the sub in China that makes this for them hit the f'n nail on the head. You watch, they will double the price after reading this review.

By the by, I NEVER write reviews, let alone a positive one for a over-hyped marketing company like Mr. Coffee. I am writing this for you, that is going to stand in Target, Penny's, Macys, or alike that is going to buy the complicated, more expensive 100.00 to 300.00 machine when we dont possibly have that many friends interested in the size of our unit or the frequency of its use. A little poetic licence here, but buy one and tell me I was wrong, I doubt you will...


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82 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2009
I bought this machine after somewhat careful research, but still was feeling a bit cheap, and since this one had such great reviews, decided to get one ($30 including shipping from Ebay).

The frothing part was flawless, and the cappuccinos were almost perfect. However, as at least one other reviewer noted, if you really like espresso, opt for a pump-driven machine, as the steam-driven ones will not produce the coveted "crema", the froth on top of the espresso.

The espresso I got from this machine was not bad, but really not THAT different from a coffee produced by my beloved french press.

So I decided to give this machine to a friend, who likes it's milk-frothing ability (to make delicious hot-chocolate beverages) and bought for myself the pump-driven Mr.Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/ Cappuccino Maker.
I have had that one over a week, and so far am completely delighted with it. The espresso is fabulous, very comparable to (and often better than) some of the ready-made espresso drinks in the stores, and frother works perfectly as well.

Overall - if you are on a tight budget and do not really drink espresso much, only cappuccinos, definitely go for this machine, it is a hard-to-beat deal. It takes minimum amount of time to get ready and is very easy to operate and clean.

If you like the crema (coffee froth) on top of your espresso, then skip this and look for a pump-driven machine (the model I mentioned earlier is very affordable and nearly perfect).
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2007
Bought this from Target on sale for $33, and it was worth it. The unit takes up a small footprint on your kitchen counter, is pretty light weight. One thing to note is that the cord to the unit is pretty short -- and this is by design. The cord length is about 6 inches, and it can only be plugged in one way. There are specific instructions on how to use the espresso machine and a lot of warnings, but don't be fearful, the unit is pretty easy to work with only three settings: off, make espresso and steam - so its pretty easy to operate, and surprisingly quiet. Bravo to Mr.Coffee for making an espresso machine for under $40 that holds up well.
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