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Fast one-step Latte machine that also makes regular coffee!
on January 26, 2013
I started out looking for a machine to replace my coffee maker that broke and stumbled across this one that can do both latte's as well as make regular coffee, even though Mr. Coffee apparently hasn't caught on to this fact yet! In my opinion, their marketing department needs to get with it. I'll explain this more further down but wanted to first mention where this machine excels.
With other latte machines you have to manually steam and froth the milk, which means a lot of work and headache cleaning up afterwards (I could never get all the milk out of the steam pipe, which gets clogged up over time). This machine pays for itself by allowing you to skip all of that hassle and letting the machine do all the work. Cleanup is literally a snap. Now the die hard espresso-heads will say it's not quite the same flavor because you don't technically make the espresso steamed, but if you did a blind taste test you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. I use 2% fat, lactose free milk because I'm lactose intolerant and it makes a lot of creamy froth! I also use Starbucks ground coffee beans and it tastes great but if you wanted a stronger flavor you could use espresso ground beans.
Mr. Coffee does include some recipes to make mocha, peppermint, hot chocolate and many other latte flavors but surprisingly they omitted one of the best and most frequent recipes that this machine does very well and that is making regular coffee, or to call it by its European name "Caffe Americano"! The name has its origins in World War 2 when American GIs in Europe would pour hot water into an espresso to approximate the coffee to which they were used to. It was then adapted in the United States by large chains who sought to create a marketable fusion of drip coffee and espresso to sell to a mass market. Although this machine does not technically make espresso, it approximates it quite well and I honestly cannot tell the difference between the Caffe Americano I make with this machine and the regular coffee maker I had that recently passed away. After experimenting for a few days, here's how to do it.
My morning ritual is to have one large 16oz cup of coffee and I could only justify the expense of this machine if it would handle both latte's and my regular morning coffee. I really didn't want two separate machines if I could avoid it. So after playing around with different quantities, I found this recipe for Caffe Americano works best. Use 3 tablespoons of regular coffee grounds (more if you like it real strong or you can substitute espresso or other dark roast beans). Fill the upper drip chamber with water to the SECOND line, and fill the carafe with water up to the FIRST line. This combination allows you to have the most water possible passing through the drip chamber. Press the lever to start and in a few minutes you will have a wonderful 16oz cup of hot coffee! Since you are not using milk, you don't have to worry about the wisk frothing the coffee. It does not. It is exactly like a normal cup of regular coffee that we here in America are used to.
I hope that Mr. Coffee will start to include Caffe Americano in their marketing and recipes because to me, this is an obvious oversight on their part. The coffee quality is very good and I think most people like me would appreciate having a machine that can do everything all in one unit. I hope this helps the die-hard coffee drinkers out there.