We all like affordable stuff – but unfortunately, the cheap stuff also come at a great price: their quality. At least, that’s what happens 80% of the time. There are some cases when you can actually get high quality for a low price.
Granted, it’s likely that with low-budget espresso makers, you won’t get the quality brought by the high-end ones. Still, some can actually bring you close enough to the result so that you won’t even need a professional espresso maker.
Let’s see if the Café Barista by Mr. Coffee is a suitable choice for a budget espresso machine.
Introducing The Mr. Coffee Café Barista
Mr. Coffee’s Café Barista is a semi-automatic espresso maker that was made with low-budget individuals in mind. Sporting a compact form, it’s the perfect kitchen appliance to have around if you live in small quarters.
This unit features volume control, which means that you can choose whether you want a single-shot or double-shot espresso – everything with just the press of a button.
The 15-bar pump pressure of the unit will also ensure that all the coffee goodness is extracted, providing you with a very intense espresso.
The greatest advantage, in our opinion, is that Cafe Barista is a semiautomatic machine which gives you greater control over the brewing process. Obviously, in order for this to be an advantage you need to learn how to pull great espresso shots with a semiautomatic. If this isn’t “your cup of tea”, (intended pun), you might look for a fully automatic machine, read our article for more details on how to choose a great espresso machine.
If you are experienced, and know a lot about espresso machines, and you can pull great shots with a unit like Mr Coffee Cafe Barista, you probably know a bit about its limitations. If you have the budget, you could probably upgrade to the Rancilio Silvia, which is a big step up.
Our Rating of the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
What makes this espresso maker different from the others from this price range is the fact that it has an automatic milk frother. All you have to do is choose the desired froth level and the frother will prepare the milk.
This will be done without you having to mess with the frothing wand or prepare the milk yourself. The milk will turn into a creamy froth effortlessly, adding it automatically into the espresso.
Overall, here are the main features that might interest you in this particular Mr. Coffee espresso maker:
- 15-bar pump pressure to provide maximum coffee extraction
- The volume control that allows you to choose between single and double shot espresso
- Automated milk frother that involves no wand handling
- It features a water tank that can be easily removed and filled with water
- Adjustable cup clearance that allows you to lower or raise the bottom, depending on the cup type used.
- The parts are dishwasher-safe, except for the portafilter
This device is just a bit larger than the other espresso makers of this price range, but not large enough to cause any inconveniences. If anything, it’s more similar to a high-end machine than a budget one.
The controls of this espresso machine are very easy to use. You have presets for espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos – but also the usual control steam wand pressure settings that every espresso machine has.
It doesn’t take long until the steam wand reaches its max temperature – and we found that as it reaches max temperature, it produces steam for almost a full minute. That’s not a bad result at all.
The milk frother is great and can be handled even by the least experienced in espresso makers. Once you’ve set the level, you are good to go.
I was disappointed, however, to realize that it didn’t have a coffee grinder. Of course, not all semi-automated grinders have one, but it would have been a nice touch. Considering the price, however, we can’t be too upset.
This machine was put together very well. The brand managed to produce a low-budget product, without skimping on what’s most important: the quality of the brewed espresso.
What Other People Say
There weren’t many people that complained about this espresso maker. Considering the price that they paid for it, there wouldn’t be any reason to complain.
There were some tips that suggested we handle this unit with extra care. Since the parts are made from plastic instead of the high-end iron, it’s very easy to break if you push too hard.
If anything breaks, however, you may find replacement parts on the producer’s website – and the prices are reasonable as well. They won’t create a hole in your budget.
Some people also complained about the fact that the machine is very loud. This is a small flaw, however, considering the price that we paid for it.
Espresso enthusiasts also complained about the fact that they don’t have many customization options. The device caters mostly to general use, so they say that if you want something “professional,” you should look somewhere else.
What We Liked
Aside from the fact that we like its very low price (which is a given), we also appreciate that this espresso machine is very easy to use. If you want to drink great coffee but don’t have any particular barista skills, this is the device for you.
We also liked the fact that it’s easy to clean and operate. Everything is automatic, and it doesn’t take long to disassemble the parts and wash them. Plus, if you want to fill the water tank, you can just do it directly – without removing the tank.
What We Didn’t Like
I also wasn’t particularly fond of the noise of the machine. While this may not pose a problem in the middle of the day, it’s quite troublesome if you want to brew coffee in the morning – when everyone else is sleeping.
We also didn’t like the fact that it’s shiny and, therefore, cheap-looking. Had they gone for a matte look, it wouldn’t look so frail and modest on the counter.
For a price just under $200, this machine can be purchased from many sellers, including the producer’s website. I suggest, however, that if you want to get it even cheaper, you make your purchase from Amazon.
Depending on your time of purchase, you may get a pretty good discount on the initial price. I got 37% off mine, which was a pretty good bargain.
Overall, this espresso machine is a convenient purchase if you want a good-tasting coffee at a budget price. It may not be professional-level, but it will soothe your caffeine-loving soul with an invigorating espresso.
This article firstly appeared at Brew Espresso Coffee, a website dedicated to vulgarize the art of making espresso beverages.