We have reviews here on four top espresso machines that vary in price from just short of $600 down to a little over $110.
The least expensive espresso machine that commands an average rating of over 4 stars at Amazon.com is the Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker. Cuisinox have so much confidence in it that they give a 25 year warranty.
It comes in two sizes - basically for more than two people and for use by one person only. But don't be deceived by it's low price. Cuisinox have made this possible not by skimping on quality, but simply by doing away with the heating device.
You use your own stove or cooker to heat the coffee. After all, you have a cooker already. You may as well use it to heat up your coffee as well as for all your other cooking, right? That's how the reasoning goes. If you go along with it then this machine may be the one for you.
At the other end of the price range of these top espresso machines is the Breville Barista Express BES870XL. This is a top of the range espresso maker which does everything from grinding the beans to frothing the milk.
Probably the most distinguishing feature of the Barista Express is its 1600 watt thermocoil heating system (coupled with a 15 bar Italian pump), which gives it the power to do just about everything to do with coffee making at the same time.
It replaces Breville's previous model, the 860, being more powerful and versatile. It's semi-automatic, which gives you complete control over each aspect of the coffee-making process if you wish. Or you can leave most of the settings on default.
Perhaps that's the only thing that might put some people off this product - there's such a lot to take in when learning how to use it to its fullest extent. But if you're a barista or studying to become one then you'll be at home experimenting with every setting until you can produce coffees and espressos customized to anyone's exact requirements, just as in a coffee shop.
The C60 and D60 are almost identical top espresso machines, with cosmetic differences only, and are both in the $220/$230 price range (though the price of the D60 varies more according to color). They're single serve machines, but give you a large amount of control over the strength and size of your brew.
At a glance you'll know how much water remains in the reservoir and at what stage the machine is in its coffee-making routine. It's fast, easy to clean, and has auto shut-off. But is it for you?
That leaves us with the Nespresso U D50 - a super-easy to use espresso machine that comes with an Aeroccino Milk Frother included. It's less expensive than the Breville or the Nespresso C60 / D60, but more expensive than the Cuisinox Roma.
It's very compact, and you have a choice of three cup sizes, two levels of froth, or no froth at all, and they can all be hot or cold. The only drawback is that you're restricted to using Nespresso's own coffee pods. You can use your own grinds, but it's messy and works out no cheaper in the long run.
Nespresso have concentrated on ease of use with this machine. All you do is put the pod in place and this espresso machine does the rest. The milk frother, too, has a one-touch operation. When your espresso is delivered the pod is ejected into the pod dispensing bin, and that doesn't have to be emptied until it's holding 12 empties.
This espresso maker has been described as a perfect combination, and by Nespresso themselves as "the ultimate machine in modularity, simplicity, and purity."
That sounds pretty lofty, and it is quite unusual to find two distinct products being sold as a duo. But Nespresso must have their reasons for it, and they certainly stand by their decision. So let's take a look at this product pair and see if it's worthy of the praise.
The Nespresso U D50 has been designed for ease of use. Essentially, you just press a button to make your selection, place the pod in place, and the machine, with its 19 bar pump pressure, will pierce the pod, brew the coffee and eject the used capsule into the capsule dispenser at the end. It couldn't get much simpler.
The Aeroccino milk frother, too, has a rapid, one-touch system that puts it into action preparing hot or cold froths, with or without foam. It heats the milk to around 130 degrees - not quite as hot as the coffee shop, but hot enough for nearly all home espresso drinkers.
There are two levels of froth - latte, and cappuccino - or the froth setting can be turned off. It can froth the milk while warming it, or leave it cold. It does work best with regular milk but can also take almond milk, which, naturally, won't be quite so frothy.
You can customize how the espresso maker looks. The water tank at the back, which can hold a decent 27 fluid ounces, can be rotated 180 degrees around the machine.
The pre-set cup sizes accord to the standard Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo but if these aren't to your liking you can change them and the U D50 will remember your new settings. You simply press the appropriate cup size buttons while using the slider at the same time.
How Long Do You Have To Wait?
Delicious coffee, even from a capsule, can't be delivered instantly, of course. But this coffee maker comes pretty close. It heats up ready for use in around one to one and a half minutes. Each espresso then takes around 20 seconds.
As we've just noted, the milk frother has variable settings as to frothing and heating, so that affects the speed of delivery, but hot frothed milk generally takes around a minute, depending on its original temperature.
The All-Important Flavor
Flavor, as we all know, depends on a number of things. A clean coffee maker with no left-over grinds, fresh filtered water, and fresh, quality coffee grinds. The first two are down to us, but as far as the coffee is concerned, Nespresso choose only Grand's Cruz green coffees for their capsules, to ensure you get close to coffee shop standards.
And with seventeen varieties to choose from, as well as three cup sizes for strength adjustment, you won't have much of a problem in finding a flavor to suit your palate.
The Nespresso U D50 was designed to use Nespresso coffee capsules only. Probably the most convenient place to purchase them is at Nespresso's website, where you buy in batches of 50 and the price works out at about 60c a pod. Depending on your taste, you may find that you need two pods for each cup.
You have seventeen varieties to choose from and you receive a sample of each with your new machine. While it's possible to buy reusable filters and grind your own beans, that doesn't work out much cheaper, if at all, and the flavor is certainly inferior to that of the Nespresso pods.
Electricity consumption is normal for this kind of device, and the espresso maker has an auto off setting set for 9 minutes of non-use.
And The Cleaning . . ?
Keeping your Nespresso U D50 clean is easy. After each brew, the pod is automatically released into the capsule dispenser. A light indicates when the water tank is empty or the capsule dispenser is full.
Then you just empty the pod dispensing bin (which holds up to 12 used capsules), rinse the drip tray, and refresh the water if necessary. With the Aeroccino milk frother, you just rinse the inside of it after each use and make sure you don't get the base wet.
Some coffee makers have a nasty habit of the spout dripping after each brew and eventually filling the drip tray, but the U D50 has a retracting outlet, so that problem is avoided.
This espresso maker looks similar to the BES870XL, except that it has no burr grinder or outlet port built in. It comes in at nearly $100 cheaper. So is there anything else you don't get, that you would with the 870?
What everyone wants from an espresso maker like this is great tasting coffee. Of course, good looks count as well, but these come as secondary by quite a margin.
The Breville Infuser does, in fact, look good, and is compact enough for small work tops. But its main distinguishing feature is what Breville call its pre-infusion function, which enhances the taste of the coffee.
We all know how the coffee grinds have to be completely saturated so as to release their flavor fully, and that this is invariably done through a sprinkler method with the water being forced in under high pressure.
The trouble with this is that if there are gaps and other irregularities in the coffee puck (as there often are) the water can sometimes bounce off parts of it and fail to capture the full flavor, and this weakens the final taste.
The Breville 840XL overcomes that problem by releasing the water onto the grinds under low pressure at first. This allows it to seep into all the grinds, allowing them to expand at a more natural rate. Then the water pressure is increased to squeeze all the goodness out of the grinds and into the coffee itself.
A little complicated, perhaps, but it results in superbly tasting coffee from this remarkable espresso machine. It heats to the right temperature in around a minute, and in 5 minutes it will have made 2 cups of coffee. This is fast by any standard. It also takes only 45 to 60 seconds to steam regular fat milk, and is equally fast with other kinds of milk.
Full Temperature Control
Other models from Breville feature an auto purge function that automatically adjusts the water temperature downwards after it has steamed the milk, so it's not too hot for extracting the espresso. The Breville BES840XL has that very same function as well.
The replaceable water filter in the 61 fl oz tank will deal with all the impurities in your water supply. The result of all this is to bring you some of the best tasting coffee that it's possible to make.
No-one can say that Breville are taking any chances with the taste of your coffee.
The build quality and design features of Breville domestic machines are legendary. At the heart of the Infuser is the 1600 watt thermocoil heating system with control over the water temperature being achieved through an integrated stainless steel water coil.
A 15 bar Italian pump ensures that you won't have any problem getting the water pressure sufficiently high. Automatic settings, such as temperature and pressure, work in tandem with programmable settings such as the volume of grinds you use, and the degree of grinding and tamping you decide upon.
Indicators show when the drip tray needs emptying or the machine itself needs cleaning. And, of course, Breville's distinguishing feature - the pressure gauge - tells you whether or not the extraction pressure is correct.
The design oof the Breville BES840XL is such that you don't have to stick with your usual coffee cups or mugs - a travel mug can be accommodated as well.
The volume of each shot is pre-set, and you can accept these or over-ride them manually, or even re-program with your own preferences. And as with other Breville espresso machines the steam wand that dispenses the milk froth can be rotated round 360 degrees for complete control over your lattes and cappuccinos.
From the cup and mug warmer on the top to the magnetic tamper that clings to its appointed place when not in use, Breville have gone to a lot of trouble to make this espresso maker easy to use.
No Hassle Cleaning
The Breville BES840XL has a system that removes excess water from the ground coffee in the filter basket, making removal of the resulting residue very easy. The drip tray and water tanks can easily be removed, and you should replace the water filter every two months or so.
Even though you have a water filter, as with all coffee makers, it's best to use filtered water anyway and to decalcify your espresso machine every three or four months using white vinegar. But at least you don't have a grinder on it to clean as well - a separate grinder is invariably easier to clean.
At the time of writing, over 390 users have left reviews on Amazon and awarded this espresso maker an average score of over 4 stars.
Most of them love how easy it is to use, clean and understand. Most agree it's a great machine for the price, though the alleged savings of $300 have been called into question.
Some reviewers have had a problem in getting the pressure gauge to register any reading at all. It turns out that they may have been using too coarse a grind. The answer seems to be to use a finer grind, even a Turkish grind, to fill the portafilter in two or three stages, and to tamp down after each stage so that your grind is compact and firm.
I've mentioned that the BES840XL is around $100 cheaper than the BES870XL, largely because it doesn't have a burr grinder built in. But that's about the only thing the BES870XL has that the Infuser doesn't.
Whatever the savings this product is still expensive at nearly $500. However, if you're a serious coffee connoisseur then it will be money well spent, and if you're a regular at Starbucks then doubly so. One user claims that their BES840XL paid for itself in three months!
It's fun to learn how to use, and once you've mastered the art then, provided you clean it when the time comes, the Breville Infuser BES840XL will provide you with world class coffee of all types without complaint for years to come.
If you take a quick look at the Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother, all you'll see would be a sleek, stainless steel exterior with just one simple control knob. You'd think that it was just another one of those milk frothers that gives you a choice of two - take it or leave it.
But when you see what this device can do, it's like opening a whole new world of coffee and milk frothing, of exotic drinks of smooth, tantalizing flavors, or creamy froth that you never knew existed before.
So far, so good, but can it really be worth the not insubstantial price tag of not far south of $130?
The Breville BMF600XL consists of a base unit, which controls the induction power, and a jug, or carafe, in which the milk froths are made. Both are of stainless steel. The only plastic parts are the lid and the two frothing discs - one smooth, for making lattes, and the other with slits, for making foam for cappuccinos.
The disc that isn't being used is stored on a magnetic hook at the back, so it's almost impossible to lose. The power cord, too, stores away easily when not required.
The carafe has a minimum fill line, and if you fill to that level then you'll have enough milk for two 10 ounce cups of coffee. You can make enough for four cups at a time if you wish.
The knob on the base unit lets you control the temperature of the milk produced. You can have a cold stir for a cold drink (though you won't have so much froth), or you can take the heat up to 160 degrees and all points in between.
A froth needs more than just heat, of course. It needs stirring. The BMF600XL uses its discs for this. They're not turned mechanically, but magnetically. Take the disc you need, according to whether you want foam or not, and press it home into the containing slot. Make sure it's stable before you start. Like any brilliant idea, it's basically very simple and produces great results.
And the build quality is such that there's no reason why it shouldn't continue doing so for many years.
Breville BMF600XL - The Machine That Does Everything
Frothing milk is actually only one of the functions that this machine carries out quietly and reliably. It's also a hot chocolate maker if you just add the appropriate ingredients, though there is a little skill involved in this (see below).
Apart from regular full-fat milk, you can use almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk or skimmed milk (which produces the largest froth). If you prefer you can add cocoa, agaves or coffee, so that your drink is ready made without having to prepare another part of it elsewhere.
And you don't have to have a froth at all. You can make steamed milk. In fact, using it as a flavored milk steamer is one of its most popular uses.
It does produce very hot milk (though you can, of course, reduce the temperature setting), and it's capable of melting chocolate chips fed into it through the lid whilst foaming the milk. It's quiet too, and if you're up to latte art then this machine won't let you down.
The recipe book that comes with the frother itself contains a number of other dishes, so experiment and discover which kind of brew you prefer, because sometimes it seems this machine can do almost anything.
One reviewer on Amazon describes the Breville BMF600XL as "fast, simple and reliable". If you set the temperature to its highest and pour in milk to the minimum level in the carafe then you'll have your frothed milk ready in between one and two minutes, depending on the original temperature of the milk, and prevailing conditions in your kitchen.
You'll Want To Know About This ...
I'm always mentioning in my reviews about how coffee makers, espresso makers, and milk frothers, are not just kitchen appliances like refrigerators or cookers, which can take a certain amount of punishment through careless handling, and so on.
They are, in effect, precision instruments, and this is particularly true in this case. We've seen how the BMF600XL has two frothing discs, and how you always use one of them, depending on whether you're making a lot of foam or not, to stir the milk while it's being heated.
The disc must be allowed to spin freely, using the magnetic field generated. So it must be clean. If there's any dust, powder or anything at all on it then it will be out of balance and won't spin properly or at all. Sometimes it may need a slight tap with a spoon to start it off, if it's reluctant to start moving.
The best temperature for producing frothy milk is 140 degrees to 160 degrees. Most users set it to around the maximum to start with, and then adjust when they know their machine better.
The BMF600XL needs to be started as soon as you've poured the milk into the carafe. Any delay may lead to condensation being formed and the motor may shut off. Observe the instructions in the User Manual - you need to press the button a second time to start the frothing process.
If you're making, for example, hot chocolate, then don't just dump the chocolate concentrate into the top of the milk. That may disturb the spin of the disc. Wait until the milk is warm, and then sprinkle it in slowly, using the facility in the lid that's there for the purpose.
Reviewers on Amazon are very favorable towards the BMF600XL, giving it an average of nearly 4.5 stars in over 940 reviews at the time of writing. They particularly like its versatility, and how it produces delicious milk froths and drinks.
A few have mentioned problems in getting it to start, but with the tips given here, this should present no problem to you. The price is another point sometimes raised, but then you do get what you pay for here.
The great majority of users are more than happy with their milk frother.
The Breville BMF600XL Milk Café Milk Frother is an extremely adaptable, reliable machine that looks good and is easy to clean as well. It can make you a milk drink exactly to your requirements in no more than a couple of minutes, and is quite capable of remaining in regular use for many years. At the very least, this deserves careful consideration for your next milk frother.
It comes in three sizes - 10-Cup, 6-Cup, and 2-Cup. But one of the most noticeable features about it is that Cuisinox give it a full 25-year warranty. They obviously have full confidence in their product, so let's see if that confidence is justified.
With the Cuisinox Roma The Coffee Had Better Be Good . . .
When you're paying almost $100 or more for an espresso maker that doesn't have its own heating device, the coffee had better taste great. Well, if you want crema on your espresso and you're prepared to grind the beans very finely then you're in for a treat.
If you use a simple blade grinder and make the grinds powdery, but don't compact them too much, then you'll find that this espresso maker is set up to produce the perfect espresso for you.
If you leave the lid open and watch while it brews then you will see the crema form and cover the espresso. That's the time to take it off the heat because your espresso is done. If you leave it on too long it may taste a little burnt, though, of course, some people prefer it like that anyway. A little trial and error, and you'll know exactly how to use this machine.
Cuisinox have given a great deal of thought to the build quality of the Roma. It's not just that they have included an extra gasket and a reducer, so you can easily measure half-measures if you don't want a full pot. Nor that they've hand-crafted the entire unit to the highest industry standards.
It's not even the induction base, enabling you to use any heat source - electricity or gas - to heat the water, that attracts so much praise. Where Cuisinox have scored is that they've made the whole product from stainless steel, and not aluminum. Aluminum has attracted a lot of publicity lately on account of its adverse health effects (it releases harmful oxides when coming into contact with hot liquids).
Cuisinox have used heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel, polished to a mirror finish. Even though it's made in China, Cuisinox are a Canadian company and are evidently capable of enforcing very high-quality control standards in their factories.
For example, unlike some other stovetop models, the Roma isn't prone to having its handle break off. Just feel it in your hands. It's solid and quite heavy. The two parts of the pot screw together tightly so as not to allow any steam to escape. It doesn't feel like anything ever could break. Perhaps Cuisinox knew what they were doing when they decided on that 25-year warranty.
Cuisinox have a distinct style. They aim for beauty as well as practicality. The Roma, all stainless steel, is sleek and elegant, yet is still down to earth enough to include a screen filter that you place in the filter itself if you want to halve the amount of coffee you're brewing.
The Cuisinox Roma Stovetop is easy to use, once you've got used to it and know one or two things about it. As long as you have the right amounts of water and coffee grinds in place, and you don't over or undercook, then you'll get it right.
You can use it with electricity or gas. Make sure the handle isn't placed directly over the heat source, and keep the setting on medium to low for best results. Don't overfill the water reservoir either - the brass safety pressure-relief valve should be above the water line. If you obey these simple guidelines then you should have excellent results with the Roma.
Features and Specifications:
Product Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
Item model number: COF-10R
Construction: Stainless steel
Included: screen filter, one extra gasket, and reducer
When it comes to cleaning, you should hand wash the Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop, rather than just put in the dishwasher. But it is very easy to clean. It doesn't make very much mess to start with.
Cleaning is easier if you unscrew the two sections of the pot after pouring your coffee, and let them cool, rather than place them straight into cold water. This prolongs the life of the gasket apart from anything else.
Wipe any excess coffee grounds from around the grounds basket lip (where it makes contact with the gasket) so the seal doesn't leak. And every so often, make a "brew" with a tablespoon of baking soda. That will clean up the internal parts and keep it producing great tasting espressos.
Pros and Cons
Stainless steel construction - no aluminum
Can be used with gas or electricity
Easy to clean
Makes great tasting coffee
No marking on water container for one serving, as against two
Requires coffee correctly ground to extreme fineness for best results
Over 290 customers give this product an average rating of well over 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon at the time of writing. The superior tasting espressos that it produces, and the fact that it's not made of aluminum figure prominently in the reviews. Its good looks and sturdy durability also go down well.
Some have commented that the inside of the top chamber is hard to clean and wipe dry. Others have not noticed this. In any event, if you clean with the baking soda method you can just leave the parts to drain overnight.
The Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker is a hit with the vast majority of its users, who love the polished mirror-finish of its stainless steel exterior as well as the delicious coffee that they get from it. With the choice of a 10-Cup or 6-Cup model, this is an espresso maker that can bring great satisfaction to all coffee lovers.
The Breville BES870XL Barista - One Hundred Per Cent Flavor
One thing has to be clear from the start. The Breville BES870XL Barista is an espresso maker that can extract all the flavor from fresh coffee beans and deliver you an espresso brewed to your exact requirements every time, and fast.
To do this, it has a number of formidable weapons in its armory. First of all, it's powered by a 1600 watt thermocoil heating system (coupled with a 15 bar Italian pump) significantly more powerful than its predecessor, the 860. This is made of a superior aluminum, with a stainless steel lining, so it isn't going to give out anytime soon.
Also of stainless steel is the conical burr grinder at the top of the machine. That and the integrated, sealed bean hopper (taller than the previous model) means you can grind your beans as finely or as coarsely as you want.
The grinder actually works separately from the machine itself, so you could use pre-ground beans if you want, but there's really no point because the Barista Express will do it all for you so you can enjoy freshly ground beans.
Then there are the filters. Four of them. Two are dual walled, and two single walled. Each pair also has one that is pressurized, and one that is non-pressurized. The pressurized is probably best while you're learning the art of being a barista, and the non-pressurized is for more experienced coffee-makers.
There's also a charcoal filter in the massive 67 fluid ounce water tank to ensure your tap water doesn't spoil the taste of your espresso. Many users filter their water anyway, so this provides an extra filtering stage.
Regulation of the water temperature is vital to producing great tasting espressos. The purge function takes care of this, so any excess steam is expelled and not trapped inside.
No less important is how the brewing is actually done. You must have the water distributed evenly throughout the grinds. The pre-brew function and the flat shower head mean that all your grinds without exception are saturated with water and contribute towards the taste.
In short, this espresso maker solves the age-old problem of coffee beans beginning to lose their flavor from the moment they're ground. The integrated burr grinder on the Barista Express 870 doesn't give them the chance.
This is a semi-automatic machine, so you have as much control as you want. Many users will be happy to let the 870 run most functions on auto, but there are some that require your input so as to produce an espresso to your exact requirements.
First off, how much do you want to brew? The volumetric control lets you select one cup or two, with manual over-ride, and is reprogrammable. On top, the burr grinder and sealed bean hopper can take half a pound of beans, and you have the grind size and grind amount selector dials there, as well as the grind adjuster wheel.
The filter size button lets you tell the machine whether you're using a single or dual wall filter, so it dispenses the correct amount of grinds. Probably the default temperature setting will give you water that's quite hot enough, but this is adjustable to make it hotter or cooler.
Finally, you have control over the milk texturing of your lattes and cappuccinos. The stainless steel steam wand has a 360 degrees swivel action so you can perfect your latte art whenever you want.
Breville even give you non-slip feet to prevent the machine from moving around on your kitchen worktop. They really do seem to have thought of everything.
Just because we want complete control in what we produce, and the fullest flavor espressos that extract everything the coffee beans have to offer doesn't mean we want to hang around while our Breville BES870XL Barista Express does its job.
This machine warms up in just 45 seconds, and Breville claim that it's then less than a minute from beans to espresso. The YouTube video embedded below will help you judge if it really is that fast. We think it is.
Breville obviously thought a great deal about the cleaning aspect when this product (and its predecessor, come to that) was still at the design stage. You have a whole lot more than the obligatory removable drip tray and removable water tank that comes with a handle.
When the machine needs cleaning it activates a "Clean Me" light. But it's not such a chore as you'd expect. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express removes excess water from the filter basket after the coffee has been extracted, which makes for quicker cleaning.
On top, the hopper unlocks easily for cleaning, and the upper part of the burr grinder releases at a twist for removal and rinsing. You can just vacuum the lower part.
In addition, Breville provide cleaning tools for the 870. There's a little storage compartment where they're all kept - out of the way but always accessible.
It's little wonder that reviewers on Amazon love this machine. They like its speed and that there's no guess work involved. They love its stylish stainless steel casing and robust build, and the fact that after a short time they can program it to produce what to them is the perfect brew.
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express scores just under 4.5 stars on average from over 900 reviews at the time of writing, with nearly three-quarters of reviewers giving the full 5 stars.
One or two reviewers have left adverse comments about the taste of the coffee, but bear in mind when reading these that there are a few "rules" that have to be observed. For example, if you use cheap coffee beans that you have ground a couple of weeks earlier then you're obviously not going to get a great taste, even with this machine.
To get the best out of the Breville BES870XL Barista Express you have to use good quality beans, freshly roasted, and preferably espresso roasted. When you use the grinder for the first time, set it to its coarsest level, and then dial it down when it starts ejecting the grounds.
Keep the steam wand clean by letting some steam out of it for about 10 seconds after each brew. This prevents milk from backing up into the machine and spoiling the taste of the next brew. Do this even if you've just brewed black coffee.
Make use of the cup warmer on top of the machine. Coffee houses never serve their coffee in cold cups (except for iced coffee), and there's a reason for it. If you warm the machine and accessories before use it all helps to ensure better-tasting espressos.
If you ever find that the beans fail to be fed into the grinder, it may be because they're a little oily, in which case just tap the hopper and they'll go in all right.
It's a great espresso maker, as long as you read and follow the instructions, and that should help ensure you'll be giving a 5-star rating to the 870 when it's your turn to review.
If you can't take in all of what's written here, then please just accept that this espresso maker is wildly popular with its users, who can't all be wrong. It delivers coffee house quality brews in an incredibly short time and gives you almost total control over each stage.
The C60 and D60 versions of the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker are basically the same machine. The only differences are cosmetic. The C60 has ribs on the side and has a round, fat spout. The D60 has no ribs and has a thin, tubular spout. The colors are different. The C60 comes in a choice of titan or brown, whereas you can have the D60 in blue, green, aluminum, silver or various shades of red.
What we'll do in this review is to treat them as one product, which, apart from the above differences, they are.
The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker - Big Capabilities In A Small Package
One of the most surprising things about the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker C60 and D60 is how small it is. It's only just over nine inches tall, with a length of less than 13 inches and width of just 4.33 inches.
But what it lacks in size it makes up for in style and performance. Nespresso have hidden the water reservoir round the back of it, leaving the handle and front piece as the main visible features. They've cleverly hidden the drip tray inside the machine, with a funnel directing spills into it from underneath the cup ledge.
Complete Control With Ease Of Use
The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker C60 / D60 is about as user friendly as it's possible to get. It's a single serve machine and caters for almost any sized cup or mug. You can control how much water you want it to dispense and how strong you want your drink, so you get a consistent cup of coffee every time. But you can also vary any single serving by holding down one of the buttons on the back, for example to make a lungo (or larger drink with more water).
Backlights on the controls indicate what stage has been reached in the brew cycle, and it's easy to detect the water level in the reservoir. There's a container inside the machine into which used capsules drop automatically, and there's even a little storage space to keep the power cord when not in use.
To top it all, you have auto shut-off in case you forget to switch off before retiring for the night or going out.
If it's speed you're after you won't be disappointed. The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker C60 / D60 can hold its own against much larger and more powerful-looking coffee makers. Each brew is ready in 25 to 30 seconds. Incredibly fast. Catering for a large family or guests shouldn't present too much of a problem as the water reservoir holds 24 ounces.
And Can It Be Cleaned Easily?
Nespresso supply a cleaning kit with full instructions, so cleaning is straightforward, and actually easier than with most coffee makers. You simply run it without putting any pods in. You can remove and rinse the folding drip tray very easily, and that will be the bulk of the cleaning required for the C60 / D60.
Nothing beats, though, actually getting inside the machine (as far as you can) with the cleaning kit, and Nespresso recommend that you do this periodically to keep your espresso maker in top condition.
It's hard to find anyone with anything but praise for the sheer good taste of the coffee this espresso maker produces. It comes with a set of pods so you can select your favorites before ordering more. They average around 65c each, but there's a large choice and you can get the best deals online. If you're environmentally concerned then you can easily re-cycle them.
Watch this video to see the Nespresso D60 in action:
Features and Specifications:
Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 4.3 x 9.2 inches ; 9 pounds
Complete control over cup size and strength of brew
Easy to clean
Pods aren't cheap - around 65c but possibly cheaper online
A little noisy, but only for a few seconds per brew
The C60 has nearly 600 reviews on Amazon at the time of writing and scores an average of over 4.5 stars. The D60 has around 130 reviews and scores a little lower. As you'd expect, there's nothing much between them in the figures, and the reviews themselves largely say the same things, being mainly praise for how versatile and reliable they are.
These models haven't suited everyone, of course (it would be rather surprising if they did) but negative comments are largely down to individual taste. One or two have mentioned the noise, but others describe these products as "whisper quiet", and what noise there is only lasts a few seconds anyway.
It's safe to say that most users are delighted with their Nespresso C60 or D60.
Whether you opt for the ribbed C60 with its round, fat spout, or the D60, without ribs and with its thin spout, you're bound to be pleased with your purchase. The Nespresso C60 / D60 Pixie Espresso Maker represents good value for money and is backed by Nespresso's formidable reputation for producing high quality espresso makers.
Mr. Coffee invite you to use their Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker BVMC-ECMP1000 to "create coffeehouse-quality espresso drinks just like a professional". But does this machine really produce espressos as good as that? And is it as convenient and easy to use as they make out?
I saw from my research that there's little doubt the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista is capable of making the most delicious of espresso-based brews - espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and mochas, and even americanos - and in a great variety of flavors, in just minutes and at the touch of a button.
You can have single or double shots - just choose the appropriate filter. And you can choose whatever blend of coffee you like to put in the portafilter, and in whatever size cup or mug you prefer. No problems with being versatile, then.
The BVMC-ECMP1000- Frothed Milk Makes All The Difference
There's nothing quite like being able to froth your own milk, and that makes all the difference between a regular coffee maker and an espresso machine. The Mr Coffee Cafe Barista, has an automatic milk frother, handles all kinds of milk, including low fat, soy and almond, and truly can make milk froths from any of them that easily rival those produced by any coffee house.
The secret is in the froth dial, which you can adjust to taste or to suit your selected brew. A 15 bar pump easily provides all the pressure needed to ensure that even the most extreme demands are met, and that froths can be made even from skimmed milk.
Mr Coffee Cafe Barista has Removable Reservoirs for Convenience and Ease of Cleaning
Espresso machines, of course, require a little more care and attention than most coffee makers simply because there's a milk reservoir as well as a water reservoir to manage and keep clean. But with this model Mr Coffee have gone out of their way to make it easy.
You can easily remove both reservoirs, and you can wash the milk reservoir and lid can in the dishwasher on the top rack, though, personally, I'd rather not risk it. But make sure you place this component, which slides horizontally into position, fully back in place after cleaning (otherwise you may find things get messy).
There's not much about your brew that you can't control down to the last detail. And all from the simple control panel that lets you choose single or double shot, or custom. Set the froth dial, and you'll have your drink within a couple of minutes.
If you're worried about leaving the milk in the milk reservoir and having it turn sour then just store it in the fridge when not in use.
The milk froth dispensing tube is easily adjusted according to the size of your cup, so it is aimed at the centre to avoid spills. Make sure it is lifted up and into your cup.
Cleaning the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista is easy. I've already mentioned the reservoirs, so what about the other components? The internal mechanism is cleaned by pressing the "Clean" button on the control panel, or you can clean the brew head by putting an empty cup under it and pressing the espresso button (check there's no coffee in the portafilter first). You can remove the drip tray for cleaning, too.
One tip here - make sure you don't leave the milk reservoir dial in the "Cleaning" position after cleaning, or you may get a surprise when you next brew up.
Pros: Versatility - it brews any espresso to any size in any flavor or blend you like; froths any kind of milk (even skimmed); superb flavors; easy to clean.
Cons: You have to push the milk reservoir firmly back into its slot before brewing, or it may leak.
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker earns over 4 stars from over 1,440 reviews (over 75 per cent of which are 4 or 5 star) on Amazon at the time of writing. Most reviewers love its versatility and the fact that they can brew their favorite drink in their own special way, adjusting the level of milk froth to just the way they like.
Ease of use and the clarity of the instructions are also appreciated by most. And the 20 strong recipe book is also a hit.
Some reviewers have complained that the machine has made a mess on their counter when used, or that the milk container leaks when the machine is in use. However, most users seem not to have been so troubled, and it's possible some people aren't pushing the milk reservoir back firmly enough into the slot before starting their brew, which would cause some leakage. This is a point to watch with this model.
Obviously make sure you have a large enough mug in place if you program for a double shot. And, interestingly enough, one reviewer has observed that you get a creamier brew if you use milk with lower fat levels.
As long as you read the instructions and carry out any preliminaries, such as priming the machine before using it, then there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy the delicious brews that this espresso machine is capable of producing for a long time to come.
Mr Coffee used to be known for producing coffee machines and espressos at the lower end of the market, but with their Café Barista Espresso Maker BVMC-ECMP1000 they have shown that they can make a quality, easy-to-use machine that produces a variety of delicious, customized brews at the touch of a couple of buttons.
When it comes to coffee, the Italians are the undisputed world champions. Even the names of the most popular coffees are Italian. And just to underline their dominance of the coffee scene, Italy makes the best coffee makers and milk frothers, of which this product is a leading example.
At first sight, it looks inauspicious, being smaller than many cheaper coffee makers, and the shipping weight doesn't do justice to what lies within. There's no conspicuous backlit display either. So what exactly places this product in a class of its own (even compared to other Italian-made machines)?
The DeLonghi Lattissima Plus - Ease Of Use Taken To The Extreme
The DeLonghi Lattissima Plus is more than just a coffee maker. It's an espresso machine. It has a milk container and so gives you freshly steamed milk froths - something that a machine using capsules or coffee grinds alone can't do.
Choose your capsule from a selection of three milk and two coffee, and place it in the top of the machine. Slide the milk container into place and put a cup under the nozzle. Then just press the button. It really can't get any easier than this. And that's a blessing on an early winter's morning when you're barely awake.
The DeLonghi is programmable, so you can set the froth level, temperature and strength to accord with your preferences. And it remembers them for each time after that.
Even the cleaning up afterward is kept to a minimum. The detachable milk container (which is dishwasher safe) can be placed straight back in the fridge, with just the press of a button to steam clean the nozzle first.
Quality Components Make For A Long Lasting Product
A common problem with cheaper machines is that, even though they may be excellent at producing good coffee drinks and are easy to use, they often don't last very long before developing a major, perhaps fatal, fault.
The reason for this is usually that, to keep manufacturing costs down, cheap, inferior materials and parts are used - commonly plastic instead of stainless steel.
DeLonghi don't make you put up with that. The DeLonghi Lattissima Plus has a boiler tank and housing that are made of stainless steel. Plastic is used only for trim. The milk carafe and steam wand are made of special BPA-free plastic (which is what you would expect).
Here's an independent video review of this coffeemaker:
Features and Specifications:
Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 6.6 x 10.2 inches
Weight: 9 pounds
Shipping Weight: 12 pounds
Materials: Stainless Steel with plastic trim
Item model number: EN520SL
Pros and Cons
Pros: Real milk froths and leading Italian coffee drinks; coffee ready to drink immediately; fully programmable with memory; easy to clean.
Cons: Doesn't produce boiling hot coffee (but then you'd have to wait for it to cool down before drinking it anyway).
Coming in at an average of well over 4 stars out of nearly 730 reviews on Amazon at the time of writing, the DeLonghi Lattissima Plus has a whole legion of fans. Nearly 70 per cent of users have given it a full 5 stars, and it's clear the most popular features are the ability to make the leading Italian coffee drinks with real milk froth thanks to the removable milk container, and the sheer simplicity of use.
As ever, there are some users who have posted negative reviews, and if these trouble you at all then it's wise to read them. Some complain that the coffee isn't hot. This machine, however, brews for immediate consumption, and it's not an issue that hundreds of reviewers have raised, which leads into question the veracity of this claim.
Overall, users of this DeLonghi machine are delighted with their purchase.
DeLonghi is a leading Italian manufacturer which also makes a number of coffee makers for other Italian brands including Nespresso. They have pioneered much of the technology of coffee brewing and milk frothing. If anyone knows how to make an espresso machine that produces authentic Italian coffee and milk froths then they do. And if you want to know how to make good coffee using a coffee maker then this machine won't let you down.