mr coffee espresso maker
The mr. coffee ecm160 4-cup steam espresso machine is a very inexpensive machine that works well for incredibly cheap espresso makers, but has a couple major design flaws that are done as a result of the cheap price, the most notable is the mechanism that’s used to brew espresso. The steam mechanism in the Mr Coffee Espresso Maker is inferior to the more expensive (and higher quality) pump mechanism found in most modern espresso makers, but as a very cheap starter machine or as a machine for a boat or RV this is a nice product.
mr. coffee ecm160 4-cup steam espresso machine
The taste of the espresso is different than a lot of the taste of most espresso due to the steam mechanism being used in the brewing process. The overall taste is relatively good, being similar to a poorly made Starbuck espresso or what you would find in a cheap restaurant. It isn’t what I would recommend to many discerning espresso drinkers, but for people who are more concerned with getting some quick caffeine will appreciate how quickly you can make espresso with the ECM160.
The interesting aspect of the ECM160 that you won’t find on more expensive machines is that it was developed to brew espresso in bulk. Many machines are set up to brew one or two shots at a time, but the ECM160 has a carafe that holds up to four shots, a must for the caffeine junkie.
The one benefit of cheap espresso machines is that they are very easy to use. If you’ve used a coffee maker, you can use the ECM160. Mr. Coffee has done a good job in making the espresso process very easy for the beginner. If you’re using the machine out of the box, making espresso is as simple as adding coffee, tamping it down, adding water and turning it on.
The cleanup is similarly easy to the brewing. With the ECM160, day-to-day cleaning is similar to any other coffee brewing gadget you’ve used. You need to clean out the basket and the carafe, but that’s it. The quality of the materials makes it a little difficult to keep the taste of coffee from sinking into the plastic, which isn’t a problem but will tend to build up and could affect the taste of different coffees if you change brands a lot.
As with any espresso machine, you will need to descale this every two months or so. If you notice that the machine is running slowly, I would recommend descaling anyway, which should clear up any problems.
The steam mechanism that is used in the ECM160 is a lower quality mechanism than a pump. The reason for this is that the steam mechanism does not contain any moving parts, making it cheaper to make.
The downside of the steam mechanism in espresso machines is that if enough steam pressure cannot be built up, then the espresso comes out tasting weak. This problem, combined with the inexpensive parts, makes with an espresso machine that has the potential to quickly lose pressure and become basically useless in a short period of time
The price of the Mr. Coffee ECM160 is incredibly cheap for an espresso machine, but that is mainly due to the steam mechanism which is used to brew the espresso, which is different than the higher end espresso machines, which use a pump mechanism instead. That being said, when you can brew Starbucks/restaurant quality coffee shots, you can quickly repay the cost of this machine in a month or even less of everyday use.
At $30, the ECM160 is the cheapest espresso machine that you can get without using an entirely manual system. While the quality isn’t great, the machine is mostly automated and relatively easy to clean. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a starter machine and can’t spend the money on an entry-level pump operated machine.
As with almost every inexpensive espresso machine out there, the tamper that is included is very bad. This one is no exception, but is even worse as the tamper is just the flattened end of the espresso scoop, which is even worse than most basic included tampers. As an add-on, I would recommend the Terry’s Tamper, which at $6 is a great tamper to use that will make your espresso in the ECM160 much better for less than the cost of a couple cups of coffee.
The steamer that’s included with this is not very good, but that is to be expected as the machine is of relatively low quality given the price that it is being sold for. It will make a decent frothed milk, but it will take a long time. With most machines it would be fine, but I would recommend that you use a separate milk steamer for this machine if you want to make anything besides plain espresso shots.
This machine is interesting in that if you have everything that you need to make good espresso, you can make a good quality drink. The problem is that if you are just starting out, then you will make espresso that is of a lower quality than Starbucks, but at a drastically reduced price. I would recommend this as a machine that you would put in a dorm room, boat, RV, or vacation house.
This machine is a good starter machine if you don’t know if you like espresso or only want to make espresso if you have company over as well. If you do end up drinking more espresso, you will probably want to upgrade to a more heavy-duty espresso machine, preferably one that uses a pump mechanism instead of the steam one included in the mr. coffee ecm160 4-cup steam espresso machine.