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Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
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Discussions > Espresso > Latte Art > Mr. Coffee...  
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011, 4:21pm
Subject: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

Hi there,

I am a coffee lover and recently after having watched a few latte art pouring videos, I was so amazed and hoping to learn that cool skill somehow :P However, I am just a student and don't have the $$ just to buy a good espresso macchine :S So I was wondering, is it possible to prepare proper microfoam milk for latte art pouring using just the cheap espresso machines such as Mr Coffee ECMP50(a pump macchine) or ECM260(A steam machine)? I would hope to get some opinion here before jumping into the buying and regret it afterwards. I've googled and searched the forums but didn't seem to find a direct answer for this. So any help would be appreciated. Thanks!:P
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IMAWriter
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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011, 6:34pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

You mention pouring micro foam, but what about the coffee?
Without a proper grinder, a source for freshly roasted coffee, and a decent machine...or at least a stove top pot ALL you'll have worth drinking is whipped milk.
To my knowledge, no machine as you describe can make anything resembling properly steamed milk. let alone suitable for art.

Please delve in to our wealth of information regarding milk steaming, etc.

I will say, with a $75  vintage wood manual grinder, and a refurbed Gaggia espresso machine ($200) you could make drinks easily as good, if not better than many cafes.

 
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 377
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Sat Jan 22, 2011, 7:01pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

IMAWriter Said:

You mention pouring micro foam, but what about the coffee?
Without a proper grinder, a source for freshly roasted coffee, and a decent machine...or at least a stove top pot ALL you'll have worth drinking is whipped milk.
To my knowledge, no machine as you describe can make anything resembling properly steamed milk. let alone suitable for art.

Please delve in to our wealth of information regarding milk steaming, etc.

I will say, with a $75  vintage wood manual grinder, and a refurbed Gaggia espresso machine ($200) you could make drinks easily as good, if not better than many cafes.

Posted January 22, 2011 link

Hmm, I was thinking that the one available in Walmart would be enough for that. They have a machine there which you could use for grinding after you've chosen the coffee beans you like. I thought that would probably last a week or so as my "fresh" source of ground coffee bean?Or maybe not?

"To my knowledge, no machine as you describe can make anything resembling properly steamed milk. let alone suitable for art."

Thanks, that was the piece of information I needed. If there's nothing below $100 that could do it, I guess I shouldn't even bother about trying it. =\  I've spent hours reading the information throughout the website. I understand what I've read for the most part, but what I lack is a good piece of machine or shall I say $$. Lol. And there wasn't any information about cheap machine not being able to make good microfoam milk, at least I did not stumble upon it so far. And as I said, $200 for the machine isn't the kind of money I can afford right now as a student.  =\

Thanks for replying me though. I really appreciate it. =)
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011, 10:27am
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

samuellaw178 Said:

Hmm, I was thinking that the one available in Walmart would be enough for that. They have a machine there which you could use for grinding after you've chosen the coffee beans you like. I thought that would probably last a week or so as my "fresh" source of ground coffee bean?Or maybe not?

"To my knowledge, no machine as you describe can make anything resembling properly steamed milk. let alone suitable for art."

Thanks, that was the piece of information I needed. If there's nothing below $100 that could do it, I guess I shouldn't even bother about trying it. =\  I've spent hours reading the information throughout the website. I understand what I've read for the most part, but what I lack is a good piece of machine or shall I say $$. Lol. And there wasn't any information about cheap machine not being able to make good microfoam milk, at least I did not stumble upon it so far. And as I said, $200 for the machine isn't the kind of money I can afford right now as a student.  =\

Thanks for replying me though. I really appreciate it. =)

Posted January 22, 2011 link

If $200 is outside the budget, there's certainly other methods of enjoying good coffee, vac pot, stovetop espresso pots, french press, and even (shudder) drip (though manual pour-over from a kettle generally gives better temp control than an "automatic drip" machine.  $15 or $20 will buy an "aerolatte" for creating nice foamy milk for French-style Cafe au Lait (large bowl cup, strong press pot coffee, and warm aerated milk (not steamed), or even using the same method with a stovetop espresso pot (Italians use these to get their first latte or cap to get them out of the house and down to the cafe to get their shots.....)

$200 may sound expensive, and it is, but espresso is, by far, the most expensive of coffee preparations, and is, in fact, the ONLY method that requires a substantial investment in equipment (keeping in mind that $200 is a radically low-budget setup for espresso, while, say, $70 (or less, maybe) for a decent drip/press grinder will have you enjoying excellent coffee.  Just don't plan on microfoam and latte art for anything less than a substantial budget....enjoy the coffee, not the milk :)

All that said, it's often said that, even to those who have several thousand dollars invested in commercial and semi commercial espresso equipment, the most expensive part of coffee is the coffee..... very good coffee beans are not cheap.   Walmart coffee would be almost certainly bottom of the heap, and unlikely to be much better than something like Folgers (despite the pretty bag or bulk hopper.)  Worse, pre-ground coffee is a no-no if you want to enjoy quality coffee. Whole bean coffee goes stale within about 2 weeks from being roasted.  Ground coffee goes stale within about 15 minutes.  Sadly, most bulk and pre-packed beans are older than 2 weeks before they're on the shelf.  And grinding it at the store, while maybe acceptable to some, if you're looking for great coffee, simply won't do.  

Before even talking about milk, if you really want to enjoy great coffee, the big things I'd invest in are a grinder and good beans.  A good grinder isn't cheap.  My first recommendation for drip/press/vac would be a Baratza Maestro....$70 refurb from Baratza.   If not that, you can get very good grinds from a manual hand mill that will cost even less....or the "fake burr" Krups or Cuisinart grinders may do ok, especially for press.  That's still an investment, but maybe something to save toward?  The other thing is good coffee.  From many of the high class roasters you'll see listed here, coffee runs $11-18 a pound.  If you can find a good local roaster (and I'm sure you can....they're everywhere if you search around), you may be able to get very fresh beans much cheaper.  THAT will open your coffee world much more than latte art :)

You wish list for coffee nirvana should consist of:
-Grinder (Baratza Maestro, great bet for anything but espresso, hand grinder (manual crank) second best choice - very cheap - a bit of work to use, or a "fake burr" Krups, Cuisinart - though not as good as first two options.)  This represents your major equipment cost.
-Great beans (there's dozens of top class roasters listed all over at CoffeeGeek - Metropolis, Redbird probably the cheapest, Counter Culture or Klatch, great choices depending on where you are.  Local roast alternative, probably cheaper.)
-Brew method.  Put the Mr. Coffee away.  Get a Melitta & a tea kettle.  If you want to spend more get a Bodum press, or an aluminum stovetop espresso pot, or a nice glass vac pot. If you want to geek out, get a Hario (like a Melitta, but geekier...))
-If you're insistent about milk drinks, get an Aerolatte and a microwave.  

The grinder is something to save up for a bit, but essential to allow you to use real beans.  Grinder quality is important, so I suggest decent ones here...but even a whirly blade with fresh beans is better than bad beans and a top of the line grinder (except for espresso....)
Beans....this IS your coffee...what you brew is what you drink, so the quality of your beans is everything!
Brew method...be it drip, press, vac, whatever....less important than the other two, just use it properly and keep your water temps right and you'll be fine.  This is the cheap part...a plastic Melitta and a box of filters is under $10.  

Overall, I'd rather have a great Cafe au Lait than an awful latte any day :)
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011, 7:22pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

TheMadTamper: I am very grateful for your reply! It has really opened me up to a new perspective in coffee drinking. Yes, I agree and it took me quite a while to realize that drinking coffee is really about coffee itself, not about the milk. A properly brewed coffee with the right beans triumph a bad latte any time. However I don't deny that a good milk does add points to the enjoyment, haha. For the time being, I guess what I can do is just save up for a good grinder and possibly a good espresso machine in the future. =\ I literally reread your reply for many many times. Haha. Thank you again for your great effort in replying to me. =)
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

samuellaw178 Said:

TheMadTamper: I am very grateful for your reply! It has really opened me up to a new perspective in coffee drinking. Yes, I agree and it took me quite a while to realize that drinking coffee is really about coffee itself, not about the milk. A properly brewed coffee with the right beans triumph a bad latte any time. However I don't deny that a good milk does add points to the enjoyment, haha. For the time being, I guess what I can do is just save up for a good grinder and possibly a good espresso machine in the future. =\ I literally reread your reply for many many times. Haha. Thank you again for your great effort in replying to me. =)

Posted January 24, 2011 link

Glad I could help!  I'll add that it's important to note that, with the exception of the Baratza Vario, there's virtually no grinder that's very well suited to BOTH espresso AND everything else.  So if you get a decent drip/press/vac grinder now, it probably won't be your espresso grinder.  Conversely, even if you bought a $3k top of the line espresso grinder today, you probably couldn't do much of drip or press with it.  So be sure to factor that into your equation!

And certainly there's nothing wrong with a good milk drink! My usual coffee "session" usually opens with espresso shots, followed by a "black" drink (Americano, Long Black, etc), and then either some machiattos or cappuccinos, even the occasional "frou frou" (chocolate/syrup) drink.  But starting with good coffee has to be the base...and milk can come later :)
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 377
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
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Posted Tue Feb 8, 2011, 2:03pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

Hehe, I wanna update/answer my own question in this post. It's actually possible to create latte art with almost any equipment. The thing is, to make a heavenly espresso shot for latte art, it's a whole new story all together =D

Below is my latte art,it's my best I think so far. Been only doing this for 2 weeks with a cheap equipments =P So I guess it's not so bad. I think you guys will be surprised with the equipments I used for this, which I will be posting on the new few post xD

themadtamper: it's not that I didnt heed your advice and bought the machine, I just borrowed it temporarily from a friend. :P It's an ECM260, which is from Walmart, a steam-driven one. But my Carezza is on its way now and my whole set of acessories (tampers etc) are also being delivered by UPS currently. =D

However, the only thing that I wasn't so satisfied with is the grinder, I bought the Capresso infinity after reading the mixed reviews. The first time I grind my freshly roasted coffee beans with it and it didnt seem to be 100% consistent,it was acceptable for a newbie though. I like the bittersweet aftertaste of espresso that came from it =D

samuellaw178: IMG_1690.jpg
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 377
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: Rosco Mini
Drip: French Press, Aeropress,...
Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Tue Feb 8, 2011, 2:07pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

These are my cheapo accessories  for satisfying my desperation temporarily xD notice the tin can on the right?That's my DIY milk pitcher for frothing,shaped it with a plyer and my brute force =P and the "tamper" was made from a plastic spice bottle with aluminium foil that I found that the size coincided with the portafilter diameter. =P

samuellaw178: IMG_1691.jpg
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 377
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: Rosco Mini
Drip: French Press, Aeropress,...
Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Tue Feb 8, 2011, 2:10pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

Here's the ECM260 steam toy and its cheapo companion, Capresso Infinity. Gonna say bye bye to Mr coffee once my Carezza arrive =D Got it used for almost 70 with upgraded silvia wand and shipped, guess its not so bad =P The new Capresso costed me about $80 shipped, but if I have the money, I will definitely upgrade it to something else. I will stick with it for now.

So it's kinda possible to do latte art and espresso for under $200. But it's important to distinct that it's only for passable latte art and espresso, not heavenly one if you're looking for that. ;)

Yeah, you can consider this a show-off post. But I am just too excited for them to arrive, sorry xD

samuellaw178: IMG_1702.jpg
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 377
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: Rosco Mini
Drip: French Press, Aeropress,...
Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Tue Feb 8, 2011, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 possible for making latte art?
 

And another cheapo solution, a rusted pot as my knockbox to prevent those messy ground coffee from dirtying the kitchen =P I usually knock the portafilter on a wide blade butcher knife inside the pot and then flush the leftover into the sinks ;) This is gonna stay with the incoming Carezza "family". Hehe. That's all for now I guess. I am so excited~

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