Easy to use, solid construction, pump driven system makes decent shot of espresso
Negative Product Points
Water leaks from steam wand while brewing, picky about coffee grind, head gaskets wear out prematurely, frothing with rubber attachment is hit or miss
After several years of use, my Krups Espresso Mini steam toy finally wore out and I began looking for a new machine. Since the Krups had only a steam plug, I really wanted a machine that had a valve to select between brewing and steaming milk. I noticed Target's ad for the Mr. Coffee pump espresso machine for just $79 and just had to take a look. Most pump models I had seen were at least twice this amount.
I was surprised then when I checked it out and found the machine was mostly metal and fairly heavy suggesting a much more quality product. I bought it and took it straight home to give it a test run. The owner's guide was fairly straight forward and I didn't have any trouble setting it up. My first results were not what I expected as the water rushed out and produced a weak cup of espresso. Grinding the coffee finer made the espresso just dribble out very slowly. Over time, I learned how to grind my coffee so that it produces the correct results. The results? A surprisingly decent shot of espresso with a nice cap of crema, something my Krups machine never did.
Frothing works about as well as my Krups machine. The rubber frothing adapter seems to be somewhat tempermental varying between drawing in too much air (lukewarm milk with large bubbly froth) and not enough air (scalded milk with little froth). Again, I have learned how to adjust the adapter and frothing technique to get the results I want.
When I first started using this machine, I initially noticed that the filter arm was difficult to lock into the unit's brew head and it fit very tightly. Eventually, my twisting damaged the brew head gasket and the unit began leaking water while brewing. A call to Mr. Coffee customer service was all that was needed, they sent me two replacement brew head gaskets which I am still using today. Now the unit is leaking again and I am waiting for more replacement gaskets to repair it. It appears from what I've read this is a common issue for this and other espresso machines.
Also, over time water has begun leaking from the steam wand while brewing espresso which seems to indicate the internal valve is starting to wear out. Still, after almost daily use for 1.5 years, I feel like I got more than my money's worth. If you're on a budget, I don't think you'll find a better pump espresso machine for the price.
Easy purchase at Target, but have noticed this product seems to have disappeared from store shelves. Walmart currently offers only on their web site.