Makes HOT coffee, looks attractive, and the steam function is better than expected.
Positive Product Points
The CoffeeTEC makes hot coffee. It has a (mostly) solid carafe, and clear and simple display and indicators. The steam/froth feature is surprisingly powerful. I think that it has a modern and attractive appearance.
Negative Product Points
The controls are small. I have my concerns about the construction of the filter basket. Access to the water reservoir is a bit awkward. The pour spout on the carafe seems fragile.
The biggest attraction of this machine to me was that it was rumored to make HOT coffee. I can confirm the rumors, it does actually make hot coffee. That feature alone makes it worth what I paid for it.
Because I have an espresso machine with a large boiler I have little need for the steam function, however I did test it and it is surprisingly powerful, given the size of the machine. The steam pump is very quiet and effective. The steam function is activated every time you make a pot of coffee, and would be useful for preheating your coffee cup even if you didn't use it to froth with. Even though I generally wouldn't use the frothing/steam feature, it seems capable enough that I may yet find some task for it.
I like the carafe which seem sturdy, for the most part. It has a well designed, brew-through lid. It also has a wide footprint that I think might be impossible to knock over. It keeps the coffee hot for as long as I need it to, but that may have more to do with the fact that the coffee is hot when it's brewed, or that I preheat it with a few ounces of boiling water. My only complaint about the carafe is that the pour spout seams fragile, and I can easily imagine it being chipped or cracked if it ever got dropped or banged against something.
There is something attractive about the LCD display that I can't quite put my finger on. It might be the color (dark green) or that it is bright and clear. The indicator LED's are bright and intuitive as well.
The water reservoir is located on the right side and toward the rear of the machine, as a result you need several inches of clearance on those two sides to get the reservoir out. As others have pointed out, you may find that you need to slide the machine out from under a cabinet to get at the reservoir.
The controls are somewhat small and may be difficult for some people to operate, (e.g. arthritis, people with large fingers). They do seem to be pretty sturdy given their size.
My biggest concern about this machine is the filter basket. The filter basket has an overly complicated (IMHO) latch and release button that I fear may stop working one day. In general, the filter basket seems light weight (read as "cheap"), the same might be said of the water reservoir.
Overall, I like this machine and would probably buy it again. My only reason for saying that I "might" buy it again is that I am not sure that steam/froth function is useful to me personally, and I have since found out that Capresso makes other, more simple, machines that are capable of brewing hot coffee.
Thanks to an earlier review by Keith Beam, I was able to get this as a factory referb direct from the Capresso website. Overall, it is difficult to tell that it was used at all, however I was disappointed to find that the connections for the steam/frothing feature on the machine had sour milk in them. It was easy to clean, but I would have preferred that Capresso clean it before they shipped it.
I recall that it seemed kind of difficult to find the factory referb page (I may have even had to Google it), but it was worth looking for since I got the machine for $80 less than any other online retail price.
Three Month Followup
The CoffeeTEC does make hot coffee, and has held up well so far. If I had it to do over again, I would probably purchase a different Capresso model, as I don't use the steam feature, nor the timer. The MT500 is rumored to make hot coffee as well, and has a smaller footprint.
Overall it is an excellent machine and I would not hesitate to buy any refurbished model from Capresso again.