Great little tool for hands-off cappuccinos. A favorite of Italians before they head to the coffee bar.
Positive Product Points
Stovetop: takes no counterspace; attractive; makes a decent cup; operates without manual intervention; easy clean-up; fast brew (5-6 min).
Negative Product Points
Not really "espresso" -- not really "cappuccino" -- and pricey if you buy at retail. It also produces a kind of grody puck -- probably characteristic of a steam machine.
This is basically a moka pot with an ingenious steam valve that mixes and froths the coffee/milk. Put the water in the bottom, put the coffee in the middle (the filter basket), put the milk in the top. Set it on the stove at medium/high heat and about 5 minutes later you'll have 2-3 cups of cappuccino ready to go.
Listen, folks, it isn't rocket surgery ... it's a moka pot with a clever "frother." If you can make coffee in a moka pot, you can make cappuccino in the Mukka.
I roast/grind my own beans, I have a countertop espresso machine (Gaggia Coffee). I wanted something that would brew a milk-based drink without requiring me to stand there and do it myself -- while I'm preparing breakfast, or getting my lunch together. This machine fits the bill perfectly. I can measure out the water, coffee, and milk, set it on the stove and go about my business while it does its thing.
Sure, it doesn't make real espresso, sure it doesn't generate micro-foam (but you can still spoon the foam into your cups) ... however it doesn't require me to stand there and do it all myself -- that comes later when I pull my daily espreso shots the regular way. It makes a whopping 11oz of cappuccino (my wife and I share), does it in 5 minutes, and cleans up faster than the Gaggia (rinse, swish, pour).
An earlier reviewer mentioned the build-up of aluminum oxide in the lower (boiling) chamber-- this is a good thing! AlO2 is much harder than raw aluminum ... you want as much oxide build-up as possible (call it "seasoning"). Resist the temptation to scrub, scrub, scrub this discoloration away: it is your friend. Pay more attention to removing the milk residue from the upper chamber -- that can get nasty if left unattended.
At bottom, success comes from attention to detail: clean around/under the gaskets, measure carefully, load the coffee filter/basket over the sink (not on the water base), don't tamp the grounds, and don't blast the heat (all of these things are called out in the manual/DVD that accompanies the unit). Treat it like a moka pot, add your milk, and enjoy your effortless cappuccino ... then move on to true espresso for the rest of the day.
I give it a "two thumbs up" -- choose your coffee roast/grind carefully, use the best available water/milk, and you'll be smiling while you fold up your brown bag for the day. Enjoy!
I bought mine on eBay from a great seller - excellent item desciption, great packing, and quick shipping. For $42 03 I cut the retail price in (about) half and got a superb unit (with all the accessories in the original packaging).
I wouldn't pay $70-90 for this thing, why? It's good, but it ain't THAT good. If you have a countertop espresso machine, and are willing to spend the time required to crank out a cappa ... go for it, and forget about this. If you want a morning shortcut to a milk based drink, jump on the next one you find on eBay ... it's worth every penny.
OTOH, if you're spending big bucks at a retail coffee shop, you could probably amortize the retail cost pretty quickly. YMMV, and it's up to you. I like mine, and I'm keeping it.
Three Month Followup
I've used the Mukka Express nearly daily for three months now, and my opinion remains essentially unchanged -- it's a decent product that makes a drinkable cappa. If I were to change anything, I believe I'd make the filter basket bigger ... to hold more coffee. The brew it makes is a bit coffee-weak compared to "real" espresso, but you can't expect to extract the same goodness at a fraction of the pressure of a countertop espresso machine (2-3 bar versus 9 bar).