How much have you spent on coffee at your favorite café this past year? If you figure the average cost of a special drink like a pumpkin spice latte is about $5.00, that is only 40 cups and if you go almost every day, you can break the bank just buying coffee. This is exactly why I decided on getting Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker to use at home.
Like me, you probably want one that will make your favorite coffee just like the barista at your café makes it but you may only have $200 to spend. If that’s the case then this article is for you so you can decide on the best pump espresso machine under $200.
After I bought Mr. Coffee Café Barista espresso machine, I decided to see how long it would for it to pay for itself so I put the money I would have spent at the café in a jar every time I made myself my favorite cappuccino. It only took two months! I kept doing that and in a year I had enough to go on vacation to Hawaii.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Overview
Let me tell you why I decided to buy this particular coffee maker and then choose it as the best pump espresso machine under $200. The biggest thing that influenced me was watching some videos on how easy it was to use and how I could enjoy gourmet cappuccinos from the comfort of my home without unnecessary trips to the café. Besides that, I have had Mr Coffee coffee makers that have lasted me for years and the company has a great reputation of standing behind their products.
While it makes more espresso related drinks, the quality may not match what you get from the coffee shop. However, combining the best skills learned from the videos made sure that I got the most out of the portafilter.
Before getting to the full review, here is a video reviewing the coffee brewer together with a tutorial on how to use it.
The Automated Milk Frother Feature
Another feature about Mr Coffee Café Barista is that it automatically does milk frothing. You don’t have to stand there and hold the steam wand in the milk to make a cappuccino. You just fill it and let the Café Barista determine how much is needed and then return the unused portion to the refrigerator.
There is a dial for the frother which I use to control the amount of foam I need in my cappuccino. The higher end of the froth spectrum is meant for the cappuccinos while the opposite suits the lattes. After using the milk, it’s advisable to return the remaining amount in the fridge for preservation. The good thing is that you can use the reservoir to store the milk and fill it when you need more.
It has a one-touch control panel where you can choose either single or double shot simply by pressing the button one or two times. Everything is programmed in for an espresso, cappuccino or latte.
If you push and hold the espresso button, you will enter the custom mode. That tells the machine to continue drawing water from the removable tank and push it via the filters. Once enough, push the button again to stop.
The latte and cappuccino buttons can also function the same. The only difference here is that long pressing them will activate the cleaning cycle (for the steam wand) or manual frothing.
Coarse Grounds for the Portafilter
Before going ahead to brew, you need to attend to the portafilter first. Mr Coffee comes with a portafilter that allows you to pull single or double shots by choosing the right filter for what you need. You can use the fine grounds for espresso, but superfine is not suitable for the machine. Using finer grounds leads to filter clogging and frequent cleaning. You will not be able to get the full coffee flavor when the filters are subjected to such conditions.
Since the unit comes with a coffee scoop, all you need is a dedicated burr grinder and a tamper that can add at least 30lbs of pressure on the grounds before fixing the porta on the brewing machine. If you have a hand grinder, it works excellently with this machine since you get more of coarse grounds than the finer ones.
If you are asking if you can use the pods here, there is no room for that here. I have seen some customers saying that there is a pod attachment for this machine which you have to buy separately. I do not need the pods with this machine, but if you want, then you can search for the attachment online.
The Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker gives you 15 bars of pressure for fabulous results. If you’re not sure what that means, a single bar of pressure is one unit of atmosphere pressure. That pressure is used to force the hot water through the coffee grounds and to get the right amount of pressure for an espresso shot, you need at least 8 bars of pressure.
The pump also allows two different temperatures—one for brewing and one for steaming, which gives you a continuous supply of steamed water for drinks like cappuccinos. The industry standard is 9 bars of pressure and many believe that having 15 will make the espresso even better. It will give you the perfect amount of pressure to make perfect crema.
Flaws But Not Deal Breakers
At times, Mr Coffee is known to produce some weak tasting coffee, but that is something you can solve by just following the included manual. Before using it, it is necessary for you to prime the brewer so that it can always reach the desired espresso temperatures. You can check for the steps on page 8 of the manual.
As for the froth, apart from the settings, you also need the right milk to give you the best foam. Still, for better results, you also need to take time and clean the machine. That means running some vinegar in it before giving it a water running cycle to clean the vinegar odor out. I like to use a full water tank for that. For both reservoirs (milk and water tank), they are dishwasher safe.
To conclude on Mr Coffee’s matter, you don’t need to have Barista knowledge to create custom coffee drinks just like the café does that you’ve been going to. A recipe book comes with it to make other special drinks like cafe mochas, toffee lattes, espresso martinis, or caramel cappuccinos.
Watch a video recommended for new users before you use your machine here (it is on priming your machine to be ready to brew when you first get it):
Here are some of the Mr Coffee Café Barista fantastic features:
- Semi-automatic 3-in-1 espresso, latte, and cappuccino maker
- The 15-bar pump system brews superb and rich tasting espresso
- The automatic milk frother is easy to use
- One-touch control panel to make one or two select drinks
- Milk and water reservoirs are easy to remove and fill
- The cleaning cycle is partially programmed
- Available in all black, silver with black or red with black
- Tools come with it of a measuring scoop with tamper and filters
- Dimensions are 11.2 inches wide x 8.9 inches deep x 12.6 inches high
- Excellent machine for the beginner with some knowledge on making espresso
- Easy to operate with one-touch controls
- Outstanding pressure with the 15-bar pump
- Automatic milk frother
- Easy to dismantle for cleaning
- The milk reservoir does not have lines on the side that would indicate how much is needed for the different drinks
- You cannot use the finest grounds due to filter clogging
- Doesn’t produce as much for a drink as instructions claim
- Cleaning can be time-consuming
It’s nice to know you don’t have to have Barista experience to make custom coffee drinks that you love. If you have ever watched a Barista make your cappuccino you know how long it can take but with this machine that is automated, it can be much faster and taste just as good. We hope our review of the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker helps you decide if this is the best pump espresso machine under $200 for you.