Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Maker
15 Bars of PRESSURE
Okay, so there are a lot of mixed reviews on this product and if you are considering buying the Mr. Coffee ECMP-50, please give it a chance.
First of all I am no expert on this machine. I have just made my first Latte and am very relieved my machine works and the quality is what you make it as far as I'm concerned. Now understand this is my second machine! I just bought the ECMP-50 yesterday and upon setting it up, the machine only "flashed" it's glaring lights at me and nothing more. I was a little disheartened but figured it was a lemon, and thankfully it was!
So today I exchanged my machine for a new one and yes it works just fine but lets' look a little closer. So consider first off this is a low end espresso machine. $80... great price and honestly I don't expect much out of this for this price range. I am just tired of going to Starbucks and spending $3 a pop on an espresso drink. So point #1...
1- If you can get about 100 uses out of this machine... it just paid for itself. So if it breaks after that, who cares. Buy another one! It's not a big deal.
Next, I hear a lot of people complain about the steam wand here. Honestly guys the rubber tip really is designed to help keep the wand clean. If you truly want to sanitize your wand you are going to need to soak it in a water/santizing solution for a little bit at least once a day. The rubber piece allows you to at least remove it and wash it in a mild solution. Secondly! The steamer works great, don't listen to the bad rap people give it, they honestly must not understand how to work the thing.
2-To properly steam your milk! GET A THERMOMETER! Yes you need this. Next you need COLD milk. Steam up to about 140-160 degrees depending on your preference and you should be good to go. To get quality foam you need not just cold milk but lift the steam wand to the top of your milk towards the end of your steaming cycle to just steam the surface.
I can't comment on the leaking problem because I have not had this machine long enough but It sounds like a quick return to where you purchased it or sending it to Mr. Coffee should take care of this
and all other structural/wear and tear defects. (hopefully)
So. Given my experience working at Starbucks for a few years I can tell you that after using this machine. Price does not matter. Starbucks espresso machines run from $5000+ easily and they break down a lot more than you think (also get used a lot more!) But think of this like a car. It's a machine, it's going to require maintenance and cleaning. Take care of it. Use clean filtered water to prevent build up. Run recommended cleaning solutions through your machine periodically to break down deposits. This is plastic, do not be aggressive or forceful with your machine. Treat it like a lady :)
What I don't like?
-So far it's just a minor inconvenience but turning the dial for the steamer setting with a required purge at the end is a little annoying. I'd rather be able to have a little more control over my steaming and be able to purge the wand myself afterwards. BUT the swivel on the wand is great, and I'm satisfied with the length and quality of it. My milk was the right temp (with thermometer) & did not take very long to do... and the foam was better than what I usually get handed at "the bucks".
-I don't like that I cannot brew espresso & steam at the same time.
-I don't like that the espresso will continue to brew until you turn the dial and make it stop. If your not paying attention you'll overflow your shot glass and lose your crema :( very sad. Speaking of shot glasses? Get espresso shot glasses, they will indicate where you should stop the brewing process making sure you have the best quality espresso possible.
I know this is a bit long and I have a hard time reading long reviews but I hope this gives a little insight. This machine is worth the money and will be just as durable and reliable as machines that run in this price range up to $1,000. It's frustrating getting a lemon but it happens. Don't be discouraged.
Starbucks makes a great little home brew kit with 2 shot glasses, measuring scoop, clamps, steam pot, and thermometer for about $20 as well which is a great companion for this machine.
Oh one last thing. You can buy this at Target. So very convenient to not deal with all the mail-order delays if you have an issue.
Best of luck, and happy brewing!