Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Review
If you’re looking for a well-made espresso machine at the top of the entry-level price range, the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista could be for you. At this price tag , it’s more expensive than most, yet offers more features and could prove a great purchase for those who don’t quite want to spend top money yet, but still want to create a decent brew.
One thing we noticed straight away during our test, was the ease of first operation. The instructions are extremely clear and with features like automatic milk frothing not normally found in this price range, it was extremely easy to go from boxed up to first brew.
We managed a setup time of 19 minutes, reading the instructions too!
One of the reasons why it’s simple to get going, is the easy control panel. It features LED lights that tell you exactly when the machine is ready to get brewing, taking the fuss out of finding the correct steam pressure and temperature.
Of course, this may dismay the purists who want as much control as possible, yet we’ve a feeling that Mr Coffee have a specific segment of the market in mind here, one that doesn’t want a fuss – just a great brew every time!
Heat up time is a very reasonable 1 minute exactly, exactly what we’ve come to expect from the entry level espresso crowd.
Design & Quality
You can definitely tell that Mr Coffee are attempting to re-create the semi-professional barista look. Polished steel is located on the front panel, drip tray and warming plate, yet there’s elements of polished plastic that does detract from this look.
However, at this price we’re very pleased to see what Mr Coffee have attempted given the price constraints; fit and finish is well up there in the entry level segment and we took the time to compare the Mr Coffee machine directly with a Russel Hobbs in the sub $100 category.
The differences are tangible and the Mr Coffee Café Barista does look like a far more premium quality product. Our only gripe is the amount of shiny black plastic used. We might have preferred a more satin look to avoid drawing attention away from the stainless steel finishes, which work perfectly.
This is purely a personal issue however.
During our week long test, we gave the Mr Coffee a good workout, making multiple cups of coffee per day and keeping an office of 8 staff well served.
The base of the machine comes in at only 12 x 14 inches, making it slightly larger than its cheaper cousins and about the same size as espresso makers in higher price range. We believe this is purely a move by Mr Coffee to associate the Café Barista with higher end machines.
The control panel is easy to use with settings for Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte, plus the usual dial to control steam wand pressure. The steam wand doesn’t take long to get up to full temperature and we found it produced steam for a solid 50 seconds before losing pressure – not bad at all!
The milk frother function is a very welcome feature indeed and works perfectly. Even less experienced members of the team managed to put together a wonderfully rich crema and reported that it was easy to do. Again, we believe that this ease of use is definitely aiming this coffee machine away from the enthusiast market, something that will definitely please many general users.
The Mr Coffee Café Barista does however lack one important element that we would have loved to see, a coffee grinder. However, at this price we do wonder what the quality of such a grinder would be so perhaps it’s a case of “careful what you wish for”.
What Mr Coffee have managed quite well, is to produce a product at apes the look of machines twice its price without skimping on the quality of the brew process; if some features are junked along the way to fulfil the brief then we feel Mr Coffee chose well.
Keeping It Clean
The lack of a hopper and grinder makes this machine an easy clean. The stainless steel was easy to wipe and polish, although the plastic did prefer a rub with a dry cloth to take the water marks off. One feature we really love about the Mr Coffee; is the way the puck is left perfectly dry after each brew.
For those of you who are used to cheaper machines that leave a sloppy mess behind after each pour, the Mr Coffee becomes a real joy to use and should be a huge benefit if you want to use your leftover pucks for the garden.
The basket, drip tray and wand are all easily dismantled, although we did notice one or two bits of plastic holding key equipment together.
Pros & Cons
Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Review : Our Verdict
We began to see exactly what market Mr Coffee were aiming for during our test. This espresso machine is all about great looks, ease of use and simplicity and within the confines of this design spec, we think Mr Coffee have really created something good that should please many users.
Sure, the enthusiast won’t find much cheer here; however, this machine is going to work perfectly in a busy family home were people don’t have enough time to discover the perfect brew, they just want the machine to do all the guesswork for them.
The Mr Coffee does this in spades and we feel it deserves a 4.5 out of 5 for trying to be different!