For some espresso fans out there, the idea of being able to create their own lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos at home sounds great, but they may be a little intimidated with the learning process, or just want things to be a little more simplified than what they’d get with a traditional espresso machine.
Mr. Coffee is a brand that has built a reputation on creating coffee makers that are very easy to use, even for first-timers who have no idea what they’re doing. It comes as no surprise that they’ve carried this thinking over to espresso machines as well.
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is very impressive in that t manages to combine the look and feel of a true semi-automatic espresso maker with some user-friendly features that makes the process quicker and easier.
This means you can still get a cafe-style espresso beverage, but with a little less work and worry. Oh, and for an economical price as well -- another Mr. Coffee hallmark.
But is the Cafe Barista really capable of consistently creating authentic espresso beverages for both the novice and enthusiast? Absolutely.
At first glance, the Cafe Barista looks similar to an ordinary semi-auto machine. It’s a little on the compact side, but it’s got the portafilter, a few buttons on the front...but what is that milk pitcher?
Before we get to that, let’s first talk about how it looks in general. This machine has an understated and sleek look, and can easily compliment most any decor style.
The Cafe Barista is available in three very different color options: a bold wine red color, a contemporary white, or a traditional stainless steel. This allows for a more custom look depending on your preferences. The red color is very sharp, and different.
The espresso machine operates with a 15 pump pressure system, which lets it heat up fairly quickly, while providing plenty of power and pressure for pulling quality shots with regularity. The portafilter assembly works like any other, and allows for single and double shots, depending on the amount you’d like brewed.
After loading the portafilter with grounds, you can then choose between three different espresso beverage settings, or create a custom shot pull that’s more dialed in to what your preferences are.
So, about that milk frother. This is what sets the Cafe Barista apart from other espresso machines. Rather than worry about using a steam wand to make the milk yourself, this one does it all for you.
All you do is fill the reservoir, choose your foam setting that spans between latte and cappuccino, and press a button.
The milk then starts to heat and foam in the reservoir, and will then come out of a dispenser nozzle that is aimed right where your mug or cup should be when pulling the shots. That’s about as convenient as it gets.
The milk steamer, combined with the automatic shot settings you can choose makes the Cafe Barista easy for anyone to use. For some, the milk steaming part is perpetually tricky, so that is a welcome feature for sure.
The economical price and ease of use is a big reason as to why the Cafe Barista is consistently a top seller. We certainly understand.
When first looking at the Cafe Barista, the milk frother can seem a bit gimmicky, and make you doubt whether it can actually make good espresso. Well, rest assured that it definitely can.
The 15 bar pressure system is on par with other semi-auto espresso makers. The portafilter is the same, the shot pulling process is the same, and the shots are great -- as long as you’ve ground them correctly and used the right amount, of course.
We like the look of this machine. It’s small, but still has the stature of a serious espresso machine. The interface is clear and attractive, and the color options are all nice as well.
As far as the milk frother goes, we think it’s very cool. Yes, it might take the fun out of it for those that like to steam their own milk, but honestly, the machine does it just fine on its own, and the fact that you can stand there and watch it steam, foam, and then send the milk right into your cup is awesome.
Again, those that don’t want to do all the work will appreciate this feature.
It’s really hard to find any faults with a machine this affordable and capable, but there’s always room for improvement.
The automatic shot selections are kind of strange. Not really sure why making a latte or cappuccino would make a difference on what kind of shot you pull, so that’s a weird and unnecessary inclusion.
It’s not really a big deal though. You can just use the latte shot setting for everything, or just make your own manual setting, which we think is best.
The milk frother, as cool as it is, can be a little annoying to clean, but that’s pretty unavoidable. A cleaning indicator light would be a nice addition as well.
If you’re wanting some kind of super-authentic espresso making experience, you aren’t going to get it with the Cafe Barista, but that’s really only because of the milk system. Every other aspect is normal.
As always, check the dimensions to make sure it fits on your counter space, and order some quality espresso beans with your new machine as well.
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista really is a nice espresso maker that takes some of the guesswork and stress out for those that want things to be a little easier, without sacrificing overall beverage quality. That’s actually a pretty hard thing to pull off, but the Cafe Barista does.
For under $200, this espresso machine is very affordable, and provides a big step up from inferior budget-minded models that craft mediocre beverages. If you want consistently good espresso beverages without putting as much of the work in, you’ll love the Cafe Barista.