I had one of these (well, still do, more in a moment on that). =
I got it about 2-3 years ago they were around $89. So $49 is a=
deal, depending on what your expectations are and who it's for.
It's heads and shoulders above the cheap steam-driven $30=
machines, because it's pump-driven. This is most useful because=
allows you to foam as much as you want while still having=
for espresso. Every time I've tried to use the steam boiler=
at friends and family, it's a struggle to get both espresso and=
from the same tank, with the result that both turn out watery.=
removable water tank and "temp. ready" lights are nice feature=
It is solidly built, although needing hand to prevent it sliding=
locking in the filter; I suspect the person who mentioned it was=
flimsy was comparing it to the "big boys"; there I agree. Among=
department store lines, though, it's pretty well made.
It did me well for a while, and with practice you can get a=
espresso out of it (if you're frame of reference is the average=
specialty coffee shop down the street, and not your friend's home=
roasted hand pull on the $500 import machine).
That said, the fact you're on this list will be your downfall,=
as far as this machine is concerned. You'll soon yearn to push=
the limitations of Mr. Coffee.
To the uninitiated, it's a good deal, as most will never spend=
than $100 on anything coffee related. But the portafilter is,
indeed, cheap - it looks like someone took a nail and hammer to a=
piece of aluminum, no finely machined basket here. The plastic
scoop/tamper is about 2-3 mm too small in diameter, so tamping=
misses around the edges, requiring multiple tamps, preventing=
even pressure across the grounds.
In my quest to improve crema and extraction, I ground too finely,=
tamped too tightly, or some combination thereof. When I turned=
on, a few drips came out, then suddenly, BOOM, steam and hot=
grounds everywhere. The silicone gasket between the portafilter=
the head had ripped under the backpressure. A call to the Mr.=
and then to the local auth. repair shop reveals that this gasket,=
remarkably, is not on the 'parts list' (only big pieces like=
water tank', etc. are).
Under "normal person" use, though, I don't think this would ever=
happened, I was trying to push the limits of the machine...
So I've been out of commission for a while, appeasing myself with=
Bodum press pot. I'm going to send the gasket to Mr. Coffee and=
if they'll do anything about it, but I don't have much hope, as=
already out of warranty.
As for the epinions article at http://www.epinions.com/content_54438497924, some brief comments=
"cleanup a joy" and "flawless design" - whatever. The steam=
too low, making it difficult to get a pitcher underneath, when it=
could have easily been mounted two inches higher. The steamer is=
also improperly angled, making it drip mink exactly on the edge=
the drip tray, making a mess of the side of the unit and the=
underneath. Also, the switch is counter intuitive, for steam, you=
turn the know _away_ from the steam tube.
I don't know how these easily fixable flaws make it through the
prototype stage of products... You can see these flaws clearly=
here:http://i.walmart.com/i/p/00/07/21/79/00/0007217900875_500X500.jpg="lightweight but durable measuring and tamping tool has a good=
to it" - again, whatever. They've obviously never used or seen a=
tamper, if they say this about an undersized hollow plastic scoop=
with a flat end on it.
"As I gushed on about wonderful service" - well that may be=
warranty and with ominous mention of 'Epinions' on the phone, but=
was given no options other than to go through a local service=
who were then unhelpful, even though I was willing to pay for the=
Unfortunately, there's no quality middle ground, price wise,=
this $50-100 machine and the $400 high end likes of Gaggia and=
So I sit espresso-less, trying to justify a new coffee appliance=
while I have on the "gizmos to buy" list a TV for the den,=
upgrades, ReplayTV, digital camera, and other goodies, all of=
are much more interesting to my wife, who could care less about
anything coffee, (but does like the foamer for hot chocolates). =
However, for the above average consumer who prefers and can
appreciate a good drink crafted by a barista, but is still
occasionally tempted by "push a button" cappuccinos, this is a=
machine for the price. The type of people who enjoy dousing=
cappo with "carmel mint mocha" syrups, and don't quite understand=
purist mentality of pure, unadulterated espresso.
This would be a great money saver for your favorite college=
I know I would have appreciated saving the $2.50 on my way to=
(back in the day when pure espresso was a bit too intense for=
I'd probably also consider buying one for my parents to replace=
little steam jobbie for convenience and quality. Any more money=
spent on something more advanced than Mr. Coffee would be lost on=
their palate, though. :)
As for me, I'm tempted to get a replacement for just $49, but I=
for me, I'm better off saving that cash towards one of the $400
machines and getting something I'll be happy with for years,=
it means going a few months without my fix.
So this Mr. Coffee machine might do the trick for you, depending=
how demanding a coffee connoseur you are or who it is for.
WalMart has it online here for $9.96:http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=1603760(I post the link since it will be a cold day in hell on some
alternate planet of reality before SM ever carries such a beast!=
know you want the Solis SL-90 with free shipping instead! http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.espresso.shtml)
If anyone has recommendations on decent $100-350 espresso=
homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast