A friend recently told me that the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is my gateway to coffee bliss at an affordable price.
While I love going to my favorite coffeehouse, I know I can save more money at home.
I admit I wasn’t sold on this espresso machine when I first heard about it. I had doubts about its performance, so I decided to check how it works for myself.
I’ve tried and tested this coffee maker for several months. Here’s my Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista review, so you can decide if this is the best espresso machine for you.
My Review of the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Overall, I rate the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista 4.5 out of 5. It gets full marks for the ease of use and affordable price.
However, I had to deduct some points for coffee inconsistency and the complex cleaning process. Still, Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is one of the best coffee makers you can get at this price point.
Who Should Buy The Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker?
The Mr. Coffee semi-automatic machine is perfect for coffee enthusiasts seeking a budget-friendly and user-friendly option.
This is a great choice if you’re just entering the world of espresso and want to explore. It’s also a good option for individuals with limited kitchen space due to its compact design.
Why I Decided To Review The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
As an avid coffee lover and enthusiast, I couldn't resist the allure of the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.
Its reputation for affordability, versatility, and user-friendly features caught my attention.
I wanted to uncover the true capabilities of this coffee machine to help others make an informed decision to elevate their coffee experience.
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
I’m a home brewing enthusiast who started with Nespresso Vertuo and recently upgraded to Rancilio Silvia Pro X.
Money Saved Per Year
Favorite Drink To Brew
Espresso & Latte
What’s It Like To Live With The Mr. Coffee Machine
Here’s my experience with the Mr. Coffee espresso machine, from the moment I placed my order through making the first drink and using this coffee maker for a month.
What’s In the Box?
Here’s what you get in the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Maker box:
Pulling My First Espresso Shot on Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Here’s how I pulled my first shot on the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista:
Clean the machine — I washed the water and milk reservoirs, the portafilter, the filter baskets, and the tamper. I made sure they were dried and returned to the espresso machine (with the water reservoir filled). I also cleaned the inside of the machine by choosing the “prepare cappuccino” option without any ground coffee in the filter.
Prime the machine — I ran the steam cycle by filling the water tank and milk reservoir to the MAX level. I locked in the portafilter and placed the tip of the steaming wand pointed in the cup. I turned on the machine and waited for the “espresso heater” and “steam heater” lights to stop blinking. Finally, I pressed the manual espresso button and the manual froth button and waited until the panel lights turned solid again.
Lock in the portafilter — I added freshly ground coffee to the portafilter and tamped it to compact the coffee. I locked the portafilter into the group head.
Start brewing — I placed the espresso cup under the spot and pressed the button for a single espresso shot. The machine was done brewing in about 30 seconds.
Finally, I enjoyed my espresso. As a rule, I never expect much from the first shot when using a new espresso device. It usually takes at least a few tries to get the coffee volume and grind level right.
However, I was surprised by the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista shot. It was decent on the first try, and it only got better the more I experimented and learned to use the machine.
First Time Frothing Milk
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista has an interesting milk frothing process. The process is done automatically using a removable milk reservoir with a built-in steam wand. Here’s how it went, step-by-step:
- I filled the milk reservoir with milk
- I placed the frothed milk tube so it’s directed into my cup
- I adjusted the froth control knob, which lets me control how much froth I want to be added to the drink
- I pressed the cappuccino button and let the machine do the work.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista automatically frothed milk in the reservoir and dispensed it into my cup. The process was quick and fun to watch.
Tips From A Barista!
Whole milk is best for frothing. It makes soft, thick, and creamy froth.
Keep in mind this espresso machine uses a milk reservoir to froth. This means you don’t have manual control over the froth.
Also, the reservoir doesn’t have any measurements, so you need to use a measuring cup to make sure you have precise amounts of milk.
Overall, milk frothing is automatic and seamless. The frother creates powerful steam that results in thick froth. However, it’s not the best for creating micro-foam.
Also, there’s no manual control over the frother, which means no chance for latte art, but honestly, expecting that at this price point is overreaching.
How Much Control Do You Have Over the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista?
You don’t have much control over the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista coffee maker, and you can’t create custom coffee drinks. You can choose the size of your espresso, such as single or double espresso shots.
You can also adjust the level of milk foam in the milk you steam. There’s a dial on the milk frother, which you turn. The lower end is for lattes, and the opposite end is for cappuccinos.
That’s pretty much all the control you have. Of course, you have a lot of control over puck preparation. This is the part where you do all the work.
You need to grind, dose, distribute, tamp, etc. However, you can’t adjust the brewing temperature or the milk frothing temperature. These are automatically controlled by the machine.
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista maker doesn’t handle all roasts equally well. It faired worse when using lightly roasted beans.
I noticed the Mr. Coffee Café Barista didn’t extract complex flavors in the light roast as well as my other espresso makers.
This happens because of a lack of consistent brewing temperatures and pressure. This is a budget coffee pump espresso maker, which means no PID.
PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative and is a device that constantly monitors the temperature and makes adjustments in case of fluctuations to ensure consistent extraction.
I found the temperature swung between shots during the brewing process, which affected light roasts.
I had more success with dark roasts.
The flavors were nicely extracted. Also, dark roasts pair better with milk, which is great if you like milk-based beverages. The espresso flavor isn’t diluted by adding milk and sweeteners.
Here are the roasts I had the best results with when using Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker:
Tips From A Barista!
Always use fresh beans and finely ground coffee for espresso for the best flavor and extraction.
Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine
Considering how affordable it is, Mr. Coffee is extremely well-built. It has a black plastic exterior with stainless steel front panel and drip tray.
You even get two drip trays: one in the unit underneath the portafilter, so you can place full-size mugs.
The second drip tray pulls out from under the milk reservoir, so you can fit smaller espresso mugs without fearing your precious brew will spill.
The design is well-thought-out and enables intuitive use. All parts are clearly labeled.
There’s a power switch located on the lower-right edge of the machine and a one-touch control panel, where each button corresponds to a drink.
It has three buttons placed vertically for espresso, cappuccino, and latte.
For example, by pressing espresso, you start a single-shot brewing process. Pressing it twice, you’ll get a double shot.
When pressing three times, the machine goes into custom-brewing mode, where it pushes water through the filter until you press again to stop.
The same goes for Cappuccino and Latte, except that a long press starts manual frothing.
The milk reservoir fits well on the home espresso machine and is easily removable. You can store leftover milk in the fridge.
The automatic frother also has a clearly labeled knob that lets you control how much milk froth goes into the drink.
Overall, the machine is sleek and fits nicely into most kitchen decors. It’s also compact, with dimensions 14.7" L x 8.5" W x 12.6" H.
The only design part I wasn’t a fan of was the plastic tamper.
If your ground coffee isn’t tamped firmly enough, the water will flow through the coffee bed too quickly, and you’ll have an under-extracted shot.
Unfortunately, you can’t apply much pressure with this plastic tamper, so you’ll need to switch to a stainless steel one.
What Drinks Can Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Make?
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista can make these espresso drinks, cappuccino, and latte selections:
You can’t have drip coffee, but the drink options cover the most popular choices coffee lovers go for.
Overall, this semi-automatic coffee maker makes decent espresso drinks, and you can choose the number of espresso shots you want. The coffee can have a weak flavor occasionally.
However, I had decent espresso most of the time. Plus, when mixed with steamed milk, you don’t even notice this.
How Easy Is It To Use?
Out of all the semi-automatic machines I’ve tried, Mr. Coffee is one of the easiest to use. It has three buttons and indicator lights, which is all you need to make coffee.
You might need a few tries to get the hang of the buttons, as each one does three things. However, this will take only a few uses.
This machine gives you manual and automatic options and lets you easily choose between a single or double shot with one or two presses of a button.
Most importantly, it can froth milk automatically and dispense it in your coffee without any work from you. It really doesn’t get much easier than this.
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
It takes around seven minutes to heat up, finish the brewing process, and steam milk.
The preheating time takes around five minutes (but can take much less, depending on when you last used it).
Espresso brewing time takes around 30 seconds, and the automatic milk frother needs about a minute to froth your milk.
It’s not the quickest coffee machine I’ve used, but you’ll get your morning cup reasonably fast.
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
No, Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista doesn’t have a filtration system in the water reservoir.
Water is full of impurities, which can build up over time and lead to bitter coffee. This is why it’s important to regularly perform a cleaning process.
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista?
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is moderately hard to clean and descale. You can remove the water reservoir and clean it as needed.
I recommend running one or two shots through an empty portafilter to keep the machine in good shape and have quality espressos.
The user manual also recommends disassembling and cleaning the portafilter every three months and descaling the machine every 40 to 80 brew cycles.
Unlike other machines, the portafilter on the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista has a lever on the handle that latches onto the filter, so it doesn't fall out when dumping the grounds, which I found was a nice touch.
The milk reservoir is the most complicated part to clean. You should place a large cup under the frothing wand and turn the knob to the clean position.
Press and hold the latte/clean button and wait for the machine to stop.
Finally, dispose of the cup content and wash the milk reservoir and its parts. Luckily, the reservoir and its lid are dishwasher-safe.
My Favorite Parts About The Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker
My favorite part of this machine is the convenience. It’s a perfect entry-level espresso machine under $300 that makes lattes and cappuccinos with one touch.
Moreover, it’s extremely affordable. You aren’t likely to find other espresso makers at this price point that can automatically make milk-based drinks.
Finally, the coffee machine can make versatile drinks. Choose between a single or dual shot and various cappuccino and latte sizes.
My Least Favorite Parts About The Mr. Coffee
I didn’t like that you don’t have very consistent results on this coffee machine. The temperature can vary, and you need to be careful which beans you use.
Also, it doesn’t come with a grinder. You need a grinder that can create fine grounds for great espresso shots, and good grinders aren’t cheap.
Finally, the cleaning process isn’t the most straightforward, especially the milk system. You need to do several steps to maintain the machine and ensure great coffee.
Mr. Coffee Vs Similar Espresso and Cappuccino Machines
Mr. Coffee vs DeLonghi EC155
The DeLonghi EC155 is another entry-level semi-automatic machine. The main difference between Delonghi and Mr. Coffee is that DeLonghi doesn’t have a manual milk frother.
Instead, you need to froth the milk yourself. This also means more control over the milk foam, and you can develop your barista skills.
On the other hand, it also means a higher learning curve, especially if you’re new to coffee brewing.
Mr. Coffee vs Nespresso Vertuo
The Nespresso Vertuo is a pod-only machine. This means there’s no option to use ground coffee. You insert the Nespresso pod, press a button, and the machine automatically brews coffee for you.
On the other hand, Mr. Coffee has both options — You can use ESE pods or ground coffee.
The pods come in handy when you don't want to put in the work to create a puck, but it's great you also have the option to make espresso the traditional way.
Also, Nespresso Vertuo doesn’t have a built-in milk frother. You can buy a separate frothing attachment that automatically froths milk, which is an additional expense.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
It’s best to use dark beans with the Mr. Coffee espresso maker. These provide the best results for espresso and milk-based drinks.
Yes, the Mr. Coffee espresso machine needs filters. You need to use the ESE pod filter, single or double shot filter in the portafilter.
Yes, you can use Mr. Coffee without a water filter. In fact, this espresso maker doesn’t come with water filters.
You make a latte with Mr. Coffee espresso machine by filling the water tank, making a puck, locking in the portafilter in the group head, and filling up the water reservoir. Then you press the latte button, and the machine makes your drink.
Mr. Coffee espresso machines can last up to five years with proper maintenance.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Review: Final Thoughts
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso machine is a great beginner machine. The setup and use are easy. The overall design is elegant, and the main features are user-friendly.
You'll get the hang of making lattes and cappuccinos in no time. Overall, if you're on a low budget, you can't find a more affordable machine with an automatic milk system.
Mr. Coffee Espresso And Cappuccino Maker