espresso

Capresso Cafe Manual Espresso Maker Review

Considering its cheap price, the Capresso Café's lackluster performance isn't surprising.

December 09, 2011
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Performance Overview

The Capresso Café produced resonable espresso, but did a poor job of steaming and foaming milk.
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Espresso Speed

The Capresso Café was a rather slow machine to make espresso shots, as it seemed to take the boiler and pump a long time to start getting the water flowing. It took us 48 seconds to pull a single shot, and 56 seconds for a double. More on how we test the brewing process.

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Espresso Quality

We found that the quality of the espresso produced by this machine was adequate, but far from great. The shots that we pulled with our reference test beans had good color and a reasonable amount of crema, but the crema was rather dark and variable from shot to shot.

We don't test the taste of the espresso produced, but we do look at the strength by measuring the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). The higher this percentage is, the stronger the brew. We don't look for a specific percentage, but for the ability to create a range of strengths, so the user can get the espresso strength that they like. We found that this machine had good performance here, with the single shot having a TDS of 8%, and the larger double at 5.3%. Both of those are on the strong side, so this espresso maker may be better for those who like a strong shot, as they all seem to turn out on the strong side.. More on how we test the brewing process.

Espresso Shot Photo
A double shot brewed by the Capresso Cafe
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Espresso Quantity

As a semi-manual espresso maker, the Capresso Café can produce any quantity of espresso from a small shot (we were able to pull shots of about three quarters of a fluid ounce) up to a double shot. The limiting factor is how much coffee you can get into the filter, which can hold enough for a good double shot. More on how we test the brewing process.

Milk & Foam

The Capresso Café has a steam wand with an attached foam helper on the right side. This is rather oddly set at the back of the machine; you have to reach around the front to get to it. We found that this did a rather poor job of steaming the milk in our tests, taking rather longer than we like to heat the milk and producing foam with large bubbles that quickly broke down. The steam was also very variable, with the flow of steam often rising and falling as the boiler struggled to keep up. With some patience, it is possible to get decent foam, but the lack of any steam level control and a seemingly underpowered heating system made for poor performance.

We also noticed that the system had an annoying habit of letting off excess steam from a release valve in the front of the body when we turned it off. If you were reaching down to grab the cup from the drip tray at the wrong time, you could get a blast of steam on the hand. It didn't burn, but it certainly wasn't what we expected and was not pleasant.

Foam Photo
A latte macchiato brewed by the Capresso Cafe

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Page
  2. Design
  3. Performance
  4. Usability
  5. Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Comparison
  6. illy Francis Francis X7.1 Comparison
  7. Rancilio Silvia Comparison
  8. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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