Capresso Mini-S Espresso/Cappuccino Machine Review
The Capresso Mini-S showed up a few weeks ago, and I wanted to post a review as soon as I could knowing a lot of readers are interested in these entry level steam-based espresso brewers. The most basic espresso brewers are these boiler-based brewers that heat the water and boil it through the espresso cake to produce the espresso. This maker is not all that unlike a Moka Pot in that regard. Simple and easy to operate. The advantage that you get with a brewer like the Capresso Mini-S over a Moka pot is that you can actually steam the milk with the unit.
In general, the Capresso Mini-S has you adding water to a boiler in the machine, screwing the lid on, and heating it until it boils the water up and through the grounds until your espresso is produced. The pressure created is a few time atmospheric pressure, not the 10-15 times atmospheric pressure that the pump driven units create.
When you want to steam milk, you will add only a small amount of water to the unit, and boil it to steam your milk with the frothing wand.
The unit is small, and easy to use, making it attractive for casual users who are just getting into espresso.
I found that the operation was easy, and pretty foolproof. The portafilter is big, because it is making up to four shots at a time. Fill it and crank it onto the machine, then fill the carafe up to the four cup line and pour it into the boiling chamber. The cap is easy to screw on, and screw on tight. Flip the switch to brew and the machine comes to life behind the 850 watt boiler. There is an indicator light that is the only sign of life at this point but within about 4 minutes you have a carafe full of pressure brewed espresso. The espresso comes with a thin layer of crema that gets blown off as the Mini-S sputters its last droplets of water through the machine.
If you want steamed milk, you are going to brew some of the coffee, until the coffee is up to the "Steam" line on the carafe, then flip the dial to steam. Steam the milk and then flip back to brewing to finish off the coffee and you are ready to make your latte.
The upside to the Capresso Mini-S is that it can deliver espresso at a pretty acceptable price, and the flavor overall is good. It will get you into lattes and cappucinos with ease and with a small foot print on the countertop. The unit won't get you the same extraction profile that you will find at a coffeehouse, where higher pressure pump driven machines push more flavor and body out of the coffee emulsifying air and the oils in the bean into the crema on top of the espresso shot that is a sign of an excellent shot. I found that I liked using the machine for the black pressure brewed coffee itself, simply setting the machine up to brew, and getting the rest of breakfast ready while I waited for it to be done. The result was a nice mug full of nicely bodied coffee that set me up for a great day.
At Amazon - The Capresso Mini-S Espresso Machine
- Boiler cap with built-in safety valve.
- Patented three-way safety switch for choosing between full pressure for brewing espresso and maximum steam output
- Red indicator light and dishwasher-safe glass carafe
- Stops brewing or steaming in the "0" position
- Dual frother lets you steam or froth milk either in a pitcher or right in your cup
- Instructional video shows how to produce espressos and cappuccinos in three easy steps
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Posted by Scott Martin at June 16, 2008 8:01 AM
I'm writing for people who enjoy a darn good café latte. Number one, you can't beat the price. If you follow the instructions to the letter on the supplied video, you will be rewarded with an outstanding café latte.
It's fast, easy, & delicious. I've used this machine, everyday, for over ten years. If you run into any snags, email me, I'd be happy to help.
I recommend one extra item, i.e., a pint sized stainless frothing pitcher; most can be had for under $20.