Cuisinart EM200 Espresso Machine Review
I have had the Cuisinart EM-200 for a while now, and have pumped hundreds of shots through it while playing with it and testing it. The Cuisinart EM-200 is a semi-automatic espresso machine that has a lot going for it. The unit has a great look backed up by the guts too; 15-bar pump 1050 watt boiler, and a pretty big reservoir.
The nice thing about the Cuisinart EM-200 is the semi-automatic capability that allows you to hit a button, and watch the unit brew right before your eyes, while you do something else; seconds later it will shut off leaving you with a good shot in your favorite cup time and time again. The EM-200 comes with three portafilter inserts, a single, a double and a pod holder. This makes for a good differentiation between what you are making and offers some good control over strength. the downside is storing the little buggers; I drop them in the drawer below the Espresso maker and fish around in there for them when I need to change.
See my Unboxing of the Cuisinart EM200 and my First Impressions Review of the EM200 for more information.
The Cuisinart EM-200 is programmable, so that you can customize how much espresso is delivered when you hit the single or double brew button. If you don't like how much water the unit pushes through, you can adjust it to your liking and get a consistent cup every time. I found this to work well with my pods. I am running Mokarabia Strong ESE Pods right now, so setting the unit once, allowed me to crank out a pretty quick shot in the morning without too much work. I literally, hit the button, and turned my back while it brewed, continuing my morning breakfast routine, knowing full well that the unit would brew up a shot to my liking. What the button won't do is brew up the same amount of liquid in your cup if you run pods one day and a double shot filter of ground coffee the next. I got around this issue by taking the double shot button hostage and using it for my own needs as a way to pull a single shot from a double amount of ground espresso in the double filter holder. So in effect, I get two customizable buttons for my two types of brews.
Easy to Use
Overall, the unit is easy to use, both for brewing and for steaming milk. The EM-200 comes with a small frothing pitcher, about 1.5 cups in total capacity, which means that it will steam about 2/3rds of a cup of milk well. I often froth right in a coffee mug, and then drop the shot right into it, but the wand on the EM-200 does not lift up out of the way enough to do this, so I am left to froth in the pitcher and then pour into the mug for a latte.
The controls are easy to understand and use, and the drip tray almost never filled up. I was able to use the little drip tray gunk gauge a few times which told me when the tray was getting close to being full.
Finally, the portafilter had a good feel to it, catching the groove and locking into place well. No fumbling around, simple and quick.
Cuisinart did a good job in the brewing department for the EM-200 also, as the unit can crank out shot after shot with ease while putting an incredible head of crema on the top every time. The EM-200 has a nice powerful pump and pre-infuses with hot water for a few seconds and then does the full brew of the shot. The pre-infusion is supposed to wet the grinds, allowing them to swell, and get ready for extraction. I think it diminishes the chances of channeling and gives a nice even pull.
The Cuisinart EM-200 has been an excellent brewer to have on the countertop garnering compliments for its stainless steel looks as well as its crema topped, rich espresso shots. I was able to easily program the unit to give me the shots I wanted from either pods or ground coffee so that with the push of a button, I could get a reliable shot to my liking time and time again. The EM-200 has a manual button too to pull shots that may be different than your "Standard" which makes the EM-200 an adaptable and all-around good machine to have around the kitchen. The large reservoir made for infrequent re-fills, and the strong boiler made for a nice amount of steamed milk for sets of lattes. A very nice machine.
At Amazon - Cuisinart EM-200
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Posted by Scott Martin at July 10, 2008 8:11 AM