If an affordable semi-automatic espresso machine is what you need in your busy lifestyle, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista could be the one for you. It brews coffee automatically and makes cappuccino and latte with just a few presses of a button. To add to your excitement, the process is fast and the operation is very simple.
Now, if you’re a barista or if you are a beginner who want to learn some skills, manual brewing and frothing are other exciting features of the Café Barista. It fits small and large cups for the drink you prepare.
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The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Mr. Coffee Café Barista is a semi-automatic espresso, cappuccino, and latte maker. Somehow, it’s a three-in-one coffee machine that does the brewing and frothing of milk in a single press of a button. Not just that, you can also make your favorite custom drinks, by extracting your espresso manually and frothing milk.
On top of the automatic operation are the easy setup and very comprehensive operation. The construction of this coffee maker is sturdy and its design is perfect to complement any kitchen design. Since it helps you prepare coffee and any espresso-based coffee in seconds, it’s a wise choice for busy coffee lovers out there.
- Automatically makes espresso, cappuccino, and latte
- Very easy to use with just a few presses of buttons
- You can do manual or automatic operations
- Low-cost semi-automatic espresso machine
- Automatic shut-off function after some minutes of inactivity
- Water tank and milk reservoir are both removable
- Can pull out the milk reservoir and put it in the fridge
- You have the option to have more froth (cappuccino) or less (latte)
- Brewing coffee at inconsistent temperatures
- A little weak espresso if you’ll use their recommended setting
- Easily clogged up when using very fine coffee grounds
- Can’t get good coffee from lightly roasted beans
- Doesn’t have an all-metal casing, though the black plastic body is sexy
- Kind of noisy when it does milk frothing
- Can’t pull hot water only from it
- Small drip tray, you need to clean it often when used frequently
Design and Specifications
As an affordable semi-automatic espresso machine with easy controls and operation, you can’t expect it to have a metal casing. It has a plastic housing, but overall, it has a fine construction and seems durable. The dominant black plastic casing exudes elegance, which is further complemented by the maroon finish for the control panel and towards the bottom of the unit.
It’s not that big with dimensions 11.22 × 8.86 × 12.60 inches. It only weighs around 10.37 lbs. This 3-in-1 espresso, cappuccino, and latte maker operates with a 15-bar pump system and works at 1040 power. The power button is located at the lower right part of the machine towards the back.
At first glance, you can’t tell that this machine is just worth less than $200. The three buttons are very professional, plus you can easily understand the label and icon without the need to read the manual. The buttons will have a steady or pulsing light depending on whether the machine is still heating up or ready.
Right below the brewing unit, you will see the small drip tray. On the right, you can see the milk reservoir platform in which the cup height adjusting tray is hidden. The machine can accommodate up to a double latte shot cup of 15 oz.
The milk reservoir is a removable container system in which the lid has Froth control knob and a frothed milk dispensing tube with a lever. The good thing about the removable milk reservoir is that you can put it in the refrigerator if you have milk left in it. The froth control knob allows you to get less froth by turning it towards LATTE and more froth on the CAPPUCCINO side.
At the back is a removable plastic water reservoir with MAX water level indicator. It’s transparent, so you can easily see if the water level is already low. There’s a red plug at the base of the reservoir that you need to remove to properly fit the water tank at the back.
Features and Functionalities
There are just a few exciting features of the Café Barista, but all of them are enticing to new coffee lovers and professional baristas, alike. And, if you’ll compare it against the price of the machine, you know it gives you the best bang for the buck.
One-Touch Control Panel — At the upper front panel opposite to the big Mr. Coffee logo are three buttons – ESPRESSO, CAPPUCCINO, and LATTE. At the left of the buttons, you see icons for single shot and double shot serving, respectively. You can press once to select a single serving and press it twice for selecting the double shot serving. Pressing the button for 3 seconds will activate the manual function indicated at the right of the button you press.
Easy to Use — Simply put coffee grounds in the filter (single shot or double shot) you use and insert the portafilter under the brewing unit. Then, if you want to prepare specialty coffee drinks, simply put cold milk up to the MAX level of the milk reservoir. Decide how much froth you want, then, press the button of desired drink.
Automatic Milk Frothing — If you want to prepare latte or cappuccino, you don’t need to brew and then froth your milk. All you gotta do is set the froth you want (LATTE for less and CAPPUCCINO for more) and then, press once if you want a single shot or press twice for a double shot. In just a few seconds, your latte or cappuccino is ready to drink.
15-Bar Pump — This coffee maker is capable to produce just enough pressure to extract bold and rich-flavored coffee.
Removable Milk Reservoir — Two advantages of Café Barista’s removable milk tank — you can store it in the refrigerator and you can easily refill/clean it.
Easy Cleaning Setup — It has automatic cleaning of the milk dispensing tube by turning the Froth control knob down and then, press the LATTE button for 3 seconds. The CLEAN function will run for 30 seconds and it’ll stop automatically or you can manually stop it by pressing the LATTE button again.
Setup and Operation
Since this is a semi-automatic coffee machine, it isn’t very complicated to operate. In fact, it’s one of the simplest semi-automatic coffee makers because of its ability to automatically brew and froth with just a press of a button. To make your first coffee on this machine easily, we’ll give you a brief overview of how to use it.
The ON/OFF button is at the lower left side of the unit towards the back — “I” for ON and “O” for OFF. Once you turn the machine ON, you can see the all the button lights are pulsing. Button light pulses when the unit is heating up, brewing, frothing, or cleaning. When the button light is steady, it means the function is ready.
Always have enough water in the water reservoir. And, if in case you don’t have enough water, the button lights will keep flashing. Likewise, if the milk reservoir isn’t inserted or if the reservoir isn’t properly inserted, the CAPPUCCINO and LATTE buttons will not illuminate.
You must prime the unit when using it for the first time. A complete guide can be found in the user manual. However, like most coffee makers, priming the coffee machine simply means running hot water to the brewing head and the frothed milk dispensing tube — no coffee and milk.
At the left of the buttons, you can see a smaller cup for a single shot and double shot icons. This is true for the three buttons — ESPRESSO, CAPPUCCINO, and LATTE. Pressing the button once will illuminate the single shot icon, while pressing it twice, the double shot will illuminate, indicating a double shot espresso, cappuccino or latte.
To the right of these buttons, you can see CUSTOM, FROTH, and CLEAN. When you press the ESPRESSO button for 3 seconds, it’ll allow you to extract coffee at your desired amount, more like brewing manually. Likewise, pressing the CAPPUCCINO button for 3 seconds gives you manual milk frothing, while pressing the LATTE button for 3 seconds lets you clean the frothed milk dispensing tube.
If you want to steam or froth milk, there’s a froth control knob in the milk reservoir to determine the amount of froth you want. LATTE for less froth and CAPPUCCINO for more froth. You can turn it all the way down if you want to clean the milk reservoir, especially every after use.
Below the platform where the milk reservoir latches, there’s the cup height adjusting tray. This tray is very useful if you’ll use smaller cups or if you want to draw your container closer to the frothed milk dispensing tube. The dispensing tube is attached to the tube lever so you can adjust its position.
The drip tray can be removed by pushing the height adjusting tray back to the bottom of the milk reservoir. You can simply pull it up and out. The drip tray isn’t big enough, so you might want to dispose of the spills frequently since it’ll easily be full.
Brewing Capacity and Process
Just like most of the coffee makers, this comes with a single shot and double shot filters so you can brew your desired espresso shot after your purchase. With the use of the measuring scoop/tamper, put a measure for 1 CUP filter and two measures for a 2 CUP filter.
Slightly push the coffee grounds down with the tamper to around 1/8-inch below the top of the filter. Ensure that you will clean the rim of the filter in the portafilter so it will latch completely into the brew unit. Note that if you want to prepare double shot coffee, you should use a bigger cup or it’ll overflow because the machine will automatically dispense the standard volume of your desired shot.
Mr. Coffee has a set of standard measurements for single shot or double shot serving. For espresso, the single shot (1 CUP) is 1.25 oz, while the double shot (2 CUP) is 2.5 oz. For Cappuccino, a single shot is 6 oz and a double shot is 10 oz, while the single shot for Latte is 12 oz and the double shot is 15 oz.
However, you should also know that the total amount of the coffee output is also dependent on the type of milk used, as well as the froth setting you selected. Based on our observation and feedback from other users, espresso standard setting gives us weaker coffee. Hence, the CUSTOM option is still essential to get your preferred espresso taste.
Inserting the portafilter to the brew head is the same as any coffee maker. You can have to position it to the left, under the OPEN lock icon, fitting it into the groove. Then, turn it towards the right, until it’s perpendicular to the unit, or the portafilter is aligned with the CLOSE lock symbol of the machine.
When you’re preparing Cappuccino or Latte, ensure that the milk reservoir is latched in place and you’re using cold milk. The coffee machine will dispense steam milk and froth first before extracting the espresso.
A Cappuccino has 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 frothed milk. On the other hand, Latte is a combination of ¼ espresso and ¾ steamed milk.
Maintenance and Cleaning
The machine has an automatic cleaning function for the frothed milk dispensing tube. The LATTE button, when pressed for 3 seconds, will allow you to purge steam through it.
So, each time you finish making your coffee, always do the cleaning before putting the milk reservoir in the refrigerator. This is to ensure that no milk residue will be stuck inside the tube and to avoid clogging.
If you need to clean all the parts of the machine, you should turn it off and unplug it. You can wash the water tank, milk reservoir, filters, and portafilter with water. Unfortunately, the portafilter, filter baskets, and water tank are not dishwasher safe.
For the brew head, you can clean it by running hot water through. Do not leave the portafilter attached to the machine when not in use. Doing so will adversely affect the seal of the portafilter and the brew head.
The filters need deep cleaning every 90 days, while the machine needs deliming, which is specified in the product’s manual. Ensure to follow the recommended cleaning and maintenance procedure to keep the quality of your coffee and the performance of your machine.
Accessories and Add-ons
This machine has complimentary accessories including two filters — single shot and double shot, measuring scoop with tamper and filter holder. The filter holder has a unique feature called the portafilter retention clip. The purpose of this unique feature is to keep the filter in place when you tap the filter to remove the coffee puck.
The cup height adjusting tray is another useful add-on too. If you want to get a single shot coffee beverage, you need to place the small cup near the spout, thus this feature is important. Likewise, if you want to steam milk and prepare froth, you want the container to be closer to the dispensing tube.
Who is this product for? / Should You Buy This?
Such semi-automatic espresso machine eliminates the hassle of checking the duration it takes to extract your espresso or frothing milk. Though it’ll make things so easy, you might not develop any skills. And, if you want to become a real barista someday, you need to develop some skills and techniques.
You can manually froth milk, yes, but not the same as how real baristas do it in coffee shops. And, since everything can be done automatically — just a press of a button — you want to do it the easy way every time.
Yet, Mr. Coffee Café Barista has something that may attract even professional baristas.
The fact that you can prepare your coffee manually and automatically give you options. If you are such a busy fella, you can take advantage of automatic coffee preps. However, on weekends, or holidays, if you have all the time in the world, you can try the manual procedure.
In addition, the milk reservoir with froth control is a good design. Since it’s removable, you can easily store your milk in your refrigerator. This machine may have limitations, but for those who are interested to learn, the possibilities of this simple, yet affordable 3-in-1 semi-automatic coffee machine are endless.
We’ve come to the end of our in-depth review, and we are glad to share everything about this affordable coffee maker. The simple operation is an advantage to all coffee lovers out there. Likewise, the automatic brewing and frothing will benefit everyone, especially those who have a very busy schedule.
Though it has a plastic casing, its performance is similar to those with metal construction. The major issue of this coffee maker is the inconsistencies in the temperature of your coffee. But, if it’s not something that could bother you, Mr. Coffee Café Barista is a good kitchen appliance and the best way to easily enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee in the morning.