Let’s be honest, Starbucks might be convenient but sometimes the best cup of coffee is the one you brew yourself. It’s also a whole lot cheaper. So when you’re craving that morning latte or an after dinner cappuccino, the ECM-160 steam espresso and cappuccino maker from Mr. Coffee is happy to help. This compact unit can brew 20 ounces of coffee and up to four servings in just a couple of minutes. The diminutive size lets you place it anywhere you wish without taking up a lot of room and with a price tag of around $40 at most major online retailers it’s affordable for any budget.
The ECM-160 sticks to the basics and does them well in a machine at this size and price point. Measuring 8”x 6.5”x 10.5” and weighing only six pounds, you could almost call it portable, offering everything you would expect in an espresso and cappuccino maker at twice the price. In addition to the aforementioned 20 ounce brew capacity, which is kept in an easy-pour, drip-free glass decanter, the ECM-160 also features a milk frother to whip up those lattes and cappuccinos just the way you like them and a removable drip tray to keep things neat and tidy. Since this unit relies on steam to brew your coffee there are fewer complex moving parts to deal with, making it an easier machine to operate, so you’ll be enjoying that hot beverage a lot quicker as well.
Mr. Coffee designed the ECM-160 to complement any home décor or office environment with a brushed stainless steel exterior and black accents along the edges, decanter handle, and frother nozzle. This neutral appearance allows for placement in just about any room by maintaining a low profile and taking up very little space on your counter or desktop.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
A lower price tag often means lower quality but not with the ECM-160. Mr. Coffee has built this unit to be quieter than most espresso machines on the market. It also uses standard ground coffee so any brand or preference of coffee is compatible. The 20 ounce capacity and an approximate three to four minutes of brew time also make this an excellent choice for both the routine coffee connoisseurs and the casual drinkers who enjoy a morning pick me up once in a while.
A Few Drawbacks
This is a steam-driven machine, it does not use a pump, so some consumers might find the foam that it builds falls short of producing a true cup of real espresso. There isn’t as much pressure generated by the ECM-160 and therefore, it might be better suited for those who want a really good cappuccino, latte, or just a cup of strong coffee. The unit also lacks a frothing pitcher. If you want one of those, you will need to purchase it separately.
Mr. Coffee’s ECM-160 is a good entry point espresso machine for consumers who want a product that can make a variety of satisfying hot beverages and maybe not quite the perfect espresso. It’s small and easy to use while presenting a high-quality, glossy appearance suitable for use at home and the office.