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Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help with a...  
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011, 7:54pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

JtothaR Said:

It's not a very good machine. Mine just keeps me from getting some char-bucks when I'm at work cause there's one about 20 yards away.

Good luck,
-James

Posted May 22, 2011 link

What specifically didn't you like about it?
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Jun 19, 2011, 10:21pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

wizardofvoid Said:

I have no experience with the other grinders so I can't really say for sure. But, I can tell you that the Gaggia MDF is a fantastic grinder. I just found it online for $199 SHIPPED from http://www.essentialespresso.com/. I just ordered a 2nd grinder for my recording studio. I ordered it Saturday and it just came in the mail today. I paid about $70 less for this one. The other was $350+shipping... The machine arrived in great shape (looks new.. but miiight be a floor model.. not sure). I also went ahead and ordered another machine from newegg for my studio as well.. so I'm all hooked up now.. hehe

Posted May 25, 2011 link

I just ordered a second one as well so I can have one in my office and one at home.  I still need to order a grinder, but I was worried they'd sell out.

Eventually, I might upgrade to a better machine with brass components and fully controllable from temps to pressure to pre-infusion.  PID'd machines cost more coin than I can spare right now and since the Cuisinart is very well regulated I'm in no hurry, though I do wonder if this is an ignorance is bliss thing.....
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 709
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Modded Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Sun Jun 19, 2011, 11:05pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

]]

psychobrew Said:

What specifically didn't you like about it?

Posted June 9, 2011 link

-The thermoblock gives unstable shot temps.

-The drip tray doesn't fit properly.

-The pressurized portafilter chokes the machine with proper grind, had to change it to a breville "single-wall".

-The steaming is weak (but its a cheap machine to be fair)

-Pucks are soupy and are hard to knock.

-Portafilter doesn't have a spring so basket doesn't stay in when its turned upside down. (and that moving plastic tab is no substitute)


Pros:

-Cupwarmer works and has mass (metal)

-Looks half decent (stainless)

-Extremely cheap (Paid $65 new)


Keep in mind that I've been using commercial equipment for a good while, so this machine is an absolute joke in comparison.

I realize that the setups that I've had cost thousands more.
Here's a link to the machine I currently use at home: Click Here (www.1st-line.com)

I know that this bias may be unfair but my opinion is based on personal experience.

I understand that finances can definitely interfere in purchase decisions as well and that is fine. Even in this price range though, I think that there are better alternatives, such as a Hamilton Beach 40715 Click Here (www.newegg.com)  This machine has a 58mm portafilter and an Ulka pump.

To good coffee, =)
-James

 
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 709
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Modded Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Sun Jun 19, 2011, 11:20pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

psychobrew Said:

I still need to order a grinder, but I was worried they'd sell out.

Posted June 19, 2011 link

Don't get an MDF. Get a Baratza Preciso. Its miles above the MDF.

psychobrew Said:

though I do wonder if this is an ignorance is bliss thing.....

Posted June 19, 2011 link

Upgradeitis hits hard and fast.

-James

 
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 709
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Modded Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Sun Jun 19, 2011, 11:39pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

wizardofvoid Said:

I'm getting about an 18-20 second pull for a double shot (3oz) using the pressurized basket.

Posted May 24, 2011 link

A double is 2oz.

3oz has been pulled too long or is a triple (if you're using 21-22 grams of coffee) which wont fit into this machine.


-James

 
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Jun 20, 2011, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

]]

JtothaR Said:

-The thermoblock gives unstable shot temps.

-The drip tray doesn't fit properly.

-The pressurized portafilter chokes the machine with proper grind, had to change it to a breville "single-wall".

-The steaming is weak (but its a cheap machine to be fair)

-Pucks are soupy and are hard to knock.

-Portafilter doesn't have a spring so basket doesn't stay in when its turned upside down. (and that moving plastic tab is no substitute)


Pros:

-Cupwarmer works and has mass (metal)

-Looks half decent (stainless)

-Extremely cheap (Paid $65 new)


Keep in mind that I've been using commercial equipment for a good while, so this machine is an absolute joke in comparison.

I realize that the setups that I've had cost thousands more.
Here's a link to the machine I currently use at home: Click Here (www.1st-line.com)

I know that this bias may be unfair but my opinion is based on personal experience.

I understand that finances can definitely interfere in purchase decisions as well and that is fine. Even in this price range though, I think that there are better alternatives, such as a Hamilton Beach 40715 Click Here (www.newegg.com)  This machine has a 58mm portafilter and an Ulka pump.

To good coffee, =)
-James

Posted June 19, 2011 link

I'm still trying to soak up as much information as I can so I certainly appreciate your input.  I'm sure you've answered all kinds of questions for beginners so I'm just happy you are still willing to give people like me the time of day.

Having said that, one pro that keeps popping up with the em-200 is temp stability, however, you list it as a con with the em-100.  Is it possible the em-200 has better electronics that help keep the temps more stable or better regulated?  I do know I am unable to pull a cold "shot" (and I use that term loosely) with the em-200.  The machine will not operate until it thinks the temps are correct and the temps are so much better than my previous cheap machine (made by Delonghi).  The difference is more than night and day, but perhaps you're talking about the shot starting at something like 200 degrees and ending at 190 (still hot, but not as hot as when it started).

I agree with the drip tray because it does not lock in position, but it seems to fit ok since the steam and water release goes in to the drip tray instead of all over the counter.  Also, I wouldn't call my pucks soupy, but there is a little water left on top of the puck and the grounds are damp when I don't use the steam function.  When I use the steam function, the pucks are dry (the unit seems to have a three way valve but it is not very effective unless the steam function is used).

Definitely interested in your thoughts.....
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Jun 20, 2011, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

JtothaR Said:

Don't get an MDF. Get a Baratza Preciso. Its miles above the MDF.



Upgradeitis hits hard and fast.

-James

Posted June 19, 2011 link

The Preciso is definitely on my list.

Do you still have the Eureka grinder?  No promises but that was on my list as well.  I just don't have the budget for it right now and I'm not sure it will really fit with what I want anyway (i.e. size and convenience).

What made you choose to sell the Eureka instead of something else (I know you said you had too much coffee equipment...)?  How does it compare to your Vario?
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JtothaR
Senior Member
JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 709
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Modded Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Mon Jun 20, 2011, 10:29pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

psychobrew Said:

but perhaps you're talking about the shot starting at something like 200 degrees and ending at 190 (still hot, but not as hot as when it started).

Posted June 20, 2011 link

This is a good example of what I'm referring to. Issues like this can cause a shot that is both sour and bitter. Yuck!


psychobrew Said:

The Preciso is definitely on my list.

Do you still have the Eureka grinder?  No promises but that was on my list as well.  I just don't have the budget for it right now and I'm not sure it will really fit with what I want anyway (i.e. size and convenience).

What made you choose to sell the Eureka instead of something else (I know you said you had too much coffee equipment...)?  How does it compare to your Vario?

Posted June 20, 2011 link

Yes I still have the Eureka, my local espresso equipment distributor whom I get all of my parts from has also offered to take it in trade against another grinder or machine as well, but I'm not in any hurry to buy anything so I'd rather sell it.

I chose to sell it because its extra. Its been cleaned and stored on my laundry room shelf for a while now. I just don't have the counter space for it right now, my machine is huge and the Vario is just more convenient at the moment. It's cleaner and the timed dosing is great. Even though i have a digital photo enlargement timer that adds timed dosing to the Eureka too. The Eureka does not clump at all and the doser is much better than using WDT, but with how big my machine is the kitchen started to feel like a lab more than a kitchen. The Vario is a good compromise (size-wise), and an excellent piece of equipment.

Here's a pic,
-James

JtothaR: machineandvario.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
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psychobrew
Senior Member


Joined: 19 May 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Maryland
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jun 23, 2011, 8:10am
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

JtothaR Said:

This is a good example of what I'm referring to. Issues like this can cause a shot that is both sour and bitter. Yuck!




Yes I still have the Eureka, my local espresso equipment distributor whom I get all of my parts from has also offered to take it in trade against another grinder or machine as well, but I'm not in any hurry to buy anything so I'd rather sell it.

I chose to sell it because its extra. Its been cleaned and stored on my laundry room shelf for a while now. I just don't have the counter space for it right now, my machine is huge and the Vario is just more convenient at the moment. It's cleaner and the timed dosing is great. Even though i have a digital photo enlargement timer that adds timed dosing to the Eureka too. The Eureka does not clump at all and the doser is much better than using WDT, but with how big my machine is the kitchen started to feel like a lab more than a kitchen. The Vario is a good compromise (size-wise), and an excellent piece of equipment.

Here's a pic,
-James

Posted June 20, 2011 link

Got it, but there seems to be some capable thermoblock machines made by Quickmill and Sunbeam (not all thermoblocks are made out of cheap aluminum that lacks the heat absorption qualities you want in an espresso machine).  Thermoblock technology is somewhat similar to the way HX machines heat up water for espresso, is it not (same idea, different design)?  Each design seems to have its downfalls unless you go dual boiler, especially in the lower end of the spectrum.  HX machines can be finicky (temp surfing seems to be required) and small single boiler machines aren't that stable either (don't some introduce cold water in to the boiler as you're pulling the shot?).  PIDs definitely helps compensate for some of those downfalls though.  

Keep in mind the EM-200 weighs about 10 pounds more than the EM-100 that you have (25 pounds vs 15 - 16 pounds) and the physical size between the two units is not all that different.  That extra mass has to account for something, but I agree that the the machines do share a number of parts.  The EM-200 is also computerized/PID controlled, though you don't get much access to the settings.

For someone on a tight budget, a decent grinder and this machine will give you good and reliable results -- all for under $400 (including the Breville portafilter baskets).  I do realize that your machine is much more capable, but it's also 60 times the cost of this Cuisinart.
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wizardofvoid
Senior Member
wizardofvoid
Joined: 18 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Boston,MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 25, 2011, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Need help with a Cuisinart EM 200
 

I'm sorry bro I meant 2oz.. I use measured cups to keep me honest. I use 14grams of grounds in my double shot.. I can get a really good shot out of this machine. To be fair though.. I do pull a Lungo shot for someone who is looking for an Americano and I tend to get closer to 3oz with that. (With little to no bitterness) I use a city roast espresso bean from "Coastal Roasters" in RI. Their roast is not even close to bitter and makes a wonderful espresso.. it's the lightest espresso roast I've ever seen. Amazing though.. I believe they ship.. Might be worth checking out.  

I think your issue is that you're comparing this to a prosumer machine and.. well.. that's not really fair. You're talking about a machine that people can buy for under $200 and comparing to machines that are over $2,000.. I'd like to think that there is quite a difference.. lol

I ended up getting my 2nd machine in and again, I can't complain a bit about the quality of this machine. I WILL however agree with the spring-loaded portafilter comment that would be a really nice touch.

Other than that I didn't really experience any of the complaints that people are giving to this machine. So maybe the later models fixed a lot of their issues. The water reservoir does fine for what it is.. and really I can't find much to complain about this machine (especially for the price).

Also while I can't compare the Gaggia MDF grinder directly with the Baratza Preciso (because I haven't used it). I have nothing but good things to say about the Gaggia MDF. It's consistent, fairly quiet, It doses pretty decently for you.. It's a little "Messy" with it's dosing but really... I just put a small plate under the doser.

and yeah.. I can see myself getting a pro machine down the line but.. to be honest I am completely content with the quality of the shots that this machine pulls. I go to some of the best Coffee shops in New England and I can make a shot that rivals any of theirs on this machine. It's all trial and error my brother.

As for pods... My girl tries using them on this machine (she just doesn't care to learn how to make a good espresso.. lol) she uses them for Lattes. Personally I watched her make one and it was so sad how thin and pissy that shot looked. But ya know... different strokes and whatnot..

BTW James.. Your machine looks KILLER! You should post some vids of some of the shots that thing produces. Looks like a monster.
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