Capresso #101 Espresso Machine -- don't waste your money. Buy something else from someone else.
Positive Product Points
It looked good in the box and on the counter, and it had some nice features.
Negative Product Points
The product never worked from the day I purchased it. Regardless of the size of the grind (I started with the recommended size and then worked my way up and down the size spectrum), it wouldn't pass water through the filter and make espresso. The pump ran and ran and nothing happened. I would finally turn it off so that I didn't burn out the pump.
I tried packing and not packing the espresso in the sieve. No difference in performance.
I systematically changed the grind size. No difference.
And if I _could_ get some espresso, it tasted horrible. Bitter, really.
The manual was no help and the return policy was such a short period of time (especially with my heavy work schedule) that returning wasn't an option.
Years ago I purchased the Capresso #101 Espresso Machine because I was tired of making espresso with my little Braun steam espresso maker. I was looking for a quality closer to the big machines and was assured by the sales people that a pump driven machine was the way to go and the Capresso was one of the best.
Although the machine had some nice features, including the ability to press a button and draw the exact amount of espresso I wanted with an automatic shut off, reality turned out to be a little different.
From the day I got the machine it never worked right. No matter the size of the espresso grind, the machine wouldn't pass water through and make espresso. And when I did get a little, it tasted awful. I tried everything I could think of, from the grind size to packing or not packing the espresso, etc. But working 20 hour days, I didn't have a lot of time to mess with it and it didn't get any better regardless of my efforts.
My schedule was so bad it had taken me months just to get in and make the purchase, and I didn't have the time to return the item within the narrow return policy window.
Eventually I went back to using my little Braun, which was at least reliable enough to make espresso every morning without fail and the Capresso sat on my counter taking up space until I finally packed it up and stuffed it in the garage -- where it is still taking up space.
Now I am using a combination 123 Spresso machine and a small French press. The pods for the 123 Spresso are kind of expensive and the French press takes some tweeking to get it right (if I don't use it regularly), but they both work and that's more than I can say for the Capresso.
This purchase was a huge disappointment that cost me $260. I won't be repeating that mistake again.
This was actually the second machine that I purchased (from two different vendors) where a recommendation was made that turned out to be a total disappointment. Granted most of those occurred prior to the heavy onset of Internet investigations, which put buyers at a distinct disadvantage, and both experiences left me unhappy.
For future purchases, I plan to do all of my investigation at sites like this one and other places, talk to actual consumers, make certain I have all the information I need, and only then consider making a purchase. No more sales hype for me.
(Oh, and as a side note, I purchased a barely used 123 Spresso machine about 3 years ago at a garage sale for a ridiculously low price -- $3. The price included the machine (which retailed for about $275) AND 190 pods (which cost nearly $70). I have been using the machine daily and am a happy camper.
I even located the only supplier of the pods who happens to be local. And you know what? The machine makes a good cup of espresso, and it's quick, simple, and satisfying.)