Excellent home pump machine! Makes espresso quick & mess-free!
Positive Product Points
For me, the fact that it tamps and dumps spent grounds with the simple, clean swivel of a lever is really handy when company comes over and 10 people demand a coffee at once. I'm a coffee purist and don't even own a drip coffee machine! It used to take me quite a while with my old espresso machine to tamp, brew, dump, repeat... only two cups at a time. ;o)
From their website:
Capresso "Ultima" eliminates all the inconvenient steps of conventional espresso machines: no more complications with tamping, hot filter holders, or cleaning and rinsing of sieves. Just fill coffee to your liking (7 to 15 grams) into the machine, turn and pull the coffee lever down, and switch on the pump. Within seconds, any size espresso or up to 12 oz. of coffee are ready. The double coffee spout even adjusts to accommodate different size cups. Then pull up and turn lever to prepare the next round of espresso. At the same time the used coffee is automatically discarded into an internal container. Please watch the video clips to see for yourself how easy it is to make professional espressos.
Features and Benefits:
* Automatic internal removal of used coffee lets you make successive espressos without a mess. * Make perfect crema espresso and cappuccino from the first to the last cup. * Fastest heating and frothing technology with patented ThermoCoil® and DualFrother. * Large 53 oz., removable water tank for more than 30 espressos. * Brews from one espresso to two 6 oz. cups of coffee at once. * Use your own coffee and fill one or two scoops into the machine. * Double coffee spout adjusts to any cup size. * DualFrother with two settings for latte (steam milk) or cappuccino (froth milk) * Instant hot water release for tea, soups, hot chocolate or cafe americano. * Indicator light for on/off thermostat, and when to empty internal tray. * 18-bar ThermoCoil heating/pump system for fastest heat-up time. * Video included How Things Work
Tamping Tamping (packing the coffee) is one of the crucial steps when making espresso. The Capresso Ultima does it by itself, all the time. Just fill your ground espresso coffee in the machine, and turn and close the lever. When you turn on the pump, the brewing chamber automatically seals itself so that all the water is forced through the coffee, resulting in wonderful, thick crema espresso with a wonderful aroma.
Negative Product Points
You cannot use pods, but since they're so expensive, who really cares? I do also wish this one came with the automatic milk frother that comes with their lower-end Pro model.
The one additional feature I could use most is the preprogrammed single and double volumes like my older Capresso ETC123 machine had.
This pump machine is great! I've already made a few espresso and americanos--I'm impressed!
I was a little leary at first since it has an internal coffee grounds dumping bin. My wife worked for a company that had an automatic grinder/brewer/dumper machine and you could never keep the inside clean. It was always filthy with grounds, moisture, and MOLD!
Alas, that machine was obviously junk, and no one readily maintained it. Knowing that this machine was made by Capresso, and having excellent experiences with some of their other machines, I decided to give it a try. Also, the videos on their website helped convince me that it would be easy to take apart and clean regularly, if needed.
Upon inspection, I've been thoroughly impressed with the overall design of this machine. It stays clean inside and doesn't create a mess from dumping the moist spent grounds! It's very easy to use and really helps making a number of drink in short succession much easier!
Another advantage this machine has over my old ETC123 is that the spouts are movable! So when someone wants a cappuccino or latte, instead of having to froth/steam the milk, dispense espresso into an espresso mug, and then dump the espresso into the milk, I can dispense the espresso directly into the milk! Of course this is better because it maintains more of the crema and temperature of the espresso.
I also am impressed with the much larger water tank. It seems to be almost twice the size of tank of my old machine. Of course the machine itself is quite a bit larger, but it's still not too unwieldly for the kitchen counter.
I also really like the fact that I don't have to prime the machine after steaming.
eBay is eBay, y'know?
Three Month Followup
After one year the machine's steam/water/espresso switch valve started leaking and then fouled completely by not letting any hot water or steam flow through the side spout. This is a very similar problem to the earlier model machine I had from Capresso that eventually died. I called in a warranty repair and Capresso mailed me a postage paid UPS slip so I could send them the machine's body in for repair. A week later I received the same body back and they had done something weird to the valve. The lever was sticking out at an odd angle and the valve worked worse than before I mailed it in (it refused to draw water on any setting). Did they even test the valve after they replaced it? I called them again and this time they just sent me out another body. This one works good but may have a slight problem. I can hear the boiler chamber "hiss" while heating up and when brewing espresso. No leaks or anything, but it just doesn't sound the same as the original body that lasted almost a year. Anyway, after this one dies again (will be out of warranty this time) I will buy a nice mini-bar type espresso machine with serviceable parts. I saw a review on CoffeeGeek where someone had the machine for eight years. Though it's almost double the price, it would last at least eight times longer than the Capresso machines, so well worth the money in the long run.