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Krups Steam Espresso Machines - Kurt Swanson's Review
Posted: January 2, 2008, 10:14pm
review rating: 5.0
feedback: (5) comments | read | write
Krups Steam Espresso Machines - All Modles
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More About This Product
Arrow The Krups Steam Espresso Machines has 15 Reviews
Arrow The Krups Steam Espresso Machines has been rated 4.99 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Krups Steam Espresso Machines reviews have been viewed 86,911 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Ross Devitt 10.00
Tim Styczynski 8.50
J. D. 8.42
Lance Goffinet 8.33
Nadav Caine 7.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 1.6
Product Reviewed: Il Caffè Duomo
Manufacturer: Krups Quality: 2
Average Price: Varies Usability: 0
Price Paid: $80.00 Cost vs. Value 1
Where Bought: Bed Bath and Beyond Aesthetics 3
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 2
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: It's a steamtoy -- what do you expect?
Positive Product Points

Inexpensive
Paired with drip coffee maker in same unit (spacesaver)
No moving parts to wear out
Frothing milk quite satisfactory

Negative Product Points

Doesn't really make espresso
No means to halt steam delivery
Fixed frothing wand

Detailed Commentary

This is a classic Krups "steamtoy" paired with a conical (Melitta) drip coffee maker in one unit.

To summarize, this is not something with which you want to make espresso drinks.  Essentially you get a fixed boiler that send steam to the "portafilter", the frothing wand, or both.  You first fill water into the boiler, screw down a cap tightly, then turn it on and wait an imprecise amount of time for steam to be produced.  You have to guess the right amount of water to use in advance -- once boiling begins there's no easy/precise  way to stop the process. If frothing milk at the same time, you have to guess the right amount of water for brewing and frothing at the same time, again in advance, thus multiplying the risk of incorrect measurement.  For this fact alone, I would claim that the device is unusable for making espresso (drinks).  The "portafilter" is somewhat taller than it is wide, being very narrow, and has a single spout.  A plastic clip-on device can be attached that splits it into two spouts.  Many of the plastic parts of the portafilter, glass carafe lid, et cetera, which are exposed to heat, eventually become brittle and break.

The espresso produced is of highly varying results, but in almost all cases it produces something that mildly reminds you of espresso, but is closer to a strong drip coffee, although much more bitter even when otherwise quite thin.

As for controls, the unit has two rocker-style power buttons (steam espresso, drip coffee) on the front at the base.  I found this to be problematic as either half could accidentally be turned on by other kitchen items being placed up against the unit.  (Several times I awoke to find one or the other had been on all night, despite neither half having been used for days.)
Provided enough water has been supplied, the frothing wand actually works quite nicely.  It is relatively long, the straight part being about 4-5" (though the total exposed length is at least 8-9"), in a fixed position, and has a variable control knob which provides adequate control.  I never found it problematic that the position is fixed, albeit without the ability to drain into the drip tray.  It is placed on the far left side of the unit, protruding from the unit so access was never a problem.  It does extend the width required in terms of counter space.  It came with some frothing wand attachment which I admittedly never used.  To produce steam for frothing milk only, you have to insert a solid disc into the "portafilter" to block steam coming from the "group head" (if you can call them that).

I would not recommend this model to anyone, even rank amateurs, as they would likely be put off by even their best efforts.  I bought this model in 1999 when I wasn't even aware pump-driven espresso existed.

Buying Experience

Nice to be able to purchase at a local store, and use one of those BB&B 20% off coupons.  Otherwise uneventful.

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review rating: 5.0
Posted: January 2, 2008, 10:14pm
feedback: (5) comments | read | write
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