Not worth buying, but I got it free and will make limited use of it.
Positive Product Points
easy to use; small size; fast and automatic
Negative Product Points
risk of burns!; doesn't produce genuine espresso; produces somewhat burnt and bitter strong coffee; milk frother doesn't work well; no tamper provided and tamping not recommended
This small steam "espresso" maker is cheap and easy to use--requiring little to no skill on the part of the user and allowing for very little variation in brew method. You pour water into the top, screw on the cap, put ground coffee into the filter basket (you're not supposed to pack it tightly), then flip a switch and wait. Rather than forcing hot water through the grounds, it forces steam through the grounds, thus scalding the coffee. I haven't tried it with a lighter roast, but maybe that would help offset this tendency to cook the ground coffee.
There is a steam nozzle on the left side of the machine for heating and (allegedly) frothing milk. The steam for milk comes from the same reservoir that feeds to the coffee, so when you want to steam milk, you are supposed to add extra water. Once the coffee starts to come into the carafe, the instructions say to open the steaming nozzle valve (by twisting a nob); then the amount of time to finish brewing the coffee is supposed to coincide with the amount of time for steaming the milk. WARNING: the steam nozzle and its stem (which sticks out of the side of the machine and connects to the valve nob) both are exposed metal (not as pictured above left) and get very, very hot; they aren't hard to avoid, but they are easy to touch accidentally. There is supposed to be a "perfect froth" attachment for the steam nozzle, but this was missing from my machine when I got it from a family member. I haven't succeeded in making good froth with mine, but since I don't have the attachment, maybe I shouldn't criticize this aspect of the machine's functioning (I don't really see how the attachment could help, though). I have used the steam nozzle to steam milk which I have then frothed separately in a small French press by plunging the filter rapidly and repeatedly.
The coffee that this machine puts out is not genuine espresso--it is strong, bitter, sometimes sour, somewhat burnt coffee. The quality of the beans doesn't seem to make much difference in the taste of the drink, so maybe its best usage would be for beans that are past their optimal freshness date. I've used it several times over the past two weeks that I've had it, first to try it out, then just for the sake of variety in my coffee drinks. In my experience the coffee it kicks out is best when added to milk--the more milk the better. The coffee it makes is also fine for dipping cookies or other kinds of biscuits.
N/A: I was given this machine second-hand by a family member.
Three Month Followup
I don't know whether I've used this machine even once in the last three months. Now that I have an Aeropress, if I want espresso-strength coffee, I brew it with the Aeropress. The Krups machine doesn't make genuine espresso and the coffee I get from the Aeropress tastes much better. I may pass the Krups machine on to a friend.
One Year Followup
I used the Krups machine sporadically, but ultimately passed it on to a friend.