I was able to track down a lone 4 star review over at home depot.
No Demo videos funfortunately guys. I’m ready to call it a night. Goodluck finding info guys!
Holy spit! A reasonably priced espresso machine? On woot? You guys are selling out.
and a bunch more reviews (first two are amazon and walmart with a 2.7 and 3.5 respectively) http://www.retrevo.com/s/Espressione-Cafe-Charme-Coffee-Makers-review-manual/id/23682bh048/t/1-2/
I really want to get an espresso machine, couldn’t care less about the milk steamer. Will have to ponder this…
Got a bit of bonus time, but not much to give:
leads to pdf with only a bit more info including contact info and aluminum material:
Has sold for same $79.99 at multiple wootoffs but I can’t find any regular sales, and thus limited comments (but not zero):
and yes, they have sold their $500+ one too, if the company sounds familiar:
I researched espresso machines for almost a year before buying one and I never came across this brand name.
One thing is for sure, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect a shot that makes angels sing from this thing.
There are a ton of Chinese-made espresso machines that all seem to have the same innards and a variety of cases. Ditto with $40 “burr” grinders.
I’ve had good luck with some Hamilton-Beach models that used an Italian pump in a Chinese chassis, but it looks like the Chinese have now built their own.
Despite the “list price,” It’s still an 80 buck espresso machine.
My best cheap machine was a Capresso that was made in Portugal. But the styles and countries or origin keep shifting to you-know-where.
One important note: regardless of price, you will NOT get good results if you use a blade grinder! Blade grinders produce an uneven aggregate of grounds, not a consistent fine size. The pressurized water will find it’s way around the larger grains and you will end up with weak, tasteless swill. Either buy a GOOD conical burr grinder or have it ground.
I bought this exact machine a few weeks ago on Woot Plus. I really like it.
It arrived with a wire inside that was damaged and disconnected (the pump was not working). But it was easy to fix and required nothing more than a long screwdriver to get the top off.
As for the quality, I’ve only had it a few weeks so I cannot comment on the longevity of it. However I can say that it makes darn good espresso.
I use the Hario “Skerton” hand grinder. Which has ceramic conical burrs; the best for espresso. After doing some research, this grinder seemed to be the most durable and capable of grinding finely for espresso. I don’t drink every day so I don’t mind the extra work of hand grinding.
With that grinder and this machine, I can make one mean espresso. As good as any cafe I’ve been to (I am no connoisseur though).
As for the milk steamer. It works great for me. Takes less than a minute to get some piping hot steamed milk, and very easy to control the froth amount.
It is a little noisy when you first start it up, but once the pressure builds after a few seconds it quiets down. And it only takes a minute or so to get the shots.
In summary. I am very happy with it. I cannot tell the difference between this and espresso from a cafe. That said, I think a lot of it is down to the grinder, and I recommend you do a lot of research there if you are not going with the elegantly simple hand grinder I mention above.
Thanks for the info on the Hario! Couple of questions: How long does it take to grind enough for a shot? Can it also grind for Turkish coffee (even finer!)?
Thanks for any help you can provide.
No problem. It takes about 1.5-3 minutes for a full portafilter (double shot) of fine espresso. It can do Turkish as well. It is pretty much infinitely adjustable via a simple screw. Eventually you can adjust it so tight that the burrs collide and wont go any further, so turkish should be no problem (I’ve been meaning to try it).
I once adjusted it to pretty much turkish consistency and it took about 5-8 minutes to grind. It was definitely too fine for espresso though and the machine struggled with it. But I was thinking it looked like it would have been perfect for Turkish coffee.
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
One other general note/warning on this machine.
There is no “Cup warmer on top”.
I have no idea why this line is in the description and I commented about it on the woot plus page after I received mine. So I am surprised to see it there still.
But if you look at the picture, it is pretty evident there is nowhere on top to place a cup. Nor anywhere on the machine that would warm a cup.
hmm. i shall talk to ppl about this.
Thanks. It wasn’t exactly a key selling point, so I don’t care that it’s not there. And apparently neither does anyone else who has ordered one so far. But I am curious about the story here.
Just looking at the picture, it seems obvious that the metal plate on top is supposed to be the cup warmer. That’s consistent with how other machines do it as well. Is it not mentioned in the manual?
That is what I thought before I received mine, but this appears to not be the case.
First, and most important, that area does not even get warm. Second, the surface is covered in small bumps and is actually quite slanted. Considering the fact that the bumps reduce surface contact and therefore reduce friction (and heating capacity for that matter), this is a terrible place to rest a cup. The picture doesn’t really capture the severity of the bumps and slanting. Also, I had the top off the machine and the water pump is underneath that area and there is no heating element there.
The black area where the controls are gets a little warm indirectly from the actual water heating element, but that area is even less ideal for a cup.
If I am missing something I am open to trying anything. But I have searched for some time, had the machine open and checked its internals, and have not found a cup warmer yet.
Also, here is the manual (courtesy of Home Depot). No mention of warm cups.
well, we do need to get these things right, so i’m glad you mentioned it again.
we’ve got ppl looking into it. might be delayed due to the holiday, but we’ll get a final word as soon as we can!
Thanks! I have this totally insane (Turkish designed and made!) fully electronic sensor-controlled Beko Turkish coffee maker, but even my conical grinder is not quite fine enough to use.
A Bialetti stovetop espresso maker will make a very good cup of espresso at one quarter of the price if you have the grinder. The only advantage I see here is the milk frother.
They are wonderful pots, but (technically) they don’t make espresso, just strong coffee.
See that metal tray on top with the circular cut-outs? That’s the cup warmer. The heat from the boiler warms that tray, where you can, if so inclined, place inverted demi-tasse cups.