Many parts are dishwasher-safe
Awkwardly-placed frother tube
We purchased the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
There’s nothing like hot coffee in the morning—the way it smells, tastes, and feels when you take the first sip—and now with so many espresso machines available, you can even make your own cappuccinos, lattes, and other espresso drinks at home.
One popular budget-friendly option is the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker, which we tested over the course of several weeks, making espresso nonstop to get a sense of how well it really works. We evaluated its espresso and foam quality, the machine’s mechanics, the setup process, and more to see if the machine is worth it. Read on to see what we found.
Design: Sleek look, cheap feel
What’s special about the Mr. Coffee Espresso/Cappuccino Maker is its thermal block heating system, which heats water instantly so you can enjoy espresso in no time at all.
It also boasts a 15-bar pump system—this refers to the amount of pressure that gets applied to the coffee grounds to extract the espresso. Too little pressure and your espresso will be under-concentrated, but espresso extracted with too much pressure will be overly bitter. The industry standard for an espresso machine is nine bars, but many experts say that 15 bars is the “sweet spot” for making the best espresso.
This espresso maker comes with single and dual filters, a brew basket, removable drip tray, and drip grid. It has a removable 40-ounce water tank, and there's also a milk frother located to the right of the brew head. The machine comes in one color—black with stainless steel accents—and it has a sleek design that’s likely to fit in well with most other kitchen appliances.
Though it looks nice, we thought some of the machine’s individual parts felt cheap. The metal used for the drip grid and filters seemed pretty weak, and the brew basket handle and coffee scoop/tamper are made of plastic, which doesn’t feel durable at all. Using plastic material for the espresso tamper is especially unfortunate, as it doesn’t allow for a firm tamping of the grounds in the filter, affecting the taste of the final espresso shot.
Setup: Fairly quick
The setup of this unit is fairly fast compared to most espresso machines. The machine comes with a “Quick Start Guide,” which let us jump in without having to read through the entire instruction manual. After we washed the water reservoir, lid, brew basket, and filters, we primed the machine by running water through the frothing tube and brew head.
Once the machine is primed, it’s ready to use. To begin brewing espresso, we filled up the water tank by pulling up to remove it, then carrying it to the sink. After we placed the tank back on the machine, we put our grounds in the filter and the filter inside the filter holder.
The machine does not stop automatically, so you’ll have to pay attention to how much water is flowing out as not to produce espresso with too much water.
Using the included tamper, we pressed the coffee grounds down to get an even and firm layer. Next, we placed the filter holder into the brew head in the machine, followed by a cup underneath to catch the espresso. To turn the machine on, we pressed the red button on the side. The light will blink while it is heating up and turn solid green when it is ready to use.
Next, we pressed the brew button—the one with the coffee symbol—and rotated the side knob counter-clockwise to the brew position to start the process. Once we had pulled our espresso shots, we turned the knob clockwise to the off position. Keep in mind that the machine does not stop automatically, so you’ll have to pay attention to how much water is flowing out as not to produce espresso with too much water.
Performance: Quick results, and decent taste
This espresso machine works very quickly. After plugging in and turning it on, it’s ready to start brewing in just a few minutes. We found this to be one of its most compelling features, as some espresso makers can take a long time to heat, prolonging the whole process.
As for the quality, we thought the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker turned out fairly decent espresso, and we used it to make espresso shots, macchiatos, lattes, and cappuccinos. However, the results can be hit or miss because of the poor tamper, which didn’t allow us to get the best espresso puck because there’s not a lot of weight to it. This made the shots a little weaker than we would have preferred. There were occasions where we were able to tamp with more pressure, and we found the espresso tasted richer and even had a crema on top.
To get more consistent shots, it might be a good idea to buy a supplemental tamper made of metal, which will make it easier to put more pressure onto the grounds.
Frothing Tube: Awkward placement
The frothing tube is located to the right of the brew head, and it swivels around in a fixed circle, though its range of movement isn’t great. There wasn’t enough room to position the milk pitcher how we wanted, which prevented us from getting a great froth, but it was decent enough for cappuccinos and lattes.
To use the frothing tube, we filled a stainless steel pitcher (not included) about halfway full with cold milk. We turned the machine on and waited for the green light to stop blinking to indicate it was ready. Next, we pressed the steam button, and the ready light started blinking again. Once it stopped blinking, we held our pitcher under the frothing tube with the tip just slightly under the surface of the milk. When we turned the side knob clockwise to the steam position, the frother started up.
The manual recommends holding the pitcher there for about 50 seconds for 4 ounces of milk or until the desired temperature has been reached.
Cleaning: Most parts are dishwasher-safe
Like many espresso machines, this Mr. Coffee machine needs to be cleaned after each use. This involves wiping down the frothing tube and cap per the directions in the manual, as well as washing several of the individual parts.
We loved that many of the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, including the water reservoir, filters, drip tray, and drip grid (just be sure to place these parts on the top rack). This made the cleanup process a little quicker. However, the instructions do not recommend putting the filter holder in the dishwasher.
We loved that many of the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, including the water reservoir, filters, drip tray, and drip grid.
The manual says to discard any remaining water left in the water tank and rinse the filter holder with water and soap, and the rest of the housing can be wiped with a soft wet cloth.
Eventually, there will come a time when the machine will need a more thorough cleaning to keep its inner components in good shape, and this is known as descaling. The instruction manual provides detailed instructions for this process.
High-performing espresso machines can reach upwards of $1,000, so at about $100, the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker lands on the low end of the spectrum. It’s a steal for an espresso machine that actually works quite well.
Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker vs. Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine
We also tested the Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, another high-performing espresso maker that many customers love. It differs greatly from the Mr. Coffee machine mainly in its price, retailing just under $1,500, and all of its fancy customizable features.
As the name suggests, the high-end appliance boasts a dual boiler, which just means it’s able to extract espresso while frothing milk simultaneously. It also has a number of customizable settings including extraction temperature, shot volume, shot duration, steam temperature, pre-infusion duration, and pre-infusion power.
Breville’s Dual Boiler is geared toward a more experienced user who has a strong preference for shot temperature or other customizations, while the Mr. Coffee option is more for the average user who wants the machine to do most of the work.
- Product Name Pump Espresso Maker
- Product Brand Mr. Coffee
- Price $99.99
- Weight 8.94 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 11.42 x 9.45 x 10.63 in.
- Model Number ECMP50
- Water Tank Capacity 40 ounces
- Power 1,250 watts
- What's Included Espresso machine, filter holder, single and dual filters, measuring scoop/tamper, frothing tube tip, frothing tube valve, and water tank