16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great for well under £100,
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This review is from: Russell Hobbs 13401 15 Bar Silver and Black Pump Espresso Machine (Kitchen & Home)
First I use filtered (britta) water, it makes a big difference.
I also use a fine ground coffee (Illy), if you use regular peculator coffee grounds they may not be fine enough and it makes a difference.
Before I first used the machine I turned it on and left it to warm up and then run water through the machine with no coffee, BE PATIENT the instructions tell you to do this. The pump is really loud until the water fills it, the water comes out opaque from residue left during manufacturing or something. I ran about a liter through the machine before I was happy the water was clean and clear.
Before you use the machine for the first time in the day make sure that it is completely warmed up. Without putting any coffee in the coffee reservoir switch it on and when the ready light comes on run just water through the machine into your cups. This warms the whole machine and your cups. The one flaw is the absence of a cup warmer. Stop the pump and fill the coffee reservoir, use the tool to press it down firmly. It's harder to press the coffee too much than too little. Not pressing the grounds down will give you a weaker coffee and effect the flavor.
Following these simple guides I have been able to achieve a good strong espresso with a good crema layer every time.
Using the steamer to achieve a good frothed milk is a bit of an art. This machine produces a good quantity of steam for warming milk for lattes or moccas. If you want to produce froth use cold milk straight out of the fridge, put a small amount in the receptacle and practice finding the right depth for the end of the nozzle to produce a good froth in the milk. I think not being able to produce a froth with this machine is a lack of practice rather than a flaw in the machine.
It doesn't get 5 because it doesn't have a cup warmer and nothing is perfect. Worth the money and does a good job.
Use filtered water and a good grade of coffee, cr@p in cr@p out.