Customer Review

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 10 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Stellar Authentic Espresso and Cappuccino 800W Electric Coffee Maker with Built In Milk Frother
I bought this after having to return an Argos machine (which worked for 2 days) then a DeLonghi 152 machine (which never worked) and was running out of options at a reasonable price. This machine is more robustly built than the Argos and seems better designed than the De Longhi (which had a tiny water container and very little clearance for a cup).
With this machine I get good espresso with a nice crema, and with practice am managing to get steamed milk with lasting foam (even using skimmed milk). I can't see that the cappuccinos or mochas would be any better from one of the more expensive machines. What you don't get at this price is a grinder - I'm using packs of ready ground coffee. It also doesn't take pods. The clearance is enough that you can put a standard mug underneath the brew head, which means less palaver when making cappuccino (you don't need to transfer from an espresso cup, which you would have to do with the De Longhi). Clearance under the steamer pipe is not great - an 11cm jug needs tilted to get it underneath. I can do this with my jug without spilling, if it's not too full. You could put the machine on something, but you'd lose the benefit of the suction feet helping to keep it stable.
It's easier to refill if you have enough height above the machine to lift the water container off the back. The advertised cup warming area is just the top of the machine, which is made of metal and gets hot when the steamer is on. However it doesn't really get hot soon enough to keep the espresso warm while steaming the milk. Overall though, it seems a well made machine that gives good results.
EDIT - March 2012
After a year or so it seemed to be struggling to get the pressure to push the coffee through. The instructions showed that there was still a year to go on the guarantee - but also reminded me that the product needs to be descaled periodically. We live in a soft water area so had not been doing this .. however it solved the problem and it now works fine again. Only minor wear and tear after 15 months use is that the steam nozzle sometimes drips from the top into the milk for a few seconds at the start of frothing, and the nozzle end piece occasionally falls out - but you just push it in again. It still works.
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