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Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker... Should I buy?

Q: I was @ Wal- Mart today, and I passed by a display for a Mr. Coffee Espresso/ Cappuccino Maker. Remembering the bad experiences I had the last time I bought an espresso maker from Wal-mart some years ago (a Magic Chef "steam toy") Well, this was way before I knew anything about espresso and thought I was getting a great deal for $29.99. Well, it started to leak and the carafe broke and I returned it. Now that I know A LOT more about the wonderful art of espresso thanks to www.coffeekid.com, and needed you guys's advice. Should I buy the Mr. Coffee Espresso/Cappuccino Maker (Model ECMP10) for $45.99? I looked at the demo, and it was really heavy, about 20 pounds. The box said it was pump driven, and it has a changeble portafilter for one and two drip. Should I buy it? Do you guys think its a good deal? Its not a steam toy; it has a water reservoir and doesn't weigh 5 pounds like the Magic Chef. I just need your feedback before I splurge (not really, I REALLY want the Silvia, but can't afford it now).

A: I'd think that $45.99 is a deal for any pump machine. If it does not have a pressurized pf or any crema-enhancing devices on it, definately get it; if it does, then you may reconsider if your budget allows (the Krups Gusto sells for ~$100). Don't forget the grinder (modify an Antigua, which are currently on sale at Target). Close, but no cigar. They included the pump but left out the boiler...this is a thermoblock machine that bears more than a passing resemblance to the old Krups machines, which were so-so brewers and lousy steamers. Why they need 3 lugs on the portafilter when everyone else in the world gets by on 2 beats me. If you are on a budget, you might consider one of the Saeco machines on ebay for about the same money...these are respectable performers. Remember to budget for a good grinder - NOT a Mr. Coffee. Try to win the Saeco SL90 on coffeegeek.com :-) and save your dough for a good grinder. You should buy that before getting the espresso machine anyway. The weight - 20lbs. I'd really, really have to see that to believe it. Not questioning you, I'm questioning your source :-)). Most consumer espresso machines weigh less than 20 lbs full of water, and that includes some of the $300 and more machines. The reason? steel and iron and metal frames and housing cost more than formed plastic frames and housings. Anyway, bottom line is, save up your money for a good grinder, get a cheap press pot, enjoy the great coffee until you can save up more for a good starter (ie 150 or more) espresso machine. I started my espresso with this machine. With a good grinder, it produces a pretty good double espresso, but it's hard to do espresso for a crowd - no boiler capacity and uneven heating after the first draw. Steaming is OK.