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Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000 Review 2018

An image of Mr Coffee ECMP1000, a capable semi-automatic espresso machine

Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000

8 Total Score
Mr Coffee ECMP1000

A hidden gem in the world of semi-automatic espresso machines. It’s basic, well-priced, and with it, and a bit of Barista skill, you can make any drink you can imagine.
Recommended for: People on a budget, who still want to get the coffee shop experience at home, anyone who doesn’t mind letting their inner Barista out to play and experiment. NOT recommended for purists, power coffee drinkers, or people looking for maximum convenience. This is just not that machine.

Reservoir Size
6
Overall Brew Quality
10
Customization Options
6
Ease of Use
10
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Set Alert for Product: Mr. Coffee Café Barista - $189.97
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Price history for Mr. Coffee Café Barista
Latest updates:
  • $189.97 - July 19, 2018
  • $199.97 - July 12, 2018
Since: July 12, 2018
  • Highest Price: $199.97 - July 12, 2018
  • Lowest Price: $189.97 - July 19, 2018
Last Amazon price update was: September 21, 2018 1:40 pm
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An Overview of the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 

Are you interested in exploring the world of specialty coffee drinks, but don’t have a lot of money to spend?  If you’re on a budget, then a semi-automatic machine is a much more cost-effective way to enjoy a coffee shop experience at home without having to spend a ton of money.

Even then though, the machines offered by the big names in the world of specialty coffee tend to be more expensive, which is why we’re always on the lookout for hidden gems in the marketplace.

Mr. Coffee is a name you probably know well.  In fact, you may have one of their drip-brew machines in your home right now.  What you may not know is that in recent years, they’ve begun making forays into the world of specialty coffee.

We’ll take a look at this model in our in-depth Mr Coffee ECMP1000 review, and by the end, we think you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were.

Although Mr. Coffee isn’t one of the bright stars of the specialty coffee world, they’ve done an excellent job at creating basic, but quite capable semi-automatic.  If you’re willing to do a bit of the work yourself, you’ll find that armed with this machine; you can create just about any specialty drink you can order at your favorite coffee shop.

Let’s jump right in and see what this surprisingly good machine can do!

Form Factor, Footprint, and Aesthetic

The first thing you’ll notice about the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista is that it doesn’t take up all that much more space than the drip-brew machine you’ve probably got on your countertop right now.  It measures just 12” x 14” x 12.2” and weighs in at a scant nine pounds, so for most people, it’s a trivial task to find a permanent home for the machine, and even in cases where it’s not, it’s so light that it’s nothing to move it around.

Of course, it looks a bit different than the coffee machine you’re used to seeing in the kitchen but is made largely the same way.  Mostly sturdy ABS plastic, it comes in a variety of colors (burgundy, black, and silver), with black and silver accents.

It wasn’t designed to be attractive, just functional.  That’s not to say it’s hideous or unattractive; it is just like your typical kitchen appliance.  As such, it’ll fit in well with just about any home décor scheme, and you can even get a color that’s appropriate, so that’s a win.

Reservoir Size

So let’s just get this out of the way right up front.  It’s important that our Mr Coffee ECMP1000 review outlines both the good and the bad, and the bottom line is, this isn’t the machine you want if you’re a power coffee drinker. 

The reservoir is fine for one, maybe two casual coffee drinkers in your household, but beyond that, you’re going to have to refill the smallish, 32-ounce water machine way more often than you’d like to.

The tank, by the way, is located at the back of the machine and lifts out by pulling upward.  Given the modest height of the unit, this shouldn’t pose a problem even for people with relatively limited clearance between their countertops and cabinetry.

Note that the tank does not have, and is not designed to accept a water filter.  Again, we’re talking about a basic, value-priced machine, so these kinds of limitations are to be expected.

An image of Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000's 32-ounce water tank

Integrated Grinder

This will be a short section because the Mr Coffee Café Barista BVMC ECMP1000 doesn’t come with a built-in grinder.  It’s a semi-automatic, rather than a super-automatic, which means that it isn’t a full “beans to brew” system, and you’ll have to do a bit of the work of making your drink yourself, including buying a grinder if you want to use fresh beans.

The upshot here is that the grinders that are built into super-automatic machines don’t do well with oily beans, so you’re generally limited to Medium Roast.  If you buy a manual grinder, you can buy whatever you prefer without having to worry about it, though if you purchase an electric grinder, you’re probably back to Medium Roast again.

An image of Mr Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista's portafilter

Of course, you can get around this altogether if you opt to use pre-ground coffee, but if you’re interested in purchasing a standalone grinder to accompany this machine, follow these general guidelines:

  • Grinders come in two basic styles – burr and blade.  Get a burr grinder.  Bladed ones are cheaper, but they don’t grind beans, as much as smash them to bits, and the grind consistency is poor.
  • If you get a burr grinder, again, you’ve got two choices – Stainless steel or ceramic.  Spend the extra money and get one with ceramic burrs.  Stainless steel heats when you use it, and can burn your grounds, which will ruin the flavor of your coffee.
An image of Mr Coffee ECMP1000's boiler and coffee spigot

Boiler System

The Mr. Coffee BVMC ECMP1000 has a single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel.  It does not feature Thermoblock technology, and as such, it doesn’t heat as rapidly as higher priced models.  If you’re looking for something nimble, this isn’t the machine you want.

Also bear in mind that since it only has the one boiler, it can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.  It can’t simultaneously steam milk and brew coffee, so you’ll have a bit more of a wait as it shifts gears to switch from one task to the other.

Telescoping Coffee Spigot

The coffee spigot doesn’t telescope, but you can adjust the height of the platform your cup sits on, which accomplishes the same goal from the other end.  If you’re not picky, you can just not worry about adjusting the platform height, or, as a work around, just hold your cup right beneath the spigot.

Pro Tip:  This is more important than people new to the world of specialty coffee drinks might think.  By placing your cup such that the spigot is right at its rim, you’ll improve the body and character of your final output and wind up with more crema in your cup.

The Brew Unit and Control System

There’s not much to say here, owing to this machine’s minimalist feature set.  There are only a few buttons on the unit’s front face.  You can make either a single or a double shot of espresso, Cappuccino, or Latte at the touch of a single button once you’ve loaded your grounds.

That’s it.  That’s what this machine can do.

Of course, armed with a shot of espresso and a milk frother, you can make a variety of other coffee magic if you’re willing to let your inner Barista out to play, but in terms of one touch drinks from the machine, those are your three choices.

Note that the machine does have an auto shutoff, but there’s no way to program or change it or set an automatic start time, and there are no automated maintenance routines here.  Keeping the machine clean means manually washing and rinsing.

Also note that since there’s no built-in grinder, there’s no dregs box, either.  Instead, you get a single and a double shot filter, a scoop, and a tamper.  You pick the amount of coffee you want, load the appropriate filter, tamp it to pack the grounds, and load it into the machine manually. 

After that, you’re ready to brew, but this brings us to an interesting point, and if you’re new to specialty coffee drinks, you should understand the difference in brewing method between the coffee you’re used to drinking and espresso.

An image of one touch control panel of Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000

The Key Difference Between Drip-brew Coffee and Espresso

Drip-brew machines rely on gravity to get the coffee from the grounds chamber to your waiting cup or pot.  This machine shoots a jet of pressurized water through the grounds under pressure.  That pressure is measured in bars, and one bar is equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level.

It takes nine bars to make a good shot of espresso, and the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista is equipped with a pump that’s rated at fifteen bars, so you won’t have any difficulty getting good espresso from your machine, every time you use it.

An image of the plastic milk carafe of the Mr Coffee Café Barista BVMC ECMP1000

The Milk Frother

Our Mr Coffee ECMP1000 café barista premium espresso cappuccino system review wouldn’t be complete without calling particular attention to this feature.  It’s surprisingly good, given the modest price of the machine.  It comes with a refrigerator safe plastic milk carafe that can hold sixteen ounces of milk.  Simply pour the milk into the carafe, insert it into the slot on the machine, and make sure your cup is positioned so that both the coffee and the milk will dispense into it.

The milk carafe has an adjustment dial built onto it, which allows you to dial in more milk, or more froth, at your preference, and you’ll want to play with this setting to find the sweet spot that’s ideal for you.

The froth quality isn’t the greatest, but again, given the low price of the machine, it’s much better than we had any right to expect.  On the whole, we were quite pleased with this feature.

Cup Warming Tray

This will be another fairly short section because the Mr. Coffee BVMC ECMP1000 doesn’t have a cup warming tray. That’s a loss, but there’s a workaround which we’ll get to in a moment.  First, we’ll explain why you’ll probably want to use the workaround, and the reason is this:

Specialty coffee drinks were meant to be enjoyed at temperatures lower than most Americans like to drink their coffee. If you’re new to this world, that can be a jarring change, and you want to do everything you can to minimize the loss of heat.

Dispensing your drink into a cold cup results in more heat loss than dispensing into a cup that’s been pre-warmed.

The workaround is this:  Since this model requires a bit of manual setup and prep, just fill your cup with hot water, or fill it with cold water and pop it into the microwave for a minute while you’re doing your prep.  Your cup will be hot, and you can just dump the water when you’re ready to brew.  It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s quick and easy.

Pure Simplicity to Use and Clean

This is another thing our Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000 review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning.

As you might expect from a coffee machine with only three buttons on its front face, it takes all of about thirty seconds to figure out how to operate this unit.  It’s really simple.  Load your ingredients, pick your drink, push the button.  That’s all there is to it.  It’s sheer simplicity is one of its most appealing aspects.

Cleaning isn’t much harder than that.  You’ll just need to manually rinse the milk carafe and the frothing wand, and purge it by sending steam through it at regular intervals. 

Pro Tip:  It’s probably a good idea to give the wand a quick steam purge after every milk-based drink you make.

Since the brew unit isn’t removable, and the tank doesn’t have a filter, you’ll want to clean these the same way you clean the drip-brew machine you’re using now at whatever interval you’re comfortable with.

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Pros & Cons of the Mr Coffee BVMC ECMP1000

The thing we love most about the Mr. Coffee Café Barista BVMC ECMP1000 is the fact that it gives you all the basics.  Armed with this machine, and a willingness to experiment, you can make some real coffee magic happen, and your friends will probably have no idea that you’re not using a high dollar machine.

That, coupled with its incredibly low price make it an attractive option.

The downsides are trickier because just about any recommendation we could make concerning improving the machine would also dramatically increase its price, which would completely redefine it.

If we could pick one thing to improve, it would be to install a better boiler, with Thermoblock technology to cut down on the wait time as it warms up.

Mr Coffee ECMP1000 Review Conclusion

Having reached the end of our Mr Coffee ECMP1000 review, it’s easy to see that we like the model, probably more than we should, given its severe limitations, and we’re quick to add that it’s not for everyone.  If you’ve got even a bit more money to spend, you can find a much better, more feature rich, and more robust machine.

On the other hand, if money’s tight, and you’re looking for a super-inexpensive way to explore the world of specialty coffee drinks, and you don’t mind getting a little Barista practice in on a regular basis, then this little guy is a rock star.  A low-priced diamond in the rough.

We provisionally recommended on that basis, with the understanding that a lot of purists and people who are looking for more convenience will turn their noses up at it and give it a pass.  It’s just not a machine designed with them in mind.

Best Online Offers for the Mr Coffee ECMP1000

$199.99
17 new from $199.99
5 used from $149.95
as of September 21, 2018 1:40 pm
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