The Cuisinart EM-100 is a moderately priced, home use espresso maker that combines ease of use with stylish looks. It offers an array of features that are typical of many high end machines including the ability to make a variety of excellent tasting hot and cold beverages.
Multiple Brewing Options: The EM100 gives you the option of using pre-ground coffee of your choice or dedicated pods. Using your own grinds allows you control over origin and quality of beans, freshness of grinds and roast whereas the option to use pods provides convenience without the fuss. Pods may be purchased from most quality outlets and are available in an extensive range of flavours.
The machine is equipped with single shot, double shot and ESE pod baskets to provide the full range of options. The single cup filter basket allows you to make espresso for one while the two cup basket allows you to make double serving to share with a friend. Finally, don’t forget the pod baskets for when you want a quick fix.
Self-Explanatory Controls: The front panel holds the power button, an indicator light for heating, and two knobs for control. The centre knob is used for brewing and output of hot water/steam. It makes use of icons for greater simplicity. The smaller dial located above the power button is used for selecting between steam and hot water while heating the boiler to the appropriate temperature.
Powerful Pump: Pressure is vital for a good extraction of flavours from the grinds and producing a thick, rich layer of crema on the surface of each shot. The EM100 is equipped with a powerful pump capable of generating 15 bars of pressure, like any high end machine, to ensure that the shot of espresso is full of flavour and layered with good quality crema.
Steaming/Frothing Wand: Making cappuccinos, lattes and hosts of other milk based variants has never been easier. The Cuisinart 100 houses a stainless steel wand for frothing or steaming in addition to a dedicated pitcher for the job. To steam milk, simply turn the small dial to steam icon and allow the unit to reach the appropriate temperature. The indicator light will go off upon reaching the correct temperature, now turn the large, middle knob to steam icon situated towards the right and piping hot steam will exit from the frothing wand. Once steaming/frothing is completed, twist the dial to off position.
Multiple Functionality: Feel like having an Americano, a cup of tea or hot chocolate? There is no reason to have several appliances clutter the kitchen counter. You can do away with your electric kettle as the EM100 can deliver that also! Just turn the small steam/hot water dial towards the icon showing two drops of water, wait a short time and hot water is ready to be dispensed from the steam wand.
Water Reservoir: The 53 ounce water reservoir is sufficient for making 25 espresso shots before having to refill. When it is time for a refill, the reservoir comes out easily so you can rinse it out with non-abrasive cleaner before refilling and positioning back on the EM100. This routine of cleaning before refilling will keep your water fresh tasting.
Tamper: The handy tamping tool that is a part of the accessories supplied with the machine. Compacting the grinds with the right amount of pressure is easier when this tool is used. Simply add grinds to the basket and tamp with the supplied tool, for a perfect extraction.
Ease of Cleaning: The drip tray situated just below the dispenser spout, glides out without any effort so remains can be deposited in the appropriate place and your counter stays spotless. The tray too can be rinsed with a mild detergent. The filter holder is equipped with a lock feature, so when you discard the grinds it stays in place until you are ready to remove it by releasing the lock switch.
Pros & Cons:
The Cuisinart brewer’s positive points include the fact that it is a good looking unit. The reservoir is a good sized and easy enough to refill. The machine makes excellent microfoam that gives your drinks that coffee house touch. Without a doubt it is a good value for the money, especially for those with a limited budget. The heat exchanger technology means you can pull espresso shots or steam back to back without having to wait.
Where there are so many positive points there are a few negatives as well. The finish and fitting of the drip gives a sub-standard look when compared to the rest of the unit. The lack of adjustable temperature control and pressure gauge are missed, but considering the cost and the fact that the machine makes shots of espresso that are truly coffee house quality, these minor issues are easy to overlook.
It is well designed and sturdy machine. However, people wishing to avoid aluminium, be warned that the boiler in this machine is aluminium. This fact is not mentioned anywhere and the only way to find out for yourself is to email Cuisinart and ask directly. Additionally, the warming tray does not get very hot, however using it none the less does offer that aesthetic café ambiance.