The Cuisinart EM-200 is a chic looking espresso brewing machine measuring nearly thirteen inches high and almost eleven inches long. A solidly constructed unit it weighs 25 pounds. Even though it is programmable, you have the option of overriding the pre-set functions and taking manual control so you can set your own parameters. This affords you greater control over the type of drink you brew.
The unit is encased in stainless steel housing coupled with stylish metallic accents. The control panel is situated directly on the front of the brewer with six backlit buttons. The buttons are clearly marked, with the power button on the left-most end, followed by manual, brewing, 1 cup, 2 cup, programming and finally steam. When the machine is heating up to the brewing temperature, the brewing button will continue to flash. Likewise the steaming button will continue to flash when the unit is heating up to the steaming temperature. This way you will know when is the unit has reached the perfect temperature for the desired job.
You can pull a single shot or double with this pump driven machine as pump driven machines can typically produce higher pressure compared to steam driven units. To extract full flavor from your grinds, a pressure of 9 bars is considered essential. This unit pumps water at 15 bars, so while extracting that 9 bar minimum is sustained through the duration of extraction. This ensures you get maximum flavor from the grinds. If you are in a rush, you can quickly grab a cup using coffee pods; but if you have the time and are in the mood for creating your own specialist then you can grind your own fresh beans and brew those. The machine is also equipped with an adjustable wand for steaming, frothing or foaming milk. This increases the options of the types of beverages you can create like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos to name a few.
The EM200 employs a single boiler and has a heat exchange for pumping water. The water is circulated through the hot coil tube, also called the heat exchange to bring the water to perfect brewing temperature. This type of system is better at maintaining a consistent water temperature which can then be used for not only brewing but steaming milk at the same time. The boiler makes use of stainless steel construction, the best possible material for boilers as it is exceptional at resisting corrosion and is more durable compared to other materials.
The 64 ounce water reservoir comes with a handle so you can conveniently remove it from the machine and carry it to the sink for refilling. The clear plastic allows you to keep an eye on the level of water remaining. The drip tray is also removable for easy clean-up.
The warming tray is situated at the top of the machine and ensures that the cups are at the ideal temperature for receiving the shot of espresso. This much desirable feature is typically not available on mid-range range espresso units, and is an essential component of brewing a shot of espresso that is just perfect.
The EM200 comes with a number of accessories among which is a tamping and measuring combination tool. There is a tiny switch on the portafilter which keeps the filter firmly in place while you discard the grinds in the trash. Cleaning pins to remove coffee grounds from the filter are also included in the package, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Lastly, a frothing cup specifically designed to stand up to the heat and pressure of the steam want is also included in the purchase.
Back-up & Support:
The people at Cuisinart stand behind their product and to prove it they back the EM200 with a three year warranty. This is highly uncommon in the espresso machine world, as a vast majority of the machines only get one and at most two years of warranty. The representatives at customer service are cordial and very helpful.
The Cuisinart EM200 is a moderately priced machine that performs well. A vast majority of the complaints against the unit arise out of operator error. If the instructions are followed, I’m confident you will end up with a good cup of coffee. Here are some tips for getting the best out of your EM200.
- Water is a major component of coffee, if your water is loaded with dissolved minerals or is heavily chlorinated, it will have a great impact on the flavor of your drink. It is best to use filtered water for preparing your beverage.
- Many people complain about not getting good quality crema. Coffee roast has an impact on the kind of crema produced. City roast also known as medium roast produces better crema compared to “espresso roast”
- Grind size and uniformity also have a huge effect on the flavour of the drink. It is important to use fine grind that is even throughout. Investing in a good quality burr grinder can go a long way in improving the taste of your coffee.
- It is a good idea to get in the habit of measuring your grinds, if you want consistency and good taste in your cup. Use 13 grams of grinds for 1.5 ounce “single serving” selection on the EM200 and 17 grams for a double or two ounce shot.
- When the EM200 is started cold, allow a minute or two to heat up before starting brewing.
A few simple precautions can go a long way in improving the taste of your coffee.