Mr. Coffee 4 Cup Steam Espresso System with Milk Frother, ECM160

The steam based espresso machine from Mr. Coffee is another steam based machine that is not
going to break the bank.

Mr. Coffee ECM160 Steam Espresso Machine is steam powered and pulls 4 espresso shots at a time. Read our review of Mr Coffee 4 Cup Steam Espresso System for full details and our opinion on it.

Like the machine made by Bella that you can read about here, this coffee
machine retails on Amazon for just over $40 dollars. However, there are a few details that
differentiate this machine from the Bella and the other low end, steam based espresso machines.

Read on to find out what they are!

Mr. Coffee ECM160 Review

Design

This machine, like its competitors, brews into a glass carafe and brews large amounts of coffee at a time. Here you can get up 20 ounces of coffee in one go. This is compared to pump based machines that brew one double espresso shot at a time. 

Steel coverings 

The main way in which Mr. Coffee’s machine is different from its competitors is the way it looks. A lot of the body of the machine is covered with steel. This makes the machine look twice as expensive as it actually is. 

Drip tray 

The drip tray is removable and is also metal. Most of the drip trays from other steam based machines are made of plastic and are problematic. 

Cup heating tray 

The other impressive feature of this machine is the cup heating tray on top of the machine. These cup heating trays are commonplace in some of the higher end, pump based espresso machines but it is rare to find one on a machine at this price point. 

As I have often talked about in other articles, pre heating your coffee cup is a very important step. I have owned several steam based machines in the past, one of which had a heating tray for the cups. This machine was my favorite, probably due largely to the tray if I am being honest. 

Review of the Mr. Coffee 4-cup Steam Espresso Maker

As a steam driven espresso machine, ECM160 generates only about 3 bar pressure for brewing. This will not be your Starbucks espresso shot, however, for many latte lovers, the espresso from the Mr Coffee Steam Espresso maker is better. In fact, Mr. Coffee ECM160 made it on our top steam espresso machine list, competing with just a handful other makers. 

Pros

  • The most affordable espresso machine with a milk steamer/frother. At around $40 in most places, the price is unbeatable.  
  •  This machine is ready to use right out of the box. There are no additional steps required. You can more or less take it out of the box and start making coffee. 
  • It also makes coffee very quickly with a pull time of just a few seconds. I think that we can all agree that coffee cravings wait for no man!
  • It brews up to four espresso shots at a time, which is the double of what a pump espresso machine brews. 
  • Even with the cup heating tray, the machine is still very small and makes a small footprint in your kitchen. 
  • The Mr. Coffee machine is a typical steam based machine in that there are no moving parts  and this makes it a super quiet unit.

Cons

  • At this price point, the manufacturer is going to have to prioritize certain aspects over others in order to keep the cost down. It just isn’t possible to make a fully comprehensive espresso brewer for $40. 
  • In this case, Mr. Coffee has prioritized the presentation and look of the machine. Therefore, the espresso from this machine isn’t up to the same standard as some of its competitors that cost a similar amount to buy.
  • If you are particular about your coffee, or you drink it black, this probably isn’t the machine for you. Mr. Coffee’s steam based espresso machine works best with milk based drinks.
  • The milk frother’s design doesn’t allow for any type of creativity or good quality micro-foam. It serves to heat the milk and that is about it. The holes in the top of the steam wand mean that it needs to be completely submerged in the milk otherwise steam blows up and can potentially be dangerous and messy. This leaves little room for technique.
  • The steam that comes out of this machine is very powerful and is not adjustable, which again makes control of steaming difficult.

Conclusion

What do you want out of your espresso machine?

As I have said before in similar reviews, the key here is really what you are looking for from your machine.


Mr. Coffee makes it possible to have a machine that is nice to look at and that you can proudly keep on display in your kitchen for a very affordable price. People are generally surprised from the look of the machine that it costs as little as it does. In this way, Mr. Coffee’s machine almost seems like you are cheating the system.


The trade off, though, is the coffee extraction and preparation. The coffee produced is quite basic and, as is typical with steam based machines, will be strong and bitter tasting. 

If you like strong, bitter coffee however, and what you are looking for from your machine is something quick and easy that will give you a caffeine fix, Mr. Coffee will fit that brief and make you look a little bit more sophisticated at dinner parties. 


If you would prefer to prioritize the taste of the coffee over its look, have a read of some of our other steam based espresso machine reviews. If anyone has any experience with the Mr. Coffee steam based espresso machine, let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Mr. Coffee 4-cup Steam Espresso Maker on Amazon

The ECM160 espresso coffee maker is one of the least expensive solutions for brewing espresso at home. You can buy one on Amazon. The flexible return policy makes it an easy decision, if you are on the fence about trying it.