Casabrews espresso maker reivew: Quick Menu
Espresso makers are often big and bulky, making them impractical additions to kitchens with limited space. The Casabrews espresso machine solves that problem. This compact, sleek machine easily fits underneath cabinets and takes up minimal counter space.
While the machine lacks some of the extra accessories that other, larger kits include, it makes up for that in its overall ease of use. A pressure gauge helps you to spot issues that might affect the quality of your brew, and the machine gives you the ability to alter the one and two-cup setting sizes to your preferences. An ideal choice for espresso newbies or those looking for an espresso maker ideal for a small kitchen, this compact machine puts in a solid performance.
Here's what else I discovered about this machine while using it at home in my kitchen for a couple of weeks...
What I thought of the Casabrews espresso machine
If you’re looking for a sleek, stylish, and simple coffee maker, you’ll find all of those features in the Casabrews Compact 20-Bar Espresso maker. This machine is compact enough to easily fit in my smaller kitchen, and its silver color is a natural fit for my kitchen décor. I could see this machine being a good fit for kitchens with limited space, apartments, and even offices or dorm rooms.
This espresso machine has limited features, but that’s also part of its appeal. It isn’t overwhelming to use and is a good choice for families that need to make just an espresso or two at a time. It’s a strong introductory option for an espresso drinker investing in their first machine.
Testing the Casabrews espresso machine
I’m Paige and I specialize in product reviews. I tested the Casabrews Compact 20-Bar Espresso Maker for several weeks in my home kitchen.
|Ease of use||Operating it is as simple as pushing a button. Portafilter locks into machine. Initial water tank was faulty.||★★★★|
|Design||Machine is compact enough to easily fit in a smaller kitchen, and its silver color is a natural fit for most kitchens||★★★★★|
|Maintanance||Machine needs to be descaled after 500 brew cycles. All of the indicator lights will flash five times to signal that it is time .||★★★★★|
|Packaging||Arrived well-packed and sustained no damage during shipping. Packaging did include two large pieces of Styrofoam which stabilized the machine during shipping.||★★★★|
Casabrews espresso machine specifications
- Model name: Casabrews Compact 20-Bar Espresso Maker with stainless steel milk frother
- Dimensions (in.): H11.97 x W5.9 x L12.28
- Reservoir capacity: 34 ounces
- Weight of machine: 10.45 pounds
- Voltage: 110-120 volts
- Cord length: 36 inches
- Wattage: 1350 watts
- Accessories: 1 and 2 cup double-wall filter basket, coffee grind measuring scoop and tamper, manual, portafilter
- Available colors: Black, silver
Unboxing the Casabrews espresso machine
The Casabrews espresso machine arrived well-packed and sustained no damage during shipping. The packaging did include two large pieces of Styrofoam which stabilized the machine during shipping.
How to use
The assembly process is simple, and the instruction manual and quick start guide feature detailed and clear diagrams. There is a plug under the bottom of the water tank that must be removed, and the tank easily locks onto the back of the machine. Individual components, like the tray and the portafilter, were individually wrapped and packaged. Unwrapping the accessories took just a few minutes, and the machine was set up and ready to use.
Casabrews instructs you to use the machine to make hot water before brewing any espresso. While I carefully followed the instructions, I encountered an issue where the machine seemed to operate but didn’t produce hot water. I emailed the Casabrews customer service department using the email address included in the instruction manual and received a response within a few hours. After exchanging several emails, Casabrews offered to send a new water tank but also suggested that I try repeatedly removing and reinserting the tank. After removing and reinserting the tank five times, the hot water function worked, and I have not had any problems with the machine since.
Part of the appeal of the machine is the fact that operating it is as simple as pushing a button. While the machine does have a pressure gauge, it’s included more as a guide to help you identify if there are problems, like if you’re using coffee grounds that are too fine.
To get started, you’ll power on the machine and wait for it to preheat. That process takes about 20 seconds, and the flashing indicator lights turn solid to signal the machine is ready to use.
The included scoop and tamper make it easy to load the portafilter. The portafilter comes with a one- and two-cup filter basket, so you can choose the right option based on how many espresso shots you want to prepare. I found that the portafilter easily locked into the machine, and I didn’t even have to hold or stabilize the machine while inserting the portafilter.
Making espresso using the Casabrews espresso machine
To make espresso, I just pushed the one- or two-cup buttons on the machine. The machine produces a preset amount of water, so you don’t have to stand by and monitor it. I also appreciated that the setting produced consistent espresso, and the drinks weren’t watered down.
The espresso temperature wasn’t optimal, though. While I followed Casabrews’ recommendation to preheat the cup, the espressos that I brewed reached just 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in comparison to the 158 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures that the label states are possible with cup preheating. I found the temperature still plenty hot, but if you’re someone who likes a truly hot drink, this might not be the machine for you.
I was impressed to find that the machine gives you the ability to set the volume for the one- and two-cup settings. One-cup volume setting options range from 1 to 2.37 ounces, while the two-cup volume setting options range from 2.7 to 4 ounces. You can save your setting preferences but also have the ability to revert the machine to its default volumes.
The machine’s operation is relatively quiet while making espresso. At the loudest, it registered 58.4 decibels. I think you could make espresso without disturbing someone who’s sleeping in a nearby bedroom.
Steaming milk using the Casabrews espresso machine
Using the in-built milk frother is a much louder process, reaching 79.2 decibels. I found this somewhat painfully loud, and it would almost certainly wake up someone sleeping in a nearby bedroom. Since the machine doesn’t include a milk frothing pitcher, I used a large mug. The milk was well-frothed, though pouring it from one mug into another didn’t give me much control.
One significant downside to the machine’s construction is that the espresso setting won’t operate right after you’ve used the steam function. This is a disadvantage, especially if you plan on using the machine to prepare several drinks at a time. While you can run the hot water function for at least eight seconds and then use the espresso function, this makes for an extra, inconvenient step.
Cleaning the Casabrews espresso machine
Casabrews includes detailed instructions on how to clean each component of the machine. The machine’s exterior wipes down well with a damp sponge. The accessories, like the drip tray and drip plate, can be hand-washed.
The steam wand features a steam tube that can be easily unscrewed for cleaning. Casabrews has also included a cleaning needle tool that can be used to remove residue from the hole of the steam wand.
Casabrews notes that the machine needs to be descaled after 500 brew cycles, and all of the indicator lights will flash five times to signal that it is time to descale the machine. That signal will appear during every startup until you cancel it.
To descale the machine, you will need to fill the water tank with water and a descaling agent. Then, you will need to run the two-cup setting repeatedly. Finally, you will repeat the process using clean tap water to finish cleaning the machine.
Is the Casabrews espresso machine right for you?
The Casabrews Compact 20-Bar Espresso Machine is a good choice if you’re looking for a simple, user-friendly machine that saves space on your counter. It’s ideal for kitchens with limited space, and its operation, while somewhat basic, would be appealing to many more casual espresso lovers.
Because the machine lacks the ability to set temperature and pressure, it’s probably not an ideal fit for true espresso connoisseurs. The lower temperatures, while hot enough for me, probably won’t please someone who likes their drinks extra hot.
This espresso machine could be a good entry-level machine or a nice second machine for an office. Its loud operation means it’s probably not a great choice if you want to prepare espresso while others are still in bed. It includes minimal accessories, so plan on purchasing items like espresso cups and a milk frothing pitcher if you don’t already have them.
If you're not sure that this is the right coffee maker for you, then see some more that we recommend just below...
Other colorways available
Water tank capacity: 724 ml / 24.5 fl oz
Brew style: Pods
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 in our review
Includes plenty of accessories
Size (in): H11.5 x W9 x L10
Water tank capacity: 1.25L
Brew type: Whole bean coffee
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 in our review
Good size for countertop
Size (in): 12.76 x 8.7 x 14.6
Type: Ground coffee or pod machine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars in our review
Good to know
The set includes a user manual and a quick start guide with clean, easy-to-understand diagrams.
Casabrews offers a one-year limited warranty on the machine.
Where to buy the Casabrews espresso machine
How we test coffee makers
As with all of our coffee maker reviews, we follow a strict set of guidelines to ensure we're comparing each machine fairly. These are:
Unboxing: We evaluate the product’s packaging and how well it protects the product during shipping. We also considered how sustainable the packaging is, including how much Styrofoam it contains, as well as how easy the machine’s setup is.
Operation: When looking at the machine’s operation, we consider factors like how reliably and consistently it performed, how loud it is, and how well it worked.
Beverage quality: We also consider the overall quality of the beverages produced. We look for issues like watered-down beverages and evaluate beverage temperature and consistency.
Ease of use: Here we look at the overall experience of using the machine, including factors like how easy it is to remove and fill the water tank, how simple it is to understand the settings, and how easily it is to fill, insert, and remove the filter holder.
Ease of cleaning: With cleaning being such an important element of maintaining a machine like an espresso maker, we also focus on how easily the components can be removed and maintained for long-term use.