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Mr. Coffee 4-Shot Steam Espresso Review

An inexpensive espresso maker that will catch the eye of bargain-barrel shoppers, but a good price is about all it has to offer
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Mr. Coffee 4-Shot Steam Espresso Review
Credit: Matt Lighthart
Price:  $75 List
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Manufacturer:   Mr. Coffee
By Lesley Robinson and Jason Wanlass  ⋅  Apr 16, 2024
30
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Espresso Quality - 40% 2.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 5.0
  • Ease of Cleaning - 15% 3.9
  • Milk Steaming - 15% 3.0
  • Machine Customization - 10% 2.0

Our Verdict

Inexpensive and compact. These are about the only compliments we have for the Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso. It produces inferior espresso, and the majority of its brewing, steaming, and cleaning routines are ladened with extra steps that are strange, laborious, and simply annoying. We do our best to offer some amount of grace to the products we test, so we don't enjoy being so harsh. However, we simply don't like this unit, and our testing results confirm our sentiments. Discount shoppers will love this dirt-cheap brewer, but they will need to forgive its lackluster espresso and its many oddities in order to justify its price-centric value. Although we're thankful for an affordable option amongst a brigade of expensive machines, we recommend looking at other budget options in our best espresso machine article.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Compact
REASONS TO AVOID
Unintuitive
Produces substandard espresso
Struggles to steam milk

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Price $75 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line An appealing price point is about all this very basic brewer has to offerAn excellent choice for novices trying to recreate cafe drinks at home, as long as you have an espresso-quality grinderA small machine that makes great espresso and perfectly steams milkThis human-powered machine is highly customizable, but on its own, it lacks the accessories to create lattes or cappuccinosAn inexpensive option that gets the job done, but doesn't do it exceptionally well
Rating Categories Mr. Coffee 4-Shot S... Breville Bambino Plus Breville Bambino Flair Classic De'Longhi Stilosa
Espresso Quality (40%)
2.0
6.5
6.0
8.0
4.0
Ease of Use (20%)
5.0
9.1
9.1
6.6
5.4
Ease of Cleaning (15%)
3.9
6.4
6.6
8.5
4.9
Milk Steaming (15%)
3.0
7.7
8.6
1
4.0
Machine Customization (10%)
2.0
6.5
6.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Mr. Coffee 4-Shot S... Breville Bambino Plus Breville Bambino Flair Classic De'Longhi Stilosa
Lifetime Cost Per Shot $0.57 $0.75 $0.67 $0.61 $0.59
Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price 18 120 72 39 29
Measured Dimensions 7.4" x 8.6" x 11.7" 7.6" x 14" x 12" 6.3" x 13.7" x 12" 6.1" x 12.5" x 10.3" 8.1" x 10.2" x 11.4"
Measured Cup Clearance 3.5" 5" 5" 4.25" 4.2"
Pre-Infusion No Yes Yes No No
Cappuccino Time 4 min 47 sec 4 min 3 sec 3 min 36 sec N/A 2 min 48 sec
Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price 30 203 122 67 49
Portafilter Size 51 mm 54 mm 54 mm 40 mm 51 mm
Steam Wand Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Measured Water Tank Capacity to Max Fill 16 oz 64 oz 47 oz 2 oz 34 oz
Integrated Pressure Gauge No No No Optional Add On Available No
Hot Water Delivery Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand N/A Steam Wand
Extraction Yield 14% 18% 18% 14% 12%
PID Temperature Control No Yes Yes No No
Included Accessories Stainless Steel Frothing Pitcher
Plastic Water Measuring Pitcher
Coffee Scoop
Tamper
The Razor Precision Dosing Tool
16-ounce Stainless Steel Milk Jug
4 Filter Baskets
Cleaning Tool
Cleaning Disc
Plastic Tamper
16-ounce Stainless Steel Milk Jug
4 Filter Baskets
Steam wand nozzle Cleaning Tool
Travel Case,
Dosing Cup/Tamper
Dosing Funnel
Puck Screen
Combo Tamper and Coffee scoop
2 Filter Baskets

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - getting ready to pull our first shot. this machine is lightweight...
Getting ready to pull our first shot. This machine is lightweight, so locking in the portafilter requires two hands to prevent it from tipping.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Espresso Quality


We give the Mr. Coffee a solid thumbs down when it comes to creating enjoyable espresso shots. There wasn't much we liked about it in terms of espresso quality, crema, or shot potency.


This machine used 19 grams of espresso grounds to pull 35 grams of liquid espresso in 35 seconds. While we were impressed with the volume of the shot, we did not enjoy its very acidic, harsh tones and thin structure. Likewise, the crema was overly saturated with large bubbles instead of the silky foam we had hoped for. As for shot potency, the Mr. Coffee eked out one of the lowest extraction yields of all the machines we tested.

A 13.7% extraction yield, basically means 86.3% of the shots pulled from this machine were water. This makes for a thin, weaker brew that is less vibrant. For comparison, industry extraction yield standards (for espresso) are 18 to 22%.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - at first glance, the espresso seemed to be of decent quality;...
At first glance, the espresso seemed to be of decent quality; however, our taste and refractometer tests proved otherwise. We also don't like the pouring spout's design.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ease of Use


Right out of the box, the 4-Shot Steam Espresso has one of the easiest setups of any machine in our review. It arrives pre-assembled and requires very little prep. However, nearly every remaining function is somewhat unintuitive, leaving us no choice but to give this unit an unimpressive score for this metric.


There were many things we didn't like about the Mr. Coffee, but for the sake of time, we'll try to condense our gripes into a few sentences: A single knob controls both the brewing and steaming processes. The 16-ounce water tank is small, cannot be removed, and needs to be refilled each time you pull a shot. This machine produces very little pressure, so it brews more like a coffee machine, making puck prep a very different process. If the grounds are tamped too densely, the water won't have enough force to pass through. The machine doesn't come with a tamper — just a scoop with a flat bottom — making it difficult to create an even surface on the coffee grounds.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - trying to produce an even surface with this unit's...
Trying to produce an even surface with this unit's plastic-measuring-spoon-tamper is bizarre and ineffective.
Credit: Matt Lighthart


Cappuccinos are not this machine's strong suit. After several attempts, our results looked more like lattes or cafe au laits. The process is more involved than it needs to be, requiring the user to switch back and forth between brewing espresso and steaming milk. In the end, our milk had no foam, and our espresso was slightly burned.


On a more positive note, the Mr. Coffee won't drain your bank account, and based on our calculations, it produces some of the least expensive shots of all the machines in our lineup. So, if you bypass the urge to visit your favorite coffee shop each day, and use this machine instead, you'll save quite a bit over its lifetime.


The Mr. Coffee must be turned off, depressurized, and refilled with water between each shot. However, this unit doesn't have a power button, so it must be unplugged from the outlet to cut the power. This bizarre process left us scratching our heads in disbelief.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - read it for yourself. these instructions are printed next to the...
Read it for yourself. These instructions are printed next to the steam dial. We were highly confused and annoyed by their very unconventional requirements.
Credit: Lesley Robinson

We were also disappointed that the Mr. Coffee arrives with very few accessories, and its user manual is difficult to understand. Lastly, we were dumbfounded that the steam wand remains hot even when not in use.

Unplugging the machine in between nearly every process became very cumbersome.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ease of Cleaning


As a whole, we didn't like any of this machine's cleaning and maintenance routines. For such a simple machine, these processes were either very involved or took too much time.


Simply dumping the used grounds was more involved than it needed to be with the Mr. Coffee. It first requires unplugging the machine and opening the steam wand to depressurize the system. Only then can the portafilter be removed. Likewise, care must be taken when knocking the grounds loose because the filter basket often falls out of the portafilter.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - the portafilter handle comes equipped with a handy clip that keeps...
The portafilter handle comes equipped with a handy clip that keeps the filter basket from falling out when you knock out the used grounds. We would prefer a filter basket that simply doesn't fall out in the first place.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Due to a smaller-than-normal water tank, purging the steam wand often requires the entire system to be unplugged and depressurized so that more water can be added to the tank. We were completely disappointed with the descaling process. It takes nearly nine hours (generally overnight), and the manufacturer recommends completing the process every one to three months, depending on water hardness. The process uses undiluted vinegar, so the machine must be flushed at least four times to remove its smell and taste.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - we like that this machine doesn't require special descaling supplies.
We like that this machine doesn't require special descaling supplies.
Credit: Matt Lighthart


Milk Steaming


Rich, silky, microfoam is not a legitimate expectation. The Mr. Coffee simply didn't produce the quality of foam necessary for cappuccino art.


Our in-house baristas were able to achieve decent steamed milk for lattes, but they noted that brilliant microfoam was out of the question. On par with this machine's other functions, the steaming process is more complicated than necessary. One of the biggest annoyances is that the small water tank holds enough water to pull the espresso shot, but it requires a refill before any steaming can take place — and we've already explained the steps required for a simple refill. Then, the tank usually needs another topping off in order to purge the steam wand.

Demonstrating the process of removing the portafilter: first unplug the machine, turn off the pressure knob and release the water tank cap. Note: The cord in the wall outlet is connected to a different machine.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Machine Customization


This unit offers zilch when it comes to customization, earning it super low scores across the board during our testing of this metric.


In addition to fixed pressure and heat settings, the Mr. Coffee ships with only one single filter basket that has fill markers for two or four shots. As mentioned, the remaining processes are unreasonably complicated and lack user-friendliness and any semblance of customization. However, in fairness, this machine simply wasn't designed to offer endless tailoring options. High-end functions just aren't featured at this price point.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - an up-close view of this unit's very simple controls. basically, one...
An up-close view of this unit's very simple controls. Basically, one dial (left) does everything.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Should You Buy the Mr. Coffee 4-Shot Steam Espresso?


We had higher hopes for the Mr. Coffee Espresso & Cappuccino Machine, but we were mostly left disappointed. That said, its one saving grace is its affordability. So, if you're looking to save a lot of money and are willing to sacrifice convenience and production quality, you may want to give this machine a try.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - prepping our portafilter with frest grounds. this machine requires...
Prepping our portafilter with frest grounds. This machine requires them to be very fine.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

What Other Espresso Machines Should You Consider?


The De'Longhi Stilosa also comes with an appealing price tag. It performs better than the Espresso & Cappuccino Machine but it also is more expensive. If you're willing to spend a little more, the Breville Bambino Plus is an excellent machine that will give you results that are nearly cafe-quality, but it will cost you.

mr. coffee 4-shot steam espresso - pulling a less-than-stellar shot.
Pulling a less-than-stellar shot.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Lesley Robinson and Jason Wanlass