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Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker EM-200 Review

The Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker has a programmable button that allows you to customize your brew to your specific tastes. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, has one of the largest water reservoirs and the longest warranty period of all the machines we tested.

Our Verdict

This espresso machine is a mixed bag. It has a lot of strong features, but its subpar results drag it down.

For

  • The Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker has an extra-large water tank and a lengthy three-year warranty.

Against

  • The espresso and frothing quality leave much to be desired.
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The Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker uses 15 bars of pressure to make coffee.

The Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker uses 15 bars of pressure to make coffee.
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This Cuisinart espresso machine comes with a portafilter and two filter baskets.

This Cuisinart espresso machine comes with a portafilter and two filter baskets.
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There are six easy-to-understand buttons on the front of the Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker.

There are six easy-to-understand buttons on the front of the Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker.
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The tank on this Cuisinart espresso machine holds 2 liters of water.

The tank on this Cuisinart espresso machine holds 2 liters of water.
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You switch between the Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker’s steam and water settings by turning this knob.

You switch between the Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker’s steam and water settings by turning this knob.

The Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker has a programmable button that allows you to customize your brew to your specific tastes. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, has one of the largest water reservoirs and the longest warranty period of all the machines we tested. However, it received low marks in our espresso and frothing quality tests.

For coffee lovers, we’ve found that the most important thing about a home espresso machine is the quality of coffee it makes. Unfortunately, in our taste and quality tests, this model earned the lowest scores of all the machines we reviewed on this very point. We brought in a professional barista to help our reviewing team conduct the tests. After making and tasting the espresso, they gave both the quality and frothing a score of 4 out of 10. Our barista also noted that the frother actually works better when you take its nozzle off. So this machine is unlikely to satisfy the standards of coffee connoisseurs.

It did score well, however, in our ease-of-use evaluation – landing an 8 out of 10 in that test, mostly because of the simplicity of its design. All the buttons and controls are easily accessible at the front of the machine. Once the machine is turned on and heated up, you can start making either one or two cups of espresso with a single push of a button. There’s also a program button you can use to customize your espresso, pulling it to fit your unique tastes. It’s not immediately clear how this feature works, so you’ll need to consult the user manual for instructions. But once you know how, it’s very simple.

At two liters, this espresso machine has one of the largest water reservoirs out of all the machines we tested. Only one machine, the Gaggia Classic, has a larger tank at 2.1 liters. It also has the longest warranty period we encountered in our reviews: three years. Most of the other machines only have a one-year warranty.

There are a couple of features we expected to see that were missing. While this espresso machine comes with a milk frother, the Gaggia doesn’t include a jug to hold your milk. So you’ll have to buy a jug separately or make do with the cups you have in your home already – both of which are inconvenient. It also lacks an auto-shutoff feature, so you’ll need to double check that you’ve turned off the machine every morning.

At the end of our evaluation, we found the Cuisinart Programmable Espresso Maker to be good worthy of consideration, but if you’re a coffee connoisseur, the final results will be disappointing. The device does have some features that are useful, but nothing that makes it better than other espresso machines we reviewed.

Contributing Reviewer: Danny Chadwick