The Imusa Bistro 4 Cup Espresso Maker is an affordable espresso machine for all those great espresso based drinks with the included frother that adds that perfect touch to a finished cappuccino or macchiato.
Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5
There are a broad range of espresso machines out there and the cost is also widely varying from under a hundred dollars to well over ten thousand for those fully automatic ones you see in the coffee shops. Being a home barista and creating those fancy espresso based drinks does not have to start off expensive and you can easily work toward those more expensive appliances while enjoying your own espresso drinks.
At the lower end of the cost scale we have the Imusa Bistro 4 cup Espresso Maker that is a great 4 cup machine that both makes espresso and has the additional frother for the frothed milk and steaming. Lattes, cappuccino’s, machiattos and other drinks based on espresso are all at your hands with the Bistro Espresso Maker with a simple to use system that has the internal tank heating system.
The Bistro Espresso Maker comes with the machine itself, a glass carafe with lid, filter basket, porta filter and instruction manual. Imusa also sent me the 4 cup porcelain espresso set called Peace with chrome rack which makes a nice accompaniment to the espresso machine.
Imusa has a wide variety of espresso cup and saucer sets with racks and at the affordable price of the espresso machine getting a set of cups and saucers will not be all that hard on your wallet. The 8 piece porcelain set has the 4 cups and saucers with a chrome rack that holds all the set to keep things organized on your counter or in your cupboard.
The Imusa Bistro 4 Cup Espresso Machine is easy to use with the tank for water accessible from the top under a plastic cover to keep things neat looking when not in use and the screw top makes for a secure pressure tank during use. To make espresso you simply fill the tank with water and fill the filter basket of the porta filter with your choice of espresso then twist the porta filter on the machine.
The handle on the side for making espresso or steaming is easy to use as well and simply turning the handle to the espresso marking starts the pressure and heating. Once the machine has brewed about 2 cups of espresso you can turn the handle to the steam setting to froth or steam milk for those espresso based.
I found the machine was easy to use and having the correct grind is an all important step to brewing good espresso but getting practice with the machine is also helpful. Once you have the process down you can experiment with various drinks like lattes and cappuccinos’ but the espresso itself is very good.
I also received a 10 ounce Café La Llave pre ground espresso from Don Francisco’s Coffee Trader’s which made a fine choice for this review. If you just want to try some espresso and keep the starting costs down you can buy ground espresso such as Café La Llave for a try at the world of espresso and see how easy it is to make.
I had no problems using the machine and for the cost it does make very good espresso but this is only a basic machine for the price of about $40. I did find that you really need to be careful with going to 4 cups of espresso as toward the end of the 4 cups you can get bitter tasting coffee because of the scalding of the espresso grounds.
The more time you are pulling a shot of espresso the more bitter it can be and to try and go for 4 shots of espresso can be trying your luck a bit. The balance between good espresso trying to make the four shots the machine is capable of can be a bit of a balancing act but I found the machine is fast enough to just worry about making two at a time.
I do think this type of machine with more shots than a more expensive espresso machine does work well enough and is well worth a look for someone looking to break into espresso making. A good grinder is also essential but using a ground espresso like the Café La Llave can also work well for a starter as well as buying espresso ground at a local coffee shop that sells and grinds espresso beans.
I highly recommend the Imusa Bistro 4 Cup Espresso Machine for anyone wanting to try their hand at espresso and to start their own home barista. After finding how easy it is you can slowly work your way up to better espresso starting with a good grinder then maybe a better espresso machine.
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