There are lots of good single-serve coffee machines out there, and plenty of decent espresso machines- even some that can fit in your kitchen and don’t cost a small fortune. But single-serve espresso machines have basically been dominated by a single firm, and though they’ve been far more popular in Europe, the American market has become increasingly enamored.
The Cuisinart EM-400 Buona Tazza brings a twist to the formula, opting to focus exclusively on the illy iperEspresso pods, but adding a US style to the home espresso machine. There are multiple cup size options, including regular coffee, single, or double espresso, and more unusually it also has a couple of temperature selections too. There’s a cup warming plate up top, to help keep your shots hot in a pre-warmed glass, and the internal bin can hold up to ten empty capsules.
The EM-400 can put out 19 bars of pressure, but it’s missing one key element- a way to steam milk. That option is available in their more sophisticated version, the EM-600, which can make you a Caffé Latte or Cappuccino. This one is smaller, though, and easer to fit into tight spaces. With a one-liter water reservoir, you won’t have to fill it up very often, and we liked that the tray is adjustable so it can fit tiny cups or travel mugs, however you like to drink your caffeine.
Certainly, the Buona Tazza is easy to use, and it’s pretty fast too. It’s not louder than most other machines in this class, and the two-year warranty is better than many competitors. If you’re a fan of illy and don’t need a steam wand, then this is a pretty solid choice. You won’t have the cheapest or widest variety of espresso options, but the illy does offer some great monoarabica single-origin coffee selections now, which turned out barista-quality shots in under 30 seconds. Expect to spend right around $149.99 in stores and online for the Cuisinart EM-400 Buona Tazza.