The Empstorm CM8501B-N 20 Bar Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine: An Affordable and User-Friendly Option for Home Espresso Brewing

Published on July 16, 2023, 3:28 p.m.

For espresso aficionados looking for an affordable, easy-to-use home espresso maker, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is an excellent option worth considering. With its 20 bar pressure system, built-in milk frother, and compatibility with both ground coffee and capsules, this semi-automatic espresso machine offers tremendous value and versatility. Read on for a comprehensive review outlining its key features, performance, and overall user experience.

 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine


The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is a semi-automatic espresso machine manufactured by Empstorm, a company dedicated to producing high-quality coffee makers suitable for home and office use. It features a 20-bar pressure system, a 1.5 liter removable water tank, a built-in milk frothing wand, and a double spout portafilter that works with ground coffee as well as Nespresso-compatible capsules. With its stylish black exterior and stainless steel accents, it has an elegant look that will complement any kitchen décor.

Key Features

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine boasts several key features that set it apart: * Professional-Grade 20-Bar Pressure: Ensures optimal extraction for rich, flavorful espresso with a thick crema layer. * Dual Brewing System: Accommodates both ground coffee and Nespresso capsules for maximum versatility. * Adjustable Milk Frother: Creates creamy milk foam for lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based beverages.

 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine

Design and Construction

Enclosed in a durable black plastic housing, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine features stainless steel accents on the portafilter, drip tray, and cup warming tray, giving it a more premium look and feel. The control panel consists of clearly labeled buttons for single and double shots. The top of the machine gets hot enough to passively warm cups. Some users may find the machine a bit noisy upon start-up, but the noise dissipates shortly.

Ease of Use

With only two main buttons for brewing single or double shots, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is simple to use. The automatic operation means you just need to load grounds, lock the portafilter, and press a button. However, beginners may need practice dialing in the grind size and dose for optimal extraction. The steam wand also requires manually texturing milk. So some technique is involved, but overall it’s easy to make great espresso.

Coffee Quality

Thanks to the 20 bar pressure system, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine can produce rich, intense espresso with a nice crema layer on top when using fresh, properly ground coffee. While not as consistent as commercial machines, it makes better espresso than cheap stovetop moka pots.

2-in-1 Portafilter

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine’s 2-in-1 portafilter is a unique feature that allows you to use both ground coffee and Nespresso-compatible capsules. This gives you the flexibility to choose your preferred brewing method and coffee type. Whether you are a fan of freshly ground beans or prefer the convenience of capsules, this machine has you covered.

The inclusion of a portafilter specifically for Nespresso capsules is a notable advantage for those who enjoy the ease and variety of capsule-based brewing. This allows you to enjoy your favorite Nespresso blends without needing a separate machine.

For coffee purists who prefer freshly ground beans, the included portafilter for ground coffee allows for a more customizable experience. You have complete control over the grind size and coffee amount, allowing you to experiment and find your perfect espresso.

20-Bar Pressure

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine’s 20-bar pressure system is a standout feature that sets it apart from many other home espresso makers. This high pressure ensures optimal extraction of coffee flavors and oils, resulting in a richer, more flavorful espresso with a thick, velvety crema.

The 20-bar pressure is comparable to what you would find in professional espresso machines used in coffee shops. This means you can achieve cafe-quality espresso in the comfort of your own home. The high pressure forces hot water through the coffee grounds at the ideal rate, extracting the full range of flavors and aromas.

For those who enjoy a strong, bold espresso, the 20-bar pressure is essential. It allows for a more intense extraction, bringing out the deeper notes and complexities of the coffee beans. This is particularly noticeable when using darker roasts or espresso blends.

Versatile Brewing Options

With the included double spout portafilter, users can brew using either ground coffee or Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules. This makes the machine quite versatile.

Fast Heat-Up Time

One of the standout features of the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is its incredibly fast heat-up time. In just 30 seconds, the machine is ready to brew your favorite espresso, minimizing the wait time and allowing you to enjoy your coffee sooner.

This rapid heating is achieved through a powerful thermoblock heating system that quickly brings the water to the optimal temperature for espresso extraction. This is a significant advantage over some other espresso machines that can take several minutes to heat up.

The fast heat-up time is particularly beneficial for those who are always on the go or who want to enjoy a quick espresso fix in the morning. It also makes the machine more energy-efficient, as it doesn’t need to be kept on continuously to maintain the ideal brewing temperature.

Double Spout Portafilter

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine’s double spout portafilter is a convenient feature that allows you to brew two espresso shots simultaneously. This is particularly useful for households with multiple coffee drinkers or for those who enjoy double shots. The double spout design ensures even distribution of coffee into both cups, resulting in a consistent and balanced flavor.

Removable Water Tank and Drip Tray

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine features a removable 1.5-liter water tank and drip tray, both designed for easy cleaning and maintenance. The large water tank capacity allows you to brew multiple cups of coffee before needing a refill, while the removable drip tray makes it easy to clean up any spills or drips.

Both the water tank and drip tray are dishwasher safe, which means you can simply pop them in the dishwasher for a hassle-free cleaning experience. This is a significant convenience factor, especially for those who use their espresso machine daily.

The removable design of these components also makes it easier to descale the machine, which is an essential maintenance task for any espresso machine. Descaling helps to remove mineral buildup that can affect the taste of your coffee and the performance of the machine.

 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine

Adjustable Milk Frother

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine comes equipped with an adjustable milk frother, allowing you to create creamy, microfoam milk for lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based espresso drinks. The frother is a steam wand that uses hot steam to aerate and texturize milk, creating a smooth, velvety foam.

The adjustability of the steam wand is a key feature, as it allows you to control the amount of air incorporated into the milk. This means you can create different types of foam, from a light and airy foam for cappuccinos to a denser, creamier foam for lattes.

The milk frother is relatively easy to use, even for beginners. Simply fill the included milk frothing pitcher with cold milk, position it under the steam wand, and turn the knob to release the steam. With a little practice, you can create professional-quality milk foam at home.

Warm Cup Tray

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine features a convenient warm cup tray on top of the machine. This tray utilizes passive heating from the machine’s internal components to keep your cups warm while you prepare your espresso.

A warm cup is essential for maintaining the optimal temperature of your espresso. When coffee is poured into a cold cup, it can quickly lose heat, affecting the flavor and overall enjoyment.

Initial Noise Level

Some users have reported that the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine can be a bit noisy upon initial start-up. This noise is primarily due to the pump and heating element as they begin to operate. However, the noise level typically subsides after about 30 seconds as the machine reaches its operating temperature.

While the initial noise may be noticeable, it is not excessive and should not be a major concern for most users. The brewing process itself is relatively quiet, and the overall noise level is comparable to other espresso machines in its class.

If you are particularly sensitive to noise, you may want to consider placing the machine on a mat or towel to help dampen the sound. Additionally, brewing espresso earlier in the morning or when others are not around can minimize any potential disturbance.

Easy Cleaning

Maintaining the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is a breeze, thanks to its removable components and dishwasher-safe design. The water tank and drip tray can be easily detached and placed in the dishwasher for thorough cleaning. This eliminates the need for manual scrubbing and ensures that your machine stays clean and hygienic.

The machine also features a self-cleaning function for the milk frother, which helps to prevent milk residue buildup. After each use, simply activate the cleaning cycle to flush out any remaining milk. Regular cleaning and descaling will ensure that your machine continues to perform optimally and produce delicious espresso for years to come.

 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine

Ideal Use Cases

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is a cost-effective option well-suited for:

  • Beginner home baristas looking for their first espresso machine
  • Coffee enthusiasts wanting quality espresso without spending a fortune
  • Small office settings needing an affordable machine

With its milk frothing abilities, it can handle brewing espresso shots as well as creamy cappuccinos and lattes for at-home latte art practice.

User Feedback Analysis

Reviews for the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine are generally quite positive, with most users giving it 4 or 5 star ratings. They are particularly satisfied with the performance and value offered by this budget-friendly semi-automatic espresso maker.

The vast majority of customers find the espresso quality excellent, noting the machine brews tasty shots with thick, long-lasting crema using fresh, properly ground coffee. Many love the convenience of accommodating both ground coffee and Nespresso capsules for versatility. They remark that the 20 bar pump pressure extracts robust, aromatic espresso on par with coffee shops.

Numerous reviewers highlight the milk frothing abilities as another standout feature. They mention the steam wand foams milk easily for making creamy cappuccinos and lattes with silky microfoam. Some even practiced latte art successfully with the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine’s frother. They appreciate the ability to fine-tune the steam strength using the adjustment knob.

Many customers praise how fast and simple it is to use. They love that it heats up in just 30 seconds so they can brew espresso quicker. The automatic operation, removable tank, and dishwasher-safe parts also make maintenance straightforward. Some do advise using filtered water to minimize mineral buildup and descaling regularly.

In terms of downsides, a few users say the machine can be noisy on start-up but quiets down quickly. Some beginners found it tricky at first to dial in the right grind size and dose. A handful mentioned the plastic construction felt cheap, though others didn’t mind for the price. One common suggestion was adding a timer display to better monitor shot times.

Considering its affordable price point, the vast majority of reviewers feel the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine punches far above its weight class. It delivers exceptional espresso-making abilities comparable to more expensive machines twice its price. For beginners on a budget, it’s an ideal entry-level model to start crafting cafe-quality espresso at home. Overall, the largely enthusiastic feedback highlights why it’s one of the best values among semi-automatic home espresso makers.

Pros and Cons

- Generates cafe-quality espresso with thick crema
- Built-in milk frother for cappuccinos and lattes
- Accommodates both ground coffee and capsules
- Quick 30-second heat-up time
- Removable tank and drip tray are dishwasher-safe
- Attractive price point under $200

- Can be noisy upon start-up
- Beginners may find dialing in grind size challenging
- Mostly plastic construction feels less sturdy
- Smaller water tank requires more frequent refilling


Given the impressive 20 bar pressure, versatile brewing for ground and capsules, and built-in frother, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine delivers tremendous value at under $200. The combination of features and performance is unmatched at this affordable price point. For budget-minded enthusiasts, it’s a worthwhile investment.


For its versatile brewing options, fast heat-up time, and easy maintenance, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines available for under $200. While it may not offer the same quality as more expensive commercial-grade models, it punches far above its weight class, delivering rich, intense espresso and frothy milk drinks. For anyone looking to kickstart their home barista journey without breaking the bank, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine is definitely worth considering.

 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine


  • Product Dimensions: 8.2”D x 15.5”W x 11.4”H
  • Coffee Maker Type: Espresso machine
  • Filter Type: Reusable
  • Capacity: 1.5 Liters
  • Material: Espresso machine
  • Wattage: 850 Watts
  • Pressure: 20 Bar pump pressure
  • Milk Frothing Wand: Built-in, adjustable knob
  • Portafilter: Double spout, fits ground coffee and Nespresso capsules
  • Water Tank: Removable, 1.5 Liter capacity
  • Drip Tray: Removable stainless steel
  • Cup Warming Tray: On top of machine
  • Weight: 8.48 pounds
  • Country of Origin: China

What’s In The Box

The Empstorm CM8501B-N comes with:

  • Main espresso machine unit
  • Portafilter for ground coffee
  • Portafilter for Nespresso capsules
  • Single shot filter basket
  • Double shot filter basket
  • Coffee tamper/spoon
  • Milk frothing pitcher
  • Measuring spoon
  • Cleaning brush
  • Instruction manual