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

Overview

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 and Performance

Powerful 20-Bar Pressure

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine utilizes a 20-bar pressure system to extract maximum flavor from the coffee grounds, producing espresso with a rich, thick crema. This professional-grade pressure is impressive for a home espresso maker at this price point.

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.

Built-In Milk Frother

The built-in milk frothing wand with adjustable steam knob lets users texture milk manually to create creamy cappuccinos and lattes.

Fast Heat-Up Time

The machine only takes about 30 seconds to preheat, meaning you can brew espresso faster.

Removable Water Tank and Drip Tray

The removable 1.5 liter water tank and drip tray make cleaning and maintenance relatively convenient. Both parts are dishwasher-safe.

 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.

Performance

With 20 bars of pressure, this Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine extracts full flavor from grounds. It heats up in just 30 seconds. The manual frother makes microfoam for lattes. Users mention the espresso crema is thick and rich tasting.

Ease of Use

Operating the machine is straightforward - just fill water tank, add ground coffee and tamp, attach portafilter and select 1 or 2 cups. The frother takes practice to master microfoam. Clean up is easy since the water tank and drip tray are removable.

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.
 Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine

Milk Frothing

The adjustable steam wand can texture milk quite well for lattes and cappuccinos. The knob lets you adjust the steam strength as needed. It may not steam milk as fast or well as higher-end machines, but produces decent microfoam for the price.

Noise

The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine does generate some noise when heating up initially, but it subsides after about 30 seconds. The pump itself is relatively quiet during the actual brewing process. So the noise is not excessive.

Cleaning

Removing and cleaning the water tank and drip tray is straightforward. Users appreciate that all the detachable parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Proper maintenance is important to keep the machine running well.

 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

Pros:
- 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

Cons:
- 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

Value

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.

Recommendation

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

Specifications

  • 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

How To Use

  1. Fill water tank and ensure the rubber plug is removed
  2. Insert portafilter tightly and load ground coffee
  3. Place cup(s) on cup warming tray
  4. Press power button and allow machine to preheat
  5. Once heated, press either 1 cup or 2 cup button to start extraction
  6. Steam milk with wand if desired
  7. Customize drink with steamed milk
  8. Clean machine parts regularly

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine use both ground coffee and capsules?

A: Yes! The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine offers flexibility with its 2-in-1 system. It includes portafilters designed for both pre-ground coffee and convenient coffee capsules. This lets you explore your preferences and find the brewing method that best suits your needs.

Q: How powerful is the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine’s pump?

A: The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine features a robust 20-bar Italian pump. This high-pressure system is crucial for extracting the rich, concentrated flavor characteristic of true espresso. The 20-bar pressure ensures optimal flavor and a thick, satisfying layer of crema on your shots.

Q: Is the milk frother on the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine easy to use?

A: The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine has a user-friendly milk frother. With a simple control knob, you can adjust steam output for a customized frothing experience. Whether you prefer a dense microfoam for latte art or a lighter froth for cappuccinos, this machine has you covered.

Q: Does the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine have a large water tank?

A: Yes, the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine comes with a generously sized 1.5-liter removable water tank. This means fewer refills between brewing sessions, saving you time and effort.

Q: Is the Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine dishwasher-safe?

A: The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine offers cleaning convenience. Both the water tank and base are removable and dishwasher-safe, making maintenance a breeze.

Tips

  • Preheat for optimal flavor: The Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine boasts a quick preheat time. Before brewing, let the machine warm up to ensure your espresso is extracted at the ideal temperature.
  • Warm your cups: Utilize the machine’s cup warming tray to keep your cups toasty. Pre-warmed cups help maintain your espresso’s temperature for a more enjoyable experience.
  • Experiment with grind size: The fineness of your coffee grind significantly impacts espresso flavor. Start with a medium-fine grind and adjust according to taste.
  • Fresh beans matter: For the best espresso, use freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans.
  • Clean regularly: To keep your Empstorm CM8501B-N Espresso Machine performing at its best, descale it regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.