ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Machine: A Compact and Convenient Home Barista

Published on July 17, 2023, 7:28 p.m.

Making espresso-based drinks at home has become increasingly popular, allowing coffee lovers to enjoy cafe-quality lattes, cappuccinos, and more in the comfort of their own kitchen. The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine aims to bring the coffeehouse experience home with its dual espresso and steam wand functions. This review covers all aspects of the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine, from design and key features to real customer experiences, to provide a detailed look at how this machine performs.

Overview

The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine is a semi-automatic espresso machine with a built-in steam wand for frothing milk. Key features include:

  • 20 bar pressure pump for rich, aromatic espresso
  • 1250W heating system for fast 25-45 second brew times
  • Removable 900mL water tank
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Cup warming plate
  • Automatic flow stop for one or two shots
  • Steam wand for lattes and cappuccinos

With a compact footprint, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine can fit nicely on most countertops. ILAVIE designed this model for convenience and ease of use at home.

The Science of Espresso Extraction

During the coffee extraction process, optimal pressure and temperature are crucial. A 20 bar pressure ensures that oils and aromatic compounds within the coffee beans are effectively extracted, creating a rich golden crema and delicate froth. Temperature control is equally critical, as the appropriate water temperature (usually between 90°C and 96°C) maximizes flavor extraction from the beans without introducing bitterness or a burnt taste. These factors work together to produce a cup of coffee with rich aroma and complexity.

 ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine

Build Quality

The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine features a durable stainless steel housing that gives it a sleek, modern look. Buttons on the front panel allow you to control brewing and steaming functions. The water tank and drip tray are removable for easy cleaning and filling.

Inside, a 20 bar Italian pump delivers excellent pressure for rich extraction and crema on your espresso. Heating power reaches 1250 watts for fast warm up times. The flow stop allows you to brew one or two shots automatically.

The built-in steam wand makes it easy to froth and texture milk for lattes and cappuccinos. An attached 360 degree swivel allows you to position the wand perfectly.

Features and Functionality

Some of the highlights of the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine include:

  • 20 Bar Pump: Delivers excellent pressure for rich, aromatic espresso.
  • One-Touch Buttons: Auto-dispense for single or double shots.
  • Milk Frothing Wand: Creates smooth microfoam for cappuccinos and lattes.
  • Removable Tank: 900ml capacity and easy to refill.
  • Cup Warmer: Keeps cups hot for better flavor.

The one-touch button operation couldn’t be simpler. Press either the single or double shot button and the machine automatically dispenses the right amount of espresso. The flow stops automatically when the preset volume is reached.

The steam wand makes it easy to froth and heat milk for crafting lattes and cappuccinos. Just insert the wand into the milk pitcher and turn the knob to activate steam. The stainless steel construction makes it easy to clean.

Additionally, the ILAVIE CM-801B’s automatic flow stop feature significantly simplifies the brewing process. By selecting either a single or double shot option, the machine automatically calculates and stops the flow of water, ensuring that each cup is brewed with precise volume without manual intervention. This not only enhances user experience but also ensures consistency and repeatability of coffee flavor.

 ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine

Ease of Use

Overall, customers find the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine simple to operate. The buttons are intuitive and the automatic features allow you to brew espresso and steam milk with minimal effort. The portafilter locks into place securely and the 360 degree swivel on the steam wand makes it easy to position.

Some users note the learning curve on milk texturing, which takes practice to master microfoam. ILAVIE provides decent instructions, but new users comment that online videos are helpful when starting out.

Performance and Quality

When functioning properly, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine produces excellent espresso according to reviews. Many mention the rich crema and robust flavor profile of the shots. The steam wand performance receives positive feedback as well, with many customers noting ease in frothing milk for lattes after some practice.

However, a number of reviews mention issues with reliability. Several customers report malfunctions with leaking, low pressure, or smoking upon early use. This indicates some inconsistency in manufacturing or quality control.

Milk Frothing

The steam wand on the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine pumps out ample steam for frothing milk. It can produce silky smooth microfoam with a bit of practice, though the results are not quite as velvety as commercial machines. The metal sleeve around the wand makes it easy to immerse in milk for optimal frothing. Latte and cappuccino drinks come out quite well using the frothed milk.

 ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine

Cleaning

The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine has removable, dishwasher-safe parts that make cleaning straightforward. The drip tray and water tank can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. The portafilter and filter baskets also come apart for easy rinsing.

To clean the steaming wand, users recommend wiping it down with a damp cloth after each use to prevent milk buildup. The steam wand nozzle is detachable as well for a deep clean. The exterior housing can be wiped down with a soft cloth and warm water as needed.

Descale the machine every 2-3 months to keep the inner workings clear of mineral deposits. An espresso machine descaling solution should be used for thorough cleaning.

Overall, the simplicity of the design combined with removable, dishwasher-safe parts allows for easy maintenance. Just be diligent about wiping the steam wand after each use and descaling regularly.

Noise Level

The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine produces a reasonable amount of noise during the brewing process. The pump and heating elements make some humming and vibrating sounds typical of espresso machines. But it is not overly loud compared to similar home models.

Some user reviews mention the machine can sound somewhat rattly or buzzy. But most don’t find the noise level to be a major nuisance. As with any pump-driven espresso maker, there will be some inherent noise when pulling shots and steaming. Just don’t expect a silent operation.

For the average home kitchen, the noise should be acceptable. But buyers who are very sensitive to coffee machine sounds may want to consider how the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine’s normal operating noises would fit into their environment.

## Power and Durability

With a 1250 watt heating system, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine delivers adequate power for brewing and steaming. It takes about 1 minute to heat up initially. The stainless steel and ABS housing give a solid, durable feel that should provide years of service with proper care. The 1 year warranty also provides protection in case of defects.

 ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine

Ideal Uses:

Perfect for home use to brew espresso, cappuccinos, lattes. The steam wand allows you to froth milk for a variety of coffeehouse drinks. Compact size is ideal for kitchen counters, apartments, offices, dorms, and RVs.

User Feedback Analysis

While the average rating for the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine is mediocre, looking closely at user reviews reveals some insights.

Reliability Woes

The biggest complaint by far is defects causing leaks, smoking, or complete failure. Approximately 20% of reviewers experienced critical malfunctions, usually early on in ownership. As one exasperated user put it, “I was really hoping third time would be the charm, but sadly this machine is a lemon no matter how many times I exchange it.”

Inconsistency

Many owners complain about capricious performance with both brewing and frothing. The machine seems very sensitive to factors like grind size, dose, tamping, water temperature and milk frothing technique. When everything aligns perfectly, it can produce good results. But small variances easily throw it off. Comments like “when it works well, I love it - but about 25% of the time it’s just weak and watery” are common.

Quality Control

Given the wide variances in reliability and consistency reported, lackluster quality control seems to be the root cause. Minor manufacturing defects or component flaws are likely responsible for the frequent problems owners experience. One user summed it up as “I really want to love this little machine, but the quality is just too unpredictable.”

Satisfaction When Functional

However, reviews from owners who received a properly functioning machine are overwhelmingly positive. One happy user raved “I can’t believe I can make such velvety cappuccinos at home now for a fraction of what I was spending at coffee shops.” Another said “this unassuming little machine punches way above its weight class.”

The Bottom Line

Inconsistency in manufacturing causes frustration for many ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine buyers. But when you receive a unit free of defects, it provides tremendous value. So while quality control issues drag down satisfaction, owners who experience no critical failures find it makes surprisingly good espresso drinks at an affordable price point. Just be prepared to go through some exchanges to get a properly functioning unit.

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Fast 25-45 second heat up
  • 20 bar pressure for rich espresso
  • Automatic flow stop
  • Powerful steam wand
  • Removable water tank
  • Accommodates tall cups
  • 1 year warranty

Cons:

  • Plastic accessories feel cheap
  • Splashing from drip tray

Value

Considering the inconsistent quality control and high rate of defects based on reviews, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine is difficult to call a good value. While reasonably priced for a semi-automatic machine with a steam wand, there is a clearly unacceptable failure and return rate. No matter how attractive the price point, quality and reliability issues mean far too many customers end up wasting time and money on defective units.

For just a slightly higher budget, other brands like Breville and De’Longhi offer more consistent quality control on entry-level semi-automatic machines. Given the hassle of returns and replacements, it is likely worth spending a little more upfront to purchase from a brand with better reliability. For risk-averse buyers who want their machine to work perfectly out of the box, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine is a questionable purchase despite the lower cost.

 ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine

Conclusion

The ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine offers an inexpensive way to bring espresso drinks into your home. It produces quality shots and froths milk well when functioning properly. However, the many reviews mentioning defective units or other problems make this machine a bit of a gamble. Purchasing through a retailer like Amazon provides some protection in case you need to return a defective unit for refund or replacement. With some patience, the ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Coffee Machine can be a good value for at-home espresso and milk drinks. But the inconsistency means it may take some trial and error to get a properly working model.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.61” x 11.53” x 14.96” (29.5cm x 29.3cm x 38cm)
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds (4 kg)
  • Power: 120V, 60Hz, 1250W
  • Water Tank Capacity: 900 mL removable tank
  • Maximum Pump Pressure: 20 bar
  • Heat Up Time: Approx. 25-45 seconds
  • Portafilter: 51mm with 2 filter baskets
  • Milk Frothing Wand: Stainless steel with 360° swivel
  • Body Materials: Stainless steel housing
  • Drip Tray: Removable plastic tray
  • Cup Warming Tray: On top of machine
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Box Includes:

  • Espresso machine
  • Portafilter
  • Single shot filter
  • Double shot filter
  • Measuring spoon/tamper
  • Instruction manual

How to Use:

  1. Fill water tank with cool water up to max line
  2. Insert desired filter into portafilter
  3. Add ground espresso and tamp firmly
  4. Lock portafilter into the machine
  5. Place cup under portafilter spouts
  6. Press single or double shot button to start
  7. Steam milk by inserting wand and turning steam knob

Frequently Asked Questions about ILAVIE CM-801B Espresso Machine

How do I descale the ILAVIE CM-801B?

To descale the ILAVIE CM-801B, first fill the water reservoir with a descaling solution. Refer to the user manual for recommended solutions and ratios. Turn on the steam function and allow half the solution to run through. Turn off and allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes. Turn the steam back on and run the remaining solution through. Follow up by running fresh water through 2-3 times to rinse thoroughly. Descale regularly according to the user manual guidelines to keep your machine running smoothly.

What size portafilter does the ILAVIE CM-801B use?

The ILAVIE CM-801B uses a 51mm portafilter. It comes with a single shot and double shot basket that fits into the portafilter. You can use any 51mm tamper and accessories with this machine.

How do I adjust the grind size on the ILAVIE CM-801B grinder?

The ILAVIE CM-801B does not have a built-in grinder. It is an espresso machine only. You will need a separate burr or blade grinder to freshly grind coffee beans to use with this machine. Adjust grind size on your grinder according to your preferred brew method. Generally, finer grinds are used for espresso.

What is the maximum cup height on the ILAVIE CM-801B?

The maximum cup height that can fit under the portafilter spouts is unknown. Based on customer reviews, the machine can accommodate taller travel mugs but the removable drip tray may need to be taken out. Measure the height between the bottom of the portafilter and drip tray to determine what size cups can fit.

How do I steam milk with the ILAVIE CM-801B?

To steam milk with the built-in steam wand, first allow the machine to heat up for at least 2 minutes. Insert the wand tip slightly below the surface of the milk, then turn the steam knob. Position the tip at the 10 or 2 o’clock angle to create swirling turbulence. Steam until the milk reaches your desired temperature. Turn the steam knob off before taking the wand out of the milk. Wipe the wand clean before storing.

Can I use pods with the ILAVIE CM-801B?

No, the ILAVIE CM-801B is designed for use with ground coffee only. It does not have any compatibility with coffee pods or capsules. You must place freshly ground coffee into the portafilter basket before brewing. For convenience, consider getting a separate single-serve brewer if you want to use pods.