I am pretty well convinced that this is the best coffee machine in its price range. I bought it based on a fair number of positive (though mostly vague and inconsistent) reviews found on the web and have been pleasantly surprised at the ease with which I produce such good batches of espresso. I expected that it would take a fair amount of trial and error before I was producing anything passable but it hasn’t taken as long as anticipated. It is surprising to me that such a bargain machine can get the job done so well.
To be honest, I am no novice to brewing my own espresso but I have never found it was necessary to purchase more complicated machines. Instead I have applied patience and experience to get what I wanted. In truth, my Meno is one of the easiest machines I’ve used and the crema is pretty rich. I have discovered that it works best when I leave it on for 10 minutes or so and run some hot water through the portafilter before brewing. If you do not preheat it, your coffee may end up lukewarm. Priming the machine also reduces the time it takes the steam function to be ready after you make your cup of espresso. This is really the only extra step I have found necessary to my usual grinding and tamping routine.
It is important to be clear that this is a manual machine and you will have to pull the shot yourself. You are responsible for the length of your shot and it may take some time with the machine before you know your timing intuitively.
It uses E.S.E pods too
I have always made my coffee from fresh, local beans but this machine also comes with a portafilter for use with E.S.E. pods. I was extremely skeptical about these little things at first but after giving them a try I like them enough for keep an emergency supply of them in the cupboard. I can see how new coffee enthusiasts could really get spoiled on the things because they make pretty good coffee with such little fuss. With a messier machine, they could really cut down on cleanup time. But this machine is simple enough that all the routine maintenance necessary is relatively easily anyway.
Honestly, I know how to take good care of a coffee maker and I make sure I handle the cleaning right after I use the machine. Failure to take good care of the appliance contributes to many of the problems inexperienced users have with their coffee machines. Make sure you are diligent after every use and descale the unit at a rate appropriate to your water hardness and it will likely last well past the 2 year warranty for you. Don’t take proper care of an item like this and you may find yourself writing some angry review a few months after your purchase. In addition, allowing milk to dry on the frothing wand may render it useless after a month.
Nice steaming wand
Every espresso machine on the market seems to come with a steaming wand now and the vast majority of them are of limited quality. The Meno’s is on par with the price tag so do not expect supreme microfoam but if you aren’t too critical, you can get plenty of use out of it. I have found that it works better and is actually easier to clean if you remove the outer shell. If you have never looked into milk frothing techniques, I would highly recommend doing so.
Some improvements would be great
In order to be fair, there are a few improvements that Morphy Richards could make to any future models. Firstly, the valve on the removable water tank does not close surely enough when it is taken out for refilling and if you aren’t careful, your entire counter may end up wet. Secondly, the unit does not have a designated cup warming surface but instead has a dome shaped top that actually gives off a decent amount of heat. It seems they could have engineered it in a way to make use of the escaped energy. In my opinion, the dome gets so warm because the casing is thin. In its entirety, this model feels about as cheap as you would expect from an economy machine. The last issue that I foresee for some consumers is the height of cup that will fit under the brewhead. I use real espresso cups so I really have no problem but even if you remove the drip tray, your favorite cocoa mug may not be fit.
Considering the price tag for the unit, none of these complaints are damning at all. As long as you have the patience and willingness to learn required of brewing quality homemade coffee with a manual machine you will have no issues with this machine. If you want the machine to do everything for you, you should look into semi or fully automatic options.
Love my Morphy Richards Meno
For my quid, this machine is excellent. The controls are straightforward and the results are consistent. I would recommend this machine to anyone who needs crema on their espresso and has decent experience with manual machines. I would also recommend the unit to newer coffee drinkers who are enthusiastic enough to learn the arts of home brewing. The Meno does not do everything for you so it is important you get your grind, tap, and roast right. But any real coffee geek is ready and willing to work with those three elements every day of the week.