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Capresso 303.01 Review

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

If you are looking for an affordable way to bring lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos into the comfort of your home, the Capresso 303.01 4 Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine could be just the ticket.

Steam-powered espresso machines are no longer the norm, particularly as people are becoming more in tune with coffee preparation and ideal brewing temperatures. They have a bad reputation for burning coffee and for failing to deliver that rich, smooth flavor in your espresso shot.

Whilst it’s often true that you get what you pay for, the Capresso 4 Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is a great example of value for money. You just need to be realistic with your expectations. One for those after a decent cappuccino on a budget and not a true 3rd wave espresso experience.

To do a Capresso 303.01 review, we had to test the machine out for ourselves. See how good the coffee and milk is, and how easy it is for the novice user. We talk about our experience with the Capresso in full below.

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At a Glance: Capresso 303.01 Review

Capresso 303.01 Espresso Maker

There’s a reason you don’t see many steam-powered espresso machines – they don’t create great espressos.

That being said, if you are looking to make lots of cappuccinos, or similar, at the same time then this espresso maker will get the job done for you with minimal fuss.

The Capresso 303.01 is also very compact and easy to clean – both big plus points. The steam can take a little getting used to. But it’s not as complicated as a manual espresso machine. After a couple of tries, you’ll have it mastered.

For the price, if you want to be able to make a lot of coffees quickly it’s tough to beat.

Pros

  • Powerful steaming
  • Handles large quantities with ease
  • Easy to clean
  • Compact machine

Cons

  • Built-up pressure being released can cause issues
  • Not the best espresso

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 6.0/10
  • Ease of Use: 7.0/10
  • Value for Money: 7.0/10
  • Our Rating: 6.5/10
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Key Features Review

1. 12oz Capacity

With the Capresso 4 Cup Cappuccino and Espresso Maker, you can make – you guessed it – 4 cups (12oz) at the same time! The powerful steamer heats up in just 2 minutes and can make those 4 cups of coffee in less than 5 minutes. Perfect for busy home life or entertaining.

2. Steam Powered

Being steam pressured, this Capresso machine packs a punch, giving you plenty of power. This hearty power allows you to steam and froth milk with ease. To prevent any mishaps, you can also use the steam selector to set the amount of pressure you are looking for.

3. Simple Controls

The user-friendly design allows you to easily switch between brewing coffee and steaming milk. The swivel frother matches the amount of milk that needs to be frothed for the quantity of coffee you are making. There is a panarello, meaning the steam wand auto-froths. This does give you little control. However, in this case, it does create a reasonable microform. 

4. Adjustable Strength

The coffee strength can be easily adjusted to suit your tastes. Having a fully adjustable coffee/steam function gives you the control to make your espresso or cappuccino exactly how you want to drink it.

5. Safety

The water reservoir has a boiler cap, and there are built-in safety valves. This is great as the high levels of steam could otherwise be an issue. The filter holder comes with a thumb guard. All these safety features put it ahead of some of the most expensive espresso and cappuccino machines out there.

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Is the Capresso 303.01 Easy to Use?

Yes, the Capresso 303.01 is very easy to use, making it suitable for novice espresso machine users. Compared to single-serve machines, for example, it is a touch more complex as there are (literal) moving parts. However, with just a few false starts, you will be drinking espresso and cappuccinos just how you like them.

The instructions for Capresso espresso machines are easy to follow. However, the following is a brief guide to getting started with your new machine.

  1. To start, you need to fill the reservoir with water. This can be cold water as the machine will quickly heat the water, producing the required steam.
  2. Fill the portafilter with your freshly ground coffee. The Capresso CP30301 comes with a scoop which also doubles as a tamper.
  3. Then you can pop the portafilter back on – it easily swivels and locks into place.
  4. Next, place the carafe underneath and slide the dial to your desired coffee strength.

The steam built up in the machine creates the necessary pressure to force the water through the coffee grounds. This brews your espresso directly into the waiting carafe.

The glass carafe has handy fill lines indicating the number of cups brewed. Once you have made enough, you can simply stop the brewing.

We found it very easy to use. The only thing that took a few tries was getting the amount of coffee just right for us. We ended up putting the maximum amount of coffee in since we like it strong.

The milk frother works by turning a knob. The wand is not overly long though so you do need to get in close, and can’t froth too much milk at once. It’s designed for beginners so frothing the milk took us a while. We could get an OK foam on top but I didn’t manage to make latte art level microfoam with the wand.

In total, you can have your 4 cups of espresso or cappuccino within just 5 minutes! This is much faster than other machines at the same price point. You are compromising on quality to achieve this though.

Close up of the simple dials/knobs on the Capresso 303.01 budget espresso machine
Close-up of the knob for milk frothing and the coffee strength dial
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Do you Use Grounds, Beans, or Pods?

The Capresso 4 Cup Espresso and Cappuccino maker only works with ground coffee. Since it doesn’t have a grinder attachment, you will either need to buy your coffee pre-ground or have a separate coffee grinder.

This can be a negative point if you want freshly ground coffee every time and are looking for one machine to do everything for you. But this machine is designed for people who are more about quantity than quality of espresso. If you’re looking for good espresso on a budget, then the DeLonghi Stilosa is a better bet for you.

You always get better results from grinding yourself over buying pre-ground in our experience. We recommend investing in the best grinder type for your lifestyle. But again, if you’ve been happy with pre-ground for years there maybe isn’t any reason to spend the extra money.

You may have a favorite brand of pre-ground coffee you can pick up from the supermarket or buy pre-ground from a favorite roaster. Either will work – the machine is not fussy, just the drinker. 

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Design & Build Quality Review

A simple design leaves little room for things to go wrong. But, if they do, the Capresso 303.01 is backed up by a 1-year warranty for your peace of mind.

The Capresso Espresso maker is a very compact machine. It sizes up at 13.2 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide by 9.8 inches deep. This espresso maker will fit snugly onto any countertop, regardless of how limited you are for space. 

It also only weighs 7lbs. Therefore, it’s easy to move around if you want to move it from the cupboard to the countertop on a regular basis.

The very simple design looks quite good. Although it is mainly matte black plastic which won’t be to everyone’s taste and can prove difficult to keep looking clean.

It doesn’t look like a premium machine. If you’re worried about aesthetics then single serve machines tend to look the best for the least money.

The portafilter gives it that “barista” feel. Plus, the milk frothing wand is nicely out the way so you’re unlikely to touch any part of the machine whilst it’s hot.

The Capresso 303.01 is an all-round very simple machine to use. It is essentially just a pot for boiling water and some hoses. The benefit of its simplicity (other than the low cost) is that it’s unlikely to break or degrade over time. This is a huge plus point and whilst it is mostly plastic on the outside, there’s nothing to suggest it won’t stand up to prolonged use. Plus, there’s always the 1-year limited warranty if something does go wrong.

Capresso 303.01 in a cloud of steam

Psst.. Want to compare the Capresso 303.01 to other 4-Cup Coffee Makers? Check out our rundown of the best options here:

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Does the Capresso 303.01 Make Good Coffee?

The short answer is no. By modern standards of cafe espresso, it’s too bitter to be considered “good”. However, those who like a really bitter dark roast espresso won’t find the coffee unenjoyable.

Like all things in life, it’s about personal preference. Being steam-powered is what makes this machine so cost-effective and does generate a lot of consistent pressure, which is good.

The downside however is that steam is, obviously, very hot. The excess heat can cause the coffee to have a “burnt” flavor.

Now, not everyone dislikes burnt-tasting coffee. I used to work with someone who wanted their coffee “lava hot”. However, for those who enjoy an espresso, it can be a bit acrid. And you certainly won’t get the rich nuance from your beans that you would at a lower temperature.

We didn’t manage to generate any crema with this machine and all our espresso shots tasted a little burnt.

However, it can comfortably pull 4 shots of espresso at once, which is a huge plus. You can also quite easily vary the strength of your espresso.

The frothing wand works absolutely fine for beginners or casual users. With minimal practice, you should be able to get nice latte or cappuccino milk. For the price, we think it is a good performer. As long as you like this style of coffee.

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Bells & Whistles

As with most budget espresso makers, there aren’t many extra features to speak of.

Having said that, the Capresso 303.01 does have a milk frothing wand which is not standard at the budget end of the spectrum.

So that’s a nice feature if you enjoy café style drinks or want to be able to offer them to your guests.

Close up of the milk frother in use on the Capresso 303.01
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How to Clean

Cleaning the Capresso 4 cup espresso and cappuccino maker is very simple, giving you one more thing to love about this coffeemaker. Being a very simple coffee machine, there aren’t too many complex parts to worry about taking apart or cleaning.

The espresso machine parts are easily dismantled, allowing you to clean them individually. Plus, the glass carafe is dishwasher safe, so cleaning couldn’t be simpler. And having a removable drip tray also makes it a dream to keep on top of.

Finally, the portafilters are very easy to wash after each use. On the inside, there isn’t really anything that can go wrong to make it clog up. An all-round star when it comes to keeping clean.

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Final Thoughts on our Capresso 303.01 Review

The Capresso 4 cup espresso and cappuccino maker is absolutely ideal for you if you’re in the market for a budget cappuccino machine. If what you are looking for is an easy quantity of coffee over quality, then the Capresso 303.01 should be top of your wish list.

If you aren’t too worried about the “burnt” flavor of coffee and want to be able to brew 4 espressos at once, then this is a great little machine.

We never managed to make 4 cappuccinos in 5 minutes as they claim. But definitely under 6 minutes so maybe close enough. 

However, if you’re looking for a nice espresso with great crema alongside all the nuance of your single-origin beans, then this isn’t the machine for you. The espresso will be more bitter than with other machines.

So, to conclude our Capresso 303.01 review – You will struggle to find another espresso maker in this price range that can also produce 4 cups of espresso or cappuccino at the same time. Just don’t expect amazing flavor.

Don’t forget to Buy Your Capresso 303.01 Today

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Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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