I was wondering who drank up all the CBTL espresso!
Yes, the CBTL makes great espresso. And the cat is cute, but I haven't trained her to make me a coffee yet, but the CBTL Contata is practically easy enough for a cat to use.
breakI lucked into a sweet deal with the Contata --It was provided for me to review a few months ago. It came with a full sampler pack of CBTL coffee, espresso and tea capsules, plus a full sleeve each of CBTL espresso and CBTL house blend brewed coffee. I'm not going to do a full review of the Contata, but it has a few nice little features that make it a great choice if you either like CBTL coffee or can import Caffitaly coffee capsules from the other side of the pond.
For starters, it has a real variable pump that runs at either 3.5 bars for brewed coffee, or 15 bars for espresso. That means you can get actual, real crema on your espresso, unlike a lot of other single serve machines that use various ways of faking the crema. You select which pressure to use by selecting either the espresso cup or the coffee cup on the control "panel" -- which is actually three wedge-shaped buttons arranged in a circle above the coffee spout.. or just below the cat's paw in the photo.
The mechanism is really easy to work -- you just lift the lever, drop in a coffee capsule, push the lever back down and press the button with the size coffee cup you want to use. Each of the three buttons is pre-set for a specific size, but you can reprogram them by simply pressing the button and holding it until the cup has reached the desired level. From that point on, that's how much water you'll get when you press that button. Nice feature -- with more versatility than most single serve machines at the same price point.
Nicer feature -- when your coffee is done brewing, you lift and depress the handle again, and the machine automatically ejects the spent coffee capsule into the disposal tray beneath. The tray holds up to 10 spent capsules, so you never have to touch the capsule at all.
The water tank holds 48 oz. and can be filled in place or removed and filled at the sink. It also has an integral water filter so you can use tap water if you want.
The CBTL uses the Caffitaly capsule system, which has a different size and shape standard than Keurig, so they're not interchangeable, and to the best of my knowledge, there's no My K-cup equivalent for the CBTL. That means you're pretty much confined to using CBTL capsules, as I noted before, or importing Caffitaly capsules from overseas. You can find a pretty decent selection of them available on Amazon.co.uk, but I haven't gotten around to ordering any yet since I'm pretty happy with the Italian Espresso and the house blend CBTL brew.
Given a choice, i.e. I have CBTL coffee in the house, I'll always choose the Contata over the Keurig, but the easy availability of Keurig K-cups means we use it a whole lot more often. Of course, if I could just teach the kitten to make the coffee and push the button on cue, I might figure out a way to use it more often.
Updated: Originally, I'd posted that the pump operates at 7 or 15 bars. I should have checked my facts instead of relying on memory. The post has been updated to correct this with the right figure, 3.5 bars or 15 bars.