Calphalon Espresso Machine Review: Is it Worth it in 2023?

I will review the Calphalon Espresso Machine temp IQ non-Grinder version. It currently retails for $140 on Amazon instead of the launch price of $229 in 2019. If you’re interested, check the link below. I’ve noticed that there need to be proper reviews on the internet for this machine.

So when I was searching for information about it, I was disappointed that there were no useful reviews. To help you guys out, I will post a detailed review of the Calphalon Espresso Machine.

Buy Calphalon Espresso Machine on Amazon for $140 Only!

Features of Calphalon Espresso Machine

It comes with a 58-millimeter portafilter, which was a big sell for me. It is on the cheaper side. It is made out of aluminum, which does not retain heat, and there’s also a problem with it being connected to the plastic handle with glue.

Some of the Amazon reviews say that if you use your portafilters more aggressively, you may have issues with it breaking. However, I haven’t had any problems so far. It also has two pressurized baskets for the two-shot and single-shot espresso. It does not come with a single-walled basket. It also comes with a 12-ounce pitcher, which could be better, but it gets the job done.

For the machine itself, we have a steam wand that rotates around 90 degrees. So it has some space to move around. It comes with a water holder with a detachable grill. Below the grill, you have a decent size space for storage and dripped water. Then we have the red empty knob to let you know when to empty the water tray.

You could store your two baskets right over there, and they’re good to go. Also, if you see a little red pin, it’s a cleaning pin with two little needle-like things that help clean out the steam wand if there’s any dried milk or the pressurized baskets due to them having only one exit hole. If, for some reason, there’s a coffee ground stuck in there, you can always clean it out using the pin.

We have an all-plastic warming tray for the top of the machine, which, you know, does a decent job. It warms the cups quite well. It also comes with a. 58-millimeter plastic tamper. I suggest upgrading that as it could do a better job. The coffee grounds tend to stick to plastic more than to metal for some reason. I’m not a big fan of the tamper, but it will do the job.

We can see the water storage at the back of the Calphalon Espresso Machine, which holds two liters. It conveniently opens at the top, and you could take it out to fill some water. I want to talk about one thing that is coming up a lot on Amazon reviews about water leaking under the espresso machine and people attributing that to the boiler being broken or something of that nature.

However, when I got this machine, I noticed a red plunge on the water connection, and I don’t know why they did that, but it was there. It is not mentioned in the instructions, and they didn’t discuss it anywhere. There was a sticker on the water tank that said to remove the red plunge before use. That’s a recent addition by Calphalon, and they may have read many of the reviews and decided to tell that to people. But that’s what the issue is. People weren’t paying attention, and they didn’t remove the red plunge, and because of that, water leaked all over.

That’s the primary reason, and I do not think the machine is broken, but I may be wrong. Back to the front of the machine, we have a switch knob that goes through different settings. By default, it’s on the ready setting, then the steam, then the hot water. Then we have the one-shot, automatic preset, two-shot automatic preset, and the ON-OFF button.

Calphalon Espresso Machine allows manual control over your water dose of the shots. So, for example, if I switch to the one shot with the auto option, it will stop after a certain amount of preset. By default, automatic water is dripped into your cup, but if you activate and toggle a manual option, you can preset it for up to a minute.

I will not go into detail how to activate it. It is in the manual, and it’s pretty simple to understand. But if you need help, let me know in the discussion below. Regarding the steam and hot water option, when you switch to the steam mode, the steam wand will warm up, remove all water, and start steaming. Then you return it to the ready position, and you’re ready to steam your milk. For the hot water, it’s the same process.

Regarding the portafilter baskets, pressurized portafilter baskets are not the best. They will do an okay job producing espresso, compensating with questionable grind sizes. However, I do recommend getting a single-walled, nonpressurized basket. Sadly Calphalon does not sell accessories for this machine. They could be making accessories for this product and building a customer base around this machine. It’s a missed opportunity.

However, the Breville 58-millimeter portafilter basket fits this portafilter.
At least, that’s what I read on a couple of forums because, sadly, no YouTube video goes into detail about this machine. Also, another gripe I have with the portafilter is it has three connecting knobs, and that’s a bummer because most 58-millimeter portafilters that you can buy in the market have only two connecting knobs, which means it is a cheap portafilter.

If you want something better, I am still looking for a replacement for this machine. So if you have this machine and found a 58-millimeter portafilter with three knobs, please let me know.

Calphalon Espresso Machine has a built-in PID, so the temperature control is decent on this machine. It comes with pre-infusion, which is lovely, especially for this price point. Once again, it’s $140. Some of the Amazon reviews people said that steam either outputs low pressure or excessively high pressure, and it was unusable.

When I got the machine, the end of the steam wand was loose, and it wasn’t screwed in fully. I think this is another thing that could be attributed to negligence where people don’t pay attention, and the end of the steam line is not fully screwed in. Because of that, it’s playing around with the pressure.

Calphalon should do a more thorough job of ensuring everything is perfectly tied in and screwed in. But if you pay attention to the machine when you get it and ensure everything’s good, it will perform just fine.

Making Coffee on Calphalon Espresso Machine

Once you turn the machine on, it will start flashing. That means it’s heating up the machine. When it stops flashing, and the ready light turns on, you’re ready to brew, and it’s hot enough for espresso. Another thing I saw in the Amazon reviews was the Bars of pressure in the pump.

It does say it’s 15 bars of pressure. Some people said it couldn’t produce proper espresso with a standard nonpressurized basket because you need 9 bars of pressure. But people misunderstand one thing. Indeed, the pump produces 15 bars, and when it reaches the group head, it actually dissipates to around 9 bars.

For the test, I do have the double shot basket ready to go. However, we are sadly using Prairie Ground Coffee as my grinder has yet to come in, so I had to resort to this. It’ll do an okay job due to this being a pressurized filter, and it’s more forgiving, but you won’t get as good of a shot compared to freshly ground coffee.

I love the Weightman Espresso Scale, as it is pretty accurate. The price is very susceptible, and it’s going for $12 right now on sale, but the original price was around $20. It’s a great deal, even for the $20 without the sale. I didn’t find any accurate scales for that price range, but if you are interested in accurate, budget-friendly scales for espresso, I highly recommend Weightman Espresso Scale.

If you’re wondering why I need a scale, you need an accurate reading of the coffee weight, how much you’re putting in it, and how much you’re getting out to have consistent shots. That’s very important because if you’re randomly putting an amount of coffee into the portafilter and just getting a certain amount back in liquid, the shots need to be more consistent and great. So, it’s a helpful tool for getting the perfect brewed coffee.

Calphalon Espresso Machine also has a timer, and with pressurized filters, the timer is not helpful in this case because of the extremely high pressure that would not be present in a standard filter. So we’re not relying on the time output, but we will depend on how much coffee we put in and get out. I’m planning around 18 grams input and 36 to 40 grams output.

We’re good to go after scaling the desired amount of coffee and tamped it. Next, we need to shoot the portafilter, which requires you to hold the machine. It does require a decent amount of effort to put it in. I wouldn’t say it’s anything crazy, as I had experience using the Breville Bambino, and It’s about the same.

Calphalon Espresso Machine is heavier than the Bambino so it won’t move as much, but you still have to hold it down slightly. We’ll get our scales ready and take our six-ounce cup, which is about what you want for a cappuccino, which I will test.

We’ve got our espresso, and the crema looks nice, but it is a pressurized filter. So, I’ve heard that the pressurized filters exaggerate the crema even though the coffee may not be good, so keep that in mind. But aesthetically, it is pleasing. The time output was far from the 25 to 32-second mark, which is a go-to for espresso extraction.

However, we are using pressurized filters, and the time output could be more important due to the artificial pressure created by the one hole coming out of the portafilter basket.

Step two is the frothing process. We are using whole milk, which is easier to manipulate when it comes to frothing. For that, we need to get the steam wand ready to go so that it will blink. That means it’s heating up, and we just switched it back to the ready. Now it’s ready to go, and we’ll start frothing the milk.

Always wipe down your steam wand because that milk gets sticky really fast, and steam it to a texture that looks like wet paint. I’m still getting used to this machine and the pressure it outputs, but the result seems okay.

I accidentally ended up messing up my latte art as I got a little too close, and the edge of the pitcher touched the froth, and due to that and it got really all messed up. Uh, I was still working on my latte art, and that milk texture, but the latte came out decent considering that you’re using a pressurized portafilter and pre-ground coffee. The performance and the flavor will increase drastically when I get my grinder and fresh beans.

My Verdict on Calphalon Espresso Machine

I recommend this Calphalon Espresso Machine. It’s not a bad deal for the money. It is $140, and as I said previously, with its functionality, it stands out in the market. We only have the DeLonghi Dedica, which is around that price range. And, as far as I know, those are known for constant failure and malfunction.

If I do notice any performance issues with this Calphalon Espresso Machine, I will update this review, and I’ll make sure to inform you.

Overall, it has a four-and-a-half-star rating on Amazon. I haven’t seen any issues with it so far. I’m happy with the purchase. It’s a great bang for your buck. I will have a link below if you want the Calphalon Espresso Machine.

Buy Calphalon Espresso Machine on Amazon for $140 Only!

So there’s a version with the grinder that retails for $490, but I can’t speak for that grinder’s performance for that machine’s performance. But I’m well pleased with this purchase. There have not been any proper in-depth reviews of this machine, so I decided to write this review.

I hope this review can help you have all the info you need to decide if you want to get this machine or not. I heard the Breville is coming out with a similar-priced machine, but it will be much smaller. It’s going to be a tear-down version of the current Bambino. I just went along with Calphalon Espresso Machine due to its functionality and the advantage of the 58-millimeter portafilter.

If you enjoyed this review, please like it and leave a comment below with any advice or questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer them.