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Krups EA850B review

Chris Finnamore
25 Jul 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
850

The Krups EA850B is an excellent, but very expensive, beans-to-cup coffee machine

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The EA850B is a high-end beans-to-cup espresso machine that can also make cappuccino and latte automatically.

This is very much a premium product, and there’s no doubt its glossy all-black finish looks smart. We would have liked to have seen some metal on a coffee machine this expensive, but the plastic is at least high quality.

The EA850B has the most involved setup routine we have ever seen from a coffee machine. The touchscreen display takes you through setting your water hardness using the included testing strip, fitting the chlorine and limescale filter and performing an initial flush of the system. It even lets you know if something is not fitted correctly, such as the coffee ground hopper being out of place.

Krups EA850B touchscreen

The touchscreen takes you through the EA850B's comprehensive setup process

Once you’ve added your beans to the top-mounted hopper, you can adjust the grind using a simple knob. When making Espresso, the machine lets you select the size of espresso, from 30-70ml, and whether you’re making one espresso or two. The machine’s spout block is also highly adjustable, letting you use cups from 62-122mm in height.  

The first espresso we made was at 50ml and maximum strength. It was reasonable, coming out at just over 65 degrees C and with a good layer of crema, but it didn’t quite have the body we were looking for. For the second espresso, we changed the size to 30ml, and this improved matters considerably. The espresso was full-flavoured, with a lovely crema and thick, oily texture; this is the best espresso we have had from a beans-to-cup machine, with the possible exception of the also-excellent Panasonic NC-ZA1.

Krups EA850B espresso

A thick, oily, beautiful espresso

Unusually, the machine also has a Ristretto mode, for a shorter, stronger espresso. This resulted in a very strong and more bitter shot for those who think espresso is for wimps.

The EA850B can also make cappuccino and latte, but doesn’t do this with a steamer wand; instead, the process is fully automatic. You fill a container with milk (such as the jug you would otherwise use to froth milk with a steamer wand) and run a pipe into the spout block. You then turn a knob on the spout block to select either cappuccino or latte, select the size of espresso you want in the drink and press the go button.

The machine sucks milk up from your jug, froths it and pours it into your glass, before adding the espresso at the end. It produces a large drink - it would barely fit in our tall cappuccino glass - but the result is impressive. The cappuccino still needed a stir to mix completely, but was hot with tightly-packed foam - a very tasty drink, made with the minimum of fuss.

Krups EA850B cappuccino

The machine makes impressive cappuccinos automatically

The Panasonic NC-ZA1 also has this feature, but we found Krups’ implementation was neater; it’s easy to plug in and remove the milk hose on Krups’ model so it’s only there when you need it, and it doesn't remain hanging out of the side of the machine as with Panasonic’s model. We also thought the EA850B had the edge for frothing, producing more tightly-packed foam.

In fact, the only major problem we noticed with the machine was that it didn’t tell us when we were running out of beans in the hopper before making a drink; one latte had to go down the sink, as the coffee part was mainly hot water due to lack of beans.

There’s no doubt the Krups EA850B is a very expensive coffee machine, but it makes some of the best beans-to-cup espresso we have had. We’re also impressed by the instant cappuccino and latte feature, which made tasty long drinks with the minimum of fuss. It’s marginally better than the Panasonic NC-ZA1 thanks to its superior milk frothing, but the Panasonic model is half the price, so beats the EA850B40 to a Best Buy award.

Hardware
Dimensions (HxWxD)375x275x420mm
Maximum mug height62-122mm
Water capacity1.7l
Pump pressure15 bar
Cup warmerNo
Milk frothingYes
Number of boilers1
Coffee typeBeans
Adjustable grindYes
Adjustable strengthYes
Buying information
WarrantyTwo years RTB
Price£850
Part CodeEA850B40

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