Choosing between different coffee and espresso machines online can be difficult, especially when it comes to home options. The Keurig K Café and Mr. Coffee Café Barista are two machines you can use at home to make lattes and cappuccinos.
But beyond that, there are a lot of differences between them. We’ll be closely examining those differences, as well as similarities, between these two machines. Here’s what we’ll go over:
- The features the K-Café and Café Barista share
- What makes them different from each other
- How to choose which one is right for you
Let’s dive right into it.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Water Tank Capacity
Cold Milk Foam
Lattes and cappuccinos really couldn’t get any easier than with the K-Café. This coffee machine not only automatically brews shots for you, but also foams for your milk with the touch of a button. It’s an ideal setup for beginners seeking the most convenient drink-making process out there.
Those who are seeking a somewhat more traditional espresso-brewing experience that’s still accessible for beginners will adore the Café Barista. An easy milk reservoir on the side will froth your milk for you, and a straightforward panel on the front will allow you to modify your brew settings. This is perfect for anyone who wants one of the most beginner-friendly and budget-friendly espresso machines on the market.
Automatic Milk Frothers
Normally, steaming milk is something that takes practice. You have to hold the pitcher at the right angle to aerate the milk and generate foam all while avoiding burning your hand. Furthermore, you can’t do this too long, otherwise you risk overheating your milk.
The Keurig and Mr. Coffee machines both take the struggle out of steaming milk. Rather than use a steamer with a higher learning curve, you just need to add the milk to their frothers and turn them on. From there, they’ll handle the rest for you.
Removable Water Tanks
Most home coffee and espresso machines have pour-over water tanks. That means that you need to add the water yourself when they start to run low.
Depending on how the tanks are situated, this chore can be surprisingly difficult. For example, if it’s somewhere in the back of the machine where the lid can’t be easily opened, you’ll have to struggle to pour water in.
Fortunately, the K-Café and Café Barista both have removable water tanks. When the time comes for a refill, you can pull them out, carry them to your sink, and conveniently refill them under the faucet.
As you can imagine, this also makes cleaning simpler. Instead of fighting to scrub the water tanks out while they’re attached to the machine, you can remove them and wash them more comfortably.
Removable Drip Trays
Both the K-Café and Café Barista come with drip drays. They rest beneath the cup you’re brewing into, catching any drips before they can splatter on your counter.
An aspect that’s particularly nice about these trays is that they can be removed on both models. Like with the removable water reservoirs, this makes tidying up them up more comfortable.
Espresso Machine vs Coffee Machine
The biggest difference between these machines is their core design. To be more specific, the K-Café is a coffee machine and the Café Barista is an espresso machine.
What’s the difference between espresso and coffee machines? It mainly comes down to pressure. Espresso machines typically brew up to fifteen bars of pressure, although espresso is brewed around nine.
Furthermore, espresso machines tend to be a little bit more difficult to operate. You need to put your grounds in a portafilter, tamp them properly, then put the portafilter in the machine. In addition, you usually need to steam your milk if you’re looking for a latte or cappuccino, although the Café Barista can do that automatically.
In comparison, you won’t need to do tamping or extraction manually with the K-Café. You can use pods or your own coffee grounds, but the machine will gently let water run through whatever you choose on its own.
An authentic espresso shot must be made on an espresso machine, so you’ll get a more traditional flavor on the Café Barista. However, the K-Café will be easier to use and will give you a drink that’s a decent imitation of coffee shop espresso drinks.
Water Tank Capacity
As we mentioned earlier, most home coffee and espresso machines are pour-over. This is true for both the K-Café and the Café Barista, so you’ll need to add water to them by hand occasionally.
The difference here is the size of the water tanks on the machines. On the K-Café, you’ll find a 60-ounce water tank, while you’ll find a 54-ounce one on the Café Barista.
In terms of day-to-day use, that 6-ounce difference equals out to about one small drink. That means you’ll get one extra drink out of the K-Café before you need to refill it. This might be important to you if you’re going to be sharing the machine with friends and family, and don’t want to have to stop for water refills as often.
Keurig K-Café Pods Compatibility
One thing that makes the K-Café especially beginner-friendly is its pod compatibility. With most other coffee or espresso machines, you need to use your own grounds.
While this does result in a fresher flavor, it also means you need to be familiar with measuring out the correct portions of grounds, potentially grinding your own beans, and knowing how to choose blends you’ll like. If that sounds a little overwhelming, you might prefer the K-cup pods used by the K-Café.
Instead of having to handle your own coffee grounds, you can choose from a huge range of pod flavors compatible with Keurigs. Each pod contains a measured amount of grounds that you can just insert into the K-Café to brew for you. There are a ton of choices, so no matter what you’re craving, you’re likely to find a K-cup flavor that suits you.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Measuring Scoop/Tamper
Because it’s an espresso machine, you’ll need to have grounds to put in the Café Barista’s portafilter. The good news is, it helps you prepare for tamping by providing you with a combination scoop/tamper.
If you’re using a bag of grounds, you can just scoop a perfect serving out, fill the portafilter, then use the backside of the scoop to tamp the grounds. This clever design saves you from having to spend extra money on a tamper.
Keurig K Café Smart Start
With most coffee and espresso machines, you need to wait for the machine to finish warming up before you can start brewing. You usually can’t even input settings for your drink until it’s finished heating up. In other words, you have to spend time waiting for the warmup before you can even set it up to brew for you.
If you’re in a hurry, that wait can be extremely inconvenient. Fortunately, the K-Café has a feature called Smart Start which makes it so you don’t have to wait.
This doesn’t mean the machine heats up instantly. Instead, it means that you can put your pod in, set the frother up, and choose your settings rather than waiting for it to heat up first. Then, you can walk away to focus on other tasks. Your K-Café will start brewing on its own once it’s hot enough.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Stainless Steel Exterior
Stainless steel is a popular case material for high-end espresso machines. It’s both durable and polished-looking, allowing them to blend in with other kitchen appliances.
The Café Barista takes a page out of the books of high-end espresso machines here, because it also has a stainless steel exterior. That makes it tough enough to withstand daily wear and tear, as well as sleek enough to match with just about any kitchen’s décor.
In comparison, the standard K-Café is almost made completely from plastic. While it’s still perfectly functional, some might not like the aesthetic or how cheap plastic can feel.
Keurig K Café Cold Foam Option
Do you ever get a craving for an iced latte? These drinks have exploded in popularity recently, especially during hot weather. Nothing is quite as refreshing and energizing as a nice iced latte.
The issue with making iced lattes is that you have to pour them over a lot of ice in order to get them cold. You’re normally adding hot espresso and hot milk, so you need plenty of ice to cool it down.
That’s what makes the K-Café’s milk frother so great. While other milk foamers and steamers tend to heat your milk, this one doesn’t have to if you don’t want it to.
With the option to make cold milk foam, making an ice-cold latte is much easier. You won’t need to potentially water it down by using as much ice to cool it.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Customizable Milk Foam
Although you have some milk foam settings on the K-Café, you can’t tweak the amount of milk foam with the same degree of precision as you can on the Café Barista.
On the Café Barista, you get a dial ranging from latte to cappuccino. Turn it all the way to left, and you’ll get a smaller amount of foam that’s more appropriate for a latte. Turn it all the way to right, and you’ll get more foam that’s perfect for crowning a soothing cappuccino.
You don’t have to go all the way to the right or left, either. Feel free to stop the dial at any point between these settings, letting you customize your foam-to-milk ratio so you get the perfect drink every time.
Keurig K Café Descale Reminder
Some kitchen appliances are absolutely mystifying to maintain. When something goes wrong, you have to search online for answers or call customer service numbers and wait in a long phone queue.
The K-Café takes some of the frustration out of maintenance with its descale reminder light. When it’s time to descale your machine in order to keep it running at maximum efficiency, a light will come on. That way, you’ll never be uncertain whether or not the K-Café needs a little cleaning.
Which One Should You Buy?
Sometimes, when you’re comparing two appliances, it can be so hard to tell what the differences are that you can’t really choose between them. This certainly isn’t the case with the K-Café and the Café Barista.
Actually, the two are so different, that choosing between them is fairly easy. You primarily need to look at your skill level and personal preferences.
Are you looking for an authentic espresso, as close to what you’d get at a coffee shop as possible? Then you’ll need an espresso machine that can brew at a high enough pressure, like the Café Barista.
The drawback to the Café Barista is that it would take a little practice to get used to. That’s why those who are looking for the most convenience and speed rather than authenticity should pick the K-Café.
The K-Café allows you to use beginner-friendly pods. Its Smart Start can also cut down on time you might otherwise spend waiting for your machine to heat up.
Another thing you might consider is the type of drinks you’ll make most often. If you want a machine that can support making a wider variety of drinks beyond lattes and cappuccinos, you might want the K-Café. K-Cups come in a breathtaking array of options, including hot chocolate and tea.
Finally, durability is always worth considering. In this case, the stainless steel exterior of the Café Barista wins, because it’s naturally tougher than plastic.
If you’d like to dig into these machines a bit deeper, you can take a look at them here:
Want to look at getting a one of the best real home espresso machines on the market for the most competitive prices online? Take a look at the ones in our store.