For the past two years, I have been working mostly with super-automatic espresso machines here on Coffeeness. I must have tested and reviewed at least 20 machines so far. Today, I would like to present a popular machine in the (relatively) low-price category: the KRUPS EA8108.
You can find all the reviews on the best espresso machines here.
One thing that I especially like about this machine is that it is a truly small automatic espresso machine that can fit in many kitchens. It is also an affordable option for someone living in an apartment or shared dorm, or really any budget-minded person or family.
Of course, we need to look at this machine from a slightly different angle. It’s not quite fair to compare a machine in this price class with a more expensive machine that costs more than $800.
Nevertheless, this price class is very interesting for my readers because many are looking for an entry-level machine that will help guide them into the world of automatic espresso machines.
I have already reviewed a more expensive KRUPS machine, the KRUPS EA8808, when it came onto the market. You can find it on Amazon.
I also have higher expectations from the machines in that higher price class, which explains why the KRUPS EA8808 received a lower grade in comparison to Melitta machines. However, let’s go back to the KRUPS EA8108.
KRUPS EA8108 Review – Summary of the Highlights
When testing the KRUPS EA8108, I concentrated on the most important aspects of an automatic espresso machine: How well can it make espresso, and how easy is it to make milk foam for drinks like cappuccinos, caffe lattes or latte macchiatos? I also considered other important criteria, such as how noisy the machine was and how easy it was to use. You can find the KRUPS EA8108 on Amazon.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the KRUPS EA8108
- Small size; can fit into small kitchens
- Relatively quiet; good for apartments
- Very easy to use
- Brewing unit warms up quickly
- Lots of (somewhat cheap) plastic
- Rather low spout; standard IKEA glasses don’t fit underneath
- No automatic milk foaming system
- Only average espresso quality
Table of Contents
- Summary of the Highlights
- Advantages and Disadvantages Quality of Espresso and Milk Foam
- Technical Specifications
- Price Comparison KRUPS EA8108
- Setting Up Making Two Espressos SimultaneouslySpout Height of the KRUPS EA8108Pre-Ground CoffeeMilk Foam
- Other Parts Non-Removable Brewing UnitThe Tiny Drip TrayThe Water TankThe Catch Tray
- Summary and Rating
- Alternatives Bestseller: DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B
Quality of Espresso and Milk Foam
There are two ways to affect the strength – and the taste – of an espresso. The main deciding factor is the coarseness of the ground coffee. If it is too fine, the brewing unit on the automatic espresso machine can get clogged. If it is too coarse, the espresso will be watery.
The other variable is the amount of water that is pushed through the puck of coffee. If you use more or less, it will change the results. The KRUPS EA8108 lets you change both of these variables.
The grinder gives you three different coarseness settings. There is also a dial on the machine’s front where you can adjust the water amount. At first, I would recommend using the least amount of water, which will give you an optimum amount of espresso, about three-quarters of an ounce (20 milliliters).
Generally speaking, the KRUPS EA8108’s espresso quality is fairly average. When using the finest grinder setting, the water flows too quickly through the puck.
If you want milk foam, you will have to make it manually, unless you buy the KRUPS XS 6000 Auto Cappuccino Set (available on Amazon). It makes milk foam using a steam jet, like you would find on many more expensive automatic espresso machines.
Still, the steam wand on the KRUPS EA8108 can really work up quite a bit of steam. In fact, it made so much steam that I had to be a bit careful that my milk didn’t get too hot. In general, the foam quality was OK, and I was able to make a good latte macchiato in my glass.
The foam could stand to be a bit finer. With a bit of practice, though, I was able to get good foam using whole milk, two-percent milk and UHT milk. This machine made good foam even with lactose-free milk.
You can have a look at my video (available in German) to see how the different kinds of milk foam turned out (although I was using the more expensive KRUPS model):
Technical Specifications and Instructions for the EA8108
This KRUPS machine came with a user’s manual in 14 languages. This can help you when making your first espressos and when cleaning the machine. You can also download a manual from KRUPS if you lose the original.
What’s in the Box:
- The KRUPS EA8108 super-automatic espresso machine
- A 14-language user’s manual
- Safety instructions
- An international warranty card good for two years or 6,000 uses
- Two decalcifying tablets (you can also buy more on Amazon)
|Grinder||Conical grinder (metal)|
|Milk foaming system||Manual, with steam wand|
|Warranty||2 years or 6,000 uses|
|Max. pump pressure||15 bars|
|Water tank capacity||Around 60 ounces (1.8 liters)|
|Max. cup height||Around 4.5 inches (12 centimeters)|
|Bean holder||Around 7 ounces (200 grams)|
|Power use||1,450 watts|
|Dimensions||10.2 x 14.4 x 12.6 inches|
(26 x 36.5 x 32 centimeters)
|Weight||28 ounces (798 grams)|
Price Comparison: KRUPS EA8108 vs. Other Automatic Espresso Machines
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the KRUPS EA8108 is an inexpensive, entry-level machine. You can probably find it for less than $800 in the US (or less than 300 pounds in the UK), but it is always best to compare prices.
KRUPS EA8108 (The Machine in this Review)
It is usually difficult to understand the names that manufacturers use for espresso machines. Small differences between individual model numbers can actually translate into striking differences in price. You can get this KRUPS automatic espresso machine in either black (EA8108) or white (EA8105), although that should hardly affect the price.
KRUPS EA8160 – With Milk Foam System
This machine is absolutely identical to the machine reviewed here, except it comes with the KRUPS XS 6000 Auto Cappuccino Set, which will automatically make milk foam. You can also get the add-on separately. Generally, you should be able to save a bit of money by buying the combo set together instead of separately.
If you would like more features, such as a display or the ability to save programmed drinks, you will need to move up to the next most expensive KRUPS machine, the EA8150. That one is available only in black.
KRUPS EA8298 – One-Touch with External Milk Carafe
This model, which costs about $150 more than the KRUPS EA8108, includes the “one-touch” feature. Basically, this just means that you can make a cappuccino with a single press of a button. Generally, that is a feature that is found mainly on machines that cost more than $500.
The advantage of this model is its external milk carafe. It is easy to clean and you can store it in the fridge. You can also get a silvery one, although it costs at least $50 more.
Check out this machine on Amazon.
Setting Up the KRUPS EA8108
Using the EA8108 is really very easy. It gets by with very few buttons, and you can understand the symbols without needing to look at the manual. Before making your first espresso, be sure to thoroughly rinse out everything.
Unfortunately, the cleaning isn’t automatic. Instead, you will have to press the button to rinse it out before the first use, and you will also need to do it after normal use. That’s a shame because it is easy to forget to rinse out everything, and coffee residue can get stuck in the tubes and spout. So, don’t forget to clean it!
The machine heats up quickly, and you can start the cleaning right away. The cycle will run through two times, which means that you will need to put a container under the spout that can hold at least 20 ounces (600 milliliters).
KRUPS put two different buttons on the machine to adjust coffee strength. However, in my taste test I couldn’t notice any difference between them – the espresso flowed quickly (and poorly) through both. I therefore assume that choosing the stronger setting means the machine will use more ground coffee.
Making Two Espressos Simultaneously
The KRUPS EA8108 can make two espressos or americanos simultaneously – to do so, just quickly press the espresso button two times. This feature doesn’t really improve the taste of the espresso, though. In reality, it just runs through two grinder cycles.
The dial in the middle of the machine lets you choose the amount of espresso or coffee you want. For espresso, I always recommend keeping it around 20 milliliters – anything else will be watery and the espresso won’t be good.
If you want to make a café americano, you can turn the dial relatively far to the right, which will increase the water volume. Generally, though, I would recommend just making a normal espresso and then adding hot water to it separately.
This automatic espresso machine lets you choose from three grinder settings. I always start out at the finest setting possible. You should be sure to change the setting while it is grinding, otherwise it can get jammed.
I wasn’t really able to get the espresso to work right with the minimum flow time of around 20 seconds. That’s a shame because it means you can’t enjoy a “true” espresso from this machine.
The ground coffee looked finely ground, and the puck was dry when it came out of the machine. Maybe I should try it with another kind of coffee, but I have the feeling that, in this case, the problem lies with the software.
Spout Height of the KRUPS EA8108
I know that there are many latte macchiato fans among my readers. It is therefore important for you to know how high the spout can go when you are looking at an automatic espresso machine. This KRUPS EA8108 is a very compact machine, but one drawback of its size has to do with the spout height.
At just 4.5 inches (12 centimeters) or so, it is difficult (or impossible) to fit a standard IKEA glass underneath the spout. That means you may need to grab a shorter glass or cup.
If you want to have a higher spout, I would recommend checking out my review of the Melitta Café Solo. Its spout, which raises to over 5 inches (13 centimeters), will let you use taller glasses.
Pre-Ground Coffee with the KRUPS EA8108?
Larger super-automatic espresso machines often have a so-called “bypass,” which lets you use pre-ground coffee. These compartments aren’t on the cheapest machines, and this KRUPS machine doesn’t have one, either.
I tend to advise against using these compartments anyhow. After all, one of the main reasons people buy automatic espresso machines is because they include grinders. Plus, these compartments can get clogged easily due to the humidity and coffee residue that can build up inside.
Milk Foam with the KRUPS EA8108
The KRUPS EA8108 is actually just half of a super-automatic espresso machine. That’s because you still need to manually make milk foam. As a barista, that is not a big deal for me, but it might be a bit less convenient than you would prefer.
If this sounds like you, then it would be best to go with the KRUPS EA8160 model I mentioned above, which includes the XS 6000 Auto Cappuccino milk foam system. Then you don’t have to worry about the steam wand.
Although the EA8108’s steam wand is small, it can still build up a good head of steam. You can foam milk in around a minute, and it’s best to use a thermometer to ensure that the milk doesn’t get too hot. Otherwise, it won’t taste good.
With a bit of practice, you can get some good foam, although it is a bit too heavy for my taste. The manual says it is best to not use whole milk, but I personally didn’t notice any big differences when using different kinds of milk. I was even able to get good results from soy milk.
The steam wand takes some getting used to. The top part detaches easily if you move it too roughly, and it can be a bit tricky to fit just right into larger glasses.
You should be especially meticulous about cleaning the steam wand. Otherwise, a milk crust will build up and make the wand unusable. The KRUPS EA8108 doesn’t clean itself automatically, so you will need to press the button to clean it every time.
I would recommend that you remove the whole steam wand after using the machine and soak it in warm water. That will help clean out all the milk residue.
Other Parts on the KRUPS EA8108
With its dimensions of 10.2 x 14.4 x 12.6 inches (26 x 36.5 x 32 centimeters), this really is a very compact automatic espresso machine. It had been a long time since I have tested such a small machine, and I was really surprised.
It will work well in small kitchens, and in houses with one or two coffee drinkers. However, if you are a big coffee fiend, I would recommend moving up to the next price class, with a machine like the Saeco Moltio. You can find the review here (currently only available in German): Saeco Moltio Review.
Non-Removable Brewing Unit
The KRUPS EA8108 unfortunately doesn’t have a removable brewing unit. That’s a shame because it makes it harder to clean the machine thoroughly. There is a red slider that you can remove – it is there so that you can clear out any clogs from the brewing unit. Still, I was able to notice some coffee residue in the brewing unit even after making just a few espressos.
That’s not good in the long run. If you could remove the brewing unit, you could wash it out well with running water and leave it out of the machine for longer periods of time, like when you go on vacation. What’s more, if a removable unit breaks, it is much easier to replace, without needing to take the whole machine to a repair shop.
The Tiny Drip Tray
This must be the tiniest drip tray that I have ever seen on an automatic espresso machine. You must empty it out continuously, which can quickly get annoying. In the picture below, you can see the drip tray from the Melitta Caffeo CI (left) and the drip tray on the KRUPS EA8108 (right).
The floating gauges (the red and blue bits) indicate when the trays are full. You shouldn’t just shake out the trays, but instead regularly rinse them out with warm water.
The Water Tank
The water tank of the KRUPS EA8108 is on the back of the machine. You should be sure to put the machine in a location that makes it easy to access the back.
The tank holds about 61 ounces (1.8 liters), which is quite large for such a small machine. You can install an optional water filter, which will let you decalcify the machine less frequently. I certainly recommend installing one, and I would advise you to buy a multi-pack to save some money. You can find some here on Amazon.
The Catch Tray on the KRUPS EA8108
Once the machine has made an espresso, the coffee pucks fall into the catch tray. Relative to the size of the machine itself, the catch tray on the KRUPS EA8108 is actually quite large – after I saw the teeny, tiny drip tray, I feared the worst.
All the removable parts can theoretically go into the dishwasher, but instead I would simply rinse them out with warm water. It will also help extend the lifespan of the machine.
The catch tray is on the left side of the machine. It is easy to remove, and when you remove it, you will be able to access the red coffee slider.
Cleaning the KRUPS EA8108
Surely we have all heard the horror stories of automatic espresso machines that have become moldy or hopelessly encrusted with calcium deposits, making the coffee taste bad.
There is likely some truth to the stories, even if they are a bit exaggerated at times. If you don’t take care of your machine, you shouldn’t be surprised if it gets gross. You must clean it regularly, even if many manufacturers promise that their machines have great self-cleaning programs. These programs by themselves usually are not enough, and you will need to do a bit more.
The KRUPS EA8108 is theoretically easy to clean, since you supposedly just need to press a single button to do it. However, the standard cleaning program just quickly rinses out the spout.
The KRUPS EA8108 also has a self-cleaning setting that you can’t start manually. You can only run it when the machine “tells” you that it is ready, after about 300 uses. Other manufacturers recommend cleaning the brewing unit at least once a week.
If you want to clean your machine more frequently, you are in a bind. There is a cleaning program that lasts around 13 minutes, according to the manual. The “CLEAN” light will start flashing and then you can run the cleaning program.
Finally, there is an intensive rinse cycle that lasts around two minutes. You can start it when the “CLEAN” and “CALC” lights are flashing at the same time.
Decalcifying the KRUPS EA8108
This machine also has a decalcifying program that takes about 20 minutes. Your water hardness will determine how often you need to decalcify. Here in Berlin, we have very hard water, which is why I always recommend using a filter. It reduces the water hardness and means you don’t have to decalcify as often. The machine doesn’t come with a filter cartridge, but you can buy them separately on Amazon.
Additionally, the machine will regularly remind you to decalcify, and in those cases, I would simply follow the schedule. You can easily buy decalcifying tablets for the KRUPS EA8108 here on Amazon (the machine also comes with two).
Summary and Rating of the KRUPS EA8108
The KRUPS EA8108 is a very inexpensive super-automatic espresso machine that is compact and can fit into many kitchens. It is geared toward small households with up to two coffee drinkers. Overall, though, I wasn’t very convinced by this machine, which is why I can only give it three stars.
Small, sturdy and easy to clean.
The espresso simply comes out too quickly. The amount of water the machine uses is OK, but you simply can’t get good results after only five seconds of extraction. So, if you mainly drink espresso, this machine is not for you. There are better alternatives.
It is possible that the espresso quality is good enough to make coffee drinks with milk, such as a latte macchiato, caffe latte or a cappuccino. You can make good milk foam with the KRUPS EA8108, but it tends to quickly overheat and nearly burn the milk – it is best to use a thermometer to ensure it doesn’t heat up over 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius).
I had no issues using different kinds of milk to make foam. However, if you don’t have any interest in roleplaying as a barista, I would recommend getting the model with the XS 6000 Auto Cappuccino set. It is cheaper to buy it from the start than to buy it separately later. You can order the KRUPS EA8160 model here from Amazon.
The drip tray is tiny, which means that you need to empty it often. It is pretty funny comparing it to trays on other automatic espresso machines.
The machine heats up quickly, which is good if you are in a hurry and need to make a quick espresso before you run out the door. It is an easy machine to use, and you don’t actually need any instructions to use it. You only need to push a few more buttons when you use the cleaning program.
Like its bigger brother, the KRUPS EA8808, this automatic espresso machine is only in the middle of the pack. I would therefore suggest that you check out a few alternative ideas:
Alternatives to the KRUPS EA8108
Melitta Caffeo Solo
If you are looking for a small, inexpensive automatic espresso machine, it is worth checking out the Melitta Caffeo Solo. It is ideal for two-person households and for people who want to make espresso drinks. I did an extensive test of this machine in my “laboratory,” and you can find my full review of this machine here: Melitta Caffeo Solo Review.
Bestseller: DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110
This inexpensive DeLonghi espresso machine has long been a bestseller on Amazon. At Coffeeness I also gave this machine 3.5 stars in my full review: DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B Review.
Like the KRUPS machine reviewed here, this DeLonghi machine has a steam wand so you can manually make milk foam. However, it is a bit larger than the KRUPS. The DeLonghi also has a spout around 5 inches (13 centimeters) high, which gives you more room for taller latte macchiato glasses.
A Bit Pricier: Melitta Caffeo CI
The Melitta Caffeo CI is a kind of “worry-free” automatic espresso machine. However, it will cost about twice as much as the competitors. However, at least that extra money will get you an excellent automatic milk system, programmable drinks and profiles that you can save, and a nice display that makes using the machine easy and intuitive. That’s why it got 4.5 stars from me in the Melitta Caffeo CI review, making it one of the best automatic espresso machines I’ve tested.