It was a pretty good bet that Cuisinart, masters of the chopping/grinding food processor, would find their way into the automated espresso market. What's surprising is that the Cuisinart Buona Tazza isn't a bean-to-cup machine. It uses iperEspresso capsules, which are something like Nespresso capsules with a special filter on the bottom, so there's no chopping and grinding involved. The Buona Tazza isn't a state-of-the-art automated espresso maker, but that means you won't be paying a state-of-art price for it.
If bean-to-cup freshness isn't high on your priority list when you wake up in the morning, the Buona Tazza is fast, and if you already know how to use a Keurig coffee maker you're halfway to understanding how to use this unit. Pop a capsule in the top, then push a button for a long or short drink. A bonus feature is that it has a milk carafe that snaps on to the side and delivers warmed, frothed milk directly into your drink. (The steam level is adjustable.) The buttons for amount, strength and temperature are programmable, so you don't have to adjust them every time you want a cuppa.
The steam performs a certain degree of cleaning whenever you use the frothing dispenser, but you can perform extra cleansing by filling the milk carafe with water and doing additional steaming. The 34-ounce water reservoirs snaps onto the left side of the machine and is good, Cuisinart says, for about 20 short espressos before you need to refill it. You can make both lattes and cappuccinos at the press of the proper button.
For another inexpensive espresso maker that uses Nespresso capsules instead of the iperEspresso capsules, look at the DeLonghi Nespresso Pixie. If you'd rather move up into the world of bean-to-cup espresso makers but without a budget-crushing price, look at the low-cost Gaggia Anima or the Gaggia Unica. And if you really want to enter the world of mid-range espresso makers, the Miele CM6110 and the Jura Impressa F8 are waiting at a Bed Bath and Beyond near you.
The removable milk container is great. Just remove it and put it in the refrigerator.
I bought and used some other espresso machines, but this one is the easy, fast, clean, tasty, one. so it's simply the best one.
Very easy to clean also - because it uses single serving pods it never runs coffee through any of the internals of the machine so it is easier to clean.
It is also very nicely styled. since I found I am not the kind of person to become specialized in espresso making, this suits me perfectly. I am very glad I bought it.
The machine is fairly compact, no bigger than my other single serve coffee maker, and fits on a counter under a cabinet.