A Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 is a great budget machine for espresso, but milk frothing isn't up to scratch.
- Great value
- Small body and decent build quality
- Great espresso
- Very basic controls
- Little control over milk frothing
- Review Price: £429.99
- Automatic milk frother
- 260g bean hopper
- 1.5-litre reservoir
What is the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040?
For those who thought they may not be able to afford a bean-to-cup machine, or simply believe they wouldn’t have the space, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 is for you. This compact machine can happily be accommodated in most kitchens, delivering the quality shots of espresso you’re after.
Milk frothing abilities leave a little to be desired, but that’s easy to forgive at the low price of this coffee machine.
Related: Best Nespresso machine
Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 – Design and build quality
At just 365 x 240 x 295mm, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 is the smallest bean-to-cup machine I’ve come across. It will fit neatly into most kitchens, taking up barely any more room than a traditional manual pump espresso machine. Given that there’s a built-in grinder here, that’s super-impressive.
Comparatively, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 is cheap, but build quality is impressive. The mix of gloss and matte black plastic looks attractive, and the coffee machine feels robust and tough. The Krups’ budget origins become apparent with the more simplistic controls on the machine’s front: there’s a dial to set drink volume and just four buttons.
The spout at the front adjusts between 65mm and 105mm, which means it will accommodate most sizes of mug beneath without issue – although latté glasses are likely to be out.
The steamer wand flips up so you can squeeze in a jug underneath, and then the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 takes care of frothing automatically. Again, this design is far simpler than you’d see on a bean-to-cup coffee machine that has a milk tube and external carafe.
The water tank sits at the rear, and lifts up and out. There’s no water filter provided on this model, although the tank will take one, so it’s worth investing; your coffee will taste better.
Beans drop into the hopper at the top, which is raised up from the main coffee machine’s body. It can hold up to 260g of beans, which is more than your average bag of pre-roasted coffee. The grinder control is accessed through the hopper and provides three grind settings, with the finer one giving a richer espresso and coarser settings for lighter coffee.
Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 – Features
Simplicity is the order of the day with this coffee machine, so you don’t get any personal profiles or pre-defined drinks profiles. For black coffee, there are two buttons: one dispenses a strong coffee, and the other a “normal” coffee. You can then use the dial to set the volume in 20ml increments from all the way up to 220ml.
You do have to be vigilant with these controls: it’s all too easy to forget that you’ve got the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 set for a large mug and then overfill an espresso cup.
A third button is used to turn on the steam function, although you have to prepare your own jug of milk to use with the steamer wand. A third button enables you to run a rinse cycle, which is a good habit to get into after making each round of coffee to keep the machine in tip-top condition.
Hidden beneath the cup holder is a small LCD screen that simply displays a number. Using the setup key combination (rinse and strong coffee, pressed simultaneously while the coffee machine is turned off), it’s possible to select a few settings.
There’s an option to set the water hardness, which defines when the descale light turns on; you can set the water temperature (1, 2 or 3 in ascending order); and set the auto-off function to operate after one, two, three or four hours.
Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 – Espresso quality
I found that the strong espresso setting, medium water temperature and fine grind worked best for my test beans. Pouring a shot of espresso using the 40ml setting, I was impressed with the results.
The crema was a good size and not too frothy, although a little light in colour. At 63ºC, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 delivered the shot of espresso at just the right temperature.
The strong flavours and bold acidity of the test beans were distinguishable, although there was a slight hint of wateriness – this suggests that extraction isn’t as good on this machine as it is on more expensive models. Still, for the price, it’s hard to knock the quality of the shot.
Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 – Milk-based drink quality
The process of making milk drinks sits somewhere between that of a manual machine and a fully automatic one. The Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 runs the steam program automatically, but you have to provide the jug of milk and place it beneath the steamer wand. You can then run the steam cycle until your milk is a frothy as you like it.
Note, to get your milk at the right temperature, it’s worth investing in a milk thermometer. Here, hitting the right temperature may mean shooting past the point you were happy with the froth. Unfortunately, the Krups Arabica Manual doesn’t offer much control.
As such, I found my jug of milk would fill with foam quickly before reaching temperature, resulting in very frothy milk on top and thinner milk beneath; it was far from a neatly mixed microfoam.
The results are passable for a basic cappuccino, although you may want to spoon the froth out at the end. If you’re more serious about your milk drinks, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 – Maintenance
Lights on the front turn on when it’s time to refill the 1.5-litre water reservoir or empty the bin (it holds up to 10 used coffee pucks). The bin pulls out for easily removable of the dry, used coffee grounds. Whilst emptying the bin, you should take out and empty the drip tray, too.
Lights come on to indicate when it’s time to descale the machine, or to run the espresso cleaning programme. To do this, simply drop a cleaning tablet into the slot beneath the cup holder. With no display to take you through the options, you’ll need to refer to the manual for the exact process.
After making a milk drink, it’s wise to clean the steamer wand. In most cases, a wipe down will do. However, it is possible to remove the wand entirely and wash it properly from time-to-time. It’s also worth flushing the wand with steam, just to expel any last remnants of milk.
Finally, there’s a rinse button that flushes out the coffee system. Push this before you turn the machine off to improve the running of the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040.
There’s no access to the brewing unit, which is a shame. On more expensive machines, the brewing unit can be pulled out and cleaned, removing old coffee grounds in the process.
Why buy the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040?
There are two main reasons to think about the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040: size and price. The smallest bean-to-cup machine I’ve seen is also one of the cheapest. For espresso, it does a very good job for the price. Provided you’re happy with the manual control dials and mostly drink black coffee, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 is a great budget choice.
Milk lovers might be frustrated by the lack of control over steaming; and the results were poor in my tests. For basic cappuccinos, the Krups Arabica Manual EA811040 does a passable job, but it lacks the finesse required to make a range of drinks properly. A pod-machine, such as the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno, could make a good alternative.
Don’t forget to check our my constantly updated list of best coffee machines for the current top recommendations.