For people who care about their food

I’ve got a silver machine…

Krups XP5240 espresso machineby Mr Not Delia

Those of you who’ve already read my post about steam versus pump espresso may have guessed that I was leading up to a product review. Yes, Not Delia agreed that I could go out and buy an espresso machine to replace Old Faithful the Morphy Richards steam-powered machine which, to be honest, was starting to give off more steam around the filler cap and filter basket holder than it was using to push coffee out.

There was a fairly bewildering choice of machines in the various department stores, with plenty of big names represented including DeLonghi, Gaggia, Krups and even Electrolux. In one of them I even saw a monster of a hand-pull machine which would have done any café proud but might have dwarfed our relatively modest bar. Lots of the pricier machines offered a host of fancy facilities. But in the end I settled for one of the cheaper models on offer – the Krups XP5240.

It’s a trim little thing, standing exactly a foot tall (30½cm – I measured) and taking up less than a square foot bar space. (Heavy for its size, though – I had to pick it up to position it for the photograph, and was surprised by the weight, although then again the water tank was nearly full.) So it’s not surprising to find that it doesn’t do a great deal other than make coffee. Many of the more expensive machines allow you to set the measure of coffee you want to make – from a little 20ml thimbleful up to a decent-sized 220ml breakfast cup in the case of the XP5240’s cousin, the EA8010 – and will grind the beans freshly for you, measure out the water, dispose of the used grounds and even self-descale.

But on the other hand, who needs all that stuff? It’s not as if ND and I are in the café business. Actually, so far it’s only been me drinking the coffee anyway. And for the sake of two or three cups a day, the more expensive machine wouldn’t exactly be saving vast amounts of labour. (And it’s two-and-a-half times the price.)

Besides, the XP5240 is quite easy to use. Its water tank holds just over a litre, enough for four or five days in my case. The filter holder is nice and chunky, unlike the Morphy Richards thing, and doesn’t have a fiddly basket – instead it has a little button on the bottom which you can use to push out the used cake of grounds. And there’s a clever ratchet system which automatically tamps the coffee to the required degree of firmness. (You can also use it for soft pods of coffee or ESE (“Easy Serving Espresso”) pods.) They even give you a guide as to where you should be turning for one or two 50ml cups. Our cups, as Sod’s Law dictates, are 75ml in size, so I usually end up in between the two ranges. Still works, though.

And there aren’t a whole lot of confusing buttons to push and knobs to twiddle – just an on/off switch and a knob with three active positions. Two of them are used for making cappuccino, which I haven’t got round to yet. The third activates the pump. Switch it on, and a brief three-second growl from the pump primes the coffee – followed by a pause before the pump starts its work in earnest. Out flow two streams of the precious liquor. Up to you whether you make two cups or one, as the streams are close enough together to go into a small cup but wide enough apart to go into two quite thick-rimmed cups too.

Most importantly, how good is the coffee it makes?

So far I’ve tried with two different brands. One was a fairly bog-standard brand and had been in the fridge for several weeks. But it was still markedly better than with the steam-powered machine, with considerably more crema (the frothy stuff that ranges from a pale beige to a medium tan) and more complexity – and without the wateriness I’d noticed before.

The other was a brand of organic coffee which we found on special offer in Singapore (it was approaching its “best before” date). It smelt wonderful (and still does – I haven’t finished the pack yet!) while it was being prepared, and was beautifully smooth, with the pleasant bitterness you expect from a good coffee and none of the harsh, “boiled” bitterness you don’t want. And towards the bottom of the cup, along with the usual coffee taste there were a whole range of fruity notes that the steam machine would never have released.

So it’s fair to say I’m delighted with the new machine (Update: but see Comments 4-6 below about the steam nozzle attachment). And, having saved all that money buying a simple model rather than an all-singing-all-dancing one, I’ve still got plenty left from my budget to go out and buy a burr grinder. But that’s another story.

Buy this product through Amazon.co.uk with Not Delia

18 Responses to “I’ve got a silver machine…”

  1. Ebrahim Hasan

    Thanks. That was very helpful and I guess I’m buying this one

  2. Daniel

    Thank you – an excellent recommendation. I’m very happy and very caffienated.

  3. jacobo

    Well I really liked your post, and then should comment it.

    I was just getting into the point where I wanted to upgrade my old and faithful French Press into a full powered Espresso Machine.

    You said you couldn’t cover the Capuccino part. I know this post is rather old, but perhaps some reader haven’t got their mind yet in terms of which machine should they buy.

    Okay, KRUPS, here in Chile, is and always have been a rather Premium brand. It’s amazing quality, say my mom has a few 30+ years old appliances that still work as new; a coffee grinder, hair drier and a few others, even an americano coffee brewer hehe.

    Well, I started looking for some machines which looked great; there’s a good brand here; Oster, so I looked into it and they had a nice model but a bit ugly.

    So I started looking for KRUPS, who sold that brand. Found it at a decent price. Liked the features, the form factor, the weight, etc. so I BOUGHT IT.

    Set it up at my place, looks amazing. Tested it, amazing taste of coffee, great and simple controls.

    AND the milk steamer works like a charm, it’a bit more air-ey than I’d like it to be, but I guess that’s just me who need to learn to use it better.

    Love the machine.

    Jacobo

  4. E Cameron

    I would NOT recommend the model you show above to anyone.
    Having previously had a Krups steam expresso machine which was very reliable, I decided to buy the one shown above (XP5240).

    I use the machine about once a day and am very careful when handling and cleaning.

    The Vapour nozzle used to froth the milk has a Major Design defect and the first nozzle lasted approximately 3 days before breaking. I then bought 2 more nozzles for £23.90 + delivery and am now down to the last one since buying the machine at the beginning of September.

    The plastic used to make the nozzle is just not good enough and splits due to the heat. The first nozzle also had one of the small arms snap due to the pressure. The second nozzle has now spilt at the top of the inner tube, so all the seam pours out the sides.

    I have written to Krups to ask them to redesign the nozzle (unlikely) or send me 2 years supply of nozzles to cover the guarantee (I reckon about 12 should cover it).

    If you don’t care about having frothy coffee then it is a good machine!

  5. Mr Not Delia

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

    @4: This is something I haven’t encountered – but then again I’ve only used the nozzle about three or four times so far. (I generally drink espresso.)

    I’ll be sure to post again if our nozzle fails – now that ND’s had a couple of cappuccinos, she’s said she may drink coffee more frequently, so the nozzle could well come under a bit more stress from now on!

  6. Mr Not Delia

    @4: Guess what? The nozzle’s broken. 🙄

    I used it again yesterday. When I came to clean it, the plastic thread around the inner steel tube had cracked at the base of the steel, and the threaded portion of the outer plastic sleeve had also cracked.

    I agree with your conclusion that it’s a design defect – poor choice of materials. I’ve cleaned the nozzle carefully after each use and reassembled it firmly as directed in the manual, without using excessive force at any point.

    Unfortunately the shop we bought it from is two hours’ travel away, but it’s an excuse for a day out. 😉

  7. Not Delia

    It might be worth writing to Krups to alert them to what’s being said here. You never know, perhaps their customer services people will want to make amends for their faulty product.

    I’ll write to them today.

  8. Mr Not Delia

    Nothing more at this stage. ND did write to Krups, using the contact form on their website, but heard nothing back – maybe their form is broken? I’m going to see if I can find another way of getting in touch.

  9. Mr Not Delia

    Nope – short of snail mail, fax or a customer service line, you’re stuck with the contact form. I’ve tried repeating ND’s message with krups.co.uk’s contact form.

  10. Mr Not Delia

    No response from Krups here, I see.

    Meanwhile I’ve just been back to the shop I bought the machine from. They told me that the guarantee didn’t cover the nozzle, but sold me one for just under a tenner (which they retrieved from a new machine – they didn’t have any of the nozzles in stock). We’ll see how long it lasts.

    It’s very poor that Krups are still shipping sub-standard parts and won’t guarantee them. I think I’m going to have to write to them by snail mail.

  11. Mr Not Delia

    Oops – a month gone by and I still haven’t written to them. 😳

    Meanwhile, the new attachment has survived a month and 20 uses so far. Even at two cups a use, that’s still nearly 25p a cup.

  12. Susana

    I bought one yesterday and I´m dissapointed. Maybe it´s me, but my old Electrolux Chef Crema made much better crema than this one. The coffee is weak, the foam for the milk is good but too big bubbles that dissapear fast, and barely any crema that dissapears the moment I set my spoon in. I´ll twiddle a little more with some more settings, but if this goes on, I´ll simply send it back.

  13. Mr Not Delia

    Sorry to hear you’re not happy with it. I’m not familiar with the Chef Crema and so can’t make comparisons, but I’ve been happy with the strength of the coffee and the consistency of the foam – except on occasion when the milk hasn’t been fresh enough.

    I’m not sure what you can do about settings. I generally put in enough coffee for about two cups and tighten the basket as hard as I can! – is there anything else you can adjust?

  14. Mr Not Delia

    The new steam attachment I got back in January seems to be holding up just fine, with several uses a week.

    I’m starting to think that maybe Krups simply released a sub-standard batch at one stage and have rectified the problem since then. But it would have been nice of them to come on here and say so.

  15. Prings

    Have had my Krups 524040 for 3 years given by Krups as a replacement for a 4020, faulty twice, repaired and still faulty.
    I should have guessed that the replacement would be a problem.

    I have had to buy a new handle @£40 an a new nozzle @ £ 15.

    Thought the handle seems to be OK after a weeks use the Frother system is poor. The bubbles are big and the jug overflows before froth is made.

    This machine I bought to France for pure holiday use but it is not a success, in fact it is poor. Krups should be ashamed as a known producer of Domestic products that they have not had a recall and replaced them all.

    In the UK I bought a De Longhi at 2/3 the price and it is a delight. Simple and works well.

    Sympathies to all other suckers who fell for the name like me.

    Prings

  16. Mr Not Delia

    To be honest, I have to say I’m having problems with all the plastic parts that are subjected to high temperatures. The coffee nozzle part underneath the basket was getting stiffer and stiffer to remove for cleaning, and finally one of the nozzles broke off altogether. And the seal at the top of the frother is leaking steam, which means that the frother attachment doesn’t work properly either.

    I ought to get some replacement parts, but I just haven’t had time recently. So I’ve been making do with straightforward espresso and forgoing cappuccinos. At least the electrical parts (the heater and compressor) are working fine.

    It really is a shame that Krups couldn’t use more robust plastic. After all, they know it’s going to get hot!

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