Best Delonghi Coffee Machines

DeLonghi are the greatest manufacturer of espresso coffee machines in the world by far. This Italian coffee machine manufacturer started off as a small family business in 1902, and are now an established brand trusted by millions of people across the globe. 

To give you an idea of how popular DeLonghi are as a coffee brewing tool brand, they command an astonishing 33% share of the espresso coffee makeking equipment market! Not bad for a company that only actually incorporated in 1950, spending the first 48 years as a small unincorporated family business.

Considering how a lot of different companies produce coffee machines from well known brands such as Sage, Gaggia & Melitta to the lesser known Chinese manufacturers, for one company to be so dominant in such a popular product type as coffee machines is very rather a feat. They’re in reality twice the size as their next greatest competitor!

They spend over 40 million Euros a year developing and improving products, which is more than most coffee companies take in total let alone literally developing new products.

So you understand DeLonghi produce popular coffee machines, but the hard part is working out which is the perfect DeLonghi coffee brewing equipment.

The good news is that I have done all the hard work for you and picked out the ones that represent the best appreciate for money when you compare the quality of coffee that the machine produces and the features that each machine comes with.

Not only are there loads to choose from but there are a wide variety of different forms of DeLonghi coffee machines as well.

There are around 76 different machines to choose from, at the time of writing, across various different brewing methods as follows:

Manual Espresso Machines

Manual machines are traditionally tricky to utilize, nevertheless in the hands of professional baristas can produce perfect quality espresso coffee, and espresso based coffees such as latte, cappuccino, flat white, lungo & Americano.

While there are domestic versions of these kinds of espresso coffee machines which still require fairly well-developed skills in order to produce amazing results (AKA home barista espresso machines) the manual espresso coffee machines from DeLonghi are more aimed at the domestic, mainstream coffee machine market.

They’re primarily easier to work with than what I refer to as home barista machines. The user has to go through the motions in the same format, grinding the coffee, tamping it, locking in the portafilter and then hitting the button – nevertheless they’re made in a way that most people woule be able to take a Delonghi espresso coffee machine out of a box and start creating espresso based coffees straight away that they’re happy with.

Notice that I say you’ll need to grind your own coffee.

The easy approach would be to basically buy pre-ground coffee from the supermarket, and you can, but you would be doing yourself a disservice in my modest opinion. 

To me, buying a representative espresso machine and then trying to work with pre-ground coffee beans just doesn’t make sense. You’re never, ever going to get the same results from pre-ground coffee, not with espresso. 

Extremely, if you were to ask me the one thing that anyone can do to enhance their home coffee quality with any type of coffee brewing, whether that’s filter, cafetiere, Aeropress, Stove or anything else – my address would be, grind your own – and of course make sure you’re buying ideal quality, speciality coffee beans. 

For more on the best coffee beans:

The best coffee beans  

For more on coffee grinders:

best burr coffee grinder  

perfect manual coffee grinder  

All of DeLonghi’s manual espresso machines come with a steam wand to heat and froth your milk so there is no need for a separate milk frother.

Literally bear in mind that if you do go down this road you’ll need to put some thought into creating your coffee and it will take a little bit bit of education and practice to get it right.

To get the same type of quality coffee as you’d expect at a excellent coffee shop, you’d be looking at adjusting your grind size to extract your coffee to your chosen ratio and technique. I tend to go for 1:2 extraction (for example 18g of ground coffee to approx 36ml of espresso coffee), in 28-32 seconds.

This is with standard baskets, most of the DeLonghi coffee machines come with pressured baskets, so you don’t need to stress too much about shot time. For more info on this:

Espresso Terminologies. Pressurised Baskets Vs. Fundamental Baskets  

If that all sounds a bit too much bother nevertheless you still want a quality coffee cup but you want it to be hassle free then the next sort of machine may well be what you are after.

Automatic Coffee Machines

DeLonghi call these automatic coffee machines and I can know why due to the reality that a lot of the process is automated, but they are more widely known as bean to cup coffee machines.

There are two kinds of automatic machines, automatic and fully automatic, or automatic and one touch. The difference is that the fully automatic or one touch machines likewise handle the milk part for you, whereas with fundamental automatic or bean to cup coffee machines, you steam the milk using the attached steam wand.

Unlike manual espresso coffee machines they come with a mill built-in so you don’t have to fret about grinding your own beans, just add them to the hopper (the bean container) at the top and the machine does it for you.

You’ll need to do a bit bit of experimenting at the beginning such as selecting how finely the machine must grind your coffee beans using one of the multiple grind settings that will be available to you, but there’s nowhere near as much prep essential as there is with a representative, manual espresso coffee machine.

You can likewise pre-set the amount of water that gets delivered through your ground coffee and there are lots of other features depending on the machine you go for where you can bespoke things exactly how you like it.

That’s where the magic begins because once you have the machine set up how you like to take your coffee, there’s very little you need to do each time you want your great coffee. Simply, with the one touch machines, you literally just need to press a button (other than attaching the milk carafe for example).

The machine will grind the coffee for you, tamp it, and then push the water through the coffee under pump pressure – deliver your espresso and then eject the puck into the waste container ready to be emptied into the bin.

The fundamental automatic machines come with a steam wand to allow you to steam your own milk, but there are also the one touch machines which also sort out the milk frothing for you. 

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the fully automatic or “super automatic” or “one touch” machines which also deliver the frothed milk, as you don’t rather have the same control as you do when you do it yourself so it basically depends how fussy you are.

It’s the reason that you don’t see fully automatic bean to cup coffee machines in coffee shops and why you’ll always see a Barista heating the milk before pouring it to create the coffee of your preference.

The all singing all dancing DeLonghi bean to cup machines can start to get a little bit expensive but if you want good coffee and you don’t want to do any work and you are prepared to pay for that luxury then they are worth having a look at.

Whilst this article is specific to DeLonghi I have another article that discusses bean to cup coffee machines across all the different manufacturers:

best bean to cup coffee machine  

Filter coffee Machines

DeLonghi have numerous different drip coffee machines to choose from nevertheless this article is going to be focussed on manual and automatic (bean to cup) coffee machines.

But, if you are interested in American coffee machines I have an extremely detailed blog article that explains all the different kinds and the best ones on the market:

perfect American coffee machines  

Nespresso Coffee Machines

Nespresso specialise in coffee and not coffee machines and although there are plenty of Nespresso machines to choose from they are very crafted by various other companies that specialise in coffee machines and who better to choose to make your machines than the market leader in coffee machines – DeLonghi.

So if you see a Nespresso machine that you may be interested in and it has “DeLonghi” written on it and you are wondering is it a DeLonghi coffee makeking equipment or a Nespresso coffee brewing tool the answer is that it is a Nespresso machine made by DeLonghi.

As pointed out, this post is going to concentrate on DeLonghi manual espresso machines and bean to cup coffee machines but I have a extremely detailed specific post for Nespresso machines that can help:

best Nespresso machines  

Dolce Gusto Coffee Machines

Where Nespresso concentrates on the premium end of the huge market in coffee pods and capsules, Dolce Gusto is more focussed on the entry-level, cheaper pod coffee machines for anyone that wants a coffee makeking device but doesn’t want to incur the upfront costs to buy one.

You can pick up a Dolce Gusto coffee brewing device for under £50 nevertheless it’s not personally something I would work with myself or suggest because the pods work out extremely expensive and they use powdered milk to create “cappuccinos” and “lattes” which is a big no no in my opinion if you want to create a coffee that tastes good.

Nestle own both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto and so as well as creating Nespresso machines for Nespresso, DeLonghi also make Dolce Gusto machines.

Due to the fact that these types of machine don’t make very good tasting coffee (in my opinion at least) they don’t get a place on this list due to the reality that great tasting coffee is a prerequisite for inclusion.

So let’s take a look at the best of what DeLonghi have to offer.

These are the perfect DeLonghi bean to cup coffee machines:

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Features:

  • One Touch Coffee (espresso/lungo/Americano only, not one touch milk).
  • 1.2L front removable water tank very easy to access from the front.
  • 13 grind settings
  • Dishwasher safe drip tray with a decent capacity.
  • Good steam power and can be used as a panarello or pro style steam wand.

The Esam 4200 has been an very good seller for years, and it’s easy to see why. I’ve used this machine, and it’s most machine for an incredibly low price!

If you’re drinking single or double espresso coffee, lungo or Americano – you can use this as a one touch machine, meaning once you’ve got your wonderful coffee, you can literally just press the button every time to get your fantastic coffee.

If you’re downing milkies – flat white, cappuccino, latte, cortado etc., – then you have two options for steaming the milk. 

Preference 1:  Via the panarello. 

A panarello, also known as turbo frother or auto milk frother, is a sheath of metal or plastic over a steam pipe which aerates the milk via a hole on the side. 

They’re clever, actually – however other than the Dedica EC685M which I’ll discuss shortly, all other panarello wands I’m aware of are capable of making only one type of milk foam, the thick, stiff foam used to make old school cappuccino. 

If this is what you like, wonderful, it’s extremely easy to produce this sort of milk foam with the panarello, so basically leave it on, stick it in your milk jug, stop when your milk jug starts to get too hot to comfortably touch. 

Preference 2: Remove the panarello.

When you remove the panarello on the ESAM 4200 & other DeLonghi coffee machines, you get a steam pipe which can be used just like a single hole steam tipped wand.

There is a knack to this, and believe me, it’s harder than it looks ;-). I’ve been practising for years and I’ve only recently in truth got the knack of it, nevertheless if you check out some of my YouTube videos, I have rather a few milk steaming tutorials. 

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My Review

Best Bean to Cup Coffee brewing tool? Latte Art.
Latte art is no problem, with the panarello removed.

I used the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 4200 for a week or two in order to write my review, and overall I was really impressed with the capabilities of this low-cost machine.

Lots of fellow coffee botherers (that’s what I call my readers & viewers) have told me that they have this machine, and it’s rare that I hear anything but praise for it.

Yes, it’s a cheap machine, you’re not going to get the same sort of features as something like the Sage Oracle, but simply keep in mind that the DeLonghi ESAM 4200 costs roughly 15 % the price of the Oracle! If you’re interested in the Oracle, even though, see:

Sage Oracle Review

In a nutshell, if you’re on a tight budget, you’re not going to get much better appreciate for money at this kind of price point than this DeLonghi machine, it’s really, really actually good for the money.

If you read my “warts ‘n all” review of the ESAM 4200 you’ll see I crafted a couple of observations about little niggles or quirks of this machine, however they’re only small, and the low price more than compensates for them.

Check Price - Amazon UK

Check Price – Amazon UK

Features:

  • 1.8L Water Tank – Front Accessed
  • Steam Wand Doubles as Hot Water Tap
  • Adjustable Nozzle Height for Various Cup Sizes
  • Relatively Quiet Grinding
  • 13 Grind Adjustments

This is another popular low cost bean to cup or “automatic” coffee machine from DeLonghi, and again, I think this gives a lot of machine for the money. 

It’s not a great deal more than the ESAM 4200, it looks a little nicer in my opinion, it’s a little smaller, the steam wand can deliver hot water as well as steam, and I think the controls make a little more sense. 

Given the similar price, I think I may be tempted by this machine over the slightly cheaper ESAM 42oo if I were buying a bean to cup machine. 

This machine has a crazy number of Amazon reviews, which basically shows you how popular this machine is given that the majority of people who will have bought the machine won’t have left a review. They’re mainly positive too, and the majority of the negatives appear to be reviews of the supplier and not the machine.

This is one of my pet peeves. When people leave a review on Amazon for a product, and they rate the delivery service or the supplier – there’s a different place for that, Amazon reviews are purely about the quality of the product. Anyway, I digress ;-).

This is another basic automatic or bean to cup coffee machine, meaning that you’ll need to sort out the milk yourself, but as I said earlier, personally I prefer that. 

Each to their own, but I find a lot of the one touch milk foaming machines create overly stiff foam, every milk beverage literally ends up being some form of old school cappuccino. Steaming milk is a skill you’ll need to know, however in my simple opinion it’s worth taking the time to practise. 

As with the ESAM, you can use the panarello wand if you prefer, or slide it off to reveal the pipe underneath which you’ll then utilize just as if it was a pro steam wand with a single hole tip. 

Check Price – Amazon UK

Check Price – Amazon UK

Features:

  • Both Automatic and Manual Milk Steaming
  • Nine 1 Touch Coffee Buttons Including Flat White
  • Intelligent Control Panel
  • Full Control Over Brewing – Including Coffee Temperature
  • 2 Litre Water Tank – Easily Accessed From the Front

This is a fully automatic, or “super automatic” bean to cup coffee machine, or “one touch” machine, which will do everything for you at the touch of a button, including frothing the milk and delivering it into your cup.

Interestingly, this is a one touch machine that offers you the choice likewise to use a steam wand if you don’t want to use the auto milk option. 

Some may ask the issue, why pay more for a one touch machine if you’re going to use a steam wand anyway – however I think that misses the point. 

I think the point DeLonghi are cleverly addressing here is the reality that numerous people if simply creating one coffee for themselves, and if in a rush, might not want to mess about filling the milk carafe and then cleaning it out again after. 

You can also remove the panarello and work with the steam pipe as a single hole steam tip as with a lot of panarello wands – and doing this likewise provides this machine flexibility when it comes to the types of users that the DeLonghi Eletta may be suitable for.

In other words, you may want to steam your milk manually for the very perfect quality flat white, however there may be others using the machine who couldn’t care less about that, and who just want to press a button.

This is a feature that brews the Sage Bambino plus popular, that is a manual espresso coffee machine with the ability to manually create excellent textured milk if you’re a budding home barista, however likewise other people in the home or in the workplace who don’t have any manual milk steaming skills (and there’s a knack to it) can use the automatic milk steaming feature. 

Personally, I’d prefer to go for something like the Bambino plus, due to the truth that the milk created automatically by this machine is going to be way better than many one touch bean to cup coffee machines are capable of creating, but that’s just me – several people enjoy one touch bean to cup machines and are happy with the milk texture they produce.

This post is about DeLonghi coffee machines of course, but if the Bambino Plus is of interest, see:

Sage Bambino Plus Review

As I mentioned earlier, DeLonghi are the most significant home espresso coffee machine manufacturer on the planet, and you can see that they very understand what they’re doing when it comes to creating popular machines. 

This is another machine that has racked up a crazy number of Amazon reviews, and there are the majority of positives. The biggest complaints refer to the quality of the milk foam and therefore the ability of this machine to create one touch flat whites as advertised.

In my humble opinion, one touch machines can’t make flat white. Having said that, lots of Baristas can’t either ;-). 

Joking apart, you need a fairly wet foam for producing flat white, you don’t want what I refer to as old school cappuccino foam, and this is all one touch machines are very capable of. Flat whites produced on one touch or fully auto machines are going to be stronger cappuccinos extremely.

I reckon the only bean to cup machines on the market capable of producing flat white with automatic milk steaming, are the Sage Oracle, Sage Oracle Touch, and the Gaggia Magenta. 

Gaggia MagentaSage OracleSage Oracle Touch

I can understand the annoyance to be honest, if someone has bought a machine based on the claim that it can produce flat whites at the touch or a button, to discover that the “flat white” that is produced at the touch of a button isn’t what many people would accept as a true flat white.

However to be fair to DeLonghi, they’re not the only manufacturer who does this – and there’s no official rule on what and what isn’t a flat white – if there were, I think coffee shops up and down the country would be breaking it. I’ve had lots of flat whites which, similar to those produced by one touch bean to cup machines, are just a stronger cappuccino.

Also, this machine does have three foam texture settings, a lot of one touch machines only have one, so this does give more control over the milk texture that you’re going to get with most other bean to cup machines, and it’s not in truth that expensive either, given the features it has. 

Check Price – Amazon UK

Check Price – Amazon UK

Features:

  • 4.3 Inch touch screen display
  • “Bean Adapt” technology to automatically fix the grinding, dosage and temperature depending on the bean.
  • Flat burr coffee mill with 7 grind settings
  • Removable washable brew group
  • 2.2L Litre Water Tank – Front loading
  • Dual boiler
  • Puck bin holds 20 used pucks
  • 500 gram bean hopper
  • Fully adjustable auto milk texture
  • Up 21 touch screen coffees including 5 personalised settings
  • Coffeelink smartphone app 

This is among DeLonghi’s Primadonna range of feature-packed bean to cup machines, among the highest cost bean to cup machines from DeLonghi. Also see ECAM650.85.MS Primadonna Elite.

This is a serious bean to cup coffee machine, with some serious technology – nevertheless the important thing is, if you read through the Amazon reviews (some really long detailed reviews on there along with videos and photos) you start to get the impression that this isn’t literally about fancy technology, DeLonghi have produced a machine here which appears to make decent quality coffee & milk texture.

I’m not a massive fan of fully automatic bean to cup machines personally, simply because I find that usually you end up not adequately dialled in (there are usually only a fairly small number of grind adjustments) and the milk is often very similar for all drinks, you don’t tend to get velvety microfoam.

You don’t even have to touch the touch screen, just get out your smart phone, open the app, choose your coffee from the images on the app – or create a new one – and then press the prepare button on your smart phone. Sadly, the app doesn’t have the technology to get a cup out of the cupboard and place it on the drip tray, so you’re going to have to do that bit yourself. 

The Bean Adapt technology is interesting too. The idea, essentially, is that the machine intelligently dials in the bean for you, with the information you feed it about the beans you’re utilizing and how the shot looks and tastes.

You have a shade card sheet to hold up against your beans so you can tell the app if the beans you’re using are light, medium, medium-dark or dark roasted, you can tell the app if you’re utilizing 100% Arabica, or a Arabica/Robusta  blend. You can save your coffee by name in the app, and then ask the app to dial in for you, literally, by clicking the edit icon & clicking the “start” button.

You’ll then be guided through a technique of pulling a shot, and you’ll be asked to rate it visually based on the look of the crema, and taste (too watery & week, OK, too bitter), it’ll modify the brew temp and the grind sized based on this, and if you’re still not quite happy with it you can carry on dialling in via the app. 

Really clever stuff, and I’d in reality be interested in trying this machine truly – though, as I’ve said, I’m not usually a fan of one touch bean to cup machines.

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So there we go, that’s what I believe to be the perfect bean to cup or “Automatic” coffee machines from DeLonghi.

These are the best DeLonghi manual espresso machines:

When I say manual espresso machines, what I’m referring to are traditional semi automatic or “pump” espresso machines. 

These differ from the automatic machines above in that they’re operated just in the way that a barista would operate a classic commercial espresso machine. 

You grind your coffee beans into the basket in the filter holder (called a portafilter), tamp the coffee to compress it, lock the portafilter into the group head, pull the shot, knock the puck into your knock box.

Then, if you were in the mood for espresso, you’d just enjoy it as is. If you’re making a lungo or Americano you’d mix the shot with hot water, of if creating a milky (latte, flat white, cappuccino, cortado) you’d then steam the milk using the steam wand on the machine, and pour it into your cup.

If that sounds basically straight forward, even enjoyable – truly beware, it’s not quite what it seems. 

There’s quite a bit more to making coffee this way – the truth is that using a classic espresso machine needs at least some home barista skills.

The amount of skill required literally depends on how fussy you are, and/or how well developed your palate is.

If your palate isn’t all that well developed, and if you’re not all that fussy – you can utilize the pressured basket that many the lower cost home espresso machines come with. You can even utilize pre-ground coffee. Even then, it’s still a little of a learning curve. 

If you’re fussy about the quality of your espresso coffee and milk texture if you’re a milky fan like me (flat white is my fave), then just be prepared for a steeper learning curve. You’re going to have to swap the pressured basket for a standard basket (really easy to do), you’re going to have to have an espresso capable mill, and you’re going to have to develop some home barista skills. 

You’ll need brew scales, you’ll need to weigh your ground coffee and your shots, you’ll need to time the shot time, and you’ll need to understand how to pull a shot appropriately. 

You’re going to have to discover about distributing, about gently tamping, avoiding channelling, and dialling in the bean, which indicates adjusting the grind to get a better extraction. If you truly catch the home barista bug as I have, then you’ll have a ideal hobby which impacts in remarkable coffee shop quality (or better in numerous cases) coffee at home. 

If you don’t, what you may end up with is a boatload of frustration, and an eBay listing ;-).

So I’d suggest thinking gently before going for a manual, traditional espresso machine – if you think trying to use a manual espresso coffee machine will drive you mad, you may be better going for a bean to cup machine. 

De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685M

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Features:

  • Very Slim at 15cm Wide
  • Panarello steam wand capable of latte art quality milk texture
  • Comes with pressured baskets nevertheless easily rectified

 

The DeLonghi Dedica EC685  and its predecessor the EC680 are really popular manual espresso machines from DeLonghi. This is what I refer to as a domestic espresso machine, however it does have home barista potential with a little of modding. 

To explain what I mean by that, domestic espresso machines are made for “normal” coffee drinkers, not for the home Barista market.

Machines that are specifically targeted at the home barista market start at the likes of the Gaggia Classic and Sage Bambino Plus or Duo temp pro. These are at the very entry-level, and they’re around £400.

Gaggia Classic ReviewSage Bambino Plus Review

The price just goes up and up from there, lots of of the a lot of popular home barista espresso machines cost from one to two thousand, or even higher. 

So lots of of us (myself included) when we start off on the home barista hobby, need to find a way to get started at a lower budget.

One option is to buy a used machine as I did. I started out with a used Gaggia classic, although these in truth hold their value these days so you’ll not get much alter from a couple of hundred quid even from a second-hand machine!

Another option is to buy an espresso machine aimed at the domestic market, and if you’re not all that fussy – just utilize it as is, with the pressured basket. But if you want more control over the shot, and eventually better shot potential, you’d do a bit bit of tinkering, and pair it with a capable grinding machine. 

The tinkering here is literally extremely humble, you’d just buy a standard basket to replace the pressured basket, or buy a bottomless portafilter (they’re cool) which comes with a fundamental basket. Like this one:

Which is the one I bought to work with for my Youtube review of this machine, below.

Overall, with a little of effort, it’s possible to get fairly good espresso coffee from this machine once you’ve managed to work your way around the 15 bars of pressure.

There’s no over pressure valve on these machines, they’re truly intended for utilize with pressured baskets, so you’re working under higher pressure than is ideal, which increases the chances of channelling – where some of the water flows through the coffee too fast, literally – leading to an un-balanced extraction, which means bad tasting espresso coffee. 

But as I say, with some effort it’s possible to get around this and the result is not bad espresso. As a home barista machine I’d expect this to be a stepping stone machine, meaning that you’ll probably upgrade it in the not too distant future, but as a cheap first machine, it’s not a bad shout. 

When it comes to milk even though, I’m in truth impressed with the Dedica E685.

A lot of domestic espresso machines like this one have what is known as a “panarello” wand, or “turbo frother” – which is a sheath of (usually) plastic over the steam pipe, which enables anyone to steam milk with no learning involved. 

Utilizing a proper steam wand is actually much, much harder than it looks – I can tell you from personal experience, I’ve been learning to adequately steam milk for rather a few years, and I’m still no pro! Utilizing a panarello is easy, however usually results in one sort of milk texture, which is stiff spoonable foam for “old school” cappuccinos. 

If this is what you love, perfect, but if not, usually panarello wands can’t produce the more velvety microfoam that numerous people prefer to work with to make drinks like flat white & latte.

But on the EC685, the panarello has two settings, cappuccino, and hot milk. This makes it in reality modest to utilize in order to produce ideal milk texture via the panarello. Watch my tutorial video below to see how it’s done.

By the way, if you’re among the several people considering buying the Smeg ECf01 espresso coffee machine (I get a lot of emails about that machine) I would strongly consider buying the DeLonghi EC685 instead. It’s almost half the price, and from what I can gather the Smeg is almost identical internally.

I’ve come to the assumption that the Smeg is at least based on the Dedica, if not basically the really same machine literally in an exceptionally characteristically Smeg shell. I do like the idea of the steam lever instead of the knob, and it does look very nice, but personally I wouldn’t pay an extra couple of hundred quid just for this.

Check Price - Amazon UK

Check Price - Amazon UK

Features:

  • 1.4 litre water tank
  • Easy to operate
  • Actual brew boiler

Yet another popular espresso machine from DeLonghi, this is a machine that I’ve seen in more than one large retail outlet in the past, and undoubtfully its looks has led to this machine ending up in lots of kitchens over the years. 

It’s a little bit bigger than the EC685, it has a bigger water tank, a bigger drip tray, and it has a boiler. 

The EC685 like many lower-cost domestic machines has a thermoblock which is an on demand water heater. The Skultura has a small brew boiler, as does the Gaggia Classic.

Whether this in truth effects in better espresso coffee is a difficult thing to say, there’s more to a machine’s potential shot quality than simply whether it has a boiler or a thermoblock or thermocoil.

It doesn’t have the same panarello as the E685, but it’s still capable of decent microfoam – just not via the panarello. With this machine and many panarello machines, you can pull the panarello off, and work with the steam pipe as a standard wand. Just keep in mind although that there’s a learning curve to using a steam wand, it literally isn’t as easy as the pros make it look.

Check Price - Amazon UK

Check Price - Amazon UK

Features:

  • 2 litre water tank
  • Integrated coffee mill with totally contained grinding
  • Integrated tamping lever
  • Pressure gauge
  • Same intelligent panarello as the Dedica EC685
  • Dedicated water spout & automatic water delivery for Americano

This is an integrated mill machine, but this doesn’t make it a bean to cup coffee machine. This is a common misconception which often leads to the Specialista and the very popular Sage Barista Express & Barista Pro ending up in bean to cup coffee machine categories.

By the way, I’m going to refer to “La Specialista” as “The Specialista” in this post and not “The La Specialista”, otherwise I’m calling it the the Specialista, which reminds me of Mickey Blue Eyes. Best film!

The La Tratoria

The La Tratoria

Integrated grinder espresso machines share the integrated coffee mill with bean to cup coffee machines, and that’s where the similarity ends.

The Specialista is DeLonghi’s respond to to the Sage Barista machines, nevertheless the difference is that they’ve made this machine for the everyday coffee drinker, not the home barista. I’ll explain what I’m on about, so bear with me. 

Sage are the masters of integrated mill machines, and they indeed focus on the home barista market with their integrated mill “Barista” machines.

Sage Barista Express Review

What Delonghi have created with the Specialista, I think, is a very clever integrated coffee grinder machine for the everyday coffee machine user. 

It’s a pressured basket machine, which isn’t what you’d want from a home barista machine, but as an everyday coffee makeking equipment user, it reduces the learning curve.

I won’t get into the technicalities too much here, but the long and short of it is that pressured basket machines usually have 15 or 19 bar pumps, and have baskets with one small hole on the bottom which espresso coffee is forced through, generally to replicate the visuals of a ideal shot, while not quite doing the same with the taste. 

Fundamental basket machines on the other hand are filter baskets basically full of holes, and it’s trickier to get the shot right, nevertheless when you get it right the shot potential is on another extent.

The Sage machines are capable of much better espresso in my simple opinion, however only with some effort and learning. Anyone would be able to take the Specialista out of the box and make OK espresso straight away, without a great deal of faffing around “dialling in” and so on (meaning to fine-tune the grind size to enhance the extraction). 

Also, to be fair “anyone” meaning the majority of normal coffee drinkers, would rather possibly rate what someone with a well-developed coffee palate may rate as “OK” espresso, as amazing espresso coffee. 

If you’ve got the palate to be able to detect the difference, then you may find espresso from a pressured basket machine like this to be thin, lacking in body, and dull in comparison to a well pulled shot on among the sage Barista machines.

But I think it’s important to address the fact that lots of people haven’t got the palate to be able to notice this in the same way. 

Not that I’m saying this is a different class of person, by the way – I’m not a snob! It’s basically just a case of palate development. The more often you taste fantastic coffee, the more your palate will develop. 

If you think you’re more of a “normal” coffee brewing tool user at present, and you possibly don’t have the palate at the moment to detect much difference in the cup from one shot to the next, then the Specialista may be worth a look, as it has some extremely user-friendly features.

They’ve “emulated” the Sage barista machines, no doubt about that, nevertheless they’ve definitely added some features to make this machine more “non-barista friendly”. 

The big thing for me is the completely enclosed coffee grinder cradle, you literally lock the portafilter in & the machine takes care of the dosing and grinding, inside the machine, which indicates no mess.  I simply think Sage need to take note of this, it’s an incredibly smart feature.

The integrated “smart tamp”lever I think is extremely clever too, getting a consistent tamp pressure every time is a real skill, and this takes away the need for that. The reality that the Specialista automatically delivers the hot water for Americano I think is also very smart.

Looking through the Amazon reviews, even though, DeLonghi appear to have had a bit of a mare with this machine with a common fault which several people have reported which has lead to an incredibly wet kitchen. I don’t think I’d be overly worried given the overall review score, and I would hope that they’ve resolved this question by now.

Perfect DeLonghi Coffee Machines – Conclusion

So there you go, my fairly comprehensive guide to what I believe to be the best DeLonghi coffee machines.

Overall, DeLonghi are a huge brand, among the most significant when it comes to coffee machines, and they in fact focus on the main stream “normal” coffee makeking equipment user market.  So if you’re in the mainstream when it comes to coffee, among the DeLonghi coffee machines above may be perfect for you. 

Before I sign off, I thought I’d answer a few other widely asked questions:

Is DeLonghi a good brand?

DeLonghi are a company that spends millions of pounds a year developing new products and creating sure that they understand customers needs and requirements.

We’re talking about the many purchased coffee brand in the world, a brand which sells more units than any other coffee brewing equipment brand at the time of writing.

This is an incredibly well established (putting it mildly) and trusted, Italian coffee brewing tool brand. If we’re talking purely about the mainstream domestic coffee makeking equipment market (and I’m not talking here about the home barista market) I’d say DeLonghi are the perfect brand. 

As I say, I’m not comparing them with the likes of Sage Gaggia, Rancilio, Lelit, Profitec & so on – this is a completely different market, however focusing on the mainstream domestic coffee brewing tool market, I can’t think of a better and more well-respected brand.

If you don’t consider yourself a “mainstream” domestic coffee brewing tool user, and if becoming a home barista is something that interests you, the obvious brand to look at is Sage. 

This article explains more:

perfect Sage coffee machine  

How long should a DeLonghi coffee machine last?

I think it’s fair to expect longevity from investing in a well known brand such as DeLonghi, and it’s unlikely DeLonghi would have developed a massive 30% market share with products that don’t last. 

Having said that, it’s important to note that the user has a part to play in how long their machine lasts. As with cars, it does depend on how much mileage (literage?) your coffee makeking tool does, and how well it’s maintained. 

Simply as the majority of cars will work absolutely fine for the first 15,000 miles or so, nevertheless may develop issues not long after if not regularly serviced and appropriately looked after, the same is true of coffee machines. 

Whilst your DeLonghi coffee brewing tool is unlikely to need to go off for servicing, and it definitely won’t need an MOT – regular descaling (depending on the hardness of your water) and genera cleaning  (just go to the cleaning section of the manual for your coffee brewing equipment) ought to help to lengthen the life of your machine. 

Primarily speaking, if you look after it, and if you’re not unlucky to end up with a problem machine (and if you are, fingers crossed the problem presents itself within the warranty period) I’d expect the average DeLonghi machine to last for around 5 years, maybe more. 

Also see: 

How To Choose The Perfect Coffee makeking device For Any Budget

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This post first of all appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of REAL Coffee!

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