Delonghi Magnifica vs Dinamica vs Prima Donna – What’s the difference?

There are a few age-old questions that a lot of humans have asked themselves at some stage of their lives, including what in fact caused the formation of the universe,  what is the meaning of life, and what’s the difference between the DeLonghi Magnifica, Delonghi Dinamica and Delonghi Prima Donna bean to cup coffee machines.

OK maybe these last three aren’t rather in the same territory, and it might not take an astronomer or quantum physicist to figure out the difference between the various Delonghi bean to cup coffee machines, but the number of options can be perplexing.

Fear not, I’ll be doing my perfect to demystify this quandary for you, and make it much easier for you to decide between the various different DeLonghi coffee machines. 

Magnifica, Dinamica, Primadonna & Maestosa

While this article is mainly about the Delonghi Magnifica, Dinamica & Primadonna coffee machine ranges, I’m throwing DeLonghi Maestosa in here too because though it may be overkill for lots of coffee aficionados, there are a couple of specific scenarios that I think this machine is wonderful for.

What I’m going to do is to take you through the details of each range first, and then give you the details of some of the different options within each range. I’m not going to include every single choice within each range, because DeLonghi often have a lot of different options within each range, and most the time the differences between each are fairly subtle.

If I think there are any machines within each range which are different enough from others that I’ve covered, then I’ll include them. You’ll understand what I mean as you go along.

Delonghi Magnifica

The Magnifica is DeLonghi’s entry degree bean to cup coffee makeking tool range, but don’t let this fool you. In truth, let me make something that is isn’t usually obvious, much more clear: The amount of money you spend is going to make little or no difference to coffee quality. 

I know, you’d imagine that spending more money would be to enhance the quality of your coffee, or why would you spend more? The reality is, but, that with this kind of coffee makeking equipment, cost and coffee quality isn’t linked.

I think a good way to explain this is to utilize buying cars as an analogy. Let’s say you were trying to decide on which SUV to buy, 0-60 acceleration might be a consideration, but it’s probably not going to be the main one. 

You’ll probably be more focused on features that relate more to SUVs, such as boot space, the number of seats, driving position, and creature comforts, than you may be on the 0-60 time, just due to the reality that it’s that sort of a car you’re buying. If you were buying a racing car, then you may be focusing more on 0-60.

You’re looking at buying a bean to cup coffee machine, and these are a lot more about ease of work with than they are about espresso coffee quality, similarly to how SUVs are more about ease of use than they are about speed. So as you spend more on an SUV you’d expect more gains in creature comforts and features than power. 

It’s worth noting that upgrading your coffee beans is like putting performance fuel into your car rather than basic fuel, The better the coffee beans you put in your machine the better quality coffee you will get out of it! If you are tempted to try some quality beans have a look at mine from cworks.co.uk, click on the link below to receive 25% off your first order.

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It’s the same with bean to cup coffee machines, as you spend more money you’re going to get more in terms of creature comforts, quite than getting more in terms of espresso coffee quality. Similarly to the cheapest SUV probably having a similar acceleration to much more expensive SUVs, but having a lot more in terms of fancy features, the cheapest bean to cup coffee machines will deliver very similar espresso coffee quality to much more expensive options, nevertheless spending more will usually give you more in terms of features. 

OK, this analogy isn’t fantastic because some of the most expensive SUVs are stupidly fast, but hopefully, it assists nevertheless.

If you’re buying a average espresso machine, investing a few hundred quid more can basically make a real difference to cup quality once you’ve developed the necessary skills, as there’s a lot more to using traditional espresso coffee machines than just pressing a button. 

Bean to cup coffee machines, nevertheless, are espresso coffee machines with built in grinders and something called a brew unit or brewing unit, and it is the mill and the brewing unit that is responsible for the espresso coffee quality. 

Whether you’re buying the cheapest, or the many expensive of this sort of coffee brewing device, the grinder, and the brewing unit are both going to be practically exactly the same within the same brand, and even one of the different brands, they’re all going to be extremely similar. 

Whether it’s a bean to cup machine from DeLonghi, Gaggia, Krups, Melitta, or another brand, the grinder, and brewing unit are usually extremely similar. When it comes to different machines from the same brand, more often than not you’ll find that the grinding machine and brewing unit are exactly the same regardless of the price of the machine, so you’re usually paying more for features, and not for better espresso coffee.

So with that said, the Magnifica range is the perfect of the Delonghi coffee machines as far as I’m worried, where value for money is anxious if you’re not too fussed about flashy features. Truly, if you’re savvy, you’ll probably be looking towards the lower end of the Magnifica range, due to the truth that this is where the really perfect appreciate for money can be found.

The Magnifica range has historically been about simplicity and appreciate for money, as far as I can tell. These machines usually had manual steam wands, and modest buttons and dials. 

The latest “Evo” model appears to be breaking the Magnifica mould, though, given it has touch screen controls and a one touch milk carafe choice, nevertheless it’s still relatively low cost for a machine with these forms of features. Don’t worry if I’ve just confused you talking about steam wands and milk carafes, I’ll explain as we go along. 

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 28.5cm wide x 37.5cm deep x 36cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • 13 grind settings
  • Standard Panarello steam wand 
  • One touch coffee only

My Observations

This is one of the longest established bean to cup machines from DeLonghi, it’s one of the cheapest, it’s one of the a lot of humble to work with and it’s probably the the majority of durable, with the least in the way of bells and whistles to potentially go wrong. 

It’s compact, and it has a front accessed water tank meaning that if you do push it under kitchen wall units you don’t have to pull it out to access the water tank, as you would with top accessed tanks, but of course, you’ll need some access to the top to put beans in the hopper. 

When my fellow coffee botherers (my readers and viewers, so that now includes you) contact me telling me they’re on a tight budget and they simply want a humble to utilize bean to cup coffee machine that will last years, I usually advise this machine or the Gaggia Brera if they have a slightly bigger budget. 

If you’re wondering why I would advise the Brera, by the way, primarily it’s because with Gaggia bean to cup coffee machines it’s in truth modest to figure out the exact dose in grams, and pressing the shot button twice in quick succession provides you a true double shot, while the double shot option on the Delonghi Magnifica machines provides you double the espresso volume from just mildly more ground coffee, so it’s not what I’d call a true double shot. 

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 24cm wide x 44cm deep x 36cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Basic Panarello steam wand 
  • One touch coffee only

My Observations

The Magnifica S is truly a slightly slimmer, newer updated version of the original Magnifica. I’m not calling it more compact, due to the truth that although it does look like a more compact machine than the ESAM 4200, they’ve opted to reduce the width on the newer Magnifica machines and increase the depth, with all of the newer Magnifica machines being 65mm deeper but 45mm thinner.

I think they’ve probably crafted the decision that a lot of modern kitchens are brewed in a way that an extra 6.5cm in depth on a kitchen worktop is less valuable than 4.5cm in width, and that would seem to make sense. They’re the same height at 36cm which suggests you can fit them under most standard wall cupboards.

The Magnifica S looks a little bit more modern I suppose, and it does seem mildly quieter than the Esam 4200, which does have a relatively loud pump. Also, with the Magnifica S the volume is adjusted by pressing and holding the shot buttons instead of using the dial.

The milk steaming is with a fundamental “Panarello” steam wand, which is the kind of steam wand extremely anyone can work with without any barista experience. You just stick it in your milk jug, and it’ll inject air and heat the milk. The only matter with these is that they usually create bigger bubble cappuccino foam, quite than microfoam which is now the more popular sort of milk texture. 

If you want microfoam, even though, for velvety flat whites, you can just remove the Panarello and utilize the steam pipe as if it were a single hole steam tipped steam wand, and you can do the same with the other DeLonghi machines, and most other machines with a Panarello wand. 

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 24cm wide x 44cm deep x 36cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Smart Panarello steam wand 
  • One touch coffee only

My Observations

Other than relatively insignificant aesthetic differences, the only real difference between the Magnifica S, and the Magnifica S Smart, is that the S Smart has the same smart Panarello steam wand that the DeLonghi Dedica EC685 has. 

This is a literally clever thing, simply, instead of being the usual Panarello sheath covering the steam pipe which constantly sucks in air, it has a setting to allow you to block the holes. 

So you keep it at the “cappuccino” setting for as long as you want to aerate the milk for, and then alter it to the hot milk setting, which covers the air intake, so you very continue to heat and spin the milk (spin meaning a vortex is created which distributes the bubbles) until you reach the desired milk temperature. 

You don’t have to work with the Panarello, if you prefer just slide the Panarello off and use the pipe below as a steam wand. Simply beware that the rubber pipe might pop off at some point, scaring the BLEEP out of you! If this happens, basically use a cable tie to keep the pipe in place.

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 24cm wide x 44cm deep x 36cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Milk Carafe frother
  • 7 x one touch coffees including cappuccino & latte macchiato
  • Soft-touch colour display

My Observations

This is essentially a one-touch cappuccino & latte version of the newer Magnifica machines, with a colour touch screen display instead of buttons and dials.

I should in fact say “Latte Macchiato” due to the truth that the milk is steamed first and then is pulled into the milk, which in fact makes it a latte macchiato, which must have distinct layers if it’s done well, even though I’m sure that won’t make a difference to the taste ;-), unlike latte art, latte art definitely makes coffee taste better! 

Unfortunately, this machine won’t pour latte art for you, and one touch milky machines like this steam and pour the milk for you, they’re really convenient for people who simply want to press a button and walk away with their cappuccino, however they don’t give you the same degree of control over the milk. 

If you’re picky about your milk texture and temperature, I’d recommend going for a machine with a steam wand, rather than a milk carafe. Panarello wands aren’t perfect either, other than the smart Panarello wand you’ll find on the S Smart and some of the other DeLonghi machines, but at least you can pull them off and work with the steam pipe as a steam wand if you want greater control.

There is a version of the Magnifica Evo that comes with a Panarello steam wand:

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DeLonghi Dinamica

While the Magnifica machines have primarily been about offering simplicity and appreciate for money, the Dinamica range appears to be aimed at people who want more practicality and sophistication.

The majority of the Dinamica range are fully automatic machines, also mentioned as “one touch”, which suggests that they have integrated milk carafe frothers, so you literally fill the carafe with milk, keep it in the fridge, and then when you want a coffee, you take the carafe from the fridge, attach it to the machine and just press the cappuccino or latte button, and then walk off with your consume. 

If you’re a big fan of milkies, as I am, just be aware that one touch milk frothers like this, although the more modern ones tend to give you some control over the texture and temperature, eventually you’re never going to have as much control over these important elements with a one touch bean to cup coffee machine, than you would with a more simple machine with a steam wand. 

There is one steam wand version in the Dinamica (two if you count the black and silver options as separate machines…) but many the options in this range are milk carafe, one touch machines – and the controls are a bit more hi-tech than the dials and buttons I’d usually expect to find on a Magnifica machine.

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 23.6cm wide x 42.9cm deep x 34.8cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Milk Carafe frother
  • 12 x one touch coffees including flat white
  • TFT touch screen controls
  • Connectivity (DeLonghi App)
  • 3 personalised profiles + guest function

My Observations

They’ve gone slightly more compact with the Dinamica range, at 4mm thinner than the latest Magnifica models, 11mm shallower, and 12mm shorter. The greatest difference, although, is possibly the bigger range of one touch milkies, including the flat white. 

Whether it will produce a “true” flat white, is another issue, given that there’s no official description of what steeps a true flat white. In my humble opinion, however, to be a proper flat white the milk texture has to be wonderful, and the majority of one touch machines with milk carafes don’t produce great milk texture.

I’ve had a number of of what I refer to as “flat shites” in coffee shops, which are basically stronger cappuccinos, and lots of one touch machines will deliver this same kind of consume labeled as flat white, basically due to the fact that it’s such a popular beverage & theoretically will help to sell machines to have a “flat white” regardless of whether it actually does produce proper flat white milk.

It also comes with connectivity, with the app allowing you to use your phone to alter the brew temperature, customize coffee volumes and make coffees, nevertheless, the app isn’t clever enough (yet) to fill the hopper and put your cup on the drip tray ;-).

There are rather a few people seemingly not very happy with the app, with a few people saying it works excellent when you can get connected, but that it regularly disconnects them from the app and they have to spend time connecting it again.

To be honest, this seems to be a recurring matter with smartphone apps on coffee machines, and I found the similar to be the case with the La Marzocco Linea Mini app when I reviewed that, and that’s not a low-cost coffee machine, either, at over four thousand pounds!

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Features

  • 1.8L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 23.6cm wide x 42.9cm deep x 34.8cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Panarello steam wand
  • One touch coffee only
  • TFT touch screen controls
  • Connectivity (DeLonghi App)
  • 3 personalised profiles + guest function

My Observations

This is a version of the Dinamica which shares all of the main features but features a basic Panarello steam wand instead of a milk carafe, so it’s not for you if you’re looking to be able to basically press one button and walk away with your cappuccino. If you’re fussy about your cappuccino, latte, and/or flat white, although, then this might be a better option for you, and it’s cheaper so that’s a bonus. 

As I’ve said, milk carafes are good for ease of utilize nevertheless they don’t give you the same kind of control over milk texture and temperature that you get from steam wands, and even though this is a fundamental Panarello so it won’t give you control over texture, it will give you control over temperature, and if you slide the Panarello off and work with the steam pipe as a steam wand, you’ll have full control over the texture too.

DeLonghi Primadonna

This is DeLonghi’s premium range of bean to cup coffee machines, and as far as I can see these machines have been brewed for those who like to make a statement with their purchases. I’m not saying that if you buy among these this is the reason you bought one, but I reckon it’s the factor of human nature that the DeLonghi marketing folk have honed in on when developing this range.

Actually take a glance at the dictionary definition of the word: “a really temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance” – and OK, the literal translation to English is First Woman, and the term itself came from Opera, the Prima Donna being the primary female singer (first lady), nevertheless I’m guessing the name came from how much importance they’ve given to the appearance of this range.

All of the DeLonghi Primadonna machines are one touch, fully automatic coffee machines, and they all have fancy features including full colour touch screen displays and connectivity via the De’Longhi coffee app.

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Features

  • 2.2L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 26.2cm wide x 48.5cm deep x 39cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Panarello steam wand
  • 19 x one touch coffees including flat white, cortado & espresso macchiato
  • TFT touch screen controls
  • Connectivity (DeLonghi App)
  • 5 personalised profiles + guest role

My Observations

This is one of the entry-level DeLonghi Primadonna machines, and entry-level may seem like a stretch for a coffee machine costing around a grand, nevertheless that makes it around five or six hundred less quid than the Primadonna Elite, below.

Very, though lots of people will think a grand or even a grand and a half is a heck of a lot to blow on a coffee makeking equipment, it’s all comparative, there are much, much more expensive machines out there too.

Plus, if you currently spend the majority of money on take-away coffee, depending on where you grab your coffee, you’re investing money in a coffee machine, not blowing it, and if you invest wisely you’ll probably find that it ends up saving you money in the long run. It is worth pointing out, even though,  as I pointed out earlier, coffee quality isn’t necessarily linked to purchase price when you’re buying a bean to cup coffee machine, and how long a machine lasts for isn’t necessarily linked to cost either.

The ESAM 4200, for example, will make really similar cup quality to the much more expensive Dinamica machines, and I know people who’ve owned these low cost machines for several years, basically, I know some people who have used a Magnifica machine for over 10 years before replacing it. 

What you’re generally paying for at the higher end of things is things like personalisation, one-touch milkies, and lots of consume options, for example, with this machine there are 19 one-touch ingest options:

Espresso
Coffee
Long coffee
Doppio+
Coffee pot
Brew over ice
Long Black
Americano
Espresso coffee Macchiato
Cappuccino
Cappuccino+
CappuccinoMix
Latte
Latte Macchiato
Flat white
Cortado
Mug to go
Hot milk
Hot water

So for someone who wants coffee at the touch of a button, and who wants lots of options, I can see why they’d go for this machine, and I can discover, then, why the Primadonna range is so popular. 

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Features

  • 2L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 26.2cm wide x 48.5cm deep x 39cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 14
  • Grind settings: 13
  • Panarello steam wand
  • 19 x one touch coffees including flat white, cortado & espresso coffee macchiato
  • TFT touch screen controls
  • Connectivity (DeLonghi App)
  • 5 personalised profiles + guest role

My Observations

This is the “Elite” version of the Primadonna and on this version, the touch screen TFT is integrated within the machine instead of appearing to be a separate tablet attached to the machine, but probably the main pull with the elite is where cold coffees are worried. 

The Elite has a cold frother, also called a whipper, for producing cold milk foam, which allows you to make one touch cold coffees with cold, frothed milk.

This is something I’ve experienced on commercial bean to cup coffee machines, for example on Crew Machines which are bean to cup machines for busy offices and for self-serve at restaurants and so on, nevertheless it’s not something I’d usually expect to find on a domestic coffee makeking device.

I’ve had cold froth from one of the Crew machines, and it’s a revelation! I wouldn’t have thought that texturing cold milk would do what it does, I’m unsure if it’s just the texture tricking my brain, but for me when I’ve used the whipper on among these machines to whip up cold milk, it tastes almost like I’ve put whipped cream on the top of my coffee, however without the calories.

It will make hot chocolate too, and while any machine can theoretically make hot chocolate by literally putting chocolate powder into the milk, this has a hot chocolate setting with specific (customisable) settings. 

DeLonghi Maestosa

I wouldn’t refer to the Delonghi Maestosa as being a “range” as such, as there’s only one Maestosa machine at present, and it’s probably not the many obvious option for most people due to the price, this isn’t a cheap coffee makeking device! The reason I’m including it, however, is that it’s extremely a very rare sort of bean to cup coffee machine, given that it has two separate grinders. 

Having two separate grinders steeps the Delonghi Maestosa an interesting proposition for households where someone drinks decaffeinated, where decaf is often required, or where there’s some other reason for needing to regularly switch between coffee beans, for example, if one person loves one particular coffee bean nevertheless others in the house prefer a different bean.

The usual proposed route to solving this matter is to have a bypass chute in order to be able to utilize pre-ground decaffeinated, and many bean to cup machines tend to have a bypass chute. In my simple opinion, a bypass chute and pre-ground coffee is a horrible way to deal with decaf.

Coffee goes stale much quicker once it has been ground, so buying a bag of pre-ground decaffeinated and leaving it in a cupboard to go staler and staler until it’s needed again isn’t a perfect option. The main reason to buy a bean to cup coffee makeking equipment is to be able to work with fresh beans, so for me, this totally defeats the object. 

There are some coffee machines with two bean hoppers, however this is simply one hopper split into two, feeding one grinding machine. It’s definitely a better solution than using pre-ground decaffeinated, but it’s not excellent, primarily due to the truth that of the fact that in order to ensure you’re downing coffee crafted purely from the chosen channel you’d need to brew coffee and chuck it away, and you wouldn’t ever literally know for sure if you are sipping 100% decaf or 100% full caffeine. 

There’s only one other true dual grinder bean to cup coffee machine I’m aware of, where domestic machines are anxious, and that’s the Siemens EQ9 S700, which is available in two versions, among which has two grinders.

The dual grinder feature isn’t the only thing that Maestosa has going for it, it’s clearly a well-built machine with touch screen controls and several features, but the two grinders feature is the only reason I could see why anyone might want to opt for this machine offering how much more expensive it is than any other Delonghi coffee brewing device. 

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Features

  • 2L water tank. Front accessed
  • Dimensions: 29cm wide x 46.8cm deep x 40.5cm tall
  • Waste drawer capacity: 18
  • Two grinders 
  • 21 x one touch coffees including flat white, cortado & espresso macchiato
  • Panarello steam wand in addition to one touch carafe
  • TFT touch screen controls
  • Connectivity (DeLonghi App)
  • 6 personalised profiles 

My Observations

As I’ve pointed out, there’s only one version of the Maestosa, at the time of writing at least, and I think it’s fair to say this is a beast of a bean to cup coffee makeking equipment, with two separate grinders, more consume options that you could shake a stick at, and a Panarello steam wand preference for anyone who prefers to steam their own milk. 

This has a whipper for cold milk froth, as does the Primadonna, above, and the hot chocolate setting. 

I’ve not put a figure above for how a number of grind settings this has, as the grind settings are adjusted via the touch screen, and I can’t find a figure anywhere to state how lots of settings there are. What I have found, however, is a suggestion in the manual that five or six coffees need to be made after adjusting the grind size in order to be able to notice the difference in the cup. 

What this points to, is a rather large grind retention – which confirms my thoughts on why using separate grinders would be a much better choice than a split hopper or just switching beans with a single grinder bean to cup machine.

Retention, or “exchanged retention” is the coffee that is retained inside the coffee grinder and is used for subsequent coffees. Not 100% of the coffee being ground exits the machine at that time, there’s nearly always some exchange going on meaning that you’re utilizing some coffee from the last time you ground. 

Given that DeLonghi are saying that you need to make five or six coffees until you notice the difference that the grind adjustment brewed, it needs to mean there’s rather many exchanged retention, and that won’t only be with the Maestosa, I suspect it’ll be the same or extremely similar grinders and brewing units other Delonghi coffee machines, so it will be similar retention – and the same is more than likely the case with other brands of bean to cup machines, as many of them are quite similar where the grinders and brewing units are anxious.

So what this implies is that if you were to work with one coffee mill via a split hopper, for example, you’d possibly have to make and throw numerous coffees before you’re drinking coffee brewed 100% with the new coffee bean, and if that’s the case it makes a dual coffee grinder coffee machine by far the perfect option for quickly switching beans, particularly for switching to and from decaffeinated.

OK, for the price you could argue that buying two completely separate coffee machines would be literally as good an preference, and that’s a fair comment however you’d then likewise have to have the space for two separate machines.

Kev’s DeLonghi Bean to Cup Coffee machine What the FAQ

Is the Delonghi Dinamica Worth Upgrading To?

It literally depends, on what you’re upgrading from, and what exactly you’re wanting to upgrade. If you’re looking to upgrade your espresso quality, for example, then it’s worthwhile keeping in mind that you’re not going to gain much where cup quality is concerned by upgrading from one bean to cup machine to another. If you’re wanting an upgrade in features, nevertheless, then yes the Dinamica does have some additional features compared to Delonghi Magnifica, for example. 

Is the Delonghi Primadonna Worth It?

Again it depends exactly what is meant by worth it, and what you’re comparing to, nevertheless the Primadonna is the premium range (except for the Maestosa) which is mainly about the clever features it provides including the majority of ingest options and the cold milk froth role. If you’re not sure if it’s worth it, truly look at the difference between the Primadonna and the other options you’re considering where the features are worried, and then ask yourself if these additional features are worth it for you.

What’s the Difference Between Delonghi Dinamica and Dinamica Plus?

Dinamica and Dinamica plus are almost the same machine, but the Plus version has connectivity via the app, customisable drinks, and touch screen.

What’s the Difference Between Magnifica and Magnifica S?

The newer Magnifica S is an updated version of the Magnifica, with a slimmer profile, mildly quieter operation, and coffee volumes programmable by pressing and holding the buttons instead of the volume dial.

What’s the Difference Between Magnifica S and the Magnifica S Smart?

The S Smart is 1cm wider, 1cm deeper and 2cm taller, also the S Smart has the newer clever adjustable Panarello steam wand, which offers you more control over the milk texture. 

Which Delonghi Coffee brewing tool Is Best for Espresso Quality

Due to the truth that the grinder and the brewing unit in most bean to cup coffee machines are very similar, it’s very unlikely that any of these machines are going to differ all that much where espresso quality is concerned. 

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This article firstly appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of GENUINE Coffee!