DeLonghi EC155 Review First Introduction
If you’re looking for a beginner coffee machine, the DeLonghi EC155 makes a pretty compelling case. Like most machines under 200 bucks, you can choose between ESE coffee pods and traditional coffee grinds.
This is an almost a “must have” feature in our minds, ESE pods don’t always produce the strongest brews so the ability to try ground coffee and produce your very own double shots is recommended!
Simplicity is the key here as the entire machine can go from fully boxed to up and running in about 15 minutes. The water tank is located at the back and reasonably easy to take out, although we would try and place the machine where you’ll be able to get good access as the tank is fairly heavy when full; however, this means the tank itself has quite a decent capacity.
The control setup is pretty easy to get to grips with, a single knob controls: on, off, heating and steam options – whilst the rotating knob on the top does the usual job of delivering steam.
We quite like the way DeLonghi have set out the controls, easier than similar machines from Gaggia and they all feel like they’ll stand the test of time.
Heat up time is about a minute which puts the DeLonghi up there with the faster machines on the market. We’re only aware of one Mr Coffee branded machine that’s a shade quicker to heat up.
Design & Quality
One thing we really rate about the DeLonghi is the extensive use of stainless steel in the construction. The passive warm area on the top of the machine, drip tray and control panel are all adorned with lovely shiny metal, a vast contrast to some makes like Nespresso or Morphy Richards.
Fit and finish are all pretty good with the switches and knobs giving a satisfying “click” with each turn and the electric cable, length not-withstanding is well made and looks like it will last for years to come.
The only drawback some of our team in the office pointed towards, was the inbuilt tamper which doesn’t do the best job in the world; however, the DeLonghi has a pressurized basket which could be a reason why they skimped in this area. Whether this bothers you or not is a matter of personal preference and it did split our team roughly down the middle.
We test drove the DeLonghi for a week to see how it performed in everyday life. We discovered a machine that works well for daily use, although it’s not without its faults.
The base of the machine doesn’t take up much space, making it ideal for smaller kitchens. The electric lead is just a touch longer than 1 meter, about average in its price range although this will restrict exactly where you can put it.
On the plus side, the basket and frothing wand are extremely well made and do a perfect job. It’s reasonably easy to get a decent crema and once warmed up, the steamer delivers a strong and long lasting jet – we tested the steam delivery to last about 50 seconds before slowing down, pretty impressive for a budget system!
One of the things the Delonghi has, that many machines don’t, is a water level window located at the back of the drop tray. This is something I personally miss from my Grand Gaggia at home and really makes the machine easier to use on a daily basis.
The basket itself, is pressurized so you don’t have to tamp the coffee too much and you also don’t need to time your shot either. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a 3-way valve so at the end of a brew, you’ll be left with a slightly messy basket that’s only really worth disposing off. This is pretty standard for low-end coffee machines however so doesn’t take too much away from the machines capability.
The ESE coffee pod system is easy to use and does allowing you to use the entire range. We tested it against Nespresso and Lavazza ESE pods, both working perfectly although the same issues of strength show through just the same here as with most ESE machines.
In our view, you should always use freshly ground coffee in your espresso machine.
Keeping It Clean
Thankfully, the Delonghi isn’t that difficult to clean. The basket, drip tray and tank come apart easily and as the machine is mostly made up of stainless steel, it’s easy to wipe everything down.
The pressurized basket is slightly different to a traditional one. You should consult the manual on the first strip down if you’re coming to pressurized baskets for the first time. However, once you get the hang of it, cleaning the entire machine can be done in about 5 minutes.
Like all coffee machines, a very small amount of washing up liquid is the key and running a batch of fresh water through the machine to clear out any old coffee grinds is always a great idea!
Pros & Cons
Delonghi EC155 review : Our Verdict
For a budget system, we were very impressed with the DeLonghi EC155 and its specs. The tamper, although not the best, was a welcome addition and it’s nice to see the budget spent were it matters, the steamer wand and basket.
The important things about the DeLonghi, is the fact it pulls a nice and strong brew every time and the crema is full and rich – both things that most newcomers are eager to have.
The only negatives we found during out trial, was the clearance of the steamer / basket – making a shorter jug necessary and the fact the basket gets so messy during the brew, making a clean-up necessary between brews.
However, even with its fault, the Delonghi makes a strong case to be your coffee machine of choice if you’re just starting out and want to create stronger brews and full flavored cappuccinos.