We all have to learn to make an espresso somewhere. So where did most of the espresso experts began their barista journey?
Well, probably at home with one of the DeLonghi EC155 classic espresso makers. Why?
It’s one of the first pump espresso and cappuccino makers that could be used by anybody (not just well-versed baristas). And it was, and it still is!
Basically it’s a no-brainer machine and you can taste the effect of 15 bar pump (if you’ve read our Cappucino Maker Guide you know that between steam, pod and pump machines the pump is a clear winner as far as the quality of the coffee goes).
Making a cappuccino does take a bit of effort. This is a semi-automatic machine – translation: includes manual milk frother, not an automatic one.
If you’re looking for a beginner coffee machine, the DeLonghi EC155 makes a pretty compelling case. Like most espresso machines under $200, you can choose between:
- Your favorite coffee grind (the old-school)
- ESE coffee pods (the new-age pods – DeLonghi EC155 supports a bunch of them)
Using the ground coffee is great. You can still be in touch with the coffee beans (you can even grind them yourself). Those are the ones that can produce a stronger brew. DeLonghi EC155 even supports double shots for early mornings.
ESE pods are delicious and you can pick your favorite ones as well but the espressos are not as strong as with the ground coffee.
Review of DeLonghi EC155 – Simple And Fast
Simplicity is the key here as the entire DeLonghi EC155 machine can go from fully boxed to up and running in about 15 minutes.
You have everything where it should be with a conventional espresso maker:
35oz Water Tank (Easy Removal)
Don’t you hate when the water tank gets stuck and you have almost bang the machine to let it go?
DeLonghi EC155 pretty much takes care of that. The water tank is located at the back and reasonably easy to take out.
Of course, try and place the machine where you’ll be able to get good access as the tank is fairly heavy when full (its 35oz); however, this means the tank itself has quite a decent capacity.
DeLonghi EC155 Control Setup (The Buttons)
The control setup is pretty easy to get to grips with, a single knob control:
- Heating Settings (temperature of the water makes a big difference, you can check out the What Temperature Is Perfect for coffee article)
- Steam Options
In short, it’s very simple to operate DeLonghi EC155 even if you’ve never used an espresso machine before. It’s definitely easier than with similar machines from Gaggia and they all feel like they’ll stand the test of time.
How Long Does It Take For The Espresso Machine To Heat Up?
About a minute. This is fairly fast.
When you wake up in the morning and want to make an espresso, you also have to wake up the espresso maker – with some smaller machines like Mr. Coffee it takes 30 seconds, with some more complex ones it takes 2 minutes. DeLonghi EC155 is somewhere in the middle of the pack.
DeLonghi EC155 is somewhere in the middle of the pack. And very budget friendly for such a quick espresso maker, you can check the current price here (should be about $80 or so).
Review Of DeLonghi EC155 Design And Quality
The espresso and cappuccino makers should really be beautiful. You’ll have that beauty on a kitchen counter most of the time so it’s really important that you like the design of DeLonghi EC155 if you are to buy it.
One thing I really love about the DeLonghi espresso and cappuccino maker is the extensive use of stainless steel in the construction. The warm-up area on the top of the machine, drip tray and control panel are all adorned with lovely shiny metal.
That’s what machines by Nespresso or Keurig just can’t offer. Keurig K575, for example, is made out of hard plastics. Of course, if you prefer the plastic look, you should get one of those machines for espresso.
A great thing about stainless still is also durability. You’ll know from your own experience that plastics break quicker than stainless still. It’s been reviewed about DeLonghi EC155 that the fit and finish even enhance the elegance of the machine – you have a look for yourself (click photo on the right).
The buttons give a satisfying “click” every time and the electric cable of DeLonghi EC155 (included with each machine) seemed to be long enough (read on, it wasn’t quite long enough).
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 espresso and cappuccino machine 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.
Daily Use Of DeLonghi EC155
With coffee machines you can’t just take it out the box and make an espresso to know how it performs over time. That’s why we tested the DeLonghi EC155 for a week to see how it works in everyday life, making 30+ espresso per day. Our findings?
To give the DeLonghi EC155 full review, we have to say two things:
- One, it does perform well even after a week of intensive use
- Two, it’s not without flaws (length of the cord thing)
Short 3 Feet Cord (Industry Standard)
The problem was with the cable. It’s a bit over 3 feet but only a bit. Usually you don’t have an outlet at every 3 feet near the kitchen counter – that does present you with some difficulty. Basically, you can’t put it just anywhere.
You’re limited by the cord length. 3 feet from the outlet is your sweet spot. If you have a place in mind where the cord could reach the outlet, you don’t have to worry about it. If, on the other hand, you don’t – well, you can’t just extend the cord.
The irony of it all?
The majority of espresso machines have 3 feet long cables. It’s the industry standard. Too bad.
The Upsides Of DeLonghi Machine
On the upside, the base of the DeLonghi EC155 doesn’t take up much space. That’s ideal for smaller kitchens (where all things, including all the outlets, are fairly close).
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 DeLonghi EC155 budget!
Also, I’ve found an insane article about how you can, get this, steam eggs with an espresso machine. Yeah, that exists.
One other thing the Delonghi has (that many machines sadly 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. You don’t have to constantly check if you have enough water – that’s quite a plus.
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. What does that mean?
At the end of a brew, you’ll be left with a slightly messy basket that’s only really worth disposing of. This is pretty standard for low-end coffee machines; however that doesn’t take too much away from the machines capability overall.
The ESE coffee pod system is easy to use and does allow you to use the entire range. We tested it with Nespresso and Lavazza ESE pods, both working perfectly. Of course with ESE pods, including with DeLonghi EC155, you have to know that ESE pod will never make as strong a brew as ground coffee would.
Of course, I’m of a view that you should always grind your own coffee for a perfect espresso. There are wide varieties of coffee beans, you can pick yours here (hint: Koffee Kult coffee beans are something out of this world!).
How To Clean DeLonghi EC155?
Cleaning an espresso machine is one of the biggest issues when using a coffee machine daily. In my opinion, it’s the main drawback that can ruin a machine, relegating it to store cupboard duties!
If I get an espresso in a minute but have to clean the machine for more than a minute, I think I lost time. That’s why I’m taking the cleaning of coffee machines extremely seriously, even in this DeLonghi EC155 review.
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. That’s another great aspect of stainless steel.
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. For me, that’s a bit much.
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 Of DeLonghi EC155 Machine
Price of DeLonghi EC155
For all that it offers, the DeLonghi EC155 price is very low.
Basically you have a mid-end espresso machine for a price of a low-end machine.
Low-end espresso machines reach about $100 or a bit more but DeLonghi EC155’s shouldn’t be over $80. Check the price:
Final Verdict For This ‘Golden Standard’ Classic
It’s not a stretch to say the DeLonghi EC155 is one of the best espresso makers for low-end price range. Just the specs are on point: the tamper, although not the best, is 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.
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.
Your thoughts? Don’t be shy.