As devout coffee lovers, we say that making quality coffee needn’t be inordinately expensive. Sure, it is nice to be able to enjoy the wonders of luxurious coffee beans, prepared at the hands of an experienced barista using the highest spec kit, but for most of us, this is just simply not an everyday reality. The De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker is an everyday and affordable solution that can whip up tasty espressos, cappuccinos and lattes without taking up too much precious countertop space.
Of course, this little machine is not of the same calibre as the more expensive and professional coffee machine options out there; with a relatively weak pump, and sometimes inconsistent temperature control, the De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker can be somewhat erratic in its coffee production. Furthermore, according to users, very fine ground coffee has a tendency to clog up the interior mechanisms of the machine, and others report that the EC155 fails to extract the full palate of flavors from lighter roasts of coffee bean.
However, despite its flaws, if your espresso tastes tend to lean toward the darker, traditional roasts, and you love to add a spoon or two of foamed milk to your coffee, then the De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker is certainly worth a look.
The design of the EC155 is similar to that of the capsule machines that have become so popular of late. It is easily transportable and takes up a very small amount of real estate on your kitchen counter top. It has an ergonomically designed water tank that is easily removable. A nice feature is the flat bottom which means that the reservoir can be placed on the table without the worry of it falling over.
The manufacturers have included two metal filters which is a nice touch; one filter for making single shots and the other for making double shots. Both filters fit the machine perfectly but differ in their depth with the double having a larger capacity.
Generally, users have reported the EC155 controls to be easy to use. The machine has only four modes of operation; brewing, steaming, heating and resting. These modes are selected by an intuitive knob that even a child could operate. There is also a sturdy steam control knob that controls the intensity of the steam flow.
Overall, the EC155 has a finish that is surprisingly good given the price range that the machine is in. It feels sturdy and lacks the plastic appearance that so many of its competitors have. The machine looks good and feels good and is sure to add a nice focal point of style to your kitchen.
If you are looking for top tier performance and really want to get the best flavors from your beans, then perhaps the EC155 is not the machine for you. One simply cannot expect that the EC155 can produce the same quality of espresso as machines that can be ten times more expensive. Having said that, the quality of espresso that this little machine can deliver certainly does punch well above its weight. Consumers have reported that the machine can deliver exceptional tasting shots, and first time users are usually surprised to hear that the machine doesn’t cost a whole lot more than it does.
The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso machine uses a vibratory pump. Vibratory pumps are more affordable than the larger rotary pumps that you will find in elite commercial machines, and so do sacrifice some quality. Many users were slightly disappointed that the EC155 performed poorly when they used extremely fine grounds in the brewing process. While regular grinds seem to work fine, the extra fine grinds appear to clog the machine as it lacks the necessary power to force water through them.
The EC155 houses a single boiler that supplies both the steam production and the hot water for brewing. More expensive machines utilize a double boiler system whereby they can independently heat either the water or the steam separately. This allows for optimal temperature control throughout the brewing process. Unfortunately, the single boiler system can result in fluctuating temperatures while brewing which can lead to an inconsistent coffee experience. Users have reported that coffee shots are occasionally likely to be quite bitter due to over extraction, sometimes spot on, and sometimes under extracted.
Some coffee aficionados have also commented that the extraction fails to capture all of the flavors and aromas of some of the lighter roasts of coffee bean. While this won’t be an issue for those who are just dipping their toe in the world of coffee, more seasoned veterans of the coffee world might be somewhat disappointed with the quality of the flavor produced by the EC155.
If you fancy a dollop of milk in your espresso, in the form of a latte or a cappuccino, then the milk frother on the EC155 does a very good job of steaming milk into froth. Some users have commented that adding a small bit of milk to the espresso shots drastically improved the taste. The shortcomings of the brewing process can be almost entirely overlooked once milk from the excellent frother is added to the brew. Latte and cappuccino addicts will be very impressed.
Making espressos is no easy business. The technical precision and engineering that are required are the reason that so many espresso machines can cost an arm and a leg. DeLonghi has managed to do with the EC155 what many others have failed so spectacularly with─making decent espressos at an affordable price.
While the machine doesn’t possess the ability to pull elite level espressos, and its cheaper parts can make the brewing experience a touch inconsistent, it is hard to find another machine that can bring so much to the table for so little investment.
Die hard espresso fans may be better off looking elsewhere, but those who like a drop of milk in their coffee will be hard pressed to find a better value machine on the market today.