DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine… Do you know those moments at the counter of your favorite coffee shop when you’re drooling over the machines? You think, “Oooh, I want one of those. I’d name him George and we’ll be best friends.” And then a more rational part of your brain jumps in, “Yeah, no. You don’t have a couple of grand to spend, neither the counter space to spare, so no.”
And then I appear with the DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine, and you think I’ve just answered your prayers. Is that too far fetched? And is this bad boy worth your time and money?
Well, we are about to find out…
DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine – The Skinny.
The machine is barely wider than a standard toaster. As long as you have at least 6 inches of free counter space, it will squeeze in.
It has the portafilter, steam nozzle, and the buttons in the front, and the water tank in the back. The water tank position is annoying because you will either have to keep it away from other kitchen equipment and furniture or pull out the machine every time you want to refill it with water. At least it’s completely transparent and it’s easy to see the water level at a glance.
The body is made out of metal and comes in silver, black and red. The drip tray is completely removable for easy cleaning, and so you can use taller vessels, like a latter cup or a standard kitchen mug. With the tray in, you’ll be able to fit up to two espresso shot glasses, or a classic cappuccino cup.
DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine – Few Buttons and a Lever.
There are only four buttons and a lever for you to get acquainted with. On the right side of the base, there’s a button for switching the machine on and off. You can program an automatic shut off, but it’s a bit… Well, you’ll have to check out the manual for that.
On top of the machine, you will find two buttons for serving sizes and one for steam. The same buttons are used for other settings, ie water temperature, but… You’ll have to see the manual for that as well. It’s still a bit…
The lever on the side is for switching between the coffee brewing and steam. Don’t worry, that’s all it does. Well, and it runs hot water through the nozzle. Quite convenient when you want to turn your espresso into an americano. Just make sure to press the steam button fist so you don’t end up with hot water in your milk. And I’ll never admit that it happened to me once or twice.
Things get interesting with the portafilter. You’ll get three filters – one for a single-shot espresso, one for the double shot, and one for E.S.E. pods. It seems that the major idea behind them is not only to save space, but also to take out as much of the irregularity from the “il Mano”. In theory, you would not need a scale to measure the coffee, or the pressure when tamping.
In practice, I have no idea – my scale would cry every single time I wanted to experiment, and I couldn’t do that to it.
Once you turn on the machine, it will go into the self-diagnostic mode. This takes less than a minute and you will be ready to brew straight away. It’s just enough time to set up the portafilter and pack it with coffee grounds.
For funsies sake, I tried to brew a single shot with a double shot filter. If you try it too, you’ll really see how important this little design feature truly is. De’Longhi took into consideration all the issues domesticated appliances tend to have, then figured out that what works with commercial machines will not work here.
It is an extra step, and if you bang the portafilter against the trash too hard you will get rid of the filter as well, but it gives good coffee and the world isn’t ending.
Anyway, from this point you just have to pick your serving size and let the machine do its magic. And magic will be done because you’ll end with a cup that even the crankiest Italian Nonno would not spit out.
If you want to froth some milk, start by pressing the button with the illustration of a cloud of steam. Give the machine a few seconds while you fill your jug with milk. Once you’re ready, place the jug under the nozzle, and use the lever to activate the steam.
There is no self-cleaning button and you will have to memorize how to do it on your own, but it should not be too difficult. Pretty much, you should repeat the same steps from the first straight-out-of-the-box cleaning, with plain water, some vinegar, or the tiniest drop of dish soap.
The machine comes with a scoop that has a flat disc on the end of the handle that is supposed to serve as a tamper. Imagine me pulling a DMV clerk face here.
Okay, a lot of machines come with this scoop-tamper combo. And yes, it will serve its purpose in the beginning. But, at this price point? They could have done better. Especially because you can get a separate plastic tamper for under $5, or a metal one for under $20.
And you will have to get one, and you will have to make sure it’s a 49mm size. Luckily, we have this thing called the interwebs.
Ese, What About E.S.E?
If you’ve missed this attempt at making coffee more convenient, E.S.E. stands for easy serving espresso. Unlike their K-cup cousins, they don’t come in gazillion varieties, but they are completely compostable and less of a scourge to the environment.
They are no more than little coffee ground pucks, encased in paper filters. A great solution for busy mornings – no measuring, no tampering, lightning-fast cleanup.
But is it worth drinking? With the DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine, YES. As long as you use the dedicated filter basket, you’ll get a smooth one-ounce serving of coffee with a perfect crema. Well, if you get a brand that you like.
Now, let’s look at the Pros & Cons of DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine:
It’s an attractive, well made and consistent machine. It’s a bit more expensive than its competition. But, if you need consistency and durability, this guy will not leave you hangin’. On top of all that it most definitely makes a very fine cup of espresso!
Feel free to check it out at Amazon.com, and if you have any questions drop me a line below and ask!
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