Review: DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine
The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine doesn’t ask much out of you in terms of cost, but gives you a lot in return. The value equation here is really incredible; great crèma; I mean wonderful crema, a really good cup of espresso, and all this in a compact little good looking machine for around $100. The construction is solid, and has nice metal accents on it that helps it look a lot more expensive than it really is. After using the DeLonghi EC155, I have to say that this is an incredible value for an espresso machine at this level.
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The DeLonghi EC155 comes with a strong set of basic features that makes this machine very capable on paper. The machine has a 15-bar self-priming pump, a stainless steel 1,000-watt heating unit and a frothing wand out the side that makes steaming milk a breeze. The unit has a 35-ounce water tank, which is big enough for many shots of espresso. The dial on the front is to turn it on or off as well as selecting the brew or steam function. Worth mentioning is the design of the portafilter. The portafilter has an interesting little plastic knob that produces the backpressure, and presumably the emulsification opportunity for the crèma to develop. The whole thing twists apart for easy cleaning.
The unit comes with two portafilter baskets – one for ground espresso and one for ESE pods. You’ll know it is an ESE machine from the ESE symbol right on the front panel. Another great feature in the design is that there is a nice portafilter basket holder hidden in the back of the machine under the back door. This makes storing the portafilter basket easy and allows you to keep that extra portafilter basket where you will find it and not floating around the kitchen. The last thing I will mention about the design is that Delonghi included a tamping disk right on the side of the machine. This makes it easy to tamp your espresso before loading the portafilter onto the machine. The thing about this is that it can grab onto a few grounds every time you tamp, making for a little collection of grounds on the tamp and under it on the counter.
Making Espresso with the DeLonghi EC155
It’s easy to grind and tamp the espresso, loading on the portafilter. The machine can accommodate demitasse cups, but not larger mugs for a crèma café. When you turn on the machine, it takes a quick twist of the dial to the right one notch on the right of the machine to start the heater. The warm-up takes about a minute, which is plenty of time to get the ground coffee going. There’s a decent overhang to the machine so sometimes you fumble a bit in getting the portafilter on and seated. The overhang makes the positioning of the cup a little difficult sometimes too. Once you are loaded and ready to go, a twist to the right gets the machine pumping and pouring; with a reasonable 30 seconds or so to get a shot. The crèma really is superb, and fluffy. I generally had tons of crema and loved every minute of it.
To stop the brew, simply turn back to the first position to keep the machine heating. The brew temperatures were always in the 175F – 180F range when pouring into a preheated Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Espresso Glass. When unseating the portafilter and dumping it, there is a little clip that you flip up to hold the filter basket in while knocking out the spent grounds. I found that this clip wasn’t always good enough to hold the filter basket in during a good strong knocking, but you start to learn how to knock it a bit more easily and at an angle so the basket doesn’t flip out on you.
If you want to steam milk, you’ll need to turn the dial all the way over to the left to start the heater again and bring the water up to steaming temperatures. After about 40 seconds, you can steam all day long. Actually you can’t, but I never ran out of steam with the DeLonghi in my use.
Review Summary of the DeLonghi EC155
The DeLonghi EC155 produces some very good tasting espresso, with loads of crema. Overall, I have some pretty low impact quibble issues, and I still think that the machine is an incredible value. I have no issue recommending this machine as a great value for the features and the price range. The DeLonghi EC 155 should find its way on a lot of wish lists and into a lot of wrapping paper this year too.
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Posted by Scott Martin at October 16, 2006 8:02 AM