Understanding the nuances from one espresso machine to the next can sometimes seem like an impossible task.
Knowing how many bars of pressure is appropriate (8) and how hot the espresso should be (88 degrees Celsius) are just the beginning of some of the puzzles you’ll run into.
In our DeLonghi EC155 15-bar pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker review, we’ll tell you everything you’d ever want to know about the DeLonghi EC155 countertop espresso machine so that you’ll be able to make an informed decision whenever you decide to buy a machine.
an old design still trusted today is a measure of reliability
the price fairly matches its reputation in the industry
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
To start our DeLonghi EC155 review, let’s take a look at the machine’s overall strengths and weaknesses.
In this section, we’ll walk through all of the features that you need to pay attention to understand the DeLonghi’s strengths and weaknesses. This is the meat of our DeLonghi EC155 review, so pay close attention.
The DeLonghi’s build quality is nothing spectacular, but it’s also not bad at all for the price. The form factor of the machine is black hard plastic, and the parts which touch the espresso itself are stainless steel.
The stainless-steel parts aren’t about to break or become distorted, but you can’t say the same about the machine’s plastic form factor. If you treat the machine normally, you won’t have any problems.
DeLonghi isn’t known for the reliability of their internal mechanisms, but thankfully the EC155 has been on the market for over 15 years which means that all of its common issues have been worked out to the extent that it was profitable.
With the EC155 you’ll get a solid espresso machine that you can expect to have around and use heavily for some years. If your machine breaks early, there’s a one-year warranty which you can use to replace it.
Concentrating a high amount of pressure through coffee grounds is necessary to make espresso rather than normal coffee. If an espresso machine can’t bring enough pressure to bear, the resulting liquid won’t be as concentrated and smooth. Espresso enthusiasts can very easily taste the difference.
The DeLonghi machine can exert 15 bars of pressure, which is remarkable given the machine’s size and price. Typically, this amount of power is reserved for much larger and more expensive machines like you’d find at a cafe.
According to the Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano-- the Italian entity responsible for defining the properties of espresso--, espresso must be prepared with 8 bars of pressure, with allowance for fluctuations between 7 and 9 bars.
This means that the DeLonghi is more than powerful enough to make certified authentic Italian espresso, which will be music to the ears of espresso enthusiasts.
Packing 15 bars worth of power into a countertop espresso machine has consequences, however. As mentioned previously, the DeLonghi isn’t as reliable as larger espresso machines, nor is it as reliable as other countertop espresso machines which pass far less pressure through the beans.
This is a tradeoff-- more power for a shorter life on the machine’s core parts. Unless you’re making a dozen espresso shots per day, there’s a very good chance that you won’t notice the difference in the machine’s overall lifetime.
The DeLonghi’s heating element is one of the machine’s weak points, but you’re unlikely to be disappointed by a cool cup of espresso because of the machine’s cup warmer, which we’ll get into a bit later.
As is typical with many countertop espresso machines, the DeLonghi takes about 45 seconds to heat up to temperature after you flip the “on” switch. There’s an indicator light which tells the user when the machine is ready.
The machine’s first shot may be the hottest that you’ll get unless you wait for a while for the heating element to prepare itself again. Though the machine claims to have a special feature which keeps the heating element prepped for rapid re-pulling of a new shot, it just doesn’t draw enough power to be effective.
So, your first shot will be hot. But it probably won’t be as hot as with a genuine cafe quality espresso machine, as is common for countertop espresso machines. The good news is that the DeLonghi is effective enough to extract the coffee for the first shot or one double shot.
The DeLonghi EC155 is a rare espresso machine because it can use either pods or grounds to brew coffee, which can make a difference on mornings where you don’t feel like grinding coffee.
Though the machine doesn’t have a built-in coffee grinder like higher-end machines, it’s still great to be able to pick between multiple sources of coffee.
The DeLonghi has a good capacity water storage tank, grounds storage bin, and shot bandwidth.
The machine is capable of pulling two shots simultaneously, though you may find that the machine’s powerful pressure and smooth espresso becomes a little bit less lustrous when you pull two shots at a time.
The machine’s 35-ounce water tank is more than sufficient to pour quite a few 1-2-ounce espresso shots.
The DeLonghi EC155 isn’t the easiest espresso machine to use, but it isn’t overwhelming.
The machine self-primes on startup at the touch of a button which means that it’s easier to use than more complicated and more expensive machines.
The DeLonghi EC155 is also very easy to clean; the drip tray and water reservoir pop out without any trouble. The inside mechanisms of the DeLonghi EC155 are also cleanable using the manufacturer’s protocol, which should be easy enough for most users.
The DeLonghi EC155 comes with a frother, cup warmer, and a basic cup and filter system. The cup and filter system are well-constructed and should last much longer than the internal mechanisms of the espresso machine itself-- which is normal for those components because they’re just stainless-steel pieces.
As far as the frother goes, it’s decent but not about to win any awards.
If you have a separate frother wand and are picky about the quality of your foam, you’ll probably want to use it rather than use the DeLonghi’s frother arm. If you aren’t picky about foam, the DeLonghi’s frother arm is more than effective enough for your needs.
The cup warmer on the DeLonghi is a winner because it helps compensate for the machine’s heating element. By keeping the cup warm, you won’t notice the fact that the espresso isn’t as hot when it leaves the spout because it won’t cool down as much when it hits the cup.
The DeLonghi EC155’s aesthetics are nothing to write home about, but they’re also relatively unassuming. You won’t need to hide the machine for fear of it being an eyesore like with some older espresso machine models.
In this section, we’ll take all of the information that you just learned about the DeLonghi EC155 and compare it to a couple of similar machines.
The Gourmia GCM6500 One Touch Automatic Espresso Cappuccino & Latte Maker is more expensive than the DeLonghi and has a more attractive exterior yet doesn’t produce espresso that’s as high quality.
Unlike the DeLonghi, the Gourmia can only make espresso with pods. The Gourmia also has a weaker heating element which takes 60 seconds to heat up instead of 45. Additionally, the Gourmia isn’t forthcoming about the amount of pressure that it can project, which means that it’s likely low.
Nonetheless, people who don’t like the DeLonghi brand and are willing to pay a little bit extra for a better-looking machine that has a more streamlined user interface may find that the Gourmia might be up their alley.
In summary, the Gourmia is:
BESTEK 3.5 Bar Steam Espresso and Cappuccino Maker Coffee Machine is a less expensive countertop espresso machine that manages to measure up to the DeLonghi favorably only because of its price.
The BESTEK is doubtlessly an eyesore, and its technical specifications aren’t as good as the DeLonghi EC155’s. The heating element on the machine is weak, and at 3.5 bars of pressure at maximum, the machine doesn’t meet the minimum standards for producing certified Italian espresso.
The BESTEK has a niche, though. If you’re looking for an espresso machine to use in a dorm or you’re not picky about espresso whatsoever, it’s the perfect machine. For those who have a preference for the flavor and quality of their espresso, it’s best to look elsewhere.
The bottom line is that the BESTEK:
Now that you know how the DeLonghi sizes up to its competition, it’s time to figure out for yourself what the kind of espresso machine is the right one for your home.
Good luck pulling shots!