De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine Review
Product Name: De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine
Product Description: The De’Longhi La Specialista may have a lot of similarities with the Breville Barista but it actually provides more control over the brewing system compared to a fully-automatic espresso machine. It has so many advanced features that make the coffee-making experience incredibly simple and enjoyable. In terms of performance and overall quality, La Specialista is the best semi-automatic espresso maker yet from De’Longhi. It requires a little of getting used to but in all fairness, we were up and running in no time.
- Build Quality
- Easy to Use
From our personal experience, we can honestly say that La Specialista by De’Longhi is one of the best coffee/espresso machines in the market today. Its beautiful design matches the exceptional taste of the coffee it produces. Having a big water tank helped us to accommodate the coffee needs of everyone in our testing facility. And since it is sturdy, we didn’t mind moving it around to different places from time to time. It is heavy, yes, but solid so you know that you have a “tank” that with a little care and attention will last for years. Highly recommended.
Fast brewing time
Smart tamping station
Hands-free and manual frothing
High power consumption
Small cups only
The exterior can be easily scratched
The heating system is unstable
Water leaks from the tank
User Review( votes)
De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine Review
A Top Contender to Beat the Breville’s Barista Express
Nowadays, it is really a challenge to find the right coffee/espresso maker as there are so many options available, especially for beginners or early takers. It can be confusing to choose from different brands and manufacturers because they claim to have something new or special to offer over the competition. But before buying something, you should always consider checking its features, design, and price among many things. The De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine ticks all the boxes and offers pretty amazing features.
It is a semi-automatic machine with a simple operation but delivers quality-tasting coffee. De’Longhi made the right move in creating an espresso machine with a sensor grinder. An all-in-one coffee maker will make waking up every morning something to look forward to.
Since 1992, De’Longhi has been known for manufacturing appliances and parts in the city of Treviso, Italy. Even if De’Longhi La Specialista is a newcomer in the coffee/espresso machine market, we genuinely believe that this coffee machine is a great alternative to its competitor, the Barista Express. They do have a lot of similarities but when we tested the De’Longhi, we were blown away by how easy it is to operate. There is no need to set the grind size, grind amount, and/ or tamping manually, which means no mess on the countertops. Creating the perfect cup of coffee only takes a few pulls on the lever and push on the buttons. It is simplicity redefined.
The De’Longhi La Specialista may have a lot of similarities with the Breville Barista but it actually provides more control over the brewing system compared to a fully-automatic espresso machine. It has so many advanced features that make the coffee-making experience incredibly simple and enjoyable. In terms of performance and overall quality, La Specialista is the best semi-automatic espresso maker yet from De’Longhi. It requires a little of getting used to but in all fairness, we were up and running in no time.
- Built-in coffee grinder, tamper, and steam wand
- Smart sensor grinding and tamping technology
- Automatic or manual control for frothing system
- 1-second start-up time
- Dual Thermoblock heating system
- 2.5-liter water tank
- 19-bar pressure pump
- 315 x 369 x 445 mm dimensions
- 13 kg of weight
- 1450-watt power
De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine measures 315 x 369 x 445 mm and weighs 13 kg. With its huge 2.5-liter water tank, making coffees for family and friends will never be a problem. We filled the water tank up to its maximum line and it produced 90 ounces of coffee with no frequent refill. There is also a very handy espresso tray available to keep the right distance between the cup and coffee outlet. This is really cool as it helps to avoid any mess on the drip tray and makes sure that every drop of coffee goes in the cup rather than outside.
In terms of looks, it has an elegant and modern look. All the parts that come in contact with coffee or hot water are made of stainless steel. This ensures that coffee remains hot and keeps the temperature consistent, from extracting up to brewing. While the handle of the portafilter is made of good quality plastic to protect you from getting burnt.
De’Longhi made single-wall and double-wall pressurized filter baskets to achieve the right parameters of proper coffee extraction. If what you like is a double shot, you simply press the button labeled as “X2” for making a double shot of espresso and the rest is magic. No need for a manual setting, each basket has a volume mark that serves as a guide for measuring the right volume of coffee grounds in the aluminum portafilter. This makes the brewing process super easy and does not require any special barista skills or techniques.
Smart Grinding Technology
One of the best-selling points of La Specialista is smart features such as the built-in grinder. This will actually save you money because you won’t need to buy a separate grinder to use the coffee machine. It comes with 6 programmable settings to suit whatever type of grinding that you prefer. Although you can adjust the amount of ground coffee, through several tests, we found that the most appropriate setting for espresso is between 1 and 3. Choose these setting and we can assure you (those were the settings we ended up using in our tests) that the taste is perfect, not too bitter, just the right flavor. Gorgeous.
In terms of grinding coffee, the process has been simplified. Locking the portafilter into the grinding/tamping station starts the process immediately. You can put up to 250 grams of coffee in a single refill. We were pleased to discover that its integrated coffee sensor grinder sends signals when the bean hopper is empty, so the grinder will only start working when there are enough beans in the hopper. This feature ensures that the grinder delivers the right amount of freshly ground coffee for the perfect cup of espresso.
Tamping the coffee is our least favorite part of the process. Apart from the fact that it gets messy, we are never sure if we are pushing too lightly or too hard. The good thing with that La Specialista is that it has a smart tamper that tells you when you have done it right. It works by simply pulling the lever, located on the left side of the machine, to tamp the coffee ground perfectly. Now, you don’t have to worry about the coffee’s taste, because with the right pressure of tamping, you will get coffee tasting the way it is supposed to. To top it all of, it makes cleaning hassle-free as there is no mess either on the machine or countertops. We were really impressed by this and made using the coffee machine even more.
Infusing the coffee with little water before brewing is important to avoid channeling. It allows the coffee to be fully soaked, which results in an even extraction and a better taste at the end. With its pre-infusion technology, the pressure gauge automatically starts low, then makes its way to the perfect level in order to create the perfect coffee. And since it is already soaked, a single tamp is enough to squeeze the coffee in.
Dual Thermoblock Boilers
While other coffee machines have one boiler to heat both espresso and milk, the De’Longhi La Specialista has dual thermoblock boilers. Coffee and milk require different temperatures so it makes sense that they are heated separately. The great thing about this coffee machine is that the two boilers keep the optimum temperature for both. This ensures that you don’t have any nasty surprises when you realize that something might have been slightly off because it has burnt.
Advanced Latte System
Whether you choose a latte or cappuccino, expect a perfect foam on top. Its Panarello Steam Wand or Advance Latter System is a unique steaming and frothing device that does not require any technique or skill. Even professional baristas are amazed at how the La Specialista machine delivers high-quality micro-foam by just the turn of a knob. Of course, creating a perfect phoenix is not something you just do, you have to learn and train this stuff, but for a simple heart or flower, you are covered.
Unlike the Breville Barista Express espresso that has a complicated coffee-making process, it is the opposite for De’Longhi’s La Specialista. It may have a lot of features but it is one of the easiest machines we have tried so far. The process of grinding from coffee beans to a delicious cup of espresso is very simple. You can always read the manual for the whole process, but we have summarized our experience on how to use the machine in these simple steps.
How to Make a Coffee
- Place the required amount of coffee in the bean container.
- Insert the filter holder to the tamping station, lock it in and the grinding will start automatically. Press the “X2” button if you are making a double-shot espresso.
- Since the machine has a smart tamping feature, just pull the lever all the way down immediately after grinding.
- Attach the filter holder to the coffee outlet, pull down the handy tray and place the cup or cups near the spout.
- Turn the dial to select your coffee preference and press the “OK” to start brewing. Put the cup or cups under the coffee outlet. The machine will stop automatically once the coffee is ready.
Regular cleaning helps any coffee machine maintain its internal parts in good working order and also prolong its lifespan. Keeping a clean machine will also translate into a better-tasting coffee. It also saves power and prevents costly repairs or a replacement. Put a little effort into washing and wiping the machine after every use to make it work effectively, a little TLC will go a long way in ensuring you get to enjoy this amazing coffee machine for years. Prevention is better than cure so the more you take care of the machine the better and tastier your coffee will be.
Ways to Clean the Machine
- Remove the drip tray, cup grille, and drip tray grille, empty the water and clean the tray with a soft cloth.
- Clean the coffee filters by pulling the tab inside and rinse under running water. If the holes are blocked with the coffee ground, you can use a pin to clean it thoroughly.
- For the frothing wand, deliver a little steam for few seconds to discharge any left milk inside.
- Turn off the machine by pressing the power button, and wait as it cools down. Then, remove the rubber grip from the wand along with the connection nozzle by pulling it downwards.
- Wash the rubber grip and connection nozzle with water and put it back after drying.
Apart from bits of coffee grounds stuck on the filter, there are also minerals formed from the stored hot water that can cause clogging inside the machine. Just like inside a kettle in your kitchen, those white crusts are the minerals that hardened through boiling. To avoid these getting stuck and making it into the coffee, regular descaling is very important to ensure a smooth and consistent flow of coffee. It is recommended to perform this process every 3 months or once a month depending on water hardness.
Steps in Descaling
- Pour one packet or 100 ml of descaling liquid and 1 liter of water into the water tank.
- Place a large container under the coffee outlet and frothing wand. Set the dial to “Descale” and press the “OK” button.
- When it stops, remove the water in the container, and refill the water tank with clean water up to the MAX level.
- Repeat step number 2 and press OK. Remove the drip tray, empty the water, and place it back to its position.
- Lastly, turn the dial away from the descaling mode and it is ready to use.
From our personal experience, we can honestly say that La Specialista by De’Longhi is one of the best coffee/espresso machines in the market today. Its beautiful design matches the exceptional taste of the coffee it produces. Having a big water tank helped us to accommodate the coffee needs of everyone in our testing facility. And since it is sturdy, we didn’t mind moving it around to different places from time to time. It is heavy, yes, but solid so you know that you have a “tank” that with a little care and attention will last for years.
What we enjoyed the most about this coffee machine is how easy and convenient it is to use. Automatic grinding, tamping, and brewing makes creating coffee a hassle-free job. Waking up in the morning, knowing that you can count on your De’Longhi La Specialista to get you coffee than can rival any coffee shop/ bar anywhere in the world is a great way to start the day. It is such a dream to experience the art of creating coffee without mastering barista skills and we are sure that anyone who buys this machine will not be disappointed.
Wondering whether this is the right coffee machine for you? Why not check out our section of grinding coffee machines? If the process seems too complicated and you want something a little simpler and easier to operate, you should certainly consider Nespresso one-button coffee machines. Happy coffee making!
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