on 17 January 2014
All good points really:
> Slimmer than normal machines so fits nicely in the kitchen
> Very quick start up - can be making coffee within about 45 seconds
> Quite quiet compared to other models
> Love that everything can be accessed from the front without having to swivel the machine around
> Good sized water tank
> Nice easy to use controls and the ability to set quantities for espresso shots and long coffees
Oh actually the only negative is the steam wand for cappuccinos is a little on the weak side. It still froths up, but takes more time than on more expensive models I should imagine.
This is my first bean to cup, but i know my brother has a machine twice the price and I really can't tell the difference - this makes great coffee. Just make sure you buy nice coffee and it will do it justice :)
on 21 January 2016
This coffee machine perfectly suits my expectations, coffee from freshly ground beans at a touch of a button. What I like best is the consistency of the espresso - 'dialled' to taste with the perfect crema. Coffee temperature is not an issue with this machine.
I only wish that the water container was bigger. The machine uses water to 'flush' the system before and after the coffee is delivered and usually needs to be topped up almost every other day! For cappuccinos, milk is frothed easily and gives thick foam. All in all, I'm very happy with the product. If you are a coffee lover and don't have the time to grind, measure, tamp, brew etc, this machine will go 'bean to cup' in a matter of minutes.
on 3 May 2014
* Fairly compact size, not too wide but fairly deep. The ESAM range is wider, while the ECAM range is compacter, but still as deep and tall.
* Easy to clean: the drip tray can be pulled forward easily, the infuser unit easily removed etc.
* Easy to fill water: tank is pulled forward and does not have to be fully removed to be filled. Reasonable tank size given the machine size (although the switch on and switch off cleaning cycle do use quite a lot water), and transparent so level can be seen on the side of the machine
* Does not seem to generate much heat, so can be safely stored under cabinet units (Delonghi advises on 15cm clearance). Some top clearance will be required to fill in the coffee beans
* Fast operation: when switched on, the cleaning cycle is quick, and the first cup of coffee is fast. No long waiting times for water to heat up
* Simple to use: just a few buttons for cup sizes and a strength button, determining how much coffee is used
* Clear lights: the various warning lights display clear pictures/icons of possible issues (e.g. used coffee tray full, low water tank etc).
* Programmable sizes: it's possible to reprogramme the size of the various drinks/associated buttons and keep the settings stored
* Build quality seems quite good. Even if made of plastic, seems to be well made and robust
* Can handle tall cups or small espresso cups
* Transparent bean cover: easy to see without opening if there are enough beans
* Espressos seem a bit weak/too much water: despite selecting a fine grind, and a maximum strength from the front dial, still a bit too much water, but could be down to the coffee beans or lack of pressure. Still tastes good
* Bottom metal tray is a nice classy touch but will scratch badly after 3 uses, and I am not sure the replacement part can be found easily. Pulling the water tank forward to fill in with water will also scratch the tray. Delonghi should have used a better type of metal, or maybe a plastic tray would have been better to keep the machine looking good for longer
* Plastic cover on the bean tank: not tight enough, so the coffee beans won't stay fresh very long once in the machine.
* Ground to cup? The point is that coffee should be ground just before being used. Yet, Delonghi's manual state that changing the grinder settings will take several cups to be noticeable, so does that mean some already ground coffee stays in the machine?
* Top cup warming tray is very "passive", so only using the heat generated by the boiler unit inside, and therefore not very warm. Leaving the cups on the machine during the start cleaning cycle will fill in cups with hot water and warm them much better, and it also means the top of the machine does not become too hot, and can be stored under kitchen cabinets
* Milk frother: wand is too short for a 600m jug, and it is too much trouble to use steam to make milk foam, with average results. I use a separate automatic Dualit milk frother machine that gives consistent results and much thicker foam. I think the steam milk frother can make hot milk with a bit of bubbles, but not thick foam
* ECO mode: not clear what that does, and how it affects the machine. The manual does not really say. It seems to reduce the amount of steam generated and the ability to dispense hot water
* Water filter: way too expensive, but hopefully optional (machine can be used without). I will fill in the machine with filtered Brita water instead, which will achieve the same result and prevent limescale. It will also have the benefit of not having limescale in the transparent water tank, while the Delonghi filter won't achieve that.
* Lack of proper display: a proper text display, showing the status of what the machine does, temperature etc would be a nice addition, and would cost little to Delonghi. Some of the setting changes (such as automatic switch off time) involve some obscure sequences of pressing buttons, impossible to remember
* Grinding is quite noisy, but only lasts for maybe 5 seconds per cup. The rest of the operations are much quieter and in line with espresso machines.
Most ESAM and ECAM Delonghi machines seem to have the same inner parts (infuser, boiler, grinder etc), so the choice of a specific machine is down to its size (compact or not), style and functionality/buttons. A higher price machine in the ESAM or ECAM range won't mean better coffee.
on 12 April 2016
We have had this machine for nearly 4 years and it has proved excellent value for money, providing us 4 cups per day. We use Sainsbury's Espresso coffee beans and nothing else. The quality of our Cappucino's and Latte's is as good as Costas or Starbucks in our opinion, and has saved us a fortune!
It needs Descaling once every few months, as we are in a hard water area and use Delonghi's specific brand. An occasional removal of the internal apparatus (which compresses the ground coffee to a cake for water filtering) is required, as this needs cleaning due to build up of coffee oil. This is an easy task, which is done with the machine turned off.
on 27 January 2016
Having researched similar models on the market I selected this model as being best suited for my needs and am pleased with the result. I always drink expresso and after a few experiments and careful selection of beans, (although you can also use ground coffee too),I am getting very good results, almost as good as coffee dispensed from the best commercial outlets and restaurants, so I am very pleased. It remains to be seen if the machine continues to give good results and I have extended the warranty to 3 years, which is available from Amazon in France but not the UK, so I am optimistic for the future!