Customer Review

761 of 775 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this thing reliable?, 15 July 2009
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This review is from: De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 Bean to Cup Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machine - Silver (Kitchen & Home)
I don't often write reviews, but this machine deserves every good word said about it. I have owned one for 3.5 years now, and it's still going strong. So if reliability is what has you sitting on the fence, jump off and buy one. On to the details.

We bought 3 of these in Germany; one as a wedding gift, one for us, and one for my office at work. Unfortunately, when I moved to the UK, I lost the one in the office (office personnel had "joint" purchased it). The one that was a wedding gift is used every day and is still running fine. The office one was used EXTENSIVELY and was still working at the 1.5 year point when I bid a tearful farewell to it. The one in my home... wow. I'm an espresso nut, having lived in Italy for four years. I work that thing to the bone; it has made at least 5 espressos ~every~ single day of those three years that I was home and is still running strong. The only "bad" cup of coffee that I've had from this thing is when I bought low-quality beans.

To address some specific things mentioned in other reviews, I'd just like to say that this thing makes crema so well that sugar will sit on top of it...if you know the trick. Use a properly-sized espresso cup and heat it before making your coffee. Rather than relying on the heater on top of the machine (the silver part in the picture), just boil some water in the kettle and dump it in the cup; it's a lot faster. Adjust the dispensing spout -- the part with two little silver spouts directly above the cups in the picture. That piece moves up and down. The closer you get it to your cup, the better the crema. Adjust your grind; regardless of what others may have experienced, I find the adjustable grind to be perfect. It is, however, VERY dependent on what type of beans you use. I've had to tweak it nearly every time I use a different type of beans to get it to the perfect grind. Also, if you find that the puck grounds get mouldy from sitting too long, my only comment is this -- you're not drinking enough coffee. ;-) Last note before pros/cons/tips -- this machine requires that ~you~ put milk in a container and froth it for cappucino; it's not "fully" automatic, but the frothing bit works great (when used with skill).

Pros
*Extremely reliable (3 machines monitored over 3.5 years with no flaws)
*Near-perfect espresso
*Capability to use pre-ground (separate compartment, one cup at a time) for the decaf crowd
*Great frothing tool for cappucino (see tips)
*Fully adjustable grind, strength (amount of coffee used) and water (for "long" coffees) with single or double cup buttons
*Auto shut-off after about 2hrs

Cons
*A touch on the noisy side during start up and when it grinds
*Can scramble your freeview signal (though this is the fault of house wiring/antenna, not the machine)
*Doesn't know when I'm going to wake up and automatically have an espresso ready for me when I get to the kitchen

Tips
*Read the manual. No, really. Read the manual.
*Use quality coffee. Always. (Lavazza Rosso or Espresso is good, Il Pascucci from southern Italy if you can find it)
*Pay attention to getting your grind set right
*Heat your cups with boiling water before making the coffee
*Make all of your espresso shots BEFORE switching to frothing mode for cappucino
*Use the descaler that comes with it, then switch to white vinegar for cleaning (has worked for me for 2 years)
*Go on vacation to Italy and learn how to make proper espresso and how to froth milk -- it really is an art
*Honestly -- it takes time to perfect the frothing. Don't give up until you've talked to someone that knows how.

So what am I doing on Amazon looking at these if mine is so reliable? Yep, you caught me ... I'm thinking of buying another one for the office here...
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Nov 2009 09:10:03 GMT
H. Smith says:
Am very intrigued by the use of white vinegar instead of buying more descaler! Any chance you could tell me more?! I was about to purchase more of the Nokalk for our faithfull DeLonghi when I read your review.

Posted on 28 Dec 2009 16:31:25 GMT
TJ Brown says:
Great review so good in fact I've purchaced one today!!

Posted on 29 Dec 2009 22:42:56 GMT
A. Watson says:
indeed, i have just read the review, saw it in john lewis an age ago and was still undecided - after reading the review i decided to make a purchase. Many thanks for taking the time to write the review and Happy 2010!

Posted on 25 Jan 2010 13:14:10 GMT
Book Mum says:
Thanks for the excellent review it has really helped me decide

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2010 20:47:32 BDT
Sean Fowler says:
I have a Krups combi machine but hadn't used the espresso side for a couple of years. When I tried it recently nothing came out.

I figured it was scaled-up. I put some white vinegar in with the water, left it for a few hours, and bingo, it worked right away. NO problems since.

Vinegar, being acidic, dissolves limescale very well.

Needs a lot of rinsing-through afterwards of course, unless you like vinegar espresso.

Posted on 6 Dec 2010 15:12:11 GMT
J Richards says:
you should be on commission with delongi

Posted on 13 Jul 2011 11:26:38 BDT
better than white wine vinegar, is malt vinegar. but proble with venegars is that ideally best left overnight, however don't forget to completely run the rinse cycle a good few times.

Posted on 9 Aug 2011 15:11:25 BDT
That is a great reveiw! (even if I dont buy the machine!!!!!)

Posted on 14 Jan 2012 18:42:40 GMT
TopRevoos says:
John Lewis sell this machine, get a discount first though from www.DiscountPromotionCodes.co.uk .

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 15:40:38 BDT
A. Read says:
This is the most enjoyable Amazon review so far. If you don't review for a quality Sunday newspaper perhaps you should consider it.
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Location: Germany

Top Reviewer Ranking: 441,626