Customer Review

761 of 775 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this thing reliable?, 15 July 2009
By 
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

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Showing 11-20 of 30 posts in this discussion
Posted on 17 Jul 2012 18:40:27 BDT
Julie says:
Hey! Thanks for the tip of using vinegar.
I have this coffee machine and its brilliant, so easy to use. But your right..... READ THE MANUAL guys, it really makes a difference, theres so many little tips to figure out. Most knobs and buttons have 2 functions, and you must descale. I tried to get away with it by descaling when I felt like it rather than when the light came on, but in the end the coffee just drips out because of the limescale, of course it alters the taste as well and then you have to descale over and over to clear it, but it asked me to descale nearly every week. I live in London and do have hard water, so that may be why, but I still think every week is a bit much, but now I will use the vinegar. So I just wanted to say thanks for that tip.

Posted on 13 Aug 2012 06:39:47 BDT
P. Katsaitis says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 16 Sep 2012 11:58:56 BDT
Cosmos says:
Excellent review, I shall take a closer look at this machine in John Lewis. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Oct 2012 20:00:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Oct 2012 20:02:18 BDT
Zorro says:
Hi Julie,
Can you tell me how you use the vinegar please? I ordered one today, and I want to be prepaired for the regular (weekly) discailing.
Thanks.

Posted on 27 Oct 2012 18:38:16 BDT
Peter Thomas says:
thanks for the advice,
easier way to warm the cup is to put the empty cup in the microwave for about 30 seconds, vary time for the size of cup.

Posted on 17 Nov 2012 10:12:17 GMT
This is how reviews should be. Enthusiastic, clear on the detail and assured about the cons. Really helpful. And as a result I'm going to be brand un-loyal and move from a now-dead Gaggia to a De Longhi. Bravo, bravissimo!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Nov 2012 06:06:17 GMT
Rig Pig says:
Use vinegar to descale anything. Scales just limescale which is a alkali substance so any acid will react with it and dissolve it, so using vinegar is perfect. You can also descale kettles this way, add water and vinegar at about a 60/40 mix and boil your kettle and let it stand for an hour afterwards. Just be careful as it really froths up and make sure you was it out afterwards.

Posted on 14 Jan 2013 13:53:47 GMT
xmcmullen says:
Excellent review and I'm loving mine so far. But I'm a little concerned by a couple of things if someone can possible help.

1. When the machine starts up and spins down, there's a horrible 'Clank' noise, as if two piece of metal are smashing into each other. I'm assuming it's apart of the self-cleaning process? It makes me cringe every time.

2. Am I supposed to descale the machine when it arrives? It arrived yesterday and I've made around 5 tester cups and a few lattes which have been wonderful. Just concerned when I have to first descale it.

3. Will using bottled water delay the need to descale? The term 'water hardness' doesn't really mean much to me. What is this setting everyone refers to about? I thought something like that would be the same for everyone?

Many thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2013 13:10:34 GMT
In my opinion, as a serious coffee drinker who makes about 6-8 cups of espresso daily, the descaler sold for these machines is merely another marketing ploy. I have used vinegar for years and it cleans the machine out perfectly. Just run 2 lots of water through afterwards to get rid of the vinegar but, most descalers require the same anyway. Some very reputable manufacturers actually tell you to use vinegar. From a scientific point of view, I have it on good authority that it makes perfect sense.

Posted on 28 Feb 2013 12:08:57 GMT
RL Morgan says:
You should write more reviews.

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Location: Germany

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