on 15 July 2009
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).
*Extremely reliable (3 machines monitored over 3.5 years with no flaws)
*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
*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
*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...
After going through so many reviews, and I mean many, it seemed I was becoming more confused as to which bean to cup coffee machine I should go for. The market is flooded with these coffee machines, so the dilemma was to find the one which would suit me best at the right price. I learnt that Gaggia was bought by another company (which I am not really fond of), so I finally settled for a reliable brand name "De Longhi"
It has been over 3 years now and this awesome machine has been through thousands of great espressos and cappuccinos.
I am not new to coffee machines. Having used traditional Gaggia machines since time in memorial, I personally was getting tired of the messy procedure to make an espresso or cappuccino (as is the case with all non bean to cup). I moved on to other quality bean to cup coffee machines(Krups), yet I was never really satisfied.... that is up until the De Longhi Magnifica :)
There are so many detailed reviews, and the fact that you are looking through these reviews means that you are considering buying a coffee machine, and probably considering the "Magnifica". All I can say is just hit the buy button, and you shall be pleasantly surprised at the quality of your future espressos and cappuccinos!!
True, this machine is not the most silent out there, but that does not mean you are going to wake up your better half or the kids unless you live in a tiny apartment.
A few tips I have discovered through the years.: Please refer to photos.
1. I had the steam rotary knob coming loose a couple of times. If this happens, remove the knob, place the spring over the knob inner collar, and then push back in place. See photo A.
2. Once you get used to building a froth, you can move on to produce denser more pro looking and tasting froth. In order to achieve this remove the black plastic tube (which is used to produce froth). Towards the upper side you will find a tiny hole. This is used to create a venturi effect and suck air during steaming. Cover the small hole with a small piece of tape, put back in place and voila!! See photo B. You will be creating a cream like froth (with some experience). Do not use blue tac to cover the tiny hole, as this could end up in the milk!
3. This machine works best with beans. Ground coffee works fine, but it tends to mess up the inside the machine itself, requiring thorough cleaning very often. Freshly ground beans produce a better tasting coffee.
4. Always keep the user manual in an accessible place, as you would need to refer to it. It explains everything you need to know about the machine. Every time I need to de-scale, I have to refer to the user guide, even though I am very familiar with this machine.
5. Descale the machine using De'Longhi Natural Descaler for Bean to Cup Machines, 2 x 100 ml. They are approved by De'Longhi and relatively cheap.
If you have any questions just leave a comment.... I've become an expert on this machine :)
Did I say that I love the De'Longhi Magnifica? LOL
Keep in mind that the black ESAM4000 version costs more and does not have a cup warmer.
The De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200 is one of the few products I can truly highly recommend, meriting a well earned 5 Star rating.
Wishing you some great cappuccinos!!!!
on 9 April 2012
We've had a gaggia classic for about 6 years and finally replaced it with this model.
My wife likes a Caffè macchiato which is stained with froth (why she doesn't just drink espresso I don't know!) We were looking to go for a fully automatic, but just couldn't find something that gave the froth just how my wife wanted it.
Anyway, we've had the machine about 2 weeks now and using Illy coffee beans. It took about 3 days to get the setting just right but now we produce the coffee perfectly every time.
Where people have made negative comments lets put some things into context.
yes it makes noise, my dishwasher and washing machine make more noise for a lot longer. Is the short time it makes a noise that much of a problem? The grinder is a bit loud, but no worse than some kettles when they bubble and boil... its about 10-15 seconds of noise.
Then there is a pump that puts the water/steam under pressure... again its there but not unacceptable.
After two weeks I just cleaned the trip tray, there was about an egg cup of water in the drip tray BUT I always put an old mug under the valve.
As the device is turned on it primes the system and pushes about 2 fl oz a mug of water through the system. As it purges when you turn off, it does similar. (I know because I use 1 oz shot glasses and the first time I needed to quickly empty the glass as the system primed itself.) if you don't put the mug there, the drip tray will fill quickly. The choice is yours, but I use the mug to clean the steaming wand.
the coffee temp can be set, play with the settings and you find it can be hotter if you want, but remember hotter water effects the coffee taste. So play with it.
Milk/froth is down to you. Read and learn techniques in making milk and froth. I re-read information on this and it reminded me of some bad habits ive got into and some new tricks I hadn't done before and I now make a perfect jug every time. (its more than sticking your wand in and hoping for the best!)
The temperature is then controlled by your own skill.
Simple to use
Better (and cheaper) than pods/nespresso machines to run
Quicker and less messy than a traditional espresso machine.
Easy to clean
Makes good coffee
None so far
(why 4 and not 5 stars - because I have no other products to compare against)
Use Google to understand how coffee is made (read about grind and temperature); how to make froth; and different coffee types ie the difference between a Café Macchiato and a late macchiato and then this helps you make perfect coffee every time. Also look up about how to store beans and keep them fresh.
I store coffee in a vacuum jar (see vacuvin products for example) it keeps the coffee fresher a little longer.
Think about the type coffee you like; don't just buy the cheapest of the supermarket shelf. There are suppliers on the internet who can sell you beans of specific blends. They can advise you if you ask. Don't buy too much or it will go stale.
Learn how much coffee you get through to maximise your stock. I use about 1KG per month. That's about 90/100 shots.
Oh forgot - purge the steamer into the mug before using it to frothing the milk... there is always a little water in the wand that needs clearing first.
There are dozens of reviews of this machine here - not many disagree that this is one of the best domestic beans to cup coffee machines available. I have had one now for nearly four months and can honestly say that it's the best coffee machine that we've ever owned based on a number of factors, but mainly the ease and economy of use and taste of the coffee that it makes. Rather than repeat other reviews, I will simply add what we've found most useful during the time that we've had it:
1. Forget reading the instruction book. Open it on the page which tells you what the indicator lights mean, fold it to that page and file it under the machine where you can get to it. Do a quick search on U Tube for the machine and sit back and learn how to use it by watching - it really is simple.
2. Use only good quality coffee. Cheap coffee in produces cheap coffee out. We find Lavazza beans work very well. You will be amazed how economical this machine is (particularly if you have used a pod machine previously).
3. Allow a week or so of use for any plastic taste to vanish - it will.
4. Take note and set the water hardness level at the start. There is a test strip provided. It takes 10 seconds to set the hardness level but if you leave it on default (hard) then a few weeks later you will find the machine shutting down and asking to be descaled. If your water is softer then it will go months before the alarm sounds, provided you have set the hardness level correctly at the outset.
5. Buy a metal jug and leave this under the coffee dispensers to collect drips. It also makes steaming of milk much easier and the results better.
6.Maintenance is simple and easy. My first rule is that if you are making just a couple of cups then switch off the machine afterwards - this will induce a rinse cycle cleaning the coffee dispensers whilst they are still warm. If you open the front to remove the drip tray, then always empty the grounds container whether it's full or not.
7. Only alter the grinder control when the machine is actually grinding - not when it's quiet!
8. If making Cappuccino or Latte take note of the instructions to make the coffee element of the drink first, then steam the milk. The reason will be very evident should you try the other way round - you'll wait for ever for the machine to cool down!
9. Change the water every day - the tank simply slides out from the front.
10. Place the machine fairly near to your sink, but where it is easy to access - as you'll be using it a lot. The only time you will need access to the top is to top up the coffee beans or to use the cup heater. The latter we find to be superfluous.
11. Pull the coffee dispenser down to get it close to your cup/mug. The crema will be improved. For some reason I find that coffee taken from a cup tastes far better than from a mug. Others agree, so there may be something in this!
This is the first Bean to Cup coffee machine I have had. I was very happy with my previous machine, a De'Longhi EC820.B Pump Espresso Coffee Machine, Black which I plan to replace with this new unit along with my coffee grinder the rather good Krups Expert GVX231 Burr Coffee Grinder Burr Coffee Grinder.
There are several De'Longhi Bean to Cup machines and I suspect they share a core mechanism but vary greatly in the level of automation and finish. Amongst the range this is a one of the the most junior with plastic construction and manual operation. The more costly machines have a metal construction and finish along with a programmable memory and often LCD display screens. None of which will make the coffee taste any better.
The machine is well packaged and unlike the other De'Longhi machine comes with a relatively easy to read user guide. The build quality although of plastic seems to be solid and robust.
The machine will work with either roasted coffee beans or from pre ground coffee but it is clearly orientated towards the full Bean to Coffee process. Using ground coffee limits the amount and nature of the coffee you can make and is clearly something of an afterthought.
Using the machine is easy enough, it first quickly heats up and then performs a brief self cleaning routine. Beans are added to the hopper, water to the tank, select one or two cups, press the button and off it goes. Due to large internal grounds receptor it is possible to charge the machine in the morning and keep it on standby all day dispensing fresh coffee as required with no need to add more beans or water or clean the machine between cups.
The steam nozzle is works well although slightly less powerfully or noisily than on my previous machine. Cleaning the nozzle is quick and easy with just a wipe down for the plastic sheath and a quick steam burst for the inside pipework.
In use the machine is quite noisy, as most of them are, and the whole process is quite lengthy, again probably in common with its rivals. The coffee mill is supposed to be set to the optimum level at the factory but I found it necessary to set it myself to produce an satisfactory grind, an easy enough process.
Cleaning it is nice simple: just empty out the internal used coffee grounds bin and rinse it out. The machine itself will clean the internal mechanism itself before use but the insides can be removed if required should a problem arise.
The coffee it produces, once the machine has been set to your particular liking is strong and tasty with a excellent crema. This is the most important thing.
If you want an easy to use one touch bean to coffee machine at a reasonable price then this would be a great buy. If you plan to mainly use pre ground coffee then perhaps look again.
Makes great coffee
Good build quality
Excellent printed user guide
Easy to keep clean
Supplied coffee spoon stores away neatly
Large transparent water resevoir
Can be preloaded for a multiple cups of coffee
No cup warmer
Using pre ground coffee disappointing
Self cleaning routine is slow
Needed to reset coffee mill grind level
on 9 March 2011
OK Amazon, no pressure but I decided to buy this machine specifically because of the number of positive reviews. The way I see it, people are far more inclined to report when things are bad rather than good, so this many good reviews had to be a good thing right?
Anyway, what about the De'Longhi Magnifica ESAN4200 then? Well I'm going to start with the one thing which prevented me giving it 5 stars - It's no super model! Don't get me wrong, it's not hideous, but there's no getting away from the fact that it's silver painted plastic, and then only the front panel. All the rest is just plain black plastic. If you want a thing of beauty then you need to be prepared to fork out £600-700 on a Jura Ena 5.
Now the good stuff:
1. It's thoughtfully designed and quite compact. It hardly takes up much more space than my old, manual Dualit espresso machine that it replaced.
2. Having the water tank accessible from the FRONT is a great idea, as you can slot it between other stuff on the counter and still fill the water easily. In fact you don't even have to remove the tank, just slide it out a bit and top up with a jug rather than carry it full across the kitchen. I don't understand why other manufacturers think hiding them round the back makes anyone's life easy....
3. All the bits that need cleaning (drip tray, coffee grounds bin and brew unit) are easily accessible and removable, and access to the insides is easy for a wipe round. I'm not going to make any comments yet about the build quality as it's early days, and as I say, it's all plastic, but it looks pretty robust.
4. The controls are VERY easy to use. I particularly like having rotary controls for water volume and amount of coffee and it's easier to fine tune to suit your taste.
5. IT MAKES GOOD COFFEE! You will need to have a good play and experiment to get things right, but so far I'm really quite impressed. Assuming you want an espresso strong enough to use to make a latte or Americano (the latter by adding hot water to the espresso, NOT but running extra water through the grounds using the machine), I'd recommend the following:
- Crank the right-hand coffee strength (amount) dial all the way to MAX
- Set the left-hand water volume (drink size) to about 9 or 10 o'clock (i.e. about 1/4 of it's total travel)
Subject to your particular beans, the above should give you a properly strong espresso shot, with the water stopping just as the colour of the extracted brew starts to fade, rather than continuing until it's like dirty water.
Despite the warnings in the instruction manual, I've not found any problems with the speed of coffee delivery, as the pump seems to cope just fine. Obviously this might not be the case if you start adjusting the grinder settings down towards 1 from the factory pre-set 5, but again, this is something to try out.
Overall then, a promising start and hopefully the start of a long and happy relationship. If things work out, I'm planning to work this machine like a dog and possibly treat myself to an upgrade to a Jura next year if I find I use this one enough.
After some investigations, I've discovered that the basic internals of this machine (brewing unit, grinder, basically the bits that actually make the espresso) are the same as Delonghi's most expensive machines. So in terms of quality of coffee and robustness of the mechanical bits, this unit is as good as some three times the price. All you get with the more expensive machines is fancy frothing sections and a posh case.
on 13 December 2010
Firstly this machine provides great coffee. It is simple to use and everyone who has visited us remarked on the quality of the brews. If it is great tasting coffee you want, in a machine that is simple enough to use then get this but BEWARE.
After two years it broke down. We took it to the DeLonghi registered repairers and the cost to repair was prohibitive. The repair guy was helpful though as he explained that there is a hidden counter inside that records the number of coffees you have made and so helps the service engineers. His view was that the machine thus broke down prematurely if out of warranty and that we should write to de Longhi. Two letters and two email inquiries later we have given up with them. They did not refuse to do anything about this but simply have ignored all four communications.
So "buyer beware" from our experience this excellent machine will last on medium use for two years before terminal break down, despite careful and sensitive use. De Longhi appear to be indifferent to this limited life cycle. Shame really.
Five stars for coffee,
One star for value for money since it lasts two years with medium use,
One star for non existent de Longhi customer service.
on 23 April 2016
I was given this as a birthday present. I must admit, I had always wanted a bean to cup machine as previously I was using a gaggia baby dose with a manual bean grinder which while fun at first, became less fun as the years went on.
It was very easy to set up but you do need to read the manual because there are some settings that you simply won't realise are there unless you do. For example, you can set the temperature of the coffee that comes out of the machine. I have seen some reviews from people complaining that its too hot or too cold, and my guess is that they haven't read it properly.
The machine was very easy to put together. There were a few bits of packing tape to remove, and then it pretty much all slots together nicely.
The art of using this machine is to find great beans that you love, and then to find the perfect adjustment of water volume and bean serving so you get the perfect coffee for you. But the tools are all here. If your coffee is too weak, or too strong, or too bitter - then all of these parameters can be changed by you, by either changing your choice of beans, or adjusting the water quality or quantity of beans used. I've had this for two months and I'm still working this out myself, but I know it's all me and not the machine, which is working flawlessly. The crema of the coffee produced is rich and viscous as well by the way. It makes great coffee.
The coffee grounds are dispensed in little dry discs inside the machine. When the collecting tub is full, a warning light goes on and you can open up the front and retrieve these. Top Tip: coffee grounds can be used as fertilizer in your garden and they also apparently deter cats from using your garden as toilet. I have been recycling my coffee grounds on my various fruit trees and shrubs in my garden and while I can't give you scientific proof that it's helping them, they all seem to be doing really well. You can google this is you're not sure. The main thing is that the grounds are easy to dispose of, whether you garden with them or just put them in your bin.
The water tank slots out from the right hand side. You simply fill this up with water - use filtered water if you want, a lot of coffee purists do. It then slots back in, very simple and easy to use.
The steam wand is the only slightly unexpected aspect. There isn't a separate heater for the steam wand so when you want to use it, you activate it and it is ready in about 30 seconds. I use a metal milk jug because this makes it easier for me to be able to tell how hot the milk is becoming (as pouring cold milk into a hot espresso leaves you with a cold coffee). The steam wand works very well, and it doesn't take too long to work, but after you have finished using it, you then need to wait a few minutes before you can dispense more coffee as the machine needs time to cool down. Therefore, if you were making two cappuccinos, you need to make the coffees first, and then do the milk all together afterwards. Otherwise you will be making them 10 minutes apart.
The machine has a self cleaning cycle which is linked to the start up and shut down. When you first turn it on, the lights will flash for a moment but then it looks like it turns itself off (it goes straight into standby mode). What you need to do is press the power button once (top left) and it goes through a quick flush through, dispensing a serving of hot water (which will bring with it any coffee left in the pipes from last use - so this is normally dirty looking). If you want to warm up your cup before making the coffee properly, put it under the dispenser before you start this cycle and then you can use this hot water to warm it for a few minutes before discarding it. This is usually worth doing as a hot espresso in a cold cup will go cold very quickly.
Once the cleaning cycle is done, press the small button at the top for one (or two for two cups) and the coffee will be ground, and then dispensed according your settings for water quantity and coffee density (the two main dials on the left). If left unused for a while, the machine will eventually go into standby mode again, and will usually run through another rinse cycle. This may give you a fright if you are not expecting it as you may otherwise think that you have a coffee loving ghost in the room. Don't worry if you haven't left a cup there, as the drip tray will capture this, but remember to remove and empty the drip tray every now and then.
So, in summary, I'm delighted with this coffee maker. I'm still experimenting with coffee beans to find my perfect cup of coffee - but that is part of the fun of owning this sort of machine. However, I know that when I find those beans, the great coffee will follow easily, and with minimal fuss and mess.
I hope you have found this review to be helpful. If you have, I'd really appreciate it if you could click on the helpful button below. Thanks.
on 4 December 2012
I decided to go for a bean-to-cup after using my son's machine. My Gaggia Classic made ok coffee, but it tended to be cold and difficult to get a decent sized mug.
Incidently, the 4000 is exactly the same as the 4200, not an earlier model - just black instead of silver (which you pay an extra £10 for).
Almost straight away I was getting an excellent cup of coffee, quickly and, of course, very easily. It heats up reasonably quickly from cold, and quicker from standby. An eco option will turn it off after a pre-set time varying for 15 minutes to 3 hours. I thought the tray was a bit flimsy, but it is not something you are pulling in and out all the time. The water tank is robust and comes out of the front rather than the top so the machine can go under a high level kitchen unit. You only need to access the top to refill with beans or to use the ground coffee option - but if you buy a bean-to-cup, why would you want to?
It is quite noisy, but they all are. It doesn't feel as solid as my son's Siemens, but you have to put this into context- it costs £280 not £500+. It does have a two year warranty. Cleaning is easy and descaling done automatically with the use of their descaling kit which costs about £7 but only needs doing every couple of months - less if in soft water (they give you a hardness tester and you set the machine accordingly)
I'm not a pretentious barista, I just like a nice cup of coffee and this machine does that admirably. I'm pleased with it and I think it compares favourably with much more expensive machines. Wilst it does have a few minor negatives I am still happy to give it 5 stars as it is very good value. If you want to spend £800 - £1000 you will get a better machine, but most of that extra money will only benefit your ego when showing off to your friends.
on 5 March 2009
Just replaced my Nespresso capsule machine with this. Makes great coffee time and again. Very versatile and variable, so well worth spending time to tweak the settings to suit whatever type of coffee you want. Very easy to keep clean and maintain. Warms up quickly. Gives better results and is more consistent than a capsule machine whilst having just as much convenience (arguably more so) and better environmental credentials (no waste capsule or capsule packaging!). Upfront cost is higher than most capsule machines but the running costs will be much lower, and so it will pay for itself within a year and then save me a lot of money for years to come. Buying this over a capsule machine is a no-brainer.
Am being picky by awarding four stars. Would award five stars if it had a more usefully laid out top surface (has three awkwardly-shaped long and thin areas divided up for the beans compartment, ground coffee compartment and the hot-plate for the mugs/cups).
Am very happy with this product so far.
**UPDATE JULY 16th 2011** Still going strong despite a lot of use since its purchase.
**UPDATE APRIL 25th 2012** Machine finally gave up the ghost. Survived three years of intense use. I cannot complain. I heartily recommend it, still.