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Customer Review

356 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Punished for Two years and Four Months, 4 Nov. 2008
This review is from: De'Longhi Bar 14 Café Treviso espresso cappuccino maker (Kitchen & Home)
I surprise myself by writing a glowing review on the day the thing has broken.

I had only ever thought of it as my 'great new espresso machine'. Neither had I realized the time that had gone by.

Usage Statistics and Inadvertent Destruct-Testing

I have been making an average of 11 double espressos per week. Always when I have been tired and clumsy.
I have forgotten to top up the reservoir at least once every six weeks. and so have been rushing to give load back to a pump that was screaming as it raced with nothing but thin air.
3 days out of seven I have forgotten to turn it off and it has remained on for up to 8 hours.

It has worked perfectly until today when the pump just quietly hummed and only a few drops dribbled out.

Quality of Output and tips for use.

I achieved crema four days out of seven and have still not worked out what I need to do to make it predictable. This is a skills rather than hardware issue but I mention it for competeness' sake.

I achieve good coffee every day ... except when I do not 'pre-charge'. This has been mentioned before and I will reiterate: Switch on and wait until red light comes on. Do a 'blank' espresso ... filter bowl attached and pouring into the cup UNTIL the red light goes off. Everything gets fully warmed and the water is primed. Remove filter bowl and full with coffee. Tamp down. By this time the red light has gone on and you are ready to reapply filter bowl and pour your espresso.

I confirm that extra fine-ground coffee must be used or you are guaranteed RUBBISH. I have always used Lavazzaa. I once had nothing except medium-ground filter-coffee and in desperation tried it. The result was watery ... insipid, tasteless slop.

The milk frother is stable and effective. The frothing widget on the end of the pipe does its job. My previous three Espresso machines had standard pipe which, though effective, required some concentration and coordination. This one heats the milk quickly when dipped low and creates masses of thick froth when dipped shallowly. I use Skimmed Milk straight out of the fridge. I used to use semi-skimmed until one day I accidentally got skimmed and found it made a stiffer and thicker foam.

Some reviewers have mentioned the plastic reservoir imparted a slight taste to the coffee and recommend rinsing and refilling it often. I had not noticed this problem ... could it be because I was using it daily and thus my natural frequency of topping up bypassed this issue?

NEWS FLASH: It is working again. I remembered I had a sachet of liquid descaler and decided to apply a 'farewell' attempt before finishing this review and ordering a replacement.
Here follows a VERBOSE account of the descaling process I used including unexpected twists and surprises:

Since the 'evidence of breakage' was that the pump motor was hardly making any sound except a tiny hum, and only mini-dribbles of water were coming out, I emptied the respire and put the sachet and minimum about of extra water to top up to just above the opening of the intake tube which hangs just above the bottom. This tiny amount of concentrated descaler sucked up very slowly and due to the heat of the boiler, got into the pump mechanism and proceeded to froth and vaporize ... forcing through and creating a massive pour. Having achieved initial 'movement' I added more water to the reservoir and poured what had come out .. back in again. I kept this running cycle of pour, pour back into reservoir and repeat .. leaving to cool down a bit and cycle again for about half an hour, during which time the action became progressively easier.

I then went into rinsing procedure ... cycling fresh water through the system until it ran clear. I then put the steam switch on and opened the steam valve until that ran even steam .. no splats or blips.

THEN Surprise ... I went for a final normal rinse though the coffee pouring part of the system and it was again running dark brown and sedimented. So .. back to running clear and ..... Another Steam heat and opening of steam valve as above and back to normal operation with more brown water and sediment. Eventually that also ran constantly clear.

After all that I returned to this review to record the process and then made a test expresso. Crema .. yes. And tastes as good as before it broke.

Well .. I do hope this has been useful to you. I will come back in a couple of months to report the on the stability of its 'mended' condition.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Aug 2009 13:05:20 BDT
Can you make hot chocolate in this machine ???

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2009 13:52:59 BDT
marthiemoo says:
It's not possible to make hot chocolate straight from the machine, but what I do is mix chocolate powder (or cocoa) with a little hot water from the kettle to make a paste, and then use the machine to make lots of steamed frothy milk and pour that on top. It's MUCH quicker than heating the milk on the hob (which I'd quite often boil over or burn anyway) and the froth is amazing. That's basically how they make hot chocolate in starbucks etc., except they sometimes use chocolate syrup instead of powder.

Posted on 20 Oct 2009 12:09:40 BDT
Richard says:
Compacting the coffee as much as possible should mean you get crema each time.

Posted on 11 Nov 2009 17:33:43 GMT
Keith Povall says:
Cracking product review. I wonder if you do this for a living. I nearly went for the Breville, but it got a mass of 1 star reviews. I'm still not sold on this model, but I am starting to lean towards it. Thanks for your input, great job. Keith

Posted on 27 Nov 2009 15:54:55 GMT
R. Wheeler says:
Could you tell me what it is like making latte coffee as that is what I Like, great review, thanks

Posted on 2 Dec 2009 22:34:05 GMT
Mark says:
This is the Best review I EVER read! :)

Posted on 19 Feb 2010 22:17:33 GMT
Brilliant review :-D You should start a blog!

Posted on 22 Feb 2010 11:34:17 GMT
BJB says:
Awesome review! Might buy this coffee maker just to see if you're right. Can hardly WAIT for it to break down!

Posted on 5 Apr 2010 22:49:25 BDT
Bookworm says:
A delightful and detailed review, thanks very much for taking the trouble to describe all its foibles

Posted on 28 May 2010 20:41:45 BDT
Rebecca says:
Great review! My sister bought one on the strength of your commentary, and is completely in love with her machine. She and her husband have stopped buying take away coffee as they have it at home just as good.

I bought one on her recommendation, and it really is fab, I use it every day when I am at home, use skimmed milk as recommended and warm up machine first thing. Pressing down coffee hard in compartment is important too to making good coffee. I make cappuccinos and americano (by making an espresso and topping up with boiled hot water). Lovely!

You should get sponsorship from De Longhi - or another machine for free when yours finally dies
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