delonghi ec155 espresso maker reviews
The DeLonghi EC155 is an incredibly versatile machine and at a great price point. It’s easily one of the better machines for under $100 that’s out there, and is good at churning out quick espresso shots. The overall quality of the espresso made in the machine isn’t up for question as almost everyone who’s tried it is a fan at this price point, provided they know what they’re doing. However, the build quality and the maintenance can be a little difficult to handle on this $90 machine. The amount of plastic used in the design is a little troublesome, and some of the accessories are not as useful as you would think.
The most important thing about the EC155 is the taste of the espresso that you get out of it. With this machine, the quality of the espresso varies greatly on your experience with making your own shots. For the newbie that’s just starting out, some of the parts that come with the machine, such as the pressurized portafilter, help you get a decent shot of espresso (roughly Starbucks quality) without too much skill in making your own shots. When put into the hands of a more experienced barista, a lot more can be done with the machine and the quality of the shot increases dramatically.
delonghi ec155 15 bar pump espresso and cappuccino maker
The EC155 is a very easy machine to use. While it isn’t as easy as some other machines that we have reviewed on this website, such as the Nespresso line, it is one of the easier ‘manual’ setups for the novice to get started with. Along with the ease of the pressurized portafilter, you also have the option to use pods (ESE pods specifically) instead of coffee which removes the hassle of grinding your own coffee when you want to just make your espresso and go. The downside of doing that is you obviously lose a lot of the customization of your espresso by not being able to choose exactly the type of coffee that you use, but there is a huge upside in convenience for a lot of users.
If you don’t want to grind you’re own coffee, but also don’t want to use pods, you do have the option to purchase Illy Espresso Grind, which has been shown to be very good in this machine. The benefit of this coffee is that it’s already ground, which means that you basically can pour it in and go, so it’s a nice middle ground between grinding your own coffee and using ESE pods. If you do want to go with a good brand like Illy, they also offer ESE pods for you to try out and compare to the Espresso grind.
The one thing that you have to do on a fairly regular basis is clean the espresso machine. I’ve found that you have to do this a little more than other machines, but it’s not enough to be concerning. If you don’t clean it, the machine won’t work nearly as well, if it even works at all.
The build quality of the EC155 is not very good compared to a lot of other machines. The first major sign of that is the huge amount of plastic that DeLonghi uses in the entire construction. The negative aspect of using plastic in a machine that handles hot liquids and pressure is that you tend to see a lot more issues with cracking and leaking than you would on an all-metal machine. This machine is no different, with some users reporting issues of leaking in their machines after extended use.
While the issue of leaking is a concern, it shouldn’t preclude you from testing out the machine, as the leaking problem only shows up in a small subset of the machines that are sold, and even then doesn’t affect the actual functioning of the machine.
The second major issue comes with the steam wand, which will be discussed in more detail in the add-on’s section.
The price of the EC155 ($90) is one of the best features that the machine has to offer. While the De’Longhi EC155 is not one of the more long lasting machines out there, at $90 it will last you for a few years (1-3 years usually) and will definitely pay for itself over that time, even for the more infrequent espresso drinker. If you want to make this a machine that you use daily, you will easily pay for the machine in about 3-5 months, or even sooner if you use it for more than one drink a day.
The issue with the add-on’s on the EC155 is definitely the build quality. The biggest one that comes to mind is the steam wand, which was designed specifically for espresso glasses. Unfortunately you can’t put a normal coffee mug under this wand, which greatly reduces the ability to make drinks that use steamed or frothed milk, a major downside to a lot of coffee drinkers.
Another issue with the steam wand is that it is actually the source of a lot of the build problems of the machine. When you combine heat, metal, and plastic, you can see some warping from the constant temperature changes. While you won’t generally see the warping itself, the fact that there have been a lot of reports of leaking from the steam wand add-on is a major problem and makes the steam wand generally unusable.
The second major problem with the EC155 is the tamper that comes along with the machine. Like a lot of other espresso machines that list for under $200 or so, the tamper is plastic and pretty bad at creating a good puck of espresso to make a solid shot. If you are planning on tamping your own coffee (which about 80% of people buying this machine do) then you should plan on buying a different tamper. The best one that we have found to work with this machine is the Terry’s Tamper, which retails for about $6 on Amazon, and produces a much better coffee puck and much better espresso as a result.
Overall this is a great machine to start out with, and has a lot of nice features that we are looking for out of the box. The fact that the machine is slightly manual but offers a path to creating better shots very quickly through their helpful instruction guide is a huge plus, as it gives you experience making your own espresso and helps you to learn how to judge what separates a good espresso from a bad one, making your enjoyment of coffee that much better.