When I was a teenager, coffee shops started popping up everywhere. I had only known instant coffee before this and suddenly this world opened up to me. As the quality varied wildly, I wondered if I would remain at the mercy of unpredictable coffee shops forever. Thankfully these days there are hundreds of options for at home espresso machines. And one particular brand stands out. That’s Delonghi. But with a number of models, which is the best? Keep reading this review to find out which is the Best Delonghi Super Automatic Espresso Machine.
Product: Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300
Available from: Amazon
Best for: A reliable coffee experience
Worst for: An inconspicuous coffee…this is not a quiet machine
Product: Delonghi Dinamica
Available from: Amazon
Best for: Iced coffee
Worst for: Serious Baristas who want to play with variables to dial in an espresso
Product: Delonghi Eletta
Available from: Amazon
Best for: Small offices
Worst for: Those who prefer a more manual user interface
Product: Delonghi Prima Donna
Available from: Amazon
Best for: Frothy milk coffee creation lovers
Worst for: Someone who only drinks espresso and americanos
Delonghi is a reliable name in the coffee machine industry. The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a well-known and well-loved machine, its continual sales are a good indication of its popularity. Of course, a quick look at the music charts would tell me that popularity doesn’t always mean it’s my taste.
A super automatic isn’t ever going to give you an espresso that tastes like you are sitting in the sun in the centre of Milan, but it isn’t supposed to. A super automatics job is to make you reliable coffees in a family or small office setting, where people like a wide range of different beverages from Americanos to lattes!
Of course the Magnifica can deliver reliable coffee, but its’ not my favourite super automatic in the world. It’s made of plastic, unlike some of its other sisters, and although that does make it lighter it also means it’s just never going to be as sturdy as a stainless steel alternative. It is, though, easy to use, easy to maintain, easy to keep clean and has enough options to keep a very caffeinated office happy!
The Magnifica has a 60oz water tank, this is pretty average across the Delonghi range and means less continuous refilling. It holds 8.8oz of coffee and has a bypass filter. This is pretty average again across Delonghi. You can adjust a lot to create a coffee that you prefer, including how many grams of coffee and how much water you like, there are 7 grinder settings allowing for some variability for different palates.
You may already sense that the word average is coming up a lot in relation to the Magnifica, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This won’t make you a bad cup of coffee, it’s reliable and has a lot of pretty good features that you’d look for in a home or office coffee machine. It’s water tank is accessible from the front, this is something Delonghi has spearheaded in the home coffee machine world, and it is the same across all of the Delonghi machines.
It has a good steam wand that creates foam and is easy to keep clean. I would recommend this coffee machine to almost any small office or large family home, except for one thing. The noise that this machine makes when it grinds is its worst feature. It has steel rather than ceramic burr grinders and this impacts how loud the grinding is, if you intend on using this machine in a kitchen away from other people, then I would say go ahead, otherwise…there are a lot of other Delonghi options for you to consider!
Not all super at home coffee machines are made equal, the Delonghi Dinamica one earns a very special place in my heart. This is the first, and so far only, at home coffee machine that can produce an iced coffee. This is not just a normal coffee poured over ice. The Dinamica is designed to have a longer grinding time and a longer pre-infusion time when the iced coffee mode is selected. The longer grinding time essentially just gives you a larger dose of coffee which helps to compensate for the dilution caused by the ice. The longer pre-infusion stage allows you to get a more concentrated flavour. It also has a longer extraction which, all in all,. gives you a pretty amazing at home iced coffee. You do, and I don’t think I should have to say this but you never know, you do have to provide your own ice. This does not have an ice machine built in.
As with all of the Delonghi at home coffee machines it is easy to clean and maintain and has a front accessible water tank that has a water filter. There are also a number of different types of coffee beverages programmed in here that I haven’t come across in some other super-automatics, outside of the iced coffee there is a “drip” style coffee, this is my preference when I’m out and about making this a second selling point to me for this machine!
Unlike a lot of the other Delonghi machines on the market, this has a single rather than a double boiler. This doesn’t massively impact me as I would be buying this for the iced coffee and drip coffee features alone!
You can programme your favourite coffees into the machine, and it’s relatively quiet when it grinds. This does have a touch screen rather than knobs and dials. Although my preference is still for knobs and dials I do very much like the interface where you select the strength of your coffee by picking how many “beans” on a slider. Five beans being the strongest. There are 13 grinder settings on this, as opposed to many others that have only 7. This does allow more room to manoeuvre when you are dialling in your espresso.
The steam wand is pretty standard for the Delonghi and works quite well. You don’t need a massive amount of technique when frothing to get a pretty nice foam as the steam goes through small holes at the bottom. With a 60oz water tank and a 10.5oz bean hopper, it would, thankfully, take a fairly long while for me to run out of iced coffees.
This is another solid machine from Delonghi. The Delonghi Eletta has a larger water tank at 68oz than the many other models, and with a 10oz bean hopper it could fuel a small office easily. On top of this it also has a milk frothing machine. Although you can still use your steam wand, the milk frothing machine really takes the guess work out of the equation.
You can create a dense, rich and long lasting foam build your cappuccino, latte, macchiato or whatever creation your friends or family ask you for! You can impress your work colleagues with this, very easily. I think this is a very reliable option for a small office that wants more than a drop of milk in their coffee. There’s not many 9-5 offices I’ve been in where it’s acceptable to spend a large proportion of your time steaming and frothing your milk for your 3pm cappuccino pick me up. The Delonghi Eletta takes that out of the equation, delivering frothy milk at the touch of a button.
Don’t worry if you are an Americano or tea drinker. You can take the milk tank out of the equation and use the hot water spout if that is your preference. The Eletta is super easy to clean, and you can pop your cup on top of the machine on the cup warmer while you press your clean button for your milk frothing machine. As I mention the cup warmer, this is an accessory that I don’t understand but I’ll use it. Day to day I just splash my cup with some hot water but there’s something neat about using a cup warmer that’s on top of your machine. Neat in a kitschy kind of way.
The best thing about this at home machine is that not only can you can chose from the pre-set coffees but you can also programme your preferences in including temperature, strength, and level of froth. There are 7 grind settings, which seems to be sufficient for those who aren’t looking to play around with different beans and espressos regularly.
A note that I feel like I have to give, if you aren’t an espresso drinker I still recommend dialling in your espresso preferences and figuring out your preferred grind, temperature, etc. this will allow for a really solid base for your cappuccinos and will allow you to narrow down what variable you need to play with to get the frothy cuppa of your dreams.
Related: Full Delonghi Eletta Review
The Delonghi Prima Donna is similar to the Eletta in that it has the milk frothing component available and would be good for a small office.
Where the Eletta has plastic casing with stainless steel details, the Prima Donna has a stainless steel casing and looks and feels like a high quality coffee machine. The Prima Donna also gets one up on its sister as it has a dual boiler where the Eletta has one. I’m afraid that for me, these are the only aspects of the Prima Donna that are better than the Eletta, and they are both my personal preference.
The water tank on the Prima Donna and the Eletta are the same size but the Prima Donna bean hopper holds 7.5oz of beans in comparison to the Elettas 10oz. That might not sound like a lot but if you are looking to buy a machine for your office or home then the number of cups you can make without having to refill the water and the hopper is one of the variables I would take into consideration.
The Prima Donna has the usual high quality steam wand and then, similar to the Eletta it has a separate milk frothing machine. This milk frothing machine can be taken off and placed in the fridge when it is being used. Your machine only heats up the milk that it is using to create foam so you are able to keep your milk nice and cold and fresh. This is a massive plus in an office setting where milk left in the machine by one person may spoil and destroy the coffee of another.
All of the buttons are programmable and they are easy to use, you can set “my coffee” and have a reliable touch button that delivers the same coffee every time. There are 7 settings on the grinder and you can play around with your preferences and really dial in what your coffee will taste like.
As with all of the Delonghi machines there is also a bypass so you can pour pre-ground coffee into the machine. And my favourite unnecessary component, the coffee cup warmer, is present. All in all I think you can probably read through my tone here. The Prima Donna is an “ok” coffee machine. If you like cappuccino, latte macchiato and all of the other frothy delicious combinations out there, you could do a lot worse than this machine.
Out of all of the Delonghi machines I talk about here I think the Dinamica is the most spectacular. The iced coffee option had me won over before I even tried it and it delivered better than I expected. The iced coffee might have gotten the Dinamica into my head, but the drip coffee option moved it to my heart. From where I sit a machine that can deliver an Americano, cappuccino, iced coffee and drip style coffee is always going to have a place in my home and in my heart.
I hope this Delonghi Super automatic espresso machine reviews have helped you make your decision.
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