Crew Review: DeLonghi EC860

As you know, it doesn’t take much to make us happy, but something we love more than anything is when a manufacturer gets a little bit crazy with its bad self and releases a piece of equipment unlike others we have tested. DeLonghi’s new EC860 is a sort of hybrid between traditional espresso machines and their robotic counterparts, featuring standard espresso extraction with the option to automatically froth the milk.

Watch as Gail talks to us about its features, then demonstrates shot extraction, frothing with the wand and making a one-touch (aside from all the touching involved with grinding and tamping, of course!) cappuccino with its automatic frothing option.

 

38 comments for “Crew Review: DeLonghi EC860

  1. Karen
    December 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Gail! Thanks for the great demo. I am considering this machine as there is a rebate. I was wondering if you could comment on how the milk foaming quality is. both the panarello wand and by the automated function. and i would like to know if i could use the panarello wand without the sleeve. i prefer frothing the milk myself without the adaptor. hate airy foam. would this be possible??

    • Kat
      December 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Hi Karen,
      This is one of the hotter auto-froths, if you run the ‘clean’ function beforehand like we demonstrate in the video. The quality of the phone isn’t exceptional … but none of them are really ;)

      The panarello sleeve is removable for cleaning, but it is just a small nozzle underneath and it would be difficult to use it as a traditional wand — not long enough.

      Let us know if you have any other questions – thanks!
      Kat

      • J
        August 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        Hi Kat & Gail- Thanks so much for all of your videos. You really helped me to figure out what was important to me in a new Espresso Machine and I finally selected the Delonghi 860 :) Now I could really use your advice. I am getting the hang of using the machine, but I notice that the cappuccino and lattes are still not as hot as I would like. I’ve followed all of the instructions, but don’t know if there’s a way to get hotter results? Thanks, J.

        • Kat
          August 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

          The only tip that I really know if is to run that ‘cleaning’ cycle before you start so that you heat up all the metal components of the auto frother before hand. Otherwise, I’m not aware of any other way to get the milk hotter.

          Hope that helps!
          Kat

          • J.
            August 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

            Thanks for your quick response. I am doing the cleaning button function, but it still isn’t as hot as I would like. Otherwise, the machine is fantastic…. I love it. Keep up the great work & say hi to Gail :)

          • Kat
            August 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm

            Shoot … Sorry I couldn’t give you any other tips :(

            Thanks for contacting us, though! :)
            Kat

  2. Brian
    December 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the demo! it was a big help in deciding to purchase. we received the machine about a week ago and enjoy the coffee and latte/cappuccino option very much and the machine as a whole.
    during this past week we’ve used each filter to test the differences and each worked good. since we’ve received the machine each filter would snap tightly into the filter holder cup however today the single coffee and ese filter fit very loosely though still producing a good coffee. The double shot filter seems to now be warped and will not fit at all into the filter holder.
    We are not abusing the filters and have not dropped or misused them.
    are we doing something wrong or does it seem we have a faulty piece??
    based on other reviews on different websites we have not yet contacted delonghi customer service.
    thanks for the help!

    • Kat
      December 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Hi Brian,

      Sorry to hear about this; I don’t think this should be an issue, you should be able to move the baskets around without them warping or changing. I’d definitely contact their warranty services to see about replacements, etc.

      Kat

  3. Graham
    December 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Just purchased this model and Have not had an opportunity to use it yet but I am looking forward to trying it out. I noticed in the video yOu use a stainless steel cuP to froth milk. Is this an accessory as There wasnt one in the box. I just wondered if I was missing this part or if it is an accessory I need to purchase. Thanks

    • Kat
      January 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

      The stainless steel pitcher that is often used to froth milk — you can chill it and your milk will start colder, which often aids in producing microfoam. These aren’t necessary, and home espresso folks will often steam in their actual mug; they’re not included with machines in general — it’s a separate accessory that you’d need to purchase if you want to try it out :)

      Hope that helps – let me know if you have any other questions,
      Kat

  4. Chris cook
    January 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

    hI, (sorry if all of this is in caps lock… computer is not working right)

    i JUST RECIEVED THIS MACHINE AS A GIFT (WITH THE DELONGHI GRINDER) AND THIS is my first time trying to brew espresso. the video was very helpful and helped explain the little features. I had a few questions though about dosing and tamping with this machine. I noticed that you did a standard tamp with this machine even though it is a pressurized basket. I am trying to get the best results possible out of this machine and was wondering should i go ahead and tamp, and then adjust my grind from there?

    also, what dose range should i shoot for? i am filling and leveling and it is coming in at about 15-16 grams. i am looking at buying a better grinder because the cheap delonghi grinder just doesn’t seem to be consistant enough.

    I am also looking into the unpressurized mod so i have more control but i am trying to see if parts are available just in case so i don’t mess something up.

    • Kat
      January 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      I would experiment with tamping; this guy doesn’t have a technical self-tamping kind of function, so you might want to put a little bit of pressure on it. Depends on your coffee grind, really. I’d see how fine your DeLonghi grinder is going and dial it in based on flavor — for tips on dialing in a the shot with a pressurized PF, check out this video.

      Double shots are around 14 – 18 grams, so try shooting somewhere in there.

      Let me know if you have any other questions – thank you!

      - Kat

      • Chris Cook
        January 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

        Thanks Kat for the help so far. I made the grinder go as fine as it could and gave it a light tamp and it plugged the machine. So I dialed it back a little and got decent results with a medium tamp, but it did seem to take a while (I did not time it though). I increased the temp to the max setting and that seemed to help a little, and I was able to pull two doubles that were about the same.

        I was able to get a used Super Jolly, which will be over kill, but it only cost $100 more than a Preciso so I will see if that will help me get more consistent results. Also I ordered the required basket to try the non-pressurized basket change with the DeLonghi’s. Fingers crossed that I will be able to have better control over my espresso and will have a better way to judge changes. I am not expecting amazing espresso out of this machine, but I will settle for good espresso :).

        Thanks again for all of your help and I will let you know how the new toys work, and my results.

        • Kat
          January 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

          Thanks Chris! Yes, that Super Jolly is going to rock those shots! :)

          Please do keep me posted and let me know if you have any other questions.

          - Kat

        • Greg
          August 21, 2013 at 4:05 am

          What basket did you get to make this non-pressurized? Is it sold on this site? I have been looking for something to do this forever. Any help you could provide would be appreciated.

          • Kat
            August 21, 2013 at 11:27 am

            We actually have to have them manufactured as we were modifying small La Pavoni baskets and our supplier couldn’t import the quantity. So we’re working on it!

            Kat

          • Chris Cook
            September 29, 2013 at 6:17 am

            Hi Greg,

            I bought a La Pavoni basket and flattened the rim myself carefully with a hammer. Just search for a replacement basket. Also, on this machine you will have to remove the inner plastic chute and seal it with a screw and nut. I used brass washers as well to help it seal.

  5. Aimee
    January 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    hi kat
    we were given this machine as a gift & unfortunately we’re having trouble with the automatic cappuccino. it won’t deliver any milk, we have sent the machine back once & it was replaced with a new one but still the same problem. is this a common fault? any ideas on what we may be doing wrong.
    thanks aimee

    • Kat
      January 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Can you describe the problem that you’re having? Are you able to get the carafe seated in the machine so that it’s registering it there? That is the only issue I have seen — the machine failing to read the carafe or the wand and then not allowing steam functionality to engage. Otherwise, I haven’t heard of any other issues on it. If you can describe how you’re using it, maybe I can give you some tips …?

      - Kat

      • Aimee
        January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        Hi Kat
        Thank you for your reply. The machine recognises that the carafe is there as the buttons light up giving you the milk option. I have been in touch with DeLonghi and are awaiting a reply. Otherwise everything else seems to work fine. We can froth the milk manually but would love to be able to use the automatic function. I have done a full descale & cleaned the carafe every time but still haven’t had any luck. The milk doesn’t even seem to suck up the straw until it’s finished & even then it only appears to go half way up. Any tips would be great.

        Kind regards Aimee

        • Kat
          January 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

          Hmmmmm…. I haven’t seen this happen before, unfortunately. Maybe try a ‘clean’ on it first — hold down the clean button for a bit to get the steam going and maybe that might influence the system to start sucking milk earlier? That’s all I can think of.

          - Kat

  6. Chris Cook
    January 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Hi Kat,

    Just going to let you know I was easily able to de-pressurize the DeLonghi basket. I was able to get a La Pavoni Millenium 51mm basket and flattened the rim out so it would be able to lock into the grouphead. To get the basket to fit into the portafilter though you must take out the plastic insert and cover the hole that resulted. I just went to the hardware store and bought a #6 brass screw, a few brass washers, and a brass nut. They fit perfectly and I just tightened it down so it would not leak. Here is a link to a few pictures of it (hopefully it works)

    The Super Jolly grinder also helped a lot and now I am in the process of tweaking my shots and getting a feel for what tastes good to me. The one thing I have noticed is that this machine leaves the pucks very soupy at the top and I have tried to up dose to 17g to see if this would help, but it didn’t. The shots taste good so I am not too worried about it.

    My next two goals are to see if I can make a bottomless portafilter by having a handle machined down, and seeing if there is a way to alter the steam wand for a traditional one… This will get rid of the automatic milk dispenser, but I like steaming my own milk. I will keep you updated on any progress.

    Chris

    • Kat
      January 28, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Cool – yes, that’s what we have been doing for the DeLonghi and the Breville machines.

      Since that machine doesn’t have a brew pressure release valve, your pucks are always going to be a little bit soupy. If you let the portafilter hang out a little bit in the brew head, it will dry a bit more, but you’ll rarely get a solid puck like shape.

      Thanks for keeping us apprised if your progress! :)

      - Kat

  7. paulina
    March 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Hi…my delonghi ec 860 does not take water in for the double shot to work. Single shot works fine but when I use the souble shotbit only gives me s few drops of water and thats it. Do you know what the problem can be? I did the descaler and it did not help. Can It be clogged up? Please help. Thank you, paulina.

    • Kat
      March 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Paulina -

      Does water come out at all when you press the double shot and don’t have the coffee filter in place? If not, it could be that you accidentally reprogrammed the button to deliver little to no water …. try reprogramming the dosage. If it does come out when the portafilter isn’t in place but not when the portafilter is in place, check out your coffee grind, tamp and the basket to make sure that it is clean and not plugged up.

      Hope that helps!

      Kat

      • paulina
        March 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        kat-
        You were right. It worked. Thank you so much for your help.
        Paulina.

        • Kat
          March 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

          Awesome!!! Great to hear :)
          Kat

  8. Greg
    August 21, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Can anyone offer suggestions of how to de-pressurize this machine (ex. what parts to buy on this site)? The machine is wonderful but I am guessing it would offer even more control if I could figure out how to de-pressurize it.

    Thanks

    • Kat
      August 21, 2013 at 11:26 am

      While the other Delonghis are easy to depressurize as you can just put a non-pressurized 51mm basket in there, the EC860 has a plastic insert that doesn’t allow for that. When we removed it, we realized we’d have to find a way to plug up the screw hole and haven’t looked into it again. But it really is that simple if you can work it out.

  9. J
    September 22, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Hi Kat– If I purchase a la pavoni portafilter basket 51mm can I alter to make it work with my EC860?

    As always, appreciate your expertise!

    J-

    • Kat
      September 23, 2013 at 7:35 am

      The 860 was the only one that wasn’t workable without more customization. You have to remove the plastic insert in there for the basket to actually rest evenly and we found that doing so opened up a third hole in the bottom of the filter. You’d need to put a screw / nut in there to seal it and then it would likely work.

      Kat

  10. Simon
    December 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Dear Kat,
    I just ordered one of those new slim Delonghi EC 680 machines which apparently use the same portafilter as the EC 860.

    http://www.delonghi.com/de-DE/produkte/kaffee/kaffeemaschinen/espressomaschinen/EC-680-M/

    I’d like to swap the default baskets with unpressurized ones so i came accross this great website. I would have loved to purchase your modified pavoni baskets but as they don’t seem to be available at the moment, i’m looking for alternatives.
    Is there any reason not to buy Delonghi’s own unpressurized baskets, which seem to be 607706 for the double shot and 606348 for the single?

    http://www.4delonghi.co.uk/coffee-maker/espresso/filter/product.pl?pid=1909894&path=606454,640993

    http://www.4delonghi.co.uk/filter/product.pl?pid=582757&query=607706

    A reviewer mentions that he successfully popped it into a EC 155 portafilter. If it fits the EC 155, shouldn’t it fit the EC 860/680 as well (after removing the plastic and sealing the screw hole of cause)?

    thanks and regards, Simon

    • Kat
      December 9, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Simon -

      If it fits the EC155, it will fit the EC860, save for the modifications that you mention (the plastic insert needs to be removed and the hole sealed with a screw/nut combo.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Kat

  11. Lee
    January 11, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Hello Kat:
    Your video is very nice and it makes me jealous since I have the EC860 too but it never worked.
    I bought the machine during boxing week here in Vancouver but has not worked at all since it was put on power. When pressing the power button it does not self-test at all and when pushing the water button, it does nothing either. No sound of water supply and no heating or boiling sound at all. I did fill the water tank and put the steam knob on but nothing happens when I press the button once or push for 10 seconds.

    Please help me, I just want a simple cup of cappuccino.

    Lee

    • January 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Lee,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with your EC860. Do any of the lights on the machine come on when you try to power on the machine? You can also try pushing the brew button and see if any water comes out of the machine. If you still can’t the machine to work, I would call DeLonghi’s customer service line at 1-800-322-3848 or our customer service team at 1-866-372-4734 so they can help you troubleshoot the machine over the phone.

      • Lee
        January 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        Hi Kat:
        Thanks for the help. I couldn’t find any help since Delonghi customer service told me that its warranty has already expired but I just bought it brand new, wow. I then took it back to Future shop and the sales person got me a new one, still not functioning. He took an hour to figure out how to clean the machine’s inside. Some dirty water came out and it finally worked. For the one I first got, I think it just didn’t recognize the steam wand when it’s plugged in. Therefore not able to clean itself.
        The second one works perfectly now. ThX!!

  12. Lani
    July 15, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Kat – I love my EC 860 but have only used it for about 4 months and it just stopped working. The coffee was tasting funny so I did the descaling. The cycle went through fine, but at the very last step, the water light came on & started blinking. (Owner’s Manual indicates light will come on & then you simply press that button to finish the descale cycle.) Nothing I do will stop the water light from blinking. I’ve done all normal troubleshooting. The machine doesn’t even turn off after several hours (or days!) – the light just continues to blink… mocking me.

    Any ideas?? Is there a way to do a hard reset?

    Thanks!

    • July 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Lani,

      Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your EC860!The EC860 is nice in that it has a water tank sensor. Probably, this is no longer floating, even if the water tank is full, and has become water logged. There are a couple ways around this. The first would be to get a replacement water tank sensor (it’s a red float inside the water tank) from Delonghi, and then replace it in the water tank. The second option would be to lift up the water tank sensor (possibly by putting something underneath the sensor like a sponge or toothpick) that lifts the sensor up slightly so that the machine registers that it has water all the time. Only caution is that with the second option, be careful not to accidentally run your machine out of water, as you could burn out the boiler.

      Unfortunately we don’t carry the water tank sensor, as Delonghi is currently the only one that can sell their machine parts. would contact them and see if you can get the part. I hope that helps!

      Brenna

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