Category Archives: DeLonghi

Comparison: Espresso Machines Under $300 – Redux

Machines Under $300Are you new to the world of espresso and searching for a machine that you can cut your teeth on? Or perhaps you’ve gotten a starter apartment (or a weekend home) and are looking to outfit it with the latest gear with out breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck since there are quite a few espresso machines under $300 that not only brew espresso but also allow to you to froth milk. To help you narrow down your options, Dori and Chris have kindly gathered their five favorite inexpensive machines – the Saeco Poemia, DeLonghi EC702 Pump, Saeco Aroma, Capresso EC Pro and the Krups Precise Tamp, to show them off.

A few of our favorite aspects on each machine (which are ranked from low to high in terms of price) are:

  • Saeco Poemia – With a pressurized portafilter and panarello, the Poemia is very forgiving and makes brewing your favorite drink a breeze.
  • Saeco Aroma – The Aroma has been around for ages, and is one of our most loved and best performing home espresso machines we have tested. You can also easily get parts for this machine should you need to replace anything.
  • DeLonghi EC702 Pump – The EC702 self-primes so you don’t have to wait a long time for your DeLonghi to heat up in the morning. In addition, the machine maintains consistent heat for brewing and steaming with two separate thermostats.
  • Capresso EC Pro – The EC Pro is a great option if you are looking to a machine that you can grow into. This machine comes with a pressurized portafilter basket to ease you into espresso as well as a naked basket if you really want to get into perfecting your tamp and timing your shots. Plus, the simple design of the machine makes easy to use no matter what your level.
  • Krups Precise Tamp  – Unlike the other espresso machines under $300, which only have on/off brew cycles, the Precise Tamp is programmable. The machine also will auto-tamp your coffee grounds and has cappuinatore, which is like an automatic frother and can make a cappuccino or a latte – a big upgrade over the other options.

When it comes down to it, all five of these compact semi-automatics are great starter options for people who want to get a machine at a reasonable price point. The main differences when you go up the scale in price are that you get a machine with more metal components (instead of primarily plastic pieces) and slightly heftier parts (such as chrome-plated brass portafilters instead of aluminum). With these espresso machines you also have the option to upgrade to a non-pressurized portafilter and traditional steam wand once you’ve gotten the hang of pulling your own shots. Check out our video to learn more about each machine and find out Chris and Dori’s top picks.

Comparison: Espresso Machines Under $300

Crew Review: DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300We aim to please, so since several of you have asked for a video on the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 we went ahead and filmed one. After all, the Magnifica is one of our most reliable espresso machines as it as has been on both our shelves and on customer’s counters for years. In fact, we know of one customer who has had their machine for at least seven years! And why wouldn’t you want this little superauto residing on your counter? It’s compact design and built-in grinder means it won’t take much space. In addition, you can access the water tank and all of the controls from the front, so you don’t have to worry about moving your machine around to get to what you need.

Oftentimes superautomatic espresso machines come with so many bells and whistles it can be confusing to figure out how to use all of the options. Not so with the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300. What you see is what you get, and what you get with this machine is a really great deal. The Magnifica is one of the few superautos under $1,000 with a bypass doser. If you’re not familiar with bypass dosers, they are a nice feature to have since they allow you to brew with pre-ground beans as well as the whole beans in the grinder on your machine. Thus, if you want to try a different roast or switch to decafe coffee in the evenings you can do so without emptying the bean hopper on your machine.

Best of all, our customers report that they experience very few breakdowns on the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300, making them one of the least returned machines we sell. Treat your machine well, descale often and you too can you have this little robot on your counter for years to come! To see this machine’s functionality in action, check out Brendan and Gail as they make one of her famous wet cappuccinos.

Crew Review: DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300

Crew Review: DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive

DeLonghi PrimaDonna ExclusiveIf you are as big of a fan of ‘90s music as we are, you might have learned from Sheryl Crow that “a change would do you good.” Clearly, the manufactures at DeLonghi have taken this advice to heart with the creation of the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive. This espresso machine is upgrading and replacing the DeLonghi Gran Dama 6700. While the 6700 is a great machine, and well loved by many of our customers, DeLonghi has made a few tweaks to the machine’s design to make it even better.

One of the newest, and coolest, features of the PrimaDonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 is the one touch chocolate system. As part of this unique function, DeLonghi has included a new separate carafe that has a spin drive built into it that allows you to mix up and heat hot chocolate. Not only does this keep something as sugary as hot chocolate separate from your milk, but also allows you easily create drinks like mochas and chocolate for the kids.

DeLonghi has also upgraded the programmability of the machine. The PrimaDonna has a new profile system, that allows you to create six profiles where you can customize everything from the length of your shot to the strength of your shot, and even the amount of milk you want in your drink. There is also an auto-start option for each profile, so you can have different start times for drinks on weekdays and weekends. All of this is accessible on a large, color display that is easy to see and navigate.

In addition to the new features, the machine still includes many of the functions users have always enjoyed; such as the long coffee feature as well as options for creating one touch lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. The variety of drinks you can make on this machine and the number of customizable profiles makes it a great option for large households or people who like having a lot of choices. To learn more about the new DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive, watch as Gail and Brendan walk us through the features and teach us a few tips.

Crew Review: DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive

Crew Review: DeLonghi Lattissima EN680

DeLonghi Lattissima EN680Do you love drinking cappuccinos and lattes in the morning but don’t enjoy all the work required to make them or cleaning up the mess afterward? Well, you’re in luck, since DeLonghi and Nespresso teamed up a while ago to create the DeLonghi Lattissima EN680, which allows you to brew cappuccinos, lungos and espresso at the push of a button.

This hybrid is part of the Lattisima series, and features a removable 16.9 oz. milk reservoir (so you can keep your milk cold in the fridge) and has programmable milk froth dispenser for those cappuccinos and lattes. This espresso machine is sure to please non-milk drinkers too, since the coffee volume and water output are also programmable. Like other Nespresso products, the EN680 is a capsule machine so you have to fill it with capsules ordered from Nespresso. However, the machine does come with a sample pack of pods so you can try out the different flavors to see which ones you like the best.

The EN680’s small footprint makes it great for cramped counters, but the machine is large enough to offer an adjustable cup tray so you can make your coffee in different sized cups. You can even take your coffee with you on the go, as you can fit a small travel mug in this space, like a MiiR travel tumbler, but probably not anything larger.

To find out more, watch as Teri takes us on a tour of the specs and features of the DeLonghi Lattissima EN680, and then shows us how to make a hot, foamy cappuccino.

SCG Crew Review: DeLonghi Lattissima EN680

Crew Review: DeLonghi PrimaDonna De Luxe Espresso Machine

DeLonghi PrimaDonna De LuxeWe’ll admit that we weren’t deeply in love with DeLonghi’s superautomatic espresso machines. For a long time, we felt like their grinders were on the louder side of the spectrum, their coffee wasn’t quite hot enough and their automatic milk frothing was just a smidge shy of amazing.

But all of that changed a few years ago with the release of their new series of machines. Their coffee quality improved, their grinders toned down a bit and their automatic milk frothing reached that heavenly nexus between temperature and foam density that cappuccino dreams are made of. With their newest model, the PrimaDonna De Luxe, they’ve taken their recent functional improvements and wrapped it in a gloriously gleaming stainless steel case.

Featuring intuitive programming, a front loading water reservoir and optional one-touch cappuccino functionality, the PrimaDonna De Luxe is both flexible and refined. Watch as Gail guides us through all of its specs and then demonstrates both one-touch and standard cappuccino creation.

Crew Review: DeLonghi PrimaDonna De Luxe Espresso Machine

SCG How-To Guides: Packing Your Espresso Machine for Shipping

Does your Saeco Via Venezia need to be repaired but you don’t have a repair center in your area? Did you try on a DeLonghi Magnifica for size and it didn’t quite fit? Will that Rocket Espresso R58 see more action at your vacation home? Regardless of your reason for shipping your espresso machine — repair, return or simple transit — ensuring that it’s packed properly to limit damage is key.

In this series of videos, we asked a member of our shipping crew, Spencer, to guide us through the best practices for three general styles of espresso machines: Small (under 35lbs), large (over 35lbs) and superautomatics (watch those drip trays!). Check out the video that most closely matches your style of machine to learn how the pros do it.

Episode One: Packing a Small (Under 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Two: Packing a Large (Over 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Three: Packing a Superautomatic Espresso Machine

Crew Review: DeLonghi Gran Dama 6620 Superautomatic Espresso Machine

DeLonghi Gran Dama 6620One of the things we love the most about DeLonghi’s superautomatic espresso machines is their sleek styling. The new Gran Dama 6620 is no exception — and it’s been updated to reduce the noise while grinding coffee beans and to increase the temperature of your automatically frothed milk.

Watch Gail walk us through all of its features, show off its internals and demonstrate how well it performs by making a cappuccino. If you’re in the market for a superautomatic loaded with features and encased in gorgeous brushed metal, the 6620 should definitely be on your list for consideration.

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Single, Hx and Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Next in our series of the crew’s favorite picks covers the world of traditional espresso machines. Find out which single, heat exchange and double boiler machines the team digs.


Single Boiler Espresso Machines


Heat Exchange Espresso Machines


Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Compare: Espresso Machines under $300

You don’t actually have to break the bank to pick up an espresso machine, love. In fact, there are several great options under the $300 mark that will produce great shots and steamed milk so that you can easily craft your favorite espresso drinks at home.

We asked Jess and Teri to choose a few of their favorites within this price bracket and they selected DeLonghi’s EC155, Saeco’s Poemia & Aroma and Krups’ XP5280. Watch them discuss the features and specs of each of these machines, how they compare and what they do and don’t like about them.

SCG’s Most Popular Coffee Gear – 2012

Even if you don’t buy into New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about little ways to improve your quality of life and that of those around you. (We know what you’re like without your morning coffee. It’s okay, this is a safe place.) Why not start with a commitment to make better coffee in 2013? Here’s a list our best selling gear from last year to help you get started!

Under $500
Saeco Aroma Black – $229 Stainless Steel – $259
Compact and durable, the Aroma is a great entry-level espresso machine. It’s extremely easy to use, and the pressurized portafilter and included pod adapter will have you brewing with E.S.E. pods, pre-ground espresso, or freshly ground beans with ease.

Saeco Via Venezia Black – $299 Stainless Steel – $349
The Via Venezia and Aroma share the same internals therefore they function almost identically, but the Via Venezia offers some slight improvements: larger capacity water reservoir (98 oz), steam wand with more mobility, and more clearance between the drip tray and brew head so you can brew into larger cups. This little workhorse will keep you caffeinated with no problems.

Breville Infuser BES840XL – $499.95
The Infuser is the only espresso machine in this price range to offer an internal PID, and while it’s not programmable, it stabilizes the brew temperature for perfect shot extraction. With built-in pre-infusion, commercial style steam wand, and compact stainless casing, you’ll be proud to have this on your counter top.

Under $1000
Rancilio Silvia – $629 with PID – $879
Simple, reliable, durable. The Silvia is one of the best sellers in the home espresso market and it’s a great machine on which to hone your craft since you’ll need to be precise with your grind and tamp. Upgrade to the installed PID version for programmable temperature control.

Saeco Syntia SS Superautomatic – $849
The Syntia is a compact and stylish superauto that offers the convenience of automatic espresso brewing paired with manual milk steaming – perfect for folks who order extra-hot lattes. With Saeco’s removable brew group and Intenza water filter system, it’s also easy to maintain and a great option for those who need a little extra help in the morning. ☺

Crossland CC1 – $699 (now 10% off!)
A PID comes standard with this single boiler, which let’s you customize brew and steam temperature, pre-infusion time, and volume. We love the stainless steel casing, thermo-block enhanced steam to switch quickly between brewing and steaming, and the programmability for this price point.

Under $1500
Breville Double Boiler – $1199.95
When you’re ready to brew and steam simultaneously, you’re ready for this bad boy. With an easy to use interface, you can program the electronic PID with extraction temperatures, volumetric control, and pre-infusion duration.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar – $1050
If you think you need a dual boiler for simultaneous brewing and steaming, think again. Heat exchangers like the Oscar provide similar benefits at a lower price point. This machine has great steam pressure, a large water reservoir, and is also available as a direct connect machine. It’s available in a sexy metallic red as well – vroom vroom.

DeLonghi 23450SL -$1499.95
This is one of DeLonghi’s newer superautomatics on the market, and if you are a bleary eyed zombie before your morning java, you will appreciate its one-touch functionality. It produces some of the hottest coffee we’ve seen from superautos.

Under $2000
Saeco Exprelia -$1899
This one-touch dual boiler is streamlined and compact, and we love that if offers both one-touch functionality for auto-frothing milk or manual steaming with a stainless steel steam wand – no panarellos here. Right now we are offering a year’s supply of coffee with the purchase of a new Exprelia!

Rocket Cellini Premium Plus – $1799 Giotto Premium Plus – $1899
Hand craftsmanship, a commercial grade E61 brew head and high polished stainless steel seduce many an espresso lover to bring the Cellini or Giotto Premium Plus into their lives. You’ll be extracting delicious shots and impressing all your friends with this one.

Sky’s the Limit
Rocket R58 – $2699
You’re ready to take it to the next level with this powerhouse. The dual boilers work independently to stabilize the espresso boiler, and maximize steam pressure without compromising shot quality.

Saeco Xelsis – $2999 or Xelsis ID – $3199
The only thing missing from these superautomatics is the ability for them to read your mind…coming in 2015 (Just kidding!) Right now you’ll have to be satisfied with the ID’s fingerprint recognition technology to access your drink profile and create beverages at the touch of a button.

Izzo Alex Duetto II – $2250 Duetto III – $2495
This dual boiler has commercial quality components, electronic PID control, and the option to plumb into your water line. It’s new older brother, the Duetto III offers an upgraded fit and finish, larger drip tray, and stainless steel cup rails. Both solid performers can take your java to the next level.