Tag Archives: semi-automatic espresso machine

Face Off: DeLonghi Single Boiler Espresso Machines

Earlier this week, Gail and Kat whet your appetite with an overview of the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Are you still craving more? Wondering about shot performance, steaming functionality and other nuances between these machines? As a newbie to Seattle Coffee Gear, here’s my take on the Delonghi single boilers. Let’s start with the similarities:

Ease of Use: All of the single boilers have the same basic functionality, and are extremely easy to operate. They all use pressurized portafilters and include plastic tampers (all uptamp excluding the kMix).  The EC155 and BAR32 have a dial to power on and select either steam or brew functionality. With the EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix, these were updated to 3 buttons vs the dial. One push (or turn), and you’re good to go!

Shot performance: I used illy Medium Roast Espresso in my testing, and overall shot performance is comparable across these models. I noticed slightly less crema from the EC155, but aroma and shot temperature (130-135 degrees) seemed on par.

Milk Frothing: All of these models come with slightly different panarellos, which make frothing a breeze.  The average time for milk to reach 140 degrees was 45-50 seconds. The panarellos all have limited mobility, and smaller pitchers work best, especially for the EC155 and BAR32.  You won’t get a velvety microfoam from these wands, but there was no difference in foam quality across the board.

Now, on to the differences:

EC155: This has the smallest footprint of the bunch, but with that comes extremely low cup clearance – nothing but a small shot glass will fit under the brew head unless you remove the drip tray. While none of these machines include a solenoid valve, this machine delivered the wettest puck.

Bar 32: The retro styling of this machine is the only thing setting it apart from the EC155, and with that comes slightly higher cup clearance.

EC270: This machine marries the styling of the two previous models – with the studded metal top from the EC155, and the Bar32’s rounded lines. Crossing the $100 threshold gets you a passive cup warmer and a side knob for steam control.

EC702: Stainless steel casing sets this machine apart, and it has the largest footprint of the group. It also delivered the driest puck!

ECO310BK:  If you want rounder lines, a passive cup warmer and a monster drip tray, this is your best bet.

kMix: Its compact design packs a punch with great cup clearance, shorter recovery time between shots and nice build quality. This model also has an upgraded portafilter with rubberized grip.

So, after all this testing, which single boiler would come home with me? It mostly boils down to aesthetics and space. With little counter space to spare, I’m sold on the kMix’s small footprint and cup warmer. For under $200, I’d place my bet on the EC702, but I’m a sucker for stainless and straight lines.

Compare: DeLonghi Single Boiler Espresso Machines

In the market for a little dude? And by ‘little dude’ we mean a small single boiler espresso machine from DeLonghi, of course!

We asked Gail to set these guys up and give us a side-by-side feature set comparison between the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Watch as she breaks it all down into wonderful, bite-sized pieces.

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.


Compare: Entry Level vs. Prosumer Coffee Gear

If you drop serious coin on your home espresso setup, will there be a practical performance difference? What if you spend more on your espresso machine than your grinder or vice versa?

We asked Gail to test out an entry level (Capresso Infinity) and a prosumer (Mazzer Mini E) grinder with an entry level (Krups XP5280) and prosumer (Rocket Giotto Evoluzione V2) espresso machine to see how they compare. Do you get a better shot using a high end grinder with an entry level machine? What about an entry level grinder with a high end machine?

Watch and find out!

Crew Review: Saeco Poemia

It’s the little espresso machine that could! Saeco’s newest small single boiler espresso machine takes design queues from their Xelsis-era of machines and functional queues from the tried-and-true Via Venezia and Aroma.

Watch Gail take us through features, show us how it works and then talk to us about how it compares to its predecessors.

Crew Review: DeLonghi EC702

No muss, no fuss! DeLonghi’s entry level semi-automatic espresso machines offer great features and good value. Sure, they’re not going to win any awards, but did you expect them to? Probably not.

Watch as Gail takes us through the features and functionality of the EC702, a single boiler with a simple interface and metal case.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler

Our long love affair with Rocket Espresso has been taken to a higher level with their newest addition, the R58 dual boiler espresso machine. Featuring separate, insulated copper steam & brew boilers and a removable PID interface to control the steam boiler on/off, brew boiler temperature and the water source (either the internal water reservoir or plumbed-in), the R58 also has a dashing case design and a beautiful stainless steel cup surround.

Seriously, we’re not sure if it can get much better. We need a moment. While we collect ourselves, check out Gail’s from box-to-cappuccino introduction to the R58.

Crew Review: Rancilio Bottomless Portafilter

While we have carried a bottomless portafilter for E61 brew heads that also did work fairly well in the Rancilio Silvia’s brew head, it didn’t seal quite as we might like and so there was often a little bit of water leakage over the top that really was just gauche.

Rancilio released their own version for their commercial machines that fits the Silvia, so we gave it a test drive. We did notice a bit of water leaking over the top, but nothing like the former model. And the spurting/spraying/mini-geysers? There were a few present in Gail’s extraction — more of a fine mist — but that’s just a result of channeling, baby.

Wanna see it in action? Watch Gail demonstrate it on our store’s PID-enhanced Silvia.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Machines – V2

Rocket Espresso has souped up their popular machines with a couple of cool new improvements:

  • Premium Plus — both the Giotto and Cellini models will now have dual manometers, one for the steam boiler and one for the brew head. The boiler has also been insulated to decrease recovery time between shots or steaming.
  • Evoluzione — since the Giotto and Cellini versions already had dual manometers, their background color will be changed to differentiate them from their PP counterparts and the boilers will also be insulated.

Both models will also feature an upgraded stock tamper, as well.

Watch Gail walk us through these new models and demonstrate making a latte.

Compare: Double Boiler Espresso Shots – Izzo, La Spaziale & Breville

For folks that dig precision, a dual boiler espresso machine with PID temperature control of the brew boiler is hard to beat. While we tend to shoot from the hip in general around here, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a shot pulled from one of these beauties!

We asked Gail to pull shots from the Izzo Alex Duetto II, La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi and Breville Dual Boiler so that we could see how they compare. No science at work here, friends (hey, old habits die hard!), but we did use the same grinder for each machine (the Nuova Simonelli MCI), coffee (Lavazza Super Crema) and brew temp (199F) to try to nail down a few of the variables.

Watch as we taste and discuss the shots from each of these machines, then rank them in terms of our favorites, flavor-wise.