The last 30 years or so has seen the UK’s high street filled with coffee shops whether it be Starbucks or Costa or a local independent.
Instead of just throwing a spoon of instant coffee into a cup and drinking it down to get the caffeine kick to see us through to the end of the day we have now learned to treat drinking coffee as an experience in the same way as a good bottle of wine.
95 million cups of coffee are consumed every single day in the UK. That is a lot of coffee.
One-third of us own a coffee machine of some description and it is rising all the time.
Delonghi is the undisputed King of the coffee machine world. Over one-third of all the money spent is on Delonghi coffee machines.
What is it that puts Delonghi head and shoulders above everyone else?
At its core the answer is pretty simple. They understand what the customer wants and they give it to them.
Previously well-established brands like Gaggia have lost their way with overpriced products which can no longer be supported by just the brand name alone.
Essentially there are 4 different types of coffee machine available. We have excluded cafetiere and traditional stove top for the purposes of the article as they are manual coffee machines:
- Filter Coffee Machines
- POD Coffee Machines
- Pump Espresso Coffee Machines
- Bean To Cup Coffee Machines
Delonghi has all of these covered but where they really stand out is with their range of pump Espresso machines and bean to cup coffee machines.
People are becoming sick and tired of paying north of £3 for a coffee on the high street but they still want to enjoy the quality at a more affordable price.
That’s is exactly what you will get from Delonghi and the main reason why they dominate the coffee machine market.
They have a product to suit all budgets and all needs. It just depends on the level of convenience that you are looking for.
You can spend a couple of grand on one of Delonghi’s state of the art bean to cup coffee machines but in our opinion, if you want to replicate a coffee shop experience in the comfort of your own home you don’t need to spend anywhere near that.
Bean to cup machines are exactly that – you press a button and the coffee goes from “bean to cup”. The machine will grind the whole beans and deliver it straight to your cup without you doing a thing. Depending on the machine it will even add milk and produce a cappuccino or Latte.
However, think about what they do in the local coffee shop. They don’t do that and there is a reason. Coffee tastes best when 8 grams of coffee per serving goes through a separate grinder and is then “tamped” or pressed down with just the right amount of pressure before being inserted into a coffee machine to have water pushed through the coffee at 15 bars of pressure, slowly, in order to produce the perfect coffee.
Which Delonghi coffee machine is best?
It depends on what you want. If you are happy to do a few minutes preparation our recommendation is to get a separate grinder so that you can grind the coffee just right and then a stand-alone pump espresso machine. You can get a great grinder and a great espresso machine for less than a bean to cup and it will do a better job because you are more in control.
That is what Starbucks, Costa and Café Nero do and so should you if you want a great cup of coffee.
Delonghi have this covered at very reasonable prices as well. Here are a couple of options to consider:
This is one of the best value burr coffee grinders out there and the main reason is the price. Its been around for a good few years now and the price has come down dramatically in that time.
The beans get crushed in between 2 discs or “burrs” to ensure consistent grind fineness every time. You can choose from 16 different grind settings and grind anything from 1 to 12 cups worth at one time and represents great value for money.
If you are looking for the most cost-effective way to get a great tasting espresso made in the same way as a coffee shop and you don’t want to break the bank doing so then this entry-level espresso machine is a great place to start.
It is incredibly easy to use with a central dial that you turn to start the flow of water through your coffee and then you turn it back into the middle to turn it off. Turn the dial to the right for extra hot water for a long black drink such as Americano. Use the steam lever on the side of the machine to heat and froth up milk if your drink of choice is a cappuccino or latte.
For smaller worktops or smaller spaces, something a little more compact like this is the way to go. At just 15cm wide it will fit into almost any space and has some automation that the ECP3121 above does not have. Simply press either the one cup or two cup button on the front of the machine and coffee delivery will start and stop automatically. Use the steam wand to heat and froth milk.
Either of the above two espresso machines are a great option if you are happy to grind your own beans and spend a few minutes making your coffee but if you don’t have the time or the inclination to prepare your own espresso, cappuccino or latte then Delonghi really come into their own with a wide range of bean to cup machines that cater for everyone no matter what your needs.
Which is the best Delonghi bean to cup coffee machine?
There are 3 categories when it comes to bean to cup coffee machines and then various specifications within each category:
- Manual controls to manage the amount of coffee and water that goes into the cup
- Digital controls that allow you to fine-tune your preferences a little more
- Digital controlled machines that also include a milk carafe for fully automatic drinks
Whether you control the drink that you want by turning a couple of dials to control the amount of coffee delivered and the amount of water or whether you want an all singing all dancing digital display that allows you to bespoke and pre-programme exactly what you want Delonghi have something suitable in every category.
For ultimate value for money, this manually controlled machine will freshly grind the beans for you and you can control the coffee strength and water amount. This is no-frills automatic coffee making at its best. Once you have tweaked the settings to your liking you literally press one button to have a single or double espresso delivered from freshly ground coffee beans. This is certainly the easiest way to get a fresh cup of coffee.
The water container is removable for easy refilling, the coffee bean container holds up to 200g of beans, there are 13 different levels of grind fineness to select from the built-in coffee grinder and more.
This is one of Delonghi’s best selling bean to cup coffee machines with many thousands of happy customers.
This is our highest rated Delonghi bean to cup coffee machine. The reason it is rated so highly is that the features on this machine allow you to do everything that you would ever need to do to make the perfect cup of coffee.
Change the temperature of the water? Yes. Choose how much coffee gets ground and how fine or coarse the grind is? Yes. Personalise the amount of coffee that goes into your cup? Yes.
You can easily pay double the price and get less personalisation and fewer features than you do with this machine.
This is one of Delonghi’s mid-range bean to cup coffee machines. Just by looking at it you can see that it has premium written all over it. The full fronted stainless steel finish exudes class and quality.
If you are looking for a cup of coffee that comes as close as possible to what you get in a high street coffee shop but you have no time to mess about with preparation, the numerous default settings on the ECAM 44.620.S will fine-tune your espresso-based drink without any programming and have you drinking cappuccino’s, latte’s within minutes making you wonder how you ever paid £3 for one in a coffee shop.
You get 5 settings for coffee strength, 5 settings for the amount of water you want delivered and 4 temperature settings so you can be assured that every possible combination is already covered out of the box.
Once you go through those and get used to the machine you also have the option to pre-programme the strength, amount of water and temperature and fine-tune even further if you want. No stone is left unturned with this coffee machine.
This version has a manual frother to heat and froth milk exactly how you want it but it does come with a milk carafe as well if you want full automation.
The core functionality of this machine is very similar to the ETAM 29.510 above except the layout is slightly different and there are slightly less default coffee selections but it is still fully programmable allowing you to tailor each coffee to exactly how you like it. If you can pick this up for around the £300 mark then it is well worth considering.
If you are looking for full automation then this machine really does represent outstanding value for money. Select your drink of choice via the LCD display on the front of the machine and your cappuccino or latte will be delivered with the press of just one button. The milk carafe is removable so you can keep it fresh in the fridge after each use. This machine has been around for a few years and you can pick it up for less than half the price that it was selling for then.
Coffee machine technology has not developed much over the last few years but this machine has more than halved in price making this an amazing price for a fully automated bean to cup coffee machine. There are far more expensive machines that do exactly the same thing as this one.
So when asking the question if Delonghi coffee machines are the best we think the answer is yes and we will quantify that a bit further and put it into context. There are better coffee machines out there but they cost an awful lot more money.
Delonghi coffee machines are the best because they represent superb value for money. You will not find better coffee machines on the market that can as closely replicate a coffee shop coffee for the money than a Delonghi machine.
What it boils down to is that whatever you are looking for and whatever your budget there really is no need to look further than Delonghi’s excellent range of coffee machines.