When you first dip your toe into the home espresso-making water, it can be Overwhelming. With a capital O. There are a plethora of espresso makers all waxing lyrical about their complicated sounding features and ever-increasing price tags. So how do you know where to start?
That’s where our DeLonghi EC155 review comes in.
If you like to drink espresso, cappuccino, or latte then you’re in the right place for choosing your perfect coffee maker. But if you prefer drip coffee or pour over then you’ll need to keep looking. This isn’t an expensive espresso machine so if you’re in the market for something budget-friendly and uncomplicated, the EC155 will be worth every cent. Even if it isn’t perfect.
We have scoured the internet for all the De’Longhi EC155 reviews to collate with our own, so we have the most comprehensive review you can find. Whilst not all home coffee experts give numerical scores, we have averaged these out. Therefore, you can get a consensus opinion on how good it really is and know for sure if it is the right cheap espresso machine for you. So let’s dive right in:
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At a Glance: DeLonghi EC155 Review
If you’re in the market for your first espresso machine or shopping on a budget, the DeLonghi EC155 is a great well-rounded option.
As an automatic espresso machine, you can enjoy dark roast coffee, cappuccino, or lattes from the comfort of your own home.
DeLonghi espresso machines have a reputation for being well-made. And their budget offering, the EC155 15 BAR pump espresso maker, is no exception.
You can expect a classic design and simple interface which will satisfy most people who are simply looking for a good quality espresso. Good. But not great.
If you’re looking for a more barista-esque, immersive experience, you will likely be frustrated by the lack of control over temperature and pressure. However, the EC155 is really aimed at the beginner home barista, not the expert or perfectionist.
- 15 bar pressure
- Can use pods or grounds
- Swivel jet milk frother
- Great value for money
- Good for beginners
- Includes a cup warmer
- Dual thermostats for steam and water consistency
- Large water tank
- Short frothing wand
- Frothing wand on the left (not a con for lefties)
- Plastic exterior
- 15-year-old design (although periodic improvements)
- Easy to over-twist the filter and jam the machine
- Need space to clean
- Inconsistent espresso brewing
- Not great for light or medium roast beans
Priming is the process of forcing water through the system to remove any air before you start using your machine. Why? It ensures you have the correct, consistent pressure and that your machine won’t splutter at you.
With most espresso machines at the budget end, you have to do this manually. However, the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker has a self-priming feature so you don’t have to worry about it before starting the espresso brewing process.
This means that it’s always ready to go when you need your coffee. It’s a great feature and one which is particularly useful for that sleepy first coffee cup of the day.
2. Use Pods or Grounds
Another feature to make life a bit easier is that, in addition to ground coffee, you can use E.S.E. pods.
E.S.E. stands for Easy Serving Espresso pods. Basically, a whole range of coffee options that are already ground, dosed, and packaged into helpful capsules, opening up the world of easy coffee opportunities for you.
Which of these options is best really comes down to what you prefer for making your espresso. It’s a useful and uncommon feature that makes the EC155 a rare espresso machine find. It will keep your mornings quick and stress-free if you’re in a hurry or if you prefer not to have to manually grind your coffee each time.
3. Easy-to-Use Dial
With the De Longhi EC155, there is no complex interface with gadgets and gizmos to get your head around. Instead, there is a simple system with one dial to control everything you need. So, it’s the perfect home espresso machine for beginners and more advanced users alike.
4. Steamer Wand
As an entry-level espresso machine, a milk steam wand isn’t a guarantee. So having one gives you greater flexibility and allows you to get your creative juices flowing. Using the swivel jet frother, you can create all your favorite milky espresso-based drinks from home. And you can work on your latte art to rival your favorite coffee shops.
Don’t get us wrong, compared to single-serve, at the touch of a button machines, this isn’t the easiest espresso machine. But as semi-automatics go, it’s a clean, simple interface where you can control the amount of water used to pull your shot.
As the machine comes with a self-priming function, you merely have to turn it on and you are ready to go. With just a single dial for controlling your espresso output, there is little room for error once you’ve got the hang of it.
Having the flexibility to use E.S.E. pods as well as ground coffee beans is superb. The EC155 is definitely aimed at the amateur home barista, looking to easily enjoy espresso-based drinks without being tied to the big chains. With this coffee maker, there is no need to spend hours perfecting temperature, pressure, timings, and technique like you would with a manual espresso machine.
The large water tank means you don’t have to refill often. Plus, the water level indicator lets you know how much more coffee you can make before refilling.
It’s worth noting that the frothing wand is a tad short which can make milk frothing awkward. Plus, the steam dial is on top of the machine which isn’t ideal either. These are, however, not big problems and you’ll soon get used to the dial’s location and steamer size.
The biggest drawback is the steamer location on the left of the machine. If you are right-handed, it is very easy to accidentally touch the hot parts.
Once you get the knack for the steamer location, you can easily create your much-loved milk-based coffees. To create lattes and cappuccinos, insert the wand slightly below the surface of your milk, adding steam to it.
Unlike with a super automatic espresso machine, there is no built-in grinder. So, if ground coffee is your preference you will have to grind it yourself or buy pre-packaged ground coffee. For the best flavor and quality, we would always recommend buying a separate grinder and grinding just before brewing.
However, most coffee roasters will also happily grind them for you. Plus, they can give you tips on keeping your espresso grind fresh.
Having the option to use E.S.E. pods is a great addition too. If you don’t feel like putting in any effort or you’re in a rush, getting a high-quality coffee couldn’t be easier. Also, the E.S.E. pods are better for the environment than some other types of pods. Although they’re still not as good as using ground coffee alone.
Having first hit the market over 15 years ago, the EC155 looks and feels like one of the older espresso machine models. It’s a pretty classic look though that should be at home in all but the most modern of kitchens.
If you’re short on counter space, the De’Longhi EC155 is a compact, handy little espresso machine. It sizes up at 10.5″ high, 7″ wide, and 8.25″ deep and is also relatively light at 7lbs 2oz.
Plus, you can feel like a real barista thanks to the portafilter (the part you put the ground coffee into).
The downside is that there’s quite a lot of plastic on the outside making it look a little cheap – which it is! Personally, I don’t think this detracts hugely from the look of the machine but it comes down to personal preference.
As a beginner friendly espresso machine, the 2 dials for controlling both the flow of water and milk frother are easy to use and also fit with the more classic aesthetic.
The internal build quality of the DeLonghi EC155 pump espresso maker is excellent.
De’Longhi has opted for a stainless steel boiler instead of aluminum which is often found in inexpensive espresso machine models. The stainless steel, however, provides a more stable temperature for pulling more consistent espresso shots.
Plus, the 15 bar pump system brews rich tasting espresso coffee thanks to the quality and consistency of the pressure. Although it should be noted that this isn’t enough pressure for extremely finely ground coffee. If you go too fine, you may cause the machine to clog. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for that kind of performance, you need to fork out quite a lot more money.
You also need to be careful not to overtighten the portafilter. If you do, you might find yourself needing an engineer to take apart your machine just to remove the filter.
Overall, the De’Longhi EC155 looks and feels well put together. The big benefit of an espresso maker that hasn’t changed much in 15 years is that they’ve had 15 years to ensure everything works well and lasts.
However, depending on how much of a caffeine hit you need, you can choose either the single or double shot portafilter.
You will have to be choosy in your coffee bean selection:
Anything less than medium-dark will get lost as a result of the 15 bar pressure produced by the DeLonghi EC155 espresso machine. So, it’s not the machine for you if you prefer light or medium roast coffee beans as it will struggle to extract the more delicate notes. Lower pressure is a consistent feature on entry-level and budget espresso machines, so this performance is to be expected in this price bracket.
The lower pressure is also not sufficient for using ultra-fine ground coffee. Although, none at this price point can.
Also, temperature control isn’t the best. So when you’re pulling a few shots, one after the other, the consistency will drop off.
All that said, if you like to drink just one or two dark roast espressos, possibly with a bit of foamed milk, then this will be a very dependable espresso machine for you. And considering the price, the espresso is actually pretty darn good.
So, if you’re reading this DeLonghi EC155 review for the million-dollar question – thumbs up or down for coffee quality? Our answer is: Up! You just have to work within the machine’s limits.
However, the DeLonghi EC155 pump espresso machine does have a cup warmer which is a nice touch. In our (very humble) opinion, pouring a great espresso into a cold cup is a crime and should be treated as such.
Also, not all the best budget espresso machines have a milk frother. So we’ll treat this as an extra bonus feature too. And the swivel jet frother really is one of the best features of this entry-level espresso machine.
When it comes to cleaning the De’Longhi EC155 espresso maker there are just a couple of things to note:
Firstly, there are quite a few parts to clean so this will take up a lot of space when you are descaling. So while it’s a compact, lightweight espresso machine you will need some counter space in order to give it a deep clean.
Also, there are no mechanisms for telling you when you need to descale your machine. However, to keep you right, a good rule is to descale every 100 espressos or so. You may find that it just stops working one day if you leave it too long but this should be easily fixed once it has been descaled again.
The drip tray on which the coffee cups sit is removable. So any spillages can be easily cleaned up too.
Mr Coffee ECMP50
The closest contender to the EC155 is the Mr Coffee ECMP50. It is a tight contest between the two coffee makers, both at the same affordable price point. But, in the battle of Mr Coffee ECMP50 vs DeLonghi EC155, we feel that the DeLonghi comes out on top.
The two espresso and cappuccino makers are comparable in many areas. However, their main differences are:
- The Mr. Coffee machine is dual shot compared to the single-shot De’Longhi
- The DeLonghi EC155 has a smaller footprint, making it easier to fit on your countertop
- The water reservoir on the Mr Coffee ECMP50 is much larger (52oz although advertised as 40oz) than the EC155 (34oz)
- The DeLonghi EC155 can use either pods or grounds, but the Mr Coffee ECMP50 only works with ground coffee
- Higher brew quality on the Delonghi EC155
- The milk frother on the Mr Coffee espresso machine is weak and a little awkward to use
To take a deeper dive, check out our full Mr Coffee ECMP50 review.
De’Longhi EC155 M Espresso Machine
The De’Longhi EC155 vs EC155M comparison is a pretty tightly run race. There are a few upgrades made to the original model that makes the EC155M the slightly better machine though.
All the great features you already moved in the EC155 are still there, but you can expect the following improvements:
- Improved portafilter design that prevents the filter basket from falling out when you’re tapping out the spent coffee puck
- Stainless steel rather than plastic lining which removes any plastic contact with your cup of coffee
- The drip tray has elongated draining holes rather than the polka-dot design of the EC155 which reduces run-off
- The cup warmer is lined rather than dotted although we’re not sure we really see the benefit here
- An ever-so-slightly more ergonomic design of the dials
All-in-all the changes are marginal. So no matter which DeLonghi pump espresso maker you opt for, you will likely not really notice the difference. If you already have the EC155, there would be little point in ‘upgrading’. But, if you are in the market for a great starter home espresso maker for the first time, we would pick the EC155M.
If you keep your eyes peeled, it’s also possible to pick up the improved EC155M for a cheaper price than the EC155.
If you’re looking to make nice espressos or café style drinks like cappuccino or latte at home without breaking the bank, the De’Longhi EC155 has to be near the top of the pile. If not right at the very top.
The quality this great espresso maker offers you is high considering how little maintenance the machine is.
It’s always worth keeping your eyes out for a good deal though as it’s entirely possible you can snap up the slightly improved De’Longhi EC155 M for an even more budget-friendly price.
We hope our DeLonghi EC155 review has convinced you of just how good this little workhorse is. You will struggle to find a simpler espresso machine for such a good price. It really is the perfect place to get into home coffee making.
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