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DeLonghi EMK6 Review (AKA the Alicia):
An Upgraded Moka Pot?

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

It’s getting close to 100 years since the launch of the Moka Pot and the start of the Italian espresso obsession. Over the years there haven’t been many attempts to improve the design so we’ve done a DeLonghi EMK6 review to see if DeLonghi has improved on an icon.

The DeLonghi EMK6 (Alicia) takes the guesswork out of brewing with a Moka pot, as well as some of the danger. Some will hate the plastic upper chamber, I don’t really mind it. Its good quality Italian espresso that’s easier than a stovetop version to use. But it is also less durable.

Italian espresso is its own little sub-niche in the coffee world so when we decided to do a DeLonghi EMK6 review it was important to compare the results like for like. We’re after the best coffee possible after all.

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At a Glance: Delonghi EMK6 Review

Delonghi emk6 electric moka pot

The DeLonghi EMK6 makes excellent Italian espresso without you having to look after it while it brews. Having the great Moka pot syle coffee without any concerns about burning the coffee or damaging the pot is great.

You pay extra for this privelige, and it is less portable and more fragile, but then basically everything is more fragile than a Moka pot.

If you love Italian espresso and are happy to pay a little extra for convenience then the DeLonghi Alicia (EMK6) is a superb alternative to the traditional Moka pot.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Brews in 5 minutes
  • Very safe to use
  • Great Italian espresso
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Keep warm feature

Cons

  • Plastic chamber looks cheap
  • Makes 6 small cups, not suitable for groups
  • Not as durable as a Moka pot

Average Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.5/10
  • Coffee Quality: 7.5/10
  • Ease of Cleaning: 7.5/10
  • Our Rating: 7.5/10
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Key Features Review

1. Brew 3 or 6 Cups

The filter adapter allows you to brew either 3 cups (4oz) or the full cups (8oz). Some flexibility if you don’t need a full pot.

Adapter filter laid out in front of DeLonghi Alicia (EMK6)
By fitting the adapter disc, you can switch between a half and full pot of coffee with ease

2. Automatic Shut-Off

Traditional stovetop Moka pots need to be monitored at all times. But, the automatic shutoff on the EMK6 means you can get on with other things safe in the knowledge that your coffee won’t burn or explode.

3. Easy to Serve

The brewing pot is cord-free and detachable meaning pouring your coffee is still easy.

4. Quick

In less than 5 minutes you can have 6 cups of Italian espresso ready to drink. This is faster than many espresso and drip coffee machines.

5. 30 minute “Keep Warm” function

Don’t worry about forgetting about your coffee. The EMK6 will keep your brewed coffee warm for 30 minutes without burning it and ruining the flavor.

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Ease of Use

While you still need to manually fill the basket with coffee. The automated brewing means the DeLonghi Alicia is very easy to use.

Simply fill the basket that sits in the middle of the pot with ground coffee, and add water to the bottom chamber. Screw them together and press the button.

We found it takes just under 5 minutes to brew a full 6-cup pot of coffee. This is pretty fast, drip machines generally make around 1 cup per minute, though their version of a “cup” is larger and weaker, and standard espresso machines take anywhere from 1-5 minutes to warm up to begin with.

Traditional moka pots are slower as heating the bottom of the pot on the stove is far less efficient than the electric heating element in the Alicia.

Its not as simple as a single-serve machine but it is as easy as any drip coffee maker.

There are 2 lines in the bottom chamber to fill to, either the half-pot or full-pot lines. The filter just sits in the basket with half the amount of coffee if you’re making a half pot, very simple again.

When we’re using a traditional Moka pot, we have to keep an eye on it so we don’t burn the coffee or let it dry boil. In extreme, and very rare cases, they have exploded when forgotten about (not ours but some peoples) the DeLonghi EMK6 eliminates this issue.

The DeLonghi EMK6 (Alicia) has just one button
There’s just one button to operate the DeLonghi Alicia
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Does the Delonghi EMK6 Use Beans, Grounds or Pods?

The De’Longhi EMK6 only uses ground coffee. The same style as all other Moka pot coffee makers.

Ideally, you’d be grinding your coffee fresh every morning for your Moka pot. But this does add an extra expense in a coffee grinder that you may not want to spring for. There are some nice budget options such as the Javapresse Manual or the Timemore C3.

But if you’re happy just buying the pre-ground coffee you like then life will be very simple for you. But consider upgrading to freshly ground as the oils that make coffee taste amazing evaporate around 40 minutes after grinding.

Ground coffee in the DeLonghi EMK6's filter basket
Using freshly ground coffee will give you the best results
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Design and Build Quality

One of the big reasons we recommend companies like DeLonghi is the long history of high build quality.

The Looks

De’Longhi has maintained the classic octagonal design from the original 1933 Bialetti Moka pot. However, they made the top half transparent plastic. This is, presumably, so you can see when your coffee is ready. But it does make it look a bit cheap.

Now we get into the thorny subject of plastic in coffee makers. Some people hate it, some people would prefer it wasn’t there but tolerate it. I don’t believe any of the people saying it makes the coffee “taste weird”, ultimately companies use BPA-free plastic because it is cheap and neutral.

Like all things, it all comes down to your preferences. It doesn’t bother me that the top is made of plastic from a flavor standpoint. Just an aesthetic one.

The Build

It comes in at 10.6 inches high by 5.1 inches wide by 8.3 inches deep. This is a very small footprint if you’re short on counter space. We also easily fit it into a cupboard if we didn’t want to leave it sat out, or you don’t have space to leave it sat out.

It is also possible to take it with you on road trips or in your RV. It does weigh nearly 2.5 lbs so I don’t think I’ll be taking it on flights but road trippers and van-lifers can easily accommodate it.

In terms of build quality, everything about the Alicia EMK6 electric espresso maker is sturdily built – as you’d expect from De’Longhi.

The only downside to the electric version over the stovetop Moka pots is the electrics and heating elements will probably break before the stovetop versions would. But the stovetop versions are basically invincible when used right so that’s a tough comparison.

DeLonghi Alicia EMK6 (Electric Moka) sitting on counter in front of the box
After years of use, the boiler of our DeLonghi EMK6 looks a little discolored
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How Good is the Coffee from the Delonghi EMK6?

The Delonghi EMK6 makes very good Italian espresso. It is a very particular style that not everyone likes but you can’t fault the Delonghi on the coffee that it produces.

Italian espresso isn’t “true espresso”. Its brewed at 1 bar pressure rather than the 7-9 needed for what we consider espresso today.

But it is a very rich and syrupy style of coffee, if you feel 8oz isn’t very much then I ask you to drink 8oz of Italian espresso to yourself and then try to sit still.

The flavor is just as good as from the traditional moka pots and maybe better if you’re not very practiced in brewing it, like me.

The nature of how it is brewed will always produce a more bitter style than many other brewing methods but that is kinda the point. It’s its own thing. If you enjoy strong coffee on the bitter side then you’ll love it.

Top down view of the DeLonghi EMK6 (DeLonghi Alicia) making coffee)
The coffee slowly bubbles up into the top chamber
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Bells and Whistles

Surprisingly there are 2 nice features on the DeLonghi Alicia.

The 2 biggest benefits over its stovetop competitors are the “auto-off” and “keep warm” features.

These mean that, unlike traditional stovetop Moka espresso makers, you can set your coffee brewing, and then wander off. Even if you aren’t prone to forgetting about your coffee bubbling away, its nice to be able to do other things while its brewing. You can still stand and stare at it if you prefer.

I’m generally very involved in coffee brewing but these are super handy features to have for busy mornings or just incase you are distracted.

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How to Clean the Delonghi EMK6

Cleaning your Alicia EMK6 is incredibly simple. Although you do need to do it after every use. 

After waiting for it to cool down a bit. I took apart the 2 chambers, emptied the coffee grounds into our recycling and then rinsed out the chambers and filters. Job done in less than 3 minutes.

Make sure there are absolutely no coffee grounds left as they could possibly block the machine. But this isn’t very difficult to do.

While I did have to clean the EMK6 after each use, there isn’t additional cleaning required monthly like descaling or anything. So its a “little and often” type coffee maker rather than “infrequent but deep cleaning”. This is the same as the traditional Moka pot but very different to espresso machines.

All of the DeLonghi Alicia (EMK6) parts laid out for cleaning
It’s quick and easy to clean the EMK6
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DeLonghi Alicia vs Bialetti Moka pot

Really the only coffee makers that brew Italian espresso, so which is best?

This is a relatively simple question as the coffee style and quality are basically identical between these two. You do have slightly more control over a Bialetti moka pot on the stove, but you still need to heat it to a certain temperature in order to brew the coffee so its not vastly different.

The Bialetti has a few advantages over the DeLonghi. It is more durable, it is more portable, it is cheaper, and it comes in many different sizes.

So if you’re looking for the cheapest Italian espresso maker, or you want one that brews more than 8oz of coffee at a time, or you want one you can take camping, or one that will last forever with a little TLC then the Bialetti is the one for you.

The DeLonghi is easier to use and more convenient on a day-to-day basis. Those who are happy to pay a little more to have easier coffee brewing will be very happy with the Alicia (EMK6).

DeLonghi Alicia EMK6 (Electric Moka) sitting on counter in front of the box
The DeLonghi EMK6 (Alicia)
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Bialetti Brikka moka pot sitting on a table
Bialetti Moka Pot
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Final Thoughts

If you like Moka Pot style coffee but don’t want the hassle of having to use a stove – or you don’t have a stove – then this is a superb option.

It has some downsides in comparison to the traditional Italian espresso maker, more expensive, less portable.

But it produces the same great coffee with more ease and convenience. For many, many people this is a great reason to get one.

We enjoyed doing our DeLonghi EMK6 review, though it isn’t our favorite coffee style. As long as you don’t mind the plastic top chamber then it is a great addition to your kitchen, or RV.

Don’t forget to Buy Your De’Longhi EMK6 Alicia Moka Espresso Coffee Maker Today

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Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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