Every good home barista needs an exceptional espresso machine, but not all of us have the budget or counter real-estate to buy and store a high-end piece of equipment.
That’s where the De’Longhi EC155 comes to the rescue. This affordable, easy-to-use machine won’t take up too much space on the counter. We’re pretty impressed with it, especially for beginner brewers. Read on to learn why.
Before we get too far, let’s point out a few things everyone in the espresso machine market should consider before buying.
Espresso makers come in a range of price points with a variety of features. Some are made for customization that a more advanced barista can take advantage of. Others are built with simplicity and basic function in mind.
Espresso machines like the De’Longhi EC155 are ideal for budding baristas ready to move past the standard drip or French Press.
An affordable machine like this one allows you to brew your espresso at home and avoid the line at your local coffee shop. And, it’s easy to use, which means you won’t have to fluster and fumble your way through a bunch of customizable parts.
There are other things you should consider before buying an espresso machine, like build materials and brew quality (obviously!).
The De’Longhi EC155 is one of our favorite espresso machines to recommend for coffee novices. It makes decent espresso and has been a market favorite for over a decade, especially amongst those seeking affordable home brewing options.
That said, it’s not perfect. It’s hard to serve more than one person, as it takes a long time to reheat (upwards of 15 minutes). And, the build material is mostly plastic, which makes the machine less durable.
The De’Longhi EC155 will easily brew a cappuccino or espresso, saving you a trip to your local coffee shop. And buying it won’t break the bank or deplete much in the way of counter space.
But, more advanced espresso brewers may be disappointed with the lack of power in its vibratory pump. The pump does fine with standard grinds, but ultra-fine grinds provide a challenge. The machine pump just doesn’t have enough power to push hot water through them, which can lead to clogs.
- Compact design saves counter space
- Affordable price
- Ideal functionality for entry-level espresso connoisseurs
- Uses coffee pods or ground coffee for convenience
- Doesn’t hold temperature between brews, making serving more than one person a challenge
- Mostly plastic build so won’t last as long as metal machines
- Small vibratory pump lacks power
Now that we have a general idea of why we like the De’Longhi EC155 and who it’s best suited for, let’s zoom in on precisely what this budget-friendly espresso maker has to offer.
A compact design is one of the primary reasons we love the De’Longhi EC155. It’s 7 inches wide and 8.25 inches deep, which makes fitting it on your countertop a breeze. And, it weighs under 10 lbs (7 lbs and 2 ounces, to be exact), which means you can move it around for cleaning without a problem.
Unlike more expensive models, the De’Longhi EC155 is mostly made of plastic. While high-end espresso machines feature stainless steel builds, the De’Longhi has only a few metal pieces, like the drip-tray and steam wand.
Aesthetically, the De’Longhi EC155 doesn’t bring much to the table. It looks like a typical, small-scale espresso machine and isn’t exceptionally eye-catching. We don’t need it to be though, we really just need it to brew good cup of coffee. And that, it doesn’t seem to have a problem with.
Simplicity is at the core of the De’Longhi EC155, and that’s especially true when it comes to its few controls. As a self-priming machine, all you have to do is plug it in and pick your mode of operation.
The large front dial, or “selector knob” as De’Longhi calls it, has four pre-marked functions to choose from:
- Espresso Brewing
Next to the selector knob is a temperature indicator light. It turns green when the water is hot enough for brewing and red when it’s not.
Above all that, on the machine’s top is a steam control knob. Turning it gives you the power to increase or decrease steam flow from the machine’s attached steam wand. That way, you get your preferred level of frothy foam each time.
One of the major differences between plain coffee and espresso is pressure. So, for the De’Longhi EC155 to impress us when it comes to brewing, its ability to pressurize needs to be on point.
And it is. Given how affordable this machine is, we’re happy to report it operates at 15 bars of pressure. The industry standard for espresso machines is only 9 bars of pressure, but many believe that the 15 bar pump is the key to creating exceptional espresso shots.
That said, the De’Longhi EC155 isn’t as powerful as higher-end espresso machines. The pump is small, and, as we noted above, the machine may struggle with ultra-fine grinds.
Some scientists are challenging the idea that the best espresso requires super-fine grinds, anyways. So, you’ll have to decide whether the EC155’s lack of power is truly a problem or not.
As you might expect, the EC155 comes with a portafilter. On one side, it has a rubber-coated metal handle for easy gripping; on the other sits a basket to contain and brew your coffee grounds.
With the portafilter, De’Longhi includes two metal filters, one for single-shot espresso and one for doubles. These drop easily into the portafilter basket. Then, you screw the portafilter into the group head at the center of the machine.
Overall, the filters are exactly what we expect to find in an espresso machine of this caliber.
We have to point out that you can use pods or freshly ground beans with EC155. Pods are super convenient on busy mornings, so we’re not entirely against them. Though, we’d be remiss not to mention that fresh ground beans always brew a superior shot.
There’s nothing more frustrating on a coffee maker of any kind than a water reservoir that’s hard to fill or maintain. With the De’Longhi EC155, that’s far from the case.
Its flat bottomed water reservoir stands by itself on the counter or in the sink, making refilling easy.
The reservoir can hold up to 35 oz of water, so you shouldn’t have to refill it all that often. Thirty-five oz works out to about a dozen espresso shots.
Also known as a steam wand, the swivel jet frother will inject steam into your espresso shots, turning them into delightful lattes or cappuccinos.
We think the swivel jet frother does a decent job. It works well for espresso beginners, but it’s far from our ideal steam wand.
For one thing, pulling espresso and frothing milk requires two separate temps. The De’Longhi EC155 accomplishes this with two thermostats, which is nice. But, it still takes time to come to temperature between the two processes, which can be annoying if you’re making more than one drink.
We also wish the length of the steam wand was a little longer. As it sits, it tends to make a mess. We suggest having a kitchen cloth or paper towel on stand-by!
All that said, the swivel jet frother is easy to use. You twist and turn the top knob to your preferred frothing function. Then simply place the wand head below the milk and pour your cup of espresso over the top.
Taking care of the De’Longhi EC155 doesn’t take much. The removable water tank and drip tray are dishwasher safe. The stainless steel boiler can just be wiped down with a wet paper towel, simple as that!
The portafilter is relatively easy to clean as well, as easy as any other portafilter we’ve seen, in any case. We think the dual function filter really helps with the portafilter cleaning process.
And, the EC155 does have an indicator alarm light that will turn on when the machine needs descaling. Descaling is a manual process, but it’s not exactly hard. Staying on top of it means better-tasting coffee and a longer-lasting machine. So, when the light turns on, we don’t suggest ignoring it.
You can watch a quick video on setting up, using, and caring for the De’Longhi EC155 here if you’re curious.
We’re pretty impressed with the De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Machine, but it’s not for everyone. If you love the De’Longhi brand but want a higher-end option, check out our review of the best De’Longhi machines.
Or, maybe you want something affordable, but the EC155 isn’t quite right. We have a full review of espresso machines for under $200.
The De’Longhi’s compact size and easy-to-use design make it perfect for espresso newbies who don’t want to spend too much. That’s why we love recommending it to home baristas who are just starting out.
Investing in a machine like this one won’t break the bank, but it will let you enjoy limitless espresso shots and other coffee drinks from the comfort of your kitchen. If you’re a newbie espresso connoisseur, we bet you’ll be completely smitten!