There are coffee makers, and then there are coffee makers. The De’Longhi Magnifica is one way to bring the technology of the finest coffee shops right into your kitchen. It’s a significant investment, but if you’re serious about coffee, it could be time. Let’s take a look at the features and capabilities of the Magnifica to see if it’s time for you to upgrade.
Espresso machines deliver bold, intense flavor, but they do have a learning curve to operate, and more importantly, clean. You have to balance the fancy features of an automatic espresso machine with where you are on that learning curve, or it could sit in your kitchen, gathering dust.
The first thing – do you want an integrated grinder or not? If you already have an excellent burr grinder, you may save some space and some money. Second, do you have a frother you love, or do you need one integrated onto your espresso machine? These extra features are convenient but not always necessary if you have the tools you love.
Water capacity is also essential, but most machines have reservoirs for up to eight cups. Instead, look for machines that are straightforward to keep clean. You’ll have to disassemble the machine after each use to clean and dry the parts to prevent buildup and mold.
Look at your storage choices as well. Keeping it on your counter is ideal so that it moves as little as possible. Plus, check the durability of the parts if you plan to make espresso every day for more than one person. You’ll want a machine that doesn’t overheat with some use.
The De’Longhi Magnifica is an automatic espresso maker designed to cut down on the learning curve by simplifying the entire espresso-making process. It’s one of the few super-automatic options available to you for less than most competitive models.
It integrates several steps into one to provide a fast and reliable cup of espresso or cappuccino with a smaller footprint than other bulky machines. You do lose some control over the little details, but it’s a good investment for beginners or the super busy. With durable, dial style knobs that won’t break down like digital, it’s easy to adjust and reliable.
Things We Like:
- It offers a compact footprint at just 15 inches by 11 inches by 14 inches.
- The stainless steel double boiler only requires descaling a few times a year.
- It’s suitable for beginners and busy cappuccino drinkers.
- Relatively affordable in the world of home espresso machines.
- It contains a removable brewing unit for replacement and easy cleaning.
Room for Improvement:
- The machine is loud during operation.
- The pump doesn’t work as well with finer grind settings.
- Heated cup tray is weak.
- You don’t have as much control over the smaller settings (for those coffee connoisseurs out there)
The automatic espresso maker provides a small footprint and an affordable option for homeowners to make espresso. It’s an all in one, one-touch option with reliable results. Let’s take a look at what the De’Longhi has to offer.
The De’Longhi saves some money right off the bat with a plastic, stainless-like exterior. It retains the look of professional espresso machines, but there’s no doubt that this isn’t stainless.
That said, the silver-colored body and minimal display design are still eye-catching and provide a simple, stylish option for most kitchens.
The water reservoir holds sixty ounces of water, plenty to entertain the entire block. Most machines have a backloading reservoir, but you access the Magnifica’s from the front – a convenient upgrade when you need to refill fast.
The Magnifica comes with a conical burr grinder. It’s not ceramic-like most high-end grinders, but it gets the job done better than your blade grinder. It includes 14 different settings, each of which works well. It doesn’t do well with an oily bean, but it performs excellently with a medium-roast.
The grinder is loud no matter what the manufacturer says, but this is to be expected from most espresso machines. And while it will give you a really fine grind, the rest of the tool may not be able to keep up with some of the lowest settings.
The bean hopper holds 12 ounces of ground beans ready to use. This is acceptable storage capacity for this type of machine.
There’s no water filter with this model, so you must account for how hard your water is on your own. You can use a test strip to determine this, or you can call your water company directly to find out.
Harder water means you’ll have to decalcify the machine more often, but you can get around this by using filtered water. And because of the general design of the machine, you still may not have to descale as often as you might with other machines.
The pump is rated up to 15 bars of pressure. You only need about nine to make a cup of espresso, so this machine provides plenty of power. However, the pump doesn’t work as well with finer grind settings, so you may have to experiment with what works best based on your chosen bean and your chosen grind setting.
Two separate boiler systems provide power for your shot and for your steamer to reduce wait times. It’s a relatively seamless system that offers easy results in less time.
De’Longhi chose a simple display design for the Magnifica. It features just two different knobs, one for dose size and one for water serving, and a few indicator lights. You can quickly choose the size and strength of your espresso with durable dial knobs, and lights tell you when power is on, descale happens, and a few other essential things.
It also has a one-shot and two-shot choice on the front. Two shots give you a double dose of whatever you chose with your water indicator. The strength of two shots at once isn’t quite as good as one, so picky drinkers may want to stick with the one-shot option.
You don’t have to use the beans from the burr grinder. You can add in your own ground beans using the bypass doser on top of the machine by using the lift-up hatch between the hopper and the warming tray.
The top of the machine is designed to help keep your cups warm, but don’t worry. It doesn’t get hot enough to present a burn hazard at all. It would be nice if it got a little warmer so that it would actually keep coffee warm. That’s a bit of a letdown.
The steam wand does offer reliable service. The directions indicate not to use whole milk with the steam wand, so be aware of that potential issue. However, it does provide reliable results and, with some practice, should be plenty for your coffee needs.
It’s Panarello style, which pulls in air from tiny holes on the side of the wand to inject into your milk. It comes with a plastic sheath over the stainless pipe, which makes it easy to clean, but it doesn’t look as high end as some professional machines.
You can decide how long the machine waits before automatically turning off. The default is two hours, but that’s a bit long. It’s easy to program it to suit your lifestyle, from 15 minutes to three hours.
You can also adjust the temperature from the factory settings for both your milk frother and your water. The factory settings are suitable for most people, but you may want to experiment to find the right setting for you. Despite its small size, it does heat pretty quickly, even for the milk frother, so there may not be much to adjust.
The catch tray helps keep your counter clean by catching any remnants of grounds. It’s simple to remove and to clean.
The adjustable spigot helps reduce drips and spills by adjusting to the exact size of your coffee mug or cup. It has a few different settings to accommodate most cup sizes.
One of the most significant and most attractive features of this particular machine is the ease of cleaning. This is how it happens:
- Clean the brewing unit – it’s fully removable, so get it out and run it under hot water in your sink (never put it in the dishwasher), and you’re done.
- Clean the steam wand – Wipe the wand with a damp cloth and turn it on to remove any trace of leftover milk. The steam can cause severe burns, so be cautious during this process.
- Descale – A few times a year, depending on how hard your water is, descale the machine according to the directions to remove buildup.
- Water tank and catch tray – Clean both of these regularly and allow the water reservoir to dry completely before replacing.
- Make sure you clean the machine after each use to ensure that there’s no buildup or mold in the pieces.
The De’Longhi Magnifica is a wonderful machine for beginners and those who need a durable but straightforward machine for their countertop. It features a simple display that makes it easy to customize your espresso or cappuccino and convenient features like a front-loading reservoir.
You aren’t going to get the number of customizations that you might with a higher-end machine, but it’s one of the only superautomatic espresso machines on the market at this price point. It’s a good investment for anyone who wants a more straightforward way to get that barista-quality espresso in the mornings.
If this machine doesn’t quite hit the spot for you, there are few other things you might consider:
If you prefer more intuitive controls, the improved Micro 9 offers a futuristic design, a sophisticated interface that allows you to customize your controls for actual one-touch brewing. It’s just as easy to clean as the Magnifica and offers the same space-saving footprint.
The Micro 9 is a bit complex for a beginner. While the controls are intuitive and offer plenty of customization, they aren’t fully digital, giving them a bit of a throwback look to the days of 1980s calculators.
This Breville espresso maker is a top of the line, professional espresso machine capable of delivering barista like results with nearly infinitesimal tweaks. It brews traditional style espresso, so there’s no brew head or dregs container. It’s a super-automatic espresso machine that provides plentiful tweaks and allows you convenience when you’re in a hurry and more control when you want something more elaborate.
The downside is that it’s a much more significant investment. However, the parts are made from high-end materials, and the settings alone provide you plenty of creative options. If you have experience with making espresso, you may be ready for this tier.
Mr. Coffee offers a simple option for beginners who want an affordable automatic espresso maker with a few bells and whistles. The construction is plastic, and it has some cheaper parts to help bring down the price. However, if you don’t know much about brewing espresso, this could be a reliable machine to get over that learning curve.
Mr. Coffee sometimes has a reputation for lower-end coffee appliances, but their strong reputation is unmatched. Before you invest in an ultra-expensive machine, Mr. Coffee could be an excellent way for you to get your feet wet.
Choosing the right espresso machine doesn’t have to be complicated. An automatic espresso machine can make your morning coffee a lot easier. The De’Longhi Magnifica offers capability and space-saving design. It’s easy to clean and has intuitive controls for beginners and proficient espresso makers.
It’s an all-around, reliable choice for a variety of skill levels. It’s in the more affordable price range for this type of machine, helping to bring the capability of espresso to kitchens everywhere.