When it comes to a certain morning beverage brewed to wake you up and jolt you into a productive day, there are countless ways to get your daily coffee fix. From coffee concentrate to pour-over to cold brew and a regular ol’ coffee maker, there are so many ways to enjoy your coffee. But what about those high-end espresso machines? Are they worth the exorbitant price tags? I put one to the test for two months, and my answer is maybe. At the end of the day — or, rather, at the beginning of the day? — a premium espresso machine is a luxury indulgence, but if you really love your espresso, then it’s an appliance that’s worth the splurge.
The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte Espresso Machine is what it says it is, a work of art. This machine is beautiful and has a more compact design than larger espresso machines you’re used to seeing at coffee shops, which would be wholly impractical in your average apartment kitchen.
De’Longhi sent SPY this luxe coffee maker for testing, and I decided to review it alongside my coffee junkie boyfriend, who immediately fell in love with it. It’s an impressive machine that makes top-notch coffee, and comes with just enough bells and whistles for you to feel like an aficionado without drowning in technical steps before you’ve had your first cup of the day. In short, if you’re willing to make an investment this machine is more than worth it. Keep reading for my full review.
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At a Glance:
- Eight different grind settings
- Brews single or double espresso shots
- Active temperature control
- LatteArt steam wand for steaming milk
- Detachable parts are dishwasher safe
- Comes with cleaning brush, descaler solution, coffee filters, stainless steel milk frothing jug, tamper
De’Longhi La Specialista Arte Review Criteria
As a coffee connoisseur who landed on this page, we know your most important criteria is the taste of the coffee. Rest assured that this machine can make excellent espresso, and can make it with relatively little involvement from you, the user.
With that being said, here’s the criteria we judged it on:
- Design: How user friendly it is, how it looks and how easy it is to make a consistently good espresso shot with it for the average at-home barista
- Size and Setup: How much space does it take up in your kitchen? Is it simple to set up and use right out of the box?
- Quality of Coffee: How good is the coffee, really?
Overall, I will say that using an espresso machine does require more user involvement and steps than your average coffee maker. There’s some grinding of beans, tampering of the grounds and steaming of milk if you so choose. This machine makes it as easy as possible, but an espresso maker is never going to be as simple as pre-programming a coffee maker the night before and pressing a button, it’s just the nature of the product.
The De’Longhi is a stunning machine. It has a beautiful silver chrome exterior with silicone-padded attachments and smooth edges all over. The buttons shine brightly and the Optimal Zone meter on the front is clear and easy to read. There’s a small compartment for storing coffee beans between uses, and all the labels are clearly marked as well.
The design is super user-friendly. You can make a decent cup of joe with this machine right out of the box, without any of the optional De’Longhi YouTube content or extra instruction. After picking up a few skills and diving into the technical details of it, you can make an excellent cup of coffee with minimal effort every morning. The machine has coffee shop-worthy capabilities and makes it as easy as possible to maximize them. They give you espresso beans so you can make a drink immediately upon opening it or you can use your own.
One slight flaw with the design is the compartment where you store coffee beans on the top is not removable, which makes it a little difficult to clean. However, the tamper device has a guard on it so you get just the right amount of grounds for your espresso shot without spilling them all over the place, a nice touch for an at-home device and users who want to keep their kitchen clean.
Size and Setup
This is one of the best parts of this espresso machine: it’s not massive in size! Many tiny apartment dwellers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York can rejoice in the fact that this machine takes up as little space as possible with a machine of its caliber. Is it as narrow as a one-person Keurig? Absolutely not. Is it impractical if space is at a premium? Also no. You’ll need to give up keeping your air fryer on the counter or having an extra large toaster oven, but it’s totally doable.
The setup is a bit intimidating at first, as there are many extra accessories the machine comes with including espresso cups, the tampering device and a steamer cup for your milk. The machine comes with a quick start guide, that you should read closely, but after you’ve washed out the machine and made your first cup it all gets easier from there.
Quality of Espresso
You need to have good beans, but if you do this machine will make you an excellent shot of espresso, Americano or cappuccino depending on your preference. It also steams milk well and has a specially-designed wand for making latte art easy. If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll adore this machine and everything it can make. You can do minimal research and make a great cup, or deep dive into all of De’Longhi’s materials, learn the ins and outs of optimal temperature zones and concentration ratios and make an excellent cup at home. It meets you where you’re at.
Price and Overall Verdict
Espresso machines, overall, are expensive devices. Because of the technical intricacies and quality of coffee they produce, they’re more expensive as a general product category. This one is a less expensive option that comes with all the capabilities your average coffee drinker needs to satisfy their craving for a higher-end cup. It’s an investment, but the user-friendly design and easy start make it well worth the money if you can afford it. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save at your local coffee shop now that you can make your own high-end drinks at home.