- 15 Bar pump.
- Use ground coffee or E.S.E. pods.
- Stainless steel boiler.
- Two separate thermostats.
- Designed and engineered in Italy.
- 1-year warranty.
De’Longhi EC155 is a neat machine that can make espresso and cappuccinos from espresso grounds and E.S.E. pods. The 15 Bar pump and stainless steel boiler ensure that the machine will continue to make delicious coffee for years.
I came across the De’Longhi EC155 and liked the size and look of it. The coffee machine had also all the features and functions I wanted. The only thing left was to try to persuade my wife that we needed a new coffee machine so we can pull espresso shots at home. The steam frother and promises of making lattes made my job persuading her a little bit easier.
The De’Longhi EC155 is a neat espresso and cappuccino maker that takes up minimal space on your kitchen counter. The exterior is mainly made of black plastic, but it has also a shiny stainless steel panel in the front which I think improves the look significantly. The plastic seems to be both thick and strong and the whole machine seems to be well built.
Ground espresso and E.S.E. pods
The De’Longhi EC155 requires minimal preparations before you can start making espresso, but the machine needs, of course, a few minutes to heat up the water. Before I turn on the machine I always just have a quick check of how much water is left. Nothing is more annoying than running out of water when you are making coffee and have to start over again. You can either check the water level window which is conveniently located in the front of the machine or just have a peek in the reservoir itself. I tend to just have a glance at the reservoir when I check how much water is left since I am quite tall and have to bend down to have a good look at the water level window. By lifting up the lid/ cover on top of the machine you will see the water reservoir and a holder for the spare coffee filter/ basket. The water reservoir is removable so if you like you can fill it up under the tap. I think it is as easy to just fill it up with a pitcher where it is sitting in the machine. The capacity of 1 litre (35 ounces) is enough for making/ pulling 8 to 10 espresso shots which I think is quite good.
You can use both ground espresso and E.S.E. pods (Easy Serving Espresso) with this machine. The E.S.E. pods are both convenient and easy to use without much preparation or cleaning. But to be honest, I prefer to use ground espresso, the taste is so much better.
You can choose between two different sized stainless steel filters/ baskets, the smallest one is to make a cup while the larger one can be used if you like to make two cups at once. The spare basket can be conveniently stored under the lid beside the water reservoir so you don’t lose it. The two baskets have also a small valve beneath that mixes air into the espresso as it leaves the basket. De’Longhi claims that this improves the making of the thick foamy layer on top of the espresso, usually called crema. The machine makes a perfect layer of crema so De’Longhi might be right.
Pulling espresso shots
The first thing I do is to turn on the espresso machine by turning the knob while I start preparing the ground espresso and the basket. Heating process takes a few minutes and the machine tells you that it is ready to brew with a green “OK”-light. I recommend waiting a bit longer to make sure the water is properly heated; I usually wait for a minimum of 15 minutes.
The machine has a stainless steel boiler with 1100 watts which were one of the things I looked for when I bought this machine. The steel boiler heats up water for both the brewing process and for the steaming for the milk. This is controlled by two separate thermostats which allow for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately.
Another thing I looked for when I acquired this machine was if it was pump-driven. A steam-driven espresso machine will struggle to get and maintain a high enough pressure to create proper crema. To pressurize its system the De’Longhi EC155 has a 15 Bar pump.
While I wait for the machine to heat up, I usually add the ground espresso in the basket, pre-heat the cup(s) and steam milk if I want to make a latte or cappuccino. One the right side of the machine there is a tamper which is very handy but unfortunately, it is not very good. You have to hold the machine down while you are tamping the grounds or you won’t be able to use enough force. I bought a 2-inch stainless steel tamper after about a month, which I think is much better to use.
Since there isn’t really a cup warmer on the EC155, as you find on a larger espresso machine, I put the cup(s) into the microwave for a couple of minutes. You can even use the oven if you don’t have a microwave. You can place the cups on top of the machine, around the steam control knob, to pre-heat them too. The stainless steel plate gets warm when the machine is on, but I have found it to be inconvenient. The cups will either fall down or be in the way if I want to steam milk. If you don’t pre-heat the cup(s) the espresso might get cooled down too quickly for you to enjoy it since an espresso shot usually is about only 1 ounce (30ml).
When all the preparations and the pre-heating are done, you only need to turn the knob one more step to the right. You will hear the pump starting and a couple of seconds later espresso will start to drip down into your cup. The pump is only on while you are actually pulling an espresso shot and it is not so loud it will bother you or others around you. In ten seconds or less, you will have a delicious espresso shot with a thick layer of crema.
I must confess I am not that skilled using the frothing wand, I usually leave that part to my wife. I have watched her use it plenty of times so I know how it works and has picked up a few tricks as well.
The most important thing you want to know about the frothing wand is that there is no waiting time between frothing and brewing, but you have to wait for the machine to build up steam after brewing. So remember to steam the milk before you brew or your espresso will be cold.
To use the frothing wand you need to turn the knob all the way to the left and wait for the green “OK”-light. Some condensation tends to form in the pipes, so my wife has started “flushing” it out by a quick burst with the steamer with an empty cup underneath. When you see that only steam is coming out you can turn if off again and place your small pitcher or cup with milk under the frothing wand. You should note that the clearance to the countertop is only 3 ¼ inches, so you will only be able to fit a small pitcher underneath. We haven’t really had any problems with this, but have found it difficult to steam enough milk for two lattes in one go.
To get the best result and thickest foam, my wife has started to only dip ¼ of the Panarello into the milk. The Pinarello is the black piece of plastic at the end of the wand. The Panarello can be removed from the wand for cleaning. After 6 months of use the plastic threads on the Panarello has started to get worn. It is just a matter of time before the threads are completely worn out and I can’t screw the Panarello back on again.
The EC155 needs cleaning as other regular coffeemakers. Coffee grounds mysteriously manage to get inside the machine and needs to be flushed out once in a while. All you need to do is to flush it out with clean water (alternately with some added vinegar) until the brownish liquid is replaced by clean clear water. Remember to clean the filter holders as well; you can remove the black plastic thingy underneath to get it properly cleaned. The cleaning process is done in a few minutes and is only need to be done every second month or so. I have now had my De’Longhi EC155 for about 5- 6 months and it still works as well as the day I got it.
The De’Longhi EC155 is a quite small and neat machine that makes excellent espresso. The ability to make espresso from grounds and E.S.E. pods is a big advantage, even though I personally prefer espresso made from grounds. The frothing wand, even though it has a low clearance to the countertop, works great and makes thick foamed milk. You can make perfect lattes and cappuccinos with this machine, just ask my wife. If you plan to use it in an office environment or make espresso and lattes to many guests this espresso machine will probably not suffice. But for my wife and me it is just perfect. The machine is a fairly cheap and well-built espresso machine with all the necessary features, but not much more. It is certainly a great starting point for entering into the world of espresso and lattes. I do not regret buying the De’Longhi EC155 even though I dream of a more advanced espresso machine now.
- Fairly cheap.
- Use either ground espresso or E.S.E. pods.
- Great espresso with crema.
- Built-in tamper.
- Low clearance for the frothing wand.