- 15 Bar pump.
- Use ground coffee or E.S.E. pods.
- Stainless steel boiler.
- Two separate thermostats.
- Cup warmer.
- Designed and engineered in Italy.
The De’Longhi EC702 is a perfect entry-level espresso machine with a dual function filter system that allows for brewing with both ground espresso and E.S.E. pods. Two thermostats ensure that the temperature and pressure in the steel boiler are controlled separately for brewing and steaming. The machine makes a good shot of espresso with a thick layer of crema on top. The steam wand makes milk to thick foam, perfect for making cappuccinos and lattes.
The De’Longhi EC702 looks really good with its stainless steel finish. I am pleased with how sturdy the machine feels and all the important parts are made of steel. The few plastic parts seem to be durable as well.
The water reservoir can be pulled out as a drawer and is located on the right side of the machine. You can either remove the reservoir completely and fill it up under the tap or just pull it out enough so you can fill it up with a pitcher. The reservoir has a yellow floating ball that is visible from the front of the machine so you can easily see how much is left. With a reservoir full of water I can make at least four cappuccinos with plenty of frothed milk before I need to refill it.
The machine needs to self-prime, as all proper espresso machines. In the instruction manual it says that you should allow the machine to self-prime for 15 minutes for the best results. This is not a problem at all. You only need to plan ahead or do something else while the machine heats up the water. In the mornings I usually turn on the espresso machine before I take a shower. By the time I am finished in the bathroom the machine is ready for me to pull a shot.
The water is heated up by an 1100 wattage heating element in a steel boiler. To have a steel boiler is a big advantage which makes the machine more durable. I personally would never buy an espresso machine without a steel boiler.
When you start the self-priming, the warming tray on top of the machine begins to heat up as well. By the time the self-priming is done the cups are nice and warm. My previous espresso machine didn’t have a warming tray and I had to heat the cups in the microwave to prevent the espresso shot cooling down too fast.
Ground espresso and E.S.E. pods
You can use both ground coffee and E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) pods with this machine. I personally never use pods with my machine since I don’t think they make as good espresso as ground coffee. It is of course a bonus that you have the option to use pods, but if plan to only make coffee from pods you should definitely go for another coffee machine.
Portafilter with two different sized filters.
The portafilter has two different sized interchangeable filters, for one and two espresso shots. The ground espresso is added into the filters before you tamp the grounds to a smooth puck. De’Longhi has placed the built-in tamper on the left side of the machine which works alright. But I would recommend you to acquire an external tamper with a diameter of about 50mm.
I have tried a lot of different types of ground espresso and found out that I get the best espresso shot when I use finely ground coffee. When tamping don’t press too hard, a firm push with the tamper is enough. Remember to remove any grinds from the edge of the basket to ensure you get a proper seal.
When pulling an espresso shot the pump pressurizes the hot water up to 15 bars. The pump can be quite loud, but the good thing is that it only makes noise while brewing. The De’Longhi EC702 has two thermostats to allow for water (for brewing) and steam (for frothing) to be controlled separately. It is important to have a high enough pressure when brewing espresso to create the thick frothy layer of crema, which this machine does perfectly.
You will always have a few drops of coffee dripping down into the drip tray after brewing. The plastic drip tray can be easily removed and washed. I usually just rinse the drip tray with hot water under running water, but once in a while I pop it onto the dishwasher to get it properly cleaned. I couldn’t find anything in the instruction manual if the tray is dishwasher safe or not, but my drip tray has now survived several dishwasher cycles.
The filters sit loosely in the portafilter, but you can flip a small lever placed on the plastic handle over the filter to lock it in place. This little feature is very convenient when you are rinsing out the used grounds. Good thinking, De’Longhi!
The pannarello does a great job steaming milk.
The steam/frothing wand works great, but the placement leaves little space for using a big pitcher. I have no problem using my 12 ounce pitcher which is usually big enough when I make lattes. Before you start frothing always remember to flush out the pipes in an empty cup. Condensation tends to build up, about a half a shot, and you don’t want this water in your steamed milk.
I really like how easy it is to dismantle the plastic parts of the steam wand and clean them. I am a bit worried that these parts will get worn or break due to dismantling and assembling them each time I have used the wand. My previous De’Longhi espresso machine, which I loved by the way, had also a similar design and the pannarello (the plastic part at the end of the steam wand) got worn out.
I think that the De’Longhi EC702 is a neat entry-level espresso machine. It feels sturdy and it looks very good with its stainless steel finish. It is nice to have the option to use both ground espresso and E.S.E. pods even though using ground espresso gives a much better result. Some of the reasons I bought this machine were the steel boiler, 15 bar pump and cup warming tray. The best part is that this machine is available to a reasonable price. I believe this De’Longhi EC702 might be the best entry-level espresso machine right now.
- Nice price.
- Steel boiler.
- Cup warmer.
- None specific.