The DeLonghi Dedica is a great home espresso machine for someone who has little or no experience making espresso at home.
Although this machine is placed by the manufacturer (DeLonghi) into the semi-automatic espresso machine classification rather than automatic or super-automatic, it truly does work pretty much like an automatic for brewing up wonderfully tasty and aromatic espresso beverages!
Just some of the great features I like about this machine include the ease of use, the very affordable price as compared to other machines available, its compact size making it able to “fit” on virtually any counter top, its appealing and durable stainless-steel construction, and the ability to brew one or two shots at a time.
Below is my detailed, thorough, honest, and unbiased review of virtually all the features of this espresso maker, after having used this machine for about two months. Additionally, if you want just a really quick review, below are lists of the pros and cons wrapped up in a nutshell. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to review any of the information below, you can also quickly get additional information about this espresso machine at Amazon.
What Else I Like About This Machine
- Steamer wand included which makes high-quality froth
- Quick shut-off time for safety
- Uses ground coffee or pods…your choice
- Fast water heat-up time of about 40 seconds
- Consistently good shots can be had with this machine
What I Don’t Like
- The included tamper is of low quality…you might want to consider buying a separate tamper if you do decide to give this one a try.
- Fast shut-off time, which is sometimes too fast
- Beginners will need to learn how to “froth” milk correctly
- Single brews are 2 oz. maximum
- The machine is somewhat noisy
- Power cord is only 3 feet in length
- Slow descaling (cleaning) time
- Not as much “choice” in machine settings, for those who are accustomed to more complicated machines
If you have been looking around and comparing prices, and then letting loose some heavy gasps and/or groans when you have seen the prices of most of the machines available, you will be relieved to learn that the DeLonghi Dedica is, by far, one of the most affordable home espresso makers you will be able to find.
If you are tired of paying upwards of $5 or $6 per day for a cup of espresso at your local Starbucks and/or are weary of all the espresso makers available that are in a much higher price range, this machine would be a great alternative.
Incredibly Small Size Fits on Virtually Any Countertop
If you are one of the many people who has put off buying a home espresso machine because of the large size of most of them out there, consider the DeLonghi Dedica. Measuring in at just 15.8 inches deep x 15.8 inches wide x 15.0 inches tall, it basically fits on any countertop, as well as under standard above-counter cupboards.
Very Easy to Use
The DeLonghi Dedica EC680 is an excellent machine to consider if you are looking for a beginner machine and have never made espresso before, but want to learn how to make traditional espresso beverages in the comfort of your own home.
This machine does brew excellent espresso while at the same time requiring the home barista to not have to know about the different variations required of more advanced machines, such as the grind of the coffee, optimum temperature, and other variations that need to be addressed with more complicated machines.
The DeLonghi Dedica EC680 is probably the very best choice for you if you have not made espresso before and want a great intro. to making espresso at home.
There will be somewhat of a learning curve for a beginner, but much less of a learning process than most of the other machines out there.
Read This Only If You Are An Experienced Home Barista…
If you are already a seasoned espresso brewer who knows the basics, or more, about making espresso, I would definitely recommend against this machine as a top consideration for you unless you are looking for a simpler machine than you have used before, that will give you a quick, easy brew when you want one.
Although this DeLonghi does make great espresso, if you have some experience messing with things such as machine settings and different grinds of coffee, you will probably want a machine that has more options available for variations in setting these types of things unless, of course, you are wanting to switch to a less complicated machine. The Dedica brews basic, although delicious espresso while at the same time minimizing the need to know a lot about different settings involved with advanced espresso making.
Some Clean-Up After Use Is Needed
You will need to be prepared for some clean-up after brewing. If you want something more super-auto and self-contained, which will prevent the need for as much clean-up, then consider a machine other than the Dedica. Clean-up with the Dedica will involve wiping up any spilled grounds and water. Most machines are going to require at least some clean-up.
Cup Warmer Works, Although Not Instantaneously
Although the Dedica does boast a cup warmer on the top of the machine that does actually warm cups, I did notice when I used this machine that there is a wait time before warming of cups begins. The boiler must first become heated, as the boiler is the part of the machine that warms the cups; therefore, cup warming is not instantaneous.
Be Warned…Milk Frothing Does Take Some Practice!
As with virtually any espresso machine, whether it be commercial or for home use, some practice by the user is needed to correctly froth milk to that glorious creamy texture that espresso aficionados expect. For specifics regarding the correct technique for frothing milk, here is a great resource.
You May Want to Consider Some Separate Accessories
The Dedica does come complete with all needed components (other than the coffee) to brew espresso, and although it does have the capability to use pre-made coffee “pods,” it is highly recommended that you consider purchasing a good burr grinder, and possibly even a puck remover (used to remove the “puck” of grounds from the portafilter after brewing) if you are considering using ground coffee rather than pods.
Additionally, although there is a very low-quality plastic “tamper” included on the end of the coffee grounds measuring spoon that comes with the machine, although you would be best to consider investing in a more high quality tamper. (A tamper “tamps” [compresses] the grounds in the machine just prior to brewing.) A good-quality tamper is very important in brewing espresso.
We also want to bring up one other accessory you might want to consider if you are considering this machine…a separate frother. Although many people who have used the frothing wand on this machine have been completely happy with it, there are others who felt the wand was not long enough to sufficiently foam milk.
Brews One or Two Shots At a Time
This machine gives you the choice of brewing either one or two shots of espresso at a time, the choice is yours, whether you want both shots for yourself, or you actually want to share! So, if you have an espresso “buddy” you like to drink espresso with, rest assured that both cups will be served to each of you at the same temperature.
Quick Heat-Up Time
If it’s quick heating time you want in an espresso machine, this DeLonghi has a very quick heat-up time of 40 seconds because of the thermoblock technology it uses for heating the water.
Thermoblock technology replaces the need to heat up the entire “boiler” (container) of water, and instead draws the water out of the container into a coil, where the water is heated. Heating the water in a thin coil allows for much faster heating times.
Other Things You Should Know About
Single Brew Amount
The machine only holds enough grounds for a 2-ounce shot. If you are someone who wants your single shots to be 3 or 4 ounces, you will need to do your first brew, refill the portafilter (coffee ground holder), and run a second brew to add to the first.
The DeLonghi Dedica is, like most home espresso machines, somewhat noisy, so if it is your plan to arise and start brewing in the early morning hours, particularly on weekends or other days off when others are still snoozing, then do be aware that there is some noise involved during the operation of this machine.
Power Cord Specifics
The power cord on this machine is 3 feet long. This should be sufficient for most people, although if you are needing a longer cord to reach your power source, just be aware that the one on this machine is only 3 feet and you would need to utilize an extension cord or possibly a power strip.
Additionally, unlike most kitchen appliances, the plug at the end of the cord for this machine is a 2-prong rather than a 3-prong cord. If you prefer a machine that has a plug with 3 prongs, this may not be the machine for you.
Slow Descaling (Cleaning) Time
One thing you will need to be able to “deal with” when it comes to this machine is the very slow process when you are cleaning the interior parts of it.
Descaling is performed exactly as it is with vinegar and water in a normal drip coffee machine, by running a cleaning (descaling) product through the inside of the EC680, which takes an estimated 10 to 15 minutes. You then need to run another round with plain water to remove the descaling product.
Automatic Sleep Mode
For safety, the Dedica EC680 has an automatic sleep mode that programs the machine to shut off after 9 minutes of operation. Someone wanting to make many beverages in a row may find this cumbersome, as the button to bring the machine out of “sleep” will need to be pushed every 9 minutes.
However, the sleep mode time can be adjusted, and instructions are provided with the included manual.
We would like to add, however, that if you plan on brewing many cups of espresso at a time, you would probably be best served by choosing a higher capacity machine than the DeLonghi Dedica.
The Need to “Seat” the Water Tank Correctly
The Dedica EC680 has had problems with people getting it ready to brew and it then making the appropriate noises that sound like it is brewing, with nothing coming out. Another associated problem is the appearance that the machine leaks when the brewing process is started.
Both of these problems are related to the user not “seating” the water container correctly into the machine. This problem is solved by simply making sure all points of contact are correctly seated and well-sealed. Normally, pressing down firmly on the water tank does the trick.
See the DeLonghi Dedica in Action…
In summary, the DeLonghi Dedica is an excellent choice for someone who wants to make espresso at home affordably, as well as those who are beginners wanting to dip their toes into the world of espresso making, but don’t want to be required to have knowledge about getting the perfect grind, the optimum water temperature, and other settings that need to be learned with more advanced machines.
Although it will require a small learning curve and there will be some required clean-up after brewing, it is, all in all, a great machine for a beginning home barista to consider.
This machine will, with some practice, allow you to draw consistently good shots every time you use it, and its fast heat-up time of 40 seconds means you won’t be waiting around for long.
However, if you are already an espresso aficionado who knows the basics, and beyond, of making espresso, whether it be at a business or in your home, you likely have already developed specific tastes and preferences that you want to be able to accomplish. Because there are not a lot of available options for changing settings on this machine, you likely will want to consider a more advanced machine that will allow you to program your preferences.