This is a review of the De’Longhi EC 860 a semi automatic espresso machine with built-in cappuccino and latte functionality. The machine is programmable in regards to the duration of the shots of espresso you are pulling and the temperature at which you want your espresso prepared at. Overall a very well built machine that I got to take through its paces over an extended test run.
This machine has a very solid feel to it overall. Everything from the portafilter handle have a decent heft to it to the machine itself being fairly well constructed. The only thing i found a bit flimsy was the drip tray and the milk frother / steam wand attachment area. I was worried with switching between the steam wand and the milk tank that something might get damaged. The drip tray was nice and deep to accommodate any spillage or water overrun. But with that depth also comes a smaller place for standard mugs and taller cups overall under the portafilter. I would have preferred a slightly shallower tray with the ability to use different mugs under the dispenser.
If you like espresso based beverages, such as lattes and cappuccinos then you are in for a treat this machine excels in that area. After a bit of reading and setup it is capable of producing very very nice cappuccinos, and lattes, almost automatically. With a good grinder and a little time you can drink your favorite beverages quite quickly. The espresso had a nice crema on top and was a treat to drink once tuned properly.
The Controls. I wanted to love this machines, but it isn’t very intuitive. Overall I like it when things are spelled out for me, and easy to use. There is no grey area this is a machine you need to read the instuction booklet, not just the quick start guide to use it properly. After a bit of reading I was able to adjust the espresso temperature, and time per shot, but honestly I think a little more work on the controls would make this machine shine.
The tamper and spoon combo is handy but very very flimsy. I worry that if someone actually put the required force into tamping down a shot it would snap.
Also the steam wand is a short stubby thing, no angle and very little rotation so if your frothing pitcher isn’t too tall you should be fine, I prefer the steam wand to be in a more accessible area.
This really depends on the type of machine you want, and how you plan to use it. This is a well build machine on whole that rewards the studious. It is capable of producing a very nice espresso, at a decent price point for a midrange machine. $499 – $599. If you are an espresso drinker I think you would be better off on a different machine, more of a pure espresso machine. However if you enjoy cappuccinos and lattes with reckless abandon this is a very nice and elegant solution to your habit.
So Rather than give one grade as per usual, this will be a choose your own adventure.
If you are an espresso drinker, with a soul as black as your draught. then this machine is a 3 beans out of 5, good but could be better.
If you are a latte loving cappuccino slugging milk based espresso beverage consumer this machine is quite literally made for your sweet spot. And it would receive a 4 out of 5 beans from me.
For a full workup of how the machine operates please be sure to watch the video in the article, I find that video does a much better job of explaining complex functionality than wordsmithing.
Thank you to the fine folks at Delonghi for sharing this machine with me for a short time. I’m quite happy to enjoy espresso in massive quantities and testing out a machine such as this was fun work. Hope you enjoyed this, if you’d like to see the review of the grinder we used please check out the Breville Smart Grinder!
Full Disclosure: I was provided a demo product at no charge for the purpose of review. Access to the loaner machine in no way effected the outcome of the review.
You do realise you can remove the centre part of the drip tray / base, flip it over & re-install it (or remove completely) to allow for different sized cups/glasses?
Yes i do, however that only gets you about a 1/4 inch of extra space, and the underside isn’t smooth like the top side, so some cups don’t sit level.
For starters, you’re using completely the wrong type of cup for espresso coffee – a big mug like that is sacrilege! It should only be used for filter coffee swill, not nicely ground & brewed espresso.
It could be, or i could just enjoy trying different mugs in the machine. If i was making a latte i prefer the pavina glasses for video, because they show the drink a lot better than any other mug.
The December 26, 2012 we purchased a DeLonghi coffee machine , model EC860
store FutureShop of our city.
In the spring of 2013 we started to have problems with the nozzle
(removable water / steam spout ) .
It pops out when we froth milk and must re-engage to continue.
We bring the machine to the store where we bought it and we have replaced
it with a new machine.
In the autumn of the same year , the same problem came back and we , once
again , returned to the machine shop where we gave even a new one.
However, the one-year warranty is now complete and the problem is still
income. The nozzle is detached when frothing milk.
I note that we are only two people who use the machine, which is about 4
coffees a day .
In our view, this should not be sufficient for the machine breaks out so
On 12 February 2014, we sent a complaint to the customer service of the company DeLonghi. 31 March of the same year, we sent a reminder to the company about our claim. We are now on April 18th and we still have not received anything from the company. So if you want to buy a new coffee machine, we recommend you not to buy this model.
To Dennys the menace,
There is a small clip on the inside of the wand assembly that is probably the culprit. If you Google parts for Ec860 there are online stores that sell the clip or the steam assembly for between 5-10 bucks. I know since I have been studying the machine trying to figure out a way to mod the stem wand for more length and possibly a new steam wand.
Have to be honest, I love my 860, but I’d class it as high maintenance. I’ve had mine 14 months now (so is out of warranty). On my third double shot basket and my second milk frother unit.
DeLonghi customer service in the UK are utterly useless. Recently, I’ve been having trouble with the machine pouring from a double shot basket, occasionally building up pressure and stalling out. I guessed it was the fineness of the coffee and so had my supplier send me a courser ground which worked fine, but affected the flavour. I’ve searched the internet for a forum or whatever of fellow users, as I am learning to solve these problems by process of elimination and not from the manul and certainly not from DeLonghi. Lovely machine, but you really do have to coddle it like a small child.
I really love the machine BUT I found you need to experiment with the fine-ness of the coffee you are using. I find a too course grind messes up the machine (I though I broke it for good using too course grounds). But really fine grind is too fine a grind and the coffee doesn’t drip thru the grounds. Then there is the packing of the grounds, can’t be packed too firm or not packed enough. Sigh, yes it takes some learning to master this semi automatic coffee maker.