The Best Automatic Espresso Machine? The Delonghi EC155 Review

De’Longhi has been a name in the Italian appliance industry for quite some time, and that’s something we’ve grown to respect over the years. After all, you don’t stay in business for over 100 years by accident. De’Longhi has a reputation for offering a good value in everything they put out. But how does the De'Longhi EC155 match up to this reputation?

We did a full review of this espresso maker, and here’s what we found.

If you need a small, inexpensive espresso machine, the De’Longhi EC155 is a great budget model from a well-known Italian appliance company that makes a decent coffee

Master Reviewer

The Good

  • Uses loose grounds as well as convenient pods
  • Self-priming operation prevents the hassles associated with espresso machine startup
  • Water and steam thermostats are separate, so you can brew the perfect cup of espresso and have the perfect foam, too – this unit even froths coconut milk well (although skim milk will yield the best results)
  • Swivel jet frother for steaming your milk at any angle
  • Removable 35-ounce water tank and drip tray to make clean-up faster and easier

The Bad

  • The vibration from the machine will cause your cup to jump about, but placing a rubber pad on the grate (before placing your cup) can help to minimize this. If you have a cool-touch cup and time to sit by the machine, you can hold your cup still yourself, although this should be an included feature
  • When frothing milk in a stainless steel pitcher, you will need to pick up the unit (with the handle on top) to get your cup out. This is inconvenient, but it’s the trade-off for a small footprint
  • This unit does not come with a frothing pitcher or a proper tamper

In-Depth De'Longhi EC155 Review

If you’re in need of a great espresso maker that doesn’t take up much room on the counter, the De'Longhi EC155 is a compact machine with a pretty good end product. This is definitely not the most high-end model you can find, but it is one of the smallest that we’ve seen. If you want a great cup of espresso in your dorm room or small apartment, it’s hard to find one better suited for the job than this EC155.

Even though this machine has a very small footprint, that doesn’t take away from its usefulness. The water reservoir is large enough that you can make around 8 to 10 cups before you’ll need to refill. This is wonderful for those who are entertaining out of a small space, as well as those who need a bigger caffeine boost in the morning.

The smaller size doesn’t make everything better, though, since you’ll need to find cups and a frothing pitcher that are a similar size. The clearance between the counter and the frothing wand is only about 3 ¼ inches (around 8.25 cm), so you will need to purchase a smaller frothing pitcher. If you already have a frothing pitcher that doesn’t quite clear the wand, you can pick up the machine by the handle. This works, but doesn’t feel like a very professional answer.

De'Longhi EC155 Review Continued

The clearance for cups on this small machine is only about 2 ½ inches (6.35 cm), unless you take out the drip tray. As you would probably guess, taking the drip tray out is not a great idea, since your cup will inevitably end up with espresso on the bottom. We also found that even properly-sized cups will bounce around a little bit while the machine is running – there is a lot of vibration in this unit! We fixed it by using a silicone potholder underneath our cup, but this will cut a little further into your clearance. (Of course, with any espresso machine, placing the nozzle inside the rim of the cup will reduce splashing, too.)

This machine is a bit messier than we usually see, too – the puck will be soupy, even when properly tamped. However, for those on a budget, this is usually considered a minor problem. It doesn’t take too long to rinse out the filter basket between uses, and De’Longhi suggests doing a more thorough cleaning approximately every 200 cups. Their Amazon product page has a helpful video tutorial that will teach you how to properly clean your machine.

Key Facts

  • Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Under $100
  • 2 Cup Capacity
  • Ground Coffee

We must stress that it is important to keep your machine clean, even if you’re only using distilled water. While you probably won’t need to descale it in this case, this machine does not do any backflushing – which means that grounds may get into the water line and gum up the machine. This maintenance is fairly simple and will probably only need to be done every 2-3 months. The drip tray and water reservoir should be emptied each day the machine is used, to prevent the growth of bacteria.

How simple is it to actually make your espresso with this machine? Like any espresso maker, your personal experience will be a factor, and there will be a learning curve. This is not a professional-quality machine, so those who have used machines in a commercial coffee shop might not adjust as quickly as with a more expensive machine. For new espresso lovers who don’t mind practicing to master the art, this machine heats up quickly and froths milk quite well. There is zero wait time between frothing and brewing, although those who wish to brew their espresso first will need to wait before they can steam their milk.

One issue that we noticed with the water reservoir is that it takes a bit of pressure to snap into place. If you don’t have it lined up just right, the water line will not connect – which will, of course, mean that you can’t brew your espresso. Neglecting to properly connect this could cause some users to mistakenly return their units as defective. While it’s a bit of a hassle (and we wish De’Longhi had made connecting it easier), don’t fret if you don’t get coffee the first time you try – simply give a smack to the water reservoir and see if that fixes things. (It usually does.)

De'Longhi EC155 Overall

Some users have complained about the included tamper – it’s simply the back of the spoon you’re given. While many espresso machines come with better-designed tampers, all you truly need is a round, flat surface and a knowledge of the proper pressure. Still, those who wish to have a more attractive tamper can easily buy one with the money they’ve saved on this machine.

Overall, this is a great budget machine that will get the job done in a small amount of counter space. It’s far from the top of the line, but for the price, the De'Longhi EC155 can’t be beat.