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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on March 31, 2015
If you want a genuinely excellent, attractive espresso maker at a reasonable price but don't have a lot of room for one of the behemoth "standard" machines, the De'Longhi EC680 is exactly what you've been looking for.

BASICS

This machine requires about the same amount of counter space as a Keurig coffee machine. Technically, it's only 2/3 the width of a typical Keurig, but you want to leave a little room on the right so that the steam wand remains easily accessible.

The boiler on this is preconfigured to produce water that is exactly 190F, and the pump is hard-wired for 15 BAR... both of which are perfect for espresso. The machine also has pre-configured "ideal" brew/pull timings, but it still allows you to customize your pull times by simply holding down the buttons; so you can still pull Ristrettos or Longos if you are so inclined.

PROS

The De'Longhi EC680 produces excellent espresso! For testing and calibration purposes, I've used light and medium roast beans from Portola Coffee Lab and Kéan Coffee so that I can compare the exact espresso they serve with that produced by this machine. With just a little trial and error, I was able to not only produce espresso that matches theirs exactly, but tweak them to my own taste (generally by pulling the lower end of a Normale, thereby de-emphasizing the acid).

This is the true test of a consumer espresso maker: how closely can it reliably replicate the quality of a high-end, commercial espresso machine. In this case, the answer is: shockingly close!

The machine reaches brewing temperature in about 30 seconds. It's impressively fast... and that's a good thing when you consider that you still have to spend a little time doing the "warming ritual" (i.e. running hot water through everything to ensure you get a great, consistent pull).

The machine feels very solid, well built, and well designed. In fact, it feels higher quality than many espresso makers that are much larger and/or more expensive. It's easy to clean and maintain as well, which I very much appreciate.

The steam wand produces excellent foam. I generally use whole goats milk, but have produced excellent foam with different varieties of cows milk and coconut milk as well. Don't forget to throw a hand towel over the steam steam wand and prime it for a second or two before use to get the water out (basically all of the steam wand complaints on Amazon are from people who aren't properly priming it per the instructions).

Also, prior to buying this model, I read some reviews that complained about a lack of crema. All I can do is assume that these reviewers are using old or improperly prepared beans. As you can see in my photos, the crema I'm producing on this machine with fresh (and freshly ground) light and medium roast beans is thick, velvety, and sweet!

CONS

I do have a couple minor usability quibbles, but these are by no means deal-breakers.

First, when you perform a manual pull with either the single or double-cup buttons, the machine automatically remembers that timing and applies it to every pull afterward. I wish there was a way to perform a manual pull without reprogramming the buttons!

Second (although it isn't really an issue for me at all), you should be aware that due to the machine's small footprint, you can't attach and remove the portafilter one-handed without causing the machine to tip/rock. It takes two hands... one to hold the machine steady, and one to secure the portafilter.

Finally, I've also found that the reservoir is very finicky with it's seating. I move my machine in and out from a little nook on my counter, and each time I do so I make sure I push down on the reservoir to ensure it's properly seated/sealed. It never LOOKS loose, but without that occasional push down, it will sometimes lift just enough that the machine will stop pumping water mid-pull or mid-steam.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Although the machine has generally blown me away with it's sturdiness, attractiveness, construction quality, and brew quality, you have to keep in mind that if you are new to espresso making, you are going to need a little extra gear to make this investment worth your time, money, and counter space. Expect to spend another $200 on additional equipment. I recommend the following items...

1) An Excellent Burr Grinder
Under no circumstances should you ever use blade-ground coffee in an espresso machine, and if you aren't grinding your coffee fresh, you shouldn't even bother with espresso. I HIGHLY recommend the Capresso Infinity 560 Conical Burr Grinder. For under a hundred bucks, this burr grinder will give you the same great results as grinders twice the price. The grind I use changes depending on the coffee and the roast (I tweak this every time I change coffees), but more often than not I use the rightmost "very fine" option on my Capresso grinder.

2) A Kitchen Scale
Espresso is all about fine-tuning measurements. It is possible to make good espresso without a good kitchen scale, but if you are just getting started, it's impossible to get any kind of consistency just by eyeballing it. For this machine, the single shot filter holds 7 grams of grounds, and the double filter holds 14 grams (I use the double filter exclusively). To make perfect espresso, place your portafilter on the scale and zero it out. Now, slowly add your grinds to the portafilter while it sits on the scale to ensure precise measurements. If you have the Capresso grinder I mentioned above, you can tap straight from the grind bin into the portafilter. For my part, I love my Bonavita Electric Scale (if you are a home cook, this is the scale you want either way), but you can use a less expensive scale of your choice provided it gives you at least tenths-of-a-gram accuracy.

3) Frothing Pitcher & Thermometer
The machine does NOT include a frothing pitcher, so you'll need to buy one if you want to froth milk. I also suggest getting a thermometer since you never want to steam milk above 150F (any higher than that and you ruin the sweetness added by steam-caramelizing those milk sugars). You can get both the pitcher (two sizes!) and thermometer with the ChefLand Pitcher Set with Thermometer.

4) Tamper
The espresso maker does include a plastic combination spoon/tamper thing, but it is both awful and useless. Instead, you really should buy a Generic Stainless Steel Tamper on Amazon for just a few bucks. If you are shopping around, keep in mind that this machine needs a 51mm tamper. Furthermore, if you are new to tamping, you may also want to consider getting an inexpensive bathroom scale like the Ozeri Precision Bath Scale on which to practice tamping, this way you can see how much pressure you are using when you tamp. Alternatively, you can buy an Espro 51mm Calibrated Tamper which is MUCH more expensive but clicks when you hit exactly 30lbs for a perfect tamp every time.

5) Knock Box
You are also going to need a knock box to empty out your filter each time you make some espresso. Remember how you packed those grinds in with 30lbs of pressure? To get those out without damaging your filter, you can't just scrape them out, you need to smack them out. That is exactly what the Dreamfarm Grindenstein Knock Box is for - a small, inexpensive knock box that is the perfect size for this espresso machine's 51mm portafilter. You simply whack the the portafilter against the rubber bar inside the knock box and the grind "puck" simply falls right out. The alternatives are awful (digging out grounds with a finger, smacking the filter against your filter trashcan, etc), so don't skip this.

6) Cups!
Finally, keep in mind that you need some proper cups. If you are only going to make lattes, your typical coffee mug might do the trick just fine (note: to fit a regular sized mug under the filter, you can remove the drip catcher from the machine). Otherwise, you should pick up some proper, tiny espresso glasses. I love my Bormioli Rocco Verdi Espresso Cup set (pictured) - these 3.5oz glasses are great for double shots and/or mini cappuccinos. If you are only after proper 2oz espresso glasses, the De'Longhi Double Walled Espresso Glasses are a classy, functional option. In any case, I highly recommend transparent glass/crystal cups - espresso is a layered drink, and you want glasses that let you appreciate that.

SUMMARY & FINAL NOTES

This is an excellent machine... and all the more astounding because of it's compact size and extremely competitive price. You just need to keep in mind that espresso is just as much science as it is art, and all the tools you need to make great espresso are not necessarily included in this box.

In addition to the above items, you want to ensure you have a source of clean water. If your tap water is "hard", don't use it without filtering it first, or use bottled filtered water. Mineral buildup can kill machines like this, same as a Keurig.

You also need to keep in mind that this machine is far from "automatic". Making espresso is a ritual, and this machine is no exception. You want to run water through every part of the machine before each use to heat everything up. Put hot water in the cups. Run hot water through the empty filter. And make sure you have a cloth on hand to wipe everything down before and after as well. If you are going to froth milk, wrap a towel around the steam wand and prime it for a second or two first. These tips aren't specific to this machine, so much as espresso making in general... and a lot of the complaints I see on here (lack of crema, issues with using the steam wand, etc) are easily avoidable user error. If you aren't keen on the ritual, don't buy an espresso machine.

But if that is exactly the kind of thing that tickles your fancy, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the De'Longhi EC680. With the right technique and espresso gear, this will give you great coffee-shop quality espresso at a fraction of the price and size of bigger, fancier machines.

LIFESPAN & CUSTOMER SERVICE ( Update: March 6, 2018 )

I've found that this EC680 has about a 3 year lifespan. We're almost exactly at my machine's 3-year anniversary ( as of 3/6/2018 ) and over the last few weeks the pump has become too weak to push water through an empty filter, let alone one with coffee in it. Of course, no manufacturers warranty lasts that long in this day and age... so after a call to Delonghi's support line, I was simply referred me to a not-very-convenient, third-party service center to have the pump replaced/repaired on my dime. The repair shops quote was almost as much as the machine... and so, I decided to repair it myself! Delonghi's website refers you to a partner for all replacement parts. You can order new tubes, thermal block, etc... but if you need a new pump, the one thing that is most likely to fail? That Delonghi will NOT sell you. Their excuse:

"Thank you for your recent contact to our Customer Service Center. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The pump is considered an internal part which is not available for purchase directly by consumers. For liability reasons we cannot provide the part for self repair. "

Let's simply ignore that all the other replacement parts they sell are internal parts. And so, I found the very inexpensive Ulka EX5 Vibratory Pump on Amazon and decided to give it a try. Servicing the unit was fairly easy for a techy person like me (it took about 2 hours start to finish), although you will need a set of Security Torx screwdrivers to get inside. Once the pump was replaced and the unit reassembled, it actually worked better than the day I brought it home! Clearly Delonghi is cutting corners on those pumps, which also might explain some of the less glowing reviews.

Anyway, the pump situation and ensuing customer service failure is definitely a bummer - though I suppose it's a good thing they refused to sell me a pump, because the one I ultimately bought is so much better than the original ever was. But either way this thing DID last me 3 years of constant, continuous use - usually multiple times per day. So it still counts as a good investment in my book.

For the curious, my total cost of ownership before the pump gave out was just over $8/month. Think about that - cafe quality espresso can be yours for the price of a Netflix subscription (plus some beans).
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814 people found this helpful
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on August 9, 2016
I've had this for 3 months. It's well made, looks good, doesn't take up much space and it makes really good coffee once you learn how to use it. It has one annoying issue, which is that the filter holder has an elaborate plastic watercourse, the only purpose of which is to get the coffee to come out the two spouts evenly and in a consistent stream. It serves it's purpose admirably, but the plastic is impossible to clean, so it starts smelling like stale coffee. Customer service says not to put it in the dishwasher. So the nice new coffee has to run through this stale coffee watercourse and picks up some of the stale flavor. I tried everything to clean it but a sponge or cloth can't get into the small places. Even a toothbrush is too large. I was soaking it in baking soda every other day and that helped. Eventually it occurred to me that the plastic thing could be removed with one screw. There was already a build up of old coffee remains under the edges everywhere the plastic touched the metal. With the plastic thing out it is easy to clean and never picks up an old coffee taste. I can't pull two cups at the same time, because the flow isn't even, but otherwise it is much better.
142 people found this helpful
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on December 21, 2014
Not only does this machine look great on the counter but it also produces awesome espresso. I should start by mentioning that I have had the Dedica for one week and my very first ever expresso "pull" was the day I unboxed it. Initial results were predictably less than satisfying but after spending some time reading the directions and tinkering with the settings, in a short while I was able to consistently produce excellent shots, each with a nice top layer of caramel colored crema. I also tinkered with the grind settings on my separate burr grinder, the extraction time on the Dedica, and made sure I was tamping the grounds correctly in the portafilter. Each additional process modification improved the output to the point that I am now able to produce espresso that is consistently good enough to share with my wife and others.

The pannarello steam wand takes some getting used to if you have never used one before, as I had not. Again, first efforts were disappointing but after some practice (and a lot of YouTube viewing) I am now able to produce nice, silky, warmed milk with the attached wand. My preference is to steam the milk before pulling the shot but your experience may be different. After steaming, you have to purge the extra steam from the single boiler to cool it back down to the point that you can pull your shot. Just follow the instructions and you should be ok. Just remember that the steam is VERY hot and it can scald you if you are not careful.

For those of you disappointed in your first efforts and who might be considering returning this machine - unless yours is defective - be patient and practice with it. Read the instructions and remember that a bad carpenter often blames his tools. There is a lot of information out there on how to improve your skills that I would encourage you to explore.

PROS: Solid construction/narrow footprint/beautiful design
Accepts either loose ground coffee or ESE coffee pods
Ships with three different size cups to insert in portafilter (single dose, double dose. ESE pod size)
Produces a nice layer of crema when proper steps are followed
Water level visible in reservoir
Relatively easy clean up
Pump delivers necessary 15 Bar pressure for best extraction
Extraction time is programmable
Three settings for water temperature and water hardness

CONS: Did not come with water hardness test strips
Cup-warming platform not very effective until the boiler heats up

TIPS: Look carefully through the packaging for smaller parts before discarding the box and protective foam
Run several cycles of water (without coffee puck in place) through the machine to clean it out before first use
Run steam through the wand until water runs clear (mine was cloudy at first) before first use
Read the instructions and practice your extractions until you are happy with the results
Enjoy!
161 people found this helpful
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on March 30, 2018
First off, customer service is a nightmare. Secondly the unit doesn't last long. Let me elaborate:

1. I called to get the unit fixed while in warranty. They acted like they would service it. They were supposed to send me an email with the info regarding the repairs necessary (you don't get this paperwork until after they have confirmed your proof of purchase). Two weeks after sending in my proof of purchase, I called back to see what the status was. They apparently never checked my proof of purchase. We went back and forth for nearly 2 months! They approved the proof of purchase AFTER my warranty expired. Fortunately, I made sure to get as much as I could through email, so that I could prove that it was their fault that they approved it after the warranty expired.

2. They fixed the pump, and then extended the warranty on the pump for 30 days. It went bad nearly 45 days after it was fixed. They wouldn't fix it again. They only give a minimal warranty after they fix it. What does this say? It says that they don't trust their service or products to last after they fix them. Our Mr. Coffee espresso maker, which was less than half the cost stood the test of time much better than this!
19 people found this helpful
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on November 25, 2017
I purchased this from Amazon Warehouse "As New". less than a year later the pump may have failed - low pressure even though I have followed descaling procedures and use the unit 3 time a week. Delonghi will not honor the 2 year warranty even though they know the pump on these units is prone to failure. They claim Amazon Warehouse is on their "not authorized dealer list! having paid more than the unit purchase price today I am so disappointed in Delonghi!
12 people found this helpful
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 8, 2017
This machine is definitely a great buy for the price. I appreciate the brand quality and the fact that you can order spare parts from them instead of needing to replace an entire machine. Make sure that you read the full instructions carefully and learn how to use the machine. You'll miss of a lot of info if you only read the quick start guide such as how to change the boiler temperature, how to cool down an overheating boiler (those flashing lights), and properly clean the frothing wand. It's easy once you understand. The sump handle will be hard to turn when you first get the machine, but it loosens up after about a week. I do wish the frothing wand was a little longer, but it's sufficient if you have the right size cup.

I highly recommend only using distilled water in this machine (or any machine that heats water). Distilled water heats up to steam faster and more consistently than water filled with chlorine, minerals, and other toxins. I read some other low star reviews, and it seems to me that many could be caused by scale from unpurified water. Do yourself a favor and extend the life of your machine and make your drink taste better by buying or making your own distilled water. I have a larger distiller, and from what I see when I clean the boiler I can tell you that a small machine like this doesn't stand a chance against city water even with the overpriced descaling liquid they sell.

Edit: 5 months later and the machine is still performing as new. I've ignored the cleaning light since I know there is no scale in the water. This machine gets daily use by 2 people. I would say that I've easily passed the ROI at this point.
9 people found this helpful
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 8, 2017
The only good thing about this product is both the units broke within the first 2 weeks. The first unit would never transition from espresso to steaming milk. The lights would flash continuously until you turned the unit on/off. The flashing did not correlate to any codes in the manual. The lights also did other random annoying glitchy things. I decided to exchange hoping that I simply got a lemon. The second unit was free of glitchy light issues. But, the on/off button stuck in the pressed in on position within the first 2 weeks. So I’m stuck unplugging and plugging back in to turn the unit on/off.
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16 people found this helpful
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on September 29, 2017
Considering the size and price, this espresso maker is worth the purchase for someone looking for a machine to see if they really want to get into espresso.
If you read the manual thoroughly and refer it often as you hone your craft, you'll come to learn that this little guy has quite a few tricks up his sleeve.
1) Programmable water dose levels for single and double shots
*This is huge. It took me a while before I realized I need this in my life but it's made the espresso experience on this machine exponentially better.
2) Semi-adjustable water temperature. No fine settings, but the tinkering with the hot, hotter, hottest settings using the same coffee and grind can help you understand espresso more.

I stopped using the wand. Not that it doesn't work, but a stovetop steamer like the European Gift 50SS Cappuccino Steamer, Stainless Steel is infinitely superior in terms of ease of use, repeatable results, and the ability to make drinks continuously.
However, if you don't want to fork out another $100 bucks, then this steamer will suffice especially if you're more into cappuccino than lattes.

A mid-level grinder will do wonders for this machine and increase flavor on espressos, Americanos, lattes, etc. The popular $100 Capresso (my first burr grinder) on the last or second to last setting will get you an okay shot.
However, if you're going to spend money on fresh roasted coffee beans for your espresso, then you will save money in the long run and get exponentially better coffee by investing in a better grinder. At least the Breville Smart Grinder Pro but preferably something like the Rancilio Rocky, Baratza Vario 886, or higher.

Trust me, if you love coffee and are entranced by the art and science of espresso, then save yourself time and money by buying a high-end grinder from the beginning. Knowing what I know now, I'd rather spend $500 - $1000 on a proper grinder than do the gradual climb through mediocre grinders, even if it meant saving for several months.
Besides, after a year or so when you're ready to get a better espresso machine, you'll need a new grinder anyway. You can't go out and purchase a $1000-$1500 espresso machine and hope to get any decent results with a $100-$200 grinder.

You'll also need a proper 51mm tamper.

The machine itself is good enough to, if you have everything else in place and know what you're doing, produce quality that's as good or better than anything you'll get at a lot of coffee shops with expensive machines but no knowledgeable baristas.
7 people found this helpful
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on April 8, 2018
Add me to the list of customers returning because of a "stuck button" -- the power button became lodged in the depressed position.

Overall, this is a good device for an espresso or latte drinker that doesn't need to obsess over details. It's fairly easy to use, simple in design and layout, and doesn't take over the space you might have dedicated to a more frequently-used drip machine. This unit has been our "weekender" coffee maker. I also LOVED the water tank --- easy to access, easy to fill, easy to remove and replace.

That said, there are drawbacks (cons):
-Unit is lightweight, requiring a firm hand on the device when installing the portafilter to keep the whole thing from moving around
-The drip tray is not able to adjust to accomodate a taller cup (they refined the Dedica Deluxe model to do this)
-It's really easy to over-load the portafilter basket by just a little bit, causing too much pressure and the machine to stop brewing. This happened most often on the 2-shot basket. I had to calibrate my grinder dispense just exactly the right amount to keep this from happening -- but this is a big concern if you want to hand off shot-pulling to a novice.
-Blinking lights are sometimes confusing, like when the unit is cooling from steam to brew, or when you've got the afforementioned "too much coffee, too much backpressure" situation happening. Reading the manual to understand these will be critical.
-Portafilter feels fairly light (poor quality?). I had a Starbucks branded Saeco with a nice heavy portafilter that felt satisfying to use.
-Auto-shutoff will turn off the unit before the top warming tray has had a chance to adequately warm any cups, in my mind defeating the purpose of having a warming tray.
-Steam wand is very short and difficult to manipulate just right without making a milk-splattering mess.
5 people found this helpful
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on October 16, 2017
I have had this product for 3.5 months and it started smoking when brewing. Not steam, smoke! Amazon would not help me because it’s past the 1 month return policy. I waited on hold with delonghi for 42 minutes to be told they will have me send in the item and await repairs. I spent too much on this to now three months later be waiting for it to not catch on fire. I am very disappointed with the product and the way delonghi has handled it thus far and surprised Amazon couldn’t be of more assistance considering the circumstances.
17 people found this helpful
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