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on August 29, 2011
I am Italian, born and raised. Moved to US at 30 yrs old. Moved to an area where there's no Italian-American influence, no chance of going out for an espresso. Only Starbucks... no thanks. Thought I could go by without espresso for 6 years (what was I thinking??? I don't know). Then sudden espresso cravings made me buy this espresso machine. De Longhi is a very common brand in Italy for any type of home appliances. I've had this machine for 6 months now, using it every day. It's awesome. Like the espresso cup you'd get in Italy "al bar". It gives a thick layer of "crema" on top of each cup.

Here some answers to other reviewers' cons:

* somebody wrote the water was not coming out and returned the machine: you need to bang the water tank real hard in position, otherwise it doesn't connect. It happened to me first time using it... I thought machine was defective too because coffee was not coming out. My husband banged it in there and started working right away.

* ground basket is soupy: with espresso machines you have to fill the basket to its fullest, nothing like drip machines. You need to have coffee heaping out like an upside-down cone and then gently press it down with the tamper. Don't press too hard otherwise the water doesn't make it through.

* built-it tamper sucks: this puzzles me. A tamper is whatever flat surface you have handy. In Italy people don't use tampers, considered a fancy thing for coffee shops. People just uses the back of a spoon to tamper the coffee down. The spoon that comes with this machine is perfect for that by the way. You just need a flat round surface of same diameter to have a great tamper. The built-in one works great. You only need a minor pressure otherwise you compact coffee too much.

* takes long to heat up: maybe older version? Not sure about this. Mine is ready in one minute or less.

* no cup warmer: in the manual says the top metal part is the cup warmer. It is warm if you let it warm up. I personally live in warm climate so don't need cup warmer, plus the coffee comes out very hot. True that there's no railing so cups can fall off easily (done that...).

* frothing wand placement/length: I can't say much about it because I don't make cappuccino, I just drink straight espresso, black. One thing I'd say is that cappuccino in Italy is not what you know as cappuccino here, size wise. This may explain the wand dimensions. In Italy cappuccino is a single shot of espresso, with some frothed milk on top. When I say some, I mean really a little bit. The total output is less than one cup size for your cappuccino. That is very small. So when you need to heat up your milk, in theory you'd use a very small and short brick. If you'd see one of these you wouldn't believe it probably.

* bitter coffee: this is very important. Espresso is supposed to be a very sweet cup of coffee. I never got used to the drip coffee or store bought cup of coffee just because it's too bitter. Not used to it. The difference is in the roast and grind. You cannot use coffee you'd use in the drip machine for the espresso machine. For your first espresso, just buy Illy ground espresso coffee. I recommend the black label. Just try it and that is your standard to compare other coffee to. That is the sweet taste you should get. I also recommend to buy pre-ground coffee, because the grind for espresso requires a serious (expensive) burr grinder, professional level to obtain a fine and homogeneous coffee suitable for these type of machines.

To buy ground coffee, a cheaper option (cheaper than Illy) is Lavazza. I recommend "Crema e Gusto". This is the most commonly used brand in Italian families, that's all I drank in my family for instance. The "Crema e Gusto" variety gives a nice espresso.

I think I covered all the points I wanted. I will add if realize I forgot something worth mentioning :-)
Enjoy your coffee!

April 2015 Update: we have been using this machine daily since our purchase in 2011 and it hasn't had a single issue so far.
3,497 helpful votes
3,498 helpful votes
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on May 6, 2017
I'm coming up (or just passed) about the three year mark using one of my EC155 machines (one is used much more than the other) and I can say that I've just about reached the end of the machine's lifetime. For the first two years of use, I pulled 18g shots two to three times a day and this past year has been an average of one pull a day in the morning (16g of coffee). If I compare the performance of the machine I use much more often and the machine that has about half a year's worth of use on it, I can definitely say that my three years of heavy use have just about knocked my EC155 out of its full capacity. The power of the pumps in the two machines have a night and day difference - I have to be very careful with how much coffee I load in the portafilter in the machine I use more to make sure it can still push out anything. As a side note, I can still achieve proper crema and pour lattes in both.

Seeing as it's time to replace the dying EC155 I've reached a crossroads that speaks to the quality the EC155 provides at its price point. A lot of the "higher-end" (~$100-$500 range) espresso machines have issues that are apparent in the EC155 such as unstable temperature control and poor steam generation. For a sub-$100 machine, the EC155 does a great job as long as you know a few important tricks! Here are a few I've picked up through refining my coffee rituals:

1. Toss aside the pressurizer that comes with the portafilter (the small black circular object that screws into the plate and the black plate). This pressurizer works via a spring loaded system that attempts to introduce artificial pressure into the grounds so that the water coming through the portafiler needs to achieve a certain pressure before coming out. I've found that if you load enough grounds in and tamp properly it isn't necessary at all for achieving a crema. In the end you should just have three pieces: the outside of the portafilter, the gasket, and the metal holder

2. Either take off the bottom half of the portafilter handle or cut off the plastic underneath the portafilter to get yourself a sort of bottomless portafilter system. You'll be able to watch your shots come out of the machine and I've found that a lot of coffee liquid gets stuck in this piece without there being any big benefit. Also this frees up some much needed room for a taller cup.

3. Put a book or something under the machine to have more clearance for a frothing cup.

4. My routine for preparing a latte is to preheat the machine for anywhere between 30 minutes to hours (I used to have a outlet timer that would automatically turn my machine on in the morning). The top of the machine should be hot to the touch by the time you're ready to go for it. There will be a few cycles of heating in this time (i.e. green light on/off/on). I first weigh out my coffee (I grind mine fresh but I have used pre-ground before and there is a bit of a difference) and fill the portafilter and tamp it down (I usually use 18 grams in the larger portafilter). You lock the portafilter in as much as you can - it won't be completely straight but you should feel the gasket get tighter as you turn it. In accordance with espresso theory of not leaving a shot for more than a short time out, I heat/froth my milk first before actually pulling my shot. Frothing the milk to proper latte consistency to be able to pour art was probably the most difficult thing for me to achieve. Any machine has a little bit of water come out of the frother once you turn the knob so its best to have a cup to just purge out some excess water before you froth your milk. Since the EC155 has an auto-frother (i.e. has those holes in the top of the frother), you don't need to pull the milk and listen to the clicking noise as if you had a "legitimate" machine. Simply stretch the milk a bit (introduce air to create micro bubbles - should increase volume of milk) before finding a sweet spot where the milk is able to whirl around from the frother's airstream. This should incorporate those bubbles into your milk to get that silky consistency. I learned from SeattleCoffeeGear to leave the steamer valve on all the way and turn the knob to the coffee pull setting (all the way to the right) to purge out one shots' worth of coffee from the reservoir (until the green light turns off) just so that the machine is forced to heat a fresh amount of water to try to get that ideal temperature. 20-28 seconds of a pull and a bit of milk swirling and pouring later and you have a latte!

5. I descaled my machine a few times which helped the performance out a lot back in around year 2 but it looks like at this point the machine is going to have to be retired :/.

The EC155 is really a great machine (especially for someone in college/grad school who needs to justify the price). Theres a lot of little tricks you can pick up that give the machine all the more character. I'm not sure if I'll stick to getting another EC155 next, but for anyone who's shell shocked by the prices forums and websites list for their machines, the EC155 is that affordable alternative. Like any culinary activity, if you focus on the ingredients (fresh roasted coffee) and prepare appropriately (burr grinder to achieve a consistent grind), you leave more leeway for the machine to work well.

FYI I would rate myself as a budding coffee enthusiast, buying fresh roasted beans (light to medium roast) and I use a burr grinder.
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96 helpful votes
97 helpful votes
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on November 21, 2017
Love this little machine. I have had it for a few months now and its great! I was spending tons of money at Sbuks and decided I needed to try to make my own macchiato at home. I purchased this and then purchased all the syrups on Sbucks and I am so pleased I did! I have saved so much money already. This was my first ever espresso machine and I did a ton of research before purchasing it. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on it in case I didn't know what I was doing lol no regrets! It was very easy to set up and use. I also watched a ton of videos on youtube. If you are having trouble at first with water not coming out take the tank out and just drop it in hard then it will work! I highly recommend this little machine.
1 helpful vote
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on November 16, 2017
BEWARE!!! This machine does make decent espresso... WHILE IT WORKS. Over the course of about 2 1/2 years, I owned three of these machines. I had been advised that at this price point, about a year is all you can expect so each time there was an issue, I purchased another. The third time, I added the extra three-year insurance plan and figured I would have a decent espresso machine for three years without any further expense.

However, about 2 months into machine #3, metal shards started shaving off the machine and going into the tray - and my coffee! Also, I was having minor leakage problems as well as a lot more noise (like a straining motor) that I'd never experienced before.

DeLonghi customer service was among the worst I have ever dealt with. I was on hold for hours over at least 5 different phone calls. I was promised by more than one rep that they would take over the case and call me back with any updates and you guessed it, that never, ever happened. Each time, I called I was treated with absolute disrespect, especially considering that I'd purchased THREE of these machines!

Ultimately, they declined to replace my machine, blaming ME for using it incorrectly, even though I was using it exactly the same as I had with the other two machines (which broke down in different ways - the first just died and the second started leaking everywhere). After so much time and aggravation spent with these people just to ultimately be told to buzz off and that I'd lost my money on this round, I vowed to write a negative review, which I am finally getting around to after almost a year. I'm still bitter.

I ended up purchasing the $99 machine from Costco and couldn't be happier, especially knowing that Costco guarantees everything they sell with out the hassle and humiliation that DeLonghi customer service put me through. I will NEVER buy anything made by DeLonghi ever again.
1 helpful vote
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on May 29, 2017
I am not a gourmet but the coffee Latte tastes fine with Lilly Dark Roast Coffee, Fine Grind, 8.8-Ounce Can using the steamer on fresh milk.

There is only one flaw, unfortunately it is quite aggravating. The clearance for inserting a coffee cup is too low for anything but a made-for-espresso cup. Even Medelco 4 Cup Universal Glass Espresso Replacement Carafe, Black won't fit, which is a shame.

If I were buying this again, I would probably shop harder and pay more for one with a couple of inches more room to slide the cup underneath.
1 helpful vote
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on September 28, 2017
Since you cannot judge exactly the size of container (cup) you need to fit under the dispenser this threw me off. In order for me to use it I have to take the metal plate off and set my coffer pitcher in the cut out so it fits. The frothing arm is also so close to the counter you have to be really good at frothing to use it. We own a DeLonghi (don't know the item #) and love it. I bought this one because you could not find (even from the maker) a 2-cup coffee maker (the part you put your coffee into for the water to be forced through with pressure). The old one would push plain water through the 2-cup but as soon as you put coffee into it no deal. Funny thing is the 2-cup coffee holder for this new one actually fits in our old one so we are back to using the older one and love it. If you love to make espressos or capachinnos (sp) this can be a great brand, just need to be able to actually touch and see it in person to make the right choice.
1 helpful vote
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on March 15, 2017
Makes decent espresso, but has started to leak water from the head after just a few weeks.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on December 3, 2016
We were skeptical of buying this because it was so inexpensive. We bought one that had been returned but was still brand new and got a really great deal.
We saw this one at a target before buying it here and it seemed very cheaply made, very lightweight and almost entirely plastic. However, since we were getting a great buy, we decided to try it and we are so glad we did!
Although this is the first espresso machine we have ever owned, so we do not have anything to compare it to, we really like the way the coffee comes out. Almost daily, my husband makes a great cappuccino. We have been using it for 10 months without any problems.
1 helpful vote
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on July 24, 2017
I usually refrain from writing and reading reviews, but as a long time Espresso drinker who has owned several machines and whose friends owned various machines, figured this could be usual to someone. This machine will give you the most bang for your buck. To find a better machine to make simple espresso daily you will have to spend at least double, if not triple the money. This machine, like almost all other low priced non commercial models, does not have the brass boiler necessary to be considered 'high end' or even professional. So why spend $150, $200, or even $300 for something that isnt up to par when you can buy this little guy. They usually work solidly and last for about a year before beginning to wane. You will see a decrease in pressure and after about a year descaling will do very little to help performance. But for that year you- you get a dam good espresso for the price....
1 helpful vote
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on December 28, 2015
I would give this all five stars, if the machine lasted more than a year. We've made coffee only over the weekends with it. We've used it gently, did not use the milk frother attachment for the most part of our usage. The machine drips water very slowly, as if there isn't enough pressure build-up. Most online recommendations suggest descaling the machine. We've tried that, but that didn't fix things either. There is no build-up, and I don't think that is our problem in any case. I don't wish to spend more money buying descaling products and invest more money into an already broken machine.

It may be worth pointing out that the previous version of this machine lasted us two years and stopped working in exactly the same way. With that machine we assumed we had a defective model, or had hit some kind of a weakness or limitation in the machine. We used the previous one more often and for longer before it died. It could just be a gradual degradation in quality of materials used in these machines.

I sometimes hear people saying their espresso machine lasted them ten years. I just don't see how that could be possible anymore. I am just disappointed that I need to shell out another $100 for a machine that will last us another year, or two if we are lucky. I am looking around for other options. This machine is supposedly a best seller in semi-automatic espresso machines, so it's a bit difficult to look beyond that and weigh out the reviews of the other machines in comparison with this one.

Somebody in the Questions and Answers section suggested that this problem may be a result of a pump diaphragm weakness. (glimmer of hope) He also said it was unrepairable in this model, and he just had to toss it away (glimmer of hope fades away).
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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