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De'Longhi Magnifica Review

Price:   $1,000 List | $590.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Good espresso, easy to clean
Cons:  Messy steam wand, tricky interface
Bottom line:  A good, capable machine, but not a great value
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   De'Longhi

Our Verdict

The De'Longhi Magnifica is super automatic machine that can make a good cappuccino. However, it has a slightly confusing interface and its steam wand can be a bit messy and difficult to use. In the same price range you can get a much more convenient and just as good tasting cappuccino in the Gaggia Anima Prestige.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Thursday
January 19, 2017

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Performance Comparison



Taste




The Magnifica scored a 7 out of 10 in our taste testing. Its shots tasted a bit stronger and bolder than shots from Nespresso capsule machines, all of which scored 6 in our testing. However, it produced espresso that tasted significantly more watery than espresso made with the top scoring Breville Barista Express. Topping it off with milk steamed and frothed made by its steam wand did make a nice cappuccino. However, it took some practice to get good milk results with its slightly clunky steam wand.



Ease of Use


The Magnifica earned a 6 out of 10 in our ease of use testing. This put it just below average in a metric where scores ranged from 4 to 9.

Easy Setup


The Magnifica comes with easy to follow setup instructions. We were pleasantly caffeinated within 20 minutes of opening the box.

Somewhat Cryptic Interface


The Magnifica's controls are easy to use once you're used to them, but they can be puzzling for a newcomer. All the buttons are only labeled with small pictures, so unless a picture of a mostly empty cup say 'single shot of espresso' to you, you'll probably be a bit confused at first.

IT takes a minute to get used to the symbols used on the Magnifica's interface.
IT takes a minute to get used to the symbols used on the Magnifica's interface.

Slow and Messy Cappuccino


It took us a little over four minutes to make a cappuccino with the Magnifica, putting it on the slower side of the scale. This was mostly due to its steam wand, which takes a longer to steam milk than the automatic frothers on some of the other machines. This wand also makes quite a mess. When warming up it spits water onto the counter rather than in the drip tray. It's quite an annoying design flaw.

The Magnifica makes quite a mess  mostly because its steam wand like to shoot water all over the place.
The Magnifica makes quite a mess, mostly because its steam wand like to shoot water all over the place.

Ease of Cleaning


The Magnifica was very easy to clean and shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our ease of cleaning testing. This was significantly ahead of the low score of 5.

Short Term Cleaning


The only part of the Magnifica that requires constant cleaning is the steam wand. After each use it needs to be wiped down and should be more thoroughly cleaned every few days, depending on how many milk drinks you make. The wand can be taken apart making it easy to clean both inside and out.

Descaling


The Magnifica comes with a packet of descaling solution and the process is automated. Though it took over 30 minutes to complete it did not require constant attention.

Milk Steaming/Frothing


The Magnifica's steam wand garnered it a score of 7 out of 10 in our milk steaming and frothing testing, where scores of machines with milk devices ranged from 6 to 9. Its steamed milk was nice but not quite as creamy as we'd like. Its frothed milk made a nice, voluminous foam, but it wasn't quite as rich as that from the top scoring machine, the Breville Barista Express.

The Magnifica's steam wand makes decent steam and frothed milk  but falls short of coffee shop quality.
The Magnifica's steam wand makes decent steam and frothed milk, but falls short of coffee shop quality.

Value


The Magnifica lists for $1000. At this price it is a fairly poor value, as the $1100 Gaggia Anima Prestige is much more convenient and not much more expensive. At the time of this writing we've seen the Magnifica selling for as much as 30% off. At this price it is a better value, but if you're looking to save money the Gaggia Brera is cheaper and a better value.


Conclusion


The De'Longhi Magnifica is a good espresso machine, but there are better machines available in its price range.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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