De'Longhi Magnifica Review
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|Pros||Good taste, easy to clean||Excellent espresso, can achieve near-perfect microfoam, relatively easy to use for a semi-automatic machine||Great taste, cafe quality lattes and cappuccinos||Great espresso, impressive milk steaming performance, compact design||Good espresso and milk steaming, quite inexpensive|
|Cons||A bit messy, harder to use||Pricey, requires more effort/practice than fully-automatic machines||On the pricier side, requires some effort and a learning curve||No built-in grinder||Doesn't quite achieve cafe quality results, somewhat slow, no built-in grinder|
|Bottom Line||A good, capable automatic machine, but not a great value and the interface is a bit confusing||A cafe-quality machine that manages to still be friendly towards beginner baristas||A perfect choice for those that don't mind putting in a little work to get the best tasting shot||One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality results||Offers good taste and overall quality at a far below average price|
|Rating Categories||De'Longhi Magnifica||Calphalon Temp IQ||Breville Barista Ex...||Breville Bambino||Gevi|
|Espresso Quality (40%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (15%)|
|Milk Quality (15%)|
|Specs||De'Longhi Magnifica||Calphalon Temp IQ||Breville Barista Ex...||Breville Bambino||Gevi|
|Dimensions||17" x 9.4" x 13.8"||5.6" x 14.5" x 17.3"||13.2" x 12.5" x 16"||7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2"||13" x 10" x 16"|
|Milk Frother||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Steam Wand||Steam Wand|
|Measured Water Tank Capacity||60 oz||94 oz||67 oz||47 oz||42 oz|
|Cost per Shot||$0.30||$0.45||$0.47||$0.45||$0.45|
|Lifetime Cost per Shot||$0.72||$0.70||$0.76||$0.58||$0.50|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price||370||235||277||118||51|
|Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price||226||141||165||70||30|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Magnifica has some things going for it but, overall, it left us a bit underwhelmed.
The Magnifica scored well in our taste tests. The shots tasted a bit stronger and bolder than shots from a capsule machine. However, they also tasted significantly more watery than espresso made with some of our top-scoring models which is disappointing when you consider the price point of this machine. Topping it off with steamed milk from the steam wand did indeed make a nice cappuccino. However, it took some practice to get good milk results with the slightly clunky steam wand.
Ease of Use
The Magnifica scored about average here. It comes with easy-to-follow setup instructions and includes a built-in grinder, so we were pleasantly caffeinated within 20 minutes of opening the box. That said, while the controls are easy to use once you're used to them, 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 says 'single shot of espresso' to you, you'll probably be a bit confused at first.
It took us a little over four minutes to make a cappuccino with the Magnifica, putting it on the slower side of our tested models. This was mostly due to its steam wand, which takes 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.
Ease of Cleaning
The Magnifica is very easy to clean and earned top marks for this metric. The only part that requires constant cleaning is the steam wand, but this is true of any machine. 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. The Magnifica comes with a packet of descaling solutions and the process is automated. Though it took over 30 minutes to complete it did not require constant attention, unlike many other machines in our lineup.
The steam wand on the Magnifica produced average quality milk. It frothed nice, voluminous foam, but it wasn't quite as rich or creamy as we'd prefer. The chunky design of the wand also isn't optimized to make the kind of microfoam ideal for latte art.
This is an expensive machine. Considering the price point and subsequent performance, we don't find this a very high-value option. Other machines in the same price range are more convenient with a better overall design.
The De'Longhi Magnifica is a good espresso machine, but there are better machines available in its price range.
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