Delonghi Dedica Review: Best Compact Espresso Maker 2021?
When it comes to espresso machines, there are more choices available than at your local supermarket. And as a coffee consultant and barista, I’ve had the opportunity to use 100s of different brewers to find out what makes or breaks it, so you don’t have to.
Below, I dive into what I’d consider one, if not the most compact and premium semi-auto home espresso machine – the Delonghi Dedica.
Let’s check out if it lets you craft shots at home that’ll have your local barista feeling insecure!
Delonghi Dedica Review 2021
In case you’re in a hurry, yes, the DeLonghi Dedica espresso machine is a decent choice for home use, especially if you value compact design.
- Less than 1-minute machine warm-up
- High quality compact design
- Automatic Flow Stop lets you brew single and double shots properly
- Not cheap
- Challenging to steam at first
In fact, it’s good enough for small cafes or restaurants that sell less than 50 coffees a day but have limited room.
It’s a well-built, compact machine that has great built-in features. These work together within the machine to make consistent, tasty espresso drinks.
You only need to push a few buttons on the interface to operate it. It’s the technology working inside the machine that helps us make good coffee.
The DeLonghi Dedica is a single-group home espresso machine. It’s made of stainless steel and hard plastic in the right places. A 35oz water tank is big enough given the size of this semi automatic home espresso maker. Both the drip tray and steam wand have enough clearance to fit most cup sizes.
“Ease of use” comes to mind when you first see how simple the machine is. There are 3 buttons on the front of the espresso machine and one switch for the steam wand. It also starts up in less than 1 minute, which is a short time to wait before pulling an espresso shot.
What you don’t see on the DeLonghi Dedica espresso machine’s surface is how it’s built to make great espresso. For such a compact machine, it lets you maximize output (15 bar pressure) and consistency. It uses thermoblock technology, has enough steam wand pressure, and brews within ideal temperature ranges.
So if you enjoy crafting espressos yourself, a semi-automatic machine at home would suit your brewing habits perfectly. You get to experiment with your espresso shots and learn the art of steaming and pouring.
Delonghi Dedica Brewing Standards
The DeLonghi Dedica brews with an industry-standard 15 bar pressure profile. Most home espresso machines meet this threshold. But it takes much more than just pressure to make decent espresso.
Firstly, you need an adequate water tank to support your machine’s functionality. This starts with machine design, way before coffee grounds are put inside your espresso machine. You also need a fast, precise, and consistent water heater for every shot you pull.
Thankfully Dedica machines have a decently sized 1 liter water reservoir. The thermoblock system is also exceptional for the size of the machine in terms of speed and consistency.
One of the joys of making home espresso with a semi-automatic machine is that you can tinker with your favorite recipes. That is why the Dedica comes with 3 baskets for your filter holder. You can easily make single or double espresso shots as you please. Being double-walled, you can expect a decent amount of crema, too – as long as you use fresh ground coffee anyway.
It seems like DeLonghi made sure to design the Dedica to do the basics exceptionally well for its compact size.
A cup warmer is placed on top, so that there’s little temperature change when you catch your coffee with a cup upon brewing. The drip tray comes in a design that allows you to accommodate a wide range of cup sizes too. At the same time, the steam wand has a detachable cappuccino maker for beginners.
My favorite thing about the Dedica for homebrewers is the Automatic Flow Stop feature. It has built-in parameters for single or double espresso that can be accessed with 1 of 3 buttons. So if you want to make a particular type of espresso in the morning, the Dedica has you covered.
You can also save specific espresso recipes on the Dedica when you’ve surpassed the initial learning curve.
All in all, these are the little things that come together to allow you to brew quality cups with the Dedica. It’s good value compared to other espresso makers within the brewers’ price range.
However, one thing about this machine is that with high-level performance comes the need for regular cleaning. But more on this later.
Delonghi Dedica Build Quality
As mentioned earlier, the DeLonghi Dedica is made with stainless steel and hard plastic. It weighs less than 10 lbs. so it won’t feel like it’s built like a tank.
Yet, with proper care and maintenance, as with any piece of equipment, you can make this machine last. This is also confirmed by lots of positive reviews you can see for yourself online.
One issue you might have with the Dedica is excessive vibration. You will hear it from cups shaking on the cup warmer when you brew. The machine is so light that it moves around on certain surfaces. A quick fix would be to set it on a shock-absorbent surface to keep the machine in place.
The DeLonghi Dedica has higher-end build quality and an even better design despite its weight. It’s more than what you’d expect from the usual home 15 bar pump espresso machine. It packs a punch, and from the group head to the steam wand, you shouldn’t have any design issues.
Dedica machines come with a powerful steam wand. While you won’t make a latte in 5-8 seconds, you will be able to get enough of a vortex going to make a smooth, creamy brew. Steaming wands are generally good indicators of how well-designed your espresso machine is and the wand on the Dedica doesn’t disappoint.
So what’s so good about it?
It comes with a Pannarello steaming wand that is the attachment of choice for beginners. This helps you introduce air and hot water through the surface of your milk. Your learning curve will determine how soon you’ll be making smooth and creamy lattes.
Low-end machines tend to be underpowered. The wands can be poorly placed. Often, you’ll have trouble getting a vortex going, and/or you have to wait for a long time before your machine gathers enough steam. Some milk wands are barely-adjustable. These small details add up to affect your daily experience.
Thankfully, that’s not the case here.
Based on the steaming wand on the DeLonghi Dedica, I would say that it’s surprisingly high quality. Having a 1-liter water reservoir should allow for practice in steaming milk. You can even do milk frothing right after you pull your shots. With thermoblock technology, there’s little wait time and a lot more consistency. Especially compared to other semi-automatic machine setups.
When to steam during your espresso routine will be your choice. The Dedica leaves that decision up to you.
Nonetheless, make sure you purge with just water before each use and wipe down the wand, completely freeing it from milk build-up to ensure the perfect cup. Those stains not only look bad on stainless steel, they can also become a health hazard.
Usefully, the Dedica has a self-cleaning feature that you should check out from the user’s manual.
Once you get addicted to milk frothing, try detaching the Pannarello wand. You will see the actual steam wand with a smaller tip. This is what you need for making milky coffee cups without the training wheels. You should be able to make more than just cappuccinos without the Pannarello. As long as you invest time and effort into learning good steaming and pouring techniques.
Remember that an indicator of high-quality milk is that it looks like shiny white paint. This is the effect of the microbubbles being so fine and even. Also, good steamed milk will seem sweeter than regular chilled milk. The microfoam in your flat whites, lattes, and cappuccinos also act as insulators. They keep your coffee warm for longer.
Coffee Maker Ease of Use
Most commercial espresso makers take a bunch of switches and around 20 minutes to warm up. In parallel, most home machines can be primed for brewing within seconds but brew with scalding hot water. Sometimes the wait between shots can take longer than the actual start up time.
With the Dedica, it takes about 40 seconds to get primed for making coffee. Yup, that’s right…40 seconds! 3 buttons upfront will allow you to access all the user-controlled features of this semi-automatic machine.
Make a habit of checking the water reservoir before switching on. This is to make sure that there’s enough water for the draw up.
The steam wand is controlled by a literal on and off switch that’s easy to locate right above the milk wand. While some machines need a lot of adjustment when it comes to catching espresso or frothing milk, the Dedica is the compatibility with a lot of cup sizes. Super simple and effective to ensure quality and easy cups!
The Dedica allows you to focus on your espresso shots. You don’t have to input your pump pressure at different stages of brewing. Or worry about water temperature control. Coffee making becomes one step. It starts after you check the water reservoir and load your filter holder. Boom!
Finally, as with any coffee lover with an espresso machine at home, you will have your own definitions for double and single shots at some point.
The Dedica allows you to save your espresso preferences based on extraction length. It’s a rare feature to have for a machine at this price point.
Cleaning The Delonghi Dedica
Unfortunately, cleaning is one of the areas you’ll need to focus on with this brewer. This machine’s decent set of features is also one reason why it should be cleaned regularly.
First of all, thermoblock technology works wonders for water temperature consistency. But the structure of the valves and tubes also allows scale to build up quickly. However, DeLonghi has countered this by installing an auto-descale feature.
Descaling is a preventive measure. But the best preventative measures to protect your machine is to develop good habits for cleaning and operating your machine. Yes, it’s boring but read the owner’s manual before you use your espresso machine.
With no solenoid valve, your group head can get messy after pulling an espresso shot. You have to get used to purging before and after making espresso to clear as much gunk out as possible. It would be good to brush the group head after a set amount of days or cups made – how many is up to you.
In a cafe setting, I recommend deep cleaning after 50 or 100 cups. If you can’t imagine counting each espresso you make, commit to a once-a-week cleaning schedule instead.
The milk wand is also a point of emphasis for machine maintenance. Make a habit of purging before and after steaming to clear out milk debris while it’s fresh. Check the water reservoir to see if you have enough water for cleaning. The longer you wait, the harder gunk gets to clear out. The water tank is adequate enough to allow you to incorporate these habits into your espresso routine.
For the rest of the Dedica, wipe down the stainless steel parts with a clean, damp cloth, and follow up with a dry one to bring out the shine again. Plastic components like the water tank and some side panels are even easier to clean, requiring only a quick wipe down.
The DeLonghi Dedica seems to have been created with home espresso lovers in mind. From the water tank, filter baskets, milk wand, cleaning function, and reviews, Delonghi seems to be satisfying their market for the Dedica well.
Being pod-compatible, another class of home-brewers can be satisfied by the Dedica. One of the filter baskets that come with your machine allows for you to brew coffee pods. The double-walled feature acts side by side with the pump pressure to give you full crema, even from the pre-ground coffee or freshly ground coffee beans.
Another added feature that comes with the Dedica is the tamper-spoon. Coffee professionals will have varying opinions on this. But I believe that plastic tampers can perform as well as steel ones. All you need is proper technique. Having a tamper attached to a spoon is unconventional, but it does save you space. And it becomes easier to hold, harder to lose.
The Delonghi Dedica Isn’t For You If
You need an all-in-one solution
The Dedica doesn’t come with a built-in grinder. This means that you will have to make room in your budget (and coffee counter) for a good burr grinder. The extra work and spend aren’t for everyone. But as an espresso lover, the best combination for home brewing will always be a semi-automatic machine and a separate burr grinder.
Built-in grinders have limited grinding capacities. Also, more often than not, you can only effectively grind medium roasted coffee beans. There is a noticeable difference in quality when it comes to all-in-one machines. When compared with specialized machines, the results speak for the difference in cost. You will get what you pay for.
Your espresso machine budget is tiny
There are super affordable alternatives in the market right now. But as a coffee professional for the past 8 years, I’ve encountered few machines that can stack up to the performance and compact design of the DeLonghi Dedica. A quick search online will reveal how the espresso always seems to be syrupy. Whether from reviews or home videos.
A quick comparison will reveal that most home espresso machines you can purchase produce thin, watery espresso. No matter what grind size. No matter how hard you tamp. This is one of the more common negative espresso-related comments with home machines.
From this review, you know that those are the thermoblock feature results and the double-walled filter basket. Now you also have a clear visual of how much better the machine seems to produce coffee right away.
You want to fully automate your espresso routine at home
Some people love to drink coffee more than they like making it. If that’s the case, then a fully automatic machine would better suit their coffee needs. No learning curve necessary.
The DeLonghi Dedica is as simple as it gets for semi-automatics, but some people want a latte with one push of a button. There’s one machine out there made for what you need. Make that your next purchase.
The Final Verdict
The DeLonghi Dedica is one of the most visible espresso machines I’ve come across. It wasn’t until I used it myself that I got to know how well it crafts an espresso shot.
Designed well inside and out, the Dedica is without a doubt a high-quality machine. It gives great value for espresso lovers and home brewers alike. It does the small things well within a compact design that sacrifices none of an espresso machine’s traditional parts.
With the bonus of being pod-compatible, there are few better options for a starter-level espresso machine.
I enjoy the balance between design, price, and performance with this not-so-hidden gem from DeLonghi. Take a closer look (even one more review) at the Dedica if you need to. This could be your best choice to make those cups of espresso at home or at your tiny shop! Remember to pair this with a good burr grinder to maximize your coffee’s potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is DeLonghi Dedica good?
Yes it is. It makes good espresso and is priced good enough that you can still invest in a burr grinder that is as-good. And yes, you need to get a good burr grinder if you want to maximize each part of your spro maker.
What is the difference between Delonghi Dedica and Dedica Deluxe machines?
There are 2 main differences: the double drip tray, and the adjustable frother.
The double tray allows you to accommodate a wider cup size range because you can detach the top part of the tray and leave the bottom in.
The adjustable frother lets you switch between frothing and just dispensing milk into your coffee. So that “splash of milk” you need to put in your black coffee doesn’t have to be foamy.
If these 2 machine features aren’t game-changers for you, you’ll be satisfied with the regular one. You don’t need to upgrade to a Deluxe.
Barista and coffee writer
Miguel Papa is a coffee fanatic with a passion for brewing. During the weekdays, you can find him experimenting with different drinks while he works as a barista. Otherwise, he’s likely writing here for Sip Coffee or enjoying the outdoors.