Delonghi EC702 review 2021: Best Super Budget Espresso Maker?
Entry-level espresso machines are still more expensive than your usual pieces of brewing equipment. This is why each make or model that you consider needs thorough research.
When it comes to coffee, so much is determined by personal preference. In this De Longhi EC702 review, we examine the features, strengths, and limitations of this espresso maker.
Delonghi EC702 Review
The DeLonghi EC702 is a basic espresso machine with powerful milk-steaming capabilities. It is made by a reputable brand in De Longhi, with good materials, executing proper espresso extraction science.
- Two thermostats allow for fast brewing and powerful steaming
- Compatible with E.S.E. pods
- Limited cup sizes fit under the portafilter spouts
- The steam wand falls back into a weird angle
This machine is perfect for espresso beginners and aspiring home baristas. It does all the basics well, and because of the build quality, it will do those things well for a long time.
There’s enough of the espresso brewing process that needs to be done manually to let drinkers who enjoy making their own coffee practice their skills and deepen their knowledge.
This entry-level espresso machine brews with all the standard parameters. 15 bars of pressure, within ideal brewing temperature ranges. It brews well, and it does it consistently.
The limited space in between the group head and tray of the DeLonghi EC702 has a simple workaround: use small espresso catchers (like demitasse cups, or small bowls), and heat your vessel on the cup warmer above your coffee maker.
If there’s one aspect that could be examined, it’s the built-in portafilter. While it is space-saving, if you experience consistency issues, try using a separate tamper. Work on tamping with the exact same force and angle each time you’re about to pull a shot.
The DeLonghi EC702 is made of stainless steel and aluminum in different areas. Either way, these are high quality materials that contribute to durability.
When it comes to espresso makers, they’re larger investments than your usual brewing systems. This is why it’s always better to go for quality over price. With the EC702? You get good quality at a great price!
The stainless steel boiler is of decent quality. The machine’s exterior and other parts that come into contact with pressure and heat are also stainless steel. There are crucial details that De Longhi is known to handle well. Things are no different with the EC702.
The 15 bar Brewer
The De Longhi EC702 is a 15 bar pump espresso maker (an industry standard for home machines). That’s more than enough force being generated from your high-quality stainless steel boiler to push water through your ground coffee!
The water reservoir is big enough to support the power of this particular machine. It’s also well designed (more on that later). From here, water goes to the boiler, which is then segregated by 2 thermostats: one for coffee, and one for milk. Pretty amazing capabilities for a machine with a single boiler.
When brewing, If shots feel constricted, you may be putting too much into your filter basket. If shots are too fast, perhaps you’re putting too little, or your grind size is too coarse.
If you’re having consistency issues, consider using pods as well. The De Longhi EC702 is compatible with E.S.E. pods for brewing ease. Dual functionality is always a plus!
If, like me, you prefer using pre-ground beans, 15 bars of pressure are strong enough for most fine grinds. You will be able to make all the black and milky drinks you want with the DeLonghi EC702.
The steaming on this Delonghi model is fast and powerful enough to allow you to create fine milk drinks at home. EC702 espresso-based milk drinks can taste as good (with proper technique) as lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites made on more expensive brewers.
This is a result of the separate thermostat for the steam wand and the rapid cappuccino system. You can see how fast and easy it will be to make one cup of coffee after another by simply purging your steam wand.
There isn’t much of a wait at all, almost like a commercial machine. Other entry-level machine options have quite a bit of waiting time before you purge; not on the De Longhi EC702, though!
Ease of Use
One of the most notable things about this entry-level coffee machine is that it is self-priming.
Once you turn it on, the heating element starts going. Your cup warmer, espresso, and milk will be drawing from the same heating element.
However, the De Longhi EC702 has two separate thermostats. This means that you can switch from making espresso to using your steam wand faster than other entry-level espresso machines.
The removable water tank can be pulled out from the side of the DeLonghi EC702. Not only that, this water reservoir has a water level indicator. It’s a small ball that you can see from the front of your espresso machine.
DeLonghi clearly had the home brewer in mind when it executed this simple but helpful feature on this model. Just be sure to develop the habit of checking your water reservoir before making an espresso on your machine.
As a semi-automatic machine, the DeLonghi EC702 has a self-priming operation but no self-cleaning capabilities.
Fortunately, with good habits, it becomes easy to clean regularly. Here are some simple tips on cleaning that you can get from our other similar espresso machine reviews.
Make sure to rinse out the residual coffee grounds from your filter basket every time you make an espresso shot. You want to keep them out in order for them not to affect the taste of your next pull.
Aside from this, you also want to rinse the coffee residue out while it’s hot and easy to get rid of. Once it dries up, you’ll need more time and effort to get them out.
It also starts as far back as the water tank. Use only filtered water. Or mineral water. This type of water is best suited for all types of coffee brewing. Inevitably you will need to descale. Limescale builds up over areas of your espresso machine where minerals and heat interact. You will notice the need to do so when your machine (in this case, the De Longhi EC702) starts to dispense water slower.
Last but not least is the steam wand. The Pannarello tip (cappuccino extension) is detachable. The fine foam extension is also detachable. These are dishwasher-safe parts.
Ideally, you want to wash these thoroughly after each use since milk residue can get rancid quickly. After each use, wipe down your wand with a damp microfiber towel while it’s still hot. Release some steam pressure to purge out residual milk. Do this again for safety before your next milky coffee masterpiece.
If you’re unsure, make sure to refer to the manual for appropriate descaling technique and frequency.
Since we try to give an honest review, while this DeLonghi model doesn’t have an auto shut off feature, it makes up for it with other features that I feel were well-thought-out. The homebrewer was definitely kept in mind when this machine was designed.
The DeLonghi EC702 comes with a built-in tamper. There are mixed reactions on espresso machines with this feature. The purists enjoy tamping separately as part of their coffee routine. There are a number of brewers who appreciate the space-saving effect of having it hooked up on the machine.
Another feature of this DeLonghi EC702 is the double-walled, pressurized portafilter. This maximizes the crema you can extract from your pre-ground coffee beans. This comes in handy if you like to buy your go-to espresso beans pre ground instead of investing in a burr grinder.
Once coffee beans are ground, they lose gasses exponentially. The gasses contribute to crema thickness and quality. The double-walled pressurized portafilter basket’s job is to extract the remaining gases from the pre-ground coffee effectively.
Delonghi’s patented filter holder technology is also used in the portafilters. Instead of needing a spoon to pop out the filter basket, they’re loosely placed. After pulling a shot, there’s a lock you can flip up to lock the filter in as you knock the coffee puck out. That’s its only function.
Filter holder systems are ideal for home-use espresso maker options. In a coffee shop setting, I prefer traditional wire-lock techniques due to the pace and quantity of coffee that is made regularly.
There is also a warming tray on top of the machine. Place your cups upside down so that it warms the inside part. This is meant to keep your coffee hot longer, lessening the temperature disparity once you pour into your warmed cups.
And lastly, the De Longhi EC702 has a huge drip tray! Have no fear of purging on this machine–the drip tray will catch all of it. It’s one thing that really stood out to me. If you read other reviews on other machine options, “small trays” are usually a pain point. Again, that’s one problem you won’t have with this machine.
Worth the Money?
For the beginner home barista? Definitely. For simple espresso lovers? Absolutely.
The most important thing at the start of every espresso appreciation journey is tasting coffee daily. It’s in noticing the subtle changes in flavor that you learn how to create your personal recipes one at a time. At the price point that the DeLonghi EC702 comes at, you’ll have enough room in your budget for a decent burr grinder. This is as crucial to making good espresso-based coffee as the actual espresso machine.
If you’re on a budget, a fan of making coffee as much as drinking it, this entry-level machine is good enough to start with. The DeLonghi EC702 will allow you to develop your barista skills at home.
And the best part?
You get to sip on your creations and learn more after each brew. You can pull your own shots and heat your milk on the manual frother. Steaming milk is one of the most challenging but most fulfilling aspects of making coffee.
I suggest toying with your steam wand by detaching the cappuccino system. You can create finer foam (with proper technique) for milky drinks like lattes and flat whites on this model!
The Delonghi EC702 Isn’t For You If…
You want an all-in-one espresso maker
If this is the case, look into super automatic espresso machines. With these brewers the entire process is automated. They’re easy to use, but you give up control over your espresso. But if you enjoy making coffee as much as drinking it, then a semi-automatic coffee maker is better-suited for you.
You mostly enjoy milky coffee
With limited space between the drip tray and the steam wand, there’s a limit on how much milk you can steam at a time.
Overfilling your milk frother will cause a mess while underfilling it will challenge your steaming technique. The best thing to do is to adjust your espresso recipe. Either pull a single shot to adjust to the milk or pull your usual double shot and steam in 2 batches. In both cases, you will have to adjust to your espresso machine.
Check out our latte machine recommendations instead.
You want all the bells and whistles
With the De Longhi EC702 you’re getting an entry-level espresso machine. It’s well-built for its price point, easy to use, and simple to maintain. Expect to get what you pay for (which is already more than we usually get).
If you want a built-in espresso scale, automated water and steam functions, and other advanced features, you will have to explore at a higher price point.
Check out our favorite espresso machines to learn more.
The Final Verdict
This is a very decent espresso machine, in my personal opinion, as reflected in this DeLonghi EC702 review.
It’s a mix of stainless steel and aluminum in the right parts for maximum durability. It lets you customize your coffee bases via single and double shot filters. You can create all types of foam using the milk frother. It’s compatible with pods or ground coffee.
You can’t ask much more from entry-level espresso machine options.
I hope that this DeLonghi EC702 review has guided you to think about some aspects to consider when choosing coffee makers for personal use. Espresso machines are one of the best things to have in your coffee arsenal.
Espressos are complex in taste and fun to make. Enjoy the process of learning it, stay patient, and just keep brewing!
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.