Expert review De'Longhi La Specialista
De'Longhi La Specialista
- The quick start guide with tips and photos comes in handy to correctly set up the coffee machine.
- The machine is very silent when it's in use, so you can easily continue a conversation while you're grinding and brewing coffee.
- Frothing milk is easier than on other piston machines, since the steam wand does this completely automatically.
- The automatic tamper doesn't tamp the coffee entirely evenly.
- It takes time and patience to learn how to brew a tasty cup of coffee with a piston machine.
When I open the box, the first thing i see is the smaller box with accessories. This includes a quick start guide with photos, which is very useful. The machine looks sturdy and robust. The casing feels sturdy as well, and the separate parts feel reliable.
Prepare for use
I found getting the machine ready for use a bit complicated. The quick start guide gave some tips and eventually everything fell into place. The filter needed to be pressed into the portafilter with quite a lot of force. Then, I filled up the water tank and the bean hopper and simply turned on the machine. After that, I followed the quick start guide. I did have to leave the steam wand open for slightly longer than the indicated 10 seconds before any steam came out.
Brew the first espresso
I started by adjusting the grind size and the amount of ground coffee. I bought dark roast coffee beans and put the grind size on setting 2. I selected the lowest setting for the amount of coffee. After grinding and tamping the coffee, I decided to increase the amount slightly. When I felt like I found the right amount, I made my first espresso.
Result first espresso
The first espresso didn't turn out quite right. I adjusted the grind size and amount until I managed to make a good espresso with the machine. Thanks to the tips and photos in the quick start guide, I knew how to adjust the settings for the right result. This came in very handy. Finding the right settings took me about 10 cups of coffee. That is relatively few when it comes to setting up a piston machine.
When I managed to make a good espresso, it was time to turn the espresso into a cappuccino. I used whole milk and let the automatic steam wand froth it for about 60 seconds. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I had a lot of foam and it was very thick and firm. There were some bubbles in the foam, but I could swirl these out. The milk was also nice and hot, just the right temperature.
Things that stood out
One thing that stood out to me right away is how silent the machine is. I could easily carry on a conversation while grinding beans and brewing coffee. In addition to an espresso, you can also use this piston machine to make an americano or a regular cup of coffee. The automatic tamper is easy to use, but I found the result mediocre. The coffee wasn't entirely evened out. After brewing a cup, the coffee did come out as a whole and it turned out to be properly tamped after all.
This machine doesn't have a water filter to filter the limescale out of the water. That means you have to descale the machine more often. Thanks to the cleaning indicator, you don't need to remember when it's time yourself. It's more convenient that way. Another thing that stood out to me when it comes to maintenance is that the steam wand is prone to filth. Make sure you rinse it after every use by opening up the steam wand for at least 5 seconds.
The De'Longhi La Specialista is a user-friendly piston machine. The bean grinder is built-in and the tamper is automatic. This way, you save space on your kitchen counter and easily tamp the ground coffee. The coffee machine is very silent in use. The automatic steam wand is simple to operate and creates good quality milk foam. Setting up the machine doesn't take that long, thanks to the tips and photos in the quick start guide. Keep in mind that this is a piston machine, so you can't brew a delicious espresso in one try.