Delonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 Review

Today I’ll be taking a look at the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900, as requested. DeLonghi sure has been busy turning out automatic espresso machines to meet the needs to consumers who aren’t looking to spend much. It is likely the market leader in price class of less than 300 pounds, and they keep introducing new machines that are (supposedly) better than their predecessors. You can find all the reviews on the best espresso machines here.

Barista ESAM Corso Review

Today I’ll be taking a look at the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900, as requested. DeLonghi sure has been busy turning out automatic espresso machines to meet the needs to consumers who aren’t looking to spend much. It is likely the market leader in price class of less than 300 pounds, and they keep introducing new machines that are (supposedly) better than their predecessors. You can find all the reviews on the best espresso machines here.

We have also been continually testing and reviewing new DeLonghi machines. This time it’s the ESAM 2900’s turn. It costs just less than 270 pounds on Amazon.co.uk and is more or less the follow-up to the ESAM 3000. If you really want to have the full audiovisual experience, you can check out my review of the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 on our YouTube channel.

  • Available in the UK: Amazon.co.uk
  • Good and very similar alternative for the US – the ESAM 2600: Amazon.com

The main questions that we need to answer when doing a test and review is whether this ESAM machine can do better or worse than its predecessors and comparable machines, and whether DeLonghi can really make a high-quality machine for less than 300 pounds.

Overview: Do I Recommend the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900?

Alright, let’s get this review going. Similarly to the ESAM 3000, the ESAM 2900 lets you operate everything important from the front of the machine. The water tank opens to the front, the brewing unit comes out from the front, etc. That is a rather practical distinguishing characteristic that cheap automatic espresso machines don’t offer – and which even some expensive ones rarely offer.

Although the ESAM 2900 doesn’t offer many customizable options, you will generally not miss them. After all, who among us (including coffee nerds) really need to change much more than grind coarseness, the amount of coffee, and the amount of water? In other words, the ESAM 2900 really is worthy of the name “super-automatic espresso machine.”

The milk foam and espresso results were also surprisingly good. That makes the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 a best buy in terms of providing performance for a good price. You will just have to come to terms with the fact that it is not about to win any beauty contests; if it is too ugly for you, you can just cover it with a towel! Delonghi Corso ESAM 2800 Drip Tray So in summary, yes, I do recommend this machine, as long as you take the following factors into account:

Advantages

  • Everything is operable from the front
  • Easy to use
  • Very good balance between price and performance
  • Removable brewing unit
  • Good espresso
  • Good milk foam
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively quiet

Disadvantages

  • Was brutally beaten with an ugly stick
  • No display

As you will see later on, you probably won’t actually miss the display in most cases. Seeing as there are so few settings, including a display wouldn’t be necessary anyhow.

The DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 Compared to the ESAM 3000 and Other Machines

The DeLonghi company is apparently very fond of confusing customers like you and me. With so many model lines and numbers, it is nearly impossible to see what the differences are between models. Often, those differences are just small little details.

The ESAM 2900 is basically the direct descendant to the ESAM 3000 – I already reviewed the “B” (for “black”) version. Also, the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is a current alternative to the DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B, which also did a good job in our test, but fell short when it came to some important details. Comparison: Delonghi ESAM 3000b The manufacturer noticed a few small problems with the ESAM 3000 and decided to address them in the 2900. They also removed a few frills or confusing features that most automatic espresso machine users hardly use anyhow.

Additionally, the ESAM 2900 is a bit quieter than the ESAM 3000. In comparison to the ECAM 22.110.B, there is only a micro-decibel difference in terms of noise – at least to my ears. The espresso from the ESAM 2900 also came out a tad better than I got from both of the other models.

The ESAM 2900 is a bit heavier and larger than the ECAM 22.110.B machine, and unfortunately it has more plastic components than the ESAM 3000.

We could continue comparing each little detail between these two machines, but one or the other would just win by a hair in any comparison.

To summarize: The DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is a “true” and worthy successor to the DeLonghi ESAM 3000. It has solved some of the problems its predecessor had, which allows it to be a “real” super-automatic espresso machine that focuses on results above all else.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should chuck your ESAM 3000 out the window, nor should you doubt yourself if you have decided to get the ECAM model. However, if you are looking at DeLonghi machines and want to buy your first super-automatic espresso machine, then the ESAM 2900 is the best current option in this price class.

Technical Specifications and Overview of Features

CategoryValue
NameESAM 2900
ManufacturerDeLonghi
Dimensions (WxDxH)11.4 in x 15 in x 14.2 in
(29 cm x 38 cm x 36 cm)
Power, in W1,450
Maximum pump pressure15 bars
Separate compartment for ground coffee
Cup warmer
GrinderStainless steel conical grinder
Removable brewing unit
Removable water tank
Water filter
Weight22 pounds (10 kg)

These specs are a good indicator that this is a machine that includes everything that you will actually need. Now let’s take a closer look at what exactly those features are.

The Spout Height

The DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 passed my “IKEA Glass Test” with flying colors. It has a spout that you can adjust really high (4.3 inches or 11 centimeters), and it didn’t have any problems with shorter cups, either. The spout was very exact, and everything went directly from the spout into my smallest cup (and two cups).

The Grinder

That is a stainless-steel conical grinder you hear rumbling away on this machine. Although I already mentioned that this machine is quieter than comparable models, understand that it is really just “quiet” for its price class.

DeLonghi offers 13 coarseness settings with this machine, but in reality only about seven are usable. I made very good espressos by setting the grinder to just below level three, which worked the best. Grind Coarseness

Milk Frother

You might not really register that this is a low-priced machine until you check out the milk frother. Expensive automatic machines include entire systems to handle milk, but the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 comes with “only” a steam wand.

Indeed, that does go a bit against the very concept of a “super-automatic” machine, but at least it is very simple to use. What’s more, it is the ideal way to practice your milk foaming skills. The steam wand is also perfect if you feel like making a dirty matcha or another mixed drink.

The wand delivers more than enough pressure, and it’s not like you are going to make a gallon of milk foam, anyhow. Depending on your barista skills, you might end up with some holes, or the foam might not be too creamy (or too thick), but that just means that you will need to practice some more.

To see how I use the steam wand, check out my review video for the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900. ESAM 2800 Steam Wand

The Water Filter, the Bean Compartment and the Other Usual Suspects

The ESAM 2900 comes with everything that an automatic espresso machine should have. Its cup holder is heated, and the catch tray and drip trays are both large enough and easily accessible from the front. Drip Tray and coffee grounds I say it is high time that the manufacturers dump these pointless compartments for ground coffee – I’m hereby starting a petition! What is the use of them? Ground Coffee Compartment Anyhow, back to the machine. The ESAM 2900 doesn’t really do anything much differently than its competition.

The main noticeable thing is the drip tray. Most machines have a stainless-steel tray, but this one is plastic. I don’t actually have a problem with that in this case because it matches the rest of the machine’s plastic, and it will probably get fewer scratches than a steel one. Stainless Steel

The Brewing Unit

You will notice right away how practical and hygienic it is to have a brewing unit that is removable from the front of the machine. Brewing Unit Especially if you have a smaller kitchen that is already crammed with other stuff, it can be a big pain if you have to pull out or turn around the machine to access an important component. Having access from the front also means that it is easier to get at the insides of the machine, which you should clean carefully.

If the brewing unit dies on you, it is easy to order a replacement from Amazon – and even quite inexpensive. That makes replacing it a snap.

This is also a good time to repeat my public service announcement: You should ALWAYS be sure to properly turn off your DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 before attempting to remove the brewing unit. If you shut it off when it is in the wrong position, it might jam the machine or cause other damage. Brewing Unit built out

The Water Tank

Like the brewing unit, the water tank shares all of the positive aspects of having a machine that is easily accessible from the front. It is easy to remove and clean the tank. Especially since so many people tend to forget to clean the tank, anything that makes cleaning easier is a plus.

The machine includes a rudimentary water filter that is similar to the one that comes with the ESAM 3000, but it is quite basic.

In other words, it probably won’t remove all the calcium from your tap water. That is not a huge issue, but you will have to decalcify the machine more frequently or run your water through a Britta filter before using it in the machine. That is a step that is ALWAYS worth doing, and it is one of the first tenets of Coffeeness Wisdom that our readers learn! Delonghi Corso ESAM Here once again is our handy little water hardness chart:

LevelU.S. Geological Survey ClassificationGrains Per Gallon (Calcium Carbonate)Milligrams Per Liter, Parts Per Million (Calcium Carbonate)How Often Should I Decalcify?
1Soft< 1.0< 17.1Rarely
2Soft1 to 3.517.1 to 60Occasionally
3Moderately hard3.5 to 760 to 120Occasionally
4Hard7 to 10.5120 to 180Frequently
5Very hard10.5 <180 and moreOften
I have already gone into much more detail in my guide on electric water kettles. That guide has many tips about your water, the liquid wonder that is the starting point for making perfect coffee.

The Controls

Even if the buttons and knobs are not of the highest possible quality, they still get the job done. They adjust smoothly and infinitely, and are practically self-explanatory. As you might expect for this price, it does not have a display, but this is not an issue because there are so few things you need to adjust or set. A quick overview of the buttons and knobs:

  • Power button
  • Single or double cup button
  • Air nozzle
  • Knob for hot water
  • Knob for water amount
  • Button for cleaning program
  • Knob for coffee amount

The “ECO” button has long confused DeLonghi users, and many people simply never press it. Basically, it is an energy-saving button for the thermoblock heater, which turns down the temperature after a set period of time.

That may not sound too exciting, but it also allows you to adjust the standby time for the machine. It normally goes into standby after two hours, which is a very long time for many users. So you might as well set it to 15 minutes and save a bit of money on your power bill! Making Espresso

Using the ESAM 2900

As I already mentioned at the beginning, any super-automatic espresso machine that is worth its salt should be simple to use. The DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is outstanding in this regard.

The most complicated thing is finding just the right balance between water amount, coffee amount, and grind coarseness (which you can adjust with a simple dial next to the bean compartment). That’s really it!

As is the case with most small or entry-level automatic espresso machines, the finest grinder settings on the ESAM 2900 give you ground coffee that is too fine, which means that the water can’t make its way through the puck and out the spout. Therefore, I settled on level three, which was relatively coarse in comparison.

You will also likely end up at the lower end of the scale when it comes to setting the water amount, while the amount of coffee will be near the high end of the scale. With a bit of tweaking, you will probably get a very decent “automatic” espresso that yields:

  • Around 20 milliliters of water (a bit less than an ounce)
  • A brewing flow time of around 25 seconds

Because you simply have to turn a dial to adjust everything, the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is easy to experiment with. You can see the result that I got from my optimized settings. The creama is thick and very nicely colored, and the whole thing tastes very good and only took a few minutes for the machine to make.

Don’t forget: Even though it looks similar, an “espresso” from an automatic espresso machine isn’t actually a true Italian espresso – you can learn more in my overview article about automatic espresso machines.

However, we can likely agree that the “espresso” from this machine comes pretty close to the real thing – after all, it is an Italian machine, so they must know how to do something right! Make Espresso Delonghi Corso Espresso Delonghi Corso ESAM Espresso making I also mentioned that the steam wand didn’t cause any trouble. The hot water nozzle, which comes out of the same wand, can really sputter a lot, though that is the case with all machines. You will have to really pay attention so you don’t scald yourself. A tall glass with a good handle can help! Milk Foam Quality Milk Fome Barista Delonghi Corso ESAM 2800 Cappuccino If the machine complains that the catch tray or drip tray is full, you just need to remove the tray from the front and empty it out. It is really simple. I didn’t have any problems using the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for all the products that come from that company.

Cleaning

Let’s talk about more things that make using the ESAM 2900 easier. You might generally be lazy when it comes to cleaning your machine, but now you don’t have any more excuses. After all, you don’t even have to move the machine to completely take it apart.

Clean out the drip and catch trays daily. Use a touch of dish soap and running water, and it practically cleans itself. Presst Coffee Grounds You should also frequently remove the brewing unit and wash it out with running water – but without soap! – and you should occasionally rub a few drops of special oil on the moving parts. If it starts squeaking like a busted fan belt, then you will know it is definitely time.

As was the case with all the other DeLonghi machines we have reviewed (such as the DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B), removing or replacing the unit isn’t rocket science. All of the other important parts are easy to clean.

The only thing that is a bit more complicated is the grinder – get a pro to help there, or else proceed very carefully by yourself. For the other parts, it is best to simply use the cleaning program and the proper cleaner.

By the way, if you are smart about using the ECO button, you will have a win-win situation since the machine will do an additional cleaning cycle when it shuts itself down. It is best to err on the side of cleaning too frequently, as opposed to not frequently enough. If you lower the standby time, the machine will turn off more often, giving you a double cleaning every day.

Remember, the machine can’t make you do anything, and it will only refuse to work if there are very obvious problems. So if it is time to clean or decalcify, it is best for you to take the initiative and run the program, without waiting to hear from the machine first.

However, I can’t think of any reason you shouldn’t be able to keep your ESAM 2900 immaculately spic-and-span. The only way it would be easier is if you had a robotic butler to clean it for you.

DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 – Summary of the Review

It is incredible that DeLonghi continues to lead the competition not only when it comes to inexpensive machines, but also that it is basically dominating the price class. The DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is certainly a clear improvement on the ESAM 3000, even if its design hints at its cheap price tag. You can check out the machine here on Amazon. Cafe Crema / Black Coffee The obviously improved grinder is another good thing, and the most important thing – the espresso you can make – is great. Of course, this inexpensive automatic espresso machine can’t completely free itself from the chains of its price class, but it doesn’t really make pretenses to do so, anyhow.

That brings me back to the problems I had with the finest grinder settings, which makes me wonder why they are even offered. Then again, 13 levels sounds better than fewer levels, so perhaps a higher number will convince someone to buy it.

For me, the best thing is that the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is a “true” automatic espresso machine. It is totally easy to use, and it doesn’t attempt to use lots of extra features to try to woo an audience that it simply can’t win over.

Funnily enough, more expensive machines essentially do just that. However, their programmability and extra frills can justify a higher price. Additionally, the material quality is better in many cases.

When compared to the Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B, the Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 may be too large for some people. However, its good functionality more than makes up for its size. In the video above I’ve summarized the most important points for you, and it also lets you see exactly what I’m talking about.

All in all, the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900 is a wonderful entry-level product that I can heartily recommend. It has a great balance between price and performance for anyone who wants good espresso without a lot of fuss, and who doesn’t want to spend more than 300 pounds to get it.

I will be happy to answer any of your questions about the DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM 2900. Feel free to leave a comment below!

6 Comments

    Hi Arne,
    Sorry I do this in English, my German is quite ‘rusty’ at the moment (:-)) : quick question: how do I determine the perfect settings on my ESAM2900 – I want more ‘crema’ on top of my coffee, in your video it looks a lot thicker and a lot more ‘dense’. Do I need to adjust the grinding fineness (in the Coffee bean-compartment) ? I have the other settings like you did, a half on the amount of water – and about 3 quarters to the right for the amount of freshly-ground coffeebeans.
    What beans do you recommend? I like strong-flavoured Italian espresso, but with a softer ‘mouthfeel’ (silky-like, if you will…)

    Reply
    Arne

    Hi witsch,

    thanks for your comment. The crema is also about the coffeebeans. If you buy beans with let’s say 30% robusta part then the crema will be better and stronger. Greetings Team Coffeeness

    Reply

    So is this the ESAM 2800 or ESAM 2900? The title says 2800 but you talk about the 2900?
    Thanks

    Reply
    Arne

    The machines are identical. The names confuse me again and again. That is already complicated in Germany but international real horror 😉

    Reply

    Dear Arne,

    Your reviews are fantastic! I like very much the fact that you cover many topics in detail. I don’t think I would buy a coffee machine before I read your review on it 🙂

    I have one question. The model number in the title is 2800 but in the text you mention 2900. I read somewhere that ESAM 2800 and ESAM 2900 are the same model, the only difference being the colour. Can you please confirm this? I am asking because I am thinking of buying the 2800 model.

    Danke im Voraus.

    Schöne Grüße aus dem sonnigen Griechenland!

    Reply
    Arne

    Hello Vassilis, thank you for your comment. With the models it’s like you say. This is often confusing. In different countries, the models are also referred to differently. Viele Grüße zurück 🙂

    Reply

I look forward to your comment

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