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DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Review: Should Breville Be Worried?

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

Our review process | Our team

DeLonghi seems to be on a roll at the moment. Having just finished reviewing the La Specialista Arte Evo, I now find myself writing this DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review.

DeLonghi seems to be on a roll at the moment. Having just finished reviewing the La Specialista Arte Evo, I now find myself writing this DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review.

To be honest, I suspect that DeLonghi has been paying close attention to the recent success of a certain Australian manufacturer and is trying to play catch up.

With that in mind, I bought the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus to test out for you. I’ll offer my thoughts and observations on its performance throughout this review. Plus, I’ll make sure to let you know whether it can compete with a similarly priced Breville espresso machine.

Solid entry-level machine

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus

A mixed bag

Compact footprint

Heats quickly

Easy to use

Makes great espresso

Disappointing automatic frother

Overview: DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Review

If you’ve checked out my DeLonghi Dedica review, you’ll know that I tested out the Dedica Deluxe as well as the original Dedica and the Dedica Arte. You’ll also know that I rate the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe rather highly. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best beginner espresso machines on the market.

So, seeing as there are already three Dedica models available, all with very similar features, did the Italian manufacturer really need to release a new Dedica machine? And does it even bring anything interesting to the table?

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Parts

Well, in answer to the first question, I’d say the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is meant to give the Breville Bambino Plus a run for its money. I’ll be sure to discuss that in more detail later in this DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review.

As for the second question, the Dedica Maestro Plus is definitely more advanced than its older siblings. Sure, it sports a very similar design aesthetic, but it offers a more “professional” experience.

Now, don’t get too carried away – this is still very much an entry-level home espresso machine. However, DeLonghi has included single-wall filter baskets, a much better portafilter and even a real metal espresso tamper. What’s more, the Dedica Maestro Plus is equipped with a fancy new auto frothing system.

I’ll go into more detail about all these features later in my DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review. For now, though, you should know that DeLonghi has pulled out all the stops with this machine. And for just $399.95 it could be one of the best value espresso makers on the market.

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✔ Easy-to-follow guide demystifying the espresso-making process

✔ Clear explanations of each step to avoid confusion and frustration

✔ Proven methods to consistently achieve a smooth, flavorful shot

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Features

Let’s keep the ball rolling by taking a closer look at the standout features of the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus.

Size and Design

Although the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is instantly recognizable as one of the Dedica series, it’s noticeably larger than its siblings. Sure, this is still a compact espresso machine that’ll fit nicely in any kitchen. However, in comparison with the Dedica Deluxe, this baby is a lot more substantial.

This is most evident in the size of the drip tray. Whereas the other Dedicas were very slim, the Maestro Plus offers an extra 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of width. This means the drip tray is luxuriously spacious, even accommodating an optional riser tray to bring espresso cups closer to the portafilter spouts.

Elsewhere, there’s a much larger rear-mounted removable water tank and a much more expansive control panel.

Unfortunately, the Italians haven’t splashed out on stainless steel for their new edition. Instead, the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is as loaded with plastic parts as the other Dedica machines. Then again, at this price point you can’t really complain too much.

User Interface

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus User Interface

There’s nothing wrong with the user interface on the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe. After all, three buttons and a steam lever is all you need on such a simple machine. Still, I’ll admit that I was overjoyed to encounter the expansive control panel on the Dedica Maestro Plus.

Located on top of the machine, the control panel includes buttons for selecting single or double shots as well as those for switching between brew temperature, milk foam density and milk temperature. Incidentally, you have the choice of three options for each of those, with light bars displaying your selection.

Elsewhere, there are a couple of lights to indicate when the water is low and the machine needs descaling. All in all, I found the user interface to be incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate. In fact, I only needed to consult the user manual when I was first setting up the machine.

Volumetric Control

As with all semi-automatic espresso machines, the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus dispenses a set volume of coffee when you press the brew button.

Fortunately, the machine gives you the option to adjust your espresso yield. I say that because the preset volume is way too high – my shots were clocking in at over 2 ounces (59 milliliters) before I dialed it back.

Anyway, making a change is very easy and the machine will remember your settings for next time.

Active Temperature Control

The DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is equipped with a thermoblock heating system, meaning it’ll be ready to roll in under a minute. That’s a real bonus for those who don’t want the hassle of waiting for a traditional single boiler machine to heat up in the morning.

And I will say that the Dedica Maestro Plus gets really hot once it’s been used a few times. That’s certainly a good thing in terms of heating your cups – the warming plate on top of the machine gets nice and toasty. However, I did feel like the machine might overheat if used to excess.

What’s really cool is the Active Temperature Control function, which allows you to switch between three brewing temperatures. So, you might want to use a higher setting for coffee beans with lighter roast profiles and dial the temperature down for dark roasts.

With that said, I’m not entirely sure most users of this machine will care too much about this option. In fact, I’d recommend keeping the thing set to the middle temperature setting and calling it good.

Auto LatteArt Steam Wand

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When I learned that the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus had an automatic steam wand I got pretty excited. After all, I’ve only had good things to say about the automatic frothers I’ve encountered on Breville machines. And seeing as DeLonghi is obviously trying to compete with the Australian manufacturer, I had high hopes for the Dedica Maestro Plus milk system.

The Auto LatteArt steam wand certainly looks impressive, and the machine effortlessly switches between espresso and steaming. However, during my testing the milk system didn’t live up to my expectations.

There are three frothing levels, none of which worked for latte art. In fact, the first two settings are completely pointless. As for the “dense” setting, it definitely wouldn’t be suitable for a cappuccino.

Of course, you can take over and froth milk manually. However, the steam wand is large and awkward, and only moves up and down. So, it’s almost impossible to manipulate the milk and create silky microfoam.

Portafilter

All too often you’ll get a seriously substandard portafilter when you buy a budget-friendly espresso machine. That’s a real shame, because a machine like the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe is actually capable of producing very passable espresso. However, when your only choice is to use double-wall filter baskets, you’re missing out on truly complex coffee.

Fortunately, DeLonghi has seen the previous error of its ways, and has supplied both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets with the Dedica Maestro Plus. What’s more, the 51mm portafilter design is much improved and feels way more substantial. Finally, the double filter basket has a 20-gram capacity, giving way more room to experiment in your quest for the perfect espresso.

Tamping

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Tamper

I have more good news for those in the market for a beginner-friendly espresso machine. The DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus comes with an actual espresso tamper rather than a stupid plastic tamper/scoop combo.

Regular Coffeeness readers will know how annoyed I get when manufacturers skimp in this regard. Take the Gaggia Classic Pro, for example. In my opinion it’s verging on criminal that Gaggia supplies a plastic piece of junk with such a fantastic espresso machine.

All that to say I was relieved to find a solid metal tamper in the Dedica Maestro Plus box. After all, I hate feeling unnecessarily annoyed as I embark on a coffee maker review!

Cup clearance

Earlier in this DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review I mentioned the machine’s spacious drip tray. Seriously, for such a compact espresso maker, there’s plenty of room for larger cups. And while you might not be able to brew directly into a tall travel mug, you’ll have no problem fitting a regular coffee cup under the spouts.

As for making straight shots of espresso, I recommend taking advantage of the nifty espresso drip tray that’s supplied with the machine. That way, you’ll avoid unnecessary splashes as your espresso is extracting and preserve the lovely coffee crema.

Accessories

If you want more proof that DeLonghi has been paying attention to how Breville does things, check out the barista kit that’s supplied with the Dedica Maestro Plus. Not only do you get the aforementioned tamper and espresso drip tray, there’s also a stainless steel milk pitcher in the box as well as descaler and cleaning tools.

Trust me, it didn’t used to be this way when you bought a DeLonghi espresso machine. Personally, I couldn’t be happier to see that the Italian manufacturer is stepping up its game. It’s about time!

How to Use the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus

Getting started with the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is a piece of cake. Still, you’ll do well to refer to the user manual for instructions on how to perform an initial rinse. Speaking of, I’d recommend thoroughly rinsing the water tank and portafilter before using the machine to make coffee.

Once that’s done, fill the tank with filtered water. That’ll definitely help reduce the frequency with which you have to descale the Dedica Maestro Plus.

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If there’s one thing that’ll improve the quality of your espresso from this machine, it’s a quality espresso grinder. You don’t have to empty your bank account, but investing in a burr grinder will make a huge difference in terms of accuracy and consistency.

I’d also recommend picking up a decent coffee scale. That way you can be sure of how much ground coffee you’re using to dose the portafilter each time. Plus, you can weigh your shots as they’re extracting rather than rely on the (less accurate) volumetric controls.

To pull a double espresso shot with the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus:

  1. Weigh out your coffee beans then grind directly into the portafilter

  2. Firmly and evenly tamp the coffee grounds

  3. Insert the portafilter into the group head and lock it into place

  4. Place a tared espresso cup on your scale and put it on the drip tray

  5. Press the double shot button

  6. Monitor your shot. Aim for a 2:1 ratio, so twice the weight of your dose of ground coffee

  7. If all goes well, you’ll have your desired yield in 24-30 seconds

  8. Enjoy the beautiful and complex fruits of your labor!

My Observations

During the testing phase of my DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review I used one of my favorite espresso blends. I love the depth, sweetness and complexity of this coffee, so I was looking forward to some tasty shots. I also used the Baratza Sette 30, which is an affordable grinder that’s fine for espresso preparation.

To be honest, I was quickly making excellent shots of espresso with the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus. Just for fun I started out using 20 grams of coffee, but soon realized my dose was way too high. So, relying on my past experiences with 51mm portafilters, I reduced my dose to 14 grams and increased the grind size slightly.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to reduce the factory volume to around 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters). Once I’d done that, the Dedica Maestro consistently pumped out very drinkable shots with luxurious crema.

Incidentally, I’d recommend using the lowest temperature setting unless you’re making shots with a light roast single origin coffee. Trust me, this espresso machine gets really hot.

As for the automatic steam wand, I think I’ve been pretty clear about my disappointment. However, if you plan on making a latte I’d recommend dialing back the temperature to the minimum setting. Plus, you’ll only get halfway decent results by maxing out the foam texture setting.

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Cleaning

As long as you get into the habit of performing a few essential cleaning tasks each time you make espresso, maintaining the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus will be a breeze.

After each shot, make sure to empty the portafilter and rinse it out. And before you put it back in the machine, take a second to rinse and scrub the shower screen. Take it from me, doing these two things religiously will benefit both the machine and your future shots.

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Water Tank

It almost goes without saying that you should wipe off the steam wand after every use. I mean, unless you like the idea of dried milk residue hanging out on there and getting nasty.

Even if you’re using filtered water, you’ll need to descale the Dedica Maestro Plus every once in a while. Don’t worry, the machine will let you know when it’s time, and there are detailed instructions in the user manual.

Finally, don’t forget about the drip tray and water tank. Make sure to empty and rinse them on the regular. Trust me, a moldy drip tray and algae-filled water tank don’t make a happy espresso machine!

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus Technical Specifications

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Model number

EC950M

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

54.1 fl oz / 1.6 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.0 in / 12.7 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

Weight

13.7 lb / 6.2 kg

Dimensions

13.0 x 8.2 x 13.6 in
33.0 x 20.8 x 34.5 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 4 x filter baskets, metal tamper, stainless steel milk pitcher, espresso cup tray, cleaning supplies

Current price on Amazon

$399.95

All specifications

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus vs Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Overview

I couldn’t possibly end this DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review without bringing its direct competitor into play. I mean, it’s obvious that DeLonghi is pitting its news machine against the Breville Bambino Plus.

Costing $499.95, the Bambino Plus is substantially more expensive than the Dedica Maestro Plus. So, does the Breville machine justify its asking price by delivering better performance? I’d say yes and no.

Both machines are capable of producing very good espresso. And both offer enough shot customization options to keep things interesting. However, it’s the Breville’s automatic milk frother that really gives it the edge.

Whereas the DeLonghi Auto LatteArt system falls flat, the Bambino Plus produces silky foam that’s easily as good as I can make by hand. So, if you’re a latte drinker, it might be worth spending a little more.

See Also: Breville Bambino Plus Review

Dedica Maestro Plus vs Bambino Plus Comparison Chart

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro PlusBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Breville

Model number

EC950M

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Color options

Stainless Steel

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

54.1 fl oz / 1.6 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.0 in / 12.7 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1560 W

Weight

13.7 lb / 6.2 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

13.0 x 8.2 x 13.6 in
33.0 x 20.8 x 34.5 cm

12.2 x 7.7 x 12.6 in
31.0 x 19.6 x 32.0 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 4 x filter baskets, metal tamper, stainless steel milk pitcher, espresso cup tray, cleaning supplies

Included Accessories: Tamper, Dosing tool, Stainless steel milk jug, filter baskets, Cleaning supplies, User manual.

Current price on Amazon

$399.95

$499.95

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro PlusBreville Bambino Plus
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Breville

Model number

EC950M

BES500BSS1BUS1

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Color options

Stainless Steel

Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

54.1 fl oz / 1.6 l

64.2 fl oz / 1.9 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.0 in / 12.7 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1560 W

Weight

13.7 lb / 6.2 kg

3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

Dimensions

13.0 x 8.2 x 13.6 in
33.0 x 20.8 x 34.5 cm

12.2 x 7.7 x 12.6 in
31.0 x 19.6 x 32.0 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 4 x filter baskets, metal tamper, stainless steel milk pitcher, espresso cup tray, cleaning supplies

Included Accessories: Tamper, Dosing tool, Stainless steel milk jug, filter baskets, Cleaning supplies, User manual.

Current price on Amazon

$399.95

$499.95

Verdict: DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus

Solid entry-level machine

DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus

A mixed bag

Compact footprint

Heats quickly

Easy to use

Makes great espresso

Disappointing automatic frother

Having reached the end of my DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus review, I’d say this machine is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it represents a big step up from the other Dedica machines in terms of espresso preparation. Seriously, I’m just so happy that DeLonghi included single wall filter baskets.

However, I’d say that the Italian manufacturer seriously dropped the ball with its automatic milk frother. While it’s easy to use and very efficient, the results are substandard to say the least.

Ultimately, the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus is ideal for espresso and americano drinkers. And if you want the odd milk-based drink, you might feel that the steam wand is good enough.

What’s your experience with the DeLonghi Dedica Maestro Plus? Was I too harsh in my assessment of the auto frother? Make sure to leave a comment!

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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