In today's DeLonghi Dedica review I'll be looking at the latest version of one of the Italian manufacturer's most popular entry-level espresso machines.
In today’s DeLonghi Dedica review I’ll be looking at the latest version of one of the Italian manufacturer’s most popular entry-level espresso machines.
Costing $104.99, the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe has plenty to offer novice baristas and those on a tight budget. I can tell you right off the bat that this espresso machine puts in an impressive performance for the price.
Still, is it really worth updating from the original? I aim to find out in this DeLonghi Dedica review!
Oh, and for the sake of completeness, I also ordered both the DeLonghi Dedica Arte and the DeLonghi EC680 Dedica to test out for you. What can I say? I like to make sure you guys know what your options are!
DeLonghi Dedica Review Overview
When it comes to slapping new, indecipherable model names on what is really the same machine, DeLonghi is the reigning champ. One clue to solving the Dedica 685 puzzle lies in the all-important letters following the numbers.
The DeLonghi EC685.M is the Metallic version that I tested, while the DeLonghi EC685.BK has black housing. If your tastes are a little more flamboyant, check out the red version.
I always do my best to approach a new review as a blank slate – even if I know the predecessor product well. Which is no mean feat considering that the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe is practically identical to the original Dedica.
To spot the biggest difference, look at the steam wand. The original featured a simple pannarello adapter. I’ll discuss the updated frother later in this DeLonghi Dedica review.
All the portafilter machine’s other tech specs and accessories, including the portafilter, are exactly the same.
Similar to most entry-level home espresso machines, the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe successfully creates a veneer of professionalism around certain features. My absolute favorite bit of marketing BS is the 15 bar pressure specification. Wowzer! That’s quite a head of steam, right? Imagine what that’ll mean, especially for milk frothing.
However, as with super automatic espresso machines, this figure is actually the pump’s maximum output. That’s what it can generate in theory. But it’s unlikely to push the needle that far because the rest of the machine isn’t built for it.
In reality, to pull a good shot of espresso, you need 9 bars at the group head. A number of factors – inside and outside the machine – come together to produce that result.
But a dinky espresso machine like the DeLonghi Dedica takes massive strain. And pulls a bit of a fast one. Stay tuned for an explanation.
DeLonghi Dedica Features
Genuine reasons to feel pleased with your purchase include three temperature settings, as well as seamless volumetric control. Not only is this really useful but it’s also super easy to tweak it by tiny fractions of an ounce depending on your preferences.
Nothing fast and loose about that.
I’ll discuss all that in more detail later in this DeLonghi Dedica review, so let’s keep the ball rolling!
Size and Design
There can be little doubt that the DeLonghi Dedica’s compact dimensions are a huge part of its appeal. Weighing under 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and rising to just 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) in height, the Dedica Deluxe features in my guide to the best small espresso machines 2023 for a reason.
Of course, I’d have liked to see more stainless steel in the machine’s construction, but an abundance of plastic is to be expected at this price point. Incidentally, I should point out that the 37-ounce (1-liter) water reservoir is fully removable, and lifts up from the rear of the machine.
With that in mind, overhead cabinets could get in the way when you’re trying to access the thing. Still, seeing as the Dedica Deluxe is so lightweight, you’re hardly going to pull a muscle by shifting it around a little!
To be honest, there really isn’t much to say about the user interface on this espresso machine.
Here’s the lowdown: Three buttons, one for a single shot, one for a double espresso shot and another for switching to steaming. Oh, and I should mention the dial on the side of the machine for engaging the frothing wand.
Most espresso machines – and the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe coffee machine is no exception – let you easily tweak and re-tweak the quantity of coffee delivered into your cup. Simply press the shot button and hold it down until you have the right volume. The machine then saves this setting for next time.
As with its predecessor, this works like a charm. Just remember that adding or subtracting a fraction of an ounce of grounds or getting a bit sloppy with the grinding and tamping will throw out the shot volume.
So, first check the grinder and your tamping technique before getting sucked into a vicious resetting cycle!
The DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe is equipped with a thermoblock heating system, meaning it’ll come up to brewing temperature very quickly. While dedicated espresso purists like me don’t mind waiting for a traditional single boiler machine to heat up, I’d say Dedica Deluxe users will appreciate the speedy thermoblock.
There are three brewing temperature options. I’ve christened them “completely useless,” “useless” and “the only choice.” Even at the maximum setting, the espresso might not be hot enough for some folks. Still, at least it approaches the ideal espresso temperature.
Temperature isn’t just a key factor in the cup, it’s also a snapshot of boiler performance and how efficiently an espresso machine’s hoses etc. work as a cooling system. Here, the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe can’t hide its true, entry-level colors.
Adjustable Cappuccino System
As I mentioned earlier, the original DeLonghi Dedica came with a pretty standard issue pannarello steam wand. This auto-frother makes handling the wand easier for froth freshmen. Because it doesn’t matter how deep you dunk the wand or where it’s positioned in the pitcher. By automatically infusing the milk with just the right proportion of air, the pannarello ensures at least a decent approximation of microfoam.
On the Delonghi Dedica Deluxe, this pannarello adapter has been given an upgrade. With a single click, you can select the Cappuccino setting for milk froth or the Hot Milk setting for steamed milk without bubbles. It’s a pretty nifty solution because you don’t always want pillowy cappuccino foam from your espresso machine. I’m thinking of those times when a steaming mug of hot chocolate is the only thing that’s gonna hit the spot!
In order to turn the hot water for the extraction into even hotter steam for milk froth, the machine has to increase its temperature. This only happens when you press the steam button. Then you have to sit tight until the lights stop furiously flashing.
Get impatient and turn the dial without allowing the additional heating time and all you’ll get is hot water at brewing temperature.
Getting back to those pressure boosting cheats I mentioned earlier. Take a closer look at the 51mm portafilter. The filter baskets are easy enough to switch out and are suitable for single or double shots of espresso.
But what’s with the weird shape and extra-deep handles you get with the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe, you ask? They look so different from the pro versions because they’re designed to accommodate double-walled baskets.
From the top, double-walled baskets aren’t very different from their pro cousins. For comparison, see what you get with the Rancilio Silvia, for instance. But flip them upside down and you’ll see they have very few holes or even just a single outlet.
Even with insufficient pressure at the brew head, double-walled baskets like this let you fudge your way to a decent extraction with fairly stable crema. That’s because they “simulate” the necessary pressure after the fact in the portafilter itself.
For those with serious skills, this not only falls far short of pro-barista standards but also savages your chosen beans’ flavor profile. Still, is that really an issue on a machine of this kind? Nah, not really.
If you refuse to settle for anything less than the real thing, you can buy 51mm single-wall baskets on Amazon. But it requires some DIY – and brute force – to modify the portafilter, at least for the double basket.
My humble opinion? Total waste of time on a machine at this price point. All you’re doing is exposing the entry-level machine’s inherent weaknesses, whereas the included cheat baskets provide such an effective band-aid.
Rather, direct those energies into getting yourself a decent espresso tamper with the right diameter. What’s in the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe box is absolute junk. It’s made of pathetically flimsy plastic, and to add insult to injury, there’s a measuring scoop stuck to its rear end.
Let’s just say it went straight into a dark corner where it won’t see the light of day ever again. Ultimately, it’s completely useless for compressing coffee grounds in a portafilter. When it comes to manual tamping, anything less than solid metal is a waste of time.
With that in mind, I picked up the DeLonghi 51mm Coffee Tamper to use during my testing. It’s actually very weighty and effective, costing just $31.89 on Amazon.
Adjustable Drip Tray
The Deica Deluxe’s double drip tray is actually one of my favorite features. Then again, I’m a sucker for thoughtful and efficient design.
Anyway, aside from the red popup indicator that lets you know when the drip tray is full, the whole thing is height adjustable. So, if you’re brewing into an espresso cup you won’t sacrifice crema because the espresso has traveled too far.
On the other hand, you’re able to create extra headroom for brewing into a taller travel mug. Now that’s what I call the best of both worlds!
How to Use the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe
Putting aside my temperature tantrums, expect a very drinkable espresso. Actually, the crema is superficially impressive. Again, the machine puts its diversionary tactics to good use.
You should definitely warm your espresso cups. The (passive) cup warming tray on top of the machine is perfect for the job since it gets surprisingly toasty. Alternatively, use hot water from the steam wand.
With a fully automatic machine, you have to obsessively fine-tune grind size, adjust cup volume and temperature as well as perhaps the coffee dosage. And when you’ve finally hit the sweet spot, there’s no way in hell you’re going through all that again.
With a machine like the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe, you can theoretically rejig your settings every other day. No sweat.
Of course, the main reason for that is you have to buy and calibrate a separate coffee grinder. And since a top-notch grinder is key to good coffee, you should literally put your money where your mouth is and invest a decent chunk of money.
Get a quality grinder from the start and it will still be with you when you graduate to a more powerful espresso machine.
DeLonghi has also gone out of its way to make it easy to bump things up or down a notch on the key components of the Dedica Deluxe. Which is not to say it’s better than prosumer espresso machines, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Thanks to notes of dried apricot, gingersnap cookie and butterscotch, this beautiful coffee is certainly complex enough for espresso preparation.
I’ll say that the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe performed admirably in terms of depth and sweetness, although my espresso shots were seriously lacking body. What’s more, the inherent limitations of those pressurized filter baskets resulted in espresso shots without the syrupy mouthfeel I was craving.
With all that said, dialing in with the Dedica Deluxe was a piece of cake. I started out on the coarser end of the espresso grind spectrum, using a dose of 12 grams in the 51mm double filter basket.
While that particular shot was kind of disappointing, I was able to tell that a slight grind size tweak was needed. Plus, I upped the dose to 14 grams. This time, my shot was much improved, displaying way more sweetness and depth of flavor.
Incidentally, I first set the Dedica Deluxe to dispense 2 ounces (59 milliliters) of espresso. However, by the end of my testing I’d reduced that to around 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters). Trust me, that’s the sweet spot in terms of espresso volume with this machine.
You should know that a little temperature surfing goes a long way if you’re switching from milk steaming mode to espresso preparation. Believe me, this machine gets really hot, so flush the group head for a few seconds after steaming if you plan to pull a shot right away.
DeLonghi Dedica Cleaning
When it comes to the dreaded c-word, the DeLonghi Dedica is as low maintenance as any other semi-automatic espresso machine.
After each shot, you have to remove the portafilter and knock out the coffee puck. Go ahead and give it a quick rinse while you’re at it. As part of the post-shot ritual, you should flush residual coffee grounds from the shower screen by running water for a couple of seconds and scrubbing with a brush. That’s basically it.
Still, don’t neglect the water tank and drip tray. Rinse them on the daily under running water, then leave them to dry. After all, no one wants to see algae growing in their water tank, right?
One more thing: after frothing milk, make sure to wipe off the steam wand with a damp cloth. That’ll prevent stubborn milk residue from building up.
Every so often you’ll need to descale the Dedica Deluxe. Have no fear – the machine will, once again, provide insane flashing lights to let you know what’s up. I’ll leave it to the user manual to explain the process, but you’ll need to use DeLonghi EcoDecalk. Or at least that’s what the manufacturer would have you believe.
By the way: It doesn’t matter whether your machine is a cheapo cheater or the Real McCoy, the dishwasher is an absolute no-go for your portafilter handles. Especially when, as is true of the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe, there are plenty of cheap alloys and plastic in the mix.
DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe Specifications
|DeLonghi Dedica EC685|
Manual espresso machine
Plastic with stainless steel parts
Black, Metallic, Red, White
Buttons and dials
Memo function only
|Removable water reservoir|
|Water reservoir capacity|
37.2 fl oz / 1.1 l
|Number of boilers|
|Maximum cup height|
4.8 in / 12.2 cm
|Grind adjustment levels|
|Bean hopper capacity|
|Adjustable coffee temperature|
|Adjustable milk foam temperature|
|Hot water function|
|Hot milk function|
|Milk foam only option|
9.3 lb / 4.2 kg
12.0 x 13.0 x 5.9 in
Included Accessories: Tamper / coffee scoop, 3 x filter baskets, Instruction booklet. Optional water filter not included.
|Current price on Amazon|
DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe vs Dedica Arte
The DeLonghi EC885M Dedica Arte costs $246.99, which is substantially more than the Dedica Deluxe.
So, what’s the deal? Well, the DeLonghi Dedica Arte is actually the very same machine with a commercial-style steam wand instead of a pannarello. So, the Arte will likely appeal more to those who want something more legit. With that said, you’ll still get pressurized filter baskets rather than the real deal single-wall variety.
To be honest, I was a little dubious about how effective the Dedica Arte’s steam wand would actually be. Turns out, it performs quite well. Sure, there’s limited steam power involved, but I was able to conjure up some convincing microfoam with the thing. It just took a while.
Although the Dedica Arte doesn’t have any other extra bells or whistles (it really is the same machine), it comes with an improved selection of accessories. The Italian manufacturer throws in a box of the aforementioned EcoDecalk descaler and even includes a real metal tamper. It’s not quite as nice as the one I bought, but it’s a whole lot better than the plastic scoop/tamper combo thing that comes with the Dedica Deluxe.
Ultimately, the Dedica Deluxe allows you to do a better job with your milk foam, which may or may not convince you it’s worth the extra investment. Still, if you don’t care about micro bubbles and pretty latte art, you may as well stick with the Dedica Deluxe.
Delonghi Dedica Deluxe vs Dedica
As I mentioned earlier, the Deluxe version of this espresso machine is basically an updated DeLonghi EC680 Dedica. Still, the original keeps selling like hotcakes, especially given its $199.98 price tag.
While the pannarello steam wand on the DeLonghi Dedica isn’t as sophisticated as that on the Dedica Deluxe, it does just as good of a job when it comes to creating thick, pillowy milk froth. And in terms of espresso, all three machines in the Dedica series are capable of the same results.
The biggest downside to the original DeLonghi Dedica that I can see is the lack of a cup platform under the drip tray. Sure, you can still remove the drip tray, but there’s no flat surface under there. So, brewing into a taller cup would be challenging to say the least.
Verdict: DeLonghi Dedica Review
I’m happy to report that it’s hard to knock the DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe. For some time now, I’ve had my eye out for positive developments in home espresso machines at the entry-level price point.
If you ask me whether my DeLonghi Dedica review revealed the best portafilter machine for beginners, my answer is categorically in the negative. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is actually a successful “tester.” The Gaggia Classic Pro, for one, is a proper entry-level machine.
In contrast, the DeLonghi model is more of a bargain basement version of the Breville Bambino Plus and others that use automation to help even the most fumbling novice baristas find their feet.
Step up a level and there’ll be a lot less hand-holding than with the DeLonghi or Breville. Then again, you probably won’t need or want it anymore.
The Delonghi Dedica Deluxe isn’t intended to be the last word on brewing espresso. By those standards, it’s A-OK.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my DeLonghi Dedica review. Any nagging questions or snorts of disagreement? Don’t stew over them; the comments section is ready and waiting!