I've been accused of being biased toward DeLonghi espresso machines more than a few times. And, yes, that may be, but my praise of DeLonghi is completely justified.
I’ve been accused of being biased toward DeLonghi espresso machines more than a few times. And, yes, that may be, but my praise of DeLonghi is completely justified.
Trust me, as you read this DeLonghi Dinamica review, you’ll see why I believe it holds the title for the best mid range super automatic espresso machine with a steam wand available.
DeLonghi has a quality machine in nearly every price range, which the competition finds hard to beat. It also helps that sometimes the Italians are the only ones with reasonable options at a certain price point.
The best example at the moment is the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM 350.25.B, available for $979.99 on Amazon. Though, for $800-$1,500, there are also popular models from Jura, Gaggia, Saeco and Philips.
It’s been close to two years since my first review of the DeLonghi Dinamica super automatic espresso machine, since that time, no one has produced any serious competition.
Instead, DeLonghi has stepped up once again with the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus. You have to appreciate any company whose number one competition is itself.
Regardless, there’s clearly an interest in this particular super automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine, as you can see by the number of comments and questions below.
That’s why I think a proper update of the original review is definitely in order. Even after two years, the DeLonghi Dinamica — the one without the “Plus” — rises head and shoulders above the competition.
Upper-class function for a middle-class price!
Sensible range of functions
Excellent espresso and frothed milk
Pleasant operating volume
Very good price-performance ratio
Plastic smell when unpacking for the first time
Table of Contents
An Overview of the DeLonghi Dinamica Models
As always, DeLonghi is the king of convoluted appliance names — but we’ve already gotten used to that and expect nothing less at this point.
Even worse, in the Dinamica class, it can be a bit more confusing.
Let me guess: you’ve spent weeks reading and comparing every review — no matter how small — without ever finding out what is actually the difference between the 20 and 25, 75 and 95 or the 350 and 370.
Here’s what I think: in general, it doesn’t matter which coffee and espresso machine with “Dinamica” in its name you choose. The variations make no difference in terms of the espresso, milk froth or operation of the machine.
Admittedly, there are some clear differences between models, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, these don’t fit in the actual Dinamica world anyway.
When DeLonghi says Dinamica, they currently mean four machines:
- DeLonghi ECAM 350.20 — Available in W (White) or B (Black) with normal steam wand.
- DeLonghi ECAM 350.25.SB — Available in SB (Silver) with TrueBrew Over Ice Technology for full-bodied iced coffee, plus an adjustable milk frother.
- DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM 350.75.SI — Available in SI (Silver) with additional bells and whistles like an automatic milk frother, though it has a long shipping time of approximately three weeks because it ships to you from abroad.
- DeLonghi Dinamica Plus — Available in T (Titanium) with TrueBrew Over Ice Technology for full-bodied iced coffee, a better display, automatic milk system and pot function.
In 2018, DeLonghi added Plus versions to the original models, which cost $200-$550 more than other Dinamica models. I must say that even by DeLonghi standards, that’s quite an adventurous jump in price.
Comparing One DeLonghi Dinamica Espresso Machine to Another
For the comparison to make sense, I only list the Dinamicas that are really different from each other in the following overview. So we’ll leave out color variants — which are recognizable by a different letter after the same model number.
Whether your DeLonghi Dinamica coffee machine is black or silver isn’t relevant to the price or the espresso it can make, even if silver-colored machines often sell for more money.
|Category||DeLonghi ECAM350.20||DeLonghi ECAM350.25.SB||DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM350.75.SI||DeLonghi Dinamica Plus|
|Color||Black or White||Silver & Black||Silver||Titanium|
|No. of directly selected beverages||5||5||13||16|
|Individual user profiles||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Milk foaming system||Steam pipe||Steam pipe||Automatic frother with LatteCrema System||Automatic frother with LatteCrema System|
|Max. pump pressure||15 bar||15 bar||15 bar||19 bar|
|Special features||TrueBrew Over Ice Technology||TrueBrew Over Ice Technology||Dual ThermoBlock System||Coffee Link App|
|Dimensions||16.9 x 9.3 x 13.7 in||17.3 x 9.5 x 14.2 in||16.9 x 9.3 x 13.7 in||17.3 x 9.5 x 14.2 in |
|Weight||21 lb||20 lb||23 lb||23 lb |
|Current price on Amazon||$979.99||N/A||$1,399.95||N/A|
That said, we don’t have to look far to find the few real differences between the Dinamica models. Apart from the Plus model, it’s all about the typical features that drive the prices up a bit:
- Pre-programmed beverages
- User profiles
- Convenient milk frothing
Is the Plus Different Enough to Justify a Separate DeLonghi Dinamica Plus Review?
The answer to this question is very dependent on your needs.
For starters, it’s easy to see why the Plus machine costs quite a bit more:
- Makes your favorite coffee-based drinks from within an app.
- Includes a beautiful touchscreen instead of the usual sensory control panel.
- Has more choices for direct selection.
- Comes with more user profiles.
- Has greater pressure in the brew group — allegedly.
Though you’ll have to decide for yourself if the additional cost is worth it, there’s a valid argument for the value of the higher pump pressure — but it’s not a very good one.
cappuccinos and Latte Macchiatos turn out just as good — or bad — here at 19 bar as in the 15-bar model because a super automatic espresso machine neither needs nor can get everything perfect.
Yes, the newly released Dinamica has a thermal carafe and automatic milk frothing system that will interest some of you. But there’s also a 3.5-inch touchscreen display that reminds me of displays on higher-end Jura coffee machines.
So, What’s Important?
When it comes to what’s truly important, though, even a less expensive Dinamica always remains true to itself.
You can see this in the adjustable stainless steel burr grinder with 13 settings because it shows in the option to choose the amount of coffee you’d like to brew.
It’s also apparent in the available settings for espresso and in the overall functionality of the machine. The DeLonghi Dinamica truly is the perfect bean-to-cup coffee machine.
That’s why I personally see absolutely no reason to judge the Plus model as “better.”
However, I also know there’s a lot of fluctuation in the prices within the entire Dinamica range. So if you ever find the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus for nearly the same price as a DeLonghi ECAM350.20 or DeLonghi ECAM350.25.SB, you should definitely jump on it!
The Look, Feel & Brewing Unit
All my life, I’ve heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And for whatever reason, the look of the DeLonghi Dinamica just doesn’t do anything for me.
Even in my second round of testing, I still don’t know exactly why I find the look of this super automatic espresso machine so unsettling. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the machine being plastic or the ergonomics.
Maybe it’s that in-your-face control panel that leaves me slightly miffed, or perhaps the proportions are just off? Then again, DeLonghi super automatic espresso machines have never been eye candy — at least in my mind.
This is a personal opinion, of course. Others have shared different perspectives and rather like the look. So to each their own, I guess.
The Greater Problem
Perhaps this aesthetic issue with the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM 350.55.B is part of a greater problem I see in DeLonghi automatic espresso machines: they have a tendency to use too much plastic.
Even when you step up to higher-end models, stainless steel is only used sparingly.
But when I stop to think about it, I kinda get why DeLonghi chooses to use plastic on its mid-range models. It definitely keeps its costs down.
That said, I still maintain that plastic-heavy super automatic espresso machines have a shorter life span than stainless steel versions. And while my own plastic machines run splendidly at the moment, the tests I’ve run have shown me that stainless steel machines can better stand the test of time.
So even if it lacks a bit of that high-quality look and feel that I love, all of the Dinamica’s components — from the buttons to the brew group to the stainless steel burr grinder — feel functional and well-thought-out.
Plus, even from day one, I’ve never had to worry about any parts chipping off during washing. In general, Dinamicas are sturdy machines that can be counted on for the long haul.
If we look at the price again, then we can see very clearly that the Italians have primarily paid attention to greater performance, instead of worrying about superficialities for $979.99.
I think that makes sense. After all, preparation, taste and espresso at the push of a button are all that matter at the end of the day — at least to me!
A Small Damper on Our Enthusiasm
What also counts is a super automatic espresso machine at the $979.99 price point that doesn’t smell when you unpack it. That usually only happens to me with a super-cheap coffee machine.
But the plastic odor coming from the Dinamica was so overwhelming during the first test that I just had to mention it in the rating.
Admittedly, the smell has long since dissipated, and everything works as it should. Still, if no other super automatic espresso machine smells as much like a new machine as this one did, we have to ask ourselves, “What went wrong with my test model at the factory?”
As you can imagine, I gave it a thorough cleaning before using it for the first time — of course, you should do that anyway. But with the Dinamica, there was more of a need for this than I would have liked. Who wants to smell a factory when sipping espresso from their cup?
Dinamica Adjustments: When Espresso Is Easy
It’s true that super automatic espresso machines typically come ready to use, even while at the default factory settings.
Yet, most of the time, they are far from ready to brew a successful espresso, cappuccino or Latte Macchiato from the start.
This is where the Dinamica discussed here took an impressively different approach. Even at its default settings, it did almost everything right when preparing drinks straight out of the box.
Sure, it’s true a little bit of froth did end up in the cups, and the espresso could have benefitted from a touch more cream and body, but the fact that the device can be used without expertise speaks volumes.
Adjusting the Coarseness of the Grind
Even if you don’t want to adjust anything else, at least adjust the coarseness of the grind to its finest setting!
Not only is this the fastest way to brew, but it also has the greatest effect on the taste of the coffee. To do this, simply turn the dial in the bean hopper to the finest possible point at which coffee still comes out of the spout.
Oh, and remember to only do this while the grinder is running!
“Finest possible” here actually means level one of 13 on the Dinamica — and not three or four, as is usually the case with this brand, especially with models in the lower-price ranges.
With the finest possible grind, you’ll manage to actually turn your beans into an espresso that (almost) deserves the name. Though we’re still a far cry from the quality of espresso brewed in an espresso machine, the end product the Dinamica can create is still really convincing.
Selecting Beverages, Preparation & Water Quantity
Part of DeLonghi’s brand image is the ease with which you can adjust all of the settings necessary to brew your desired cup of coffee or espresso.
So thankfully, referring to the operating manual isn’t really necessary to achieve this goal since the menu options are self-explanatory.
That means for optimal drinks and a perfect taste, you can just adjust the coffee quantity up, the water quantity down and leave the temperature as is on the Dinamica.
Still, there are those who complain that the coffee is not hot enough, even when they set the machine to the highest possible temperature. The way around this is to warm one’s cup with some hot water beforehand and then discard the water when ready to brew.
By the way, this contradiction between “just right” and “too cold” is usually not the fault of the machines.
Take filter coffee, for example. Not only does it seem hotter, but it’s also brewed at a higher temperature than espresso. So anyone just switching to super automatic espresso machines has to get used to this.
Then there’s the rotary dial milk frothing system on the DeLonghi Dinamica, which doesn’t really need any explanation. Except perhaps that the middle level is the best. You won’t be able to conjure up a flat white with it, but it’s certainly enough for excellent cappuccinos and Latte Macchiatos.
The Steam Pipe Advantage
This is where the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM350.20.B, ECAM350.20.W and ECAM350.25.SB have the advantage, as the manual steam pipe offers greater control over the frothing of milk.
In general, if you’ve ever used and adjusted any DeLonghi machine before, the Dinamica is no challenge at all.
Its inner workings and core construction are exactly the same as the entry-level winner, the DeLonghi ECAM 22.110.
The main differences between the two come down to the Dinamica having a display and a greater ability to fine-tune the brew settings. Of course, what can be accomplished at the push of a button plays into this.
Espresso From the DeLonghi Dinamica: Making the Test Fun!
When I tested the Dinamica, I put the DeLonghi next to the relatively similar Philips 3200 LatteGo, even though the comparison is a bit lame. Though the Philips super automatic espresso machine is quite dinky, it feels more “expensive” than the Dinamica — mainly because it has fewer features.
The comparison was primarily about the noise level, at which beans process in the stainless steel burr grinder. After all, how loud (or quiet) a device is while operating is one of the most important elements in any test.
What stood out in our test was that it’s not just about the number of decibels produced but also the kind of noise a machine creates. Both machines are relatively on par with one another, but the Philips super automatic espresso machine sounds a bit “nicer” to one’s ears.
The fact of the matter is that stainless steel cone grinders are pretty noisy — with or without added sound damping built-in.
That said, the DeLonghi Dinamica super automatic espresso machine can claim a mini-victory in terms of quiet milk frothing. Even the tubeless milk system from Philips couldn’t beat it.
The espresso is also much better than the Philips machine — and many other brands for that matter. There’s really no comparison: super taste, nice cream, excellent temperatures and absolutely delicious results earn the Dinamica top marks.
Cafe Americanos & the Pot Function
When manufacturers want you to like a super automatic coffee machine as a “more profitable” alternative to a standard coffee maker, they talk long and hard about the cafe americano or pot function. It’s no different with the Dinamica or any other machine.
The Plus version of the Dinamica has a pot function that automatically prepares several cafe americanos in one go. All other machines only have cafe americano on board as coffee with an extra-large filling capacity of around 6 ounces.
Both have their strengths, though.
Just as a regular coffee machine can’t even come close to an espresso machine, a super automatic coffee machine can’t make drinks with a taste reminiscent of the good things about filter coffee.
Trying to replicate filtered-style coffee in a super automatic espresso machine never turns out well because of the limitations or functional specifications of the brewing group.
There’s just no way to remedy it, either in an expensive machine with 19 bar of pressure or in a cheaper unit with 15 bar. The basic principles of brewing are simply too different from one another.
That’s why my advice here is: for “proper” coffee from the filter, reach for a coffee maker. For a halfway drinkable vending machine version, you can always prepare an espresso and then dilute it with some hot water to make a cafe americano.
After all, you owe it to your taste buds and your coffee beans to make this informed decision.
Milk Froth With the DeLonghi Dinamica: Clear the Stage for Cappuccinos & Latte Macchiatos!
Usually, you only notice how nice and quiet a milk frother is when using a machine that makes a “normal” amount of noise afterward.
Except for the in-house PrimaDonna series, no other machine froths as quietly as the Dinamica.
It’s not just noticeable in the morning at home when you’re first waking up, either. You’ll also notice it during the day while at the office or the store — even though the Dinamica is certainly not a “commercial” machine.
Then again, if there are only two or three of you in the office, there would hardly be a reason to put a more expensive super automatic espresso machine in the break room. Though many top-notch super automatic coffee machines for the office have managed to fit in one thing that makes the Dinamica so great: adjustable milk froth consistency — yeah!
Choices of Consistency
When it comes to milk frothing, you have the choice between “thick,” “medium” and “relatively thin” consistencies, which work surprisingly well.
Thicker milk froth is a bit too much like a bubble bath for me. Yet, the thin version is also not how I like my froth. Somehow, for cappuccinos and Lattes, a medium thickness is just right.
That said, there’s nothing to stop you from mixing different consistencies of milk and experimenting with your super automatic espresso maker, thanks to the various features of the machine that make that possible. It just takes longer — and in the end, you still won’t get a flat white in your cups.
However, if it’s a flat white you’re after, you really should buy a portafilter anyway and practice using the steam pipe because a super automatic espresso machine isn’t made for that. For all the froth gradations in between, the Dinamica is definitely a great choice, though!
The temperature, which many of you like to whine about, is also above average here. Plus, since it’s not hot enough to scald you, you can drink it straight away.
Cleaning & Descaling the DeLonghi Dinamica: Hang on to the User Manual
Like with any super automatic espresso machine, some cleaning is necessary — whether it’s a steam pipe or the LatteCrema automatic milk frother.
The best practice is to clean out any milk between uses to avoid buildup, clogging and spoilage.
To clean the steam pipe, simply wipe it with a damp towel designated for that purpose. Then make sure you store this towel in a clean bowl or pan beside the machine.
It’s important that you (and your smart colleagues) avoid using the steam pipe towel to wipe counters and such to avoid cross-contamination.
After wiping the steam pipe, you’ll want to purge it with steam for a few seconds.
For a quick rinse of the automatic LatteCrema system, set the milk froth control to “clean” and let water flow through the pipes. It’s best to do this after every use.
Just be sure to set your favorite cup aside beforehand. Much to my chagrin, I’ve had more cleaning water-espresso combos find their way into my cup than I’d like to admit. If only I had a dollar for every time that happened — I would be loaded!
I think it’s especially great when you can remove the water reservoir, milk carafe and everything else that’s important without having to move the machine. This not only saves space, but it virtually invites intensive cleaning by itself.
The only thing that would make it easier is if the automatic espresso machine “automatically” carried its dishes to the dishwasher on its own! Until that happens, though, cleaning the Dinamica is still a breeze.
A Note on Dishwashers
Officially, nothing is supposed to go in the dishwasher, but in my opinion, you can still put the carafe for the LatteCrema system, the drip tray or the coffee grounds container in the dishwasher. Not the brew group, of course, which you have to rinse by hand!
To add to that, DeLonghi seems to take the matter of how the brew group goes into the Dinamica pretty seriously.
Not only do you have to power the machine off at the main switch, but you also have to unplug it. Only then can you safely remove the brew group and then safely reinsert it after rinsing.
That’s what the instruction manual says, too.
Yet, for some reason, this crucial point often gets overlooked. The resulting system errors then tend to aggravate users — especially when it delays them getting their coffee!
I also believe that many of the common problems users face — such as water in places where it shouldn’t be or coffee residue in crevices — can be traced back to an incorrectly positioned brew group. The brew group is the heart of the machine, so it really needs to be positioned properly to do its job as intended.
Otherwise, there’s no reason why your Dinamica shouldn’t perform brilliantly for years to come. Just look at the display: the device will already tell you what to clean, insert or empty.
Descaling is just as easy.
On that note: even if you filter your water, you shouldn’t wait too long between deep cleanings.
It not only removes water deposits but also cleans out coffee residue, fats and oils from the machine. So it’s worth descaling at least once a month — whether the machine says DeLonghi, Jura, Philips, Saeco, etc.!
Conclusion: Is the DeLonghi Dinamica Worth the Money?
By now, you’re well aware that I have a great appreciation for the DeLonghi Dinamica product line.
Upper-class function for a middle-class price!
Sensible range of functions
Excellent espresso and frothed milk
Pleasant operating volume
Very good price-performance ratio
Plastic smell when unpacking for the first time
It has a lot to offer in terms of price and features. Plus, the Dinamica product line also bridges the gap between high-end and low-end super automatic espresso machines.
The way I see it, the DeLonghi Dinamica is a great choice for anyone who wants to tweak their recipe for the perfect cup of espresso, cappuccino, Latte Macchiato or the like. It also opens the door for experimentation with coffee beans and consistencies.
On the other hand, what I say about every super automatic coffee machine still holds true:
If you don’t plan on using all the functions offered, your money is best spent elsewhere.
So if you’re only interested in brewing good espresso without the hassle of going back to the instructions, an entry-level machine like the DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110.B will suffice.
Unless, of course, it’s selling for the same price as the Dinamica, in which case, you mine as well go with the DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM350.20.
I can tell that you guys are quite interested in this machine by all the comments on this review, which I think is great, and am happy you’re so engaged in the discussion. Let’s keep the conversation going. Feel free to leave any questions or comments about the DeLonghi Dinamica below. Thanks for reading!