DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Review 2023: There’s a Lot to Like!

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

I’ve spent plenty of time putting the rest of the La Specialista series under the microscope, so it was only a matter of time before I came out with a DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review.

I’ve spent plenty of time putting the rest of the La Specialista series under the microscope, so it was only a matter of time before I came out with a DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review.

That also means this machine has some pretty high expectations to live up to. Still, you’ll need to keep reading my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review if you want to find out if this machine can pull its own weight!

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte

A compact and affordable machine that really delivers!

Intuitive user interface

Small footprint

Integrated grinder

High-quality construction

Limited grind settings

Not lightweight

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Review Overview

I’ve already said it, but I had big expectations for this machine going into my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review. Especially given how well the other La Specialista machines fared. Plus, at $590.03, I think this home espresso machine warrants more than a little consideration.

As far as first impressions go, I can’t complain about the size or design of this machine. I mean, DeLonghi has packed an array of features into a small – but mighty – package. Compact as it may be, the La Specialista Arte is equipped with an integrated grinder.

So, not only are you saving a few extra inches of counter space, you won’t need to cram a separate burr coffee grinder into your kitchen.

You won’t always see integrated grinders with an affordable machine, but it’s not an unwelcome addition. If anything, I think it only reaffirms that you’re getting the best of both worlds with the La Specialista Arte. You’ll have a full set of manual controls at your fingertips as well as features I’d expect from an advanced semi automatic or super automatic.

Ultimately, we could be dealing with a compact machine that’ll be able to please the pros and the newbies. After all, that’s not something you see every day.

So, is the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte the holy grail of espresso machines? Probably not. Still, at least you won’t have to search for it in a lost jungle temple! That said, you may need to read the rest of my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review if you want all the nitty-gritty details.

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Features

I wasn’t kidding when I said this machine comes with an array of features, and I plan to talk about them all in my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review.

User Interface

DeLonghi La Specialista User Interface.

One area where I think the La Specialista Arte falls short of its stablemates is its user interface – or at least the way it looks. Both the original La Specialista and the  DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro combined shiny stainless steel with sleek black panels. The result was an eye-catching front panel and user interface.

The La Specialista Arte – or EC9155MB if you think that’s less of a mouthful – has done away with the black front panel. So, there’s nothing but stainless steel to look at.

Really, it’s hard to complain about durable stainless steel, so I’d consider this more of a nit-pick than a real complaint. It certainly won’t affect function, and some home baristas may appreciate the seamless look more than I do.

Appearances aside, the user interface is very intuitive. DeLonghi has really embraced the retro vibe with this machine, using all analog controls and slapping a pressure gauge onto the front panel. I’m definitely not complaining though.

For the record, I’m a big fan of pressure gauges on home espresso machines. You can picture me holding up a giant foam finger with #1 Fan emblazoned on it as I write this. Anyway, as pretty as they may look, they serve a practical purpose too.

You can use the brew pressure gauge to help determine whether you’re grinding your beans too fine or coarse. Experienced home baristas may not need this, but it’s a nifty trick for beginners – or for anyone getting the hang of a new machine.

Beyond the pressure gauge, the interface includes analog controls for adjusting temperature, dose level and even programmed drinks. Well, programmed drinks may be a stretch, but you can pick between espresso, americano and hot water. That’s as “specialty” as the La Specialista Arte gets, which is more than what some of the barebones super automatics offer.

Bean Hopper

Filling the Bean Hopper of the DeLonghi La Specialista.

It may not be the biggest bean hopper on the block, but that’s not a shock when you consider how compact the rest of the La Specialista Arte is. In case you’re wondering, the hopper holds just over 8.8 ounces (250 grams). For the record, that’s the same capacity as the La Specialista Maestro, so you’re not sacrificing any space here.

And as long as you don’t mind frequent refills, I don’t have any other complaints about this bean hopper. It’s UV tinted, so you won’t have to worry about sunlight damaging your coffee beans. Plus, that black lid on top functions as another seal to preserve freshness. Repeat after me: Using fresh beans equals better espresso!

Conical Burr Grinder

Following in the footsteps of the Maestro and La Specialista, the EC9155MB includes an integrated stainless steel conical burr grinder. Chances are, if you’ve used an espresso machine with an integrated grinder, it had conical burrs. These grinders might as well be the industry standard, and you’ll find them on classics like the Barista Express.

Granted, you’ve only got eight grind levels, which is hardly enough to write home about. So, if you were hoping for limitless grind options, you might want to log off here. Essentially, you’ll have some room to play around with grind size. However, home baristas looking to experiment will probably outgrow this grinder.

Portafilter

Look, I can understand why you might forget the La Specialista Arte isn’t fully automatic. With its integrated grinder, temperature control and preset options, I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that the La Specialista Arte is actually semi-automatic. At least, until it’s time to dose the portafilter and manually tamp your coffee grounds.

The portafilter comes equipped with two non-pressurized filter baskets: one for single shots and one for doubles. Honestly, I’m a little surprised to see that DeLonghi hasn’t added pressurized filter baskets to the long list of this machine’s accessories.

Even if I think non-pressurized baskets are the superior choice, pressurized baskets function like training wheels. Not all home baristas will want or need them, but they can eliminate some of the learning curve for beginners.

Milk Foam

Frothing Milk with the DeLonghi La Specialista.

If the EC9155MB has one crowning feature, it’s probably the My LatteArt steam wand. As a former professional barista, I’ve got high standards for steam wands, especially those that claim to be commercial grade.

So, I hope it carries a little weight when I tell you the built-in milk frother isn’t a disappointment. To DeLonghi’s credit, the steam wand feels like it could go toe-to-toe with other commercial grade steam wands I’ve seen. Not only does the angle of the jet help you distribute the milk foam more evenly, the nozzle design should give you more precise air pressure.

All that to say that I doubt you’ll have any problems crafting delicious milk foam for your daily  latte macchiato or cappuccino. Oh, and I should mention that the La Specialista Arte comes with a stainless steel milk pitcher. So, DeLonghi wins a few extra points there!

Thermoblock Heating

If you were worried about the preheating time taking an eternity, I think it’ll come as good news that the La Specialista Arte uses thermoblock heating. Sure, there are downsides to a thermoblock, but it sure beats the ten to fifteen-minute preheating time that you’ll endure with some other espresso machines.

Active Temperature Control

Speaking of heat, let’s talk about temperature. More specifically, the La Specialista Arte’s Active Temperature Control. By choosing one of three temperature settings, you can adjust how hot the water is during the extraction process.

Three temperature settings aren’t enough to give you total control over the brewing process, but it’s a start. If nothing else, you can count on the machine to maintain a stable temperature. Stable temperatures mean better extraction, and better extraction means better espresso shots. Let’s call that a win-win situation!

Cup Height

It’s not often I complain about cup height, but the La Specialista Arte falls a little short here – literally. The machine only offers 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) of headroom, which may feel kind of limiting.

I wouldn’t call this a dealbreaker, especially since a lot of home baristas stick to using espresso cups or Turkish coffee cups under the spout.

However, if you’re looking to load up that coffee thermos or ceramic travel mug, you’ll need to transfer the single or double shots. Even with the removable drip tray, I suspect your favorite coffee mugs will be a tight fit here.

Barista Kit

DeLonghi Barista Kit.

While I wouldn’t say the La Specialista Arte is geared toward beginners, DeLonghi has certainly loaded you up with just about all the coffee gear you’ll need. I have to say the Barista Kit that comes with this machine is pretty awesome. In addition to a dosing and tamping guide, here’s what you’ll get in the box:

  • Descaler solution
  • Dosing funnel 
  • Tamper 
  • Tamping mat
  • Milk jug
  • Water hardness test
  • Cleaning brush and needle
  • Single and double shot filters (non-pressurized) 

Usually, I need to tell you where to find the best espresso tamping mats or espresso tampers. So, I’m happy to see such an extensive list of tools included with this machine. Let’s just say that if your home setup is still in its infancy, this should give you plenty of helpful additions. 

Warranty

As durable as that stainless steel housing may look, this espresso machine isn’t bulletproof. What it does have is a two year warranty. With product registration, you can actually tack on an extra year, making this one of the better warranties I’ve seen among espresso machines and drip coffee makers.

How To Use the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte

Using the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte.

Did you think I’d skip over one of the most important parts of my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review? I can talk about the features of this machine all day long, but knowing how to use it is just as crucial as knowing what’s included.

I wouldn’t call this a high-maintenance machine although it might feel tedious if you’re used to one touch operation. Regardless, getting this espresso maker ready for its first run is fairly straightforward.

To begin, the machine will need to run a first use cycle. This means putting a container or cup underneath the spout, pressing the OK button and letting hot water run through the system.

Don’t forget about the steam wand either. You can use the steam button to purge hot steam into the container you’ve got under the spout.

And that’s all there is to running your first cycle! Once your La Specialista Arte has run through its warm-up like a pro, you’ll be able to brew your first shot. Of course, I’ll leave those directions for the next section of my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review.

Drink Preparation

Alright, so the first cycle went off with a hitch, and you’re ready to use the La Specialista Arte to make a real cup of joe. In that case, it’s time to fill the water tank and load up the hopper with fresh coffee beans. If you’re not sure which grind settings you want, you can always refer to the handy-dandy roast chart in the user manual.

Depending on the roast you’re using, DeLonghi has created a dosing and tamping guide. Here, you’ll find recommendations for which grind and temperature settings you should use. This might ruin the fun if you enjoy tinkering with manual settings until you find the right one, but it’s still useful.

If nothing else, the guide will probably save you from a few burnt or bitter espresso shots.

After you’ve filled the bean hopper and selected your grind setting, you should press the 1x or 2x button, depending on which filter basket you’re using. Then, adjust the dose using the dial, before inserting the dosing funnel.

Place the portafilter into the grinding cradle until it clicks. Grinding will start and stop automatically as the La Specialista Arte does its thing.

When grinding is complete, remove the dosing funnel from the portafilter. Manually tamp your coffee grounds and lock the portafilter into place in the brew group. The final step for brewing a shot is picking from the list of presets as well as selecting your brew temperature. Once you’ve done that, you only need to press the OK button to start the magic.

Steaming Milk

As for using the steam wand, it’s just as intuitive. Fill up the milk jug with your favorite moo juice or non dairy milk. Make sure to purge the steam wand first, then situate the tip just under the surface of your milk.

It’ll take a little practice before you can achieve beautiful, silky microfoam. But stick with it! You’ll be an expert home barista before you know it.

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Cleaning

With every cup of delicious espresso comes a little cleanup. For a lot of home baristas, this is the worst part of the gig, but it is important. With proper maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your espresso machine by years.

I’ll start with the easy stuff, like removing the drip tray when it’s full or rinsing the filter baskets after each use. If you’ve used the steam wand, you’ll also need to purge any milk residue left behind. You don’t want to skip this step – trust me. As it happens, steamed milk doesn’t taste nearly as good when it’s been sitting on the nozzle for two days.

As for the more intensive aspects of maintaining the La Specialista Arte, you don’t need to keep track of everything yourself. When it’s time to deal with descaling, you should see an indicator light appear on the user interface. I’ll leave it to the user manual to explain the details.

Outside of that, there’s not a lot of regular maintenance to worry about with the EC9155MB. I’d even go as far as to say it’s low-maintenance, which isn’t a phrase I can use for all other coffee machines out there.

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Specifications

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte
Manufacturer

De'Longhi

Model number

EC9155MB

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

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

57.5 fl oz / 1.7 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

8

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

Specialty drinks

0

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1550 W

Weight

21.5 lb / 9.8 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.2 x 14.3 in
40.1 x 28.4 x 36.3 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Cleaning brush and supplies, Single coffee filter, Double coffee filter, Stainless steel milk jug, Cleaning needle, Tamper, Tamping mat.

Current price on Amazon

$590.03

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte vs Others

Sure, my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review has revealed a solid performer. But is it a better investment than other home espresso machines? Let’s find out!

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte vs La Specialista

Right off the bat, I think you’ll be able to tell that the DeLonghi La Specialista is a heftier investment at $879.00.

Regardless, the La Specialista offers a few definite advantages over the EC9155MB. For one, the quick start feature ensures almost no preheating time. You’ll also get more advanced temperature control from two heating systems. That certainly blows the La Specialista Arte’s single thermoblock out of the water.

I also just appreciate the look of the OG La Specialista more. The black front panel pairs well with the stainless steel, giving this machine a vintage style that the La Specialista Arte doesn’t quite achieve.

See Also: DeLonghi La Specialista Hands-On Review 2023

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte vs Breville Barista Express

Did you think I’d end my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review without comparing it to everyone’s favorite semi automatic? Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but even I can admit that the Breville Barista Express is an incredibly well-rounded semi automatic.

Plus, at $680.25, it’s in the same ballpark, price-wise, as the La Specialista Arte.

Between the two, the Barista Express offers almost double the grind settings as well as crucial features like programmable pre-infusion. You’ve also got more varied temperature settings to tinker with, although I find the La Specialista Arte’s interface to be more intuitive.

My verdict? The La Specialista Arte is the more affordable option, but the Barista Express comes out ahead with more impressive features. Plus, it offers a little bit more room to experiment, especially with grind size or temperature control.

See Also: Breville Barista Express Hands-On Review 2023

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte vs Others Comparison Chart

DeLonghi La Specialista ArteDeLonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Express
Manufacturer

De'Longhi

De'Longhi

Breville

Model number

EC9155MB

EC9335

BES870XL/BES870BSXL

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless Steel

Black, Metallic, Red

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Automatic

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

57.5 fl oz / 1.7 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

2

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

19 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

12.0 in / 30.5 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

8

6

16

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.1 oz / 230.0 g

Specialty drinks

0

3

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1550 W

1450 W

1600 W

Weight

21.5 lb / 9.8 kg

29.7 lb / 13.5 kg

23.0 lb / 10.4 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.2 x 14.3 in
40.1 x 28.4 x 36.3 cm

17.5 x 15.0 x 14.5 in
44.5 x 38.1 x 36.8 cm

15.9 x 12.5 x 13.8 in
40.4 x 31.8 x 35.1 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Cleaning brush and supplies, Single coffee filter, Double coffee filter, Stainless steel milk jug, Cleaning needle, Tamper, Tamping mat.

Included Accessories: Portafilter and baskets, Milk pitcher, Cleaning supplies, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Instruction booklet, Magnetic tamper, Trimming tool, Coffee scoop, Milk jug, Water filter and holder, Cleaning supplies.

Current price on Amazon

$590.03

$879.00

$680.25

BUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZON
DeLonghi La Specialista ArteDeLonghi La SpecialistaBreville Barista Express
Manufacturer

De'Longhi

De'Longhi

Breville

Model number

EC9155MB

EC9335

BES870XL/BES870BSXL

Product category

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Hybrid espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless Steel

Black, Metallic, Red

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

51 mm

51 mm

54 mm

Tamping

Manual

Automatic

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

57.5 fl oz / 1.7 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

2

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

19 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.7 in / 11.9 cm

12.0 in / 30.5 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

8

6

16

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.1 oz / 230.0 g

Specialty drinks

0

3

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1550 W

1450 W

1600 W

Weight

21.5 lb / 9.8 kg

29.7 lb / 13.5 kg

23.0 lb / 10.4 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.2 x 14.3 in
40.1 x 28.4 x 36.3 cm

17.5 x 15.0 x 14.5 in
44.5 x 38.1 x 36.8 cm

15.9 x 12.5 x 13.8 in
40.4 x 31.8 x 35.1 cm

Warranty

1 year

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Cleaning brush and supplies, Single coffee filter, Double coffee filter, Stainless steel milk jug, Cleaning needle, Tamper, Tamping mat.

Included Accessories: Portafilter and baskets, Milk pitcher, Cleaning supplies, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Instruction booklet, Magnetic tamper, Trimming tool, Coffee scoop, Milk jug, Water filter and holder, Cleaning supplies.

Current price on Amazon

$590.03

$879.00

$680.25

BUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZONBUY NOW ON AMAZON

Verdict: DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Review

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte

A compact and affordable machine that really delivers!

Intuitive user interface

Small footprint

Integrated grinder

High-quality construction

Limited grind settings

Not lightweight

All things considered, I find the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte to be a worthy addition to the Italian manufacturer’s lineup. What it may lack in style or grind adjustment settings, the machine makes up for with an intuitive interface and features like Active Temperature Control.

Really, I’d argue the La Specialista Arte is a machine for baristas looking for the best of both worlds. It offers almost as much convenience as an automatic, while still allowing you to control the outcome of your espresso extraction.

Although I think true experimentalists might quickly outgrow this machine, it’s a sophisticated and affordable starting point for aspiring home baristas.

I’ve done enough talking in my DeLonghi La Specialista Arte review. Now I want to hear what you have to say! Let me know what you think of this machine in the comments section. 

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte Review FAQ

No, the La Specialista Arte is equipped with a single thermoblock.

You can use the user interface and the tools included in the barista kit to operate the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte coffee machine.

DeLonghi has a reputation for making great espresso machines, although not every coffee maker may be the right choice for you.

If your coffee is weak, you may need to adjust the grind settings on your DeLonghi espresso machine.

DeLonghi designs and engineers machines in Italy, but some of their espresso machines are imported from China.

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