DeLonghi Magnifica Start Review: A Successful Upgrade?

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

For many years, the DeLonghi Magnifica S held the pole position in my super automatic espresso machine guide as the best value fully automatic coffee machine. That may have changed, but I still regard it as a reference machine for a great price-performance ratio.

For many years, the DeLonghi Magnifica S held the pole position in my super automatic espresso machine guide as the best value fully automatic coffee machine. That may have changed, but I still regard it as a reference machine for a great price-performance ratio.

The machine proves that you don’t need dozens of technical addons for a perfect espresso. Rather, sufficient grind settings and a decent brewing temperature will do the trick.

With the DeLonghi Magnifica Start series of fully automatic coffee machines, the manufacturer is now competing with itself and wants to refresh the simple coffee machine. This is now also about the milk:

For $784.35, the DeLonghi Magnifica Start does away with the steam wand in favor of an automatic milk system.

However, given that DeLonghi has also released a manual steam wand version, it quickly becomes apparent that the Italians don’t quite know how to define a Magnifica Start fully automatic coffee machine.

Does that make the machine worse? Absolutely not. You will be perfectly satisfied. But just as satisfied as with the Magnifica S? This is precisely the question I aim to answer in my DeLonghi Magnifica Start review.

An upgrade for Magnifica fans

DeLonghi Magnifica Start

Entry-level machine with well-conceived improvements

Very easy to use

Fantastic milk foam

Compact footprint

Powerful espresso and coffee

Very noisy grinder

Overview: DeLonghi Magnifica Start Review

While it was once relatively easy to distinguish a Start fully automatic coffee machine from a Magnifica S machine, we now have to distinguish the Start series not only from other DeLonghi espresso machines, but also from each other. Now there are two model categories:

  1. DeLonghi Start fully automatic coffee machine with steam wand

  2. DeLonghi Start fully automatic coffee machine with automatic milk frother

Incidentally, to make room for the new crop, DeLonghi has officially sent some simpler starter models to the great showroom in the sky.

As always with DeLonghi, you can infer the functions and the color from the machine’s model number. B stands for Black, WW stands for All White, etc.

The larger the number behind ECAM, the higher the class. And the last number tells you, among other things, which individual functions the machine brings into play.

Apart from their milk systems and some individual drinks, all models rely on an identical brewing process and include the same features:

  • Touch buttons without display

  • Plastic housing

  • Stainless steel conical burr grinder with 13 settings

  • Super compact design

  • Depending on the machine, three coffee temperature settings

  • Three coffee strength settings

  • Removable brew group

  • 2-cup function for coffee

  • 61-ounce (1.8-liter) water tank with filter

  • Coffee volume adjustable from 0.7-8.5 ounces (20-250 milliliters)

  • 8.8-ounce (250-gram) coffee bean container

This is very modest compared to some other fully automatic coffee machines. Still, it actually offers everything you need for a decent tasting cup of joe.

DeLonghi Magnifica Start Features

Size and Design

It’s easy to toss around adjectives like “sleek” and “streamlined” when I’m reviewing coffee makers. However, there’s no getting around the fact that they really do apply to the DeLonghi Magnifica Start. Sure, there’s a ton of plastic housing – this is a budget-friendly super automatic after all.

But the Italian manufacturer has certainly designed a modern-looking machine with a minimalist aesthetic.

You guys probably already know how much I love the LatteCrema milk system. Still, it bears repeating that it’s extremely well designed. The carafe fits perfectly into the machine’s compact silhouette, and you won’t have to worry about pesky pipework.

Speaking of the Start’s size, I think DeLonghi has hit a home run here. Seriously, the Magnifica Start is just 17 inches (43 centimeters) tall, making it ideal for smaller kitchens.

User Interface

Delonghi Magnifica Start 22060bg Bedienung

I have to say that the DeLonghi Magnifica Start’s user interface is about as intuitive as it gets. The machine presents you with clear icons for all drinks, as well as bean icons for adjusting coffee strength. Other than that you can select the clean function, ground coffee bypass function and double shot option.

While I love the versatile coffee strength dial on the original Magnifica S, I will admit that this upgraded machine takes a lot of the guesswork out of making espresso. On the other hand, three coffee strength settings might feel kind of limiting to some folks.

Conical Burr Grinder

Delonghi Magnifica Start 22060bg Mahlgrad Einstellen

Featuring a durable stainless steel conical burr grinder with 13 adjustment settings, these Italian entry-level machines remain practically unique in their class. Only Philips fully automatic coffee machines with ceramic grinders and 12 settings can compete.

Unfortunately, the DeLonghi Magnifica Start leaves a lot to be desired in one area: it’s even louder than the Magnifica S. Plus, the quality of the noise is kind of awful.

I measured 75.9 decibels (the Magnifica S produces 71.1 decibels) and noticed an unpleasant shrill sound with every grind cycle.

In other words, the Magnifica Start fully automatic coffee machine would not pass the “sleeping baby” test. However, drink preparation is super quiet, which makes the grinder issues even more pronounced.

As with the Magnifica S, the Start’s finest grind settings are pretty much useless. That’s because the coffee barely makes it out of the spout and the pump and brew group become overwhelmed. Still, it’s possible to get great results with the grinder set a little coarser.

LatteCrema Milk System

Delonghi Magnifica Start 22060bg Milchkaraffe

With a manual steam wand, there isn’t really anything to adjust. However, you should prepare a pitcher before making espresso and make sure your cow juice or non-dairy milk is cold. Oh, and make sure to keep a dedicated cloth handy for wiping off the steam wand.

With the automatic carafe version, you can adjust the size of your cappuccino, for example. The LatteCrema carafe draws milk until it’s empty or you stop the preparation. Fortunately, there are level markers on the side so you’ll know how much milk to add for your chosen beverage. Pretty cool, eh?

Specialty Drinks

While the DeLonghi Magnifica Start has a fairly limited specialty drink menu, you can prepare cappuccino and latte macchiato at the push of a button. As for espresso and coffee, each drink can be customized to your taste before preparation. It’s best to set the strength to level 2 of 3 and set espresso volume to around 1.4 ounces (40 milliliters).

You can do this by holding down the espresso button. As soon as the LED light flashes, the extraction begins. And once you’ve got your desired volume, press the button again. After that, the machine remembers the setting for next time.

My recommendation is to use a coffee scale when you’re setting your espresso volume. Even if it’s not totally accurate, you can be sure that 40 grams of espresso equals 40 milliliters in the cup. Oh, and always press the button slightly ahead of time – every fully automatic coffee machine is a bit sluggish to respond.

You don’t necessarily have to change the temperature. Every drink comes steaming out of the outlet. That said, I did notice that coffee is a little on the cooler side.

The DeLonghi Magnifica Start in Use

In my first Magnifica review, I was delighted by the espresso and its rich crema, while the coffee was a little too watery and flat. Regardless of the coffee beans and settings.

With the Magnifica Start I could say that my coffee beans simply produce more flavor and therefore enhance the coffee. But the inner workings of the machine have apparently been improved: the coffee now has way more depth. Well, the espresso anyway.

Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image

My guess is that the brew group, pump and grinder work better together and that some parts have been improved. But in the end it’s certainly the tiptop beans that make all the difference.

Best Coffee for the DeLonghi Magnifica Start

We have developed a special coffee blend for fully automatic coffee machines. And that includes all drinks from the DeLonghi Magnifica Start. During our testing, espresso, black coffee and latte macchiato all displayed bold chocolatey notes.

It all depends on the coffee beans: If you put something good in at the top, something good comes out at the bottom!

Coffee for Fully Automatic Espresso Machines

Specialty Coffee for Super Automatic Espresso Machines

Experience the Finest Coffee Beans, Tailored for Your Machine!

Freshly Roasted Right in Brooklyn

Notes of Chocolate & Hazelnut

Optimized for Automatic Machines

Smooth, Low Acidity Brew

Shop now

Here are the recommended settings for our coffee with the DeLonghi Magnifica Start:

  • Third finest grind setting

  • Attention: Always adjust with the grinder running!

  • Espresso: Double shot with a volume of 1.4 ounces (40 milliliters)

  • Coffee volume: 4 ounces (120 milliliters)

  • Coffee strength: Level 2

  • Temperature: Factory setting

DeLonghi Magnifica Start Cleaning

The more compact the machine, the easier it is to clean? Yes and no. The smaller dimensions ensure that the drip tray and water tank have to be emptied and rinsed more often. So, in theory they’ll stay a lot cleaner.

At the same time, you have to be a little more prudent when cleaning the Magnifica Start. And in crucial places. You can easily remove the water tank together with the water filter, drip tray and used grounds container from the front.

Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image

According to the instructions, the drip tray can be put in the dishwasher, while you should only rinse the water tank, the container for the used pucks and the brew group by hand. No surprises there.

However, the brew group is a little special in that you don’t take it out in one piece. Interestingly enough, part of it stays inside the machine. This has no disadvantages in terms of general functionality. Still, you do have to clean inside the machine much more thoroughly than usual.

DeLonghi Magnifica Start Technical Specifications

DeLonghi Magnifica Start
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Model number

ECAM22080SB

Product category

Super automatic espresso machine

Removable brew group

Housing material

Plastic

Color options

Black, Silver, White

Milk frother

Integrated carafe

User interface

Monochromatic LCD with buttons

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

Minimum cup height

3.2 in / 8.1 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

13

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

Pre-ground coffee bypass

Grounds discard container capacity

14

Specialty drinks

4

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

Adjustable milk temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Pot function

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

Weight

19.5 lb / 8.8 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 9.9 x 17.3 in
35.1 x 25.1 x 43.9 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories, User manual, water hardness test strip, measuring scoop, water filter

Current price on Amazon

$784.35

All specifications

Magnifica Start vs Other DeLonghi Machines

DeLonghi Magnifica Start vs Magnifica Evo

DeLonghi Magnifica Evo Milk ECAM 290.81.TB Kaffeetassen

You aren’t alone in thinking the Magnifica Smart looks like a smaller version of the DeLonghi Magnifica Evo. I think the Magnifica Evo is really good and recommend it not only here, but also to my friends. In fact, many of them have had a great experience with it. But the most important question remains: can it do more than the new Magnifica Start fully automatic coffee machine?

I believe that DeLonghi is completely scrapping the Evo class and transfering all functions to the new Start series. Just more compact and lighter. And let’s face it, a small and versatile fully automatic coffee machine is almost always better.

See Also: DeLonghi Magnifica Evo Review

DeLonghi Magnifica Start vs Magnifica S

Delonghi ECAM 22.110.b Espressobezug Arne

This review would be irrelevant without a comparison between the original Magnifica and the upgrade. Because the rating for the Magnifica Start must always be measured against the rating for the DeLonghi Magnifica S. Of course, we have to use the Magnifica Start with the manual steam wand or else it won’t be fair.

Overall, the Start’s design looks more modern than that of the Magnifica S, which is not least due to the control panel with touch-sensitive icons rather than buttons. The rotary controls of the S fully automatic machine were abandoned in favor of clear, intuitive icons. There is no app or screen (of course).

In terms of core features, we have two identical DeLonghi fully automatic coffee machines in front of us. However, the Start has a few new features on board that aren’t necessarily to my taste.

The restrictions on temperature and strength aren’t as important as the optimum grind setting or the best possible coffee beans.

But the fact is that the Magnifica S has been outperforming all other machines in the same price range for years thanks to its sheer versatility. Because it can bring virtually any taste to your espresso cup. With the Magnifica Start, you have to leave it up to the machine.

See Also: DeLonghi Magnifica S Review

DeLonghi Magnifica Start vs Others Comparison Chart

DeLonghi Magnifica StartDeLonghi Magnifica EvoDeLonghi Magnifica S
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

Model number

ECAM22080SB

ECAM29084SB

ECAM22110

Product category

Super automatic espresso machine

Super automatic espresso machine

Super automatic espresso machine

Removable brew group

Housing material

Plastic

Plastic

Plastic

Color options

Black, Silver, White

Silver

Black, Silver, Silver/Black

Milk frother

Integrated carafe

Integrated carafe

Steam wand

User interface

Monochromatic LCD with buttons

Color LCD with buttons

Text display with buttons

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

Minimum cup height

3.2 in / 8.1 cm

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

2.7 in / 6.9 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

13

13

13

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

Pre-ground coffee bypass

Grounds discard container capacity

14

14

14

Specialty drinks

4

6

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

Adjustable milk temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

No

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Pot function

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1250 W

1250 W

Weight

19.5 lb / 8.8 kg

21.1 lb / 9.6 kg

20.1 lb / 9.1 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 9.9 x 17.3 in
35.1 x 25.1 x 43.9 cm

14.2 x 9.5 x 17.4 in
36.1 x 24.1 x 44.2 cm

13.8 x 9.4 x 17.0 in
35.1 x 23.9 x 43.2 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories, User manual, water hardness test strip, measuring scoop, water filter

Included Accessories: Carbon filter, Measuring scoop, Cleaning supplies Removable water spout, Milk carafe.

Included Accessories: Water softener filter, Descaling solution, Measuring scoop, Instruction booklet.

Current price on Amazon

$784.35

$699.99

$740.10

DeLonghi Magnifica StartDeLonghi Magnifica EvoDeLonghi Magnifica S
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

Model number

ECAM22080SB

ECAM29084SB

ECAM22110

Product category

Super automatic espresso machine

Super automatic espresso machine

Super automatic espresso machine

Removable brew group

Housing material

Plastic

Plastic

Plastic

Color options

Black, Silver, White

Silver

Black, Silver, Silver/Black

Milk frother

Integrated carafe

Integrated carafe

Steam wand

User interface

Monochromatic LCD with buttons

Color LCD with buttons

Text display with buttons

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Memo function only

Memo function only

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

60.9 fl oz / 1.8 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

5.5 in / 14.0 cm

Minimum cup height

3.2 in / 8.1 cm

3.3 in / 8.4 cm

2.7 in / 6.9 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

13

13

13

Bean hopper capacity

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

8.8 oz / 250.0 g

Pre-ground coffee bypass

Grounds discard container capacity

14

14

14

Specialty drinks

4

6

2

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

Adjustable milk temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

No

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Pot function

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1450 W

1250 W

1250 W

Weight

19.5 lb / 8.8 kg

21.1 lb / 9.6 kg

20.1 lb / 9.1 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 9.9 x 17.3 in
35.1 x 25.1 x 43.9 cm

14.2 x 9.5 x 17.4 in
36.1 x 24.1 x 44.2 cm

13.8 x 9.4 x 17.0 in
35.1 x 23.9 x 43.2 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories, User manual, water hardness test strip, measuring scoop, water filter

Included Accessories: Carbon filter, Measuring scoop, Cleaning supplies Removable water spout, Milk carafe.

Included Accessories: Water softener filter, Descaling solution, Measuring scoop, Instruction booklet.

Current price on Amazon

$784.35

$699.99

$740.10

Verdict: DeLonghi Magnifica Start Review

An upgrade for Magnifica fans

DeLonghi Magnifica Start

Entry-level machine with well-conceived improvements

Very easy to use

Fantastic milk foam

Compact footprint

Powerful espresso and coffee

Very noisy grinder

After taking a closer look at both DeLonghi Magnifica Start models and comparing them with the data and reviews from my fully automatic coffee machine guide, I finally found a clear opinion:

There is no reason to buy the manual milk frother DeLonghi Magnifica Start. But as soon as we’re getting an automatic cappuccino, things look a little different. Ultimately, the price and performance levels are completely on point. You get the best of all affordable DeLonghi worlds without making it too complicated.

If you’re considering a budget-friendly fully automatic coffee machine, the Start could be the way to go. Especially if you want decent quality, intuitive operation and a good selection of specialty drinks.

The DeLonghi Magnifica Start proves once again that a fully automatic machine needs neither touchscreen nor app. And it doesn’t need to make anything fancier than a cappuccino to justify its price tag.

The fact that the Magnifica Start will still not become a new price-performance winner or the king of the entry-level class is solely due to that overly noisy grinder.

Which DeLonghi Magnifica Start would you prefer? With or without the automatic milk system? I look forward to your comments!

Your coffee expert
Team Image
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

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Table of Contents