DeLonghi PrimaDonna Review: The Star of the Show?

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.

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In today's completely updated DeLonghi PrimaDonna review, I'll be discussing the latest iteration of a machine that's always had an identity crisis.

In today’s completely updated DeLonghi PrimaDonna review, I’ll be discussing the latest iteration of a machine that’s always had an identity crisis.

Here at Coffeeness, I’ve never shied away from poking fun at DeLonghi for its habit of releasing way too many machines, with way too many confusing model numbers. However, it seems like the Italians have finally wised up, seeing as the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite stands alone. That’s right – one model, one color and one serial number. Well, thus far anyway.

Still, let’s not tempt fate by talking anymore about that! Instead, let’s dive right into my DeLonghi PrimaDonna review!

New edition

Definitely recommended. It’s robust and well-thought-out

High-quality build

Great espresso and milk foam

Simple and intuitive operation

Dual thermoblocks

Easy to clean

Beans are slightly heated by the cup warmer

Overview: DeLonghi PrimaDonna Review

In my original DeLonghi PrimaDonna review I sifted through the numerous variations of the Italian manufacturer’s top-tier super automatic espresso machine. Back then, some were already being phased out. Still, I remember saying that you couldn’t go wrong with any of them, even if it was really confusing to sort out the differences between model numbers.

Fast forward, and DeLonghi has retired all the older models, although you might find one or two still lurking on Amazon. What’s more, we now have just one flagship machine – the newly released DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite.

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Costing a whopping $N/A, the PrimaDonna Elite is substantially more expensive than any of the other manufacturer’s fully automatics. And sure, the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite is an impressive piece of kit. Featuring durable metal housing, an active cup warmer and dual boilers, this baby is a true powerhouse.

Still, I can’t help but wonder whether it has enough to justify that asking price, especially in comparison with a workhorse like the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus. After all, both machines have DeLonghi’s 13-level conical burr grinder and full menu of specialty drinks.

And while dual heating systems are a bonus in terms of performance, the Dinamica Plus isn’t exactly sluggish. Besides, if you want a dual boiler machine, you could go with the original DeLonghi Dinamica and just spend $1,376.00.

With all that in mind, I aim to find out whether the investment is worth it in this DeLonghi PrimaDonna review.

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Features

Let’s keep the ball rolling in this DeLonghi PrimaDonna review by taking a closer look at the features on offer.

Size and Design

You could never accuse DeLonghi of prioritizing form over function. While a manufacturer like Jura produces beautiful high-end machines, DeLonghi is happy to dominate the mid-range sector, offering affordable, solid performers with a utilitarian aesthetic.

To be honest, the PrimaDonna Soul doesn’t exactly break the mold, although I do think it’s fairly sleek and streamlined. However, the Italians have certainly upped their game in terms of construction materials.

Rather than the usual abundance of cheap looking plastic, the PrimaDonna Elite sports durable stainless steel housing. What’s more, the large, colorful screen lends the machine a clean, modern vibe.

In terms of size, the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite isn’t exactly huge. However, the manufacturer has made it big enough to sport a beautiful, spacious drip tray and generous cup warmer.

Overall, I really like the look of the PrimaDonna Elite, and I think it would fit seamlessly in just about any kitchen.

User Interface

As I already mentioned, the PrimaDonna Elite’s full color screen looks pretty slick. That said, the 3.5-inch TFT display isn’t a touchscreen interface. Instead, it’s surrounded by soft-touch buttons.

I have to say that doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I get kinda sick of using touchscreens seeing as they always get covered in fingerprints and coffee splashes.

In true DeLonghi fashion, the user interface is super intuitive and easy to navigate. In fact, I’d say you’ll hardly need to consult the user manual as you’re learning the ins and outs of all the menus.

When you’re preparing a drink, most adjustable parameters are right there in front of you, including strength and size. That said, you’ll need to delve into the settings screen to adjust coffee temperature.

Conical Burr Grinder

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Mahlgrad

As has become the standard for this manufacturer, the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite is equipped with a stainless steel conical burr grinder with 13 adjustment settings. What’s more, changing your grind setting is a piece of cake, thanks to the easily accessible dial in the bean hopper. And while I’m on the subject, may I politely remind you to only make adjustments when the grinder is running!

I think this brand, in particular, is an excellent example of how the grinder design doesn’t matter – for the most part. You can read more about this in my guide to conical vs flat burr grinders, but the most important thing is that this grinder does its job excellently. Plus, it sounds pleasant despite the allegedly “inferior” quality of the grinder and noisier materials. It also contributes significantly to the quiet overall impression of the PrimaDonna Elite.

LatteCrema System

I’ve long been a huge fan of DeLonghi’s LatteCrema milk frothing system. I mean, it just works so darn well!

I love that you can store the thermal milk jug in the fridge, then quickly attach it to the machine when you want to make a latte macchiato or flat white. Plus, the quality of the milk foam is very convincing. Oh, and you can select from different levels of froth, depending on your preference.

Interestingly, the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite also comes with a manual steam wand attachment, although I have my doubts about how effective it’ll be. Trust me, the LatteCrema system works well enough that you’ll be unlikely to want to get involved.

Specialty Drinks

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Specialty Drinks

The DeLonghi PrimaDonna Soul comes fully loaded with 14 preset specialty drink recipes. All the usual suspects are here, including espresso, cappuccino, latte and flat white. Oh, and eight of these have their own “one-touch” buttons on the machine’s front panel.

Of course, that’s not where the story ends. You can potentially create infinite variations on your favorite drinks by tweaking strength and size settings. Plus, the different froth settings on the LatteCrema flask make the machine even more versatile.

User Profiles

Seeing as the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite is the Italian manufacturer’s flagship offering, I’m not surprised to see six user profiles included in the menu. That’s really impressive, making this machine ideal for families or even small offices.

Anyway, once you’ve created your dream specialty drink, you can save it in your very own profile. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to save multiple creations in a profile, but hey – you can’t win ’em all!

Double Boiler System

The DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite is equipped with two fast-heating thermoblocks. To be honest, I wouldn’t expect anything less from a machine at this price point. Still, it is worth celebrating the fact that having dual heating systems is a huge bonus.

For starters, the PrimaDonna Soul will be able to maintain a consistent temperature, seeing as it doesn’t have to constantly switch between making coffee and steaming milk.

What’s more, there won’t be any wait time between espresso and milk foam when you’re preparing a drink. In fact, the machine is capable of doing both at the same time.

Removable Water Tank

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Wassertank

I have to make special mention of the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite’s 68-ounce (2-liter) water tank. You see, the manufacturer has obviously put a lot of thought into the design of its machine, as evidenced by the fact that the water tank pulls out from the front.

After all, moving a coffee maker around to get to a rear-mounted water tank can get old really quickly. It’s the little things like this that put a smile on my face!

Regular Coffeeness readers will know that I’m seldom impressed by apps for super automatics. However, I do understand that lots of you like to be able to operate your coffee maker from afar.

Actually, the DeLonghi Coffee Link app is pretty cool, and gives you access to quite a few additional features, tips and guidance.

However, I’m a little mystified as to why the manufacturer is yet to jump on the WiFi train. I mean, not to sound snobby, but a Bluetooth connection seems a little dated at this point. Am I wrong?

The DeLonghi PrimaDonna in Use

Whether it’s the Magnifica Start or PrimaDonna Elite, you can always rely on DeLonghi for straightforward operation, as every Italian machine is more or less self-explanatory. Plus, with a large display, colorful pictures and enjoyable features in the app, it’s really fun.

Similarly, you can – for the most part – rely on the fact that the highly capable grinder, with its 13 levels of adjustment, fudges a bit on the ultra-fine setting. Still, the PrimaDonna Elite also brings you closer to the perfect espresso.

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Slider Image

In addition, you won’t have to do much tweaking to the presets for the beverages themselves. Though, as always, it’s important to adjust the espresso volume downward. All settings – except for grind fineness – can be conveniently controlled via the app.

Its user interface is intuitive and tidy, but the Elite’s “outdated” Bluetooth connection is a bit shaky. Meaning, you shouldn’t move too far away from the machine with your smartphone. The clickable LatteCrema milk frothing system has three levels – “heavy,” “medium” and “light,” as I like to call them – which were already a great idea back in the day, and continue to be, for that matter.

Even if the barista in me wants to default to the lightest variation of milk foam available, you get the best results on the medium setting. It seems DeLonghi doesn’t think much of the hype surrounding ceramic disc grinders and instead relies on a stainless steel cone grinder, even for top-tier machines.

On another, albeit annoying note: if you unplug or turn off the main switch, the user profiles you worked so hard on will be deleted. It’s stupid, I know.

Espresso and Milk Froth

To combine espresso and milk froth from a PrimaDonna Class coffee machine into the cappuccino of your dreams, you need to produce a minimum amount of coffee and froth before you can save the whole thing to your profile. However, this production is pleasantly quiet and apparently very clean – no splashes, rumbling or clattering.

The spout is easily adjustable and has a maximum clearance height of 6 inches (14.2 centimeters), making it ideal for taller latte glasses. The minimum height of 3.5 inches (8.4 centimeters) is perfect for espresso cups.

When I conducted my test, I chose fairly dark roast espresso beans with a bold flavor profile. The machine yielded coffee with a bend toward the quality that comes from a portafilter, so I was pleased with both the temperature and the settings I used to froth the milk.

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DeLonghi PrimaDonna Cleaning

I really like it when a super automatic espresso machine bluntly reminds you to clean it regularly. On top of that, the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite automatic coffee maker refuses to dispense more milk froth if you haven’t pushed the button to perform an automatic rinse after the last round.

However, this also can tempt you to just refill the milk instead of cleaning the milk container in between. So, keep that in mind.

The front loading water reservoir is very hygienic in design. After all, it’s super easy to remove, rinse and reinsert. As always, it’s best to do this daily. The brew group, drip tray and used coffee grounds container should also be part of your machine’s daily cleaning program. Fortunately, they are just as intuitive to install and remove.

Oh, by the way, looking inside the grounds container will give you an idea of how dry and compact the coffee pucks are. That’s always a sign of a well-thought-out, well-functioning machine that places value on excellent coffee.

In addition, you’re safe to assume that less grime will settle in the hoses and coils of the machine. Don’t take that to mean you can get away with cleaning less, though. Cleaning is extremely important to the life and health of your DeLonghi espresso machine. The same applies to descaling. So, whether you’re filtering your water or not, it’s necessary.

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite Technical Specifications

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Model number

ECAM65055MS

Product category

Super automatic espresso machine

Removable brew group

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Integrated carafe

User interface

Color TFT with buttons and dials

App

User profiles

6

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

2

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

5.6 in / 14.2 cm

Minimum cup height

3.4 in / 8.6 cm

Grinder

Stainless steel conical burr grinder

Grind adjustment levels

13

Bean hopper capacity

14.1 oz / 400.0 g

Pre-ground coffee bypass

Grounds discard container capacity

14

Specialty drinks

14

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

1250 W

Weight

26.2 lb / 11.9 kg

Dimensions

15.0 x 10.2 x 18.5 in
38.1 x 25.9 x 47.0 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, water hardness test, water filter, coffee scoop, cleaning brush, descaler, removable water/steam spout

Current price on Amazon

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All specifications

Verdict: DeLonghi PrimaDonna Review

New edition

Definitely recommended. It’s robust and well-thought-out

High-quality build

Great espresso and milk foam

Simple and intuitive operation

Dual thermoblocks

Easy to clean

Beans are slightly heated by the cup warmer

Having reached the end of this DeLonghi PrimaDonna review, I can confidently say that the Italian manufacturer has released a very impressive update. However, I’m still on the fence as to whether this machine is worth the financial investment.

I’m of the opinion that a mid-range machine like the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus offers much better value for money. And the PrimaDonna Elite simply doesn’t bring enough innovation to the table. Ultimately, I’m unsure of the target audience here. Especially considering the fact that the PrimaDonna Soul is in the same price bracket as more premium machines like the Jura S8.

Then again, maybe it’s all part of DeLonghi’s master plan to conquer the universe!

I hope you enjoyed my DeLonghi PrimaDonna review. What’s your opinion about this high-end machine? I look forward to your comments!

Updated: 24. May 2024
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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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