DeLonghi Stilosa Review: A Compact Beginner Machine!

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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Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on an espresso machine. And, while more affordable options like the DeLonghi Stilosa do exist, what do they really have to offer? I’ll cover everything you need to know in this DeLonghi Stilosa review.

Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on an espresso machine. And, while more affordable options like the DeLonghi Stilosa do exist, what do they really have to offer? I’ll cover everything you need to know in this DeLonghi Stilosa review.

At just $86.99, the DeLonghi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine is one of the few espresso machines to keep its price this low. Nobody’s expecting all the bells and whistles for such a small investment. But, is the Stilosa worth spending your dough on?

From its compact design to the removable water tank, we’ll take an in-depth look at the DeLonghi Stilosa Espresso Machine’s features below. Later in this DeLonghi Stilosa review I’ll tell you about my first hand experiences using this affordable machine. Let’s do this!

Compact and Easy to Use

DeLonghi Stilosa

A Compact Beginner Machine

Affordable price tag

Compact design

Easy to use

Durable construction

Only comes with pressurized filter baskets

Learning curve for the steam wand

DeLonghi Stilosa Review Overview

Besides its compact design, the DeLonghi Stilosa has a few major stand-out features. As with most espresso machines, you’ve got a manual milk frother that includes a 360° nozzle. That’s pretty much a must-have if you plan on making anything besides a basic espresso shot.

The espresso maker uses a single, stainless steel boiler. While a dual boiler is preferable, stainless steel construction is always a win. The 15 bar pump adds a sufficient amount of pressure here – and is not all that different than you’d find on machines that are hundreds of dollars more. In fact, you only need 9 bars to make good espresso.

The DeLonghi Stilosa with all accessories.

You also get a two-level cupholder with this one. While the cup height isn’t as adjustable as some machines are, you’ve at least got a little wiggle room if you want to use a taller glass.

Speaking of things that come in pairs, there are two filter baskets with this espresso machine for single or double espresso shots. There’s also auto-shutoff, which is more of a standard feature for drip coffee makers (but not unwelcome at all).

We’ll touch on more of these features below in this DeLonghi Stilosa review. For now, let’s just say that the DeLonghi Stilosa certainly doesn’t skimp on the important stuff. While you won’t get a ton of control over the brewing cycle, I’d argue that this one of the best small espresso machines if you’re on a limited budget.

DeLonghi Stilosa Features

Compact Design

The DeLonghi Stilosa with a tape measure showing its compact size.

You may hear people call the Stilosa a “mini” espresso machine and they’re absolutely right. The DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine is the definition of compact. That to say, its small price tag isn’t the only small thing about it. In fact, if you’re looking for something that’s going to fit into a dorm room, RV, van or studio apartment, the Stilosa is worthy of consideration.

The machine weighs under ten pounds, too. So, if you need to transport it on the road, it shouldn’t take a team of two or cause you to throw out your back. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised by how sturdy and well made the Stilosa is. Let’s just say this is no toy coffee maker!

Colors

Now, I know the stainless steel finish that we’re used to seeing with espresso machines isn’t an option here, but the glossy black plastic has a timeless look to it as well. This beauty should match just about any kitchen decor and will never go out of style. You’ll still get stainless steel elements and components with this machine, just not on the exterior.

User Interface

Closeup of the DeLonghi Stilosa's user interface.

It’s not a surprise that the Stilosa lacks a fancy touchscreen display, but the tradeoff is that its simple user interface is just that – simple to use. The large knob on the front is what you’ll use to turn the machine on and off as well as control coffee and steam delivery.

There are two lights on that same front panel. One lets you know that the machine is on and the other lets you know it’s done preheating and ready to use.

As for controlling your steam wand, you’ll find a separate knob on the side of the machine, which you can twist when you’re ready to use your steam wand.

Despite lacking some of the bells-and-whistles that you’d find with high-end machines, the simple user interface means that this could be a great option for beginners looking to invest in their first espresso machine – or anyone just looking for great espresso without the fuss.

Removable Water Tank

The DeLonghi Stilosa with its water tank access lid open.
The DeLonghi Stilosa's removable water tank sitting next to the machine.

Given its compact design, the Stilosa’s water reservoir is a bit on the smaller side at 34 ounces (1 liter). The water tank is also removable, so if you need to clean it or there’s not a sink nearby to fill it up, you don’t have to worry about hauling the whole machine around.

Related to the water tank, note that there is a water level indicator on the left side of the machine. While the indicator lacks exact measurements for those of us who like to be really precise, the clear tube still allows you to see the tank’s water level just fine. What’s nice about the water level indicator is that it’s visible from the front of the machine, so it’s super easy to monitor.

Boiler

All things considered, the Stilosa doesn’t take too long to heat up. Even if you’ve completely filled the tank up, you’re still looking at less than seven minutes for this manual machine to preheat – and even less if you’re using less water for your espresso drinks.

Portafilter

Closeup of the DeLonghi Stilosa's portafilter.

The Stilosa espresso machine includes one portafilter with two filter sizes for single or double shots. You’ve also got a two-cup function here, which can be convenient if you need to pull multiple shots. The dual spout allows you to brew two servings at once and there’s more than enough room on the tray below for two demitasse cups.

Still, as with many other budget espresso makers, the Stilosa only comes with pressurized filter baskets. Unlike single wall baskets, these are designed for use with pre ground coffee. They create an additional pressure barrier to even out grind inconsistency and produce fake crema. Essentially, your espresso will look good, but it’ll lack complexity.

Ultimately, I’d recommend purchasing a replacement portafilter with single wall filter baskets. That way you’ll be able to dial in your shots and get convincing results from the Stilosa. Oh, and while you’re at it, pick up a decent tamper. The included espresso tamper is a plastic piece of trash!

Milk Foam

Steaming milk with the DeLonghi Stilosa.

A lot of the small manual espresso makers don’t include a milk jug and the Stilosa espresso machine is no exception. You’re going to need one if you plan on using the steam wand but it’ll have to be a separate purchase.

A DeLonghi milk pitcher will run you $18.95. However, there are numerous other brands available on Amazon that will work just as well.

There’s a manual steam wand built into the DeLonghi Stilosa that you can use to froth milk and it only takes the twist of a knob to get you started. Although we’re dealing with a panarello wand here, I was actually surprised by how well it works. Unlike many steam wands on budget machines, this one has a full range of movement. I was also able to whip up some pretty great microfoam, which isn’t always possible with a panarello wand.

Cup Height

Side view of the DeLonghi Stilosa showing the cup height.

As mentioned before, there is a two-level cupholder if you’re worried that the Stilosa won’t accommodate larger cups. Just remove the drip tray and you’ll have all the extra space you need for making that latte macchiato or any other great tasting espresso based drink. Incidentally, I had no problem whatsoever fitting my favorite travel mug under the spouts, so no complaints there.

Drip Tray

The DeLonghi Stilosa's removable drip tray.

Speaking of that removable drip tray, it’s a handy feature to have – even if it’s pretty standard for most espresso makers. Nobody wants to have to deal with hot water or espresso dripping all over their machine.

One thing I will say is that the drip tray is really small. I guess that’s to be expected from such a compact machine. Anyway, I’d recommend keeping an eye on things to avoid any unfortunate overflow.

Auto-Shutoff

Having to manually turn your espresso maker off when you’re ready to stop using it can be a bit tedious – and it’s a recipe for disaster if you’re used to walking away from your coffee maker once it spits out your java.

The good news here is that the Stilosa does come with an auto-shutoff feature, so all you need to worry about is making your authentic specialty drinks.

Warranty

As is standard with most of DeLonghi’s espresso machines, the DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine includes a one-year limited warranty.

As it happens, the first Stilosa I received had a faulty water tank valve, leading it to leak all over the place. Let’s just say that getting a replacement machine wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Sure, DeLonghi was happy to honor the one-year warranty, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops. The process took a lot longer than it should have, and I spent a lot of time on the phone.

Listen, I understand that DeLonghi is a huge corporation, but I was left feeling like they need to seriously improve their customer service game.

How to Use the DeLonghi Stilosa

The DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine.

Now that we’ve covered the features of the DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine, let’s talk about how to use this great espresso maker. Here’s a quick rundown of how to operate this pump espresso machine. This will help whether you’re making fancy specialty drinks, pulling double shots of espresso or even crafting an authentic cappuccino.

  1. Once you’ve got it plugged into your outlet, step one is filling the water reservoir in the DeLonghi Stilosa machine. There’s a max level indicator on the side, so just make sure you don’t go over that line.

  2. Next, you’ll need to grind your espresso beans. For any espresso machine, it’s best to use a fine grind size if you want great-tasting coffee. Be aware that an electric grinder capable of producing a fine grind size with even consistency may be cost-prohibitive if you’re on a tight budget. Check out my complete coffee grinder guide for more information and suggestions at various price ranges. A hand grinder may be your best bet.

  3. Once you’ve got your ground coffee in the portafilter, you can flip the switch to “On,” which will start preheating the espresso maker.

  4. It’ll take a few minutes before the “Ready” light blinks, but once it does, this is where the magic happens. Turn the dial to the coffee mug icon on the user interface and your shot should begin steaming out.

  5. Seeing as this is a manual espresso machine, you’ll need to keep an eye on your shot and turn the dial back to the off position once you’re satisfied.

For a double espresso shot, it takes around 25 seconds and single shots take even less time with this elegantly designed espresso machine. That’s all there is to it! Although espresso makers may get a bad rap for being difficult to operate (at least compared to drip coffee makers), the DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine is easy to use – even for newbie home baristas.

DeLonghi Stilosa Observations

Closeup of the DeLonghi portafilter dosed with coffee.
The DeLonghi Stilosa preparing espresso.

During the testing phase of my DeLonghi Stilosa review I used an espresso blend from one of my favorite independent roasters. I started out by using a fine grind size and dosing the double filter basket with 14 grams of coffee.

As I’d expected, the shot looked pretty good and even timed out at around 25 seconds. However, the taste was completely off. Instead of complex caramel sweetness, chocolate notes and a full body, my double shot was thin and unsatisfying.

Of course, the pressurized filter basket was to blame, and I didn’t hold out much hope for better results. Still, I persisted and used a substantially coarser grind size for my next shot. As it turns out, my shot was a little faster, but tasted way better. With that said, I wouldn’t consider this to be “true” espresso. It tasted more like something I’d make in a moka pot.

Ultimately, I’m convinced the DeLonghi Stilosa could produce much better results with a single-wall filter basket. If you’re willing to spend a little more on that and a good tamper, you’ll really be in business with this machine.

DeLonghi Stilosa Cleaning

DeLonghi EcoDecalk Descaling Solution.

Though the DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine has a milk frother, it’s still designed to be easy to clean and requires minimal upkeep. While it’s recommended that you descale the machine every few months, I also recommend giving it a light clean after every use. Doing so will prolong the life of your investment.

That means watching out for ground coffee residue from the portafilter, detaching the drip tray and two level cup holder to wipe up spills and cleaning the outside of your steam wand whenever you texture milk.

DeLonghi’s EcoDecalk is great at removing unwanted mineral buildup when it’s time to descale.

On top of that, don’t forget to empty out the water tank and let it fully dry several times a week. You certainly don’t want any unwanted bacteria to grow like some mad science experiment!

DeLonghi Stilosa Specifications

DeLonghi Stilosa
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

Model number

EC260BK

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Color options

Black

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

33.8 fl oz / 1.0 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.4 in / 11.2 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

No

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1100 W

Weight

9.5 lb / 4.3 kg

Dimensions

11.2 x 8.0 x 13.5 in
28.4 x 20.3 x 34.3 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Single and double espresso filters, Measuring spoon, Instruction manual & Quick Start Guide.

Current price on Amazon

$86.99

All specifications

DeLonghi Stilosa vs Other Espresso Machines

Of course, my DeLonghi Stilosa review wouldn’t be complete without comparing it to some of its biggest competitors on the market. So, let’s take a look at a few popular options people consider when shopping for a compact manual espresso machine.

DeLonghi Stilosa vs EC155

DeLonghi EC155 vs Stilosa.

At $264.00, the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine is one of the Stilosa’s biggest competitors, especially considering its excellent price point.

Both machines offer 15 bars of pressure to create a great cup, are compatible with ESE coffee pods and use the same water tank sizes. So, how are they different? The EC155 comes with a cup warmer and the Rapid Cappuccino System, so there’s no waiting in-between shots.

See Also: DeLonghi EC155 Review 2024

DeLonghi Stilosa vs ECP3420

DeLonghi ECP3420 vs Stilosa.

The DeLonghi ECP3420 Espresso Machine comes in at $178.00. Compared to the Stilosa, the ECP3420 has a larger water tank and uses the Rapid Cappuccino System. There aren’t a lot of technical differences between the two. Both machines offer consistent performance, take up minimal counter space and provide a great espresso experience.

See Also: DeLonghi ECP3420 Review 2024

DeLonghi Stilosa vs Gevi GECME403-U

Gevi GECME403-U vs DeLonghi Stilosa.

For $129.99, the Gevi Espresso 15 Bar Espresso Machine has a contemporary and refined exterior … So much so, that you might not expect such from an espresso machine and cappuccino maker at this price point.

Despite being more affordable than the Stilosa, it uses the same pressure and is just as capable of making authentic cappuccino and coffee.

It also comes with a few perks that we haven’t talked about in this DeLonghi Stilosa review – like a clear temperature panel and a double temperature control system.

Related: Gevi 20 Bar Espresso Machine Review 2024

DeLonghi Stilosa vs Others Comparison Chart

DeLonghi StilosaDeLonghi EC155DeLonghi ECP3420
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

Model number

EC260BK

EC155

ECP3420

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Plastic

Plastic

Color options

Black

Black

Black

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

54 mm

51 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

33.8 fl oz / 1.0 l

33.8 fl oz / 1.0 l

37.2 fl oz / 1.1 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.4 in / 11.2 cm

2.6 in / 6.6 cm

5.0 in / 12.7 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

No

No

No

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1100 W

1100 W

1100 W

Weight

9.5 lb / 4.3 kg

6.7 lb / 3.0 kg

9.0 lb / 4.1 kg

Dimensions

11.2 x 8.0 x 13.5 in
28.4 x 20.3 x 34.3 cm

15.0 x 19.3 x 12.2 in
38.1 x 49.0 x 31.0 cm

12.0 x 7.3 x 9.5 in
30.5 x 18.5 x 24.1 cm

Warranty

1 year

1 year

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Single and double espresso filters, Measuring spoon, Instruction manual & Quick Start Guide.

Included Accessories: Instruction manual, Integrated coffee tamper.

Included Accessories: Portafilter and baskets, Measuring scoop, Instruction booklet.

Current price on Amazon

$86.99

$264.00

$178.00

DeLonghi StilosaDeLonghi EC155DeLonghi ECP3420
Manufacturer

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

Model number

EC260BK

EC155

ECP3420

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Plastic with stainless steel parts

Plastic

Plastic

Color options

Black

Black

Black

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

54 mm

51 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

33.8 fl oz / 1.0 l

33.8 fl oz / 1.0 l

37.2 fl oz / 1.1 l

Number of boilers

1

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.4 in / 11.2 cm

2.6 in / 6.6 cm

5.0 in / 12.7 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

No

No

No

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1100 W

1100 W

1100 W

Weight

9.5 lb / 4.3 kg

6.7 lb / 3.0 kg

9.0 lb / 4.1 kg

Dimensions

11.2 x 8.0 x 13.5 in
28.4 x 20.3 x 34.3 cm

15.0 x 19.3 x 12.2 in
38.1 x 49.0 x 31.0 cm

12.0 x 7.3 x 9.5 in
30.5 x 18.5 x 24.1 cm

Warranty

1 year

1 year

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Tamper, Single and double espresso filters, Measuring spoon, Instruction manual & Quick Start Guide.

Included Accessories: Instruction manual, Integrated coffee tamper.

Included Accessories: Portafilter and baskets, Measuring scoop, Instruction booklet.

Current price on Amazon

$86.99

$264.00

$178.00

Verdict: DeLonghi Stilosa Review

Compact and Easy to Use

DeLonghi Stilosa

A Compact Beginner Machine

Affordable price tag

Compact design

Easy to use

Durable construction

Only comes with pressurized filter baskets

Learning curve for the steam wand

The Stilosa might not be able to measure up to some of the high-end espresso machines. But, if you’re someone who’s just getting into the espresso game, my DeLonghi Stilosa review has proven that this affordable small manual machine could be a great pick.

You’ll get optimal pressure, a manual milk frother, a hot water dispenser, cappuccino maker and an all-around authentic espresso experience for an extremely reasonable price. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with espresso preparation, a few upgrades could make this compact machine a real contender.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my DeLonghi Stilosa review. I’d love to hear what you think of this affordable mini espresso machine, so keep the comments coming!

DeLonghi Stilosa Review FAQ

You’re not limited to regular milk with the DeLonghi Stilosa. A plant-based milk, like oat milk, makes cappuccino perfectly well in your Stilosa.

Although you won’t be able to have full control over the brewing process, the Stilosa is certainly capable of making good espresso, especially if you’ve got a grinder on hand. In many ways, a good grinder is equal to, if not more important, than the espresso machine itself.

Yes, as long as you’ve got hot water on hand, it’s possible to make other espresso-based drinks, like the americano, in your Stilosa. Even hot chocolate and matcha lattes are easy to make in the Stilosa.

While the shorter cup height might make things a bit cramped, there’s still enough room to use taller glasses on this machine. To do this, you will need to temporarily remove the drip tray and two level cup holder. Doing so is a cinch, as DeLonghi designed the Stilosa to accommodate glasses for lattes.

This can depend on your water quality and how often you use your machine. While DeLonghi recommends descaling every two hundred cups, it’s more practical to descale every one or two months. If you’ve got hard water where you live, you’ll need to descale more often. However, those with soft water can sometimes get away with longer wait times in between descaling cycles. That said, using a water filter with your water will greatly minimize the frequency that descaling is necessary … not to mention, improve the taste of your drinks!

Your coffee expert
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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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