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Whether you’re a hardcore coffee connoisseur who wants to play the role of barista in your apartment or a sleep-deprived student who can’t afford to pay for several café-bought lattes a day, consider investing in a De’Longhi espresso machine.
While these machines come in a range of styles and prices, you’ll find there are some impressive manual machines on offer for a relatively low cost.
These manual espresso units are simple to use. Once you’ve mastered the art of producing a flavorful espresso shot, you can create authentic Italian coffee for friends and family every day.
1. Types of Delonghi Espresso Machines
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There are three main types of De’Longhi Espresso Machines, so it’s useful to be aware of the models’ similarities and differences before deciding which machine is best for you.
Automatic Espresso Machine
This type of machine is the most expensive option on the market, requiring the least amount of manual interference. All you have to do is pop your favorite mug underneath the nozzle, touch a button on the control screen, and this super-automated coffee unit does everything else for you.
If you’re a fan of consistently fresh and aromatic coffee, opt for a unit with an integrated tubeless grinder system. These machines automatically modify the grinding process to suit the size of coffee you’ve chosen.
All-in-One Coffee Machine
These models are less expensive than the automatic espresso units, and they come with an innovative Dual Heating System so you can brew drip coffee and make an espresso shot at the same time. If you’re a fan of high-quality black coffee but like an Italian-style cappuccino or latte from time to time, invest in one of these machines.
The best all-in-one models have a 15-bar high-pressure pump system and require you to take the same espresso-making steps as you would with the manual machine.
Manual Espresso Machine
From grinding your beans to tampering your coffee and securing the portafilter into the machine, you have far more control over the coffee-making process if you invest in a manual model. These units can range massively in price, but you can find an effective, pump-driven manual model for an affordable figure.
The automatic model is simple to understand and use, but the manual units take a bit more time to learn. Here’s how to use a De’Longhi espresso machine to produce high-quality, authentic coffee.
2. How to Use a Manual Delonghi Espresso Machine to Produce an Italian-Style Coffee
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When you set up your machine, make sure you’re keeping it on a dry and flat surface to avoid corroding or damaging the unit’s metal casing. You’ll need to fill up the water reservoir at the back or side of the machine before you can produce any coffee.
Grind Your Beans
More expensive manual models contain bean grinding systems. Just pour your beans into the integrated grinder, and it will break them down to a consistent texture. However, if you don’t have a machine with this built-in technology, you can purchase a separate bean grinding unit. Crush the beans until you’re satisfied with their consistency.
You don’t need to grind your own beans, although this process will produce the most flavorful coffee. If you’d rather use store-bought ground coffee, that’s fine, too. Just make sure you store this coffee on your kitchen counter in an airtight container to keep it as fresh as possible.
Preheat Your Machine
While you’re grinding your beans, turn the machine on to preheat. You can then warm your coffee mug or glass up by placing them on top of the unit. Brewing an espresso shot into a cold cup can diminish and flatten that shot’s flavors, so you want to heat your mug beforehand.
Most manual espresso machines take between 10 and 20 minutes to reach optimal internal temperature. If you rush into brewing a coffee without waiting long enough for the model to heat up, the milk nozzle won’t produce any steam.
Fill Up and Secure the Portafilter
Once you’ve crushed the beans and preheated the machine, add the freshly ground coffee to your portafilter. If the filter is attached to the machine, twist it 90° to the left and pull it down and out of the group head.
Decide which cup to place in the portafilter. If you want an extra-caffeinated drink or are making 2 single-shot coffees, opt for the double-shot mold. If you want to produce a well-balanced latte or mocha, use the single-shot cup. Fit the cup into the portafilter, then fill it to the lip with ground coffee. Use a tamper tool to compact and level out the coffee.
Fix the portafilter back into the machine by sliding it into the group head’s left-hand side, making sure it’s level, and twisting it back around 90° to the right. You should feel or hear a click as it locks securely into place.
Produce the Espresso Shot
Place your warm cup under the portafilter’s faucet and press the brewing button on the front of the machine. If you’re brewing a single shot, turn off the brewing function once there’s 1 fl. oz. of coffee in your mug. This should take between 20 and 30 seconds. For a double shot, aim for 2 fl. oz. of flavorful coffee.
Frothing and Heating milk to Produce Italian-Style Coffees
Most manual espresso machines also have an integrated milk frothing system that allows you to create your own Italian-style coffee. Here’s a rundown of how to use a De’Longhi espresso machine to produce the right milk for your hot drink.
Fill up a heat-resistant pitcher with milk, then turn on the steaming nozzle to eliminate any excess condensation buildup inside the wand. Once you’ve done this, submerge the frother spigot in the milk, turn on the steam function, and froth or heat the liquid until you’re satisfied that it’s at the right temperature for your coffee.
If you want to create foamy milk for a latte, keep the crown of the nozzle just underneath the liquid’s surface to create bubbles and froth. If you want to make a cappuccino, push the nozzle further down into the milk and keep it to the side of the pitcher, creating smaller bubbles and a creamier taste.
De’Longhi espresso machines are some of the most well-designed coffee-making units on the market. You can choose between a super-automatic model that does all the work for you, or you can opt for a manual espresso machine with an integrated frothing system, a portafilter, and a group head.
Once you’ve learned how to make Italian-style coffee with your manual unit, you can enjoy cost-effective and delicious hot drinks in the comfort of your own home.