This is a review for the DeLonghi EC702 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine, which is one of the most popular semi-automatic espresso machines on the market. So I thought i’d take a look at it and compare it to some of the other semi-auto machines i’ve already looked at such as the Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine. Now the comparison is not really a fair one since the Gaggia is twice the price, but it’s the nearest priced semi-auto espresso machine that I also happen to know inside out because I own one. The main differences are seldom espresso quality between machines, but more quality of parts and functionality.
Yes you can easily make quality espresso with the DeLonghi EC702 espresso maker, it all hinders on the expertise of the person making the drink, as well as quality of your beans. So if you’re new to making espressos then I also suggest you read my how to make perfect espresso at home guide.
What is the DeLonghi EC702 15 Bar Pump Espresso Maker and how does it work?
The DeLonghi EC702 is a semi-automatic espresso machine, designed in Italy and manufactured in Italy which ensures its quality. It is one of DeLonghi’s most popular machines and possibly the most popular semi-auto espresso machine in this price range. It is an entry level machine, for those who are just getting interested in being home baristas, however many aficionados also swear by the DeLonghi EC702.
It works by placing espresso grounds into the portafilter and fixing it into the group head. One touch of the button will send water by means of the 15 bars of pressure (the optimum amount for espresso) through the filter and into your cup. The DeLonghi also accepts pods as well for those who fancy a change or have not progressed to grinding their own beans yet.
There are a few more things to it of course and I shall go into each of the machines features below:
DeLonghi EC702 Portafilter
The portafilter is of a good and sturdy design, it is also a nice heavy weight. It has a dual function filter holder, which basically means that there is an attachment that you place in the filter so that it can accommodate pods. When you remove the attachment then you can use grounds. Nice and easy!
You get a tamper with the machine, which is located on the underside of the front panel in a fixed position. Yes it works but my preference has always been to have a proper tamper that you can hold in your hand and apply the proper 30 pounds of pressure. So that is what I have been using, a proper tamper. I have read however that several people have detached the fixed tamper and have used that which is a very good idea.
DeLonghi EC702 Cappuccino Frother
Now the DeLonghi EC702 espresso maker uses a dual boiler system. This is always an advantage on semi-auto espresso machines because it means that you don’t have to wait for the boiler to reheat between frothing your milk and brewing the espresso. Trust me on this one, there are many espresso machines out there, even ones that cost hundreds of dollars extra that don’t have this feature. With the EC702, you’ll be able to froth your milk and brew your espresso simultaneously.
There have been a few reviewers on Amazon that have actually marked this machine down because apparently you can only froth for cappuccino and not for lattes. Well hello…guess what, lattes don’t use froth. Lattes are simply made with hot milk. To make a latte you simply aim your frother or steamer in this instance nearer the bottom of your milk jug so you’re not frothing anything. For cappuccino then raise it higher so you get bubbles.
Some people have also marked the machine down because there is not much clearance between the steamer nozzle and the surface. Yes this is true, and if you have an especially large milk jug then this may cause a problem for you. The solution is to use a smaller milk jug, or situate your DeLonghi EC702 so the steamer side is off the edge of your counter.
The frother or steamer works perfectly well, i’ve never had any problems with it that could not easily be solved.
DeLonghi EC702 Cup Warmer
This is a great feature to have and is something that yet again even the best Italian espresso machines don’t always have. As you can see in the picture above, the top of the machine doubles up as a cup warmer. All you do is place your espresso cups upside down on top of the machine. Why is it important to have warm cups? Because the amount of liquid generated for espresso is so small, that when it hits the cold cup, it can have a dramatic effect on temperature immediately which also impairs flavor. Now, it takes around 15 minutes for the cups to reach a nice warm temperature, but this is also the amount of time you should leave the machine after turning on to allow for the boiler to heat up sufficiently. The top of the machine just so happens to be a nice decorative place to store your cups too. I really can not fault this feature, it really works.
Cleaning The DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Maker
You must clean the machine frequently, you get a bottle of descaler with it. If you use filtered water to make your espressos which is something I always recommend then not only will your espressos taste better but the machine will not pick up limescale as fast either.
After every use of the frother you should fire some hot water through it to clean the tubes. Cleaning the surface is simple and just requires a mop down. It has a drip tray which is easily removed for emptying and cleaning. Every now and then you may want to take a hand held vacuum to work on the group head to clean out any rogue grounds or you could use a brush to brush them out also.
When you’re using the machine for the first time, it’s always recommended that you send hot water through it a few times to wash away the plastic taste. Be warned also about your first few espressos as they are not going to taste great, so i’d just throw them away.
That really is all the main points about the DoLonghi EC702 15 Bar Pump Espresso Maker! The build is mainly of plastic which various people have complained about on Amazon. They say that because it is made from mainly plastic that the build is inferior. Well don’t forget that this is an entry level machine, probably the best entry level machine there is in fact and if it was made from all steel parts then they’d be complaining that the machine cost too much money. In practice, the only down side to the machine being made from plastic is that it is quite light. This means you need to use two hands to secure the portafilter into the group head, not a real problem.
What Others Are Saying About The DeLonghi EC702?
The machine has received an average of 3.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon by people that have actually bought the machine. As mentioned above, many people have either unfairly or even stupidly marked the machine down due to their own incompetence. There have also been many people who have rated the machine 1 or 2 stars due to late deliveries or parts arriving faulty. Again, I don’t feel this is actually to the detriment of the Delonghi EC702. Here are some of the positive comments to date:
- Brews excellent espresso with abundant crema, dual thermostats for brewing and steaming, two different sizes of filter holders, one of them allows you to use E.S.E. pods, good frothing, cup warmer, attractive look all at a good price.
- It DOES produce a FABULOUS Espresso shot, Cappuccino, Latte’s, it tastes MUCH better than Starbucks to me and it only took me two attempts to get my technique down to where it’s NOT a problem.
- So far, this has been a terrific espresso maker. The best of 3 or 4 I’ve had over many years. Very well designed.
- I’ve had this machine for over a year, and use it every day. Yes, you do have to take it apart once a year or so to clean it really well, but the maintenance is worth it because the machine is a workhorse.
- I bought it for my son and have one ourselves, great machine, just make sure you buy good coffee and grind it for espresso and not for a drip machine. By the way, the machine is MADE IN ITALY, not in China.
Where Can You Purchase The DeLonghi EC702 15 Bar Pump Espresso Maker?
The answer is many places. You can get it from WholeLatteLove for $199.95. However this is the place i’ve found to be consistently the cheapest! You can also take advantage of used and refurbished machines to bring your price down lower still, not to mention free shipping. I hope you enjoy your espressos!
Why not see our reviews for the other DeLonghi espresso machines!