Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Espresso Maker - CSN Review

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Well, I received my lovely DeLonghi espresso maker from CSN stores in record time…no joke.  I got it in two days!!  Thanks for the lightening fast delivery CSN! 

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Alas, the poor thing sat in a box for a few days because I had a hard time finding all the gear one needs to produce a proper latte at home.  Uh oh.

First things first, let me explain all the bells and whistles that made me chose this particular model. 

The DeLonghi Espresso (EC155) machine features:

  • Unique dual-function filter holder can use ground coffee or pods
  • Swivel jet frother
  • Built in tamper
  • 2 different sized stainless filters for ground coffee or pods 
  • 35 oz. removable tank, can be removed to easy filling at the sink
  • Easy to clean removable drip tray
  • Stainless steel boiler and adjustable steam emission
  • Separate thermostats for water and steam
  • Self-priming function minimizes start-up time
  • Powerful 15 bar pump pressure 
  • Coffee measuring spoon

Getting Down To Business – The making of a latte

I needed to buy a few things to begin my barista career…Um, I mean hobby.  This particular machine did not include anything for the espresso to brew into, ie. cup, pot.  Some machines do include a carafe of some sort, but that didn’t matter to me. 

However, finding something that would fit  under the espresso drip a little challenge.  Luckily, a real barista at a very popular coffee chain took pity on my at home espresso aspirations and gave me two of these babies…FO’ FREE! 

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SCORE!

Next up, the actual coffee.  I chose Cafe Bustelo for a few simple reasons.  One, I had used it before with a stove top espresso maker.  It’s the choice of many-a-abuela in Miami.  Two, its actually one of the cheaper brands out there.

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As I mentioned before, I’m a vanilla latte lover.  So, I also bought some Torani vanilla syrup at Bed, Bath and Beyond of all places. 

I was actually there to get the last item on my latte making list.  The milk frothing pitcher.

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Ok…we’re set right?  Here goes nothing…

The first night, I decided to just go for it and make my favorite espresso drink, the beloved vanilla latte.

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Although I’m new to using these machines, the DeLonghi machine directions were fairly easy to follow and I made my first shot of espresso without much trouble.  After making the espresso, I used the frothing wand to get the milk ready.  Again, fairly simple.  The only problems I encountered were the expected ones which I’ll address in a minute.

The next night, I felt much more comfortable using the machine.  The entire process went much faster and WAY neater. 

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And the resulting drink tasted a little better too.  YUM!  I’m in love with this new toy!!!

Tonight, I made an iced vanilla latte, which is even easier than the hot version.  You can use the milk right out of the fridge for this guy.

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PERFECTION and my favorite attempt so far.  Really REALLY yummy…and I’m completely wired!  Ha!

Yes, I have green straws. 

The Nitty Gritty - Overall Thoughts

So far, so good.  After a few nights of playing around with my new DeLonghi Espresso machine, I am VERY happy I chose this particular model. 

Pros:

  • Easy to use, even for a newbie at home barista wanna-be
  • Easy clean up, everything comes apart so there isn’t any little nooks or crannies for gunk to hide out
  • Removable water tank – easy to fill and clean
  • Great features at this price point
  • Great flavor
  • Nice looking model

I read several reviews on home espresso machines before deciding on the DeLonghi.  Although I did read some negative reviews, the issues were ones I could live with for my purposes.

So far, I agree with some of the negatives I read before buying this unit which are:

  • frothing wand – difficult to get deep into milk
  • tamper – kind of difficult to use because of its location, might need to buy a separate one

Again, these two issues are not that big of a deal to me.  One reviewer said to place the machine on a countertop shelf to help with the frothing wand issue.  So far, my frothing pot works well with this unit.

Will Starbucks Recruit Me?

Probably not, but I know I’ll most likely be making less stops there in the future.

I watched a few youtube videos (don’t laugh) on milk frothing and latte making, which helped.  Obviously there is a TON to learn when it comes to making the perfect espresso drink.  I’m sure I’m not getting the milk completely right.

All and all, I’m pretty satisfied with the results that I got with the DeLonghi machine after just a few attempts.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to make their own coffee bar drinks at home. 

I’m off to try to come down off my iced latte buzz…nighty night.

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1 comment:

  1. Looks wonderful, I am a big coffee drinker myself...only use the keurig though for now.

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