DeLonghi Dedica EC680 Review…The Good, Bad, and Ugly!

Are you tired of paying upwards of $5 or $6 per day for a cup of espresso at your local Starbucks?

Maybe you have done some searching for your own home espresso machine and are weary of all the home espresso makers that cost so much…

…Or, possibly you have seen all the dials and controls on some of these fancy machines and have been put off because most of them look way too complicated to learn how to use.

Another issue that frequently comes up with home espresso machines is how large they are, as it relates to the need for massive counter top space, which many people simply don’t have.

Whatever your reason, there is a home espresso machine that has been very popular with lots of different people for many years and has received very high ratings due to its many features, including its sleek design/ultra-slim compact size (less than 6 inches wide), its very appealing and durable stainless-steel construction, and its ease of use after a short learning curve, just to name a few of the favorable features this machine presents with. That machine is the DeLonghi Dedica EC680.

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For your quick reference, here is a brief summary of some of the favorite features by people who have used this machine.

DeLonghi Dedica...The Good

FeaturesComments
Compact Size5.9 inches (width) x 13 inches (depth) x 12 inches (height). This machine is one of the most compact machines available in today's marketplace, allowing for room in many smaller kitchens that don't have room for one of the many larger espresso machines.
Milk Frothing CapabilityYes...The Dedica has a steamer wand attached to the machine for steaming milk.
Types of Coffee UsedGround coffee or premade pods. This machine doesn't grind whole coffee beans, so a separate grinder is needed if you will want to grind your own beans.
Bar-Pump PressureThe Dedica has a bar-pump pressure of 15.
Types of Beverages That Can Be MadeThe Dedica can be used to make Americanos, cappuccinos, iced coffee, espresso shots, flat whites, Irish coffee, lattes, macchiatos, mochas, lungos, ristrettos, and many other specialized beverages. If you have a recipe for the specific espresso/coffee beverage you want to make, it can be done with the DeLonghi Dedica.
Water Heat-Up TimeVery quick...after adding water and starting the brewing process, water heat-up time is approximately just 40 seconds.
Number of Shots at a TimeBrews 1 or 2 single shots at a time...your choice.
Ease of UseDoes require somewhat of a learning curve, although not huge...Once you have learned the few necessary basics, this machine is very easy to use. There are not a ton of programmable options that you will need to learn, just the basics of the operation of this machine.
# of Espresso Shots1 or 2 Shots At A Time...Up to 2 single espresso shots at a time can be brewed.
Automatic Shut-OffAuto. shut-off after 9 minutes of no use. This feature was developed as both a safety feature and a power-saving feature.
PriceMid-range price when compared to other home espresso machines. The Dedica is much less expensive than the majority of other home espresso machines, although there are many others that can be obtained for less than what the Dedica costs. For the quality that comes with the Dedica, the price is well worth it.
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DeLonghi Dedica...The Not So Good

FeaturesComments
Semi-AutomaticSemi-automatic. There is no coffee bean grinder in this machine. A separate grinder is needed if espresso will be brewed with freshly ground coffee beans.
Low-Quality TamperThe tamper included with this machine is made of plastic. If a metal tamper is preferred, it will need to be purchased separately. Tamper size needed is 51 mm.
Noise LevelSomewhat more noisy than other machines while in operation. If you prefer a machine that doesn't make a lot of noise, this machine might not be the best for you.
Milk Steaming Jug/PitcherNot included. For milk-based espresso beverages, a milk frothing pitcher will need to be purchased sepaarately.
Coffee Bean GrinderNo bean grinder is included. If you prefer freshly ground beans at the time of brewing, a separate grinder will need to be obtained.
Cup HeightCup height clearance (the space between the counter top and below the nozzle where the coffee is dispensed from the machine) is only approximately 4.5 inches. Taller mugs such as travel mugs will require the espresso to be dispensed into a shorter cup and transferred to the taller mug.
Water ReservoirIf the water tank/reservoir is not "seated" (placed) properly prior to brewing, the Dedica will leak water. This machine doesn't leak when the reservoir is seated correctly.

Introducing the DeLonghi Dedica home espresso machine.

The DeLonghi Dedica is a home espresso machine that fits many different situations for a lot of different people…Key factors that make it one of the most long-lasting favorites in the home espresso maker community include the ease of use for people who have little to no experience making espresso at home after just a short learning curve, its incredibly compact design that requires very little counter top space, and its affordable price when compared to most other home espresso makers.

In helping you to figure out if the Dedica is perhaps not the best choice espresso machine for you, based on your coffee preferences or basic lifestyle, here are some other key points to consider prior to making a decision.

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To make a completely informed decision, you should take into consideration each individual aspect of this machine prior to purchase. Different things are important, or unimportant to different people, and things that will be great for one person may not be so great for another.

Semi-Automatic…REALLY?!?

Although this machine is placed by the manufacturer (DeLonghi) into the semi-automatic espresso machine classification rather than automatic or super-automatic, it truly does work pretty much like an automatic for brewing up wonderfully tasty and aromatic espresso beverages!

If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to review additional information here, you can also quickly get a bunch of additional information by visiting Amazon.

Very Affordable

If you have been looking around and comparing prices, and then letting loose some heavy gasps and/or groans when you have seen the prices of most of the machines available, you will be relieved to learn that the DeLonghi Dedica is, by far, one of the most affordable home espresso makers you will be able to find.

Incredibly Small Size Fits on Virtually Any Countertop

If you are one of the many people who has put off buying a home espresso machine because of the large size of most of them out there, consider the DeLonghi Dedica. Measuring in at just 15.8 inches deep x 15.8 inches wide x 15.0 inches tall, it basically fits on any countertop, as well as under standard above-counter cupboards.

Easy to Use

The DeLonghi Dedica EC680 is an excellent machine to consider if you are looking for a beginner machine and have never made espresso before, but want to learn how to make traditional espresso beverages in the comfort of your own home.

This machine does brew excellent espresso while at the same time requiring the home barista to not have to know about the different variations required of more advanced machines, such as the grind of the coffee, optimum temperature, and other variations that need to be addressed with more complicated machines.

The DeLonghi Dedica EC680 is probably the very best choice for you if you have not made espresso before and want a great intro. to making espresso at home.

There will be somewhat of a learning curve for a beginner, but much less of a learning process than most of the other machines out there.

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Read This Only If You Are An Experienced Home Barista…

If you are already a seasoned espresso brewer who knows the basics, or more, about making espresso, we would definitely recommend against this machine as a top consideration for you unless you are looking for a simpler machine than you have used before, that will give you a quick, easy brew when you want one.

Although the Dedica does make great espresso, if you have some experience messing with things such as machine settings and different grinds of coffee, you will probably want a machine that has more options available for variations in setting these types of things unless, of course, you are wanting to switch to a less complicated machine. The Dedica brews basic, although delicious espresso while at the same time minimizing the need to know a lot about different settings involved with advanced espresso making.

Some Clean-Up After Use Is Needed

You will need to be prepared for some clean-up after brewing. If you want something more super-auto and self-contained, which will prevent the need for as much clean-up, then consider a machine other than the Dedica. Clean-up with the Dedica will involve wiping up any spilled grounds and water. Most machines are going to require at least some clean-up.

Cup Warmer Works, Although Not Instantaneously

Although the Dedica does boast a cup warmer on the top of the machine that does actually warm cups, I did notice when I used this machine that there is a wait time before warming of cups begins. The boiler must first become heated, as the boiler is the part of the machine that warms the cups; therefore,  cup warming is not instantaneous.

Be Warned…Milk Frothing Does Take Some Practice!

As with virtually any espresso machine, whether it be commercial or for home use, some practice by the user is needed to correctly froth milk to that glorious creamy texture that espresso aficionados expect. For specifics regarding the correct technique for frothing milk, here is a great resource.

You May Want to Consider Some Separate Accessories

The Dedica does come complete with all needed components (other than the coffee) to brew espresso, and although it does have the capability to use pre-made coffee “pods,” it is highly recommended that you consider purchasing a good burr grinder, and possibly even a puck remover (used to remove the “puck” of grounds from the portafilter after brewing) if you are considering using ground coffee rather than pods.

Additionally, although there is a very low-quality plastic “tamper” included on the end of the coffee grounds measuring spoon that comes with the machine, although you would be best to consider investing in a more high quality tamper. (A tamper “tamps” [compresses] the grounds in the machine just prior to brewing.) A good-quality tamper is very important in brewing espresso.

We also want to bring up one other accessory you might want to consider if you are considering this machine…a separate frother. Although many people who have used the frothing wand on this machine have been completely happy with it, there are others who felt the wand was not long enough to sufficiently foam milk.

Brews One or Two Shots At a Time

This machine gives you the choice of brewing either one or two shots of espresso at a time, the choice is yours, whether you want both shots for yourself, or you actually want to share! So, if you have an espresso “buddy” you like to drink espresso with, rest assured that both cups will be served to each of you at the same temperature.

Quick Heat-Up Time

If it’s quick heating time you want in an espresso machine, this DeLonghi has a very quick heat-up time of 40 seconds because of the thermoblock technology it uses for heating the water.

Thermoblock technology replaces the need to heat up the entire “boiler” (container) of water, and instead draws the water out of the container into a coil, where the water is heated. Heating the water in a thin coil allows for much faster heating times.

Other Things You Should Know About

Single Brew Amount

The machine only holds enough grounds for a 2-ounce shot. If you are someone who wants to brew more than 2 ounces, you will need to do your first brew, refill the portafilter (coffee ground holder), and run a second brew to add to the first.

Noise Level

The DeLonghi Dedica is, like most home espresso machines, somewhat noisy, so if it is your plan to arise and start brewing in the early morning hours, particularly on weekends or other days off when others are still snoozing, then do be aware that there is some noise involved during the operation of this machine.

Power Cord Specifics

The power cord on this machine is 3 feet long. This should be sufficient for most people, although if you are needing a longer cord to reach your power source, just be aware that the one on this machine is only 3 feet and you would need to utilize an extension cord or possibly a power strip.

Additionally, unlike most kitchen appliances, the plug at the end of the cord for this machine is a 2-prong rather than a 3-prong cord. If you prefer a machine that has a plug with 3 prongs, this may not be the machine for you.

Descaling (Cleaning) Time

One thing you will need to be able to “deal with” when it comes to this machine is the very slow process when you are cleaning the interior parts of it.

Descaling is performed by running a cleaning (descaling) product through the inside of the EC680, which takes an estimated 10 to 15 minutes. You then need to run another couple of rounds after the cleaning with plain water, to make sure you remove all of the descaling product.

Automatic Sleep Mode

For safety, the Dedica EC680 has an automatic sleep mode that programs the machine to shut off after 9 minutes of operation. Someone wanting to make many beverages in a row may find this cumbersome, as the button to bring the machine out of “sleep” will need to be pushed every 9 minutes.

However, the sleep mode time can be adjusted, and instructions are provided with the included manual.

We would like to add, however, that if you plan on brewing many cups of espresso at a time, you would probably be best served by choosing a higher capacity machine than the DeLonghi Dedica.

The Need to “Seat” the Water Tank Correctly

The Dedica EC680 has had problems with people getting it ready to brew and it then making the appropriate noises that sound like it is brewing, with nothing coming out. Another associated problem is the appearance that the machine leaks when the brewing process is started.

Both of these problems are related to the user not “seating” the water container correctly into the machine. This problem is solved by simply making sure all points of contact are correctly seated and well-sealed. Normally, pressing down firmly on the water tank does the trick.

See the DeLonghi Dedica in Action…

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My Conclusion…

In summary, the DeLonghi Dedica is an excellent choice for someone who wants to make espresso at home affordably, as well as those who are beginners wanting to dip their toes into the world of espresso making, but don’t want to be required to have knowledge about getting the perfect grind, the optimum water temperature, and other settings that need to be learned with more advanced machines.

Although it will require a small learning curve and there will be some required clean-up after brewing, it is, all in all, a great machine for a beginning home barista to consider.

This machine will, with some practice, allow you to draw consistently good shots every time you use it, and its fast heat-up time of 40 seconds means you won’t be waiting around for long.

However, if you are already an espresso aficionado who knows the basics, and beyond, of making espresso, whether it be at a business or in your home, you likely have already developed specific tastes and preferences that you want to be able to accomplish. Because there are not a lot of available options for changing settings on this machine, you likely will want to consider a more advanced machine that will allow you to program your preferences.

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