Once you start thinking about the very affordable espresso machines, you probably start doubting their quality. Well, there’s one entry-level espresso maker that could actually leave you speechless when you hear about the features that it has, and that’s the De’Longhi EC860.
This is an espresso machine that also offers programmable options. However, the downsides of this machine seem to be a deal-breaker for many, despite the many interesting features that it offers. Its small water tank and the soupy coffee grounds are enough for some people to say ‘no’ to this espresso machine.
- Semi-automatic machine
- Panarello steam wand
- Water tank with a capacity of 35 ounces
- Milk carafe for automatic frothing
- Programmable options
- Pressurized filter baskets for single shots, double shots, and pods
- Active cup warmer
An abundance of interesting features
Soupy coffee grounds
Small water tank
A Steam Wand and a Container for Automatic Frothing
The EC860 by De’Longhi has a steam wand for frothing milk. However, the machine also comes with a milk carafe for automatic frothing. This gives people who like doing latte art an option to do it, and it also makes the steaming of the coffee easier for people who just want to steam the milk in a faster and easier way.
To forth milk with the steam wand, run the wand to empty it from any excess water that you don’t want in your milk. You can do this by pressing the hot water button (it’s the button that has three water drops on it) once. Then, push this button once again to stop the flow of hot water, and once you’re ready for steaming, push the button twice. To turn off the steam just press the same button one time again.
The hot water feature of the machine is not there only for the cleaning of the steam wand. You can actually use this option to make yourself some hot tea or hot chocolate.
To froth your milk with the milk carafe that comes with the EC860, just remove the steam wand and place the carafe on the carafe spot on the machine. Then, put a milk container under the steam spout of the carafe and froth your milk by pushing the button at the top of the carafe in or out. This is how you choose to have cappuccino or latte foam made by the carafe.
The drip tray on the De’Longhi EC860 has a removable middle part. You can get this part out, turn it upside-down, and place it lower in the drip tray. This can help you put taller cups on the grid of the tray and make larger coffees.
Once it’s time to clean the tray, the floater inside of it will ‘notify’ you to empty it. You’ll see the floater come out through a hole on the drip grid and you’ll know that the tray has to be cleaned.
An Active Cup Warmer
Besides from the other cool features, the De’Longhi EC860 has an active cup warmer located on the top of the machine. To turn on the heating element that warms the top of the machine, you need to press the cup warmer button at the top right-hand corner of the machine. By warming up your cups before you get the coffee in them, you’re improving the taste of your favorite coffee drink.
Making of the Coffee
On the control panel of the De’Longhi EC860, you can see the buttons for a single and double espresso shot, and you can also spot two buttons for cappuccino or latte macchiato. To get the drink you want, just put some ground coffee in the portafilter, lock it into the machine, and press on one of these buttons. The lights next to the two buttons for the milk-based drinks light up once you attach the automatic milk carafe to the EC860.
The coffee made by the EC860 tastes pretty nice and it has a nice consistency. Furthermore, the milk foam has a nice flavor, and the automatic milk carafe does great to customize it for cappuccinos and lattes.
All the coffee drinks on this machine are programmable, and you can program the volume of the coffee and milk in them. The machine also lets you program the temperature of the brewing water and that of the hot water too. Furthermore, you can also program the EC860 to automatically turn off, which is a great way to save energy.
The De’Longhi EC860 has some downsides that some people dislike.
This espresso machine doesn’t have a three-way solenoid valve to get the water out of the coffee grounds. Therefore, the coffee grounds made by the EC860 will be sort of wet. This is, in fact, a common downside to the entry-level coffee machines. However, the grounds are easy to dispose of.
If you live in a big family, you’ll probably find the 35-ounce water tank too small for the needs of your household. Of course, you can refill the machine more often, but that will just make you put in extra effort to get your cup of coffee. However, every espresso machine has its target audience, and if your family is not that big or if you don’t mind refilling the tank more often, you will probably enjoy using this machine.
FAQ About the De’Longhi EC860
1. Is there a tamper that comes with the De’Longhi EC860
Yes, there is a plastic scoop/tamper that comes with this espresso machine.
2. Will I have to program the amount of coffee every time I use the machine?
No, just program it once and the machine will ‘remember’ it.
3. Why do the lights on the machine start blinking when the machine turns on?
This is usually because your automatic milk carafe or water tank are not well-put in the machine, but it can also be because there’s not enough water inside the tank.
4. Are the De’Longhi EC860 and EC680 the same machine?
No, these are two different espresso machines. You can read more about the EC680 in our De’Longhi EC680M review.
What Are Some Alternatives to the De’Longhi EC860?
A great alternative to the De’longhi EC860 is the Mr. Coffee One-Touch Coffee House. This espresso machine is very simple to use, has programmable settings for the coffee and froth volume, and it can be preprogrammed.
You can also check our list of best espresso machines under $300 to find the EspressoWorks All-In-One Barista Bundle and the Mr. Coffee Café Barista, both of which come with an automatic milk carafe. These two machines are also good alternatives to the EC860.
If you’re looking for an affordable and programmable espresso machine that has many interesting features, the De’Longhi EC860 might be the perfect coffee maker for you. This machine performs well and it makes nice coffee drinks. However, the Mr. Coffee One-Touch Coffee House could also meet your needs in case the EC860 doesn’t.