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August 10, 2018

DeLonghi Magnifica Bean To Cup Machine

by GFR2

Coffee, yes coffee and lots of it!

When we moved into the new house I spent the first couple of weeks laying flooring, installing blinds, light fittings etc and my wife bought me a surprise!

A DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 4200 Bean to cup coffee machine.

I’d bean (had to get a pun in somewhere) after a BtC machine for a long time, not that I didn’t like the Tassimo or the Nespresso but pod machines do have their pros and cons as do all devices, I love the Nespresso devices but the shots of coffee are short and trying to make a longer cup becomes more of an effort.

This is where a BtC machine comes in.

Whats in the box?

Well, the machine for a start, some instructions, Delonghi Coffee club information (more about this lower down) and a descaler. And several tons of protective polystyrene, which considering this was sent via Amazon is not a bad thing!

Setup.

Find some space on your kitchen counter, read the instructions twice, then add water and plug it in.

And now the hard part, picking your beans……

For the initial setup I opted for a bag of Tesco Finest coffee beans as they were on offer making them quite cheap, I knew I was going to be playing around so expected a few wasted cups!

The machine has various settings, including a water hardness setting (there is a test strip included for you to test and then set the machine), water temperature, eco mode timeout, cup volume, coffee strength and grind consistency.

I worked on the principal of lowest settings and working my way up – the only exception being the Eco timeout, this is on by default and will turn the machine off automatically, for mine this is after 10 minutes of inactivity.

The first cup of coffee was like dirty brown water……down the sink it went, the 2nd and 3rd were better but not great.

There are 2 settings to control strength, the grind setting in the hopper and the coffee strength on the control panel – there is a balance for this.

  1. The grind gets finer the lower the setting, so for me my setting is between 1 and 2. To note, this grinds the coffee finer, which will extend the time to make your coffee, but it does improve the smoothness and flavour no end.
  2. The strength setting increases as you turn the dial towards the larger coffee bean, I’ve found (depending on the bean I use) that 80-95% towards max is perfect.
  • There is also an option to use pre-ground coffee, you need to flick the dial to the relevant setting and add the coffee into the centre hopper, I’ve found this is a little messy and the coffee isn’t as strong as the bean option!
  • Use.
  • Self cleaning every time it turns on and off, this does mean you are emptying the drip tray often and refilling the water tank, but based on usage of the Nespresso and the Tassimo it’s actually less often.
  • The used grounds are then stored in a small removable tub and every so often the machine will tell you to empty it! Mine are kept, broken down and when dried they are used in the garden on the flowers.
  • The drip tray has a small red indicator that pops up when you need to empty the tray, if its full then you will need to be careful, there is a small hole towards the front and if you don’t keep the full drip tray level then it’ll pour out!
  • Steam – yep, you can make steam for cappuccinos and lattes etc, to be honest I’ve not used this feature yet as I’m enjoying the normal coffees too much at the moment. At the same time you steam you can also pre-warm your cups on the hot plate above the steam nozzle.
  • DeLonghi Coffee Club
  • As mentioned above there is a Delonghi coffee club, this is a club where you can get coffee, offers, news, etc – it’s worth registering, I was sent a selection of 3 bags of coffee beans with details of a coffee subscription offer via Union Roasted. A good selection of coffee, just a shame that I don’t quite drink enough to setup a subscription.
  • Verdict.
  • Simply put, an excellent machine that makes great coffee (of course this is partly down to the bean choice), simple to use, simple to maintain and looks good in the kitchen. If there was only one thing I could change would be to add a milk reservoir to make 1 button cappuccinos or flat whites, but thats just me. You won’t be disappointed if you buy one of these machines.
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