Product Type: DeLonghi coffee machines
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Great Coffee with Little Effort
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3200S
Member Name: PaulinSussex
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3200S
Advantages: Easy to use, low maintenance, great coffee
Disadvantages: Cost, Coffee could do with being a bit hotter
How does it work?
The way the Delonghi works is very simple you can either use pre ground coffee or coffee beans. The latter is preferable if you enjoy coffee as the beans stay in better condition and you ground at the point you are ready for a brew. The Delonghi hopper can take around 200g of coffee beans which for us lasts about 10 days. If you buy a 250g pack then reseal the excess and place them in the fridge, apparently coffee beans should be used within 2 weeks or 1 month if they are in the original packaging and stored in a fridge. If you decide to go the ground coffee route then you'll need to press one of the buttons on the front of the machine which bypasses the grinding mechanism used for beans.
Add Some Water
Okay so the hopper is loaded where's my coffee? Patients! As well as coffee you need water which you can pour into a 1litre reservoir to the side of the machine. The machine will let you know when it is out of water (unfortunately it only does this when it has run-out not when you it is about to run-out and you've started making a cup). So we have coffee and water, just place one or two cups / mugs under the nozzles. Now turn the machine on. After about a minute hot water will come out of the nozzles and into your cup or mug. The indicator lights above the single or double mugs will have been flashing whilst the machine wamrs up and exples the intial bust of cold then hot water. Place the cup(s) (I'm going to use cup to describe cup or mug from now on) on top of the coffee machine on the silver plate. The silver plate is heated and sits about the internal water boiler. By doing this you will warm you cups so that your fresh brew doesn't go instantly cold because the cups are bone cold. Whilst you are waiting tip some milk into a metal jug or any other receptacle you have to hand.
The machine is very simple to use and only has a few knobs on the front. These knobs determine the amount of coffee (think espresso cup to mug size) and the strength of the coffee weak to strong (varies the amount of coffee ground). So make your choice. At this point the coffee cups should at leats be warm (the longer you can leave them to warm up the better). Now throw away the water that was dispensed when the machine was turned on. Place the cup(s) back under the nozzles and if necessary move the nozzle assemebly up and down so that it is close to the top of the cup. Now if you have one cup press the button underneth the 1 cup symbol and if you want two cups press the button under the two cup symbol, did I mention it was simple to use!
A watched kettle never boils is the saying and if you are standing next to the machine waiting for your brew it can seem to take forever. But realistically you'll have your brew after about minute. If you want more in your cup you can press the one / two cup button within 3 seconds of the machine stopping and it will add more coffee until you release the button. Next you'll probably want to froth some coffee, so put the cups back on top of the machine on the heater plate so the cups and coffee stay warm. Now that's done, you press one final button which is for the steamer. The steamer is a pull out extension, make sure you pull it out by the plastic attachments rather than the metal piping at the top, why well lets just say you'll only do this once! (it's very hot). When the steamer is up to temperature and ready the ligh above the button stays on and stops flashing.
Steaming the Milk
The Delonghi is semi-automatic you have to froth / steam the milk yourself, you can get fully automatic machines but these are even more expensive. To be honest frothing the job isn't a big chore although it is an art and I don't often get it just right. So instead of a frothy latte it is more like hot milk. To start the process you just turn one large dial anti-clockwise and the steam comes out and into the milk, gently move the jug down so the steam causes that typical frothing sound, i.e the end of the steamer is just in the milk and you have a nice turbulant layer of milk which is expanding up the jug. Once you are happy or you can't wait any longer pour the milk into the coffee.
The End Result
Another saying is rubbish in, rubbish out and this is true with coffee. The Delonghi can't make cheap or gone off coffee beans taste wonderful. However, if you buy quality beans, look after them and use fresh water the Delonghi will make a gorgeous cup of coffee with very little hassle. As I said before we've had coffee machines before and after a few uses they have stayed in the corner gathering dust. It is not the case with ourDelonghi Magnifica we use the coffee machine everyday, or at the weekend a number of times a day.
Cleaning & Maintenance
From the description this may sound like a complicated machine that needs lots of cleaning and looking after, but this is simply not the case. The drip tray needs emptying once a week as does the spent coffee hopper. If you forget or make more coffee than normal a light will come on to tell you the spent coffee hopper is full, at this point you must empty the hopper as the machine won't make anymore coffee until it is emptied. The coffee comes into the hopper in attractive compact discs that shouldn't be thrown away but added to your compost bin. A quick rinse of the drip tray and hopper and the machine is ready to go.
Every month to two months the machine will need a more throrough clean, you will know when it is time as another light will come on (you can still make coffee). The machine has a cleaning sequence which ensures coffee doesn't build up in the machine and that the tubes and boiler don't scale up. You need special coffee machine cleaner; it is mildly acidic (possibly citirc or acetic) and can be bought online or from speciality shops. The cleaner is either in powder or liquid form but either way is added to the the water reservoir. You also need to clean the internals of the machine with a fork to move dried coffee then vaccum out and wipe round with a cloth. The main diffuser unit needs to be taken out and cleaned, it isn't difficult or time consuming and is well explained in the instructoion manual. Once you've cleaned and dried the internal bits reassemble. Now you need to press the flashing cleaning button for 5 seconds and the cleaning programme will commence. Place a 1litre jug under the milk frother (also needs cleaning at the same time as everything else as dried milk builds up over time) turn the dial as if you were frothing milk. You can now leave the machine whilst it goes through a sequence of drawing the cleaning solution through the machine and into the jug. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.Once complete empty the cleaning fluid from the jug and clean out the water reservoir, fill the reservoir with clean water and put the 1litre jug back under the steam outlet. The fresh water will now rinse out the machine, once complete the cleaning light goes out and you are ready for coffee again.
After Sales Support
Once additional point to note is the after sales care provided by Delonghi. After about 18 months to two years of use our coffee machine broke, the piston seems to have got stuck and slipped off its gearing. I wasn't very optomistic of any help but called Delonghi. I was asked for the machine serial number and the problem. I gave both and to my surprise they said it was still in warranty and if I could package it up safely they would send a courier to collect it. After 10 days the machine was returned fully operational and again by courier with a time convenient to us. To me this was very good customer care, I was very happy and impressed. Ultimately when this machine finally succumbs I'll definitely be considering another model by Delonghi
In case you hadn't already realised it I love the Delonghi Magnifica. The taste of fresh brewed coffee every morning is wonderful. The aroma is also very pleasant. Everyone that visits always wants a "proper" coffee. As I said we've tried coffee machines before but this is so easy to use and maintain we use it every single day. Highly recommend this machine
N.B originally written by me (Sussex_Paul) on Ciao
Summary: Highly recommend the Delonghi Magnifica.
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