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I love coffee, maybe a little bit too much, and around a year ago, as I sensed the swirling, ever growing clouds of additiction closing in around me, I made a decision; if I was to destroy myself, I would never again suffer a sub -par brew ever again, whilst doing so!
Before this point, I had drank a cup or two of instant every day at work, and the occasional mug at home, but my real joy was in bi, or tri-weekly trips to my local coffee shop, where they serve Monmouth coffee. I had noticed that instant coffee made me scatty and irritable, where-as coffee from the shop provided me with unmatched lucidity and energy. So, I picked up a cafetiere for work. This solved half of the problem. The coffee was considerably better, but still not coffee shop gold.
That was the point at which I purchased the De'Longhi EC330S Espresso Maker. The best coffee shop coffee's are not drip made, or created in a French press, but formed by adding hot (but not boiling) water, milk, cream, syrup (whatever you will) to shots of espresso, and this was what I wanted to do at home. Because I am as compulsive as the next man (who has serious compulsion problems) I did about a month of research, and eventually settled on this appliance. I liked the fact that it was primarily for using with your own espresso ground coffee, provided 15 bar's of pressure, and cosmetically bored a strong relation to those machines you might find at your local caffeine emporium.
I'm glad I did. This machine has the capacity to produce excellent coffee. Yes, there is somewhat of an art to it - i.e, you need to pack and tamp your own grains, but the instructions provided are clear, and provided you follow them, although you may not be a skilled barrista from day one, you will be producing great results.
Cosmetically, it's not quite as beautiful as I might have hoped. The drip tray, front surround, and clamps are all metal, but an awful lot of it is plastic. In fairness, this probably helps with temperature control, and is certainly to be expected at this price point - I paid around £85 for mine, and they are still available at this price if you search around (on Amazon at the time of writing).
It is also quite noisy. I personally don't have a problem with that, but it is a shame in some respects. If you hold the machine with your hand, particularly if you hold the plastic lid on the water jug, a huge amount of this noise stops. It strikes me that a brief redesign and a 10p piece of rubber could have solved this problem, and made the machine unassailable in its price bracket, and it disappoints me to know that it will never be quite what it could have been... unless, I decide to tinker with it!
Warming up, and cleaning, takes a few minutes on either side of each coffee making session, and is probably not necessary in its entirety every time (I've already said I'm compulsive!). I like it. It's part of the joy to me, and makes making a coffee seem ritualistic. Others might find it annoying. It probably only takes slightly longer than briskly and roughly cleaning a cafetiere, and the whole process takes about the same time if you include the time a cafetiere takes to brew.
Finally, I've owned the De'longhi for about a year now, and have encountered no problems whatsoever. It seems exceptionally reliable to me, and I have no problem recommending it.
Espresso & Cappuccino Machine / DeLonghi EC330S Espresso Maker / DeLonghi EC330S Espresso Maker The Stainless Steel EC300S Pump Driven Espresso machine offers quality at an affordable price / With 15 Bar pressure you are sure to get the best tasting espresso and/or cappuccino with no limit to the number of cups produced / Short name: DeLonghi EC330S