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I first purchased a Delonghi machine after out company began to stock them and we provided demonstrations for customers instore.
I've only ever had either a caffetiere or an espresso pot so this was really a revelation into the world of making coffee.
This Italian style espresso machine is rather sleek and shiny looking to merge quite well I think into most kitchens, this was a draw for me because I didn't want a big chucnky machine sitting in the kitchen making it look ugly[ superficial I know!] and its also quite compact so you don't need to make a lot of room for the machine.
During training for this machine by Delonghi we were informed that nothing less than a 15 bar is essential for the pressure to be exact on the coffee to get a quality flavour and a good crema but I find the fresher the coffee the better the crema not the bar.
It is very straightforward to set up which is ideal if your bleary eyes in the morning and don't want to go to A&E first thing in the morning. The best thing I would say about this machine [but not so good on energy saving] is that once you set it up and leave it on, it is self-warming all day. Its really good for the coffee when you extract the coffee into warm mugs.
This comes with a stainless steel boiler which is much more value for your money becaase it means your boiling system will last longer, but don't make the mistake that it means you cannot descale often [3-6 months recommend - use Miltons its ideal and cheaper]
Another bonus and value for money which encouraged me to buy this that this machine takes not only fresh ground coffee, but espresso pods which I was torn about buying because I wanted the best of both world. [I know greedy!]
But one the other hand this is great for when friends come round and want POD because of the latest ruddy craze!
The cappuccino system is very effective but alongside other machines seems longer to steam the milk [ also the fresher the milk the better the foam].
One scary thing some customers came back saying they found a 'green' plastic part inside the steam arm, but not in the instructions, so they didn't know what it was. Mould, my love ,mould, please remove the steam arm and separate the parts to clean every time you use milk!
This did exactly as it said it would and I only wanted to start off with something basic to build my confidence and understanding of what to look for in coffee machines. However, the only downside is that the machine, despite being light, feels cheapish and a little bit plastic like.
It lasted about three years, and during this time, we did need to replace various parts of the machine for the pump mainly and the lever for the coffee jammed a couple of times.
A good machine to maybe start off with?
Reading other reviews of this coffee machine opinion appeared to be mixed and at first I was dubious as to whether this was a worthwhile investment. It seemed to be agreed that any drink from an espresso machine would be far better than drinking instant coffee no matter what machine you used but whether this was the best choice seemed to be debated.
One thing seemed clear, in the coffee machine market you get what you pay for. The cheaper machines produce less pressure creating a poorer final taste as the water trickles through the coffee beans rather than being pushed through. The expensive machines appeared to have the more selective coffee drinkers drooling over the resulting drinks.
After much research I decided to bite the bullet on this model as the most expensive mid-range consumer machine available and I haven't looked back.
Having never experienced other coffee machines it's hard to say how this compares but I am extremely happy with my purchase all the same.
The machine is easy to use, easy to maintain, uses either illy pod coffee's (the tea bags of the coffee world) or loose ground beans and includes a milk frother.
I'm yet to make a bad coffee from this machine and have found that almost all pre-ground beans for espresso machines generate a good tasting coffee with the much sought after crema on top and freshly ground beans improve the taste even more so.
How tight the coffee is packed into the machine does have an effect on the drink produced and it took a few tries to find the level I most enjoyed. The milk frother also took a little getting used to but I soon found it works best with the milk at room temperature and have had no problems yet.
It can be a little long winded just to make one drink but as the perfect wake up call on a lazy weekend when time is not in short supply, as an evening pick me up after a long working day or when with guests and wanting to provide something a little different to just instant coffee this has never let me down.
I short, I'm sure there are plenty of more expensive and better quality machines available but this machine appears to be a good first purchase if you are just starting out experimenting with coffee making. It's fairly straight forward to use and produces reliable results. I beats drinking instant coffee any day.
Short name: DeLonghi EC710