Delonghi Dedica EC685 Home Espresso Machine Review & Test

Before we go for an in-depth review, let’s ask ourselves, why is this one of the world’s most popular home espresso machines? The answer has to do with reaching a large audience. This machine is excellent for beginners, and with a few modifications, it is also perfect for people who want to get a little bit more out of an economical machine.

I want to do this review in two parts. The first part will look at this machine’s stock form, features, and capabilities. Then in part two, we will look at a few easy modifications and see how we can get the highest value out of this economic espresso machine.

What’s Included for Delonghi Dedica Home Espresso Machine

In the box, you’ve got this very handsome-looking espresso machine. It comes in white, red, black, and silver colors. The model I have is the EC685. By the way, this is the second model in the Dedica series. The first model was the EC680, and in between, there’s also the EC785.

The EC785 is the same as the EC685 but comes in different colors, beige, pink, and gray. EC785 also comes with a proper tamper, while EC685 comes with a plastic tamper. I suggest you replace this thing with a proper one, but it works well for the baskets the machine came with.

So the machine comes with three baskets, and they are pressurized. So that means the pressure is not created through the coffee puck itself and the tamping; instead, it is caused more by pushing coffee through a double-walled system.

The coffee goes through the holes and gets pushed through one hole from the bottom. That feature has advantages for beginners coffee makers. So when you’re first using this machine, you’re probably not going to buy a grinder to go along with it, which is an extra expense. And so you can go to your store, get some pre-ground espresso and put that in there, tamp it down a little bit, and put it in the machine.

You will get a shot with crema, so that is the advantage for a beginner having these pressurized baskets; plus, it’s a money saver and will get you started in self-coffee making. So this machine also comes with two additional single baskets and another for pods.

Let’s talk more about the machine itself. Delonghi Dedica is very thin, only six inches wide. It’s not very tall either, so it’s easy to handle. It has got a one-liter removable water tank. So that is very convenient for filling it up. On the side is the power button, and then you got a steam switch and three buttons.

The first two buttons are programmable. The machine has got a little flow meter inside so it knows how much water is flowing through the system. Suppose you hold down the button for as long as you want; as long as you see the liquid come, the machine will remember that, and it will provide that amount next time.

So you got a single cup for a shorter espresso or coffee, and then you got a double button that you can program for longer if you want. Then, you have the steam button to turn the machine from coffee mode to steam mode. Then you’ve got a steam wand at the side, and it’s got the Panarello on, and this is also something good for beginners.

Because all you have to do is stick this into the milk, and it will inject air automatically. So if you have this thing up, it’s going to make hot milk, and if you pull it down, it will inject more air into the milk to turn it creamy for latte art. Something else to mention is that the machine has a removable drip tray, so with this removable drip, you can fit a larger cup underneath there, which is very convenient.

It also has a little float to tell you when you are overflowing with water, and it’s a pretty minuscule drip tray. But considering this machine does not have a three-way solenoid valve to turn off the pressure after the extraction, I usually just put a little cup underneath to catch the liquid coming out and dump that cup later.

The machine warms up in 30 seconds, so it is operational within that time. However, I recommend running it a couple of times. First, let an empty shot come through. Just warm up the whole brew system and the portafilter, and then pull your shot.

It also has a heated cup tray, but it doesn’t get very hot and does not make much difference. The heater is located at the down part, so the heat does not travel up to the top. Let’s go ahead and make an espresso and steam some milk with the stock form of this machine.

Standard Mode Performance

For the performance test, I’ve got the pressurized basket in there, my scale tore out, and we’re going to put 14 grams of the pre-ground Lavazza espresso. It is best to smooth the ground coffee out a little, and we will use the included tamper. Then, put that in the machine, and start the extraction process.

The process is straightforward, and no grinder is necessary, not even a proper tamper, and you get an espresso with crema. Anybody can do it, which is the advantage of using the pressurized system. How is the taste? It’s good, considering the little work we put into it.

It’s a relatively well-rounded espresso, even if the resistance does not make the crema, instead created from the puck itself. Let’s try and steam some milk, so we fill up our canister to about the bottom of the spout and put our machine into steam mode. First, let out the extra condensation, and then we can start steaming,

You should steam the milk until it gets too hot to the touch, and don’t forget to give it a little swirl. We can use the two-pitcher method and transfer from one pitcher to the next to get it nice and incorporated. So the result is alright for the pressure system with the Panarello steam wand.

Advanced Mode Performance

Next, we will move on and make a shot and steam some milk with Delonghi Dedica’s advanced barista mode with some modifications. So let me tell you a trick to make much better creamy milk with this machine. First, take the Panarello off, get a cable tie, and just put that on at the top of the steam wand.

Zip it tight, and that way, you’ll be able to have much more control over the steam going into your drink. To do that, I always recommend putting a cable tie on because once you’ve removed the Panarello, the nozzle flies off, but with a cable tie, it does not. Second, use a bottomless portafilter with a conventional single-wall basket.

First, we want to use fresh and good coffee beans for our espresso. It is best if they were roasted about five or six weeks ago. That is fresh enough, and we’re going to do the same thing as before, tear out our scale and add 14 grams of espresso.

Next, use a hand grinder right, which is a good, more economical alternative to a grinder with a motor. So we can fill that up with 14 grams, and the little grinder will provide a nice, consistent, and fine enough to make for an excellent espresso. Then, transfer that nice 14-gram dose loaded into the bottomless portafilter. Since this is fresh coffee, I expect a nice extraction.

So you can tell it is way different as the crema is still settling and all we did was take some fresh beans, a hand grinder, and a good single-walled basket. With all that, this machine can provide an excellent, professionally extracted espresso. How is the taste? Much better and all-rounded compared to the espresso from standard mode.

We went through the process of creating the coffee puck so that there was enough resistance to extract crema from the beans instead of artificially. This is the advanced method of using this machine, and that’s what I like so much about it and what makes Delonghi Dedica very popular.

You can use it in its standard form, or you can even be a beginner and still get good results from Delonghi Dedica. Or you can make some simple modifications and get an excellent espresso from it using an advanced method. I’m using the hot temperature setting on the machine and see if we can steam some perfect milk with this steam wand hack.

We will do the same thing as before and fill up until the bottom of the pitcher spout. It is pretty much the same as before, except now we are responsible for positioning the steam wand tip to get a vortex going. You want to introduce some air initially and then sync the tip while the milk rolls. We used the same two-pitcher technique as in the standard mode previously.

The result is that with the advanced technique, you can also make a delicious espresso and very nice milk for making latte art. That is the advanced method, and Delonghi Dedica can indeed create a beautiful coffee. Let me know if you have any questions about using the basic or the advanced modes in the discussion section below.

My Verdict on Delonghi Dedica Home Espresso Machine

With such a popularized Delonghi Dedica, it gives you some liberties. Many aftermarket parts are available for this machine, and I recommend getting yourself a bottomless portafilter. I made one by cutting the bottom off and using a single-walled conventional basket.

That way, I’m responsible for getting the right grinder to get fresh beans and providing the resistance necessary to get a nice extraction that will up your espresso game if you use a single-walled basket.

A bottomless porter filter is very convenient because you can see how the espresso shot is coming. Is it channeling? Is it running too fast, or does it look good? If you don’t like sawing one off yourself, you can buy a bottomless one. There are many on the market.

You can find these on Amazon, and there are many different models. Mine is from Normcore, but you can also buy other models. The main product you can enhance this machine with is a single bottomless porter filter espresso basket and a proper tamper.

I also got a handsome tamper on Amazon, and I like using that one. It fits the basket perfectly, and I’ve also got a funnel for dosing when using a grinder.

There is a con to mention about this machine. The one thing that I hear a lot of people complain about is a lack of a three-way solenoid valve. So you have to wait about a minute after the extraction before opening up the portafilter; otherwise, you’ll make a big mess. But for me, that’s not a disadvantage. It’s an advantage because that is the reason that we get such clean pucks coming out of that machine.

I hope you like this deep dive review into the Delonghi Dedica Home Espresso Machine, and please check on my other reviews. Until next time, happy coffee drinking and happy espresso drinking.