Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155 Review

Today we want to talk about the Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155, which is called the Arte model because it comes with a nice steam wand. It’s an actual single-tip steam wand without a Panarello. So with that being the case, you can do latte art with this machine.

In this article, we’re going to talk about five things. First of all, everything that this machine has. Then we’re going to talk about the features; then we’re going to justify the price. Why would you buy this over the Dedica, for example, with all the extra accessories you must buy? Fourth, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons, and finally, we’ll do a test on the machine.

What Included for Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155

So let’s talk about what this machine all comes with. As you might know, this is a combined model. It is an espresso machine with a grinder, similar to the Breville or Sage Barista Pro. Also, it comes with the mentioned very nice steam wand. Next, it comes with a beautiful portafilter that is really heavy and robust, made out of stainless steel, with a dual spout output.

We’ve finally got single-wall baskets and double, so now we can make crema through the resistance of the coffee in the puck. Then DeLonghi included a nice sturdy tamper as well, and they included a sturdy milk pitcher with the marking DeLonghi on it, and then we got a couple more things.

You will also get a funnel as well as a portafilter holder. So all you have to do is screw that onto your portafilter. Put them into the grinding area, press the button, and you’ve got hands-free and mess-free grinding. So that is very good to save on the mess. In addition, they include a tamping mat, and you can use the tamping mat to lay out all the accessories.

The funnel is also a leveling guide, so you can put your tamper there and stay level according to the funnel. These are the accessories that the machine comes with, and I’m delighted by the funnel. In addition, if you want to raise your espresso glass, it comes with a little holder that sinks in place.

It also has a little lid to open, close, and put in a few accessories. That’s where I keep the tamping mat and the pin to clean out my spout.

Features of Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155

So let’s talk about features. What can this machine do? Well, it’s got the integrated grinder, as mentioned. It has different water doses for espresso, Americano, and hot water. It’s got a nice steaming arm, so it’s really to make an excellent morning espresso, a lovely morning cappuccino or latte, as well as an Americano or tea if you like. It’s got a water spout coming down right, which is very convenient for your morning Americano.

In addition, it’s got a large water tank, two-liter water tank. What’s nice is that Delonghi includes a sensor, so you know when your water is getting low. So that’s it for the features.

Is Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155 Worth it?

Now let’s talk about justification. This machine costs around $699, and if you buy Dedica, it will be around $200, give or take. Then you’re going to need a grinder, of course. So a Sage Dose Control Pro, which is right around $150. So now you’re up to $350, and then you need a bunch of accessories.

It would be best if you had some single-walled baskets. You’re going to need a proper tamper. You’re going to need a milk pitcher for making cappuccinos. You may want to get a tamping mat. Indeed, you’re going to want to install a proper steaming wand.

It’s also nice to have a funnel for making less mess. With all those things considered, an entire DeLonghi Dedica configuration might cost up to $450, give or take. So Arte EC9155 still costs a bit more, but it also offers more. So you’ve got the nice steam wand that you don’t have to do any modifications.

It’s already got a grinder that can grind fine enough for espresso. It already comes with lovely single-wall baskets. You can open the box and get started, which is this machine’s advantage. In addition, it takes up less space on the countertop, and because of the funnel system in the integrated grinder, it’s less messy. So for some people, that’s important. I appreciate less messy machines, so it is a better option.

Pros of Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of this machine. So what I like most is the quick startup time, just like Dedica. Arte EC9155 starts up very quickly, thanks to the thermal block. This machine’s second really good point is that it’s a dual heating system. So it has one thermoblock for the espresso extraction and a second for the steaming. Can I do an espresso extraction and steam at the same?

No, I’m afraid not because there’s only one pump. The advantage is since you have two dedicated heaters, you don’t have to cool down the boiler each time after steaming to go back to espresso. So that makes for a quicker workflow. So I do like that. I appreciate the heavier portafilter and nice baskets that it comes with.

I like that it’s a proper tamper, although it could be better. The power on the steam wand is not out of this world. It’s not like the Bambino Plus, for example, but it’s good enough, and I’ve gotten excellent texture from this machine, and I’ve been able to pour latte art just as well as with others.

I also appreciate the manometer, as you can see how much pressure you’re working with, so you can adjust your grind accordingly. I do like that the water tank has got a sensor. As I mentioned before, I like the filter for keeping things clean and for tamping nice and straight.

What’s cool about this machine is that it has everything you need to start. You don’t have to buy any extra accessories. Finally, aesthetically, this is a subjective opinion. For me, EC9155 is a handsome machine. In fact, I think of the three they offer right now; they also have Theo and Maestro, which are dual boiler machines, and they cost about twice the price of this one. This is the nicest looking of all three.

Cons of Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155

First of all, you’ll notice there are only eight grind settings. So I’m usually like between two and four. I’m on four with really fresh beans, and I’m on one as the beans are not as fresh, so I prefer to have more grinding settings.

Another thing that I want on this machine is that there’s no lever for the steam valve. I like the haptic feedback about knowing I can turn it on and off at will instead of using a button. Another con, unfortunately, of this machine is it’s made of plastic. Every part on this machine, at least on the machine’s casing, is plastic except for the metal drip tray, and the portafilter and steam arm are made of stainless steel. However, the housing is made of plastic, meaning you can’t put anything magnetic on it.

I would have preferred metal, which would’ve just given it a much nicer touch. One last unfortunate thing is with the grinder, as you can’t remove it. It’s not removable, so that’s too bad for putting beans in there if you want to get them back out. You really can’t, so you have to purge by continuously grinding, and if you’re going to take your grinder apart to clean, I don’t see how you will be able to do that.

Another thing that could be better is that this machine came with a three-way solenoid valve to release the pressure from the puck after the extraction, and it doesn’t. So you can’t make back-to-back espressos with this machine just like you can’t do it with a Dedica. You do have to wait about a minute in between the espresso extraction. Because otherwise, there’s so much pressure still on the brew group that you’ll get at portafilters, and it will make a mess.

One last point to harp on is that it’s a nice tamper, but I wish it fit perfectly inside the basket. There is a bit of play, and when I tamp, I like to ensure there’s no espresso on the ridges. I recommend buying this machine to get a tamper to fit the basket perfectly.

Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155 Versus Breville Barista Express

The Barista Express has long been the preferred semi-automatic built-in grinder espresso machine in the market. La Specialista Arte promises similar quality in a package that includes automated tamping and milk steaming.


If you look at the form factor of these two machines, thereby is no coincidence they are very similar. They both feature rear-mounted removable water reservoirs, a top-mounted bean hopper, a cup warmer, analog pressure gauges, and dedicated hot water outlets for Americanos and tea. They both have a single group, steam wand, and grinding cradle.

The La Specialista Arte needs to include the same tool storage compartment Breville has behind all its machines’ drip trays. In terms of size, the last specialist is an inch larger in each dimension, but neither should be an issue. But the most crowded of countertops looks are always subjective and while very different.

Both are good-looking machines. The La Specialista Arte takes on a more retro look that would fit nicely with a trendy brick clad, whereas Breville keeps things cleaner and modern.

Build Quality

Previously being a longtime barista express owner, I noticed a notable decrease in build quality when unpacking the La Specialista Arte. It is built with more rigid, brittle, cheap-feeling plastic on parts you will often use, such as the port filter handle, the bean hopper, and the tamper, and even the way the filter basket snaps, it doesn’t feel right.

Even after running over ten flushes, the water from the machine still had that plastic odor even though the manual says I should be good after one flush of each outlet. In comparison, the Barista Express feels like a much better put-together machine.


That’s enough about the physical differences. Let’s talk about the coffee-making experience. I prefer the coffee-making workflow on the La Specialista Arte. I like how the grinding is self-contained and starts once you lock in the portafilter.

The automated tamping system on the La Specialista Arte is another feature I genuinely enjoy. This is an excellent approach to ensure that new users of a starter machine will receive a level and consistent tamp. The Barista Express has a simple manual tamper and a clever magnetic holder adjacent to the grinder, making it more conventional.

Compared to machines from other brands, La Specialista Arte’s user interface should have been more straightforward. Some numerous dials and buttons are marked with ambiguous symbols and words.

Both machines have roughly the same spout clearance, but the DeLonghi has a flip-down rack for shot glasses. Although it looks beautiful, it cluttered the overall design and made the brewing, steaming, and hot water very confined and difficult to use.

In the end, I would have preferred if they had omitted this function because you can pull a shot into a shot glass that is lower down just fine. If you frequently drink Americanos, you’ll appreciate the automated modes that do so. You will need to put the cup and start the water manually on the Barista Express, but it will stop automatically when the volume is correct.

The stuff that matters, and indeed where the most significant differences between these two machines become apparent, is the quality of the coffee they’re able to produce. The biggest issue I take with the entire La Specialista Arte system is that it claims to make professional-inspired cafe-quality espresso.

It is not the case as the La Specialista Arte system only comes with a 51-millimeter pressurized filter basket, which helps espresso build pressure and creates crema by forcing all the water through a tiny hole like you see on the lower end of super-automatic machines. With these spouts, the left is a shot pulled on an unpressurized true espresso portafilter.

Genuinely you can make excellent espresso with the Barista Express. Compared to other shots, the La Specialista Arte shots lack the substance and beautifully smooth crema that makes espresso so pleasurable to drink.

The fact that DeLonghi went to such measures to make this machine look polished is what bothers me. To produce that flow of espresso, they installed channeling in the portafilter to reduce the high-pressure stream before it escaped and covered the pressured ports with metal spouts.

Pressurized portafilters eliminate the need for dialing in with non-pressurized filters, making getting a good dose of espresso simpler. In a pinch, they, too, let you use pre-ground coffee, but they don’t make pressured machines or market and charge for them as professional.

The Barista Express offers both filters with its equipment because it understands that some consumers are ready to sacrifice overall quality in exchange for time savings. People may also want to recreate a real cafe experience at home.

The La Specialista Arte offers one key distinction and one key benefit over the Barista Express regarding steaming performance. You must wait until after the espresso has finished brewing before steaming your milk. Compared to the Barista Express, the La Specialista Arte transitions to steaming pressure much more quickly.

The La Specialista Arte steams more quickly, reaching a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius in 50 seconds instead of 75 seconds for the Barista Express after the dual heating is set on. From a workflow standpoint, this gives La Specialista Arte a speed advantage for lattes and cappuccinos.

The type of steam used in these two engines is the other distinction. You only have one whole steam wand while using the Barista Express. You must inject air by holding the tip above the milk’s surface to create latte or cappuccino foam. You have a Panarello-style wand on the La Specialista Arte, so you don’t have to control the entry of air actively.

Using this valve, you can control how much air enters the system. Once there is enough air, you may shut the valve off and keep heating until the required temperature is reached. Because a manual wand like the Breville provides more precise control over the heat and texture, some people prefer it.

Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155 Or Breville Barista Express?

In the end, the Breville Barista Express easily prevailed over the La Specialista Arte due to three crucial issues with that machine:

  • The build quality
  • The quality of the espresso.
  • The amount you’re supposed to pay given those other two shortcomings above.

Given the capabilities of this system, that is sad. It has all the necessary capabilities to be a serious rival to other budget-friendly pressurized machines. Still, because of its price, it competes with far more capable options, such as the Breville Barista Express. La Specialista Arte should be priced at roughly half the current price considering its features and capabilities.

So I recommend going for it if you can locate a Black Friday deal and are all right using a solely pressured espresso machine. However, suppose you’re looking for a machine in the $700 price range that will provide a high-quality espresso and latte experience at home with a built-in grinder. In that case, I suggest the Breville Barista Express over Delonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155.