The Delonghi Dedica is a popular entry-level espresso machine.
Its key selling points include a compact design, easy operation, and a low price point. We will take a deeper look at the Delonghi Dedica to help you see whether it is the right espresso machine for you.
Delonghi Dedica Review
The Delonghi Dedica is an elegant espresso machine that will grace any benchtop. The machine comes in a range of color options including black, white, red, or stainless steel to coordinate with most kitchens. Perhaps its most notable feature is the slim footprint. The Dedica measures a minuscule 13 x 5.9 x 12 inches, making it a great option for those short on counter space.
The compact footprint does come with some drawbacks, as would be expected. The Dedica has a small 1L water reservoir and a tiny drip tray. The drip tray needs to be emptied regularly, however, thankfully it has a float to indicate when this needs to happen. The drip tray has two levels allowing it to accommodate larger 5-inch mugs.
The Delonghi Dedica is what we would consider an appliance-level espresso machine. Appliance-level machines are designed to be user-friendly and come with a range of features and accessories. However, generally, they have more plastic in the construction and are not as repairable if something goes wrong.
Given this, the Dedica does have a lot of plastic in the construction and is rather lightweight. Users note that the machine can move around when locking in the portafilter. The Dedica comes with some basic accessories including a plastic tamp / coffee scoop (which we recommend upgrading), three pressurized filter baskets for single or double shots and ESE pods, and some cleaning supplies.
The Delonghi Dedica is a bare-bones machine, which is not as customizable as other machines. However, it is still capable of pulling some good espresso shots with decent crema. The Dedica has been designed with beginners in mind, making it simple to navigate. There are three buttons on the front of the machine to select either a single or double shot or the steam function.
The single and double shot buttons offer volumetric dosing, so will automatically stop once reaching the set dose. These buttons can also be adjusted to your desired shot volume, or you can use the default settings. In addition to adjusting the shot volume, the Dedica also allows you to set the coffee temperature between low, medium, or high and select the auto-off time from 9 minutes, 30 minutes, or 3 hours.
The Dedica has a thermoblock heating system, which has the machine ready to go within 40 seconds. While the thermoblock is quick to heat the water, it struggles to heat the machine itself. This can be seen in the inefficient cup warmer, and the fact that the Dedica runs at a low brew temperature. We recommend pulling an empty shot into a cup to warm up the portafilter and group head before brewing. The machine only has a single boiler, so you have to pull a shot and then steam the milk after. There is a short delay when switching from brewing to steaming.
The Dedica comes with three pressurized filter baskets to cater to single or double shots and ESE pods. Pressurized baskets are commonly found on beginner machines. With these baskets, pressure is created by a double-walled system rather than the coffee puck itself. There are several advantages to this. It allows you to use pre-ground coffee and still get a decent amount of crema. It also means that if you are just starting on your coffee journey you can get away with not having a coffee grinder. The downside is that the espresso quality is a lot lower than if you were using freshly ground beans.
The Dedica also caters to ESE pods. These are similar to a tea bag but filled with ground coffee. They are quick and easy to use and not as messy as ground beans.
Quality of Espresso
All-in-all the Dedica does the basics well and can produce a good espresso shot, with thick crema. While the espresso enthusiast will find the espresso lacks the complexity found with some other machines, the Dedica will be more than sufficient for the beginning brewer. As noted above, the machine does produce better shots if you preheat the machine by pulling an empty shot.
There is also the option of upgrading the pressurized filter baskets as you develop your skills. This easy hack will allow you to use freshly ground coffee, rather than pre-ground, which will significantly improve the espresso quality.
Unpressurized Filter Basket
The Delonghi Dedica comes with a frothing wand with a Panarello attachment. The frothing wand has an adjustable selection ring to select either cappuccino foam or hot milk. A Panarello attachment is a helpful addition for beginners. It incorporates air into the milk to easily create frothy milk. While it takes little skill to use one, the downside is that it creates fluffy milk which doesn’t have great texture.
There is a hack to get around this as you grow in your skills. Many users choose to remove the Panarello attachment and use the steam wand underneath. If you choose to do this, the steam wand will need to be held in place with a cable tie. But doing this will allow you to create better-textured milk. The steam power in the wand is not great, but passable. It just takes a little longer than some other machines to steam the milk.
The steam wand also doubles as a hot water dispenser if Americanos are your thing.
Cleaning the Dedica is one of the downsides of this machine. Unfortunately, it does not have a 3-way solenoid valve. This valve, found on many machines, turns off the pressure after extraction and dries out the coffee puck making it easy to knock out. Because the Delonghi Dedica lacks this, the portafilter tends to drip after brewing and will make a big mess if you pull it out straight after brewing. We recommend placing a cup under the portafilter and leaving it in place for several minutes after use. After this, the puck should be able to be knocked out easily. You will need to ensure you clean the group head well after each shot, as the other downside is that it does get very messy.
Asides from this, the Dedica requires the usual level of maintenance. The milk wand would be purged and wiped down after each use. The stainless steel casing also needs to be wiped regularly. Finally, the machine should be descaled regularly, to keep it running well.
Delonghi Dedica EC685 vs EC680
You may have noticed that there are two different models of the Delonghi Dedica; the EC685 and the EC680. There is not a great deal of difference between the two of them. The Delonghi EC680 is the more basic model. The EC685 is the upgraded model (aka the Delonghi Dedica Deluxe) and has a few extra perks.
The Delonghi Dedica Deluxe is available in additional color options, including several with a matte finish. It also has a double drip tray to accommodate taller mugs. The primary difference, however, is that the EC685 has an adjustable milk frother with settings for either hot milk or cappuccino foam. The price difference between the two models is minimal, especially if you get it on special. So we recommend opting for the Delonghi Dedica EC685 if you are buying new.
Who Is The Delonghi Dedica For?
The Delonghi Dedica would be a good fit for several types of people:
The Beginning Brewer
The Delonghi Dedica is built with the beginner in mind. It has been designed to be simple to use. The presence of pressurized filter baskets means you can use the machine out of the box even if you don’t have a coffee grinder. The Panarello steam wand requires little skill to create frothy cappuccino foam.
The Budget Brewer
The Delonghi Dedica is also well suited to someone on a tight budget. This machine is remarkably affordable and can often be found on sale. It doesn’t require investing in a good grinder or even a good tamper to be able to get good espresso from it.
Short on Bench Space
The compact design of the Dedica makes it a good choice for someone short on counter space. The Dedica’s slim footprint will slide into small gaps.
If you are a coffee connoisseur or want to become a hobbyist barista, we would suggest that the Dedica is not the best machine for you. We think it would be better to spend more and invest in a machine with better build quality, better shots, milk steaming, and a better experience all round.
Alternatives to the Delonghi Dedica
Breville Bambino Plus
The Breville Bambino Plus is another popular entry-level espresso machine. This machine is slightly more expensive than the Dedica but has some more modern technology incorporated, like a low-pressure pre-infusion and PID temperature control. The Bambino also has what is known as a Thermojet heating system which has the machine ready to brew within an incredible 3 seconds and allows you to switch between steaming and brewing with virtually no wait time.
However, the Bambino Plus’ standout feature is the steaming wand. It is equipped with a powerful steam wand that froths milk automatically, with no skill from the barista required. The user has the option to select from 3 temperatures and textures and the machine does the rest. If milk-based drinks are your jam the Bambino Plus is a better option for you.
Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro has long been an iconic espresso machine popular among hobbyist baristas. The Gaggia Classic doesn’t offer many of the automatic features of more appliance-based machines, instead, it is built like a tank and known to last for years. Asides from the exceptional build, the Gaggia Classic is fitted with commercial-grade parts like a 58mm portafilter and manual steam wand, capable of producing high-quality espresso. The Gaggia also is upgradeable with several mods available to improve workflow. If you are a hobbyist barista, wanting to learn the craft of espresso, the Gaggia Classic Pro is a great option.
Delonghi Dedica- The Verdict
The Delonghi Dedica is a stylish machine that is ideal for beginners. It is simple to operate and produces good espresso and frothy milk with ease. As you grow in skill, there are limited options for adapting the machine, however, you can buy some accessories to allow you to use freshly ground coffee and learn to use a manual steam wand. This machine is best suited for someone short on bench space, or a beginner wanting a basic cup of coffee.
If you are a coffee fan there are better quality machines available within this price range which will allow you to develop your barista skills more.