De'Longhi Dinamica Espresso Machine review
Buying café lattes and cold brews adds up quickly.
It's an easy expense to cut out -- if you have the machinery and know-how to make specialty drinks at home. But what about those of us without coffee brewing knowledge?
The De'Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine markets itself as a fully automatic espresso machine with one-touch settings for pulling espresso shots, brewing iced and drip-style coffee, and frothing milk. The idea is that anyone should be able to prepare café drinks (like lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffee) to their taste with minimal effort or skill.
We put the De'Longhi Dinamica to the test among users with different levels of coffee-preparation expertise to see if it's as versatile, easy-to-use, and effective as the brand claims. Here's what we found.
What does the De'Longhi Dinamica do?
De'Longhi emphasizes that the Dinamica's "TrueBrew" setting makes full-bodied iced coffee that never tastes watered down; and, the built-in grinder grinds the perfect amount of beans for each beverage, leaving no residual grounds in the brewer, meaning minimal waste and minimal maintenance. The attached milk wand, which can froth, steam, and produce hot water, is supposed to create foam on any type of milk, dairy or otherwise.
De'Longhi Dinamica cost
The De'Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine costs $899.95. Though it's a significant investment, it's much cheaper than the multi-thousand-dollar espresso machines at most cafés but it performs similar functions. Expect it to produce coffees, lattes, and cappuccinos that look and taste similar to what you'd get at Starbucks.
And if you're hoping to save money on expensive specialty drinks from coffee shops, the De'Longhi will pay for itself within a year if you're replacing a $5 café coffee every day (even more quickly if you're replacing more expensive drinks or multiple each day).
How to set up the De'Longhi Dinamica
The sleek, modern-looking appliance arrived fully constructed, so we didn't have to put anything together. It has a smaller footprint than your standard home espresso machine. It does take up a bit more space than a standard coffee brewer, but it performs more functions, so it can replace other gadgets.
Though the Dinamica comes with a "Quick Start Guide" that has simple photo instructions, we recommend using the full instruction manual. Expect to spend about 30 minutes reading the instructions to make sure you understand each of the indications on the front of the machine, which provide one-touch brewing settings, brew-strength options, milk wand controls, and maintenance lights.
We found that the initial investment of time was worth it, because after setup, the appliance was extremely easy and quick to use -- on par with the simplicity of a Nespresso or Keurig, but much more versatile. Before you start drinking coffee from the Dinamica, you do need to pull about four or five espresso shots to prime the machine (this is standard for espresso makers). After that, it's ready to go.
How does the De'Longhi Dinamica work?
To test, we asked people with minimal coffee brewing experience to test the Dinamica to gauge its user-friendliness, and we called on baristas to see what they thought of the overall coffee quality.
Heating water: De'Longhi says that the Dinamica heats water in less than 40 seconds, and we found this to be consistently true. In fact, it rarely took more than 10 seconds for the machine to be ready to brew coffee or steam milk, making its efficiency comparable to that of a pod brewer (though, of course, it's much more versatile with the ability to make lattes, espresso, and iced coffee). However, it did occasionally need a break when making multiple drinks in a row, but even this was limited.
Grinding beans: We loved that the Dinamica could grind beans, as this definitely makes drinks taste fresher -- but there's also the option to add pre-ground beans if that's what you have on hand.
The grinder is about as loud as your standard burr grinder, and it works quickly. Overall, this appliance is louder than a standard drip coffee maker (due to the grinder and the pressurized water for espresso), but it's quieter and faster than other espresso machines we've tested, making it convenient for household use.
The Dinamica's built-in grinder ground beans consistently and efficiently no matter how many drinks we prepared in a row. It was easy to clean with the included brush (but didn't need cleaning frequently) and the hopper holds a lot of beans, meaning we didn't have to refill it often.
One-touch functions: The touchscreen has buttons for a single espresso shot, double espresso, long espresso (basically an americano), iced coffee, steam, hot water, and brew strength. Each button has a simple, easy-to-interpret icon indicating its function, and our testers with minimal coffee knowledge were able to use the Dinamica easily.
Warnings also flash in red on the touchscreen above the buttons to let you know if the machine needs more water, more coffee beans, or anything isn't functioning correctly. The error messages were easy to interpret thanks to the instruction manual, which offered concise solutions, though we did wish some of the information was more detailed.
Making iced coffee: One of the biggest selling points of the Dinamica is that it can make iced coffee at the touch of a button that never tastes watered down. We found this to be consistently true. When you brew iced coffee, the machine prompts you to select a brew strength in the form of five light-up coffee beans (one for the weakest coffee, five for the strongest).
Even when we selected the one-bean brew strength option and made the coffee over regular ice (instead of preparing coffee ice cubes in the included tray), the coffee didn't taste weak or watered down.
Making espresso: This was the easiest and quickest espresso shot we'd ever pulled -- all you have to do is push the button for a single or double shot, and the machine does the rest. It couldn't be more user-friendly.
Foaming milk: De'Longhi claims that the Dinamica can froth any type of milk. We found that whole dairy milk and barista-specific oat milk performed best, but we were able to get foam on all types of milk we tested. However, don't expect to be able to pour latte art when using this machine; the short, fat steam wand creates a thicker foam that isn't ideal for pouring designs.
The machine didn't come with a steam pitcher, so we preferred steaming milk directly in the mug we planned to drink from, then pulling an espresso shot into the already-steamed milk, in order to maintain the ideal drinking temperature and cut down on cleanup.
Maintenance: The Dinamica was easier to clean than any other espresso machine we'd encountered. The removable parts at the base (for collecting spent coffee grounds and any excess water, milk, or coffee) can be run through the dishwasher or hand washed as needed. We cleaned out this part of the machine once a week, but you may need to clean it more frequently if you're making multiple drinks per day.
The steam wand should be wiped down after each use, and the grinder needs an occasional and quick cleaning with the included brush (the machine will let you know when this is needed).
Brewing the best possible coffee with a De'Longhi Dinamica
Though the biggest draw of the Dinamica is that it's easy to use even with no coffee brewing knowledge, we found that having a bit of basic know-how improved the taste. The baristas who tested the Dinamica gave these instructions for getting the best possible results from a De'Longhi Dinamica:
How to pull espresso: On the top of the appliance where you add coffee beans, there's a dial with numbers between one and seven that lets you set the coarseness of the grind, with one being the finest grind and seven being the coarsest. In general, you want to use a fine ground for espresso.
Try starting at a one. The shot should pull in about 30 seconds; if it takes a lot longer than this, or if the resulting espresso tastes bitter, try making the grind coarser. We recommend using espresso blend coffee beans since this is an espresso machine. Take note: It's not possible to remove beans after you've added them, so you'll need to use everything in the hopper before switching to another type of bean.
How to make iced coffee: Try out a coarser grind setting for iced coffee, starting with a seven and going finer as desired. The brew strength depends on your tastes, but if you'll be drinking it with a lot of milk or flavored syrup, you'll likely want to brew it stronger. We found that preparing special coffee ice cubes was unnecessary.
How to steam milk: The steam wand can create a nice foam if you know a simple technique. Add any type of milk to your mug (before making coffee). Push the wand to the left so it's diagonal. Put your mug under the wand, and when you turn on the steam, make sure it's mostly but not completely submerged.
You want to see a whirlpool type effect: The wand should be positioned at an angle that swirls the milk in a circle. Hold the mug where you can feel the temperature of the milk, and once it's around the temperature of your hand, submerge the wand fully in the milk. Continue to steam with a whirlpool motion until the mug feels hot.
Make sure to clean the wand after each use. Take a kitchen towel, clean the outside of the wand with warm water, and run steam until there's no milk residue.
The De'Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine is great for people who appreciate convenience but still want a nice cup of coffee in the morning or during their workday without overspending at a café. It makes a great upgrade from a pod brewer, as it's similarly easy to use but makes much better coffee and offers more options.
We recommend this machine for those who like their coffee with milk and flavored syrup and who have minimal coffee knowledge but still appreciate a nice cup.
Cameron Pitts is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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