If you dream of becoming your home's barista without breaking the bank, I totally understand. That's how I stumbled upon the DeLonghi Stilosa.
At first glance, it felt like this could be the one—a stylish little machine without the crazy price tag.
The question is: can it deliver? I've spent some quality time with the Stilosa, and I'm here to give you the inside scoop.
Who Should Buy The Delonghi Stilosa?
The DeLonghi Stilosa espresso machine is the perfect companion for budding baristas wanting to dip their toes in the espresso world without emptying their wallets.
If you dream of perfecting that latte art or honing in on the ideal shot but aren't ready for the hefty price tag of professional-grade machines, the Stilosa is your stepping stone.
It offers just enough control to refine your skills, all while delivering a solid espresso.
Why I Decided To Review The Delonghi Stilosa
In my home brewing journey, I've encountered machines that sparkle with fancy features and a price tag to match. I believe the barista dream shouldn't be held back by price tags.
It's about the coffee, the aroma, the taste, and the skill.
That's why I decided to give the DeLonghi Stilosa a go. A machine that promises performance without demanding your entire paycheck.
So, is it the one for budget-conscious coffee enthusiasts?
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Beginner to Intermediate
Home brewing hobbyist who started with a basic drip coffee machine and gradually upgraded to espresso machines. My current machine is a Rancilio Silvia Pro X.
Money Saved Per Year
Roughly $730! (Assuming a $5 latte daily from a coffee shop)
Favorite Drink To Brew
What’s It Like To Live With The DeLonghi Stilosa
Jumping from semi and super-automatics back to the manual realm with the DeLonghi Stilosa was an adjustment, to say the least.
However, it nudged me out of my comfort zone, pushing my barista skills to the front and center, and honestly? That's been its own reward.
The Stilosa might demand a bit more from you than other machines, but in return, it crafts skill and artistry.
Let's dive deeper into this DeLonghi Stilosa review.
What's In The Box?
Upon unboxing the De'Longhi Stilosa, I was pleasantly surprised by its comprehensive kit. Here’s a peak of what you can expect:
The included measuring spoon is invaluable for beginners, ensuring you get just the right amount of coffee for each shot.
The provided plastic tamper, though basic, does the job of evenly compacting your coffee grounds.
However, what caught my attention most were the filter baskets, especially the pressurized filter basket.
They make it super easy to pull a consistent shot, even if you're just starting your barista journey.
It's these little details that make this a great espresso machine for beginners and intermediate baristas alike.
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
When I first set up the De'Longhi Stilosa, I was eager to pull that initial shot of espresso. Since the machine doesn't have a grinder, I opted for some high-quality ground coffee.
This was just to test if pre-ground beans can provide high-quality shots than freshly ground coffee beans.
Barista HQ Note: While you can definitely start with pre-ground coffee, I'd highly recommend purchasing a grinder.
This guarantees fresher ground coffee and significantly levels up your skill as a home barista.
For my first trial, I aimed for a double espresso shot, but it also allows for a single shot if that's your preference.
After dialing in my grind and tamping down my chosen espresso blend, I hit the brew button. The machine's performance was smooth, and the pressure seemed just right for extracting flavors.
The espresso quality? A beautifully layered, delicious espresso shot with that coveted crema on top, which is a little surprising given that I've used pre-ground beans.
While it wasn't the perfect shot, it was close enough and spoke volumes about what you can achieve with this machine in your espresso journey.
First Time Frothing Milk
The Stilosa espresso machine by DeLonghi comes with a manual milk frother. So, if it's your first time using one, there will be a bit of a learning curve.
This means that if you're a newbie, you might not nail that perfect microfoam right off the bat. It's kind of like learning to ride a bike – a few wobbles at the start.
Compared to automatic frothers, the Stilosa's milk frother is manual. It's more hands-on, and that means more control but also more room for error.
The steam wand itself is pretty powerful for its size. It took me a couple of tries (I've been spoiled by my automatic milk frothers!), but I got a nice velvety texture.
For all you alternative milk lovers, yes, I tried plant-based milk (oat's my jam!) in this espresso machine. It frothed up nicely. Classic regular milk? Dreamy.
Once you get the hang of the manual milk frother, you're in for some latte art fun!
How Much Control Do You Have Over The Coffee Experience?
With the De'Longhi Stilosa being a manual espresso machine, you've got some solid control over your brewing, but it's not like you're driving a race car with tons of dials.
For timing your shot, you decide when to start and stop that extraction. There are no specific adjustments for temperature – the machine aims to stay in that sweet spot for you.
Since this is a pump espresso machine, its pressure is pretty stable.
That's awesome for consistent espresso shots, but you're relying on your grind and tamping to really dial in that optimal pressure for the dream shot.
Bottom line? You’ve got a good deal of reigns over your coffee journey, but there's a bit of a learning curve to master the nuances. For the price and style, though, it's a fair trade-off.
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
The De'Longhi Stilosa shines with versatility when it comes to handling different roasts.
While I'm partial to a medium roast espresso blend, this espresso machine handled light roasts and those dark, sultry beans with equal flair.
However, here's the scoop: the magic is in the grind. If you want to experiment with different roasts, pair this machine with a rocking grinder.
For those with a limited budget, the Baratza Encore is a winner. It gives consistent ground coffee, ensuring your coffee grounds are on point.
So, if you want good coffee, match your beans and grind right, and let Stilosa lead the way!
Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine
The De'Longhi Stilosa, an elegantly designed espresso machine, just upped the chic factor of my kitchen. With its contemporary and compact design, it's not just pretty – it's a space-saver, too.
Rocking dimensions of 8.07 x 13.5 x 11.22 inches, it hugged my kitchen counter without demanding too much space. For those wrestling with limited counter space, rejoice!
Stilosa ensures your other appliances won't feel too crowded. Its durable construction with pops of stainless steel makes it both a sturdy beast and a looker.
What Drinks Can It Make?
With the De’longhi Stilosa Espresso machine, you can make a great cup of a variety of coffee drinks every single time. The only limit is your skill.
Craving that authentic cappuccino? This manual espresso machine has got you. More in the mood for a sleek double espresso? Say no more.
Whether you're vibing with a single or double espresso, this machine ensures it's done right.
If you're new to the game, making different types of espresso drinks might get a tad challenging. However, with some practice, you'll be serving great espresso beverages in no time.
How Easy Is It To Use?
The De'Longhi Stilosa isn't what I'd call a super easy machine. If you're looking for a coffee mug icon push-and-go type of experience, you might need to look elsewhere.
It's more like that high-maintenance friend.
Kidding aside, while some other machines might be pretty straightforward, this affordable machine wants a bit more attention.
However, every effort spent on it is rewarded tenfold in coffee goodness. If you're game for a delightful challenge and ready to put in the time, this machine will be your new bestie!
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
The De'Longhi Stilosa has a stainless steel boiler that gets hot in just about a minute.
So, by the time you choose your chic coffee cup and snap a quick selfie, you'll be sipping a piping-hot shot of espresso that tastes good.
Want a double shot of tasty espresso? Make that wait two minutes.
Craving a milk-based concoction? Tack on an extra 30 seconds for the steam wand to froth things up. In a mere minute and a half, you'll be sipping café-quality perfection.
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
No, this De’Longhi espresso machine doesn't have a filtration system in its water tank.
Using filtered water in your water reservoir will ensure your espresso tastes as divine as your last spa day and prevent any unglamorous limescale build-up.
So, whenever you use this basic machine, always use filtered water to make excellent espresso shots!
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?
Cleaning and descaling the De’Longhi Stilosa is pretty easy, unlike other espresso machines.
In my experience, the daily cleaning felt like tidying up my room—a few quick touches here and there. That drip tray can catch more than you'd expect, so it's wise to keep an eye on it.
As for the wand, a routine wipe after frothing ensures it stays in tip-top condition.
Now, descaling feels like spring cleaning my closet; it requires more attention. However, the process ensures my machine offers consistent performance.
I've learned that if you want your coffee maker to take care of your caffeine needs, you've got to take care of it, too. It's a two-way relationship!
My Favorite Parts About The Delonghi Stilosa
My Least Favorite Parts About The Delonghi Stilosa
Delonghi Stilosa Vs Similar Machines
DeLonghi Stilosa vs EC155
Most espresso makers in this price range have their pros and cons, and these two are no exception.
The Stilosa boasts an elegantly designed profile, whereas the EC155 is a bit more compact, perfect for those with limited counter space.
Both fit a tight budget, but if you're toggling between cup sizes, the EC155 has a slight edge.
In terms of the learning curve, both can be a bit hard for novices, but many Delonghi Stilosa espresso machine reviews, like this one, praise the Stilosa over EC155 for being easier to use.
DeLonghi Stilosa vs ECP3420
The ECP3420, like the Stilosa, caters well to those on a tight budget.
Most machines in the DeLonghi line carry a reputation for quality, but the ECP3420 stands out with its rapid heat-up feature, getting you that caffeine fixes a touch faster.
Still, in terms of aesthetics, the Stilosa might have the edge for some users.
DeLonghi Stilosa vs ECP3630
Both models capture the essence of what most espresso makers should offer: functionality and style.
However, the ECP3630 offers a double-tiered drip tray, accommodating different cup sizes more conveniently.
If you're often switching between espresso shots and lattes, this could be a pivotal feature.
DeLonghi Stilosa vs Gevi 20 Bar
While not from the DeLonghi family, the Gevi 20 Bar holds its ground.
Most espresso machines at this price point offer basic features, but the Gevi flaunts a pressure gauge, a rarity for machines in the affordable category.
If you're a budding barista keen on perfecting pressure, this might be your pick. However, if brand lineage and aesthetic matter, Stilosa still shines brightly.
Yes, you can make a cafe Americano with a DeLonghi Stilosa. Simply pull an espresso shot and then add hot water to dilute it to your preference. However, you need to prepare your hot water separately.
No, the DeLonghi Stilosa does not use pods. It is designed for ground coffee.
Is The Delonghi Stilosa Worth Your Money?
The DeLonghi Stilosa is absolutely worth considering, especially for budding baristas eager to sharpen their skills on a manual machine.
Its hands-on approach is perfect for those who relish a bit of a challenge and wish to have control over their espresso shots.
However, if you're searching for convenience over craft, you might consider models like the DeLonghi ECP3420 or Gevi 20 Bar.
For the price and what it offers, the Stilosa is a valuable tool in your home brewing journey.