Some people are good with just a plain old cup of coffee. Others need it turbo-charged and fast — and that’s why there’s the De’Longhi EC702 Espresso Machine. But no good De’Longhi EC702 review would be complete without first noting what it ultimately brings the user: A good, entry-level choice for those new to making a high-quality espresso in the comfort of your own home.
What a time to be alive. And to be a coffee drinker.
There sure are a lot of us. According to Hamilton Beach, an estimated 56 percent of Americans drink some form of coffee, including espresso, cappuccino, and lattes. We consume a staggering 66 billion cups a year!
Machines such as the De’Longhi EC702 are undoubtedly helping that number climb steadily higher. And as you’ll learn in this De’Longhi EC702 review, they are doing it by democratizing the once highly specialized process of espresso-making.
All you need is time and ambition, and a maker like the De’Longhi EC702, and you too can enjoy your favorite drink almost on a whim — though we wouldn’t recommend making it right before bed.
De’Longhi EC702 Review
The machine is made by De’Longhi S.p.A, an appliance maker founded in the early 1900s in Treviso, Italy.
This is an excellent pedigree for the company to have. Italians are widely recognized as the creators of espresso around that time. Many historians point to an 1884 patent out of Turin, Italy, as the first recorded expression of an espresso-making machine.
De’Longhi, still going strong more than a century later, specializes in coffee-making equipment and offers a range of espresso-making machines in addition to the EC702. The company also makes other kitchen and home appliances.
Espresso machines come in two categories — automatic and manual. The EC702 is a manual machine, which is an important fact to establish upfront in this or any De’Longhi EC702 review.
That means you’ll be doing much of the work in brewing your espresso. But that, of course, is where the fun begins. You’ll get a chance to experiment with what works for you. The basics of its operation are the same: hot water, under high pressure, forced quickly through very finely ground coffee beans.
The added frother gives you the option to stray over into the world of cappuccinos as well. Don’t be misled, however. The EC702 is an entry-level product, perfect for those who are just starting to experiment with making the drink at home.
Features and specifications
Some attributes make the De’Longhi EC702 an interesting choice for your espresso maker. The machine offers a choice between one shot or two, something that may prove key on those sluggish early mornings.
The EC702 also has a self-priming operation. This drastically cuts down on your prep time if you typically set up the machine each time you’re looking to sip some espresso. It also provides 15 bars of pressure, which we think is more than enough to speak positively of the machine in any De’Longhi EC702 review.
The espresso maker comes with a manual self-frother, which lets you control exactly what kind of foam you like best in your espresso.
Other neat attributes include a warming tray. Nobody wants to pump their espresso into a cold cup! You’ll also be able to test your skills with the machine’s dual thermostats. Find the right balance for the perfect espresso.
Last but certainly not least, we need to talk about size as part of this De’Longhi EC702 review. The machine is highly compact, weighing just 11 pounds with dimensions of 11-by-9-by-12 inches.
The EC702 has a good mix of features that will help you improve your technique. And the better you get at it, the sooner you may want to graduate to a machine with more bells and whistles.
How It Compares
The De’Longhi EC702 falls into the category of “semi-automatic” espresso maker. Or, depending on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty, “semi-manual.”
What this means is that you’ll have to prepare the machine for go-time, but the actual brewing process is a matter of pushing a button.
This is in contrast to fully manual espresso makers, which come with an arm press or lever. As the user, you activate the arm to drive the high-pressure hot water past the coffee grounds and into your cup.
The third category of espresso machine on the market has successfully mechanized most of the steps to a cup of espresso. These full and super automatic machines will both grind the bean, and heat and pressurize the water past the resulting grounds, with a single set of button pushes. Most of the work of the cup of espresso is out of your hands.
The final category is the pod machines made famous by Keurig. Place the serving sized cup of grounds into the machine, press the button and you have your cup of espresso.
In addition to the style of an espresso machine, you’ll want to consider variables such as the type of filter, the maximum pressure setting (the EC702 provides 15 bars), and the range of programmable settings. We’ve already discussed the EC702’s cup warmer and frothing arm, both of which makes it a great value.
How we reviewed espresso makers
People are very passionate about their espresso-making. Really, they’re passionate about coffee of all types. They tend to go in head-over-heels for different varieties, as well as for the lattes, cappuccinos, and the espressos.
To pull together this De’Longhi EC702 review, we turned our attention to several different categories of publications. First, there are the gadget reviews from sites such as Wirecutter and TheSpruceEats.
We also explored more mainstream publications such as Business Insider and New York Magazine, both of which devote pages to lifestyle pursuits such as espresso.
Then we made our way to coffee-specific writers at venues such as Seattle Coffee Gear, Epicurious, and Fourth Estate Coffee.
In choosing machines as a frame for comparison in our De’Longhi EC702 review, we tried to take a broad focus. Recognizing that espresso lovers come in all sizes, we want to provide capsules of several machines from different categories.
It all adds up to an opportunity to brew yourself the best possible cup of espresso at any moment — morning, noon, or night.
The Breville line of espresso makers aims at providing a quality espresso with the least amount of effort.
In contrast to the De’Longhi EC702 review, the Breville BES870XL is a semi-automatic machine that will handle grinding and brewing in one step. And it promises you great-tasting espresso in less than a minute.
The Breville BES870XL has a built-in cone-shaped grinder and a coiled heating system. It offers an extraction level of a maximum of 9 bars, in contrast to the EC702. The Breville unit also provides a larger water tank capacity of about 67 ounces.
Among the included accessories are a coffee scoop, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning disc, and tables, cleaning brush and tool and water filter holder. This machine is a bit bigger than the EC702.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista espresso and cappuccino maker offers a lot of similarities to the elements in our De’Longhi EC702 review. It also is a semi-automatic machine.
This machine offers plenty of choices. It’s not just an espresso maker. You can use it for espresso, cappuccino or latte.
The Mr. Coffee unit provides users with up to 15 bars of pressure for your drink of choice. It operates with a removable water tank, measuring scoop and filter for single- and double-espresso.
You’ll also be able to choose whether to make your espresso manually, or automatically. That flexibility is a nice contrast.
Flair Espresso Maker
To complete the contrasts in our De’Longhi EC702 review, we decided to evaluate a manual press espresso maker. Based on our research, our choice was the Flair espresso maker. We liked the question Flair asked itself: “What’s the minimum needed to brew a professional level shot of espresso?”
Their solution: A machine with a lever that works on your own power, not that of the electric utility.
As the company notes: “Brewing espresso with the Flair is an art form and not a push-button solution.” Weighing only five pounds, you’ll be able to carry the Flair Espresso Maker almost anywhere. At the same time, it produces a lever pressure of between 6 to 10 bars.
The Flair Espresso Maker produces an espresso shot of about 45 milliliters. It takes about 30 to 45 seconds to convert your grinds into a delicious cup of espresso.
The one downside is you’ll have to boil your own water, to a temperature of about 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. So this machine is not for the faint of heart. On the flip side, it does come with a handy carrying case, meaning you can easily take your espresso mobile.
Brew Me Up, Scotty
So at the end of this De’Longhi EC702 review, which unit is best? It all depends, of course, on your commitment to espresso. If you want to learn the art of espresso-making like the Italians, then opt for the Flair Espresso Maker. It puts you in control of all the variables.
Prefer a machine that does most of the work for you? Then we think the De’Longhi EC702 provides tremendous value. If you find you like the process, you can always migrate your way back to a manual press.
Either way, drink up, my friends!