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Originating in Italy, De’Longhi is an established brand that’s been producing coffee machines since the 1990s. It offers everything from single-serve pod machines to manual espresso machines and automatic coffee machines, offering something for everyone.
The De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685 replaces the previous Dedica EC680, this newer model has a few upgrades including two milk frothing settings, either hot milk or cappuccino. It also has a double drip tray, meaning it can take taller cups than the previous model, and is certainly a contender for our round-up of the best coffee makers.
The Dedica Style EC685 is a compact manual espresso machine, which is one of the slimmest designs we’ve seen, and with a simple three-button interface, it’s not too tricky to get to grips with. The drink options available are single and double espressos and steamed or frothy milk, so you can easily make some of the most popular barista-style drinks like cappuccino, latte or flat white.
It can also be used with Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods – the flatter style pods rather than the taller, doom-shaped pods associated with Nespresso – instead of ground coffee. We found it produced smooth, intense espresso with a full crema, and milk is easy to froth.
This is an affordable espresso machine that’s best suited to those with smaller kitchens, or anyone looking for a simplistic machine to start their coffee-making journey. It offers some personalization of coffee volume and temperature, but it doesn’t have enough customizable settings to keep true coffee connoisseurs happy.
DeLonghi Dedica Style EC685 price and availability
List price $349.95/ £199.99/ AUS $399
The De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685 is available worldwide through De’Longhi. It’s not quite De’Longhi’s entry-level manual espresso machine but does sit at the more affordable end of the models it offers and what really sets it apart from the other DeLonghi espresso machines is the slim compact design.
In the UK it’s also available as part of the Dedica Barista Bundle (ECKG6820.M) which includes the espresso machine plus a coffee grinder, professional tamper, milk jug, and knock box to dispose of your ground coffee in, and is priced at £279.99 (around $385 / AU$530).
Slim and compactCompatible with Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) podsTwo-tiered drip tray
The most noticeable design feature of the De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685 is the small footprint, it’s really compact in comparison to most other manual espresso machines. Measuring, 2 x 5.9 x 13 inches/ 30.4 x 14.9 x 33cm (h x w x d), it won’t take up too much of your kitchen countertop space.
It comes in various color options so you can coordinate it with other kitchen appliances, choose from red, black, white, or stainless steel (in the UK there’s not a white model and in Australia, the red model isn’t available).
The De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685 produces espressos using 15 bar pressure and comes with three filters: single and double espresso, and Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods. Despite the name, ESE pods are less of a pod and more like a tea bag filled with ground coffee, they’re quicker, easier, and less messy than using ground coffee, but arguably don’t produce coffee as good as you’ll get using freshly ground beans.
The removable water tank has a 0.24 gallon / 1.1-liter capacity, and you can fit an optional water filter should you live in a hard water area. It can be used with cups up to 4.7 inches/ 12cm tall, but for these taller cups, you’ll have to remove the drip tray.
It’s easy to use with just three buttons; one cup, two cup, or steam but despite this simple control panel you can still adjust water hardness, coffee temperature, and volume of coffee delivered. The steam spout can be used for hot milk or frothy milk and can also be used to deliver hot water.
It comes with a coffee measuring spoon with an integrated presser, but you don’t get a jug for frothing milk, so if you want a professional-style stainless steel milk jug, you’ll have to buy it separately.
Easy to froth milkSimple settingsEspresso has a good crema
With just a few simple settings, we got to grips with the De’Longhi Dedica Style EC685 really quickly and were producing smooth cappuccinos not long after getting it out of the box. You’ll get the best possible coffee from this machine by using freshly ground coffee beans, but if you buy pre-ground coffee, make sure it’s the right grind size for an espresso machine, alternatively if you want the no-fuss option use ESE pods.
We produced a smooth, intense espresso using ground coffee. One thing to note is that you have to get the tamping correct – that’s how hard you compress the coffee grounds into the filter. Compress too much and the coffee will be delivered very slowly and be very strong, on the other hand, if it’s barely compressed, the coffee will pour very quickly but will be weak. Once we got this perfected, we produced an espresso with a thick crema that reformed after sugar was poured in.
At the default temperature setting, it poured an espresso at 149oF/ 65oC, but the temperature is adjustable, with three options to choose from. A standard single espresso poured about 40ml but again, this can be adjusted to the volume you prefer.
It took 22 seconds and our decibel meter registered 55dB when pouring an espresso – that’s the equivalent to the gentle hum of a refrigerator and, more than acceptable in our eyes. The flavor will be impacted by the beans, grind, and temperature, but using the default settings we found the espresso was smooth and intense, without being burnt or overly bitter.
For the quick and simple option, ESE pods take the guesswork out of measuring the coffee grounds and getting them compressed correctly, they’re also less messy. They’re easy to use and in this machine, we made an espresso with ESE pods that rivaled the one we made using ground coffee.
The milk steaming wand is easy to use – we steamed 150ml milk on the cappuccino (frothy) milk setting in just 30 seconds and it reached the perfect temperature of 138oF/ 59oC. Registering a maximum of 75db on our decibel meter, it’s the equivalent of the sound experience when standing 50 ft away from a car traveling at 65mph on a freeway.
However, as the sound level only lasts for a short period of time, we think it’s an acceptable level. The milk had fine stable bubbles that lasted until the end of the drink, and the results were similar whether using dairy or oat milk.
The twin pouring spouts mean you can pour two espressos at once but you’ll need small espresso cups because there’s not much space on the drip tray for two cups side by side, it does pour two evenly sized single shots though.
Overall it doesn’t splash when pouring drinks, but there is some dripping after the espresso has poured. And if you want to make several drinks with steamed milk in quick succession, it will prompt you to perform a cooling process by dispensing hot water from the steam wand. You’ll need to do this process after steaming milk before it will allow you to dispense another espresso, so it’s advisable to make all the espressos for your drinks in one go before steaming the milk.
Should I buy the DeLonghi Dedica Style EC685?
Buy it if…
You’re short on counter spaceWith its slim width of just 5.9 inches/ 14.9 cm this is a compact manual espresso machine perfect for smaller kitchens.
You’re on a budgetThis isn’t the most budget espresso machine in its range but considering De’Longhi manual espresso machines can go up to $1299.95/ £999.99/ AUS $1999, this is a good option with a more affordable price tag.
You’re new to espresso machinesThis model is really simple to use, with limited personalization options and just three buttons, it doesn’t have any gimmicky or complicated settings so is great for beginners.
Don’t buy it if…
You want an integrated bean grinderIf you want to make your coffee with freshly ground beans, you’ll have to buy a separate bean grinder because this coffee machine doesn’t have one integrated.
You want to make lots of cappuccinos in quick successionYou can’t immediately pour an espresso after using the milk steamer without performing a boiler cooling process. The quickest way to make several cappuccinos is to pour the espresso shots first and then steam the milk.
You want lots of customization optionsWhile you can personalize the coffee volume to your liking, there are only three temperature options to choose from, so the rest is down to the type of ground coffee you use, how you tamp it and how you steam the milk.
First reviewed: August 2021
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