The Eletta is another strong seller from Italian bean-to-cup stalwarts De’Longhi. We have specifically looked at the Eletta Cappuccino here (model no. ECAM 44.660.W) – although there are also two other models available; the Eletta Cappuccino Top and the Eletta Plus.
As far as home coffee makers go, it’s not cheap – but it is by no means the most expensive bean-to-cup cappuccino machine on the market. But does it offer value for money?
We thought we would take a look under the hood to help you know whether it is the right machine for you.
The De’Longhi Eletta Cappuccino blends futuristic looks and a robust build quality. Its simple one-touch controls put an array of great-tasting coffees at your fingertips. Unlike many of the other machines out there at this price it can make thick, frothy milk and is fully programmable – even for the tech illiterate.
This is fortunate as some of the factory presets leave a little to be desired but once dialed in the unit really churns out delicious joe and has a number of small design features that are pleasantly surprising.
Features and design
De’Longhi’s Eletta ECAM 44.660 has all the usual features of a bean to cup cappuccino machine: water tank, milk tank, milk frother, on-board burr grinder, bean hopper and a bypass doser for inserting pre-ground coffee. Its dual spouts are adjustable for different cup heights and the machine can produce two coffees at the same time from a large array of pre-sets. The controller interface uses an OLED display and illuminated touch buttons to choose your drink, be it americano, flat white, espresso or cappuccino.
The two-litre water tank slots into the right side and the milk tank goes on the left. The milk tank is detachable and is a good shape and size for easy storing in the fridge so your cow-juice stays fresh with minimum fuss. The bean hopper can store around 280 grams of beans and comes with smoked plastic and a rubber gasket to help keep the beans fresh.
The control system is really intuitive and makes it easy for you to select drinks – be they single shot, double, one cup or two cups. Playing around with the settings to vary things like temperature and coffee strength and length is also a straightforward affair.
The unit offers four different lengths (short, standard, long and extra-long) and five strengths (extra strong, strong, mild, standard and extra mild). This is enough to satisfy most palates, but having more to play with would have been fun. There is a separate menu for milk settings that is only available when the milk tank is attached, which helps avoid any confusion. The tank has three froth settings and going full pelt can make thick foam.
When the milk tank is on board you can increase the length and temperature of the milk and save your custom settings. Milky coffee options are caffe latte, cappuccino, macchiato, latte macchiato – but we found that we needed to play around with the factory settings to increase the temperatures on preset drinks to get them coming out hot. The machine features a stainless steel heated cup shelf and bypass doser for pre-ground coffee. The bean hopper holds a good 280 grams of beans. The lid of the hopper comes in dark smoked plastic and has a rubber gasket to help keep the beans fresh.
The water tank holds around two litres of water which is enough to get 5-6 long coffees, including rinse cycles which are automatic. The machine rinses itself when you turn it off and on, which is handy as those minor housekeeping tasks are often easy to forget. The coffee exit spout is adjustable to ensure you can fit your favorite mug under there, and the machine can do one or two coffees at a time.
It takes around 45 seconds to make a cappuccino – by no means instant. Expect a fair bit of whirring and clicking that goes on in that time too. The array of drinks offered is good. The machine will do you single or double espressos, macchiato, caffe latte, flat white and americano coffees.
The quality of the drinks produced is generally excellent. The milk froth is convincing, and the coffee fresh and full-bodied – the quality of the espresso shots was impressive. There were a couple of gripes. The inclusion of a ‘flat white’ seems a bit gimmicky given the drink is en-vogue right now. It doesn’t really come with microfoam on it – it seems more like a small cappuccino in my opinion. As with the vast majority of bean-to-cup cappuccino machines, temperature is an issue. You will have to dial in the settings if you want your milky coffees to be served nice and hot. In theory, the machine will remember the settings once dialed in. However, we still found it was difficult to get piping hot versions of the longer milkier drinks – the latte macchiato and caffe latte.
The ECAM 44.660 looks very smart and futuristic – if a little plasticky – and will fit the aesthetics of most kitchens. Measuring 36 x 26 x 46 cm it should neatly stow between the kitchen countertop and cupboards in most homes – although storing cups on top might be a bit of a stretch. DeLonghi offers similar but smaller products in its Dinamica and Magnifica range if size is an issue.
It’s great value for money and comparable to machines that retail in a superior price bracket. The one-touch controls, elegant milk tank solution, decent frothing wand and adjustable on-board burr grinder give you everything you need to make barista-quality coffees at home.
There are a couple of minor issues with excessively milky coffee orders coming out less than piping and a questionable flat white setting. These issues are by far unique to this brand or machine however.
The Eletta ECAM 44.660 does what it does very well and is an excellent choice among machines at this price point.
4.5 Stars out of 5