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You know the argument, the one that says that if you buy your own espresso machine, you will save x amount of dollars per day, per month, per year, and you know, it basically pays for the machine! I’ll spare you from having to listen to it one more time, as, if you're here on this page, you've accepted that reality and we are starting from an agreed upon place. But what to buy? That's where I come in: I’m here to tell you that De’Longhi's newest Eletta Explore machine is truly the best one on the market. Here's why, at a cool $1,800, I think it's worth it.
The problem with pretty much all at-home coffee machines is that the drinks just don't compare to what you get outside the house. Historically, every espresso or cappuccino I have made at home pales in comparison to one from my favorite local coffee shop. The milk isn't fluffy enough—the espresso, not creamy enough. Then I tried the De'Longhi Eletta Explore and I finally made a good cappuccino at home.
The Options Are Endless
What De’Longhi’s Elleta Explore offers you is, truly, an abundance of options. Technically, it's called an espresso machine, it but it makes much more than that. Let's start with the beans. You can use the beans of your choice (like most machines), including pre-grinded ones. But if you want the experience grinding them yourself, this one does the job. It features a conical burr grinder that offers 13 different grind settings. One of the best parts about owning this machine has been trying all different types of beans and grind settings to eventually discover which ones are my favorite.
Variety doesn’t stop at just the beans, though, it also offers you automatic options to make everything from espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites, iced cappuccinos (!), iced lattes, americanos, doppios, and more. There is a hot water setting too, so you can nix your need for a kettle too—saving you counter space— and there’s even a tea setting. What is a tea setting? It’s just warmer water that you can drink right away, but it is made at the right temperature (with three different settings, of course) to infuse your favorite herbal blend. One thing to note, it doesn’t have a chai, hot chocolate, or matcha settings, but come on people, this is for serious coffee drinkers.
The Milk Settings Are a Dream
Now let’s get to the most important part, the milk options. This machine has the ability to make both hot and cold frothed milk—which I can confirm is delicious. There are two separate attachments for each, and the cold milk frother is a game-changer in my opinion, especially for people who exclusively drink iced coffee. Having cold milk means your ice won't melt as fast, so your coffee won't get watered down and it'll taste better for longer. Each milk frother attachment offers you options, too. You can choose how frothy you want your milk, ranging from just a small layer on top to a thick inch of cloud-like milk. Each are compatible with your choice of milk as well, from almond to oat and regular to skim.
The Pièce de Résistance: Iced Drinks
Back to the most important topic: Iced drinks, because that’s a big selling point for De’Longhi’s latest upgrade to this machine. The iced cappuccinos and lattes are better than a majority of the ones I’ve ordered at a handful of coffee places. They are really that good. The combination of my favorite beans, ideal grind setting, the milk of my choice, all poured over De’Longhi ice cubes (yes, this machine comes with a custom ice cube tray, so the ice fits perfectly into your De’Longhi cup), it’s truly an iced coffee dream come true. Pour it in a to-go cup and it’s just as good, if not better, than grabbing one on your way into the office. Yes, it saves you money, but the satisfaction you get of enjoying your own creation is an added bonus.
It’s a True Coffee Shop Level Experience
To wrap this up, I’ll address the elephant in the room: $1,800 is still a shit ton of money to spend! You have to be committed to wanting this machine. Here’s where it goes the extra mile for me. We love to have people over for brunch on the weekends and nothing brings me more joy than offering an espresso, iced latte, or perfectly brewed cappuccino to my guest. It’s a conversation starter, and the first thing people ask me about when they enter my kitchen. They can’t wait to pick their drink, create it, and guzzle it down. And I can't wait for them to rave about how good it is and express how much they want this machine for themselves.
It does save me money in the morning from spending $6 on my way to work, but it also offers an experience, one that I share and enjoy with everyone who enters my home. It really feels like I have a coffee shop in my own kitchen.
Photography by Timothy Mulcare. Prop styling by Caroline Colston for Halley Resources.
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