De’Longhi Caffe Corso Review
Welcome to our De’Longhi Caffe Corso Review – we took this reasonably priced coffee machine on test to bring you this full review – find out what we thought of it and whether or not we wanted to give it back below…
A bean-to-cup coffee machine is a luxury household item – there is no getting around it.
They are special; they look fancy and they are designed to make you a cracking cup of coffee. They’re for people who really take their coffee seriously and who don’t mind spending decent money on their pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.
The main reason that this type of machine is so effective is freshness: put simply, once air can get to your beans, you start to lose flavour and smell. If your beans are ground, then there is more surface area for the air to ‘attack’ and so you end up losing all that flavour and smell at a much quicker rate. If you have a machine that grinds the beans literally seconds before you make your coffee, you will get a much fresher cup.
Obviously, this all comes at a cost, which is the reason that you mainly see these machines in coffee shops. However, in recent years, they have become more affordable, and the De’Lonhi Caffe Corso represents a bean-to-cup offering at the lower end of the price scale. While you’re unlikely to find the required amount of money down the back of the sofa, it is now a much more realistic prospect to have one of these machines in your kitchen than it ever has been.
So, is it worth it? Let’s have a look:
De’Longhi Caffe Corso Specifications
My initial impression was that the Caffe Corso is quite compact, measuring 28.5cm x 36cm x 37.5 cm, but it is actually quite deep. It will fit on most kitchen worktops without looking like it’s taking over the place! I, personally, prefer a stainless steel finish to the more ‘plasticy’ look of this model, but for one of the more budget options, it is fine. It certainly isn’t ugly and actually will fit in to modern kitchen spaces pretty seamlessly.
With a water tank of 1.8l, you don’t need to worry about filling this machine up very often, unless you just want to freshen it up. You can make around 60 espressos with that much water, which is more than large enough for domestic use. It has a 15 bar pressure pump, which is pretty standard for a machine like this and this is perfectly adequate.
The tank comes off the side of the machine, so it is quite an easy process that doesn’t require too much manoeuvring – and the instant water reheat function ensures that the water is at the right temperature to make a drink.
There are 7 settings on the burr grinder, which you can adjust to get the right coarseness for whichever drink you are making (as a rough guide you’ll want a finer grind for an espresso and a more coarse grind for a long black coffee). 7 settings is more than enough to get the coarseness of grind you need no matter the type of coffee you prefer.
On the front of the machine there are two dials – one which gives you control over the amount of water that is used, which you will adjust again depending on what sort of coffee you are making (you’ll want between 30-44ml for an espresso, but you can experiment).
The other dial is for the amount of coffee that is ground and added. This will control the strength of your drink which, again, you will want to experiment with.
Also on the main interface are buttons to determine whether you are making one or two cups – the twin coffee dispenser means that you can make two cups in the same time it takes to make one.
The manual milk arm is placed just to the right of the coffee dispenser, and it rotates out to the side so that you can get your preferred angle to froth the milk easily.
What It’s Like To Use The De’Longhi Caffe Corso
The first time that you use any bean-to-cup coffee machine can be a little bit daunting; getting your beans, water and milk all ready before you start – knowing where everything goes and when.
It’s good to report then, that the De’Longhi Caffe Coroso is very simple, and intuitive, to use.
First of all, make sure the water tank (on the side of the machine), has plenty of water in it. As with everything else, the fresher the water the better, but there is plenty of room in the tank, so that you don’t need to worry about filling it up very often.
Once that is sorted, you add your coffee beans to the compartment on the top of the machine. You don’t need to worry too much about how many beans to add, because the machine will only grind the amount that you have set on the dial at the front. I would try not to add too much more than required though – the beans will keep fresher in an airtight container than they will in the machine, waiting to be used. A warning light will come on if you are running low.
From here you simply adjust the knobs on the front of the machine to determine how much water and coffee you would like to be used, and place your cup(s) in position below the coffee dispenser. Then it is as simple as pressing the right button (one cup or two cups) and it all kicks into life.
If you are making a milky coffee (cappuccino, latte etc) then you will need to prepare your milk. As the milk is prepared at a hotter temperature to the coffee, you need to wait until the coffee is finished before you start on the milk, but that is only 40 seconds or so, which just gives you enough time to measure out your milk in a jug.
Here is where the barista in you gets to come out and play – the milk frothing nozzle rotates out, away from the machine, so you can get a good angle. Frothing milk is a difficult skill – it’s why people pay so much money for coffee in shops, so don’t expect to get perfect results the first time you use it. Take time to really learn the best techniques and your preferences – you’ve spent a decent amount of money on this machine, so it’s absolutely worth a little bit of time to make the most of it.
You can get machines with an automatic milk setting, so you can just select which sort of drink you want and it will take care of everything else. They are great, but a machine like this gives you so much more control over getting your coffee just how you like it.
The biggest criticism I have for this machine is that it is a little noisy. It’s not a huge problem, really, but maybe something to consider if you’re always the first up in a small house, or if it’s for a quiet office.
Cleaning the machine is an absolute doddle. A descaling kit is provided with the machine, and there is a descaling mode which you can trigger at the touch of a button, and also a flush function which you should use regularly. The brewing unit comes off completely, so you can give it a thorough clean when required (every couple of months or so should be fine).
The used coffee grounds get deposited in the drip tray, which is very handy as it’s the section that you will need to remove most often, so it’s very handy that all of the waste is in one place. Be sure to use your coffee grounds on the garden/compost after use as well!
There is a button for ‘ECO mode’ as well, which will turn the machine off after a period of inactivity to save on its electricity consumption.
Caffe Corso Taste Test
A bean-to-cup coffee machine should always give you a great flavoured coffee. I bang on about freshness in most of my coffee reviews, and a machine like this will give you the freshest possible coffee, so that is a great start when it comes to the taste.
The De’Longhi Caffe Corso will not let you down on that front. Obviously the better the coffee beans that you put in, the better the results, but you can be sure of consistently smooth and flavoursome coffee, with a fantastic crema.
The ability to alter the amount of coffee and water that is added is a wonderful feature. This means that you can tinker with the strength and depth of your coffee, to make it exactly how you like it. It may take a little time to perfect, but we really think a little effort on this front is worth it – and once you have mastered it, you will be making perfect coffee time after time.
Similarly, as mentioned above, getting yourself used to the best milk frothing techniques is really important for making the best drinks. We found that the milk frothing wand is very effective, but it will take time and practice to perfect it. Before long though, you will be making pretty patterns in your cappuccinos without even thinking about it!
You have a lot of versatility with this machine. You can make almost any drink that you would order in a coffee shop, and calibrate the machine to your exact requirements. This means that you may not get your ‘perfect’ coffee the first time you use it, but you can get there with a little bit of patience and practice. It will be worth it.
While a coffee machine is still undoubtedly a luxury household option, the De’Longhi Caffe Corso is priced in a way that makes it so much more accessible to a lot of households than it would have been, say, five years ago.
The benefits of this sort of coffee machine are there for all to see. You can pretty much guarantee a great tasting coffee, as long as you put decent fresh beans in. As the user, you get a lot of say over exactly what type of coffee is produced, which is brilliant if, like me, you enjoy the process of experimenting to get the best coffee.
It manages to straddle the line between being simple to use and giving you enough input to be in full control over the coffee you drink – once you have found your preferred settings, you just hit one button to make your drink.
To be honest, it doesn’t look quite the luxury item that you might expect, and I could see why the noise it makes might be slightly off putting for some people.
Having said that though, I think this machine is a fantastic option if you are looking to buy a relatively inexpensive bean-to-cup machine. It does everything you could possibly want it to do, and to a very high standard. Crucially, though, as one of the cheapest quality machines on the market, it is a perfect coffee machine for the people who are undecided on what type of machine to get.
For the brilliant results at this sort of price range, I don’t think the Caffe Corso can be beaten. If you are considering purchasing your first machine, you will have to go a long way to find something better than this. A top buy!