DeLonghi Magnifica Review
Most home-owners possess a stock of time-saving gadgets and gizmos. Many, such as blenders and electric tin openers, are well-used, but now and again there’s an impulse purchase that’s consigned to the back of the kitchen drawer and rarely picked up (step forth banana slicer). Of all the home appliances, one of the most well-utilised has to be the trusty kettle.
A flick of a switch and you’re halfway to a hot drink, anytime day or night. Perfect if you’re a fan of a nice cuppa tea. But what about coffee? Well, when you are in a hurry a jar of instant coffee can be a quick and easy solution. Just boil the kettle, stick a spoon or two of instant into a mug and you’re ready to go. However, some days, instant coffee just doesn’t cut it.
So, when instant seems too average, and a coffee shop seems too indulgent, what’s a coffee enthusiast to do? My thoughts turn to a coffee machine, but with so many on the market, it’s difficult to know where to start.
Enter the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200, a sleek and silver automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine – and today, I am tasked with bringing you my full DeLonghi Magnifica review having spent the last couple of weeks with one.
Let’s start with the brand itself, founded by the De’Longhi family, back in 1902, the company started small, producing industrial parts.
As the years rolled by De’Longhi turned to manufacturing air conditioning units and heaters, and now produces a range of domestic and household appliances including humidifiers, toasters, ice-cream makers, and of course coffee machines.
De’Longhi Magnifica Specs
There are six coffee machines in the Magnifica Range, all come with their own specs and features. So, let’s get to the beans on the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S
- 1.8 litre capacity
- 250g bean carrier capacity
- Dimensions (w x d x h): 23.8cm x 43cm x 35.1cm
- 9 Kg weight
- 220/240 voltage
- 50/60 frequency
- 1450 W input power
- Aroma control
- Auto shut-off
- Coffee grounds container
- Descaling, cleaning, and rinsing program
- Dispensing level min 85 max 142
- Energy-saving function
- Silent grinder featuring 7 settings
- Power switch supply
- Programmable water hardness
- Pump pressure of 15 bar
- Rapid Steam
- Removable drip tray with level indicator
- Removable infuser unit
- Removable water reservoir
- Selection for 1 cup or 2 cups
- Stand-by function
- Water filter
Looks-wise, the silver and back De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S is sleek and contemporary, but as I’m not one for judging a book by its cover, I set about discovering what else it had to offer.
Straight off I liked the look of the slim design – it seemed like a good fit for a busy kitchen. As it turned out there were a whole host of useful features too, here’s what I found most appealing:
I sometimes struggle with the question “What’s your favourite coffee?” In all honesty, it’s way too hard to choose! I like to kick-start my day with a powerful espresso, but it’s not unheard of for me to curl up on the sofa with a frothy cappuccino and a good book come early evening.
Thankfully, the De’Longhi Magnifica is a versatile product, and I can use it to rustle up my favourite brew whenever I like. I also like the fact that I can use coffee beans or ground coffee. If I’m in a hurry I can grab the grounds, but if I’m feeling indulgent it’s time for the beans. Not all coffee machines offer this level of versatility and it is a welcome addition to this one.
Plenty of Pressure
The inclusion of a 15-bar pump ensures that there’s plenty of pressure (and we all know that pressure really does count when it comes to making a proper cup of coffee). This type of bar pump is considered professional standard, so it bodes well for good results and I found it really lived up to the task.
The De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S is easy to use, with easy touch button operation. You can make two cups of espresso simultaneously, which is handy when a friend joins you for a coffee (or if you need a double hit). The kit includes a plastic coffee spoon (for precise measuring), along with an instruction booklet. Even if you think you know what you’re doing it’s worth a read to make sure (with a coffee of course).
Integrated Coffee Grinder
There’s a built-in coffee burr grinder, which has no less than seven adjustable coarseness levels. Grinders are reportedly tested and calibrated to make sure they are spot on. This allowed me to grind the beans instantly, for a rich, full flavour and a really fresh taste.
I liked that I could meddle with the grinder to work out my preferred level of smoothness. I’m not a full-on coffee snob, but I do feel coarseness can impact the taste and to be honest 7 levels of coarseness is all anyone could need.
Adjustable Nozzle Height
I will put my hand up and admit that I have looked at other coffee machines in puzzlement, wondering how to fit my much-loved mug beneath the nozzle. If your cup’s a bit too big, you tilt it this way and that, trying to get it under (then out again when it’s full of hot coffee – I know from experience that this is not a good idea)!
The ESAM 4200.S is better on this score, as you can slide small coffee cups and larger mugs (up to around 10 cm) under the adjustable nozzle. No tilting, no wet floor, and no burnt fingers! Another tick for the design team here.
I really enjoy sitting in a coffee shop, engaging in a spot of people watching, whilst drinking a cappuccino. As the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S has a milk frother I had high hopes that it might help me to create a similar beverage at home. I’m no barista, but the frother helped me to warm up the milk easily and provided my coffee with a creamy, thick foam – mmmm delicious!
Easy Clean System
Despite my predilection for drinking coffee and the quality taste of a drink made by a state-of-the-art machine, the bit I’m not usually keen on is cleaning the thing afterward! The whole maintenance business actually put me off buying a bean-to-cup machine for quite a while.
That’s why I was so pleased to discover that the ESAM 4200.S required little maintenance, and actually offered automatic cleaning (descaling, cleaning, and rinsing programs). The machine uses a blast of steam to clean itself and even tells you when it needs a spot of descaling (via the little flashing red light on the bottom row of the control panel).
To de-scale this model you simply switch the machine to its 15-minute cleaning cycle (you will need to add de-scaler liquid). This will flush out the water tank and run through to the frothing arm – leaving your gadget lovely and clean. More good news – I found I could remove the tray and ground container too, and these could be placed in my dishwasher for easy, hassle-free cleaning.
Made to Last
De’Longhi is a brand with a tip-top reputation, always a bonus when you’re purchasing an appliance. A bit of research highlighted that De’Longhi machines boast longevity (even when used every day). As an added bonus (and for extra peace of mind) this machine is sold with a 2-year guarantee, which means you don’t have to worry about any mechanical breakdowns for at least the first 24 months of use – now I don’t know about you but I can get through a fair bit of coffee in 2 years – so if it’s not broken by then, I’m pretty confident its a solid product – either way, reviews from long time owners seem to back up the longevity of the Magnifica.
Using the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S
Excited about the specs and the numerous features, I practically jumped for joy when my brand-new coffee machine arrived. Hurriedly opening the box, I pulled out the shiny De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S, pausing only to whisk away the protective packing. I’m pleased to say I was immediately impressed by its modernistic appearance.
I was also struck by its size, at 35cm tall it fits nicely into my kitchen and seems rather compact for a bean-to-cup machine. However, you really do need to measure the height of your cupboards, as you need a bit of extra space to open the grinder and add the beans (around 10cm should do it).
After taking a look at the instructions I decided that set-up seemed fairly straightforward. That said, I did enlist the help of my daughter (as she is a dab hand with anything falling into the ‘technical thingamabob’ category). She reminded me to ensure the machine was switched on at the back, and to make sure the steam knob was turned to ‘off.’ We then fitted the water tank, coffee puck collector, and drip tray – so far so good.
Everything seemed to fit together well, which tallied with my initial assessment that the machine has been thoughtfully designed. It all seemed very straightforward, e.g., the water tank opened from the front, so it was easy to fill, and then you just push it to close. I also found that the drip tray was nice and roomy too.
We managed to get past elementary coffee machine composition, and soon moved onto programming. I like a simple gadget, mainly because I don’t want to spend an age working out how to get my hands on a steaming hot espresso when I fall out of bed at first light.
Thankfully the De’Longhi Magnifica coffee machine has one-touch automatic programs to make life easier. One press? That sounds like my idea of heaven. I decided to test out the beans to mug promise and was happy to find that De’Longhi more than deliver on this front.
The pre-configured one-touch cycles made light work of coffee making, I put the machine to the test time and time again, and found the performance to be consistent. Good coffee every time – result!
My favourite gadget was, without a doubt, the frother arm. What can I say? I like my frothy coffee, and a splash or two of milk can go a long way. I used the frothing arm to heat the milk and whip up a feathery, fluffy foam to top off my brew – tasty.
In fact, the machine seemed so user-friendly that I braved another look at the manual. There I found lots of helpful information about each of the pre-sets, including directions on how to go beyond, and take a step further on the coffee-making journey. However, I stuck to the pre-sets (one techno step at a time).
A Tasty Cup?
As a fan of Italian coffee, brewed from freshly ground beans, I had high hopes that the De’Longhi Magnifica would deliver a tasty cup of coffee. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. I tried espresso, and a cappuccino and both packed just the right amount of punch – and were intensely aromatic too.
I did have a go at a latte too, but I found I preferred the espresso and cappuccino that this machine produced (no surprise really, as this product is promoted as a specialist gadget for espresso and cappuccino in particular). Don’t get me wrong, the latte was pleasant enough, but I felt the other drinks were superior in taste and aroma.
However, I decided not to end my taste test there, instead, I decided to plough on and try a good old Americano. With my espresso shot topped up with fresh hot water, I savoured the subtler flavour. I still have a place in my heart for a biting espresso – but its cousin, the slightly less sharp Americano, gets my vote now too – and the Magnifica made this with ease.
Is It Worth Buying The De’Longhi Magnifica?
The De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S is competitively priced, offering great value for money. If you’re thinking about purchasing a Magnifica yourself it’s worth shopping online. We have tried to find the best prices for you and you will find our links below (we do make a small commission when you purchase but this won’t cost you any more) – either way, the chances are you pay less online than you will in a shop.
The machine is loaded with features, although there are one or two minor niggles I probably should mention. The cup warmer does take quite a while to heat up (not so good if you’re in a hurry) and the calibrating grinder can be a little sluggish too.
That said, I often have to stand in a queue for a coffee (and that often takes longer). At least at home I can take it easy and put my feet up while I wait! After all, coffee is meant to be a leisurely experience surely?
These two very minor issues aside, I am very impressed with the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 4200.S. The machine has plenty going for it – it’s sleek, modern, simple to use, has more features than you can shake a handful of beans at, and (most importantly of all) it makes a mean tasting coffee.
Given the choice, I would use good-quality coffee beans to complement this piece of kit. Doing this provides super results, and I would go so far as to say you will experience coffee extraction at its best.
The De’Longhi Magnifica delivers cup after cup, and for a coffee addict like me, this is the best thing I can ask for.
So, to sum up, after regular use I would say the ESAM 4200.S is a good all-rounder. The price is affordable, and I enjoyed being able to make a quality beverage from the comfort of my own home.