Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ espresso machine review: take your espresso making craft to the next level

Slow down your morning coffee routine with this meditative machine

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing
(Image: © Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

TechRadar Verdict

Like the Bello before it, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ transforms espresso-making into a meditative experience but still elevates the craft thanks to extras like the PID controller and programmable preinfusion. It’s a fantastic machine that produces the perfect brew every time - however, it’s not ideal for most people’s needs, especially at its steep price.

Pros

  • +

    Smooth, delicious results

  • +

    Gorgeous design, solid build quality

  • +

    Easy to use once you get a hang of it

  • +

    Hot water dispenser is a nice touch

Cons

  • -

    Expensive and sizeable

  • -

    Slow to warm up

  • -

    Only includes a bottomless portafilter

  • -

    Steep learning curve

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Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: One-minute review

Confession: ever since testing the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+’s predecessor, the Diletta Bello, earlier this year, it’s been a struggle having to go back to my old French press and my cheap milk frother. 

It's not that a French press doesn't have its advantages – it lets you brew rich, full-bodied coffee and has the lowest carbon footprint of all coffee makers – but as one of the best espresso machines on the market, the Bello has truly made a convert out of me, compelling me to appreciate the beauty of an even slower coffee morning routine.

There’s a touch of romanticism that comes with the craft of espresso- and latte-making, from the tamping of the grounds in the portafilter to the turn of the lever to produce that robust double shot of espresso to the surprisingly tricky way you have to steam your milk so that it produces the perfect foam. All of that takes time, patience, and an unhurried pace, and starting my day with that felt like an addictingly cozy break from my usual mad dash of life.

Naturally, when, after months of pining for the Bello, Seattle Coffee Gear asked me to test the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+, I had to jump at the chance. After all, it’s basically the Bello on steroids – at least in terms of features. It comes with a PID controller that moonlights as a shot timer, and programmable pre-infusion, both of which are supposed to, as Seattle Coffee Gear claims, “give home baristas the tools they need for improved shot quality.” It also comes with an eco mode for faster heat-up times and an even bigger-capacity drip tray.

Of course, more features typically mean a higher price tag, and that’s also the case here, contributing to the Bello+'s lofty price point. This makes it harder to recommend to a lot of people, even the most passionate coffee enthusiasts. That’s especially because I don’t find the extra features particularly necessary for most people – not when the slightly more affordable Bello is already near-perfect without them.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: Price

  • List price: $1,899 (about £1,500, AU$2,800)
  • Unavailable outside the US

To be more specific, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ is $200 more than the Bello. Taking this manual espresso machine home means shelling out $1,899 (about £1,500, AU$2,800) of your hard-earned money, and while those with deep pockets might not bat an eye at that, most people will balk at having to spend that much just for a daily cup of coffee, no matter how smooth it is.

One thing to learn here though, if you’re an espresso machine novice, is that most top-quality espresso machines are going to be expensive. A handful of manual espresso machines from the likes of Breville and Delonghi are more than $1,000 / £1,000, and you’ll find a handful from other brands that are even pricier than the Bello+.

That doesn’t change the fact that the Bello+ is a luxury purchase, even for those who take their caffeine fix very seriously. And I’m just not completely convinced that it’s worth paying that extra $200 for all those additional features – at least not for most people who would want to jump on the manual espresso machine bandwagon.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+
Type of coffee maker:Manual espresso machine
Skill level:Intermediate
Programming:Steam boiler temperature, pre-infusion time
Brew time:13:30 (warm up)
Boiler volume:1.8L
Reservoir size:3L
Material:Stainless steel
Dimensions:11 x 17.75 x 14.5 inches (279 x 450.85 x 368 mm)

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: Design

  • Additional features missing from the Bello
  • Gorgeous, retro design and solid stainless steel build
  • Manual controls when brewing and steaming

Those extra features on the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ could be worth it for a handful of espresso enthusiasts, however. The PID controller does come in handy as it lets you do things like change your desired steam boiler temperature – note that the ideal brewing temp for espresso is around 194-205 degrees F (90-96 degrees C) – and adjust the pre-infusion time to up to 10 seconds (pre-infusion, to the uninitiated, is the process of soaking the tamped grounds in the portafilter before brewing to evenly extract coffee from the puck.) 

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

I’ll discuss those two features in detail later, but for now, just know that the PID controller is definitely useful if you really want to hone in on your daily dose/s of caffeine. It also lets you set things like turn on/off Standby Mode, set the Eco Mode Timer, change the Probe Sensor Height, and more. The PID display also moonlights as a shot timer, allowing you to monitor your brewing progress.

These are not available on the Diletta Bello, allowing it a more analog approach to espresso making, but the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ still offers the same manual controls for extraction, milk steaming, and hot water dispensing. There are now buttons for these. Both the steam wand and the hot water wand, located on either side of the group or brew head, work by turning their respective knobs. And for the group head start (and stop) brewing espresso, you have to lift (and lower) the brew lever yourself – not to mention monitor its progress.

Since I have experience with manual espresso machines, I prefer to simply look at the liquid pouring out and lower the lever when it “blonds” (turns light brown). However, you can use the Shot Timer on the PID display as well – although you still have to know how many seconds is ideal for your preferred brew, which takes some experimentation.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The Bello+ comes in three colorways, including black and white, with its case, frame, and boiler made of stainless steel. It’s just as robust and as beautiful as the Bello, with the same elegant retro look that makes it a classy addition to any kitchen, no matter your aesthetic. It also has a pressure gauge, which helps guide you when the machine is ready to brew, as well as a cup warmer on top next to the water tank opening so you can warm your cup up.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Unlike the Bello, however, the Bello+ comes with a larger drip tray so you don’t have to empty and clean it as often. During testing, I’ve only had to do so every 6-7 days, which means I don’t have to spend time I don’t have on weekdays to clean it out.

If you’re new to the world of manual espresso machines, the Bello+ can be intimidating. However, while it may take a bit of practice to get that perfect brew, it really won’t take you long to get comfortable with the controls. Plus, Diletta provides a quick start guide with the machine, which is all you need. Honestly, it’s all very simple, and pretty soon, it’ll start being fun to operate. 

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: Performance

  • Slow to reach thermal stability
  • Eco mode isn’t all the faster for heating up
  • Smooth results with pronounced crema, produces rich froth

If you’re not used to manual espresso machines and used to rushing through your morning coffee brewing, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ may be a bit of an adjustment for you. After you turn on the machine, you have to wait at least 13 minutes and 30 seconds for it to reach your set temperature and the boiler pressure gauge reads between 1 and 1.5 bars. That’s not counting the actual extraction process – not to mention the milk steaming if you want a latte or a cappuccino.

To put that in perspective, regular drip coffee machines take an average of about 5-10 minutes to finish brewing while it takes me about 6 minutes to brew my coffee in my French press. If your mornings are almost always a rush, I recommend turning this machine on first thing before showering, making your breakfast, or feeding your pets.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There’s a minor disadvantage, here, unfortunately. I’m not sure if it’s just my review unit – since Seattle Coffee Gear only has a handful of units available for media reviewers, my unit is not new out of the box, and it’s possible that I got a slightly imperfect unit – but I have found that there were a handful of times, even when my machine had reached the set temperature and the gauge needle was between 1 and 1.5 bars, when water still wasn’t hot enough for proper infusion. I often found that I had to give it a bit more time to warm up, and when I didn’t, my resulting espresso was not only relatively cool in temperature but also not as smooth or rich as it should be. It didn’t happen every single time, but it happened often enough. 

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The great news is that when the temperature is right, it produces rich and incredibly smooth espresso with a nice crema on top. Even non-coffee aficionados will notice the difference between coffee made from this and coffee made in a French press or with a drip coffee machine.

The steam wand also worked as expected, and it’s effective enough to produce thick foam even from oat milk, which is notoriously hard to froth. As is the case with the hot water wand, which is useful for making tea and such.

Eco mode is a fantastic feature as it lowers the machine’s power consumption when it’s still turned on but not in use but offers faster heat up times when you need another shot of espresso. While this is useful for energy-saving purposes, it still takes time to heat up – just a few minutes faster than when you’re turning the machine on for the first time. If you need a caffeine fix every couple of hours or so, it may be wise to turn this feature off.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The 3L water tank will last you quite a while – it usually takes me around a week to refill it, and that includes me running the group head to rinse grounds that are stuck to it. Although, if you do drink a lot more than one or two double shots of espresso a day, you naturally will go through the reserve faster.

Overall, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ is an impressive espresso machine that delivers delicious espresso shots or coffee drinks. And it's a fantastic appliance to have if you want a slower and more relaxing morning routine.

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+?

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ report card
AttributeNotesScore
ValueThis is an impressive piece of kit that many coffee drinkers may not be willing to splurge on.3.5 / 5
DesignWith an elegant, retro-looking design, a robust build, and a lot of features, this is a well-designed espresso machine.4.5 / 5
PerformanceIt takes time to heat up and sometimes, you have to wait a bit more before brewing, but it delivers rich, smooth results with a nice crema on top.4 / 5

Buy it if...

You want excellent coffee drinks or espresso shots
This espresso machine produces rich, smooth, delicious results, whether you just want espresso or prefer to make coffee drinks.

You want a slower morning routine
With its slower heat-up time and manual approach to brewing, this machine slows down your morning coffee routine considerably.

You have the money
This is an expensive machine with a price tag that not many people are willing to pay for. It's worth it, however, if you have deep pockets.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
If you're not willing to spend $1,500/£1,500 on an espresso machine, there are cheaper options that deliver great results.

You want to brew a big batch of coffee
If you need copious amounts of coffee, you might save a lot more time with a drip coffee machine.

You're always in a hurry in the morning
With its slow heat-up time, this may not be ideal if you're always in a rush in the mornings.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+: Also consider

If the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ is not for you, here a couple of options to consider.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta BelloBreville the Barista Express Impress
Price:$1,899 (about £1,500, AU$2,800)$1,699$899.95 / £729.95 / AU$1,199
Type of coffee maker:Manual espresso machineManual espresso machineAssisted manual espresso machine
Skill level:Intermediate Intermediate Beginners
Programming:Steam boiler temperature, pre-infusion timeNone 25 precision grind settings
Brew time:13:30 (warm up)13:30 (warm up)Not specified
Boiler volume:1.8L1.8LRow 5 - Cell 3
Reservoir size:3L 3L 2L
Material:Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Dimensions:11 x 17.75 x 14.5 inches (279 x 450.85 x 368 mm)11 x 17.75 x 14.5 inches (279 x 450.85 x 368 mm)12.9 x 14.9 x 16.1 inches (327 x 378 x 409 mm)
Image

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello
The espresso machine for true enthusiasts, it’s also accessible enough for those wanting to hone in on the skill who can afford a premium machine.

Read our full Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello review

Image

Breville the Barista Express Impress
Combining the ideal quantity of ground beans, the precise temperature, optimal water pressure and micro-foam, this makes it easy to achieve great-tasting coffee at home.

Read our full Breville the Barista Express Impress review

How I tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+

  • Tested daily for a month
  • Used both bottomless and double portafilters
  • Experimented with its basic and premium features

Testing the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ for a little over a month, I used the machine every day to make one or two coffee drinks a day. Lattes are my favorite coffee drinks, so I made a lot of those, with oat milk as my choice of cream.

I made espresso shots using both the bottomless and the double sprout portafilter Seattle Coffee Gear provided, and utilized the steam want often. I also made sure to test the machine's other features to see how useful they are to the espresso extraction process.

As an avid coffee drinker (and a bit of a coffee snob), I've owned, tested, and reviewed my share of coffee machines, from the drip types to the bean-to-cup models. I'm also the Interim Homes Editor here at TechRadar.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed February 2023
Michelle Rae Uy
Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor

Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.