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De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB review

An espresso machine with an integrated grinder and handy tools for mess-free coffee

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB on a kitchen countertop
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Verdict

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB is an easy-to-use espresso machine that creates smooth, rich coffee with a thick crema. It features an integrated bean grinder and built-in steam wand for texturizing milk and gives you manual or automatic control over brewing volume and temperature so you can feel like a real barista. It even includes some handy tools to reduce the mess created when filling and tamping coffee before brewing. However, it’s expensive and some components aren’t dishwasher safe.

Pros

  • +

    Produces smooth, rich espresso

  • +

    Integrated grinder

  • +

    Built-in steam wand

Cons

  • -

    Some dripping after espresso is poured

  • -

    Not suitable for use with pods

  • -

    Only some components are dishwasher safe

One-minute review

De'Longhi is a well-known name when it comes to coffee machines. Originating in Italy, the brand has been producing coffee makers since the 1990s and offers an array of models, including single-serve pod machines, automatic bean-to-cup machines and some of the best espresso machines.

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB is the brand’s latest espresso machine and the most compact in the La Specialista range. The built-in grinder, which blitzes coffee beans before brewing the espresso, offers eight different grind levels, as well as the ability to adjust how much ground coffee is dispensed into the portafilter. Freshly ground beans ensure that espresso brewed by the machine has a thick, fully formed crema that adds to the flavor of the coffee. 

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB can brew both single and double espresso – thanks to the two filter baskets it comes with – as well as a long black, which mixes espresso with hot water. It also features a built-in steam wand and a metal milk jug to texturize milk, or plant-based alternatives, for longer coffee-based drinks such as latte and cappuccino. 

For those that want to play barista but hate the clean-up, this espresso machine comes with a range of handy tools that can contain the mess. There’s a dosing and tamping guide, which sits on top of the portafilter while the ground coffee is dispensed, and a handy silicon mat that holds the portafilter level for tamping. 

At $699.99 / £549.99, the La Specialista Arte EC9155MB is one of the more expensive espresso machines we’ve tested, though this is understandable given the built-in bean grinder. For those who want a compact espresso machine with professional features, it’s worth the investment. 

De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB

(Image credit: TechRadar)

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB price and availability

  • List price: $699.99 / £549.99 / AU$749.99

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB will set you back $699.99 / £549.99 / AU$749.99 and is available direct from De’Longhi or through retailers including Amazon. It’s one of De’Longhi’s more expensive espresso machines, but that’s no surprise given the built-in grinder and premium accessories. 

For those on a tighter budget, consider the De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 which doesn’t have an integrated grinder or the ability to adjust the temperature of the brew, but is priced at the more wallet-friendly $349.95/ £199.99/ AU$399.

The side view of the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • Integrated bean grinder
  • Two filters
  • Built-in steam wand

As already mentioned, the EC9155MB is the most compact espresso machine in De’Longhi’s La Specialista range. It measures 14.37 x 15.87 x 11.22 inches / 28.5 x 36.5x 39.9cm. However, at 21.5lb / 10kg, it's pretty hefty so it’ll be a struggle if you plan to lift it out of a cupboard onto your countertop regularly. 

The removable 2.6 quart / 2.5 liter water tank sits at the rear of the machine, although there’s no water filter for those who live in areas where the water comprises high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium. The integrated bean grind, which can hold 0.55lb / 250g, sits on the top of the machine to the left. As we’ve mentioned already, it offers eight grind levels that can be adjusted using the slider below the bean hopper. 

On the front of the espresso machine you’ll find two dials, one to adjust the quantity of coffee grounds that’s dispensed and one to select the hot drink desired: espresso, long black (water mixed with espresso), and hot water. There are also controls for choosing a single or double shot, the temperature of the coffee, and for starting both the brewing process and steam from the steam wand. 

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB produces espresso using 15-bar pressure and comes with both a single and a double espresso basket for the portafilter. The baskets are 51mm in size, which is slightly smaller than the standard 58mm size. However, the single basket can still hold 12g of coffee, and the double basket accepts up to 20g, which is enough to make espresso to the accepted industry ratios of coffee to water. 

Also included is a dosing and tamping guide to reduce the amount of ground coffee spilled when filling the basket in the portafilter. There’s also a tamping stand that holds the portafilter level and a metal tamp to compact and level the coffee grounds before brewing begins. 

The espresso machine will accept cups up to 4.72 inches / 12cm tall and comes with a built-in steam wand and metal jug for texturizing dairy and plant-based milks for longer coffee-based drinks. Some of the components are dishwasher-safe, which makes for easy cleaning, but others need to be cleaned by hand. 

The tamp, tamping stand and dosing funnel that comes with the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Espresso is smooth with thick crema
  • Mess-free filling and tamping
  • Some dripping and splashing occurs

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB is simple to use and quick to make espresso, taking just 24 seconds to create both single and double shots of smooth, intense coffee. Both espresso’s were topped with a thick, rich crema that reformed when a teaspoon of sugar was sprinkled on top. We used the hottest temperature setting, which meant the espressos were delivered at a temperature of 74C / 165F. There are three temperature levels to choose from if you find this is too hot for your liking. 

Twin spouts enable the EC9155MB to pour two evenly sized drinks at once, and we found that two coffee cups comfortably fit side-by-side on the drip tray. However, we did find there was some slight splashing when the coffee was being poured. There’s an additional support that can be used to raise smaller cups closer to the spout too - although this will only fit one cup at a time.  

When it comes to the volume of coffee dispensed, the espresso machine will pour 35ml by default for a single espresso, and 70ml for a double espresso. However, these volumes can be customized from between 25ml and 90ml for single espressos and 50ml to 180ml for double espresso. The ratio of espresso to hot water in a long black can also be customized, as can the amount of hot water dispensed in one go. 

Our decibel meter registered 54dB while the La Specialista Arte EC9155MB was pouring an espresso, making it one of the quietest espresso machines we’ve tested, with the noise level equivalent to that of the gentle hum of a refrigerator. 

The steam wand took 45 seconds to produce a jug of hot, texturized milk with thick and velvety bubbles, at a temperature of around 55C / 131F. We found the wand just as effective for texturizing oat milk, too. 

The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB being used to brew espresso

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Should I buy the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB?

Buy it if...

You want an integrated bean grinder
This espresso machine builds on other De’Longhi models with a built-in coffee bean grinder to ensure you use fresh grounds when brewing espresso without having to worry about grinding them yourself. 

You hate mess
The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB comes with some handy tools that ensure mess is kept to a minimum. From the dosing and tamping guide that ensures there’s very little spillage when filling the portafilter, to a tamping stand that keeps the portafilter level when it's being compacted. These are ideal for those that don’t want to spend more time clearing up coffee grounds than brewing their coffee. 

You regularly make coffee-based drinks with milk
A built-in steam wand that can be engaged as soon as an espresso has been brewed makes the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB ideal for those who regularly make milk-based drinks. 

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget
At $699.99 / £549.99, this is one of the more expensive espresso machines we’ve tested. If your budget is tight, there are less premium options. 

You want to use coffee pods
Unlike some of De’Longhi’s other espresso machines, such as the Dedica Style EC685, this model isn’t compatible with coffee pods, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if that’s what you prefer. 

You want an easy-to-clean espresso machine
While some of the La Specialista Arte EC9155MB’s components are dishwasher safe, some aren't, such as the water tank, the portafilter and the baskets. If you’re looking for an easy-to-clean machine, this model isn’t the one.

First reviewed: December 2021

Carrie-Ann Skinner
Carrie-Ann Skinner

Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.