Home Tech Review: De’Longhi La Specialista Arte Evo Cold Brew Espresso Machine

Review: De’Longhi La Specialista Arte Evo Cold Brew Espresso Machine

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Close up view of the buttons and gauge of a silver home espresso machine

counter space In my kitchen it is a rare commodity. It’s valuable real estate and every square inch matters. So when a new espresso machine arrives at my door, I always have to play a high-stakes game of countertop appliance Tetris to figure out how everything will fit together, or who needs to be banished to a closet. When De’Longhi Specialista Arte Evo arrived in my kitchen, he was ready to make difficult decisions.

From the size of the box, I was sure the rice cooker or food processor would have to be banished. However, when I took the De’Longhi out of the box from it, my appliances breathed a sigh of relief. This is a svelte espresso machine and fits perfectly without sending any of my favorite appliances to a pantry gulag. Things got off to a good start and only got better, for the most part.

Thin and consistent

The first few shots I get out of any espresso machine will usually require some tinkering. When an espresso machine has an internal burr grinder, that’s another thing I have to adjust from scratch. On the second shot, I was happy with what I was getting from the Specialista.

The espresso was poured into the cup in two streams of luxurious golden caramel-colored liquid, and the crema pooled on top in an even layer. I changed the settings and took more test shots to see how it performed with different consistencies and grind amounts for testing purposes, but on that second shot, I knew I had found the sweet spot.

Photography: Jaina Gray

Something I always like about De’Longhi espresso makers is their knobs. Many different models from the company across the price spectrum have really good knobs. The ones here are a joy to use. They are raised from the surface of the control panel and the outer face has the characteristic concentric circles of machined steel; The sides are adorned with textured metallic details. One controls the amount of coffee to be ground and the other alternates between brewing modes.

When you turn the grind knob, there is a bit of resistance, just enough that you feel like you have very fine control. The mode knob has a satisfying click when changing from one mode to another. How much you enjoy using a device is important, and these small details make the Specialista Arte Evo feel Good to use.

The Specialista Arte Evo is a delightfully narrow 11.2 inches, which saves quite a bit of space on my counter, especially since it replaces two appliances, an espresso machine and a coffee grinder. There are smaller espresso machines (the new KitchenAid semi-automatic espresso machine is almost as narrow as the Specialista), but most of those with a built-in grinder are a little wider.

Photography: Jaina Gray

Some assembly required

The Specialista’s built-in conical burr grinder can grind coffee fine enough for espresso and coarse enough for drip or other brewing methods, making it capable of replacing a stand-alone grinder. However, there is a small peculiarity. The portafilter cannot be placed under the grinder unless you attach the “grinding and tamping guide”. This component is a short plastic cylinder that attaches to the portafilter to guide the grounds directly into the basket and help direct the tamper toward the grounds.

Is rare. The guide doesn’t feel as high quality as other Specialista parts, almost like cheap 3D printed plastic. If you try to place the portafilter under the grinder without the guide, you will have to hold it there the entire time and the grinder will probably spill some grounds into the drip tray. It appears that the grinding and tamping guide was added as a solution to the grounds spillage problem.

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