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SAECO VS. DELONGHI AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES

Posted By > Consiglio's Kitchenware
30
Mar2017
Saeco vs. Delonghi Automatic Espresso Machines

“I’m interested in an espresso machine - what do you recommend?”

Of all of the questions we receive here at Consiglio’s, this has to be the most common. And, understandably so - between Saeco, Jura, Delonghi and Gaggia there are many options to choose from, with each having their own advantages and differences. Previously, we delved deep into comparing the Saeco vs. Jura automatic espresso machines. This week, we tackle Saeco vs. Delonghi!

Differentiating the Saeco vs. Jura machines can be pretty easy, largely due to their vast difference in price point. Saeco vs. Delonghi, however, can be much more difficult as they are much closer in price, and have much in common - making the small differences between Saeco vs. Delonghi all the more important!

Saeco vs. Delonghi Automatic Espresso Machines

Comparing the Saeco vs. Delonghi espresso machines begins by taking a look at their backstories. Saeco was founded in 1981, and proceeded to launch the first domestic automatic espresso machine several years later in 1985.

In 1999 Saeco bought Gaggia, the historic Italian espresso machine brand. 10 years later, the entire Saeco brand was bought by electronics powerhouse Philips.

Fun Fact: the Saeco brand gets its unique name from its founders, Sergio Zappella and Arthur Schmed - Sergio, Arthur e Compagnia = SAeCo.

Delonghi entered the realm of automatic espresso machines in 1990, and have spent the last 27 years innovating and inspiring technical advancement, focusing primarily on espresso machine technology and consumer needs and satisfaction.

While Saeco has moved towards manufacturing many of their machines in Romania, Delonghi machines are still predominantly made in Italy.

Fun Fact: the Nepresso pod technology was developed in partnership with Delonghi.

Saeco vs. Delonghi: Similarities:

Saeco and Delonghi espresso machines share many similarities - like most automatic espresso machines available on the market, both Saeco and Delonghi have integrated burr grinders, with many models featuring a bypass doser for pre-ground espresso. Both Saeco and DeLonghi also use similar display symbols (ex. Small bean-shaped graphics to indicate beverage strength), and work along the same basic principles - you put the beans in the grinder at the top of the machine, fill the water tank, and push a button (or series of buttons), and voila! An excellent espresso beverage dispenses directly into your cup with minimal effort.

These similarities are admittedly pretty basic, but important - if you’re familiar with using a Saeco machine, it will be easy and intuitive to transition to using a Delonghi (and vice versa).  

The similarities between the Saeco and Delonghi machines means the differences between the two really come down to the smaller (yet hugely important) details: beverage quality, ease of use, and value.

Below, we’ll highlight the Pros and Cons of each the Saeco and Delonghi machine, and then compare how the two ultimately stack up against each other.

Click here to jump directly to a direct product comparison of the Saeco Moltio Carafe and Delonghi Perfecta.

 



Delonghi Automatic Espresso Machine Pros and Cons

 

Delonghi offers a range of automatic espresso machines, offering manual milk frothing, automatic milk frothing, and in some cases both (an increasingly rare feature). Across the Delonghi espresso machines we carry (the Delonghi Digital Super Automatic ECAM 25.462.S, the Magnificas ECAM 23.120.SB, the Perfecta ESAM 5500.M and PrimaDonna S Deluxe ECAM 28.465.M), we’ve noticed a couple key features that really make the Delonghi brand stand out from competing models.

Delonghi Pros:

Beverage Temperature: The first time I used a Delonghi espresso machine I was immediately taken aback by the temperature of the espresso it produced - it was HOT! Beautifully, piping hot. While most machines produce a decently hot espresso, the temperature typically quickly fades away - but not with Delonghi. Now, if you’re just making a quick shot of espresso you’ll be consuming right away, this might not be too big of a concern. But, where it really starts to stand out is for longer drinks, Americanos and milk-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

I typically begin my work day with a cappuccino and have grown accustomed to having to pre-warm my cup before brewing to ensure having a hot drink by the time I get back to my desk (and even then occasionally risk a somewhat tepid beverage). With the Delonghi machine we have on display (the Perfecta ESAM 5500.M), there’s no need - I can brew straight into a room temperature (or even cold) cup, get caught up on the phone with a customer, and STILL get back to my desk with a gloriously hot drink.

Delonghi’s high brewing temperature also stands out for those that prefer longer beverages or North American style coffee - you can brew your long drink and it will be hot enough that you can toss in some cream or milk from the fridge without dropping your drink into that grey zone between “warm” and “hottish”.

Beverage Strength: After the brew temperature, the first thing my colleagues and I noticed was the strength of the espresso made by the Delonghi machines. Typically at work I’ll max out the brew strength for my espresso and Americanos - the first time I did this with the Delonghi machine, it nearly knocked my socks off! Not only do the DeLonghi machines offer a greater range of strength customization, they also make an overall stronger final product.

Double Beverages: Unlike Saeco espresso machines (which use two separate, back-to-back grind and brew cycles to make double beverages), Delonghi espresso machines have a built-in double portafilter allowing them to brew two drinks (or a double) at once, making the process easier and faster.

Pro tip: Use Delonghi’s double beverage feature to make fast and easy Americanos (similar to North American size coffee) - set your cup under the dispensing spout, select the longest beverage option, and hit the double brew icon.

Customizable Beverage Options: Though they use a push-button control system and fairly simple display interface, Delonghi espresso machines offer a great deal of beverage customization. With five strength options, four volume options and the single/double brew option, Delonghi machines make it fast and easy to customize your drink selection without having to navigate a complicated menu or having to program the machine. This really stands out in a setting where multiple people are using the machine - for example, with the Delonghi Perfecta we have on display, my coworkers and I can all get exactly the drink we want, when we want it. A single short regular-strength shot of espresso, followed by a double long Americano followed by a mild small cappuccino can all be made in rapid succession at just the push of a button straight from the machine’s main interface.  

Warranty: Most automatic espresso machines offer a standard one year manufacturer’s warranty that excludes shipping - meaning if you don’t live near a service center, you’ll have to pay to ship your machine in for repairs under warranty. Delonghi gives you two years, AND covers the shipping.  

Value: OTC (One Touch Cappuccino) Machines available at lower price point than other brands.

The Delonghi line of automatic espresso machines offers great value, especially in the price point where they introduce their OTC (One Touch Cappuccino) functionality. Saeco introduces this capability at $1499.99 for the Minute Carafe, and $1799.99 for the Pico Baristo OTC - Delonghi offers automated milk frothing on the Perfecta at $1299.99.

Pro tip: Delonghi machines must be completely powered down before removing the brew unit. This is particularly important for those who might be used to Saeco machines, where the brew unit can be removed when the machine is either on or off.

Delonghi Cons:

Model naming system: This is not a reflection on the Delonghi machines themselves, but rather on Delonghi’s system for naming and differentiating machines. While Saeco, Gaggia, Jura and Breville all give each model a specific name - and, in the case of Jura a style name AND model name (ex. Jura Impressa E8) - Delonghi uses a more complicated system often involving a series of letters and numbers.

Though this has no impact whatsoever on the machines, it can make it tricky (if not downright frustrating) to distinguish the machines. The plus-side is, unless you are working with or writing about the machines and the line, this only really comes up when researching the differences between the available models. Thankfully, there is also an easy solution: if you’re having trouble comparing and researching the Delonghi machines, send us an email (info@consiglioskitchenware.com), or give us a call - knowing and navigating the machines is our job, and we’d be happy to give you a hand.

Saeco Automatic Espresso Machine Pros and Cons

 

Saeco Pros:

Familiarity: Most who have owned an automatic espresso machine before have owned a Saeco - prior to being bought-out by Philips, Saeco was the cutting-edge for Italian made automatic espresso machines, meaning that if you’ve owned one before, it was likely a Saeco. Though Saeco’s changed the aesthetic of their design, where the machines are manufactured and have upgraded many of their display interfaces, their basic use and function largely remain the same - meaning that if you’re used to a Saeco machine, a new machine will work along very similar principles in terms of controls, beverage options and maintenance.

Size: While many of the Saeco machines are similar in size to the Delonghi, they do offer the X-Small, a compact machine for those needing to optimize valuable kitchen counter real estate. That said, those looking for a smaller machine would do well to check out the Gaggia Brera - a small, compact machine perfect for small spaces. You can read our review of the Gaggia Brera here.

Entry Level Models: One area where the Saeco line really shines is it’s range of entry-level machines for those who are shopping on a budget. Between the Saeco X-Small and the Minuto Pure Saeco offers a couple great options at a fairly low price point.

Saeco Cons:

Saeco espresso machines have long been the standard in the domestic market - and, for good reason: they are reliable, make good espresso and are easy to use. When comparing Saeco vs. Delonghi what really stands out is not that there is anything bad with the Saeco line, it's just that Delonghi often does the same thing, just better. Delonghi offers more options, drinks that are stronger and hotter, with better warranty coverage at a better price.

Beverage Temperature: While Saeco makes a tasty espresso, when comared side-by-side with the Delonghi it becomes quite obvious that the Delonghi is much hotter. 

 

Saeco Moltio Carafe vs. DeLonghi Perfecta ESAM 5500.M



     

Saeco Moltio Carafe ($1499.99)*


Technical Specs:


  • Dimensions:  25.6 cm x 47 cm x 35 cm
  • Power: 1850W
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Frequency: 50Hz
  • Cord length: 80 cm
  • Maximum Cup Height: 142mm
  • Water Tank: 1.9L
  • Milk Carafe: 0.5L
  • Bean Capacity: 290g
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Made in Italy

DeLonghi Perfecta ESAM 5500.M ($1299.99)*

Technical Specs:


  • Dimensions: 28.4cm x 44 cm x 38 cm
  • Weight: 11.5 kg (25.3 lbs)
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 250 grams
  • Water Tank: 1.75L, removable
  • Pump pressure: 15 bar
  • Voltage: 110-120V
  • Power: 1350W
  • Maximum cup height: 12cm
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Made in Italy

Notable Features:


Exchangeable Bean Container: The Saeco Moltio Line offers the unique ability to remove and switch-out the bean container, giving the ability to switch between two types of beans quickly and easily. This can be great for households with two user who have vastly different espresso preferences, or for those that enjoy different types of espresso beans for different drinks (ex: stronger, more intense beans for milk-based beverages)


Rapid Steam Technology: The Moltio Carafe has a single boiler. While this typically means a longer transition time between brewing and steaming/frothing, Saeco cuts this time with its Rapid Steam technology.


OTC (One Touch Cappuccino): The Moltiio Carafe offers cappucinos and lattes at the touch of a button.



 

Notable Features:


OTC: One-touch milk frothing technology for automatic cappucino, latte, and Italian macchiato bevereages at the touch of a button. The Perfecta milk system features an integrated cleaning button for easy, hassle-free maintenance. After use, the milk carafe can be removed for convenient storage in the refrigerator.


Programmable auto-on function: ensures the machine is on and ready whenever you are!


Double Boiler: The Perfecta ESAM 5500.M features a double boiler system to ensure a seamless switch between brewing and frothing, drastically reducing the wait time for milk beverage preparation.



 *Pricing shown reflects price point at the time this article was published. Prices are subject to change

Compared side-by-side, it’s easy to see the similarities between Saeco and Delonghi - the machines are close in size and offer a similar range of beverage options. The notable differences between the two are the Delonghi’s double boiler, which allows for switching between brewing and steaming almost instantly.  



Saeco vs. Delonghi Rating:

So, how do the similarities and differences between the Saeco and Delonghi stack up when ranked side-by-side?

 

Saeco

Delonghi

Control Interface:

6.5

8

Brew Strength:

7

9

Beverage Temperature:

7

10

Dimensions/ Size:

8

8

OTC/Milk Frothing:

8

8

Value:

8

9

Warranty:

7

10

Quality:

9

9

Aesthetic:

8

8

Ease of Use:

7

8

Total:

75.5/100

87/100

 Breaking down the Saeco vs. Delonghi machines side-by-side, we see the ways in which they really are quite similar. Where Delonghi really comes out on top is temperature, beverage strength, value, and warranty - small points when taken individually, but when combined put Delonghi espresso machines ahead of Saeco by a sizable margin. 

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