A robust, full-featured super-automatic that gets a lot right, but has a steep learning curve. It’s pricey, but great at what it does!
Recommended for: Anyone who can afford it.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the DeLonghi ECAM28465M PrimaDonna S De Luxe
- 1.1 Form Factor, Footprint, and Aesthetic
- 1.2 Reservoir Size
- 1.3 Water Filter
- 1.4 Integrated Grinder
- 1.5 Bean Hopper
- 1.6 Boiler System
- 1.7 Telescoping Coffee Spigot
- 1.8 A Variety of Specialty Coffee Drinks on Offer
- 1.9 Cup Warming Tray
- 1.10 Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
- 1.11 LED Display
- 1.12 Convenience Features
- 2 Pros & Cons of the DeLonghi PrimaDonna S Deluxe
- 3 DeLonghi PrimaDonna S Deluxe Review Conclusion
An Overview of the DeLonghi ECAM28465M PrimaDonna S De Luxe
Do you consider yourself to be a serious coffee aficionado?
Have you been looking for a robust super-automatic espresso machine that does all the hard work for you, allowing you to enjoy a wide-range of world-class specialty coffee drinks while taking full advantage of cutting-edge technology to automate most of the process?
If you answered yes to either, or both of those questions, then you’re going to love our detailed review of the DeLonghi ECAM28465M espresso maker.
This machine has a lot to offer, and has one or two shortcomings you should be aware of before making your final purchase decision. We’ll cover all that in the sections below!
Form Factor, Footprint, and Aesthetic
Two things jump right out at you when you first lay eyes on the ECAM 28465M. First, it’s a fairly large machine, measuring 9.4”x13.8"x17.5”, and weighing about 34 pounds.
These dimensions may make it too large for some kitchens. If you’ve got limited counter space, or low clearance between your countertop and the bottom of your kitchen cabinets, then you won’t have an easy time finding a good home for the machine.
The second thing you’ll note is how good the machine looks. It is gorgeous, dressed all in silver with a few black accents. The modern/slightly industrial styling won’t work in every home kitchen, but should fit right in with most.
This should come as no surprise – De'Longhi has won a number of design awards over the years, and they certainly know how to make a stylish machine, as the 28465M proudly demonstrates.
This may not be the most important feature in terms of making a great super-automatic, but it ranks fairly high, especially among power coffee drinkers, or people with large households.
In this regard, the DeLonghi ECAM28465M super automatic espresso machine really delivers, offering a two-liter reservoir! That’s more than 67 ounces of water, which is more than enough to satisfy even the most ravenous coffee appetite!
The reservoir has a water filter in it, which helps to minimize how often you’ll need to run the unit’s automated descaling program, and it’ll tell you both when the filter needs changing and when to descale.
While we appreciate both of these aspects, the reality is any unit that includes a built-in filtration system means that you’re on the hook for periodic filter replacement, which is an added expense you’ll need to factor in with your purchase.
Then there’s’ the fact that you can avoid problems with descaling by using distilled water, no filter needed.
It’s a good conical grinder, accessible from a hatch at the top of the unit, and features thirteen different grind settings, adjustable via a control knob next to the bean hopper.
With so many different grind settings to choose from, it gives you a tremendous amount of control over the consistency of the grounds, which is essential in terms of brewing a coffee creation that meshes with your individual tastes and preferences.
The bean hopper can hold 8.8 ounces or up to 250 grams of beans, which is just right around the average capacity of bean containers in superautomatic machines.
Depends on how much you plan to use the hopper, approximately 8.8 ounces of beans can make about 25 espresso shots. If you're a power drinker or have a large household of coffee drinkers, you may have to refill your hopper more often than usual. If you plan to use it as a
The DeLonghi ECAM28465M PrimaDonna features a double stainless steel-lined boiler with two thermoblock heating units, meaning they heat up fast, and maintain a precise, consistent temperature, which is exactly what you’d expect from a high-end unit.
If we have a quibble here, it’s that the boilers are only lined with stainless steel, and not solid. Given the price of the unit, we’d have expected more, but we’re quick to note that the savings they realized by making the design decision they did were put to good use, adding additional features.
The net result is, the boilers have stainless where it’s needed most, and we get more features. There’s no way you can fault De'Longhi for that!
One thing to note here is that if you watch the setup DVD that accompanies the device, and rush through the (rather complex) setup so you can enjoy your first coffee drink, you probably won’t be happy with the results. Q
On the default settings, neither the water or the milk get hot enough for most people’s liking. Fortunately, you can adjust the temperature, and find your personal sweet spot.
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
There’s not much to say here except that the double spout coffee spigot is height-adjustable and can accommodate most cup sizes up to 12 ounces, or allow you to brew a double shot of whatever you’re making.
This is a pretty standard feature implementation. There’s certainly nothing bad about it, but also, there’s nothing here that makes it stand out in any way.
A Variety of Specialty Coffee Drinks on Offer
You’d expect a top-end machine to offer a variety of specialty drinks, including several pre-programmed options, and the DeLonghi PrimaDonna ECAM 28465M doesn’t disappoint.
Patented Latte Crema System
If you’re a latte lover, you’ll appreciate De'Longhi’s patented latte technology, which is featured in this model, and allows you to create a world-class latte with the touch of a button. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that the DeLonghi 28465 has dedicated milk pitcher.
On many lower cost models (and more high dollar ones than we’d like), the solution you commonly see is a plastic suction tube you feed into a milk container.
This tube sucks the milk into the boiler, then dispenses it as froth. Unfortunately, it makes your expensive espresso maker look like a high school science project. You get a much more elegant solution in this model. The milk container fits into a slot in the machine, and the milk is fed directly into the boiler from there – no science project equipment needed.
Even better, while some models that feature an integrated frothing system like this produce less-than-stellar results, you’ll be thrilled with the output this model produces. Best of all, you can customize the amount of froth you get in any milk-based drink via three levels:
One-Touch Button and Custom Settings
This machine does a lot more than just lattes though. The 28465 can produce four different specialty drinks at the touch of a button, and even better, you can tweak the recipe to make it just the way you like it, then save those settings for immediate recall later. There is one limitation to that, however.
There’s only one memory slot per specialty drink. So, while one member of your family can save their preferred espresso settings, and another can save their preferred latte settings, two family members can’t both save their favorite latte settings – one will overwrite the other.
Given how cheap and ubiquitous memory is these days, we regard this as a real weakness of the design. It’s not something you’ll notice, or especially care about if you live alone, or if you’re the only coffee drinker in the house, but if you have a large household, populated with multiple coffee drinkers, this could really cramp your style.
Coffee Strength, Volume and Grind Settings
In any case, the machine comes with five different coffee strength settings:
In addition to that, you can adjust the amount of water per shot, and the grind settings as described above, so you can control the major factors that help to define the flavor of the drink you create.
Just keep in mind that although you can customize to your heart’s content, you can only save one modification, per specialty drink offered.
One of the best features of the patented milk frothing system is the fact that there’s no waste. The milk container can be removed from the unit and put in the fridge if you pour more than you need.
Also note that the steam wand is also capable of dispensing hot water, so you can use the machine to create hot chocolate as well.
Cup Warming Tray
At first glance, it may not appear that the DeLonghi PrimaDonna ECAM 28465M has a cup warming tray, it does!
Most such trays have a “guard rail” that helps keep your cups secure, while this model does not, which is why some people don’t realize that it’s present. You should know, however, that the top of the unit gets pretty hot, so be careful when you’re working with it so you don’t inadvertently burn your fingers!
Cup warming trays are a more important feature than you might realize, especially if you’re coming to the world of specialty coffee drinks from the “brew-by-the-pitcher” drip coffee machine world. The coffee you get from those machines tends to be much hotter than the coffee that espresso machines produce.
There are a couple of different reasons for this. First and foremost, specialty drinks were just meant to be served at a lower temperature. Second, because of differences in the way household power is delivered in Europe vs. in America, American users will often find that machines of European manufacture will struggle to heat properly.
The 28465 does better than most in this regard, but even at maximum temperature, the coffee you get may not be quite as hot as you’re used to, or quite as hot as you’d like. The cup warming tray can really make a big difference in this regard because if you dispense a specialty drink into a cold cup, it will lose a surprising amount of its heat.
Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
We are of two minds about this section. On the one hand, the 28465 is definitely not easy to use. It’s clear that the company took some steps to make it easier to master, including the addition of a “Startup DVD” to help walk you through the process of getting everything up and running. But even with that, there are a lot of hoops to jump through.
It’s not that you’ll need an advanced degree to get it working, but there’s definitely a learning curve here, and a lot to do. Having said that, once you do get the machine working, it has an automated cleaning routine that is quite thorough.
This is not to say that it’s entirely hands free – you’ll still want to clean the frothing mechanism after each use, for example—but by and large, if you’re good about running the built-in cleaning routines, you won’t have to do too much in the way of manual, routine maintenance, and that’s a plus.
One thing we wish the ECAM 28465 featured was a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display screen, rather than the little LED readout you get. We have two reasons for saying this: First, given the price of the unit, we’d expect every feature to be top-end, and a TFT display would qualify.
Second, it would make navigating the various menus you have to cycle through a lot simpler, which would help make the device easier to use. In our view, this was a missed opportunity by De'Longhi, and the reason this model earned a fairly low score in this category of our summary.
Even given these limitations, once you get everything set up, you’ll appreciate how many aspects of the machine’s day to day functions are automated. It’ll tell you when it needs to be cleaned, when the water level is getting low, and when you need to add more beans, and those are all good things!
The unit also offers a variety of convenience features and polishing touches like cup lighting that backlights the cup as it is being filled, and a stats button that allows you to track things like:
These aren’t crucial things to know, but they do add a sense of polish and refinement to the machine.
One aspect of cleaning the machine that can’t be automated is, of course, the drip tray. Fortunately, removing it is an exercise in simplicity, and cleanup is fast and easy.
Pros & Cons of the DeLonghi PrimaDonna S Deluxe
As you can see, based on our DeLonghi ECAM28465M review to this point, no matter how you look at it, the machine gets a lot right. It’s a robust, full-featured machine, and as you can see, based on our review to this point, it gets high marks in a lot of areas.
Having said that, the design does have a few weaknesses to be aware of. In our view, the biggest shortcomings are these:
DeLonghi PrimaDonna S Deluxe Review Conclusion
Even given the DeLonghi ECAM28465M espresso maker’s shortcomings, we highly recommend this machine. The learning curve won’t be as bad if you’re already fairly tech savvy, and if you’re not, be sure to avail yourself of the free phone support to get it working to your satisfaction.
You’ll pay a premium for this machine, but it produces a wide variety of completely custom specialty coffee drinks, and at the end of the day, isn’t that exactly what you want a super-automatic to do?
Note that this is one of De'Longhi’s older models, and has been discontinued. Given how many were produced, you can still easily find them for sale online, a condition that will probably remain true for quite some time.
Even better, given this, you may be able to pick one up at a significant discount as vendors try to move them out to make room for newer models. If you can, that removes one of the significant negatives of the model, making it an even better value!
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