In a Nutshell:

The De’Longhi La Specialista espresso machine is an amazing, top-of-the-line Italian import, offered by one of the most respected companies in the business. Recommended for: Anyone with a serious coffee habit looking for a convenient at-home fix. IF you can afford it.

Brew Quality
Reservoir Size
Customization options
Ease of Use

Overall Rating



  • Value for Money
  • Hands-On Experience
  • Impressive Reservoir Size
  • Double Boiler


  • Small Bean Hopper
  • Limited Grinder Settings
  • Placement Challenges
DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine

Recommended For: Anyone with a serious coffee habit, looking for a convenient at-home fix. IF you can afford it.

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Do you love a great cup of coffee? Have you long dreamed of being able to replicate the specialty coffee shop experience from the comfort of home? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then our Delonghi La Specialista review is going to pique your interest and make you smile. 

De’Longhi is one of the legends in the home espresso machine industry and possibly the most respected company selling these types of machines today. They make consistently great products, and the La Specialista espresso machine is an excellent example of their work.

Specialty coffee makers tend to be a little on the pricey side. In fact, a top-end model can set you back several thousand dollars. 

The EC9335M isn’t one of those. An entry-level machine, it’s less expensive than you might imagine. And although it has limitations stemming from the corners the company had to cut to keep the price relatively low, it’s got the basics well covered and definitely belongs on your shortlist of options to consider.

In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything this great little model has to offer, and we won’t pull any punches when it comes to describing its limitations (and it has some). That way, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if this is the right machine for you. Sound good? Read on, and let’s take a closer look!

An Overview of the De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine

Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic

De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with stainless-steel case and black highlights

First impressions matter, and the DeLonghi EC9335M makes a good one with its stainless-steel body and black highlights. At first, and even second glance, it looks a lot like the big fancy machines they’ve got in your favorite coffee bar. Smaller, of course, and with fewer bells and whistles, but the overall aesthetic is the same, and that’s pretty cool.

While it’s not the most enormous machine on the market, it does have a decent-sized footprint with overall dimensions of 15.6” L x 13.8” W x 17.7” H and weighing in at 29.76 pounds.

If you’ve got a smaller kitchen with limited counter space, it may be difficult to find a permanent home for this unit. A lot of that depends on exactly how much space there is between your countertop and your overhead cabinets. With the bean hopper sitting atop the unit, it may not fit in the space you’ve got.

Even if it does, you’ll almost certainly have to pull it out every time you’re in need of a refill.

That’s not the end of the world, but it is a bit heavier than many other entry-level models because De’Longhi didn’t skimp on the exterior. Where most entry-level machines make heavy use of plastic, this one is constructed with stainless steel. Granted, the plates are thin, but it’s stainless steel, and that’s awesome.

Reservoir Size

Parts of the DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine

This is a strong component of our Delonghi La Specialista review. The reservoir is impressively sized, with a capacity of 67.6 ounces. Because we drink insane amounts of coffee, we’d love it if this model could support a dedicated water line. But the truth is that there are only a handful of machines on the market today that do, so it’s no real surprise that this one doesn’t.

Even so, the capacity is excellent, and it means that even if you live in a busy household with lots of coffee drinkers, you won’t have to refill the reservoir as often as you would on a great many other models. Even better, this one features a warning light on the front face of the machine, so when the tank gets low, you’ll get a clear indicator.

One thing to note here, however, is that access to the reservoir is via the back of the machine.

Given the layout and design, it’s really hard to see how De’Longhi could have done it any other way, but that is a bit inconvenient given that this unit is a bit heavier than most of its peers.

You’re virtually guaranteed to have to pull the unit out any time you want to refill the tank.

Integrated Grinder & a Smallish Bean Hopper

DeLonghi EC9335M with its bean hopper filled with beans and two cups of coffee under the machine's spigot

Unfortunately, this section is a bit of a disappointment in our view and a relatively weak point in our Delonghi La Specialista review.

The capacity of the bean hopper is 8.8 ounces, which is a bit on the small side in our view. The hopper, though, isn’t the real point of weakness here; it’s the grinder.

Where grinders are concerned, there are two options: stainless steel burrs or ceramic burrs. The grinder here is a conical burr design, and the burrs are crafted from stainless steel.

The problem here is that stainless steel heats up when you use it. Too much heat can burn your freshly ground beans, which will ruin the flavor of whatever drink you’re making. Ceramic burrs are more expensive, but they have the advantage of not heating up as you use them.

The grinder isn’t awful, but the fact that it is stainless steel does mean that you’ll want to be sure to let it cool down completely between uses.

The other issue is that the grinder only has six settings. Although there’s no formal standard where the number of grind settings is concerned, six is about average. The thing is, it’s not (at all) difficult to find a machine with a built-in grinder that has ten or even twelve settings. More options mean more control, so we regard this as a genuine point of weakness in the design.

Is it a deal-breaking flaw? Absolutely not, but it is a limitation to keep very much in mind.

The Boiler System

If you’ve read other DeLonghi EC9335M reviews, you may have heard that this is a double boiler machine.

It isn’t, but we understand where the confusion arises. It has two heating elements—one Thermoblock to heat water for brewing shots and a separate heating element for milk.

The difference is that if this was a true double boiler machine, you could pull a shot and steam milk at the same time. You can’t with this machine, but the presence of the two heating elements minimizes the time you’ll wind up waiting to adjust the temp as you shift from one task to another.

The Thermoblock used to heat water for pulling shots has a temperature range that spans 190-205 degrees and can be semi-precisely controlled via buttons on the front face of the machine.

It’s a decent middle ground, reducing your wait time without adding the expense of a second boiler, and that helps keep the price of this unit on the low side.

The Coffee Spigot

La Specialista coffee machine with a white cup under its spigot and label of the height between the spigot and drip tray

The DeLonghi La Specialista espresso machine EC9335M utilizes a 51mm portafilter. To make a coffee drink with this unit, you put beans in the hopper at the top, select your preferred grind setting and install the portafilter.

The ground beans drop into the portafilter, and then, in a fabulous bit of engineering, rather than removing the portafilter to tamp the grounds down into a firm puck, the tamper is built into the machine. Simply give the lever on the left side of the machine two or three pulls, and the tamping is done for you—no muss, no fuss!

Note that you still have to remove the portafilter, but only to transfer it over to the brewing side and to check to make sure the level is correct, but there’s a minimal chance of any spillage at that point.

The height of the portafilter is such that it will accommodate cups up to 4.7” high, which is decent but not great. If you’re a power drinker and use one of those ginormous coffee cups, it definitely won’t fit under the spigot, which means that you’ll have to brew into a smaller cup and transfer. 

Once more, this is not the end of the world but is another wrinkle and potential annoyance to consider.

Note too that although the spigot doesn’t adjust for height, the machine has a built-in little tray you can pull down if you’re brewing a shot into an espresso cup, which is also pretty cool.

The Brew Unit and Control System

DeLonghi La Specialista EC9335m with two cups of coffee under its spigot and a glass of coffee to its right side

The big thing to keep in mind here is that this is not a superautomatic machine. If you’re looking for one-touch coffee creation, then this isn’t the unit you want. 

You will have to do some hands-on stuff here— like shifting the portafilter between the grind and brew side—and you’ll need to invest in a “knock box” to put your used pucks in once you’ve made your drink of choice. 

You’ll probably also want to give the brew unit a rinse after each drink and clean out your portafilter to get it ready for its next use. These are small details and not terribly time-consuming, but if you buy this unit with the expectation that your drinks will be ready with push-button convenience, you will be disappointed.

As to the control system itself, the Specialista coffee machine takes a decidedly old-school approach.

Rather than fancy, expensive LCD screens, you get dials, gauges, and simple buttons. If you want high-tech, you can get that, but probably not at this price point. You’ll almost certainly wind up spending a little more.

In terms of what you can make with this model, the simple truth is that you can make just about anything you can imagine, but if we stick to the list offered by De’Longhi, then this machine offers:

  • Latte Macchiato
  • Hot Milk
  • Cappuccino
  • Latte
  • Flat White
  • Espresso
  • Coffee
  • And Hot Water

That’s a pretty decent assortment for a machine that will set you back less than a thousand bucks, and it’s got the basics well covered. If you see a couple of your favorites on the list above, you’ll probably love this model.

If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options at this price point, and it won’t be difficult to find one that’s capable of making your preferred drink.

The Milk Frothing System

Pitcher with milk under the steam wand of DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine

In the specialty coffee ecosystem, there are basically two options when it comes to milk frothing: an auto-frother or a steam wand. The DeLonghi La Specialista EC9335M uses a steam wand, which can be set to either flat milk or foam.

Using a steam wand is one part skill and one part art. It takes practice to get good at it. This is another element that may put some people off, and again, if you’re looking for added convenience, then you’re probably going to prefer the auto frother approach. 

If you like the notion of handcrafting your drinks, then the wand is going to be right up your alley. And assuming that’s the case, we’ll include a link that will help you get started making fantastic-looking latte art. There are no right answers here; it comes down to what your personal preferences are.

Easy to Use and Easy to Clean

One of the advantages of a superautomatic machine with an LCD screen and lots of high-tech flourishes is the fact that those machines tell you when it’s time to perform various cleaning duties and, in many cases, even perform a lot of the maintenance for you.

That’s not what you get in a machine like this. It’s more hands-on on the cleaning front as well, which means that keeping the unit clean and ready to bring the magic will be a bit more time-consuming. Even so, it’s not much of a burden, and if you follow the cleaning instructions outlined in the manual, you won’t have any real issues.


Extra parts of the La Specialista Coffee Machine

You’re not just getting the coffee machine itself if you buy a La Specialista. It also comes with a milk pitcher, a bottle of descaling solution, and a cleaning brush. As we mentioned earlier, about the only thing you’ll need to purchase is a knock box, but you can improvise one of those in the short run.

On top of that, most of the products that De’Longhi sells come with a 2-year warranty, and this one is no exception. The fact that many of their competitors only offer one year speaks volumes about this model’s quality.

Pros & Cons of DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine

For the money, this De’Longhi La Specialista is a really good machine, but it’s also almost entirely self-selecting. You either want a hands-on experience when making your favorite coffee drinks, or you want one-touch convenience.

Most of the weak points in the design are consequences of design decisions aimed at keeping the price low and building a machine that’s more hands-on.

We like just about everything about this model. So rather than rehash its best features, which we spent a lot of time on over the course of this review, let’s just review a couple of its weak points that might give some prospective buyers pause:

The bean hopper is a bit on the small side if you’re a power drinker. Casual coffee drinkers won’t have an issue with it.

In a similar vein, the grinder only has six settings and utilizes stainless steel burrs. Ceramic is better, but you can work around the issue either by investing in a standalone grinder or by giving the grinder plenty of time to cool down between uses.

And the water tank being at the back of the machine and its overall height might prove to be challenging if you’re planning to store the unit under your kitchen cabinets.

By and large, though, these are minor complaints. Nits, really, in the grand scheme of things. In our view, the numerous positive aspects of this model far outweigh these largely minor complaints.

Other Options to Consider

If, for any reason, the DeLonghi La Specialista EC9335M isn’t the machine you’re looking for, here are a couple of other options you may want to consider:

This model is the big brother of the product we just reviewed. It’s more expensive, yes, but it offers more of everything. If you’ve got a bit of extra money in your budget and you’re looking for a machine similar to the model we just reviewed but with even more of the “stuff” you liked about the model above, then this is the model you want.

Note that it’s in the same product family so the two machines have a similar aesthetic, but here you get a better and more capable grinder (eight settings in all), more customizable drinks, and both an auto frother and a steam wand, so you can use it your way, any time you like. It’s awesome.

De’Longhi ECAM35075SI Dinamica Espresso Machine

Recommended For: Users looking for a good-priced automatic espresso machine.

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De’Longhi is a legendary company in the specialty coffee maker industry, and this is a superb model, both well-priced and sporting a slightly more capable grinder with 18 different drink recipes on offer. It will also save you some money, so if you can’t afford the Xelsis, this is a fantastic alternative to consider.

Philips 4300 Fully Automatic

This is a fantastic superautomatic so if, after reading the review above, you decide you’re looking for a more hands-off approach, this is a great option to consider. Philips isn’t quite as big a name in the industry as De’Longhi, but they’re every bit as well respected and almost all of their products offer tremendous value for money.

With eight one-touch drinks on offer, a TFT display, and an auto frother, this model makes enjoying your favorite coffee drinks about as simple as it gets.

DeLonghi La Specialista Review Conclusion

We’d close our DeLonghi La Specialista review by saying that if you’re a fan of specialty coffee, and you love the idea of playing an active role in hand-crafting each drink you enjoy, then you’re going to love the La Specialista coffee machine. If you’re more interested in one-touch convenience, then this model is going to leave you underwhelmed.

It offers tremendous value for money, though, and we absolutely recommend it. If you decide to get one of these, it will serve you very well indeed.

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