DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna Exclusive
A stunning, elegant design, filled with features you’ll love, and incredibly easy to use. On the pricey side, but delivering tremendous value for the money.
Recommended for: Anyone who can afford one. This is what a super-automatic should be.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Delonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna
- 2 Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
- 3 Pros & Cons of the DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna
- 4 DeLonghi Primadonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 Review Conclusion
Do you long for the ability to brew custom coffee magic without having to learn to be a barista?
Have you been looking for a super-automatic espresso maker that can deliver the coffee shop experience from the comfort of home, any time you feel the urge?
If those questions describe you, then you’re going to love our detailed DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 Review. While it’s true that it’s on the expensive side, and we had a couple of very minor gripes with the machine, this device is flat-out amazing.
We don’t regard it as absolute perfection, but it delivers extraordinary value for the money. And for the coffee aficionado who’s looking for convenience, this model is a great choice.
In the sections that follow, we’ll outline everything it does (and the few things it doesn’t do) in detail, and in the end, we think you’ll like it as much as we do.
Let’s dive right in and see what it has to offer!
An Overview of the Delonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna
The DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M is clearly a close cousin of the ECAM28465M. They boast a similar footprint, are both manufactured in Europe (Poland), and have a similar set of features. This model manages to be both less expensive, while boasting some impressive upgrades. But in places, the designers were forced to make strategic sacrifices to make that happen.
Form Factor, Footprint and Aesthetic
The DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna is a sizeable machine, with dimensions of 11” x 16.7” x 15.6”, and weighing in at 31 pounds. As such, if you are short on countertop space, or have very low counter to cabinet clearance, you may struggle to find a good place to put it.
Having said that, it’s an extremely attractive device, shedding some of the ECAM28465’s brushed silver for a more even mix of silver and black. More of this model is constructed with sturdy ABS plastic than the ECAM, which accounts for some of the cost difference between the two models, but it’s European styling and modern appearance gives it an attractive look that will fit well with most home kitchens.
If you’re a power coffee drinker, used to consuming coffee by the pot, or if you have a large household with multiple coffee drinkers, then you know the value of a large water reservoir. It’s inconvenient and annoying to have to refill it every time you turn around.
While the DeLonghi One Touch ESAM 6900 does fairly well in this regard, boasting a 47-ounce reservoir, it’s hardly best in class, and significantly smaller than the water tank on some other models. The PrimaDonna ECAM28465 has a 67-ounce reservoir despite it being cheaper and smaller in size.
It’s large enough that it’s not likely to be a deal breaker, but in our view, more water is always better, so we did deduct a fraction of a point from our ranking in this category, regarding this as a slightly above average feature implementation.
As an added bonus, the water tank is front-loading, which is very convenient, because you won’t have to wrestle the machine around to get to the back when it’s time to refill it.
Note that the reservoir also has a water softening filter built into it. We understand why some models do this, but honestly, we’re on the fence about it. On the one hand, it’s undeniably convenient, and using the filter means that you won’t have to descale your machine as often, which is a plus.
On the other, it also means you’ve got to factor the periodic purchase of additional filters into the price of the unit over the long term, which raises its total cost, and we’re not fond of that, especially when you can simply use distilled water in your machine and reduce the need to descale, no filter needed.
In any case, it’s something that some people like, and we didn’t feel it warranted a point deduction, but we wanted to draw your attention to it so you could factor it into your thinking.
The DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 M espresso machine uses the same 13-setting conical burr grinder you find in the ECAM28465. While it’s possible to find models offering more grind settings, 13 is sufficient for the overwhelming majority of the coffee drinkers out there, and gives you plenty of room to customize your brew.
The bean hopper is also similar to the ECAM 28465M, holding about a half pound of grounds, allowing you to create at least 12 double shots or 25 single espresso shots.
This model also features a bypass doser that allows you to use pre-ground coffee, which is great if you’re working through your stash of store-bought grounds, or if you’re just looking for a quick cup of something in the evenings and don’t want to take the extra time.
Final note on this front, and this is true of just about every super-automatic on the market today. They don’t do well with oily beans! For best result, you a good, Medium Roast, and you’ll be fine – and your machine will last longer and your grinder won’t get clogged very often!
As with many machines that De'Longhi makes, the DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna Exclusive features a double boiler system, which allows you to simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk. This is not only extremely convenient, but it’s a time saver too, because you don’t have to wait, as you would on a machine which sported only a single boiler, for the temperature to adjust between brewing coffee and steaming milk.
Both boilers use Thermoblock technology, which is the current industry standard. They heat up quickly and the temperature can be precisely controlled, which is exactly what you’d expect in a high-end unit like this.
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
A quite common feature on super-automatics, it should come as no surprise at all that the ESAM 6900 offers a telescoping spigot that allows you to modify its position based on the size of the cup you’re using. A small thing, but very handy!
Our DeLonghi ESAM 6900 PrimaDonna Exclusive review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t spend quite some time talking about the details of this system.
Like the water tank, the machine’s brewing unit is accessible from the front panel, which makes it easy to remove it when you need to clean it, but the real magic, and one of the strongest selling points of this model, is the sheer number of options it gives you in terms of programmability and customizability.
Here, we see a significant improvement over its cousin, the ECAM28465. Gone is the simple LED display, replaced with a TFT (Thin Film Transistor), menu and button driven screen. Gone is the limitation of only being able to save one customization profile per type of drink.
In its place, you get up to six full-blown user profiles, with each profile having the ability to save their preferred settings for every drink:
That’s huge. It’s hard to describe just how great that is, but if you have a large household, with multiple coffee drinkers in it, this is probably going to wind up being your favorite feature, because everybody can have their coffee, their way.
Even better, each profile can be configured to have its own custom auto start and shutoff time, so imagine: you work the early shift and have to get up at 5AM every morning, but nobody else in your house does.
You can set the machine to start brewing your cappuccino (to your exact specifications) at 5AM, then shut off automatically an hour later, then turn back on again three hours later, when your spouse gets up, to brew him or her the perfect latte. It’s fantastic.
If that wasn’t enough, the 6900 also comes with two separate carafes, one for milk, and another for hot chocolate.
The milk frothing unit has the frothing wand built onto it, with a dial-based controller, allowing you to adjust the ratio of cream to foam, and it’s designed for easy removal so you can store it in the fridge between drinks for no wasted milk!
The hot chocolate carafe features blades on the bottom of the unit so that when you add milk and cocoa powder and press the hot chocolate button on the unit, the blades will engage and automatically mix the ingredients together.
In addition to all that, the hot water dispenser on the unit itself can also be used to steam milk at your option.
The main control panel is how you communicate your preferences to the machine, so it’s important that it’s well designed and intuitive, and again, De'Longhi delivers in style in this area. Despite its impressive feature list, this one is super-easy to use and master!
You can control just about every aspect of your coffee creation from the main panel, from water hardness, to the amount of coffee in your shot (which impacts the overall strength, of course), the level of water, and the hardness of the water.
As mentioned, the grind settings are not controlled from the main panel, but via a separate knob next to the bean hopper, and the amount of foam is controlled via a dial on the frothing unit itself. Everything else though, is done straight from the main control panel.
Final note, as with most models that offer so many computerized features, this one has a stats collection routine that keeps track of how much water has been dispensed by the unit, and how many drinks of each type (and by each profile) have been created. It’s not something everyone will care about, but it is a very nice touch.
Basically, this machine does it all!
Cup Warming Tray
One of the biggest, most jarring changes a person faces when moving from the drip, brewed-by-the-pot world of coffee, into the world of specialty coffee drinks is the temperature. Specialty drinks are simply meant to be enjoyed at a lower temperature than the coffee you get from a conventional coffee maker.
If you’re not satisfied with the temperature of your coffee creation, there are three big things you can do to adjust that. You can:
This last item is too often overlooked, but it makes a much larger difference than you might think! A tremendous amount of heat is lost if you dispense your coffee drink into a cold cup. By warming it before pouring, you’re dramatically reducing temperature loss.
Coupled with turning the temperature of the primary boiler to maximum, and tweaking the temperature of the secondary boiler, you should wind up with coffee hot enough to satisfy!
A lot of the DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M reviews we’ve seen elsewhere on the web don’t give the cup warming tray the importance it deserves. This is an oversight, in our view, because people new to the world of specialty coffee drinks may not realize how important it can be!
Easy to Use, Easy to Clean
Not only is the 6900 easy to use, but it’s also fairly easy to clean.
There’s not an espresso machine on the market today (super-automatic, or otherwise) that has found a way to completely automate the cleaning process, but this model automates a fair bit of it, and will give you on-screen alerts and reminders about manual steps you’ll have to take from time to time to keep your machine in good working order.
It’s simply a matter of following those steps and being good about remembering to active the auto-cleaning features after each drink. Do that, and your machine will provide years of faithful service and thousands of great tasting coffee drinks!
Pros & Cons of the DeLonghi ESAM 6900 M PrimaDonna
With tons of great features and no serious learning curve, this machine gets almost everything right. Here are the things we deducted points for:
DeLonghi Primadonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 Review Conclusion
In case you couldn’t tell it from our Delonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive ESAM 6900 Review, we love this machine!
It’s a tremendously good model with all the features you’d expect to find in a high-end super-automatic, and a number of convenience features and finishing touches that just make it a joy to own and use.
While it’s true that we have our quibbles with the model, at the end of the day, they’re just that; minor quibbles that don’t detract in any serious way from the capabilities of the machine.
Highly recommended, and well worth the asking price.
Sources & Resources
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