Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Homes & Gardens
Homes & Gardens
Laura Honey

De'Longhi's most affordable espresso machine just got classier – here we put it to the test

De'Longhi Dedica Arte on a countertop making coffee with a bowl of fruit on the left.

Everybody knows that De’Longhi is an expert in espresso machines. Everybody also knows that they make some of the most expensive espresso machines too, so when I spotted the Dedica Arte in their repertoire, I was intrigued.

As a former barista, I couldn't wait to get this into our test kitchen to see how it performed in practice. I put the Dedica Arte through the tests which we give all the best espresso machines on the market. I made espresso, Americano, and cappuccino and was impressed with this slim machine's capabilities. 

De'Longhi has stripped out lots of technical features which you'll see in their other, more advanced espresso machines. The pared-back, simple Dedica Arte is perfect for beginners who want to learn to make coffee with the same machines as professionals. Whilst I won’t be downsizing from my current espresso machine, I will be recommending this to plenty of people. 


(Image credit: De'Longhi)


(Image credit: Future)

It might sound sad, but I was really excited by the De’Longhi’s packaging. Everything, including the protective plastic-like wrapping, is either recyclable or compostable. Very few brands can boast completely recyclable packing, so this is good news both for your garbage and the environment.

De’Longhi includes a weighty tamp, branded milk jug, portafilter, and portafilter baskets. Some brands don’t cover all of these extras, so it’s generous of De’Longhi to include them. It means you can get started right away. 

It’s easy to get this set up too. As always, De’Longhi does all the hard work, so that all you need to do is fill up the reservoir, run a rinse cycle, and then the machine is ready to go. I had everything in place and could start brewing within five minutes.

Who would it suit?

(Image credit: Future)

On the countertop, the Dedica has a sporty, Italian look. The stainless steel finishes look premium, without being glitzy. The machine's curved edges and slim silhouette makes this perfect for small spaces and narrow countertops. It's refreshing to have a stylish machine that doesn't demand attention in your coffee station.

As a pared-back model, the Dedica Arte is perfect for beginners. It's easy to navigate the simple settings, without feeling limited by the functions. However, if you want to pre-brew, bloom, and adjust the settings, you won't be able to. Professionals might need to look at some more expensive models, such as the Breville Bambino Plus.

The Dedica Arte doesn’t have an integrated grinder. This means you’ll have to budget for one of these and make space in your countertop for one too (we have plenty of recommendations in our best grinders buying guide). Of course, you can use pre-ground coffee, but if you want fresh flavors you'll need a good grinder.

What is it like to use?

(Image credit: Future)

The Dedica Arte has some of De'Longhi's signature, simple functions. The reservoir is easy to fill up and setting up the machine takes less than five minutes. You won't even need the instructions to get started, which is brilliant, both for beginners and professionals. 

 The Dedica Arte has three buttons on top: single shot, double shot, and steam. This is all you need to make a whole menu of cafe drinks. It'll warm up in a matter of minutes, so I didn't have to wait for long before I could begin testing.

Test 1: espresso

(Image credit: Future)

The first test we set any espresso machine is making, you guessed it, espressos. These form the basis of all coffees so the flavors, temperature, and quantities must be right on. 

The Dedica doesn’t have a grinder, so I used the KitchenAid Burr Grinder (available at Amazon) to grind coffee on the finest, espresso setting. I tamped 0.6 oz of coffee into my portafilter and locked it into the brew head. I had to hold a hand on the top of the machine because it lifted off the countertop. This is one of those catch-22 scenarios: the Dedica Arte is slim and lightweight, which means that it's easy to move around the kitchen. However, because there's not much weight in the base (and no grippy feet) it's tricky to use with the same force and confidence as a more premium machine.

Aside from having to hold the Dedica Arte down at the beginning, the rest of the espresso-making process was easy. The Dedica was speedy, brewing my espresso in 23 seconds, even from the first time. The shots were consistently delicious too, with well-extracted with rich, sweet notes of chocolate and caramel. My espresso was 1.25 oz, which is perfect. 

I tested the double espresso function too and achieved similar results: the Dedica brewed 2 oz of delicious, well-balanced coffee. I could see a nice, thick, hazelnut-colored crema on top, which was confirmation that this had extracted all the rich coffee oils from my grounds.

Test 2: Americano

(Image credit: Future)

Making an Americano in one of these is easy. The steam wand doubles up as a water dispenser. I pressed the steam button and turned the steam wand on, filling up my cup with hot water. I checked the temperature and, thankfully, it wasn’t boiling. De’Longhi had brewed this at a perfect 194 degrees Fahrenheit.

I made a long black (water before espresso) and an Americano (espresso before water) and found the long blacks to be much easier. The steam wand has a relatively high pressure, so it’s easier to fill your mug with water and then add an espresso. If you do it the other way you risk ending up with coffee splatters on your countertop.  

The brew head dripped some coffee after I had brewed my shot, but the drip tray neatly filtered this away. I couldn't even see dried coffee on the stainless steel, which makes maintenance much easier.

Test 3: Cappuccino

(Image credit: Future)

I tried making cappuccino with both dairy and oat milk. It’s hard for the espresso machine to go wrong here, because most of the steaming relies on you. 

The steam wand can rotate about 360 degrees, reaching every angle. It’s easy to turn on and off and not too aggressive. De’Longhi also includes a small stainless steel milk jug, which is perfect if you want to use your machine straight away. It’s really only suitable for single servings though.

The steam wand textured my oat and dairy milk expertly. I was pleased with how intuitive it was to use, making this a good investment for beginners. Sure, you’ll have to learn how to use a steam wand. However, within five minutes (and with a lot of practice) you’ll have it working perfectly. 

Both my oat and dairy cappuccinos tasted great. The already sweet notes from my coffee were softened with the sweet, velvety milk. The foam for the cappuccino started reaching towards the top of the stainless steel jug, so I struggled to keep my milk really smooth towards the end of the steaming, but bigger stainless steel milk pitchers like this one from Walmart are inexpensive and only needed if, like me, you like big cappuccinos.

Cleaning, storage, and maintenance

(Image credit: Future)

The Dedica is very low maintenance. After a whole day’s use, I could see a few fingerprints on the stainless steel, but these wiped away easily. The drip tray pulls out and is easy to rinse in its separate parts, so overall, it’s pretty painless.

Unlike De'Longhi's more premium models, the Dedica doesn’t have super smart cleaning reminders. You’ll need to be diligent with using filtered water, cleaning your brew head, and descaling the machine every three months. If you stay on top of that, your machine will last a long time. 

How does it rate online?

(Image credit: Future)

Lots of people bought this because they were fans of the De’Longhi brand, but not ready to commit thousands of pounds to their coffee maker. This means that the Dedica Arte scored highly for value and on appearance too. It was often called out for the 'sleek' and 'slim' silhouette, which can sit in even narrow, galley kitchens and small spaces.

Reviewers all found this easy to use and enjoyed making lattes and cappuccinos, which surprised me. I thought beginners might struggle steaming milk on the steam wand, but people were too busy praising the flavors of their coffees to worry about steaming milk.

The people who were most critical of the Dedica Arte were those who wanted some more elaborate and technical features. If you're looking for blooming functions, adjustable temperatures, and sizes, you'll need to increase your budget and take a look at some other espresso machines (that we've tested and recommended).

Some people also felt that the lightweight build made it feel a little cheap. I think this is really in the context of De’Longhi models again. This doesn’t feel cheap, but it feels like a less premium build than normal. 

How does it compare?

(Image credit: Future)

The KitchenAid Semi-Automatic espresso machine is incredibly similar to this. If I blind-tested them, I think I could mistake one for the other. There’s really nothing different in their functionalities or their price. If you’re torn between the two, it’s a matter of appearances. The De’Longhi has a very traditional, barista-like aesthetic. It's made with brushed stainless steel and looks like it means business. The KitchenAid is a little longer, so will come out further on the countertop. It comes in more colors and you can buy a beautiful, coordinating burr grinder from KitchenAid. As you can see, it's all about how you want to style your coffee station.

 As far as the best espresso machines for beginners go, the KitchenAid and Dedica Arte are your best options. If you find the lack of grinder and technical features too simplistic, I would recommend looking at De'Longhi's La Specialista Pro. This is still easy to use, but you can adjust the grinder, brew time, temperature, and size of your coffees within a huge range. It looks beautiful on the countertop but demands much more space than the Dedica Arte. It's also at least triple the price.

Should you buy it?

(Image credit: Future)

If you're a beginner who wants to make your start in the espresso machine world, this is perfect. It's great value and makes delicious coffee without demanding too much space on your countertop. It's easy to use, but the simple functions might be limiting for more advanced coffee connoisseurs.

How we test

(Image credit: Future)

We put every espresso machine through a series of standardized tests so that we can compare every model. Once we have researched and found an espresso machine that our experts like the look of, we take it to our test kitchen. There, we use it to make espressos, Americanos, and cappuccinos. 

Espressos are important because they're the basis of all coffees. A machine needs to be able to make these quickly and they should be delicious too. A good Americano should be easy if a machine can make a well-rounded espresso. However, some machines brew the water too hot or too cold which can spoil the notes of the coffee. Lastly, a cappuccino is the final test for any coffee maker. This is a measure of how well the espresso machine can texture both dairy and oat milk. We look for silky, smooth warm milk, which compliments and balances the flavors of the espresso we've made. If there are any other coffee functions and settings, we'll test the time, flavor, and textures of them. 

Aside from the brewing, we look at the appearance, cleaning, storage, maintenance, and value of the espresso machine. We'll compare it to other models on the market so that you know whether this is what you're looking for. If there's anything you need to know about a machine, you can bet that we'll have it covered. If you want to find out more, you can visit our dedicated page for how we test coffee makers.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.