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De'Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso review: Better espresso brewing but at a high price

The $300 De'Longhi Dedica costs a lot more than budget home espresso machines but is worth it if you want a better brewer.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
5 min read

It's all too easy to recklessly spend thousands of dollars in pursuit of the perfect home espresso. If all you crave are modest cafe-style drinks, than a budget machine will do the trick and for a tenth of the price. Splurging a little, however, does have its rewards. Case in point is the $300 (£200 UK, $369 AU) De'Longhi Dedica which has the power to pull lots of flavor from finely ground and lightly roasted coffee beans, a feat beyond the abilities of cheaper espresso makers.


De'Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso

The Good

Compact and attractive, the De'Longhi Dedica reliably and automatically pulls tasty espresso shots. The coffee maker also steams milk for cafe drinks and has a handy cup warmer.

The Bad

The De'Longhi Dedica costs a lot more than budget home espresso machines yet gets clogged by extra-fine coffee grounds and can't brew light roasts as well as premium products.

The Bottom Line

If you're willing to take your home espresso game up a few rungs then the De'Longhi Dedica is worth the money, but you'll have to spend a lot more for this chance to pull shots like a pro.

Of course the Dedica can't match the raw brewing abilities of professional-caliber appliances. For instance, while the machine has more reliable temperature control than its low-cost rivals it's by no means flawless. Likewise, the extremely fine grounds that more expensive espresso makers transform into concentrated coffee ambrosia regularly bring the Dedica to its knees.


Standing 13 inches tall by 6 inches wide and stretching 13 inches deep, the De'Longhi Dedica is certainly less bulky than drip brewers such as the Bonavita BV1900TS. It is noticeably thinner and taller than its simpler sibling, the De'Longhi EC155 Pump Espresso, and flaunts a more sophisticated chassis complete with plenty of shiny stamped metal and faux-chrome plastic surfaces.

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The Dedica is compact and fancy-looking. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Like many other home espresso devices I've taken for a spin, the De'Longhi Dedica has few controls. On the face of the machine are three circular buttons that activate single-shot brewing, double-shot brewing and steam. Labelled with symbols instead of letters, the small keys are backlit and either emit a steady glow or blink to convey the Dedica's status.

The left side of the espresso maker holds its steaming wand for frothing milk in short order. Thanks to the machine's narrow width and the wand's comfortable distance from the brew head, it's easy to slip the tube into your steaming vessel of choice.

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On the left side is a wand for steaming milk. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Unfortunately, though, the big steam control knob (above the wand) is either open wide or closed shut completely. I prefer the more nuanced handling of a free-spinning steam dial, a feature De'Longhi incorporates into its EC155 model.

You'll find the Dedica's brew head front and center on the machine. It accepts a metal portafilter implement, essentially a handle on one end and round basket on the other. You use the gadget to both load the machine with grounds and brew espresso shots under extreme temperatures and pressures.

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The portafilter screws underneath the brew head. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

To that end De'Longhi includes a pair of silver-colored metal filter inserts that snap snugly into place within the basket. The shallow single shot filter accepts 7 grams (0.2 ounce) of coffee while the deeper dual-shot filter maxes out at between 12 grams (0.4 ounce) and 14 grams (0.5 ounce) depending on grind size.

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There are two metal filter sizes to choose from. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A handy drip tray sits below the brew head and portafilter to collect any liquid spilled. There's a bright red float here too that pops up through a slot when the tray is full, a nice touch. Around the back of the Dedica is a long, removable water tank. The reservoir is a cinch to pull out and drop into its designated bay. It has a sturdy flip-top lid, and its max fill line tops out at 37 ounces (1.1 L).

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A cup warmer tray stores and heats espresso ware. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Another practical design feature of the Dedica I appreciate is its built-in cup warmer. Running along the top surface of the machine, the washboard-style indentation serves as a both storage area and gentle heater for glasses and ceramic cups.


Since it's an automatic espresso machine, operating the De'Longhi Dedica is a very simple affair, at least compared with semiautomatic brewers such as the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso and the De'Longhi EC155. Unlike those gadgets, which require you to switch their pumps on and off to control the volume of espresso brewed, the Dedica takes care of this at the push of a button.

Hitting either the single or double shot button commands the Dedica to brew a preset amount. You can also program the machine to pump more or less water through the portafilter to suit your particular taste.

In terms of raw espresso brewing performance, the Dedica proved to be a much more reliable beverage slinger than the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso or the EC155. While I found the Dedica's default brewing settings to pull shots way too long, resulting in weak and watery java, programming the device to match the espresso sizes I prefer improved matters greatly.

For instance, when I dialed down the double-shot serving size to 1.2 ounces (35.4mL), the default was 3.2 ounces (95 mL), and my 0.4 ounce (11.3 grams) coffee dose (large extra-fine grind) consistently produced espresso with high TDS readings ranging from 15 to 16 percent. That translates to an extraction percentage of between 22 and 24 percent (the ideal being 18 to 22 percent).

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The Dedica makes consistently drinkable espresso. Brian Bennett/CNET

Brewed from humble Costco House Blend test beans, the flavor of these shots was nice as well. I detected rich, smoky chocolate notes with plenty of overall complexity and just slight bitterness on the back end.

The Dedica also handled light roasts with a bit more finesse than its cheaper brethren. With just enough power to push water through beans ground using the largest "extra-fine" setting on my Capresso Infinity burr grinder, the machine pulled a few shots with TDS percentages approaching 17 percent and extraction percentages of almost 15 percent.

Because of this I was able to taste a bit more of the pear and bright acidity typically found in my sample of Quills Blacksmith Espresso Roast. To be fair, dropping shots pulled from both of these roasts into a cup of sweet steamed milk consistently created exceptionally flavorful lattes and cappuccinos.

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Steamed milk cafe drinks tasted great. Brian Bennett/CNET

The Dedica does have its limits. If I tried to brew grounds smaller than the largest "extra fine" size (there are two smaller on my grinder), the espresso maker became completely clogged with no water leaving the portafilter. And while the Dedica's temperature control is more stable than its budget competition (typically between 205 and 207 degrees F), a few times the machine couldn't muster a brewing temp above 195 degrees F (90.5 C), or inexplicably rocketed up to 212 F (100 C).


Viewed by many as the ultimate coffee brewing challenge, consistently making quality espresso is hard. Machines sold for home use particularly have difficulty providing the heat and pressure needed for the task, that is unless you're willing to spend big bucks. That said, there is a middle ground and the $300 De'Longhi Dedica proves you needn't sell the entire farm just to own a tool that turns ground coffee beans into a decent shot of espresso.

Sure, the Dedica costs three times as much as basic devices such as the $90 Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso and $$100 De'Longhi EC155. Those products have trouble pulling acceptable shots of espresso with any consistency and are saddled with underpowered pumps. The Dedica on the other hand dependably creates very drinkable espresso, especially from dark roasts. It's also more attractively styled and is easier to operate, making it worth the extra cash.


De'Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso

Score Breakdown

Performance 7Design 7.5Features 7Maintenance 7