There’s a new coffee machine in town, and it actually has the potential to cut down on the business your regular barista gets from you. Even from a brief hands on, it’s just that good.
Called the “PrimaDonna Elite”, there’s already an expectation of something special. A prima donna generally has a large view of self importance as it is, and so when you name an appliance in this way, you better hope that it delivers the goods and isn’t just all talk.
Fortunately, DeLonghi’s latest machine appears to walk the walk.
Demonstrated this week in Sydney as a “barista-less coffee shop”, the PrimaDonna Elite is a machine made for people to experience coffee much like the way your barista would normally do it, and that’s something DeLonghi has taken pride with, producing a coffee maker that essentially takes the mindset of barista and puts it into a machine.
That’s the sort of marketing speak you might expect from a salesperson, but testing the machine briefly, it’s clear DeLonghi has really put some effort here, redesigning the thermoblock for water heating independently so that water for the coffee is different from the milk while the seals on the milk canister have also been worked on to help make sure milk doesn’t burn.
The milk canister relies on the familiar magnetic frothing mechanism you find on Aeroccino units, but this is now built into the body, with the milk canister at the front sitting above it and interlocking with the steam pump in the unit at the front. Even the water tank sits at the front, meaning it can slide out easily without any awkward disassembling of the machine.
Infusion pressure hasn’t been set to specific pressure level, either, with the machine able to jump between a few settings dependent on what will work best for the coffee, extracting all the coffee possible while turning the grounds into dry powder.
Interestingly, these developments aren’t being spoken about as much as the obvious smarts of the machine, because just like a recent Nespresso unit, this is a coffee machine to bring an app to the table.
Grab an Android or iPhone and the DeLonghi app, and you’ll find you can not only time a cup of coffee for when you wake up, but also control it to the nth degree.
Aroma intensity, coffee volume, temperature, and milk amount are all things you can setup, and while you’ll find a few preset profiles for your coffee, the app will also let you make your own, handy if you like to control your coffee and have it your way.
Even if you don’t have a phone or tablet nearby, you’ll find the same sort of control from a screen, with both PrimaDonna Elite units — yes, there are two — offering control on the appliance itself.
On the $3199 ECAM65055MS, you’ll find a 3.5 inch screen and buttons to push, while the slightly more expensive $3599 ECAM75075MS skips the buttons and replaces the whole thing with a 4.3 inch touchscreen, also adding a chocolate feature to make chocolate milk, something the button-based variant doesn’t do.
For the coffee itself, they say “the proof is in the pudding”, yet in this instance, it’s more the crema and consistency that tells you that DeLonghi is onto a winner with the PrimaDonna Elite.
Simply put, DeLonghi’s claim of “barista quality” isn’t far off the mark, with a lovely thick crema to the drops we were tasting and a remarkably easy system that is both intuitive and friendly, whether you’re opting for the experience on the machine itself or via an app made for smartphones.
While it’s not the cheapest machine, the delivery of coffee seemed to be close to what we’ve come to expect from our local, whether through beans or pre-ground coffee.
We’ll know for sure when we get DeLonghi’s PrimaDonna Elite on our reviews desk, and that shouldn’t be too far off, but it left a very good taste in our mouth. And the coffee, for that matter.