Last updated on April 23rd, 2023 by Jules Winnfield
Most espresso drinkers will attest that once you’ve had an authentic well-prepared espresso, nothing else will suffice. You know the taste and flavor and can never let go.
But the mechanics of roasting, grinding, brewing, and frothing can be a time-consuming endeavor with basic semi-automatic espresso machines.
De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro EC9665
Performance - 9.6/10
Ease of Use/Maintenance - 9.1/10
Build & Quality - 8.5/10
Design & Features - 9/10
User Satisfaction - 8.8/10
The DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro is everything you would expect from a high end professional grade espresso machine: Full bodied delicious espresso with crema made easily and quickly from a built in grinder, tamping, and near automatic brewing setup. While beginner espresso drinkers will enjoy it, the La Specialista Maestro really caters to the coffee espresso connoisseur who delights in the nuance notes and flavors of their favorite blends. Yes, this machine is large and heavy, and the price tag is high. But with 5 different temperature settings, pre infusions, and manual milk frothing for latte art, you can practice bringing forth your inner barista and save money from going to coffee shops simultaneously!
So, what if I told you, the DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro could help you put the music together on the perfect espresso even as a beginner and still have fun doing it? Can it combine the convenience of automation with the craft of manual brewing?
In this quick straight to the gist DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro EC9665 review, we answer the question and give our overall rating to help you decide.
Last update on 2023-05-25
- Build/Quality (8.5/10)
- Performance (9.6/10)
- Ease of use/Maintenance (9.1/10)
- Design/Features (9.0/10)
- User Satisfaction (8.8/10)
DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro Review and Rating
|What is it made of?||Stainless steel|
|How durable is it?||So far, most coffee drinkers have described the Maestro is thick, heavy and built firmly, with exquisite craftsmanship and design. |
But some customers do experience parts failure here and there.
|What brew modes does it have?||6 pre-programed recipes: Espresso, Coffee, Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, and Flat White |
Can pick from single or double shot
|Strength control?||Yes, via single or double shot, and dose of coffee grounds to volume|
|Temperature control?||Yes, 5 settings between 90-98 degrees C; all adjustable|
|How fast does it brew one cup or batch? Heat up time?||Heats up pretty fast with a 1 sec quick start. Brews espresso fast too. Pull time is automatic at about <30 seconds, plus milk frothing takes about a min. |
So total a few minutes from grinding to brewing to frothing.
|How many cups does it make?||Can vary depending on what you make: |
Espresso: 25-180 ml (0.84-6.08 oz.)
Americano: 50-360 ml (1.68-12.17 oz.)
Coffee: 50-240 ml (1.69-8.12 oz.)
Latte: 150-230 ml (5.07-7.77 oz.)
Cappuccino: 150-230 ml (5.07-7.77 oz.)
Flat White: 250-330 ml (8.45-11.15 oz.)
|Steam wand for frothing?||Yes, comes with the MyLatte Art steam wand for manual textured frothing and LatteCrema System for automated thin, medium, or thick micro foam for your espresso drink. |
This milk jug system is similar to what Nespresso has for their Latissima machines, which I really like.
|How quiet is it?||Fair, what you would expect from a grinder and brewing machine of this caliber, so not crazy noisy|
|How is the taste and flavor?||Even if you had to return the machine, practically everyone agrees the taste and flavor of espresso coffee from the DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro is superb; |
Rivals coffee shops and makes you wonder what you’ve been drinking all these years before now!
Ease of use/Maintenance (9.1/10)
|How big is it?||Coming in at 16.5 in. wide, 14.48 in. deep, and 18.3 in. high, the Maestro takes up a lot of counter space and will need its own station. |
May be too tall to get under the cabinet too.
|How heavy? Portable?||Weighs a whopping 35 lb., so it is very heavy and not easily movable.|
|LCD display or push buttons or both?||LCD display for whole espresso making process, and coffee beverages; |
Comes with push buttons and dial knobs for the coffee dose, selecting a beverage, and steaming that are easy to use.
|How easy is it to use?||Using the La Specialista Maestro can seem overwhelming in the beginning. But it’s really easy and fun to use once you practice and get the hang of it. |
Simply clean out the machine with water by following the manual instructions, fill your water reservoir, add in your coffee beans into the hopper, select your dose level based on your roast, insert the porta filter to catch the grinded coffee, press down the lever for automatic smart tamping, move the portafilter over to the brew section, select your temp and recipe, pull your shot, steam your milk with the wand and pour milk into espresso shot or use the preset recipes and automatic frother.
You now have a full-bodied rich espresso beverage your friends will think came from a coffee shop!
|Maintenance reminders?||Yes, comes with a “No beans container”, “Descaling”, “No water”, “Milk Clean”, “General alarm”, and “Cleaning” the coffee outlet indicator lights|
|How easy is it to clean?||Cleaning is simple and easy. Just take apart the porta filter and filter basket after your brew and wash with soap and water, clean out drip tray, and wipe down the steam wand. |
The LatteCrema system can be broken down and thrown into the dishwasher.
Be sure to descale when the light comes on too.
You can also use the built-in cleaning system, Eco MultiClean to get a deeper clean that’s more hands off.
|Does it use pods or ground coffee or both?||Uses only coffee beans. Be sure its high quality espresso beans for the best results!|
|Heating mechanism||Dual Thermoblock|
|Built in grinder?||Yes, conical burr grinder with 8 settings ranging from course to medium to fine. |
8.8 oz. bean hopper with Sensor Grinding tech
|Programmable autostart?||No, but does come with programmable drink sizes, brewing preferences, and pre-programmed beverage recipes.|
|Auto shut off, energy saving mode?||Yes, will conserve energy by shutting off automatically after predetermined time; |
Range of 9 min to 3 hours.
|Any other notable tech features?||Dynamic preinfusion – wets your beans with the right amount of water depending on how much coffee you’re brewing. |
Programmable quantities – so you can have the perfect amount of coffee espresso with just a few buttons pressed.
Water hardness testing – nice because this customizes how often you should descale based on how hard your water is
|Removable water reservoir? How big?||Yes, 84.5 oz.|
|Come with carafe? Thermal or glass? Size?||No carafe but does come with the LatteCrema milk jug.|
|Can it dispense hot water?||Yes, comes with a hot water spout for making tea or hot cereal.|
|Drip tray removable to accommodate larger mugs?||Yes, and you can adjust the height to take a mug as tall as 5.5″.|
|Any other unique features?||Smart tamping station – streamlines your tamping by just pulling down a handle with no mess|
|Come in different colors?||No, just silver and black|
|Pricing||Pretty heavy price tag at ~$1400.|
User Satisfaction (8.8/10)
|Warranty?||2 year + 1 more if you register your product|
|Specific customer feedback, good AND bad||In general, you get what you pay for with the Delonghi La Specialista Maestro. It’s simple to use once you get the hang of it, looks great, and makes the most absolutely delicious espresso with crema and aroma you will ever experience. |
Biggest downsides mentioned were the size, and automatic milk frothing system not always working.
Pros and Cons
When it comes to Italian made DeLonghi machines, you can pretty much expect high quality and performance as a baseline feature. But the Maestro sets itself apart in the following ways:
Things I like
- Fancy control panel displays are so nice on the eyes!
- Built in Bean Adapt technology
- Meaning the machine automatically knows what grind, temp needed to treat your specific coffee beans right.
- Dual thermoblocks means you don’t have to wait for the espresso to brew and milk to froth separately.
- The smart tamping is nice since you can tamp without taking the portafilter out
- Means not only cleaner prep but faster too!
- Built in burr grinder to get the freshest coffee espresso
- Grinds the right amount of beans for the number of cups you want automatically
- Great way to minimize the number of machines on your counter top
- Sensor grinding tech means you get consistent grind every time.
- Dynamic preinfusion plus 5 infusion water temperatures means the ultimate flavor extraction customized for any roast or blend
- Manual and automated frothing built into one
- Means you can practice your latte art skills when you have time, or just hit the easy button when you’re not in the mood!
- The autofroth milk container can be pulled off the machine and stored in fridge
- Comes with Eco-Multi Clean for hands off deep cleaning and easier maintenance
Things I don’t like
- Will require a lot of trial and error to get the perfect tasting espresso
- Machine is large, tall and heavy, taking up a decent amount of space
- Be sure to measure your space in advance
- Water tank at back makes for slightly difficult refilling
- The porta filter may require some elbow grease to get on
- Only eight grind settings may be a little irritating given the price of the machine
- LatteCrema system may not work as well with plant based milk and steam wand could be a bit more effective
- The price tag is as heavy as the machine itself!
How Does it Compare?
To get an idea of how serious business the La Specialista Maestro is, we decided to compare it to a similar near automatic high end semi-automatic espresso maker. So of course, we chose the beast that is the Breville Barista Touch.
De’Longhi La Specialista Maestro vs Breville Barista Touch
In terms of similarities, we noticed that both machines:
- Utilize advanced technology like temperature control and pre-infusions to get optimal extractions that are rich, silky and full bodied.
- Have fancy colorful displays to help you choose your preprogrammed coffee beverages easily
- Grind coffee effortlessly with a built-in burr grinder and dose sensor control
But there are a few differences to note:
- The Barista Touch uses an auto steam wand for milk frothing while the Maestro has a manual and automatic milk jug system.
- The Barista Touch uses a grinding cradle and requires manual tamping, while the Maestro has built in auto tamping
- The Barista Touch is smaller, more compact, and weighs less (24lb) compared to the Maestro (36 lb.)
It really is too close to call. You can’t go wrong with either of these machines. Both Breville and DeLonghi are big dogs in the espresso machine space. But if you have to choose…
- If space is a concern and you really like easy to use customizable profiles, then maybe lean slightly towards the Breville Barista Touch.
- If you are intrigued by the smart tamping tool, and automatic milk tank system then lean towards the La Specialista Maestro.
On one note, the DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro is everything you would expect from a high end professional grade espresso machine. Full bodied delicious espresso with crema made easily and quickly from a built in grinder, tamping, and near automatic brewing setup.
It looks sleek and expensive (all the better to impress your friends) and is not too hard to clean and maintain. It can work for beginner espresso drinkers because of its preprogrammed recipes and automatic frothing.
But honestly, I think the La Specialista Maestro really caters to the coffee espresso connoisseur who delights in the nuance notes and flavors of their favorite blends. With 5 different temperature settings, pre infusions, and manual milk frothing for latte art, you can practice bringing forth your inner barista.
And while the machine is large and heavy, and price tag is high, it likely will pay itself off as you will be saving money never going to Starbucks again…since the coffee shop is now in your home!
Last update on 2023-05-25
The Maestro gets you as close to a fully automatic espresso machine as you can get while still maintaining the manual charm of experimenting with your own roast, grind, temperature, strength, and froth preferences.
But if you’re like me, and not looking to be so involved in the details but want barista like quality, then you should check out super automatic espresso machines like the Eletta.
Or the Dinamica and Magnifica espresso machines. These are fully automatics that provide a hands-off bean to cup experience but still give you the delicious coffee house aroma and taste you can’t live without.
- DeLonghi Dinamica
- DeLonghi Dinamica Plus
- DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300
- DeLonghi Magnifica XS
- DeLonghi Magnifica S Smart
- DeLonghi Magnifica Evo ECAM29084
If the La Specialista Maestro is too complex for you, then check out the Dedica or ECP series. These machines are manual semi-automatics that are much simpler with no grinder built in. Or you could opt for a Nespresso for the simple pod cappuccino or latte morning experience.
What’s the difference between the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte, Prestigio, and Maestro?
|Pressure||15 bars||19 bars||19 bars|
|Pre programmed coffee recipes||3||3||6|
|Temperature control settings||3||3||5|
|Built in tamping station||No||Yes||Yes|
|Built in grinder settings||8||8||8|
|Manual MyLatteArt steam wand||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic LatteCrema system||No||No||Yes|
|Water reservoir||56 oz.||67.6 oz.||84.5 oz.|
Coffee Has Never Read This Good!
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- About the Author
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“Jules” is a pharmacist by day and investor, writer, and health nut by night. When he’s not sipping on some coffee laced with MCT oil during an 18 hour fast, he is writing about how to get your coffee grind on or playing Monopoly with his 2 boys and wife. Ahh…life is good!