Delonghi Magnifica S Vs Delonghi La Specialista: Which Is The Best Pick?

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If you are looking for an entry-level coffee machine and will upgrade to a higher-end one in the future, both the Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista should be under your consideration. And after rigorous testing, I found myself preferring the second one.

The Delonghi La Specialista is a favored bean-to-cup machine among households in both the UK and the US. It doesn’t take up much space, feels durable, and has everything you need to prepare espresso or cappuccino at home. It may not boast advanced technologies, but I believe that these aren’t absolutely essential for novice brewers.

Likewise, the Delonghi Magnifica S is another interesting option for novices venturing into the world of espresso machines. The primary factors holding it back from clinching the top spot are its single-boiler system and its inability to craft perfect lattes. Still, these are compromises we must live with, given its budget-friendly cost.

Delonghi Magnifica S Vs Delonghi La Specialista: Comparison Chart

Image
TIE
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
TIE
De'Longhi Magnifica S ECAM22.110.B, Coffee Maker with with Milk Frother, Automatic Espresso Machine with 2 Hot Coffee Drinks Recipes, Soft-Touch Control Panel, 1450W, Black
Model
Delonghi La Specialista
Delonghi Magnifica S
Dimensions/Weight
12.5 x 14 x 14.5 inches/29.7 lbs
9.4 x 13.8 x 17.0 inches/20.1 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Boilers
One Thermoblock Boiler
Interface
Buttons
Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
3
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/12 inches
Dual/2.7-5.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.26 liter
1.8 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
13
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Delonghi Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,198.00
$499.95
TIE
Image
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel, EC9335M, 1.3 liters
Model
Delonghi La Specialista
Dimensions/Weight
12.5 x 14 x 14.5 inches/29.7 lbs
Heating System
Dual Thermoblock Boilers
Interface
Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
3
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/12 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
6
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,198.00
More Info
TIE
Image
De'Longhi Magnifica S ECAM22.110.B, Coffee Maker with with Milk Frother, Automatic Espresso Machine with 2 Hot Coffee Drinks Recipes, Soft-Touch Control Panel, 1450W, Black
Model
Delonghi Magnifica S
Dimensions/Weight
9.4 x 13.8 x 17.0 inches/20.1 lbs
Heating System
One Thermoblock Boiler
Interface
Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/2.7-5.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.8 liter/0.26 liter
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
13
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Delonghi Filter (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Panarello Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$499.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delonghi Magnifica S Vs Delonghi La Specialista: Differences

After all, the Delonghi La Specialista knocked out the Magnifica S with a score of 3-1.

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Built-in Grinder

Both have an integrated stainless steel conical burr grinder, which is normal for entry-level coffee machines. Frankly, I have a love-hate relationship with this type of grinder as it has its own pros but leaves some room for improvement.

On the bright side, stainless steel has a reputation for being a robust and long-lasting material. So the grinder can withstand the wear and tear associated with heavy use over an extended period, ensuring you can savor excellent espresso for years to come. Stainless steel burrs can provide more uniform and consistent coffee grounds, resulting in better extraction.

However, the stainless steel grinder doesn’t function in silence. It’s not as deafening as alarm bells or sirens, but its volume level is enough to stir up the household if your brew cycle is earlier than usual. Who could possibly enjoy their espresso amidst a chorus of complaints? Definitely not me!

This grinder is also prone to overheating when in use. The heat generated can burn the grounds and suppress the delicate aroma of the whole beans, leaving you with a less-than-perfect cup of Joe! That is why many higher-end models are equipped with ceramic grinders to deal with this.

While the La Specialista has 6 distinct grind levels, the Magnifica S boasts 13 grind size settings to choose from, which is certainly not common considering its price range. I’d tell you that there are many machines that, despite costing two or three times more, offer only five or six grind settings. Of course, the more grind settings your machine has, the wider your scope for experimentation in finding the fineness level that aligns with your flavor preferences.

delonghi magnifica s vs delonghi la specialista’s grind size settings
Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista’s grind size settings

It is super easy to adjust the grind size on both. All you have to do is twist a wheel or a collar ring instead of using a special tool like you would with the Gaggia Velasca Prestige. Just remember to do it when the grinder is in operation. Don’t do the opposite unless you want a shortcut to buying a new espresso machine.

Also, it’s possible the manufacturer never told you, but avoid using oily coffee beans since they can potentially jam the grinder. If you ask me, just look for a good type of Medium Roast and stick with it.

The Delonghi La Specialista is equipped with a 51-mm portafilter. Intriguingly, a smart sensor activates the grinder automatically when the portafilter is fitted, eliminating the need for a button press. Don’t let the absence of a tamper upon unboxing disappoint you, as this model utilizes a smart tamping system. So rather than having to tamp down the coffee grounds manually, all it takes is a quick push down of a lever.

delonghi la specialista's smart tamping system
Delonghi La Specialista’s smart tamping system

Heating System

The Magnifica S operates on a single boiler system, contrasting with the La Specialista’s dual boiler setup. This implies that the Magnifica S is unable to concurrently brew coffee and steam milk, and there is a time gap for the boiler to adjust the temperature between the two procedures.

However, the absence of double boilers on the Magnifica S isn’t a big drawback, I think. This one is equipped with Thermoblock technology (and so is the La Specialista), which offers swift and efficient heating. Instead of taking minutes to heat water to the right temperature, the Thermoblock gets there in about 20 seconds because it heats the precise amount of water needed for espresso brewing or milk steaming. Therefore, the pause is too short to kill the flavor of your caffeinated beverage.

Adding to their appeal, both machines come equipped with a cup warming tray on top, which is passively heated by the boiler during operation. I found it not really hot, but sure, you can utilize it to pre-warm your cups, helping to prevent heat loss during brewing and thereby preserving the optimum taste of your espresso.

Brewing System

If you’ve had experience with a drip-brew coffee machine, you’ll know that such machines rely on gravity to direct water through the coffee grounds into your awaiting cup. However, these automatic espresso machines are a different story – they use pressure and extract espresso at a pressure of 15 bars. That is awesome, given that 9 bars of pressure are adequate to extract a splendid espresso.

But before the brewing process begins, the Delonghi La Specialista adds a bit of hot water to the coffee grounds, facilitating full soaking and blooming. This process is called “pre-infusion,” which helps to avoid uneven extraction and results in a well-rounded shot of espresso. During the pre-soak session, the pressure gauge on the La Specialista is on a low setting, and then it will move into the perfect pressure zone as the extraction process begins.

Milk Frothing System

I truly love this part. Except for coffee purists, who could possibly resist the allure of a delightful cappuccino crowned with a layer of aromatic, velvety foam? The best part is that you can get it right at home without having to head over to your favorite coffee house. Both boast a Panarello steam wand in lieu of an automatic milk frothing system with a hose, a nozzle, and a jug, making the preparation of milk-based beverages a more manual process. 

delonghi magnifica s vs delonghi la specialista’s panarello wand
Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista’s Panarello wand

For home baristas or seasoned espresso aficionados, this Panarello wand is actually a pro, as it allows for deeper involvement in the process of frothing milk. Naturally, mastering it takes time and effort, and your first few milk-based drinks might simply be a blend of espresso and hot milk. But don’t let this demotivate you. Continue practicing, and you’ll soon surprise your loved ones with your hard-earned barista skills. As the proverbial wisdom goes, “Practice makes perfect!”

Using the Panarello wand is not too complicated: Just fill the included jug with your cool milk, then ensure the wand is submerged in milk until the jug becomes too hot to bear with bare hands (approximately 60-65°C). Before and after each use, remember to release the steam to wash away milk remnants and wipe it down with a damp cloth or a specialized wand cleaning tool.

I found the Delonghi Magnifica S to produce super thick foam, which is definitely better for cappuccino. It, or, to be more precise, I didn’t succeed in producing perfectly silky microfoam for lattes with it, but it’s not a major hiccup.

the la specialista can produce consistent microfoam for lattes
The La Specialista can produce consistent microfoam for lattes

The Delonghi La Specialista, on the other hand, could do everything with its Advanced Latte System. It could give me the desired milk texture depending on the ring’s position on the wand: higher for lattes and lower for cappuccinos. That way, I could end up with a cappuccino teeming with scrumptiously creamy and thick foam and a latte adorned with a pleasingly consistent microfoam.

the wand on the la specialista has two modes
The wand on the La Specialista has two modes

DESIGN & USABILITY

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Delonghi Magnifica SDelonghi La Specialista
Dimensions9.4 x 13.8  x 17.0 inches12.5 x 14 x 14.5 inches
Weight20.1 lbs 29.7 lbs

Both have a sleek design finished in an eye-catching combination of shiny chrome and matt black, making them very pleasing and aesthetically comfortable in various settings. Apart from your kitchen counter, I believe they are definitely a “wow” factor when placed in your living room or even your office space. On top of that, their entire stainless steel construction not only imparts a luxurious look but also promises durability and longevity.

They have no flashy, high-end color screen, which in my opinion, is superfluous and redundant on such featureless machines. All the controls are nice and simple, with some knobs and buttons. It will only take you some time at first to get used to them, and after that, all the adjustments and tweaks are a breeze.

delonghi magnifica s vs delonghi la specialista’s control panel
Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista’s control panel

Despite not being overly cumbersome, some consideration is required when positioning these machines, especially under fixtures like kitchen cabinets – This is due to the Magnifica S’s height and the rear placement of La Specialista’s water tank. Their substantial weight might also pose a challenge during unboxing and installation unless, of course, you’re someone who frequents the gym.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Delonghi Magnifica SDelonghi La Specialista
Espresso
Coffee
Hot Water
Espresso
Coffee
Americano
Hot Water

They bring nothing more than espresso to the table, so they require a little extra effort on your part to prepare milk-based beverages. Initial attempts might not yield the desired results, but first time for everything, right? Persistence is key – continue honing your skills, and you’ll soon master the art of using the frothing wand.

When it comes to customizability, these machines offer a very wide range of coffee strengths, but while the Magnifica S has up to 4 brew temperatures, the La Specialista features 2. The memo function on both enables you to adjust and save your preferred water volume for each shot until you decide to make another adjustment. It would be better if they had a separate button to adjust the brew temperature.

Both have a hot-water function, which significantly simplifies the task of diluting espresso to make an Americano, preparing hot chocolate, or brewing tea. But while the Delonghi La Specialista has a separate hot water spout, the steam wand of the Magnifica S doubles as a hot water dispenser. So the former facilitates the preparation of Americano without moving your cup and eliminates the risk of milk residue in your tea.

These “bean-to-cup” machines also facilitate the use of pre-ground coffee, allowing you to prepare a cup of decaf for your guest who just won’t want to have coffee today or when you find yourself running out of coffee beans. The Magnifica S has a bypass chute for this purpose, and as for the La Specialista, you should use its included portafilter with a pressurized basket.

the bypass doser on the magnifica s
The bypass doser on the Magnifica S

Spout & Cup Clearance

Delonghi Magnifica SDelonghi La Specialista
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance2.7-5.5 inches12 inches

The Magnifica S’s dual espresso spout can move vertically, but I wish it could be lifted higher to fit some more substantial coffee mugs. Meanwhile, the La Specialista cup clearance is fixed at 12 inches, and there is a small base to close the gap between the cup and the portafilter to preserve the delightful crema and avoid any messy splashes.

Both can prepare two cups of espresso simultaneously. But unless there’s a rush, I recommend you don’t do this since their double shot function isn’t really a double shot. They just doubled the water and added a bit more coffee, but not too much (just a few grams).

delonghi magnifica s vs delonghi la specialista’s dual espresso spout
Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista’s dual espresso spout

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Delonghi Magnifica SDelonghi La Specialista
Water Reservoir1.8 liter2 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.26 liter

Although these machines are on the compact side, their water tanks are not small at all. Unless caffeinated drinks are the main beverage of choice in your household, a single daily refill should suffice. While the Magnifica S has a side-located water tank, the La Specialista’s reservoir is at the back, making refilling it a chore, especially if placed under kitchen cabinets.

Their bean compartment can hold up to 250 grams of coffee beans, and I don’t recommend storing leftover beans here. Without an airtight lid, they are prone to exposure to air and go rancid faster, resulting in less enjoyable espresso.

delonghi magnifica s vs delonghi la specialista’s bean hoppers
Delonghi Magnifica S vs Delonghi La Specialista’s bean hoppers

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Delonghi Magnifica S

The cleaning and maintenance of both machines is a breeze – just a button press to descale the machine and the release of hot water through the steam wand to get rid of any milk residue. Please don’t skip these processes since they not only maintain the hygiene of your machine but also ensure your espresso continues to taste great.

As far as descaling is concerned, use nothing but DeLonghi descaler. Just stick with the descaling guide included with the box, and you can’t go wrong. One area where the Magnifica S has an advantage is its compatibility with a Delonghi filter to remove impurities from water. Using the filter means you’ll have to bear a small monthly expense to replace it, but it reduces the need for regular descaling and helps preserve your espresso’s authentic flavor.

the magnifica s can pair with a delonghi filter
The Magnifica S can pair with a Delonghi filter

There are several tasks that I would like you to do on a daily basis, including emptying or cleaning some of the removable parts, such as the drip tray, the grounds and coffee tray, the portafilter, etc. Also, it is wise to wipe down the machine’s stainless-steel body to keep it looking great at all times. The Magnifica S has a drip tray indicator, which is a small but welcome addition – a red float that ascends and becomes visible through the stainless steel cover, notifying you when the drip tray needs emptying.

It’s worth noting that the brew unit of the Magnifica S is detachable and needs to be cleaned manually. This means you have one more maintenance job that needs to be done periodically, but I perceive it as the optimal way to maintain a brew group’s durability over time. Moreover, in case of breakage, it can be replaced, sparing you from disposing of the whole machine.

the magnifica s has a detachable brew unit
The Magnifica S has a detachable brew unit

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Auto Shut-Off

Both have an auto shut-off function. The Delonghi Magnifica S is fixed at 4 hours, which I consider a bit long. On the other hand, the Delonghi La Specialista will shut down automatically 2 hours after the last brewing cycle, but you can program the interval with three options: 9 minutes, 1.5 hours, or 3 hours.

Quick Rundown Of Delonghi La Specialista

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Compact and elegant design.
  • Has a dual boiler heating system.
  • Thermoblock technology heats up very quickly.
  • The Panarello steam wand is easy to use.
  • Boasts a large and easy-to-refill water tank.
Cons
  • Not compatible with a filter.
  • On the heavy side.

Quick Rundown Of Delonghi Magnifica S

De'Longhi Magnifica S ECAM22.110.B, Coffee Maker with with Milk Frother, Automatic Espresso Machine with 2 Hot Coffee Drinks Recipes, Soft-Touch Control Panel, 1450W, Black
  • ESPRESSO MACHINE WITH GRINDER: enjoy high-quality coffee in every cup as the machine grinds the beans fresh, right before brewing; includes a 250g bean container and a case for pre-ground coffee
  • GRINDING TECHNOLOGY: integrated grinding technology for freshly ground beans with adjustable grinding level; conical steel grinders calibrated with 100% accuracy
  • THE FRESHEST COFFEE: the machine's technology grinds the exact amount of beans, leaving no residual coffee in the unit, ensuring your next cup is just as fresh
  • TEMPERATURE CONTROL: De'Longhi Thermoblock system brews your coffee at the ideal temperature; it does this by only heating the water required for each beverage
  • EASY CLEAN: many of the removable components of this coffee machine are dishwasher-safe for an easy care

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Has up to 13 grind settings.
  • Features Thermoblock technology.
  • Extracts at a maximum pressure of 15 bars.
  • Has a large water reservoir and can pair with a filter.
  • Features a detachable brew group for deep cleaning.
Cons
  • Has only one boiler.
  • No pre-infusion.

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References

Rating 5/5 - (2 votes)