Delonghi La Specialista vs Magnifica: Which Machine Should You Buy?

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The Delonghi La Specialista emerges as the clear winner in the comparison between the Delonghi La Specialista vs Magnifica. It offers a premium espresso-making experience with its robust design, versatile controls, ideal tamping mechanism, and intuitive extraction system.

The Delonghi La Specialista stands out due to its rugged sophistication and durability. Its precise controls make crafting the perfect cup of espresso effortless, while the intuitive extraction system consistently delivers exceptional results. It’s more than just a coffee maker; it’s a reliable companion for coffee enthusiasts.

On the other hand, the Delonghi Magnifica, while commendable, takes a slightly more subdued approach in both performance and design. It lacks the rugged charm of the La Specialista but still provides a user-friendly experience for those seeking a reliable espresso maker.

Delonghi La Specialista vs Magnifica: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
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
The Runner-up (#2)
De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver
Model
Delonghi La Specialista
Delonghi Magnifica
Dimensions
14.48 x 15 x 17.5 Inches
11 x 15.3 x 14.4 Inches
Capacity
2 Liters
1.8 Liters
Material
Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Color
Silver
Silver
Weight
29.7 Pounds
23.12 Pounds
Bars Of Pressure
19
15
Tamping
Smart tamping station
Automatic tamping
Removable Water Reservoir
Sensor Grinding Technology
Removable drip tray
Dual Heating System
1 Second Quick Start
Separate hot water spout
Height Ajustable Coffee Spout
Bean Container Capacity
8.8oz
8.8oz
What I Like
Price
$1,198.00
$379.95
The Winner (#1)
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
14.48 x 15 x 17.5 Inches
Capacity
2 Liters
Material
Stainless Steel
Color
Silver
Weight
29.7 Pounds
Bars Of Pressure
19
Tamping
Smart tamping station
Removable Water Reservoir
Sensor Grinding Technology
Removable drip tray
Dual Heating System
1 Second Quick Start
Separate hot water spout
Height Ajustable Coffee Spout
Bean Container Capacity
8.8oz
What I Like
Price
$1,198.00
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver
Model
Delonghi Magnifica
Dimensions
11 x 15.3 x 14.4 Inches
Capacity
1.8 Liters
Material
Stainless Steel
Color
Silver
Weight
23.12 Pounds
Bars Of Pressure
15
Tamping
Automatic tamping
Removable Water Reservoir
Sensor Grinding Technology
Removable drip tray
Dual Heating System
1 Second Quick Start
Separate hot water spout
Height Ajustable Coffee Spout
Bean Container Capacity
8.8oz
What I Like
Price
$379.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Delonghi La Specialista vs Magnifica: Differences

The Delonghi La Specialista takes the lead with 2-1 wins and 1 tie against the Magnifica. Let’s delve into the details to understand why it stands out as the superior choice.

Coffee Flavour & Brewing Technology

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Built-in Grinder

The bean containers in these machines feature a stainless steel conical burr grinder, typical for this price range, but not without its flaws.

Firstly, the grinder can overheat, potentially scorching the coffee grounds and affecting the espresso’s taste with unwanted bitterness. High-end models often opt for ceramic burr grinders to avoid this issue.

Secondly, despite claims of quiet operation, these machines are noticeably loud, which could disturb others during early morning brews. The quietest models I’ve found are those with ceramic grinders or the pricier Jura machines with A3 Aroma grinders.

When it comes to grind settings, getting the size right is key for a great cup. Too fine, and you’ll block the water, leading to over-extraction; too coarse, and the water rushes through, resulting in a weak espresso. More grind settings mean more control over your coffee’s taste.

The Delonghi La Specialista has six settings, enough for basic adjustments—I use the higher numbers for lighter espresso and the lower ones for a stronger taste. The La Magnifica, however, offers 13 settings, giving a wider range to fine-tune your grind from very coarse to extra fine. While it’s more options than I usually need, it’s fantastic for dialing in your perfect espresso.

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

I find it interesting that the Delonghi La Specialista takes the guesswork out of grinding and tamping. It’s equipped with a smart system, so you don’t even need a separate tamper. When you put in the 51mm portafilter that comes with it, the machine automatically starts up. Then, all you have to do is pull a lever on the side for hands-free tamping. What I really appreciate is that this system keeps everything neat and tidy – there are no coffee grounds left on the machine or your countertop.

the smart tamping system on delonghi la specialista
The smart tamping system on Delonghi La Specialista

Heating System


The Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica feature dual boiler systems, letting you brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously—a big plus over single-boiler models that require you to wait between brewing and steaming. This setup avoids any delay that could cool down your drink.

They also boast Thermoblock technology, which heats just the water you need in about 20 seconds, speeding up the process. This “instant reheat” feature ensures quick and efficient operation, keeping your coffee-making experience smooth and fast.

Brewing System 

Both the Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica share an automatic pre-infusion stage, where hot water is briefly added to the coffee grounds before extraction begins. This helps prevent uneven extraction and ensures maximum flavor.

It’s worth noting that on these machines, the pre-infusion process is automatic and can’t be adjusted, unlike some machines that allow you to customize it. During this stage, you’ll notice the pressure gauge on the Delonghi La Specialista starting low and gradually rising to the optimal pressure as the brewing process kicks in.

Both the Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica can extract espresso at a maximum pressure of 15 bars, which is significantly higher than the 9 bars required for a good espresso shot. This high pressure ensures that the coffee is extracted using the power of pressure rather than just gravity, resulting in delicious and flavorful coffee that captures the true essence of fresh coffee beans. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a pick-me-up without having to make daily trips to your local coffee shop.

Design & Usability

Winner: Delonghi La Specialista

Dimensions & Weight

DeLonghi La SpecialistaDeLonghi Magnifica
Dimensions12.5 x 14 x 14.5 inches11 x 15.3 x 14.4 inches
Weight29.7 lbs23.2 lbs


While the Delonghi Magnifica boasts a stainless steel build and a classic appearance, I wouldn’t describe it as aesthetically appealing. It’s not unattractive, but it’s unlikely to win any design awards or become a standout piece on your kitchen countertop.

In contrast, the Delonghi La Specialista exudes a high-end and handsome look with its stainless steel body. Its robust metal casing not only enhances its luxurious appeal but also provides excellent resistance to corrosion, damage, and rust. I personally love its design!

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

I was also pleased to find that these machines aren’t overly large, especially when compared to many other espresso machines I’ve tested. This is a significant advantage because not everyone has ample counter space for bulky kitchen appliances. While they are on the heavy side, it’s primarily due to their sturdy stainless steel construction, which I appreciate for its durability.

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Delonghi La SpecialistaDelonghi Magnifica
Espresso
Coffee
Americano
Espresso

These machines primarily focus on providing one-touch espresso, and if you desire milk-based drinks, you’ll need to froth the milk yourself, which can take some practice to perfect. Depending on your skill level, you can achieve either a creamy, delicious cappuccino or a less-than-perfect combination of espresso and hot milk. Don’t be discouraged; mastering milk frothing has always been a bit challenging.

In terms of adjustability, the DeLonghi Magnifica offers 10 espresso shot lengths and 10 coffee strength levels. On the other hand, the DeLonghi La Specialista allows you to customize the coffee grounds’ volume, the length of espresso shots (and save your preferences with the Memo function), and choose from two brew temperature levels.

Both machines come equipped with a hot water dispenser, which can be used for brewing tea, making hot chocolate, or preparing an authentic Americano by diluting espresso. This feature is handy and might make you reconsider the need for a separate kettle.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Delonghi La SpecialistaDelonghi Magnifica
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Height12 inches2.75-4.25 inches

You’ll want to pay attention to the spout height of these machines to ensure they can accommodate your favorite cups. The Delonghi Magnifica has an adjustable dual coffee spout that can fit regular coffee cups but may struggle with larger mugs. On the other hand, the Delonghi La Specialista offers a maximum cup clearance of 12 inches, making it suitable for even super-tall cups. It also has a perch for smaller cups to prevent splatters and maintain that creamy layer on top of your espresso.

delonghi la specialista vs magnifica's dual spigots
Delonghi La Specialista vs Magnifica’s dual spigots

Both the Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica offer the convenience of serving two espressos at once with just one touch. This is a fantastic feature, especially if you don’t want to engage in a high-stakes game of “who gets the first cup” with your spouse. Trust me, it’s a game you’d rather avoid!

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Delonghi La SpecialistaDelonghi Magnifica
Water Reservoir2 liter1.77 liter
Bean Hopper0.26 liter0.26 liter

Both the Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica come with large water tanks, which is convenient for home use as they don’t need frequent refilling throughout the day. However, the La Specialista’s reservoir is positioned at the back, which may not be as user-friendly for refilling as the Magnifica’s side-situated tank. So, if you plan to place it under a kitchen cabinet, consider the accessibility factor.

It’s worth noting that these machines do not have built-in water filters to remove impurities from the water. Therefore, using good quality water or regular descaling is essential. Alternatively, you can use bottled or pre-filtered water, although it may not be the most practical solution. Investing in a separate water filter dispenser can be a smart choice.

Regarding the bean hoppers, they can hold up to 250g of coffee beans, but it’s advisable not to leave leftover coffee beans in them since they aren’t airtight. Storing beans in the hopper can expose them to air and cause them to go stale quickly. It’s best to only put in the hopper what you plan to grind and brew immediately.

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

Milk System

The Winner: Tie

If you’re looking for a “one-touch” frothing system, you might need to consider a higher-end machine because the Delonghi La Specialista and Magnifica both come with a Panarello steam wand.

While it requires a bit more hands-on work than a super-automatic system, it’s still easy enough for someone without barista training to use in their kitchen. Simply ensure the steam wand is submerged in milk, turn on the steaming knob, and let the machine work its magic. Just remember to be cautious when dealing with hot steam!

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

The Panarello wand offers a simpler way to froth milk compared to traditional steam wands, where you don’t need to master complicated frothing techniques. It eliminates the need for creating a vortex or guessing when to adjust the wand’s depth in the milk jug. However, achieving perfect froth art still requires practice, but once you get the hang of it, you may prefer this method over fully automated systems.

In my experience, the La Specialista performed exceptionally well, producing high-quality microfoam for both lattes and cappuccinos that rivaled café-grade results. I could adjust the texture by moving the collar ring to the upper position for milk steaming (ideal for lattes) or the lower position for milk frothing (great for cappuccinos). This machine handled everything I threw at it with ease.

In contrast, I was pleasantly surprised by the Delonghi Magnifica’s wand, which performed admirably in creating creamy foam for delicious cappuccinos. I even managed to achieve an acceptable result on my first attempt with this machine. However, it’s worth noting that it might not be the ideal tool for aspiring home baristas looking to craft intricate latte art.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Delonghi Magnifica

Unlike the La Specialista, the Magnifica has a detachable brew group, which requires manual cleaning under a tap. While it might seem like extra work initially, it has its advantages. Hand-washing the brew group with a sponge ensures a thorough and reliable cleaning, surpassing the effectiveness of automatic cleaning processes. Additionally, if the brew group breaks, it can be easily replaced. However, avoid putting it in the dishwasher, as it can damage the plastic and reduce its lifespan.

For descaling these machines, simply fill the water reservoir with the DeLonghi Descaler and let the machine run the descaling cycle automatically. Since these espresso machines don’t have water filters, they may require more frequent descaling compared to models with built-in filters. If you want to minimize this task, use water with low hardness to reduce mineral buildup.

When it comes to cleaning the steam wand, allow some steam to pass through it and then wipe it down with a damp cloth after each use to remove any potential milk residue. Just exercise caution, as the wand can become very hot during operation.

Lastly, remember to clean removable parts regularly, including the water tank, drip tray, dregs basket, portafilter, and more. The stainless steel body of these machines is easy to clean and requires relatively low maintenance.

Quick Rundown of DeLonghi La Specialista

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • User-friendly and mess-free performance.
  • Sleek, space-saving, and durable design.
  • Adjustable in every way – grind, water/coffee ratio.
  • High-quality espresso with smooth cream-infused texture.
Cons
  • The water tank is inaccessible.
  • You need to dial in every time you switch coffee beans.

Quick Rundown of DeLonghi Magnifica

Sale
De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and reprogramming may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • FRESH ESPRESSO FOR EVERY CUP: The professional burr grinder with 13 adjustable settings grinds fresh beans every time to ensure maximum freshness. You can also use pre-ground in the second chamber. Your choice of regular, specialty or decaf.
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
  • CONSISTENT BREWING EVERY TIME: Each cup is automatically brewed to the perfect temperature, richness and density. And you can customize the settings to ensure its always just the way you like it.
  • EASY TO CLEAN AND HANDLE: The compact, extractable brew unit is not only easy to clean, it self-adjusts for one or two shots of espresso.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • User-friendly and mess-free performance.
  • Sleek, space-saving, and durable design.
  • Adjustable in every way – grind, water/coffee ratio.
  • High-quality espresso with smooth cream-infused texture.
Cons
  • Loud operation especially the grinder.
  • The water tank is too small.

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