This entry-level model has a lower price point and limited features, but DeLonghi did that with one goal in mind:
To make an affordable, fool-proof espresso machine.
Pull single or double shots with the included pressurized portafilter, or pop in an E.S.E. soft pod to get a rich, hot espresso with minimal hassle.
The Pannarello steam wand is a great addition on an entry-level machine — just submerge the wand in your milk and activate steam mode with no manual frothing required — and the whole unit is compact and durable.
The one feature I find sort of useless is the attached tamper. I’ve never been a fan of the up-press tamper affixed to the espresso machine.
Ratings-wise, my DeLonghi EC702 review doesn’t give the machine any forgiveness for being an entry-level model. I’m comparing it to the best-in-class super-automatic models that go for thousands.
With that frame of reference, the DeLonghi EC702 scored admirably for Quality of Espresso. It pulled rich shots with above average crema, and the Pannarello frother is fool-proof for good frothed milk and foam.
Because this machine comes with pressurized portafilters and the Pannarello frother, you do lose some customization and tweakability (is that a word?) from your shot. In essence, those features lower the ceiling on how perfected your shot and foam can be, but they absolutely raise the floor as well. Given the price range as an entry-level espresso machine, odds are you want something simple and easy to use.
Note: This model works best with grind sizes somewhere between fine and extra fine.
I’m a sucker for stainless steel, and the DeLonghi EC702 finds a way to incorporate it front and center.
The front paneling is stainless steel, as is the cup warmer on top, but the rest of the machine is a silver-painted plastic.
Aesthetics are subjective, but I really like the look of this machine.
Espresso machines under $300 carry more risk of breaking down. Frankly, it’s just hard to piece together a working machine given the parts you absolutely have to have: a strong pump, good heating element, and some sort of frother.
Compared to all espresso machines — including high-end ones — the DeLonghi EC702’s durability leaves a little to be desired.
However, compared to all espresso machines in this price range the DeLonghi EC702 stacks up pretty well.
You’re covered with a 1 year warranty, and with routine cleaning and maintenance you should be OK for beyond the 1 year mark.
Without a ton of extraneous features, it doesn’t take much to keep the DeLonghi EC702 clean and functioning properly. Descale every 1-3 months, depending on your water hardness, and flush the steam wand after every use.
With regular use, both pulling shots and steaming milk, you’ll have to remove and refill your water reservoir frequently. If you’ve ever used an espresso machine with an inconvenient rear-sitting water reservoir, you know how annoying it can be to pull the machine away from the wall every time you want to refill it.
Not the DeLonghi EC702. The side-sitting water reservoir is great, provided you don’t have to tuck it in the back-right corner of your countertop.
While it’s true I gave this model an 8.3-of-10 for Durability, I did like the feel of the design and sturdiness of its construction. Aside from some of the plastic paneling on the exterior, the DeLonghi EC702 didn’t feel like a cheap piece of junk.
The portafilter is well-constructed and locks in securely. The drip tray doesn’t rattle and fits snugly into the base of the machine. And really, there aren’t a lot of other pieces that are going to break or snap off on you.
If descaled properly and if the water reservoir is kept sufficiently filled (so as not to damage the heating element) then I think you’ll be fine with a few years of regular use.
As an entry-level machine, everything is designed to be as simple-to-use as possible. In that vein, the DeLonghi EC702 is E.S.E. pod compatible, so you can pull a shot with your favorite soft pod. Melitta and Senseo are two of the leading E.S.E. pod manufacturers, so check them out.
Leading off the Potential Shortcomings section of our DeLonghi EC702 review is the the Pannarello steam wand I’ve already praised!
Why do I both like and dislike it?
The Pannarello is awesome for those who want a quick cappuccino or latte, but it struggles with making decadently smooth microfoam. If you don’t mind doing things manually, you can remove the black Pannarello attachment, which is designed to automatically incorporate air into the milk, and make foam the traditional way.
The biggest shortcoming for me is the lack of a Thermoblock or Thermocoil for rapid heating — instead, the DeLonghi EC702 comes with a plain ol’ stainless steel boilter.
Unsure how these heating elements compare? Here’s the summary:
So instead of heating up almost on-demand, the DeLonghi EC702 takes upwards of 15 minutes.
If you have less water in the machine, it won’t take that long. I’d say it’s usually ready to go in about 5.
This isn’t a big deal if you aren’t in a rush — just press ON and go do something for the next 10-15 minutes — but for those who need their shot more quickly, you’ll want to look elsewhere. In this price range I’d suggest the DeLonghi EC680, which heats up in 40 seconds.