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DeLonghi La Specialista Review (2023) – Should You Get It?

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I recently had an opportunity to review DeLonghi La Specialista and I want to share my impressions with you. Looking for an ultimate review?

This review will provide an overview of this popular hybrid espresso machine to help you decide whether it is right for you or not. Read on to learn more about the DeLonghi La Specialista!

DeLonghi La Specialista Overview

DeLonghi La Specialista Review - Overview


  • Dual Thermoblock boiler
  • PID temp controller
  • 15-bar Italian pump
  • Preinfusion
  • Built-in smart grinder
  • Built-in smart tamper
  • Manual Panarello wand
  • Pressure gauge
  • 67oz water tank
  • 51mm portafilter
  • 1-second quick start


Fast and quiet brewing

Easy-to-use interface

Great espresso extraction

Sturdy build quality

Great milk steaming


Some plastic parts

A bit overwhelming for first-time users

Released in 2019, La Specialista was created as a response to Breville’s Oracle Touch and has since gained a reputation as one of the most popular hybrid home espresso machines on the market.

When I first laid my eyes on it, I knew it is a special unit. However, as a former barista who had tried 100s of espresso machines, I didn’t allow myself to be mesmerized by its shiny housing and sparkly gauge, buttons, and knobs.

Instead, I looked past that and did my best to test its performance. And La Specialista didn’t disappoint me. It is easy to use an espresso machine, it brews a great cup of espresso and froths perfect milk every time.

As mentioned, La Specialista is a hybrid. In other words, it falls between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic machine.

It provides you with more control over the brewing process compared to a super-automatic and yet makes it simple to brew espresso even if you are a complete noob thanks to its semi-automatic elements and features.

What impressed me about La Specialista is its advanced features that make brewing espresso as easy as possible. It has a built-in grinder with 18 settings, a built-in smart tamping station, an automatic latte system, a dual-heating system, and more.

Overall, I was impressed by DeLonghi La Specialista during my review. In the rest of this article, I’ll walk you through every inch of this espresso machine.

Build Quality & Design

Let’s start with the design. I have to say that DeLonghi La Specialista is simply stunning. It features a sleek, minimalist look with clean lines and a glossy finish. The machine is compact enough to fit on most countertops, yet it still manages to make a statement.

The control panel, which is the heart and soul of any espresso machine, is well-designed and easy to use. The pressure gauge, which takes centre stage, is not just for show – it’s a useful tool for ensuring that you’re getting the perfect extraction every time.

But the DeLonghi La Specialista isn’t just a pretty face. It’s built to last.

The machine is constructed from high-quality materials, including stainless steel and durable plastic. Even the buttons and knobs feel sturdy and well-made, adding to the overall sense of quality that this machine exudes.

Overall, the DeLonghi La Specialista is an espresso machine that’s built to impress. I would say that it is the perfect combination of style and substance, with a design that’s sure to turn heads and a build quality that will stand the test of time.

But what about the other features? How well does it perform?

I will share my findings and answers to those questions below in my DeLonghi La Specialista review so keep on reading to learn more.

Main Features

Credits to DeLonghi’s North America YouTube channel for this video.

Built-In Grinder

After a closer review, I can confidently say that DeLonghi La Specialista lives up to its promises in terms of high-quality and advanced grinding experience. It’s definitely one of the best machines with a grinder.

The machine features stainless steel conical burr grinders and an 8.8-ounce (250-gram) bean hopper. Unlike some rival machines, La Specialista is incredibly quiet when grinding thanks to its advanced technology.

The exclusive Sensor Grinding technology is truly impressive, delivering precise grinding that ensures the optimal dose of coffee for every shot. It takes the guesswork out of the process, which is great if you are an espresso newbie.

What about the advanced home baristas who want to play with grind settings?

No worries. You can adjust the grind size to suit your preferences, and the machine remembers your settings for future use. You can choose between 18 different grind settings.

Another awesome thing about La Specialista is the bean sensor, which ensures that you never run out of beans mid-grind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started brewing a cup of coffee at home, only to realize halfway through that I don’t have enough beans left in the hopper.

With the DeLonghi La Specialista, that’s never a problem. The sensor alerts you when the beans are running low, giving you plenty of time to refill the hopper before it’s too late.

Smart Tamping Station

As an avid espresso lover and barista, I prefer the old-school tamping. However, I was thrilled to experience the Smart Tamping Station of the DeLonghi La Specialista espresso machine.

Just like on Breville’s Oracle Touch, this innovative feature on Delonhi’s model allows for the easy tamping of ground coffee with just a simple pull of a lever. It not only saves time but also promises a mess-free experience.

However, after testing out this feature several times, I must say that DeLonghi’s claim of perfect tamping every time is slightly off.

Don’t get me wrong, the Smart Tamping Station definitely elevates the espresso-making process by decreasing the effort and stress required for traditional tamping. But, finding the perfect balance between the right pressure of the lever and the optimal holding time will take some practice and experimentation.

Overall, the DeLonghi La Specialista’s Smart Tamping Station is a great feature. While there is some room for improvement, the ease of use and consistent results make it a valuable addition to any home or commercial espresso machine.

Portafilter & Filter Baskets

The portafilter that comes with the La Specialista measures 51mm, slightly smaller than the industry standard of 58mm. It is made of durable stainless steel and has a comfortable handle that ensures a secure grip during use.

The La Specialista also comes with two pressurized filter baskets, a single and a double. These filter baskets have a unique double-walled construction that helps to regulate the flow and pressure of the water during extraction.

This feature makes the La Specialista forgiving for home baristas who are still perfecting their technique. Even if you make mistakes, the pressurized filter baskets still ensure proper extraction of the espresso.

If you want to go pro with your DeLonghi La Spacialista, you will have to get single-wall non-pressurized filter baskets separately.

Pressure Gauge

The pressure gauge is located on the front panel of the machine, right next to the group head. It displays the real-time pressure inside the coffee puck during the extraction process, allowing you to adjust the grind size and tamping pressure to achieve the perfect espresso shot.

By the way, the optimal range for espresso extraction is typically between 8 and 10 bars of pressure. You’ll have no problems achieving this level with DeLonghi La Specialista.

But the pressure gauge is not just about the pressure reading itself; it also serves as an indicator of any potential issues with the machine. If the gauge displays a consistently low pressure, that may indicate a problem with the machine itself, and prompt me to seek out assistance before the machine becomes damaged or unusable.

Dual Thermoblock Boilers

One of the standout features of DeLonghi La Spacialista that caught my attention was the Dual Thermoblock Boilers. This internal setup ensures optimal temperature stability for the perfect coffee extraction and milk texturing.

I find this particularly useful for making a perfect espresso every single time. In fact, because of this, I might even include it in our list of the best dual-boiler espresso machines.

So, what exactly are Dual Thermoblock Boilers?

Well, it’s a system that consists of two separate heating elements – one for the coffee extraction and the other for steaming milk or frothing. This means that you can brew your espresso and you can start steaming your milk without any delays and even simultaneously.

But, why is this important?

Well, temperature stability plays a crucial role in the coffee brewing process. With traditional single-boiler espresso machines, the heating element is shared between the coffee extraction and milk steaming, causing fluctuations in temperature, and leading to inconsistent coffee or milk quality.

However, with the Dual Thermoblock Boilers system found on DeLonghi La Specialista, each element has its own dedicated source of heat, ensuring a stable temperature for each process, resulting in a flawless cup of coffee.

Not only that, I was thrilled to find out that DeLonghi made sure you don’t wait for the La Specialista to get ready for brewing and steaming. You can immediately begin brewing your espresso without any additional heat-up time, thanks to the 1-second Quick Start feature.


For those who are unfamiliar, preinfusion is the process in which water is first released with a lower pressure, allowing the coffee grounds to saturate evenly and bloom before the full pressure of the machine is applied.

This feature is particularly useful for those who enjoy a smoother and more balanced espresso shot, as it helps to reduce any unevenness in the extraction process.

With the DeLonghi La Specialista, the preinfusion feature is fully automated and can be easily adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. The machine features two separate brew buttons, one for a single shot and another for a double shot, each with its own preinfusion option.

Panarello Steam Wand

The Panarello steam wand is a unique feature that sets the DeLonghi La Specialista apart from competitors like Breville Barista Express. This innovative steam wand is designed to froth milk quickly and effortlessly, making it easy to create perfect milk-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

What makes the Panarello steam wand so special is its unique design. Unlike traditional steam wands, which require a certain level of expertise to achieve the perfect froth, the Panarello wand is incredibly easy to use.

Simply attach the wand to the machine and use the rotating dial to adjust the frothing intensity to your liking. The wand has a built-in air intake system that ensures you get the perfect amount of froth every time.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the Panarello steam wand. More about its capabilities a bit later in my DeLonghi La Specialista review!

Hot Water Spout

The hot water spout is an essential component of the DeLonghi La Specialista that is designed to brew Americanos, teas, and other hot beverages.

The spout is conveniently placed on the side of the machine, making it easy to access and use. What’s more, when you choose to make an Americano, due to its close proximity to the portafilter, you don’t have to move your cup.


When you buy the DeLonghi La Specialista, right out of the box, you get a set of handy accessories that complement the machine’s main features from above.

Firstly, you will notice the stainless steel milk pitcher. Its sleek design allows for easy frothing and steaming of milk to create the perfect foam for your espresso drinks.

Then, there is the descaling agent. Hard water can cause buildup and affect the taste of your espresso, so this descaling agent is a great tool to ensure that your La Specialista stays clean and functioning properly.

To further maintain the quality of your espresso, the water hardness test strip is an excellent addition. It helps determine the mineral content of the water you’re using and make adjustments accordingly.

Lastly, the cleaning brush is a great tool for keeping your La Specialista spotless. It helps you get into those hard-to-reach places, ensuring that your machine stays in tip-top shape.

Plus, it’s much easier than using regular old cloth!

Now, let’s get busy with the most important part of my DeLonghi La Specialista review. Let me share a few things about how all these features perform together.

Brewing Performance

When it comes to brewing espresso, there are few home espresso machines that can compare to the DeLonghi La Specialista espresso machine. Some of them are Breville Oracle Touch and Celphalon Temp IQ.

What I love the most about La Specialista is that the machine is ready before you are as it heats up in a flash. Within one second, it’s ready to start extracting coffee. And thanks to its dual heating system, you can easily brew coffee and steam milk at the same time.

As I mentioned earlier in this DeLonghi La Specialista review, a dual boiler also plays a huge role in the quality of your espresso output as it makes sure that the temperature stays consistent. Combined with preinfusion technology and advanced temperature control, you are guaranteed perfect results every time.

DeLonghi La Specialista review - Brewing

When it comes to brewing choices, the DeLonghi La Specialista offers a range of options to suit your preferences.

Whether you prefer a strong shot of espresso or coffee, this machine has you covered. The espresso option produces a rich and full-bodied shot with a thick layer of crema, while the coffee option is perfect for a larger cup of joe.

And for those who love a classic Americano, the machine’s Americano option will mix the perfect amount of espresso and hot water without a need for your interference.

Overall, I can confidently say that DeLonghi La Specialista is a top-notch espresso machine that delivers on its promises. It’s efficient, easy to use, and produces excellent espresso every time.

Milk Frothing & Steaming

As mentioned earlier in my DeLonghi La Specialista review, the machine comes equipped with a powerful Panarello steam wand.

This system uses a unique mixing system that combines steam and air to create a rich and creamy foam that is consistent every time. Whether you want a flat microfoam for latte art or bubbly foam for your cappuccino, the LaSpacialista can handle it.

But what really sets La Specialista apart is its advanced Latte Crema System. All you need to do is put some milk into the jug, place the steam wand in it, and turn on the steam wheel, and the system does the rest.

DeLonghi La Specialista review - Milk Frothing

You can also control the texture by turning off the steam at any moment. This allows you to control the process and steam the milk to your liking.

Overall, I have been really impressed with the milk-frothing performance of the DeLonghi La Specialista. It makes creating delicious and professional-looking cappuccinos and lattes a breeze, and the Latte Crema System is a game-changer for anyone who values consistent and high-quality milk frothing.

Cleaning & Maintainance

Cleaning and maintaining the DeLonghi La Specialista is fairly simple and straightforward, and it starts with the most important ritual for any coffee machine owner: descaling.

This procedure should be performed every 60 to 90 days.

For this particular model, DeLonghi suggests using a descaling solution that is included with the purchase. The process is explained in detail in the user manual, and it essentially involves mixing the solution with water and running it through the machine.

Then, there are daily cleaning rituals that involve cleaning the group head, shower screen and portafilter. It’s easy to reach and clean all these parts of La Specialista with included a cleaning brush.

The next step is to clean the exterior of La Specialista, something that you should do on a daily basis as well. This involves wiping off any residue or water stains using a soft cloth or sponge.

It’s also essential to ensure that the steam wand and frothing attachment are clean and free of any milk buildup since that can affect the texture and flavour of your milk-based drinks. Simply turn the steam knob after steaming to purge extra milk and wipe it.

Finally, I make sure that the water tank and drip tray are cleaned regularly. Both parts of LaSpecialista are easy to remove and clean by rinsing through hot water.

By following the above steps regularly, you ensure that your DeLonghi La Specialista espresso machine stays in top condition. Not only does it produce consistently great coffee, but it also has a longer lifespan, and that, to me, is worth daily trouble.

Who Is DeLonghi La Specialista For?

After a thorough review of DeLonghi La Specialista, I can confidently say that this machine is the perfect fit for individuals who enjoy the art of espresso-making and want to achieve that perfect, barista-quality espresso shot in the comfort of their own home.

Since it combines the best of semi and fully-automatic machines, it is great for those of you who want that barista feeling, but don’t want to manually adjust every single brewing parameter aka beginners.

And if you are one of the espresso nerds like me, DeLonghi La Specialista has enough customization features that will tickle your fancy too.

Who Is DeLonghi La Specialista Not For?

First of all, if you’re someone who only drinks coffee occasionally and doesn’t appreciate the art of espresso making or milk frothing, then the DeLonghi La Specialista machine might not be worth the investment.

Moreover, if you’re on a tight budget, then La Specialista might be too expensive for you. This machine is a high-end product that comes with a premium price tag, and you’ll need to be willing to spend a considerable amount of money to own it.

You can check our list of the best espresso machines for under $500.

DeLonghi La Specialista Review – Verdict

DeLonghi La Specialista Review - Overview


  • Dual Thermoblock boiler
  • PID temp controller
  • 15-bar Italian pump
  • Preinfusion
  • Built-in smart grinder
  • Built-in smart tamper
  • Manual Panarello wand
  • Pressure gauge
  • 67oz water tank
  • 51mm portafilter
  • 1-second quick start


Fast and quiet brewing

Easy-to-use interface

Great espresso extraction

Sturdy build quality

Great milk steaming


Some plastic parts

A bit overwhelming for first-time users

After trial and error, it is safe to say that the DeLonghi La Specialista is the ultimate espresso machine; perfect for anyone looking for great-tasting coffee that doesn’t require any special barista skills or experience.

With its advanced features and easy-to-use design, this espresso machine might even redefine your morning coffee routine without being too expensive.

The strong stainless steel construction guarantees a long-lasting product and the grinding/tamoing/brewing unit gives barista quality results each time.

Together with its stellar reputation in search engine reviews, I have come to count on this model of DeLonghi La Specialista as one of the best semi-automatics on the market today.

DeLonghi La Specialista Review – FAQs

What sets the DeLonghi La Specialista apart from other espresso machines?

The DeLonghi La Specialista offers a unique and innovative technology that allows even the biggest espresso noobs to brew a perfect cup of espresso every single time.

What is the milk frothing wand like on the DeLonghi La Specialista?

The La Specialista features a manual milk frothing wand that allows you to easily froth milk for latte art-worthy drinks. The wand is adjustable, allowing you to control the amount of foam and texture of your milk.

What size cups can the DeLonghi La Specialista accommodate?

The La Specialista has an adjustable cup tray that can accommodate cups up to 5.5 inches tall, allowing you to brew single or double shots of espresso as well as larger drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

What are the dimensions of the DeLonghi La Specialista?

La Specialista is a compact and sleek machine that measures 12.48″D x 14.48″W x 13.98″H and weighs around 29 pounds. It is perfect for small kitchen spaces and can be easily moved around due to its lightweight build.

Is DeLonghi La Specialista worth the premium price tag?

While the price tag may be a bit higher than competitors, La Specialista’s features, design, and overall quality make it a worthwhile investment!

Thanks for reading my review!

PS. Credits to DeLonghi’s product page for images.

Photo of author

Author: Ivan Brozincevic

Ivan fell in love with everything about espresso while he was in college back in 2010, so much so that he decided to quit his education and pursue a career as a barista. Today, Ivan has extensive knowledge about espresso, espresso gear, and everything else related and loves sharing it with others who share his passion.

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