I've got Delonghi down in my mind as a decent quality manufacturer and tend always to consider their range when purchasing smaller kitchen items. The coffee maker under review has been with me now for a few years and seen at least 2 house moves. It doesn't get as much use as it should because it does make a very good cup of coffee, plain or expresso or capuccino. You know how it is, though - you do it for a while, then you get fed up with it nd it goes back in the cupboard for a while. I'm the only one drinking "proper" coffee in our house, so when I put it on, I do tend to overdose a bit - just to make sure I get good value and don't throw any leftover coffee out. This coffee maker comes in a sexy black colour with obligatory shiny bits and has easy to operate and understand controls, Stainless steel container for the coffee, plastic container for the water with an efficient heating element and for ordinary coffee, it just drips throug into the jug and Hey Presto - you have coffee! Much more fun however, is the unique gurgling and spitting part of the game in which you heat a small jug of milk with the steam pipe until it is hot enough to take the skin off the roof of your mouth. Mix it in your chosen proportions with your just-made coffee and you have a lovely frothy milky option. It's a good machine and has always proven reliable, but the process itself is a bit laboured, especially if you are making frothy coffee for six - it takes you out of the conversation for a while whilst you concentrate on the task in hand. Not many folk bother with these things now and they can be picked up for next to nothing on eBay from folk for whom the novelty value has worn off. Although I still use it from time to time, I now mostly use a single cup coffee maker from Flavia. (Oh - I can feel another review coming on?) More expensive option but so much more convenient.
I didn't think I could like a "gadget" as much as I did my Delonghi Caffe Firenze but I do! Ok so it is basically the same, only better! The Delonghi Caffe Nabucco is a filter coffee maker, cappuccino and expresso maker all in one unit! It is fairly bulky to look at but considering it replaced 2 machines it probably does take up slightly less space. It is a very easy machine to use, firstly decide whether you want filter or cappuchino/expresso coffee and push one of the buttons on the front of the machine, there are 2 silver buttons it is simply a case of pressing the one that you want. Once that is decided the rest of the process is just as easy. Filter ****** Just the same as using a regular filter coffee maker really. Remove the large jug from the base of the machine and fill it with water. There is a lid on top of the machine which is where the water goes, pour the water in there. You can actually lift out the water reservoir to fill it if you prefer. Next open the door on the front of the machine, here you will find the filter where you put your coffee. (There isn't a permanent filter included which is the only bad thing about this machine, however the permanent filter out of my old machine fitted, my old machine is a cookworks cheapie machine so I assume they must be a standard fit.) Anyway unless you have a spare permanent filter you will have to use a paper filter, you just open the filter up and sit it in the compartment then fill with the ground coffee of you choice. I was always told that if you pour almost boiling water onto the coffee grounds first you get a better flavour so this is what I do next. The water won't run out so don't worry about that. Close the door set the selector to how strong you want your coffee on the dial on top of the machine place the jug back on the machine and wait! For a full pot of coffee it only takes around 5 minutes on strong setting if you prefer it weaker it takes a little less time. Cappuchino/expresso ************************* A bit more fiddly to use than the Caffe Firenze this has replaced in my kitchen but I have to admit it is better, for the cappuccino in the Firenze you put milk into the machine with this it just steams the milk. There are 2 jugs with this machine the first I've already explained is for filter coffee the second, small jug is for cappuccino and expresso. Fill this small jug with water and unscrew the cap on top of the machine, pour the water in. This is where the water boils and makes all the steam you need for the cappuccino and lets the water through for the expresso. The cap is a special cap that once the machine is in use it would let you open it until it has either cooled down or until the water has emptied. This prevents scalding. Whilst the unit is still too hot the cap will just spin round but won't loosen. Above where the small jug sits there is a handle sticking out, this hold the filter for the expresso coffee. You turn it and it unlocks from the machine so you can fill it with coffee. You can use normal filter coffee in this but it does taste better if you use a proper expresso coffee. There is a permanent stainless steel filter which you fill with coffee, there are markers inside which shows how much to use depending on how many cups you are making. When you have filled this lock it back into place and place the small jug under it Make sure the button on front of the machine is set to cappuchino/expresso and set the strength selector which is the dial on top of the machine above where this jug sits. It takes a few minutes for the water to heat up but when it has heated it only takes a couple of moments for the coffee to come through. For your milk for a cappuccino you set the dial which is also the strength selector for the expresso so it is set to steam. Put in the required amount of milk into the small jug, there is a guide on the side of the jug depending on how many cups you want. To the side of the machine there is an arm with a white nozzle, this is where the steam comes out. Place the jug of milk under this with the nozzle immersed into the milk and turn the knob at the side of the machine, this releases the steam into the milk. The first time I used it it was quite scary, as if you don't have the nozzle in the milk it can just blow the milk around. It is very quick at steaming the milk and leaves you with a lovely frothy milk to pour on top of your coffee. Cleaning is easy just remove the white nozzle and wash in hop soapy water and wipe the end of the stainless steel pipe that is under the nozzle. The jugs can be washed in hot soapy water or the dishwasher as can the filters. Beneath the small jug there is a drip tray which is removable and I usually just rinse it after each use. It is only available in one colour which is black with silver buttons. It comes with a video on how to make the perfect coffee, i have to admit I haven't watched it yet but it is on my viewing list!! I paid £49.99 from Argos
Well I thought it was about time for me to write about my new coffee machine, or rather what used to be my new coffee machine so here I go. First off, let me tell you about what it is and what it has to offer. Model Delonghi BC90 Café Otello This is a combination coffee maker, which basically means you can make three different types of coffee with the same unit, filter, espresso and cappuccino. It comes with an instruction leaflet and video to guide you and two-year parts and labour guarantee. The video shows you all the parts very clearly and how the machine should be used and cleaned. You get one large glass carafe (holds up to ten cups for filter coffee) and one smaller one (holds up to four cups of cappuccino or espresso coffee) both of them have plastic lids to help keep your coffee nice and hot. Please note that from now on, the glass carafes will be known as jugs as I hate that carafe word, I'm sorry but I do. The filters for this machine are permanent ones, so no mucking about with irritating paper ones, not to mention the added expense. With these you can wash and re-use them over and over again. The espresso one is very sturdy, but I do wonder about the one for the filter side, it does seem a little bit thin and flimsy to me. I'm not really sure how that would stand up to long-term use. What else do you get? Oh yes, you get a hotplate for the filter jug to sit on and a lift out (for easy cleaning) drip tray for the espresso/cappuccino side. What else, oh the plastic two cup dispenser attachment thingy for the espresso maker, this clips onto the espresso filter thing so that you can pour two cups simultaneously if you want to and a measuring spoon to measure your coffee with. A free pack of coffee would have been nice to try it out with after all the money laid on this machine, but it wasn't to be. One of the features I like about this m achine is, that by turning the Variflo switch you can select the strength of your coffee before you brew it, from very light to very strong or somewhere in between. All this really means is that the water you pour into the reservoir (or boiler for espresso) will come through as different speeds but it will make a difference to the way your coffee tastes. Its something you just have to try out for yourself until you find your own preference really. queenofsheba's Rough Guide (instructions) Starting off with the filter coffee making, which is on the left hand side of the machine. You get a lift out plastic water reservoir but you don't have to lift it out if you don't want to, just use the glass jug to fill it to the level you need with cold water, just don't overfill it there is a minimum and maximum line to guide you anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, close the lid and then put your coffee in to the filter, this just swings out to the side like a cupboard door. Close that bit as well and make sure you have put the jug on the hotplate in line with the spout. Your coffee should start to flow through almost immediately. I just want to mention another little feature here; as your coffee comes through you can lift off the jug, as the machine has an anti-drip valve which stops the coffee pouring through until you have the jug back on the hotplate, so you don't have to wait for the whole jug to brew, you can get a cup fairly quickly. Next the espresso bit which is in the middle of the machine. Right then, the water boiler for this is at the top. Get your smaller glass jug and fill to the level required indicated on the side of the jug (2 or 4cups) with cold water. Unscrew the cap from the boiler and pour in the water, then screw the cap back on. Get hold of your espresso thing, (which looks like a teeny little saucepan with a wee hole in the bottom) put the filter in and add the coffee. Now h ere comes the tricky bit, you have to fit the little pan under the waterspout with a kind of push and twist action. It will only go on one way, but it is a bit of a fiddle to begin with. Once you have got this in place, select the required strength and make sure you have espresso selected as well. You must also make sure that the steam release switch; on the right hand side of the machine is fully closed before you start so to check this, turn it clockwise until it is closed. Put the little jug directly beneath the espresso pan so that the coffee pours directly into it. Then switch it on and after about two minutes your coffee will begin to flow. Warm your cups before pouring the coffee into them as it will cool down very quickly and you will have cold coffee which is not nice. I can't tell you anything about the two cup attachment because I never got round to using it, more of that later. Finally the cappuccino maker. Follow the instructions for the espresso maker, but you will have put more water into the boiler for this as it needs the extra to steam and froth the milk. Look at the indication levels on the little glass jug; it has a little mark like a shot of steam as the level indicator for the cappuccino making. Fill the water boiler using these levels as your guide. Brew the espresso as before but as soon as the coffee reaches level two on the jug turn the variflo switch to the cappuccino setting. If you don't do this you won't have enough water left in the boiler to froth the milk. Then you have to wait for the cappuccino light indicator to come on, so while you are waiting fill the milk tank (on the right hand side of your machine) with cold milk from the fridge to the max level and put the lid back on. When the light comes on it means that it's ready to froth the milk. Here you will be using the steam release switch on the right that I mentioned earlier. First though pour the coffee into your warmed cups and then place them on e at a time underneath the frothing pipe. (I forgot to mention that you also get an anti-spray nozzle that just pushes onto the pipe so push that on first) turn the steam release button very slowly anti-clockwise (or towards you) and the milk will begin to sputter and froth and it will pour straight into your cup. Don't turn the steam release too far or too quickly, because if you do, your milk won't froth properly and it will also be cold. Top with a generous amount of chocolate powder and enjoy! For me the best way to get a nice hot cappuccino was to turn on the hotplate on the left so that I could put the espresso on it to keep warm while I perfected my frothing technique (using a small milk jug instead of the cups) otherwise it would go cold anyway. Right then that's all the uses out of the way, now let me tell you a bit more about my experience of using it. All went well for a couple of days and one day when cleaning the milk frother (just washing in soapy water) a little piece of plastic snapped off. It looked like a fairly unimportant little square at the time but when we tried to use it again it wouldn't froth the milk at all. So I emailed Delonghi to tell them about it, and to ask for a replacement part instead of going to the trouble of sending it back for repair. About an hour later they got back to me to say that the part I needed was in the post and sure enough two days later it was in my hand. The only trouble was the part in question needs a little plastic seal to stop the milk from leaking into the machine and they hadn't sent that so I had to get the one from off the broken part. Again all went well for a couple of days and then while using the machine, the seal itself split and the milk wouldn't froth properly and was leaking into the machine once again. I thought about sending them another email for another part and then thought again. Hamish had spent £84 on this machine, why should we be phoning for extra parts after less than two weeks use and why are the parts so flimsy? It shouldn't have to be repaired at all at this stage. So in the end Hamish emailed Argos where he got it from, who are giving us our money back (they wanted to give us another machine but that's another op) and they are coming to pick the machine up today. I was so disappointed with this as it had started off so well but I do feel that the parts used were not strong enough for the amount of money we paid, even the jugs were made with very thin glass. Having said all that, Delonghi were very quick to act when we contacted them with the problem. So its back to the drawing board where the coffee machines are concerned, paying more money for one doesn't necessarily mean you will get a better one does it? The email address should you want it is, www.delonghi.com