Latte is one of the most popular coffee beverages in the world. It appeals most to people who cannot tolerate the bitterness or the acidity of pure coffee. More importantly, lattes have become the canvas for baristas to showcase their artistic inclinations.
Unfortunately, making your own latte can be frustrating. You need the right amounts of espresso and steamed milk to create a fantastic beverage. Thankfully, there are now super-automatics that can provide you with barista-style lattes without breaking a sweat. This is the principal function of the De’Longhi Prima Donna ECAM28465M.
The De’Longhi Prima Donna ECAM 28465M Automatic Espresso Machine
- Automatic Latte and Cappuccino: the proprietary LatteCrema system allows you to create Italian classic cappuccino, latte, cafelatte or other milk-based recipes just in one touch
- Stainless steel housing with digital display
De’Longhi relies on its 100+ years of making high-quality and very functional appliances to create a super-automatic espresso machine that delivers coffeehouse-style lattes. The Italian brand used many of its award-winning design and technologies in the creation of the Prima Donna ECAM28465M. This machine has many of the features that high-end units have at a price tag that is friendlier than most.
The Prima Donna ECAM28465M provides a very convenient way to enjoy latte and other hot beverages that incorporate milk. From macchiatos and cappuccinos to hot chocolate drinks, the machine has enough basic beverage programs to let you create your own. At the core of the ECAM’s engineering is the LatteCrema system that makes it super easy to make milk-based drinks.
This machine also features a double Thermoblock boiler design that works to make beverages a lot faster than any barista can. The grinder, while made of steel, is efficient and provides you with 5 different settings. Purists may frown on the grind settings of the machine. However, it should be enough for casual coffee drinkers.
Requiring ample space, the ECAM28465M can sit conveniently in almost any kitchen. It has an industrial styling that may not sit well with people with more refined tastes. Its performance is, nevertheless, what you are paying for.
While the espresso machine is a breeze to operate, it can be a headache to set up. The process of programming and tweaking the different settings can be intimidating to non-tech-savvy people. It also requires a learning curve that is longer than other super-automatics because of its outdated user controls and display screen.
Nevertheless, the De’Longhi Prima Donna ECAM28465M is still a favorite among latte lovers. Its one-touch latte operation is more than enough to compensate for its price.
- Beautiful and elegant silver design
- Makes fast, coffeeshop-style lattes and milk-based recipes
- Easy to use
- Good customization of beverages
- Removable brew unit for thorough manual cleaning
- Includes a removable, fully-integrated milk carafe
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Comes with an active cup warmer
- Heavy and bulky
- Limited memory function
- Limited number of specialty coffees
- Outdated LED readout display
- Can be tricky to setup
Aesthetics, Footprint, and Form Factor
True to the design philosophy of De’Longhi, the Prima Donna ECAM28465M is a beautiful machine. it has this shiny silver finish that makes it look like the machine is made of all-metal. It has minimal black accents to help provide a modest contrast to the metallic look of the unit. Some people may not like the machine’s somewhat industrial style. However, this espresso machine should feel right at home in most kitchens. One problem with the material used in the ECAM28465M is that it can be a real fingerprint magnet. Good thing the slick surface of the machine allows for easy wiping.
Placing the machine on your countertop can be tricky. First, there is the weight of the machine that one must contend with. At 34 pounds, this is an appliance that is best carried and moved by at least two people. Dropping it on the floor or hitting it against an object in your kitchen can damage the machine itself or scuff its shiny surface. Second, the machine needs plenty of space. It is quite tall at 13.8 inches. And since the bean hopper lid is at the top of the unit, an additional 4 to 5 inches of vertical space allowance is a must. The Prima Donna is almost twice as narrow as it is deep. It is 17.5 inches deep and 9.4 inches wide. Given that standard US kitchen countertops have a depth of about 25 inches, the machine should fit right in.
The Prima Donna ECAM28465M comes with a dual coffee spigot that allows for the simultaneous production of two espresso shots. The tray can accommodate 12-ounce cups. However, the narrow space between the spigots can make it difficult to use two thick-walled cups. It is still possible if you remove the integrated milk carafe on the left side of the cup tray.
One real downer for us about the ECAM28465M is its outdated LED screen technology. For its price, we would have liked to see a TFT screen. Even better will be a touchscreen display. We feel as if De’Longhi decided to ‘downgrade’ its user information screen to save production costs. The LED screen offers easy-to-read information, however. It is a 2-line display with touch-sensitive keys on the left, right, and bottom of the screen. These keys give access to the menus and settings. One can also cancel an operation or activate a selection.
On the outer left, right, and bottom portions of the LED screen are several buttons. The right buttons allow you to choose between one and two cups of beverages. The left buttons give access to the number of coffee beans to be ground and the volume of water in the beverage. The buttons at the bottom of the screen are the 4 pre-determined beverage programs. These include Caffe latté, latte macchiato, cappuccino, and milk. There is also another button for milk foam, bringing the total number of one-touch programs to five.
Features and Functionalities
There is no question about the Prima Donna ECAM28465M’s ability to deliver excellent coffee. It has good customization options and robust programs to ensure the best possible drinks for everyone. It is wise to look at some of the features of this machine and how its different functionalities can work to your advantage.
Four Pre-programmed Beverages
As we already pointed out in the preceding section, the ECAM28465M comes with four pre-programmed beverages that include Caffe latté, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and milk. The number of coffee specialties may look limited when compared to other super-automatics.
One must realize that these four beverages are the ones that De’Longhi already preprogrammed into the machine. You can still create your very own coffee or latte beverage by using the espresso, milk, and milk frothing functions of the machine. Unfortunately, doing so will negate the promise of one-touch convenience.
The Prima Donna’s four pre-determined programs underscore the machine’s principal use. Making perfect lattes and other milk-based hot beverages is very easy. And since the machine has a dedicated steamed milk button, you can also make heartwarming chocolate drinks. The only downside is that the machine does not have a separate chocolate carafe. The De’Longhi ESAM 6900 has, justifying its higher price tag.
The LatteCrema System powers the amazing latte-making capabilities of the Prima Donna. This technology allows you to enjoy milk-based coffees like lattes at a mere press of a button. The best part is that you also get to choose the density of the milk froth if you decide to top your drink with one. If you do not add the milk froth, then you get to enjoy a flat white.
Adequate Options for Customization
Beverage personalization is one of the essential characteristics of a Superautomatic coffee machine. Most machines offer similar customization options when it comes to coffee strength, water volume, and water temperature. The only difference is the levels of these parameters.
The Prima Donna allows for the customization of the beverage’s coffee strength up to 5 different levels. There are machines that offer more coffee strength settings, however. This suggests that the ECAM28465M is a bit overpriced in this aspect.
The milk froth also comes in three different levels. There is the absent milk froth to provide you with the classic flat white. There is also minimal froth for those who do not want an airy beverage. Those who prefer a thick and rich crema should dial in the milk froth settings to the maximum.
We commend De’Longhi for allowing people to store their respective user profiles on the machine itself. You can program your own beverage and tweak it according to your preferences. If you are already satisfied with the results, then you can save this on the machine’s computer.
There is one major flaw in the user profile system of the ECAM28465M, however. You can only save one user profile for each type of drink. This is not a problem if you live alone or if your household has members who have different coffee style preferences.
The problem occurs when at least two people prefer the same type of drink. Whoever saves the last user profile will overwrite the saved user profile before it. It is this overwriting of previously saved profiles that can be a real concern in some instances. You will have to tweak your drink again if its beverage profile has already been overwritten.
Integrated Milk Carafe
An integrated carafe is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of a De’Longhi super-automatic. While the ECAM28465M does not have a chocolate carafe, it does have a milk carafe. This pitcher sits on the left side of the cup platform and in front of the machine’s left side.
One good thing about this setup is that the machine automatically draws the milk from the carafe. It courses the milk to the boiler for steaming before sending it out through the milk spout. Most machines require users to place a separate container beside the machine. They then connect a tube that will siphon the milk into the machine’s boiler. It is like the design of the integrated milk carafe of the De’Longhi machine. The only problem is that it can make the setup look more like an elementary science project.
There is another advantage to using the ECAM28465M’s integrated milk carafe. It is very easy to remove, making cleaning so much easier. You can also put the carafe in your refrigerator to increase the shelf life of the milk and prevent rapid spoiling.
Ample Tank and Hopper Capacity
The De’Longhi ECAM28465M has enough water and coffee bean capacity for a large family or someone who drinks coffee like he drinks water. The 67-ounce water tank comes with its own filter that you have the option to use or not. De’Longhi recommends using the filter to make cleaning the system a lot easier. However, do take note that using the filter will require regular replacement. That is an additional expense on your part.
The top-loading bean hopper has a more modest capacity at about 8.8 ounces. At more than half a pound, you can get a few tens of espressos before you refill the compartment. Good thing the machine also has an indicator for the levels of both water and coffee beans.
Durable Grinder and Double Boiler System
We like the double boiler design of the De’Longhi Prima Donna. It is a very important component of the system that also helps guarantee faster brewing, while simultaneously steaming milk. You can have an amazing latte in a fraction of the time that a professional barista will prepare the drink for you.
While we commend the use of Thermoblock technology in the dual boiler, we felt cheated in the design of the grinder. The conical burr grinder is made of steel, not ceramic. This explains the machine’s noisier operation. It is not that annoyingly noisy. However, we would have preferred a ceramic material for the grinder. The grind settings are also basic. There are only five compared to the 6 in the ESAM 6900.
Active Cup Warming Tray
Most people do not look at a warming tray as an essential feature of a super-automatic coffee machine. We can tell you now that it is. Instead of relying on passive heat to warm cups, De’Longhi integrates an active heating platform. This is very important if you want to enjoy a hot beverage. Pouring your coffee in a non-warmed cup can lower your drink’s temperature. This can produce a less-than-thrilling experience.
Operation, Cleaning, and Maintenance
Using the Prima Donna ECAM28465M is relatively easy because of its one-touch programming. Unfortunately, the machine can be very complicated to set up. This is due in part to the outdated design of its control interface. While we admire the company for including an instructional DVD with the package meant to make it easy to set up the machine, the different steps can still be formidable to non-tech-savvy people. Everything is a breeze once you set up the machine for initial use, however.
When making your very first beverage using the machine, it is important to adjust the water temperature to its highest setting. We found that the initial beverages that the Prima Donna makes are not as hot as we would like them to be. Maxing the temperature setting helps address the problem.
Cleaning the machine is also a lot easier than when setting its maintenance programs for the very first time. There are notifications in the display that will tell you when to change the filter or when to perform a system cleaning.
It is good that De’Longhi designed its brew unit to be removable. We believe you can clean it a lot better this way instead of relying on an automated mechanism. We also recommend rinsing and cleaning the milk frother every day. There are also self-cleaning programs that can simplify the process of maintaining your machine in tip top shape. Again, the real issue here is the initial setup of the programs and not their actual operation.
Who this Product is for? / Should You Buy This?
The De’Longhi Prima Donna ECAM28465M is perfect for anyone who has the money to buy it. More importantly, the appliance is best for fans of lattes and other beverages that use milk. The convenient one-touch operation can get you the drink that you desire in a flash.
The machine is also best for those with large countertops and who would not mind having an all-silver appliance in their kitchen. It is also great for people who are fond of technologies as the machine is quite complicated to set up.
We believe that the De’Longhi Prima Donna ECAM28465M is an awesome machine. It provides very thoughtful beverage and maintenance programs that are a lot easier to use than setting them up. The machine’s elegant design can be a nice addition to almost any kitchen. Despite its price and a few design hiccups, the machine’s ability to produce stunning specialty coffees is something that many people look for in a super-automatic.