Inside the Delonghi Magnifica Espresso Machine

So here we have a Delonghi Magnifica super automatic espresso machine. This is one beautiful piece of machinery. I’m not saying this because of its aesthetic characteristics but because of how well it performs. After using a manual machine with a blade-type grinder to make espresso every morning, upgrading to a super automatic is like a dream come true!

Many espresso/coffee purists would say that a super automatic machine is akin to taking a Geo Metro and putting tires from a Ferrari on it hoping for Ferrari-like performance. I disagree. When you consider the quality of the result combined with the time/hassle savings, it becomes a no-brainer.

Down to business… Check out this first video showing the basic brewing of a shot of espresso. It shows what a “good” shot should look like with the crema on top. I muted the sound as its rather uninteresting.

Next we have the video with the door open. Those clever guys over at Delonghi spared no expense when it comes to fault detection (door switch, water level, used espresso puck level, mineral buildup counter, etc). As a result, a paring knife was used to overide the door switch. I will go into more detail in the up coming days as to what does what.

Here is what’s happening in this video:

  • The carriage (black plastic with red tabs) is moving from its brewing location down to its home position. We also call this the dump position. This is the position where it dumps off any pucks of ground espresso. If you watch the video closely, you can see the flapper moving away and slapping the buck into the bin (there is no puck yet but if there was, that is what it’d do).
  • Now the carraige moves up to the grind location. The grinder will grind beans (after user selects serving size button) found in the hopper on the top of the machine. The grinds will fall out of the grinder and into the top of the carriage.
  • The carriage now moves up and to the right. When it does this you’ll notice after it stops, it moves slightly up again. It is actually compressing (tamping) the grinds into the carriage. Typically, on a manual machine this is done by hand with a tamper. Because this machine has a combined brewing head and tamper, it is able to stay at location after compressing the grinds to brew.The machine will immediately start the pump to begin the brew cycle. It does something called pre-brewing where by it wets the grinds down and waits a few seconds for them to saturate. This allows for a better shot of espresso. After the grinds are wetted it will execute the remainder of the extraction. In this video you’ll notice that the shot has an awefull lot of crema on top. I found it interesting myself how much more there was when the door was open and the espresso was falling straight into the glass instead of through the machine’s shoot. I believe I may have my grinder set too fine and will have to check into it.

Combined Brew Head and Tamper

  • After the extraction is complete, the carriage returns to the lower position and simulataneously ejects the puck of spent espresso grinds.
  • The carriage returns up to the grinder to wait for you to request another excellent shot (or 2) of espresso.
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