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De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch review: An affordable, fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
529
inc VAT

De’Longhi’s Magnifica Evo One Touch delivers tasty one-touch cappuccinos and lattes for a very reasonable price

Pros 
One-touch cappuccinos, lattes and more
Coffee tastes good
Easy to use
Cons 
Noisy in operation
Can’t deliver hot milk on its own
Settings need tweaking for optimal results
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We all love things that make our lives easier, and there are few that make mornings more palatable than a bean-to-cup coffee machine that grinds, brews and froths milk at the touch of a button. This kind of automation can often prove pricey but the £529 De’Longhi Magnifica One Touch bucks the trend while doing exactly what it says on the tin.

Bear in mind, though, that there are two Magnifica Evo models to choose from: the standard Magnifica Evo (£420), which makes do with a simple steam wand for manual milk frothing, and the One Touch (£529) version I have for review here, which adds a small milk carafe and automatic frothing. If minimal effort is more your thing, then the One Touch is the one to go for.

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De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch review: What do you get for the money?

De’Longhi has done a great job of making the Magnifica Evo look sleeker and more stylish than previous generations. Our review model came in the smart-looking Titanium Black finish, which has a matte silver front and black top and sides, but you can also choose an all-black version if that’s more your thing. It takes up a fair amount of worktop space. In fact, at 240 x 440 x 360mm (WDH) it’s almost identical to the millimetre to the old Magnifica S, but the new design’s softer curves mean that it doesn’t look as brutish or imposing.

In most other regards, the Magnifica Evo One Touch’s design is entirely run of the mill. There’s a bean hopper positioned on top with a 250g capacity and a small dial for adjusting the grind size from coarse to fine. There’s also a ground coffee chute nestled alongside the hopper for making single servings of coffee if and when you run out of beans. A cup warming tray sits at the front.

The coffee spouts slide up and down to accommodate different sized cups with a maximum cup height of 140mm, which is tall enough for the chunkiest mugs. The milk carafe locks firmly into place on the left side of the machine’s fascia and it has a button on its side that allows you to remove it for cleaning, or pop it in the fridge to stop the milk spoiling. The milk carafe’s spout swivels up and down to fit different sized mugs so it’s worth checking you’ve got it positioned just so to prevent it pouring into the drip tray by mistake.

A 1.8-litre water tank slides flush into the machine’s right-hand side, and yanking the drip tray sees the drip tray and grounds bin slide out together. Both separate into their composite parts and are easy to clean as a result. It’s similarly easy to access and clean the infuser, which is hidden in a compartment behind the water tank. It’s also well worth giving the milk carafe a regular rinsing, and you can separate it into the various parts to make sure that no milk residue is left inside.

It’s good to see that a matching water filter and single serving of descaling solution are thrown in for free, too. During setup, you can use the supplied water tester to check your water hardness, set the appropriate setting on the machine, and it uses this as a basis to remind you to run the descaling process after a certain amount of usage.

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De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch review: What’s it like to use?

The Magnifica Evo range is far easier to use than the old Magnifica S models. Those machines had fascias dotted with buttons and icons which, while not bafflingly complex, were opaque enough to require most people to flick through the manual at least once or twice. By comparison, the Evo’s backlit, touch-sensitive buttons are far easier to understand at a glance.

Big, bright, colour icons and clear labels are the order of the day, so it’s not necessary for everyone in the household to have the manual to hand unless, that is, they’re desperate to delve into the various settings menus.

The selection of drinks recipes is ample. You can choose from My Latte (which I’ll explain shortly), Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino, Espresso, Coffee, Long and Hot Water. Customising the drinks is refreshingly straightforward. Long-press any one of the drinks icons and the slowly blinking white LED underneath flashes more quickly; tap the button again when the amount of coffee, milk or water is just so, and you’re done.

The milk carafe has helpful indicators showing how much milk is required for either one or two cappuccinos or latte macchiatos but if you’re using the My Latte selection, it will steam as much milk as you put into the carafe. This is handy for filling a specific cup or mug, as you can just pour in the amount of milk you want, and a sensor behind the milk carafe stops the steaming process once the carafe is empty. The automatic sensor is a welcome new addition, as most of De’Longhi’s older (and often dramatically pricier) machines used to just carry on squirting out clouds of steam after the carafe was empty, leaving you to prod furiously at the cancel button.

Adjusting some of the other features is a tad less intuitive. Long-press the settings icon, and you’ll need to check the user manual to see which drinks icon corresponds to which setting as it’s not immediately clear by looking at the machine. Thankfully, these settings – coffee temperature, descaling settings and energy-saving functions – won’t need to be adjusted regularly.

There is one further annoyance. If you want to top up a drink with extra hot milk, or just want a mug of hot milk sans coffee, you’re out of luck. The Magnifica Evo One Touch only delivers milk with coffee, and the coffee part is entirely non-negotiable. If you like having the option to make a quick hot chocolate or top up an overly-strong coffee with some extra hot milk, this oversight may prove irksome.

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De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch review: Does it make good coffee?

In a word, yes. The default drinks settings deliver pleasantly hot, milk-based coffees and both short and long black coffees with zero fuss. You can tap the coffee bean icons in the centre of the control panel to quickly adjust the strength of the coffee in each recipe (there are three strength settings – Mild, Medium and Strong) and these settings simply correspond to how many grams of coffee are ground for each shot. In my experience, stronger isn’t always better: the most pleasant-tasting results typically come from using settings one and two.

For the past month or so, I’ve fed the Magnifica Evo’s hopper with a selection of beans: everything from fancy fermented medium roast Brazilian Asa Branca beans from Craft House Coffee all the way through to bog-standard dark-roasted Lavazza Rossa beans. After spending some time comparing and contrasting the results from different beans and different machines, I’d recommend sticking to classic middle-of-the-road medium and dark roasted beans with the Magnifica Evo – it tended to struggle with lighter roasts, which tended to lose their fruitier, more complex flavours and ended up tasting rather too bitter and sharp.

If you want to be ultra critical, then the Evo One Touch’s espresso shots lack the depth of flavour of our Best Buy manual espresso machine, the Gaggia Classic Pro (£425) and they’re not as refined as shots from the far pricier, more customisable, De’Longhi Primadonna Soul bean-to-cup machine (£1,299). Truthfully, if it’s great espresso you’re after, then it’s a familiar story: you’ll need to choose between buying a manual espresso machine or spending a good deal more on a better bean-to-cup machine.

Once you add hot water or hot frothy milk to the Evo One Touch’s espressos, however, you’re unlikely to care: the result is a very drinkable cup of coffee. Any issues with bitterness are masked with the sweetness of the hot milk, or diluted by the hot water enough to make the flavour more appealing.

Spend a little time optimising the grind size, coffee temperature and the amount of espresso and milk used for each drink, and you can get better results but you can also make things worse, so there’s no harm in just leaving it at the default settings. Whereas the Magnifica S Smart needed tweaking from the off, I’d be happy to just leave the Evo One Touch alone.

One final minor quibble is that it’s not possible to adjust the milk temperature at all. I suspect that many people prefer their coffee steaming hot, but the De’Longhi is a tad too hot in my opinion. In my direct comparisons, steamed milk from the De’Longhi didn’t taste as sweet and creamy as when I manually frothed it on a manual espresso machine, and this suggests the milk is being overheated enough to change its flavour.

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De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch review: Should you buy it?

If the idea of manually grinding beans and steaming milk every single morning is enough to send you dashing to your nearest Costa, then there’s a lot to be said for a good bean-to-cup machine. There’s even more to be said for one when it comes with automatic milk frothing and has an SRP of £529, which currently translates into a street price of between £400 and £450. I haven’t seen a fully automatic bean-to-cup machine cheaper than this.

Whichever way you cut it, the De’Longhi Magnifica Evo One Touch brews an almost perfect blend of value and convenience. If all you want is nice coffee with the minimum of hassle, this machine is deserving of a permanent place on your kitchen worktop.

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