Editor choice

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review

Advertisement

BTTR is independent, but when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Find out more.

9.5Expert Score
De'Longhi Eletta Explore review: Deliciously versatile

The Eletta Explore can make over 50 different types of coffee with a few presses of its touchscreen. It’s pricey, but a great choice for coffee lovers.

Design
9.5
Performance
9.5
Pros
  • So easy to use
  • Mostly dishwasher safe, so it's simple to clean
  • Can make hot and cold drinks, plus cold brew
  • Coffee tastes great
Cons
  • Two milk carafes take up a fair amount of space
  • It's bulky, maybe too big for smaller kitchens

Some days, my relationship with coffee is like a gentle embrace, where I savour the moments spent crafting my drink.

Other days, the quicker I can consume my cup of morning brown, the better.

The De’Longhi Eletta Explore is a premium automatic coffee machine that caters to both of those needs, and adds a few extra tricks to my household’s caffeine repertoire as well.

It’s an impressive machine that combines the wonders of an automatic coffee machine with the ability to quickly pump out a cold brew or an iced coffee made to your personal tastes. 

A lot of it will be considered overkill for plenty of people, but for a consistently great cup of coffee with no effort, the Eletta Explore delivers every time.

Design

The De'Longhi Eletta Explore making a cold brew

The Eletta Explore is a fairly big unit for your kitchen bench top. Measuring in at 385mm high and 450mm deep, the machine takes up a fair amount of bench space. 

I could get it to fit under my kitchen cupboards easily enough, though that did require me to move the machine to refill the 300 gram beans container.

While it’s deep and high, it’s only 260mm wide, which gives the impression it’s smaller than it actually is. The sizing is important, as the design limits where you can place the machine in your home. 

As mentioned, under cupboards can cause problems, but the water tank is on the Eletta Explore’s right-hand side, so you won’t be able to place it up against a cupboard on that side either.

The water tank itself holds a decent 1.8 litres of water, but you’ll still need to replace that every day or so, so accessing the right side is essential.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot for the machine, you will appreciate the fact that it looks great. The combination of black plastic and stainless steel will suit most kitchen decors.

The Eletta Explore control panel

Controls

But the most striking part of the Eletta Explore’s facade is the 3.5-inch touchscreen. 

Flanked on either side by dedicated buttons to filter hot and cold coffees (more on that later), plus favourites and takeaway presets, the screen is the hub of the Eletta Explore’s interface.

It is simplicity itself.

There are over 50 different presets for coffees in this machine. 

50.

Close up of the instructions on the screen of the Eletta Explore

During four weeks reviewing this machine, I think I tried over 30 of them. Somewhere along the way, I forgot where I was up to and started drinking my preferred drinks again.

But the point is that this is an exceptionally versatile coffee machine. Which is exceptionally easy to use.

You simply scroll sideways through the list of available drinks and select what you wish to make. The machine will then display clear instructions as required, or simply start making your coffee of choice.

What’s more, there are up to four user profiles that you can set up with the touchscreen. Each person in your household can set their preferred mix and strength for each coffee type, and have it saved in the machine, so it can be recreated in a few button presses.

Double the carafes

The Eletta Explore making a flat white

One of the reasons the Eletta Explore can make so many coffee variations is the fact that it comes with two milk carafes. 

One is for steaming hot milk for your traditional cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites, while the other is a unique cold frother, which helps make iced coffees.

Undoubtedly, the best thing about both these carafes is that they pop in and out of the unit easily, and every few days you simply pull them apart and run them through the dishwasher to clean.

There’s also a dedicated hot water spout that pops into the same port, which is a great companion for the tea drinkers out there.

The machine also comes with a dedicated travel mug for making your coffees to go. At first glance, it appears too high to fit under the coffee dispenser, despite the fact it adjusts in height, so you can avoid splashing while brewing your coffee.

Fortunately, the drip tray features a fold up section in the middle that allows for large glasses or travel cups to be used. It’s a clever little addition that adds versatility to the entire machine.

Performance

The first drips of a cold brew coming through

Of course, looking great is only a small part of the equation when it comes to an automatic coffee machine.

The bigger part is how well it makes coffee. And the good news here is that the Eletta Explore does an outstanding job of it.

You get a fair amount of customisation. Firstly, there’s the grind setting for the beans. Ideally, you want to set and forget this, but the dial is easy enough to access in the beans’ container so getting the right grind isn’t too hard.

Then, with most hot coffees, you get to set the intensity of your coffee on a scale of 1-5 using the touchscreen. My personal preference was to crank everything up to five, but you can dial it right down for those who prefer weaker coffee.

Milky drinks will also let you adjust the amount of milk in some drinks. And if you like finer control, most coffees have a “My” preset that you can customise it exactly to your liking.

The one element that you won’t have control over is temperature. The Eletta Explore works to a specific coffee temperature for the best result. That didn’t pose a problem for me, but on some early mornings I found the coffee going cold a bit quick. 

There’s no cup warming function, so it becomes a manual step to heat your cup before you make your coffee.

The machine will automatically sort to highlight your individually preferred drinks first, based on the frequency of making them. It does this for each profile on the machine as well, so if you make cold brews while your wife makes cappuccinos, you’ll see those options up front when you switch profiles.

You can also sort easily using the Hot and Cold buttons on either side of the screen. It makes navigating through 50+ options much, much quicker.

Cold brew vs iced coffee

Brewing a cold brew

One of the best tricks the Eletta Explore has up its sleeve is the ability to create cold coffees.

Not just iced coffee, but also cold brew. That versatility is great, though can be a little confusing to work out the difference between an “iced latte” and a “cold brew iced latte”.

There are a few key elements to the Eletta’s cold coffee making skillset. The first is the cold milk carafe, which froths milk at about 20ºC. 

Perhaps the most disappointing element of the machine for me was the fact that De’Longhi recommends you only use skim milk or plant-based milk in the cold frothing carafe. 

While we almost always have almond milk and oat milk in the fridge for various members of my family, I’m a full-fat dairy type of milk guy, and that limitation was a little frustrating.

You also need to load up these cold coffees with ice, as the Eletta Explore still serves out coffee at about 75ºC. The ice brings the temperature down nicely.

The result is remarkably tasty, though your end result will depend on the quality of your beans and personal preference.

It is important to note, though, that if you like to mix things up, you’re going to have two relatively tall and unforgiving milk containers sitting in your fridge. The lid doesn’t seal overly well, so you need to use the milk quickly to avoid it spoiling.

Cold brew

Cold brew typically takes hours for the coffee to steep with cold water, but the Eletta Explore promises to deliver it in under five minutes.

That’s quite a difference in preparation time.

It manages this by using ambient water temperature and a low-pressure pumping system to extract a similar flavour to the cold brew you’d get the traditional way. It’s smooth and aromatic, without being overtly bitter.

This also opens up opportunities for a variety of additional drinks. Making a cold-brew latte, rather than an iced latte, resulted in a much smoother drink that was more akin to a bottled iced coffee, without being packed full of sugar.

There’s even an option for making a cold brew to mix. The companion app offers a whole collection of potential coffee-based cocktails that will give you extended opportunities to use the Eletta Explore.

The full control panel of the Eletta Explore

Coffee on the go

Every Saturday morning, my daughter has netball at 8:30am. That means we need to be up and moving, and for me, the To Go coffee option of the Eletta Express has been incredible.

With the touch of the To Go button, the machine will guide you through making a nice, large takeaway drink. It asks if you want a hot or cold drink, and then does the hard work to make it for you. 

As mentioned above, the middle of the drip tray flips up to fit the large takeaway cup that came in the box, but you can use whatever sized cup you want. 

The coffee itself tastes just as good as normal, but the portion size is larger, and that helps a lot on a 5ºC morning watching netball. 

Cleaning

The worst part of any coffee machine is the cleaning. What’s the good of saving minutes by automating the coffee making experience if you have to spend hours washing it all up manually afterwards?

Fortunately, De’Longhi has made most components of the Eletta Explore dishwasher safe, particularly the milk carafes. What’s more, the machine will notify you after you make a coffee when the carafes are due for a more in-depth clean.

Simply pull them apart and pop them in the dishwasher, and it’s done.

You also need to clean out the drip tray and empty the grounds container every few days, but that’s a fairly effortless task.

In the month that I was testing the machine, I didn’t get an opportunity to see how the descaling process worked, though it appears to be straightforward with the touchscreen guiding you through the process.

Setting up the different profiles

Verdict

When you break it all down, the De’Longhi Etta Explore is a powerfully high-tech, versatile automatic espresso machine that will give you a great coffee every time. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a cappuccino, an iced latte or a simple cold brew, the result is always good.

It also costs $2,099 RRP (though you can pick it up on sale).

So, the biggest decision you will be making here is whether you are prepared to drop a couple of grand on an automated espresso machine. 

If the answer is yes, then this is a great option. It will give you fantastic versatility, guide you through the entire process and make you great tasting coffee every time. 

It’s easy to clean, and easier to use, and with its different profiles it will adapt to the individual tastes of a family of four.

If, however, the answer to the price question is no, then this machine is definitely overkill. You could instead opt for a cheaper manual machine to save on costs. You won’t get that same versatility of simple cold frothing or cold brew, but that may not matter.

That’s not going to stop it from appearing in some lists of the best coffee machines though.

Buy the De’Longhi Eletta Explore online

AU $1,598.00
AU $1,899.00
Free delivery
as of 27 May 2024 7:06 am
Amazon.com.au
AU $1,693.00
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
AU $1,799.00
+ Delivery *
Thegoodguys.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

De’Longhi supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
Advertisement
blankblank
Advertisement
blank
BTTR
Logo
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0