PROS / This coffee maker produces delicious coffee.
CONS / It is complicated to program.
VERDICT / The DeLonghi 14-Cup coffee maker can create some strong and tasty coffee, but there is a steep learning curve when you first use it.
DeLonghi's 14-cup coffee maker offers several features that can help you brew great-tasting coffee. The process of programming the machine takes a bit of work, but the results are tasty.
This compact coffee maker comes with such things as an aroma button that emits a small amount of hot water onto the grounds while brewing to bring out the best fragrance and determine the coffee strength setting if you want. You also get a freshness indicator light showing, in 15-minute increments up to one hour, how long a brewed pot has been sitting on the warming plate. Coffee that is warmed too long tends to become stale or bitter.
In addition, this drip coffee maker comes with a chlorine filter to eliminate bad tastes and smells from your water, a measuring scoop for coffee grounds and a gold-tone nylon mesh filter that is cone-shaped. Many coffee aficionados maintain that the cone shape compresses the water into the grounds better than round coffee brewing baskets and creates better flavor.
You can program this machine 24 hours ahead so you wake up to a pot of coffee or quickly grab a cupful in the morning during the brewing process since it employs a brew pause function. You do not have to brew an entire pot; instead, you can set the device to brew the number of cups you want. This also offers a great safety feature in its automatic shut-off function.
If you lift the lid, you can see a series of little "steps" indicating water levels of 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 cups, so you know how much water is in the reservoir.
Our taste testing panel ranked the DeLonghi 14-Cup coffee maker among the top three coffee makers we reviewed as far as taste, aroma and strength. The majority of panel members gave it top-notch reviews and praised the coffee's strength in particular. However, some panel members ranked it as overly strong. We followed the user manual's instructions for the water-to-coffee ratio, but the manual also notes that you can use more or fewer coffee grounds to adjust the strength to suit your palate.
Although the coffee was flavorful, it was not especially hot when emerging from the coffee maker. It tested at 169 degrees F when first made, and after it sat 15 minutes in the insulated thermal carafe, the temperature dropped to 167 degrees F. Our test panel did not find that to be a problem and, overall, liked the coffee.
One thing we did not find to be so favorable was the initial setup and use. It took us some time to figure out the programming at first using the directions in the user manual. Even after we had brewed two pots successfully, this coffee maker seemed to be a bit complicated to operate.
Even cleaning this coffee maker is a bit more complex than most coffee brands we reviewed. Hard water can leave lime scales inside any coffee maker, and it needs to be descaled with an acidic medium. Typically, you just run white vinegar through a coffee maker, then a few pots of clear water to rinse away the vinegar flavor and smell. The DeLonghi's manufacturer recommends that you clean this coffee maker with a mixture of water and citric acid (which you can buy at any drugstore) and clean the machine in an interval process where you run cupfuls, then wait 15 minutes and repeat the process a few times.
You will need to work with this machine a bit to program it the way you want, but ultimately it makes really tasty coffee. If you like a good brew and do not mind figuring out what it takes to make this machine work optimally, the DeLonghi 14-Cup might be the best coffee maker for you.