I’ve had espressos before, and I’ve even made them with the help of an automated espresso machine, but I’ve never tried to make one by using an Italian barista-style espresso machine. Not until I tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine, that is.
The sleek, black-and-silver espresso machine is handcrafted in Italy and designed to make the kind of Italian espresso you crave. The size alone will tell people that you’re serious about great-tasting espressos. Here’s hoping you have enough counter space for it.
The Diletta Bello+ is an upgraded version of the Diletta Bello Espresso Machine. With a new digital display, you can more easily adjust temperatures and even apply pre-infusion. The steaming wand and hot water wand can be used at the same time your espresso is extracting, so you can enjoy different espresso-based drinks – like lattes and Americanos – faster. While the price tag is fairly high at $1899, this is the kind of machine that you invest in once and have for years to come.
What I learned through testing the Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine is that making an espresso is art. It takes time. This is not a quick-making coffee machine that you use when you’re running out the door to work. It calls for you to slow down, experiment, and engage in an Italian coffee tradition that has been thriving for over 120 years.
Alex Temblador is a freelance journalist who has tested many products, including mattresses, vacuums, grills, kitchen appliances, garden tools, and gym equipment. She works in Dallas, Texas, in her 103-year-old home.
Flavored lattes from coffee shops are her favorite, but she’d be happy with a regular coffee from a gas station as she would with an after-dinner espresso at a five-star restaurant. She prefers coffees with low acidity, usually a darker roast, and if possible, will bring home coffee beans from abroad, finding that they’re more agreeable to her body than American-sold coffees. At home, she gets her caffeine fix from a Miele coffee machine, which she won in a contest a few years ago. Alex tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine for two weeks, checking for flavor, ease of use, and consistency.
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine: Product specifications
|Type of coffee
|Brew size options
|Power cord length
|Average noise level
|11 (W) x 17.75 (D) x 14.5 (H) inches
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine: price and availability
The Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso machine is priced at $1,899. This is not a cheap machine by any means. However, the level of craftsmanship, combined with the materials and the design, produces a great-tasting espresso. You can buy it directly from Seattle Coffee Gear or from Amazon.
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine: First impressions
I tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine prior to its release, so it did not arrive in the same kind of box or packaging that customers will receive. I’ve seen the packaging, and you can rest assured that it’ll be packed tightly and safely in a large cardboard box. My Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine arrived secure, with the accessories that come with the purchase of the machine: one tamper, a brush, two portafilters, and baskets.
In my photos, you may notice an Eureka Mignon Notte Espresso Grinder, Acaia Lunar Scale, and Frothing Pitcher. These are not included in the purchase of a Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine but can be purchased separately from Seattle Coffee Gear. (Side note: I found all three of these accessories to work really well for me in the espresso-making process. I highly suggest that you invest in them.)
The Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine is considerably large and heavy, and though I am used to moving king-sized mattresses that I have to test for reviews all by myself, I still struggled to carry this machine to the kitchen. Stainless steel is not light by any means. Unfortunately, my kitchen is lacking in countertop space, so I had to put this espresso machine on my kitchen table.
It’s a fairly long espresso machine, so your counter will need to be at least 18 inches in depth to fit the machine. I’d also advise setting it somewhere that is free of top cabinets, as you won’t be able to access the water tank or the heater on top of the machine if there is something above it. At least the water tank has a handle to carry it to the sink.
Style-wise, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine is an attractive piece of machinery. The silver and black espresso machine is made of stainless steel, which means it is durable and sturdy, designed like a traditional Italian barista-style espresso machine.
The steam wand and the hot water wand can be adjusted away from the machine or over the dip tray. A frothing cup will not fit under the wand and the dip tray at the same time. You’ll have to move the wands to the side of the drip tray to utilize them.
There is a digital display that showcases the temperature. An up and a down arrow is arranged on either side of the display and can be used to adjust the temperature or go through the different PID settings. For instance, through the digital display, you can set the machine to sound if the water tank needs to be refilled or adjust the pre-infusion settings.
Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Maker: Performance
If you’ve never been a barista or have no experience using a traditional Italian espresso machine, learning how to use one can feel a little daunting. That was the case for me with the Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine. However, the nice thing about the Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine is that the whole experience of making an espresso is built on trial and error. Mistakes are expected when you’re figuring out the right temperature, espresso beans, and the fineness of the grounds to create the right kind of espresso for you. And bonus – Seattle Coffee Gear has plenty of online videos that offer great insight into using a machine like this.
To begin my testing process, I removed the water tank, filled it with water, and placed it back into the machine. I really like how big the water tank is because it allows me to make many espressos without having to refill it every day.
From there, I switched on the power button at the top. The digital display on the bottom left area of the machine turns on and shows the temperature of the water. The temperature increases as the machine heats up. You can adjust the temperature using the arrows on either side of the digital display.
If you need to change the PID settings, like the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit, press the up arrow for five seconds. You’ll see the option pop up and then click through the arrows for other settings like an eco mode timer set in 30-minute increments, standby mode, water alarm buzzer, probe sensor height, and pre-infusion (which is adjustable between 1 and 10 seconds).
I used all of these different settings and found that they worked great. I liked being notified by a buzzer when the water was low, and I found that a pre-infusion of five seconds made for the best espresso for me. Whether or not you use these features, it’s nice to have the option.
The water tank took, on average, 8-10 minutes to heat up to 251 degrees. One of the slightly confusing things about this machine is the PID temperature setting, which is actually the steam temperature setting. If you set the PID temperature to 251 degrees, it’ll result in a brew temperature of 202.5 degrees and a steam temperature of 251 degrees. There is a chart in the instruction guide that breaks this down, but essentially, you’ll need to set the PID about 47-48 degrees higher than what you want the brew temperature to be. Confusing – yes, but with the chart, it’s easy enough to figure out.
As I waited for the espresso machine to heat up, I placed my espresso cup on the cup warmer at the top of the machine, ground my beans to the fineness level I liked, tampered with the grounds down, and filled the frothing pitcher with milk. The boiler pressure gauge on the right side of the machine should read between 1 and 1.5 bars before you make an espresso. This can take about 15-18 minutes to occur from the moment you turn on the machine.
I ran a little water through the brew group before I connected the portafilter. There is a dip tray that catches all the liquid at the bottom. It’s easy to remove and clean. Once you put the portafilter into the group and you’re ready to make your espresso, it takes about 20 seconds for the water to run through. Ultimately, I had an espresso ready within about 15-18 minutes overall.
Because I haven’t used a barista machine in the past, it took me many tries to figure out what level of fineness I wanted on my coffee grounds or which PID settings worked best for me. Even experts will have to take some time to figure out the little details of this machine.
I love lattes, so I usually top my espressos with steamed milk and milk foam. This took less than a minute to do. The steaming wand is on the left side of the machine. After placing the wand into the milk, I turned the knob and let the milk steam for a few moments before I frothed the top layer. After I poured the milk and the froth into the espresso, I cleaned the wand with a rag and ran some steam through the pipe.
There is a hot water wand on the right side of the machine. I used it to make Americanos or hot tea. It works the same as the steam wand – turn the knob, and hot water comes out.
You need to set aside at least 20 minutes to make an espresso and clean up the machine – which basically involves cleaning the wands and portafilter. You can empty the dip tray when it gets full, every few days, or once a week. Your choice.
Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine: Taste test
Seattle Coffee Gear sent me whole beans from Tony’s Coffee to use with this espresso machine. It was the Seattle Coffee Gear “Crew Brew Blend,” a medium blend with flavors of grape jam and nougat. I love how the company placed a sticker with the “roasted on” date so you know how fresh the beans are.
Throughout the course of the testing period, I made adjustments to the temperature and fineness of the grounds to create an espresso the way I wanted it to taste. This is not a reflection on the espresso machine itself but has to do more with me figuring out what I like and don’t like. Eventually, I figured out how to grind the Crew Brew Blend and extract an espresso that I enjoyed.
I was quite proud of myself for learning how to use the steam wand. I made many delicious lattes, Americanos, and cappuccinos. At times, I was even able to create a heart with the foam.
Again – the machine does its job well in terms of heating the water, keeping the temperature stable, and extracting the espresso. It’s only through human error that you get an espresso that isn’t quite to your taste. That’s the fun of this, no? The Diletta Bello+ is the perfect espresso machine to have by your side to tinker and discover the best flavoring.
Should I buy the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine?
Buy it if...
You're a fan of espressos and espresso-based drinks
The Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ is a classic espresso machine designed to make espressos and espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. If you like the tradition of making fresh espresso the way that the Italians do, this is the machine for you.
You don’t like refilling the water tank every day
The water container is fairly large, which means you could make multiple espressos in a row without having to refill it. One full tank usually lasted me about a week if I made at least one espresso-based drink a day.
You want more control in the espresso-making process
The Diletta Bello+ Espresso machine gives you a more hands-on approach to making espresso thanks to a digital display and PID settings. You can adjust the pre-infusion settings, temperature, and probe sensor height and set an eco mode timer and water alarm buzzer.
Don't buy it if...
You want to make a quick espresso on-the-go
It's a classic barista machine that takes time to heat up, reach 1-1.5 bars on the pressure gauge, grind beans, and use the steam wand for an espresso-based drink.
You don’t have a lot of counter space
The Diletta Bello+ Espresso machine is large, clunky, and heavy. If you are starved for countertop space or don’t have a space that’s free of top cabinets, this probably isn’t the best espresso machine for you.
How does the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine compare?
If you want to save some money, you could purchase the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello Espresso Machine, which is about $200 cheaper. Unfortunately, it lacks the digital temperature display and all the PID settings that come with the Diletta Bello+.
Italian-style espresso machines can feel a bit intimidating, so newbies could opt for the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine. It has a coffee grinder built in, as well as a hot water dispenser and frother, and some ability to adjust the temperature. There’s even a built-in tamper. At $700, it’s definitely more affordable and gets you used to learning how to use an espresso machine until you can work your way to the Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine.
How I tested the Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Maker
- Used the machine to make an espresso every morning and some afternoons for two weeks
- Spent time trying out the various portafilters, temperatures, and wands
- Tweaked quantities to get the best results
I tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello+ Espresso Machine for two weeks in my home in Dallas, Texas. To complete my testing, I used the espresso machine in conjunction with the Eureka Mignon Notte Espresso Grinder and Acaia Lunar Scale. I made at least one, sometimes two, espressos or espresso-based coffees each day.
Read more about how we test
First reviewed: September 2023