I've tested over 70 coffee makers – the De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro is the best

It was expensive, but worth every dollar

A De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro coffee maker in a modern kitchen surrounded by different types of coffee
(Image credit: De'Longhi)
Homes & Gardens Verdict

It takes a lot to earn the top spot, but De'Longhi's La Specialista Maestro has done it. With excellent espressos, close to perfect cold brews and everything in between. I only wish it was less expensive.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Makes the best coffee we've tested

  • +

    Incredibly easy to use

  • +

    Makes a range of coffees

  • +

    Excellent grinder

  • +

    Well-considered design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Large footprint

  • -


You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

When De'Longhi first launched La Specialista Maestro, I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of this incredible espresso machine. Then, I tested one a few months later. A few months after that, unable to get it off my mind, I bought one for myself.

As a barista and H&G's coffee expert, I spend my days testing the best espresso machines on the market, so it takes a lot to wow me. It takes even more to convince me to part with money, but De'Longhi's La Specialista Maestro worked its charm and here I am.

I loved this in testing, but I didn't realize how much I would love it in the long term. Here are the results of my first tests, but I've hopped in with some retrospective things that I've found over the last year of use too.


de'longhi la specialista maestro

(Image credit: De'Longhi)
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Dimensions18.5 x 16.5 x 14 inches
Weight35.2 lbs
Water tank capacity67.6 fl oz
Bean hopper capacity8.8 oz
Pressure19 bar
Portafilter size51 mm


de'longhi la specialista maestro unboxing

You can see that I had to start the unboxing on the floor, because the box was too big and heavy to lift onto the countertop. It wasn't a problem once La Specialista was out of the box.

(Image credit: Future)

The De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro is big. In fact, it's so big that I needed a coffee to boost my energy when I lifted it from the floor and onto the countertop. Once it was on there, it wasn't going anywhere, because it's heavy too. One year later, in my home, it is only moved at the end of the week when I'm doing a deep clean and, even then, I sort of shuffle it around the countertop.

Whilst La Specialista Maestro is big, the packaging wasn't excessive. Most of it was recyclable cardboard and where I found plastic film it was recyclable or recycled. Any extra space in the box seemed to be filled with goodies. I found that this coffee maker comes with an auto-latte-art milk frother, coffee tamper, portafilter, extra portafilter baskets, and cleaning accessories. You don't get a descaling solution, but you won't need one of these for a while and they're easy to pick up when you do.

The set-up was easy. De'Longhi machines walk you through the whole process. They won't start running until you have cleaned them, which the machine will help you to navigate. Once you've filled the bean hopper with beans and cleaned the machine, it's ready to use. 

Who would it suit?

de'longhi la specialista maestro box

(Image credit: Future)

This smart machine is an investment, but it's brilliant if you're an aspirational coffee connoisseur. The automatic tamping and milk frothing function ensures that even a beginner can use this machine. As you become more independent with your coffee skills, you can switch to the steam wand, personal tamp, and adjustable brewing methods. It's a machine that will let you grow.

It seems strange to recommend a machine to both experts and beginners, but I really think anyone would love it, as long as they can justify the price tag. The best way to make sense of the cost is by considering the machine's versatility. If you like espresso, but also want to make cold brew, espresso over ice, Americano, lattes, and just about every other conceivable coffee, this is the machine for you. However, if you really just want espressos, you're paying a high premium for features that you don't need.

What is it like to use?

de'longhi la specialista maestro on countertop

(Image credit: Future)

I approached this machine like a beginner, letting the machine do all the work. It was unbelievably easy. There's no way that you could mess up the process. 

I also pushed the machine into more personal adjustments. I set my personal preferences and adjusted the strength of different coffees. If you are a barista and want to get into the details, La Specialista Maestro will let you be more independent. It caters to beginners, but it's not exclusionary to professionals.

Test 1: Espresso

de'longhi la specialista maestro

(Image credit: Future)

Espressos are the first test of any espresso machine. I set my dose level to seven and grind to five. This is what De'Longhi recommends. Once I locked my empty portafilter into place, the machine automatically started to grind. It's quick and consistent and you can adjust how much it grinds without much effort.

The smart tamp feature at the side will compress your coffee grounds consistently. Before you grind again, you need to make sure that you push the tamper fully backwards, otherwise the machine won't grind again.

I selected espresso on the coffee menu and pressed the 'ok' button. There's a useful extra tray for small cups, which I placed my espresso glasses on. The first espressos I pulled took less than ten seconds. There was some crema, but they weren't right. I suspected this was simply the machine adjusting, so I made espressos again. The second shots were powerful, well extracted, and quite fruity. I was using a coffee with lemon notes. These can be some of the hardest to extract, but La Specialista Maestro did an excellent job enhancing all of my favorite, fruity flavors.

Test 2: Americano

de'longhi la specialista maestro

(Image credit: Future)

This was as simple as another selection on the coffee menu. Once I had set it to the Americano, I locked the portafilter into place, let the machine grind and tamp my coffee and brew the perfect cup of joe. 

My Americano had a thick crema, a simple sign that this was well extracted. It tasted flavorful and bold. In fact, I couldn't fault it. I would only improve the experience by not having to transfer my portafilter from the grinding lock to the brew head. It would be great to have everything in one place, like in the Breville Barista Pro.

Test 3: Cappuccino

de'longhi la specialista maestro milk

(Image credit: Future)

I frothed both oat and milk using the steam wand. This has 360 degree flexibility and is easy to use. However, if you've never done this before, you might feel nervous about using the steam wand. There's no point buying an expensive machine if it won't make café quality milk. Thankfully, the LatteCrema system can froth the perfect milk for various different coffees and milk types. This feeds directly into your cup of coffee. As long as you select the coffee from the menu, it will make your milk without you needing to touch a button.

Test 4: Cold Brew

de'longhi la specialista maestro cold brew

(Image credit: Future)

Cold brew is mellower and slower to brew. In fact, it should normally take 24 hours. It's unusual to have this feature on an espresso machine. In fact, I've never seen it before. Not only is this feature unique, it's also really really useful. In less than five minutes, La Specialista Maestro had made me a cold brew. It was fantastic. When I tested this initially I said that it was 'more acidic than a 24-hour brew, but I would be tempted to swap my usual cold brew for this in a heartbeat.' One year on, I can tell you that I did. I love my De'Longhi cold brews because they're low-maintenance and easy to brew. It's one of the most-used features that I haven't seen on any other espresso machine since.

Cleaning, Storage, and Maintenance

de'longhi la specialista maestro cleaning

(Image credit: Future)

This is incredibly easy to clean. All the parts can pull off the machine and be wiped down using warm soapy water. I would recommend using microfiber cloths to keep the aesthetics of the machine clean too. More thorough rinses and descaling is determined by the machine. Again, it will tell you what to do and when to do it. I've ended up doing weekly cleans and have done two descales in one year. That's not too bad (although I use filtered water in my reservoir).

How does it rate online?

de'longhi la specialista maestro extras

(Image credit: Future)

Unsurprisingly, the De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro has received a lot of love from reviewers. They all say that it feels like a high-quality appearance and that the performance matches the appearance. 

The steam function is one of the most important parts of an espresso machine and customers and reviewers praised its power and results. The fact that it can be manual and automatic is clearly popular.

Aside from expected criticisms over size and price, the only other comment that I could find was about the cleaning process. Some people found that the espresso splashed up the back of the machine. However, I found that when I used the higher grate for my smaller espresso cups, I didn't experience this problem.

Those more obvious criticisms are well worth considering, however. If you have the money, this is well worth the investment, but few people have $1399 to spare on a coffee maker. It's pretty large and takes up more than a square foot of countertop real estate. If you're tight on space, you might want to pick something else. 

How does it compare?

de'longhi la specialista maestro

This is the automatic tamper on the side of La Specialista, one of the many automatic features.

(Image credit: Future)

Given that this has replaced the Breville Barista Pro as my favorite best espresso machine, it makes sense to justify why I have chosen La Specialista by comparing the two.

The Breville Barista Pro is smaller with a lower pump pressure. There's no escaping that the Barista Pro makes an incredible coffee. I can't fault it. The reason that La Specialista takes top spot is because it offers more help to beginners. If you own the Barista Pro and you can't froth milk, you can't make good cappuccinos and lattes. However, if you own La Specialista, you will have automatic help. The same applies for tamping. La Specialista will help you more. It also offers more control over different coffees: there's more of a range of coffee types, including cold brew; the machine automatically froths the perfect milk; and it can adjust your shot automatically depending on whether you want a hot or cool coffee. 

If you are a beginner or would like more support with your coffee creations, La Specialista is the better option. You still can't go wrong with the Barista Pro, but if I had to recommend one, I would choose La Specialista.

Since launching La Specialista Maestro, De'Longhi has also brought out the Rivelia. I love this espresso machine for lots of reasons: you can set multiple profiles for different people, it predicts which coffees you want (and when) by learning your drinking habits, and it comes with multiple bean hoppers, so you can switch in your decaf beans or different flavors without having to run through all the beans in your main hopper. These are all features that La Specialista lacks, but the Rivelia doesn't quite have that espresso-machine feel or aesthetic. It's certainly more of an automatic, bean-to-cup style model, whereas La Specialista is more hands-on. You'll be one team or the other, but both of these models are amazing.

Should you buy it?

de'longhi la specialista maestro tamped portafilter

(Image credit: Future)

If you have the money and countertop space to spare, you should absolutely buy La Specialista. There's no question about it. I can appreciate that it might offer too much for some people, so if you don't want cold brew or lots of automatic help, you're paying a premium for features that you don't need. However, if you do, you won't regret this.

How We Test

casabrews 5700 pro alongside Breville and Wacaco espresso machines

(Image credit: Future)

We take all of our espresso machines to our test kitchen when we review them. Here, our team of experts makes notes on everything about each espresso machine. We look at the unboxing process right through to cleaning up, so you will have no nasty surprises when you have one of these in your home. 

Most importantly, we taste test each coffee, so that you know you are making tasty coffees. I didn't plan on drinking as much coffee late into the afternoon as I did when I was testing this. However, the coffee was too good not to drink. I sacrificed my precious sleep for this machine's coffee. That's how good this is. If you want to find out more about how we test espresso machines, there's more information on our page.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.