De'Longhi Stilosa Manual

Review

The Joy of Slow Coffee

 My Journey with the De'Longhi Stilosa 

By: James Butler        Revised by: Mark Cambell    Last updated: Feb 7, 2024


When I first saw the De'Longhi Stilosa, I said to myself "Could this petite little manual espresso machine really deliver the rich, complex cups I had grown accustomed to?" I soon discovered that beauty comes in all sizes - and great espresso is as much about craftsmanship as cutting-edge technology.

The De'Longhi Stilosa hails from a lineage of time-honored Italian espresso makers, prioritizing simplicity, quality and user involvement above all else. There are no automated features here, just solid copper Brew and Steam Boilers designed to last, producing shot after delicious shot when coupled with your own skill and technique.  

Mastering the Manual 

Making espresso with the De'Longhi Stilosa is an art that requires practice, patience and a feel for balancing and controlling variables like dose, contact time, pressure and temperature. But by getting "back to basics" and operating the levers, adjusting the valves and watching the extraction process unfold, you gain a deeper understanding of - and connection to - your coffee.

From the first time I loaded the portafilter and started to slowly build pressure by hand, purposely controlling the flow of hot water through my grounds, I felt a subtle shift happen. My relationship with coffee moved from passive consumption to active participation. I became a co-creator in the espresso alchemy.

No Temperature Surprises

Though it lacks fancy thermostats, the De'Longhi Stilosa boilers do an admirable job of maintaining consistent brewing and frothing temperatures with standard 1.8L capacities. My experience confirms De'Longhi's claim that temperature variances remain within +/- 10 °F once the set temperature is reached - offering plenty of stability for delicious results.      

It Takes Time To Sip It Slow 

Producing espresso with the De'Longhi Stilosa forces you to slow down, to focus on the process rather than the end product. The time it takes to heat the boilers, distribute and tamp the grounds then regulate pressure and monitor extraction pace yourselves grounds you in the moment and cultivates mindfulness. The result is not only better espresso, it's a richer experience. 

A Piece of Espresso History

At the end of the day, the Stilosa reminds us that espresso machines don't have to be robotic or computerized to produce transcendent coffee. Simplicity, care and craftsmanship remain the true keys to unlocking the best any bean has to offer. The De'Longhi Stilosa opens a window into espresso's past, inviting us to savor the journey as much as the destination. And in that slower, more deliberate pace lies the true joy of the cup.

So, if you're ready for an espresso adventure that takes you back to espresso's roots while revealing its timeless secrets, the De'Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine is the right choice. 

De'Longhi Stilosa Manual espresso machine

Pros:

• Simple manual design is easy to use and maintain. There are no complicated digital controls or automated features to break.  

• Inexpensive price point makes it affordable for those wanting to experiment with espresso at home without a large investment.  

• Brass premium boiler heats up quickly and maintains temperature well for consistent espresso shots.

• Includes a steam wand for making hot milk drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.  

• Compact size fits easily on counters.

Cons:

• Limited control over espresso brewing parameters. Pressure and brewing time cannot be finely adjusted.

• Small 1.5 litter water tank requires frequent refilling.

• Simple portafilter holder can feel flimsy and loose over time.