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Aldi is selling $150 espresso machines this weekend – should you buy one?

Cheap DeLonghi coffee machines are on offer but CHOICE experts say there are better buys out there for coffee lovers. 

Last updated: 22 February 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

If the cost of living crisis has you limiting your trips to the local cafe for a $5-plus latte, you may be considering buying a home espresso machine.

After all, the pros at CHOICE have done the math and it's clear: making your coffee at home is seriously more cost-effective than getting your fix at a cafe, even when you take into account the cost of buying a fancy machine. 

If you're after a new brewing bestie but you're on a budget, Aldi's latest Special Buy may have caught your eye: a DeLonghi Icona Espresso Machine for just $149, around half the $300 recommended retail price it was available for a couple of years ago.

The model is now discontinued by the manufacturer (which is often the case with Aldi's branded Special Buys).

But, even at such a cheap price tag, is it a good investment?

Is the DeLonghi Icona Espresso Machine any good?

CHOICE coffee machine experts have assessed hundreds of manual and pod espresso machines over the years, comparing them side-by-side and giving them scores based on factors such as the flavour of the coffee they produce, how well they froth milk and how easy they are to use.

We've looked at machines that range in price from $80 up to many thousands of dollars to help Australians find the perfect coffee machine that fits their needs and budget.

"This Delonghi coffee machine allows you to make coffee like you would with a manual espresso machine. It also accommodates Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods, which are pre-prepared pods made of compressed coffee housed in a paper filter that you place in the group handle (not to be confused with the capsules you get from brands like Nespresso)," says CHOICE coffee machine expert Kim Gilmour.

Unfortunately, our testers weren't overly impressed with the machine

CHOICE coffee machine expert Kim Gilmour

"This, along with the cheap price tag, may appeal to people who like to use freshly ground beans for better-tasting coffee but also want the convenience of an ESE pod. And with the ability to steam your own milk, you can create a fancy coffee.

"Unfortunately, our testers weren't overly impressed with the machine. They say it feels quite light and flimsy, plus it's a bit fiddly to use."

And even if you're not fussy about ease of use, chances are you will also be disappointed with the brew this machine produces. 

"If you're particular about the flavour of your coffee and used to cafe-quality brews, this may not be the machine for you," says Kim. 

"Our expert taste testers rated the brews produced by this machine at 55%, which is pretty ordinary compared to the top machines that score up to 90%. And this is using freshly-ground coffee."

CHOICE tip: Log in or sign up to become a CHOICE member to read the full expert review of the DeLonghi Icona Pump Espresso Machine, plus reviews of dozens of other coffee machines models, including pod, manual and automatic machines, for all budgets.

Is a $150 coffee machine a good deal?

"It is unlikely you'll find an espresso machine at the $150 price point that delivers great performance and great coffee, that's also easy to use with handy features," says CHOICE test expert Adrian Lini.

"Cheaper machines are often also manufactured with lower-quality parts which means they might not last as long as a more expensive but higher-quality machine.

"Even discounted, this DeLonghi machine didn't deliver on a few fronts, so it may not be a great value buy," he says.

"It's worth investing a bit more to get a quality machine (and a quality grinder, if you need one) that performs better in our testing and will go the distance. There are plenty of recommended machines that cost $350 or less, so if you're on a budget, these are much better buys, especially if you can find them on sale."


Aldi is selling the DeLonghi Icona Espresso machine, available in both red and black, for $149 this Saturday 24 February.

How to find the perfect coffee machine

If you're serious about your coffee, Adrian says it's important to do your research to find a machine that suits not only your budget but your lifestyle, your coffee preferences and your skill level.

"A manual or semi-automatic machine is great if you like to fiddle around with settings to get the perfect cup of coffee, grind your own fresh beans and froth your own milk, but you do need to dedicate some time to learning how to use them properly," he says.

"Once you get that nailed though, you'll be able to make great-tasting coffee if you have the right machine."

If that sounds like too much work, you might be better off choosing an automatic or a capsule machine. Read our coffee machine buying guide for more information on each of the different types of machine. 

The importance of a good grinder

The advantage of investing more in a higher-quality espresso machine is that many models include an inbuilt grinder – if you buy this DeLonghi machine you will have to purchase a separate grinder to grind your beans, or use ready-ground coffee. 

"Using freshly ground beans, ground in a conical or flat burr grinder as opposed to a blade grinder, will always give you better results in terms of flavour than using store-bought ground coffee in an espresso machine," says Adrian.

"The type of grind can make a big difference to the flavour of your coffee. The ground size corresponds directly to the extraction time. If the grinds are too coarse it will under extract, pouring the shot too quickly, and the coffee will lack flavour and come out thin and watery.

"If the grinds are too fine, it will over extract and the coffee will taste burnt and bitter. Generally, the perfect extraction time for an espresso should be around 25-30 seconds when using a manual machine, and it's similar for semi-automatic and other machines (but may differ slightly as they don't have a boiler)."

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