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Brew barista-quality coffee with the touch of an app

A smartphone app allows users to remotely control the De'Longhi PrimaDonna Elite, change its settings and create and store beverage recipes.
A smartphone app allows users to remotely control the De'Longhi PrimaDonna Elite, change its settings and create and store beverage recipes.PHOTO: DE'LONGHI

The De'Longhi PrimaDonna Elite is a "bean-to-cup" coffee machine. Unlike Nespresso machines that use capsules, or automatic coffeemakers that use coffee powder, it grinds coffee beans to instantly deliver you a cup of coffee.

With its all-silver exterior and 4.3-inch touchscreen display on its top front, the PrimaDonna Elite looks like those sleek coffee machines one might find in an airline lounge.

On its top, there is a compartment for you to pour the coffee beans. You will find the water tank on the machine's right. The two-nozzle spout in front is heightadjustable, so you do not need to worry about the size of the cup.

This coffeemaker also features De'Longhi's exclusive LatteCrema automatic milk frothing system, which is said to create a creamy milk froth for any coffee-based milk drinks.

It comes in the form of a removable milk frothing canister sited beside the coffee spout. So, you can easily whip up a flat white, latte macchiato, cappuccino or a similar brew.

It can also be paired with your smartphone using the Coffee Link app via Bluetooth. This app allows you to remotely control the coffee maker, change its settings and create and store your own beverage recipes.

As such, instead of having to select the aroma intensity, milk quantity and coffee temperature each time you brew a cup of coffee, all you need to do is select the stored recipe from the app to brew the coffee you want.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $4,000

    DISPLAY: 4.3-inch touchscreen

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 12.4kg


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

However, do not count on being able to tap on your phone to remotely brew a cup of coffee the moment you wake up and have the coffee ready as you walk over to retrieve your cup.

This is because when the machine powers up, it will clean the coffee outlet. That means you must be there to place a cup under the spout to prevent the water from splashing on your kitchen top.

And if you are making milk coffee, you will need to turn the physical knob on the milk canister to determine the level of froth you want. The app cannot set the level of froth for you.

Once you select your coffee, it takes from 60 to 90 seconds for the machine to deliver the coffee. For a long black or espresso, it usually takes around 60 seconds. For milk-based coffee, it will take slightly longer at around 90 seconds.

Still, it is quite amazing to see the milk being frothed so quickly and the cuppa being prepared in less than two minutes.

I also feel the coffee made by this machine is no different from the ones made by baristas in some coffee joints. There is no need to queue for your coffee or endure the barista writing your name wrongly.

The major downside of the PrimaDonna Elite is its hefty price tag. At $4,000, you can get almost a twoyear supply of coffee from Starbucks if you drink a cup every day.

• Verdict: If you have the moolah, the De'Longhi PrimaDonna Elite is definitely the coffee machine to get for your home.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'Brew barista-quality coffee with the touch of an app'. Print Edition | Subscribe