Delonghi Dedica Basket Hack
Most budget espresso machines come with pressurized baskets, or sometimes pressurized portafilters. The EC685 by Delonghi is no exception. Nevertheless, the pressurized system can be replaced with non-pressurized baskets for a more beautiful, flavorful extraction. Just keep in mind that you will need a proper grinder to grind fine enough for espresso, since now we will be creating the pressure via the coffee puck, and NOT a pressurized basket.
How to do this Modification?
Depressurizing the basket is easy to do. Really, one just has to buy a standard, single walled basket, such as the handsome IMS Basket, and install it in the portafilter. Most baskets however will not fit in the Dedica’s portafilter due to the plastic insert, but that can be removed. Alternatively, one can purchase a bottomless portafilter to accompany the newly boughten basket. This way, it is possible to view and analyze the extraction, and the basket will fit perfectly.
The Best Accessories?
The Delonghi Dedica is a good machine out of the box. But it gets even better, with the right accessories! Probably the most important is a proper basket, like the IMS basket listed below. Then, it is always good to have a bottomess portafilter, like the the Normcore listed below, to see the extraction. Finally, a good tamper is required for a proper tamp, and the funnel just makes things way easier for dosing without making a mess.
After depressurizing the basket, much better results are achieved, because now the basket is not reponsible for the resistance to the water flow, but rather the grind size, puck preparation, and tamping. This leads to extractions with better crema, better mouthfeel, and a fuller extraction. Just try for yourself!
For this mod, a 2 cup basket was used, as well as a homemade portafilter (this can be purchased as well). Additionally, a proper tamper is necessary to compact the puck properly.
To begin with, this little machine has an extremely small footprint, adding to its P.A.F. (partner acceptance factor). IT is only 6 inches wide! It comes in weighing just under 5kg, so it is also easily portable.
Additionally, it is extremely fast in heating up, clocking in at 30 seconds until brew ready. It is recommended to run 1-2 empty shots first, to make sure the lines and brew group are warmed up as well.
What I really love about this machine is how easily it can be modified. Just add a non pressurized basket, a proper tamper, and ideally a bottomless portafilter, and you are good to go (product links listed below)! Just these few inexpensive mods make the espresso on the machine jump to new heights, providing a great crema. Simply remove the panarello, add a cable tie to keep it from popping off while steaming, and you have got a great steam wand, too!
The prices on the Dedica range a lot, depending on your geographic location. In Europe, it can be had for right around €150, which is an absolute steal. In North America, the price hovers right around $300. I attribute this to a larger market in Europe for espresso machines and higher competition, thus bringing the price down in the Euro Zone.
Finally, the volumetric dosing is a real plus for me. Just hold down the button until you get your desired amount in the cup, and from then on, your volumetric dose is set. This can be done for the 1 and 2 cup buttons. This is a feature normally reserved for much more expensive machines.
Have a look at some suggestions below for ideal Delonghi Dedica accessories. My top two choices are a bottomless portafilter, and IMS basket.