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DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio vs. Arte vs Maestro: Which Do You Buy?

DeLonghi Espresso and Coffee Machines Mar 11, 2023

If you’ve been looking for a mid-range semi-automatic espresso machine for home use, you’ve done right by considering La Specialista by DeLonghi. This machine comes as a direct competitor to the beloved Barista Express by Breville, and is the first of its kind by DeLonghi, a brand that usually excelled in making smaller Espresso machines (like the Dedica) or super-automatic espresso machines.

In this post, you’ll read about the features of all three DeLonghi La Specialista machines, how they compare to each other and how they compare to the Breville Barista Express as well as other Breville machines.

Key Differences

– Between Prestigio and Arte, the difference is in tamping and heating systems. The Prestigio has automatic tamping, while the Arte does not.

– The Maestro has an automatic tamping system, manual frother, and automatic frothing options.

– All models share the same grinder with 8 grind settings.

The Best Pick – The Prestigio

DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio vs. Arte vs Maestro: Which Do You Buy?

This is the mid-range model out of all La Specialista models and I find that the Prestigio offers everything you need in an espresso machine: a built-in grinder, professional steam wand, automatic tamping, and several pre-sets for daily coffee rituals.

For its price range, having dual heating systems is actually amazing. It makes the machine blazing fast and ready to go in less than 2 seconds.

I do wish that it came with a 54mm portafilter instead of the standard 51mm (like the Barista Express), but that’s true to all DeLonghi machines.

La Specialista Arte vs Prestigio

The Prestigio is the mid-range machine in the La Specialista line, while the Arte model is the entry-level machine.

Integrated Tamper vs Manual Tamping

Prestigio has the integrated tamper. After the grinder, you pull down a lever and it will tamp and give you the perfect level puck to extract your Espresso. Arte does not have this feature, it comes with a stainless steel tamper that you manually use, which gives room for error, but it’s a task that you’ll do perfectly with practice.

Heating Systems

Heating systems are different. Prestigio has two heating systems, one for extraction and another for steaming, while you can’t do the two things at the same time, switching between brewing and steaming is almost instant. With the Arte, you have to wait a bit when switching between the two tasks.

Prestigio is a 19-bar pressure pump, while the Arte is 15-bars. This isn’t something that you’ll feel the difference of really, at most espresso machines will only use 9 bars of pressure to extract, but it’s an indication that Prestigio is more powerful than the Arte.

DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio vs. Arte vs Maestro: Which Do You Buy?
the Arte model

Included Accessories

la Specialista Prestigio and Arte both include a frothing jug. Arte also includes a tamper and tamping mat, which is what DeLonghi called ‘Barista Kit’. Since Prestigio has an integrated tamper, there’s no need for a tamper.

    Which Model To Pick?

    If the La Specialista Prestigio is within your budget, it’s the better pick for sure. The integrated tamper is great for a sure perfect result, instead of spending countless tries to get things right. Also, the quick heat up time and switch between steaming and brewing is awesome.

    La Specialista Arte isn’t bad at all, it’s a great machine for its price if you’re willing to give up some convenience.

    Related: DeLonghi La Specialista Arte vs Barista Express

    DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro vs Prestigio

    DeLonghi Maestro is La Specialista’s high-end model packed with automated features, but also has manual settings if you’re ever in the mood to do your coffee drinks manually.

    Control Panel

    La Specialista Maestro’s control panel has several buttons and displays. The display on the grinder’s side will show you your dose level, give you indications of which step you’re at, and guidance.

    In the middle, there’s a Pressure gauge, and then over the steam wand/automatic frother side, there’s a display with preset drinks like latte, cappuccino, flat white, long black, and more.

    La Specialista Prestigio has a much simpler interface with no digital display.

    DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio vs. Arte vs Maestro

    Preset Drinks and Frothing

    La Specialista Maestro has a set of milk-based drinks to select from, in addition to the espresso, coffee or americano settings that La Specialista Prestigio has.

    If you want to automatically prepare a milk-based drink, you’ll need to use the LatteCrema built-in frother instead of the steam wand, which will automatically froth and dispense the milk into your cup. If you want to steam manually, you can simply select Espresso, and then switch to steaming.

    The Prestigio does not have a LatteCrema automatic frother, which is why it lacks the milk-based presets.

    Temperature Settings

    • La Specialista Prestigio, like the Arte model, has three temperature settings, which is pretty standard for many DeLonghi machines.
    • La Specialista Maestro has 5 temperature settings.

    Heating Systems

    Both models share the same dual heating systems which allow for a quick startup time and almost instant switch between extracting espresso and frothing milk.

    Which One To Pick?

    It really depends on what you need. the Maestro model has some really great upgrades over the Prestigio, like the automated frothing or LCD displays with indications or preset drink menu and additional programmability overall.

    But all of these come at a cost. If you don’t want the extra bells and whistles, you’ll be great with either machine. Both Prestigio and Maestro have 8 grind settings and integrated tamping, which are the two steps that make or break an espresso shot and both machines have those covered for you.

    Drink Presets Explained: Espresso vs Coffee vs Americano

    As you’ve seen by now, all La Specialista models have a preset for espresso, Americano and Coffee. What is the difference between these settings?

    • Espresso is just that, either a single or double shots of espresso, as per your selection.
    • Americano is an espresso diluted with hot water. So the machine will do a single or double shots of espresso, then follow it with hot water using the dedicated hot water spout located behind the group head.
    • Coffee, on the other hand, is not exactly drip coffee as you would expect. It’s basically a long shot of espresso (without the added hot water).

    Delonghi Arte EC9155MB vs EC9155M

    When buying the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte, you’ll find it under two model names:

    EC9155MB – which refers to the Metal and Black finish

    EC9155M – which refers to the Metal finish

    That’s the only difference between these two models, it’s just a reference to the colors/finish of the machine.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can You Use a Non Pressurized Basket in Delonghi La Specialista

    DeLonghi La Specialista machines will include two pressurized baskets. You can always buy a compatible non-pressurized basket and it will work. The problem is, non-pressurized baskets require really fine precise grinds to give you a good shot of espresso, which is something the grinder on the La Specialista can’t offer.

    Does the DeLonghi La Specialista have a water filter?

    It is compatible with water filter but it does not come included. It is compatible with this DeLonghi water filter.

    What Size is La Specialista Portafilter

    It uses a 51mm portafilter size. So if you want to buy an additional portafilter or tamper, make sure they are 51mm size.

    Does DeLonghi La Specialista Take Pods?

    No, La Specialista is not designed to take pods, not even ESE pods. You can either use the built-in grinder or bypass doser for pre-ground coffee.