A slimmer version of the traditional bar pump machine, the Dedica aims to incorporate all that’s attractive about this type of coffee maker, but with a few extra features and in a smaller, more worktop-friendly package. It’s almost half the width of most pump-driven machines, yet still manages to shoehorn in a good-sized cup warmer on top and a generous water tank at the back.
In addition to ground coffee, the Dedica can also use ESE (easy serving espresso) capsules, making the brewing process a little easier with less mess. It comes in three smart finishes – stainless steel, red or black – on a robust metal body.
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Given its compact footprint, the Dedica has had to step away from the conventional styling of a pump machine and take on its own identity. Features that would usually be at the front, such as the control for the steam wand, have been swivelled round to the side.
The option buttons – for selecting single or double espressos, as well as steam – which are typically found on a front panel, have been elevated to the chrome strip around the top, while the power button is discreetly hidden along the bottom trim at the side. All of this promotes the sleek lines and minimal appearance of the machine while still maintaining a professional-style configuration.
Good looks aside, its attraction lies in being able to produce the sort of drink that appeals to coffee connoisseurs, and there’s lots of features that go towards that experience. Using the option buttons, you can set the water hardness of your area, how hot you want your coffee and how long you want it to stay on after use – and that's before you've even started on the universal brewing variables of adjusting the amounts of coffee, how much it’s tamped down and how long or short you want your espresso to be.
There’s also a boiler safeguard in place to stop your coffee scorching, and a removable drip tray to allow for larger cups beneath the spout, so you can make longer drinks using the steam wand.
While the Dedica’s design is simple, the brewing process is more complex. Like other pump-driven machines, the coffee making is more a ritual than a convenience, designed to value the result rather than rapidity.
The process starts with you selecting either the single or double filter or the ESE filter – each is helpfully embossed on the underside to prevent mix-ups – and then inserting it into the holder, which is filled with ground coffee and tamped down until it’s level using the separate presser, unless you've used an ESE capsule, of course. Choose ground coffee and it’s hard not to spill it, while if you prefer less mess, capsules are the way to go.
Getting the filters in and out of the holder is tricky, as the fitting is tight and it’s wise to make sure your fingers are well out of the way. The filter holder is then inserted and twisted into the machine – again, the fitting is snug and requires a little effort to secure it.
Select the one or two shots option button and coffee dispenses quickly and smoothly, with minimal drips once it’s finished. For longer drinks, a steam wand at the side can be used to froth milk to a firm, creamy consistency for cappuccinos. While it requires cleaning straight after use, the outer cover detaches to reveal a rubber spout, making it easy to spot and remove any residue.
One issue we did have was the boiler growing too hot after prolonged use, preventing the machine from continuing to make coffee or operating the steam wand. However, there was an easy resolution for cooling it by letting out hot water from the wand.
Using a pump machine is probably the closest thing you can get to having artisan café-style coffee, and that's the experience you get with the Dedica. The espresso is full-bodied, with a thick crema, an evocative aroma and the naturally sweet notes emphasised. Even if you’re not an espresso drinker, the difference it makes to a simple cappuccino is tangible. Try brewing your usual coffee in it and you’ll be able to detect a richer flavour.
While it’s a beautiful machine that produces excellent coffee, the Dedica is more suited to ardent fans or relaxed weekends. Fortunately, the ability to use ESE capsules minimises the mess and fuss when you need it, making it more convenient for weekday mornings. It’s not a volume coffee maker, due to it sometimes becoming a little too hot, but its size will certainly appeal to current pump machine owners who find their appliance too bulky.
In a world of instant everything, the Dedica rewards time and effort with sublime coffee worth savouring, but it requires practice for everyday use.
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