Quick Menu: De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
I was initially unsure of how the De'Longhi Rivelia was going to "reinvent the wheel". Coffee and I go way back, consistently providing that "main character" energy I need on the Mondayist of Mondays. In fact, in preparation for this review, I made sure I had a cup by my side. It's a commodity that I consume every day. Like a good friend, it's there with me always (not to mention more convenient than a pint of ice cream). And I can say that it's my longest relationship (spanning more years than my husband and I's 11-year courtship before we tied the knot).
It's obvious that coffee (and the best coffee makers) share characteristics with our loved ones. I know that might sound a bit odd, but I found out that when De'Longhi where developing this machine, they actually got customers to write an open letter to our favorite brown beverage. "You are always with me" was one of the responses, proving how personal our experience with Joe really is. And proving beyond doubt, that it's an emotional support beverage.
My relationship has changed with technology. 15-20 years ago, barely anybody had one of the best automatic bean-to-cup coffee makers at home. But with all of the innovation that exists, and the fact that I spend more time at home, I'm switching out our Starbucks habit for a handcrafted brew. Here's why I'm making the Rivelia coffee maker my machine of choice here on out...
De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker review
What I thought of the De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
First off — can we talk color? It's no coincidence that it matches the adjacent fridge panel. That's because when I asked the team at De'Longhi why they chose Onyx black, Arctic white, Sand beige, and Pebble grey, they went as far as to look into kitchen color trends so that their coffee maker could be part of the decor.
But aside from that, if you're looking for a professional-looking machine that isn't bulky and made from stainless steel — this would be my go-to. A little secret I learned in the factory is that De'Longhi is the only B2C brand that manufactures machines for its competitors so you know you're getting a best-in-market machine.
As well as using whole beans as its coffee-making currency, the Rivelia also takes grounds. It makes 16 different drinks, including a variety of espresso-based brews served black, milky variants (with the built-in milk frother), and cold sips over ice. Yes, it might be on the taller end of your budget, but I'm the person who looks at value based on cost-per-use, and used my previous bean-to-cup brewer for five years.
Testing the De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
Hi, I'm Christina Chrysostomou, acting head of ecommerce at Real Homes. I test small kitchen appliances, including coffee makers for the title. On this occasion, De'Longhi invited me to Treviso, Italy to learn about the machine and its manufacturing process and also gifted me a De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker.
De'Longhi Rivelia specifications
- Dimensions (in.): W9.6 x D16.9 x H15.2
- Weight (lbs): 21.4lbs
- Pump pressure (bar): 19
- Beans container capacity (oz): 8.8
- Water container capacity (l): 1.4L
- Grounds container capacity (n): 10
- Energy class: A
- Max cup height (in): 5.5
- Input power (watts): 1450W
- Rated voltage/Frequency (V~Hz): 220-240 V / 50-60 Hz
Unboxing and setting up the De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
My initial impression was that the box the Rivelia came in was big and heavy. So much so that I had to laugh off my awkward exchange with the courier. Do I really need to up the ante at the gym?
The De'Longhi team had showcased the new-to-market coffee maker when I visited their headquarters, but I couldn't quite remember how big it was until I unpacked it at home. The top part of the packing carton contained some components, including two hoppers for your coffee beans, and the milk-frothing attachment. There's also some literature including the service manual and other marketing pamphlets.
Thankfully, once the machine had been taken out of the box, I was relieved to see that it could sit well on my countertop, adjacent to my coordinating mushroom-colored refrigerator.
The instruction manual is on the slim slide, but that's where the magic happens! I usually dread setting up coffee machines (even the best small coffee makers can be fiddly) but this is like no other small kitchen appliance I've used before. It's modern and futuristic and the Intuitive 3.5" LED color display takes you through step-by-step instructions, (first asking you to choose your language) with visual graphics and text prompts on how and to finish setting up the machine.
For the most part, the coffee maker chassis has been put together, all you need to do is set the time, fill the water tank (and pop the water filter in), remove the protective lid off of the bean hopper, and ensure the bean bin is properly locked into place.
I filled the hopper with beans from a local independent roastery, but you can fill this with any variety you like. Amazon Fresh Direct Trade Rwanda beans, for example, have over 30,500 4.3-star reviews.
The machine then proceeds to run some rinses to clean and heat up to temperature. It instructs you to place a 0.2L container under the spouts. The general tone is really pleasant and dare I say, I really connected with this type of coffee maker configuration, versus a mass-produced pamphlet that comes with 2D pictograms and is written in several languages. So far, so good for this small kitchen appliance!
The De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker also comes with a pH stick (more water test strips can be bought through De'Longhi via Amazon) so you can test the water hardness level. You then submit feedback to the machine and it adjusts your brewing experience for you depending on how many red squares you see on the strip. I live in an urban area, so I selected level four).
Once all the "boring" stuff (I say in inverted commas as I was secretly impressed), the machine will confirm that you can begin to make drinks. Honestly, it didn't take long at all so you don't need to carve out part of a day to set up the coffee maker. Though you might want to postpone seeing your pals while you run through the 16-drink menu while on a caffeine high.
Using the De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
"The technicalities are done. Let's get to know each other" the machine reads. Immediately, I'm really feeling the friendly tone of this coffee maker. It's personable and practical.
Having had a sneak peek of the machine in Italy, I spoke to Plamena Stavreva, global coffee marketing manager at De'Longhi about this. She says: "We devoted our efforts to creating a rich in-screen experience that guides consumers through a seamless and user-friendly experience."
In the first instance, the machine takes you through a 16-drink coffee menu, showing you how to swipe through the different options. There are also size and strength options so that you can tailor the drink to your taste.
Amongst the selections, there are short drinks (ie: espresso, espresso lungo, 2x espresso, espresso macchiato, and cortado options), your usual selection of black coffee beverages (Americano, long black, your standard black), milky drinks (hot milk, cafe latte, cappuccino, flat white). And most surprisingly, this also doubles up as one of the best iced coffee makers too, making cold espressos and Americanos (which are signified by the cube of ice by their respective icons).
If your choice of coffee changes from morning to afternoon — fret not. With the coffee routine function, the De'Longhi Rivelia will remember how you like your coffee throughout the day, and update the menu.
And, if you're not the only coffee lover in the house, you can create up to four profiles (names and all) and set up each individual's preferences. You can choose what character you'd like to be, plus add your name under the smiling emoji.
I began testing the De'Longhi Rivelia's coffee-making abilities on a sleepy Sunday morning. So it made sense to begin with the shortest drink: An espresso. But before the machine gets to grinding, it will always heat some water to heat everything up (so make sure you've got a cup or container handy).
After this — and in totally extra style — I placed a clear cup (similar to these De'Longhi double-walled espresso glasses on Amazon) on the drip tray and selected a single shot of coffee. The display confirmed my decision and managed my (eagerly-awaiting) expectations throughout the whole process. It informed me that it was grinding the beans to order, and brewing the coffee. There was even a progress bar to demonstrate its advancement, with an option to stop or cancel the order at any time.
As well as hearing the grinder, the LED screen also displays a graphic depicting coffee being extracted. They haven't missed a trick on the experiential side here! FYI, once every drink cycle has finished, it'll let you know your drink is ready.
The short shot had a good head on it. What we call crema in the coffee world. It stood up to coffee I'd had in independent chains. You know, the type where the Barista knows your name and your back story.
Making a long black
I think my love for strong coffee came from when I lived in Australia. The Aussies sure know how to serve a cup of Joe. I remember drinking my first long black down under. If you find an espresso too strong, but an Americano falls flat — this is the perfect middle ground.
There are two differences between an Americano and a Long black. Usually, less water is used for a long black (resulting in a stronger drink), and with your LB, your water goes into the cup first. On the contrary, Americano is brewed by pouring hot water over the espresso. Same, same, but different.
As I mentioned earlier, in the settings menu, you can customize your cup size, and strength and even add another espresso shot to your order using the 'MY Function' (more on this below). So with a bit of trial and error, I crafted a cup that was tailored to my preferences. A 'Strength 3' was too weak for me, but a 'Strength 4 with added shot' was a little overwhelming. Three, with an extra shot? Now you're talking. On finding the sweet spot, the machine will ask whether you want to save your setting for next time.
Making a milk-based drink
I'll be honest. I'm not a white coffee drinker, so I left cappuccino and flat white coffee until the end. It's only usually my sister who takes hers with milk, but this is a machine that can please everyone. On selecting a milk-based drink option, the machine will ask you to insert the LatteCrema hot carafe. Note, that you'll need to fill it with milk first, as it'll be ready to rock from the get-go. I liked that there were markers on the carafe to indicate how much milk you needed per serve. For perfect hot foam, use milk or plant-based drinks at refrigerator temperature. For reference, I've gone for 4% (whole/full-fat) dairy milk.
Similar to the preparation of a long black, or espresso, the De'Longhi Rivelia manages your expectations throughout the process. Here, you'll see a milk graphic displayed on the screen to let you know that the milk frother is in action. It'd then proceed to brew espresso which stains the milk ever so stylishly.
One critique I have is that the tray could be a little wider. I have double-walled glass cappuccino mugs (similar to these on Amazon), and it was a bit of a tight squeeze. Personally, strength 3 (with an extra shot) was on the weak side for me, so I'll go into my profile and adjust that for next time.
Making an iced coffee drink
While you might not think of making cold coffee with the Rivelia, this machine can also become an iced coffee maker. To make a iced black Americano, I first needed to decide whether I would like my drink cold (six cubes of ice) or extra cold (10 cubes), before the machine brewed coffee into my glass. Though I practically downed my drink (a testimony to how tasty it was), I felt as though the strength was appropriate and took into account the amount of ice used.
Using the Bean Adapt Technology
This feature configures the machine to your coffee bean's roast level, so you can extract the best flavor. Before doing this, the machine recommends that you make at least three coffees using the same grinder position (it's preset to '5' when you take it out of the box). It will then ask you whether you're using 100% Arabica or an Arabica-Robusta blend, and to select the roast type (light, medium, dark, extra dark). If your packaging doesn't state it, the coffee maker has a logic for you to compare your beans against, with different shades of brown.
You'll be asked to brew and appraise an espresso (by choosing one of three options to feedback to the machine). Essentially, it asks whether you found the coffee balanced, too weak, or too strong. Because you've got two interchangeable hoppers, you can even name your bean profile in the system. I also recommend getting a portable label maker (like this Phomemo one from Amazon) to create removable stickers for your coffee bins.
Using the MY Function
I'm the type of girl who will pay a little extra for a third shot. So having a drink the way I like it (without paying the 40-cent surplus), at home, is always going to serve well. In your profile, you have the option to choose from a 1-5 sliding scale (for intensity) and choose whether or not to add an extra shot. During the brewing process, you can also add an additional shot part-way through the process.
Using the Coffee Routine function
Italians typically drink their milky coffee in the morning, and for stronger stuff in the afternoon. But we're not in Rome now, so you can have it your way. Rather than swiping through all 16 options, the De'Longhi Rivelia can learn your sipping schedule. Yes, you can teach it to streamline and only show certain options in the morning, noon, or evening). When you're not in profile mode, you can also filter your menu by pressing the coffee or milk icons. The bean button will only show black drinks, and the milk will show white coffee drinks (or hot milk to kickstart a cup of cocoa, perhaps?).
Switching off the machine
The machine has been configured to perform a rinse before and after making your coffee, ensuring that it's clean for the next use (and that you won't taste old, rancid coffee from the last brew). It'll then shut down after a short standby period.
Cleaning the De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker
Having a fully automatic coffee maker is one thing, but as soon as they create a self-cleaning machine — count me in. I joke. The De'Longhi Rivelia coffee maker is quite good at letting you know when it needs a little maintenance now and again.
In testing, I went through quite a lot of water, and coffee beans and this device was intuitive in informing me when the bin was full or when the tank levels were low.
As this is a machine that doesn't rely on a human filling the portafilter, this actually makes the whole experience more tidy. I'm not spilling ground coffee and the spent pucks in the bone-dry which is a relief to my clean-conscious husband who used to hate finding brown stains on our white worktops.
The drip tray and waste bin pull away easily and can be cleaned with dish soap and water. When cleaning my kitchen appliances, I tend to reach for something without a strong fragrance like the 365 by Whole Foods Market unscented washing-up liquid (available at Amazon)
Is it right for you?
If design is important to you, and you want to remove the risk of over or under-extracting coffee beans, this machine is for you. It's also great for anyone who has a smart home as the LED displays and preference center is pretty cool!
The extensive menu means you only need this one machine to replicate all of the drinks you'd usually pay a fortune for. Not to mention, the aesthetic appeal and personalization are great conversation starters when you have guests over. Sounds silly, but I love seeing the little remarks made when my drink is complete. "Just how you like it" and "This is my best one yet" are messages I've picked up over the process.
In fact, I traveled all the way to Treviso, so let me give you Dario Grasselli, Design director at De'Longhi's final word on it.
He says: "With its ability to remember your preferences and customize your coffee, the Rivelia makes for the perfect kitchen coffee companion. Its soft, curved shape and lack of sharp edges, encourage users to approach it with a sense of calmness and serenity, enhancing your everyday coffee experience,"
"Along with smooth round lines and matte surfaces, the Rivelia has soft rubber touchpoints, translucent materials for key components like water, coffee, and milk, and a user-friendly display that understands your every need. The Rivelia is specifically designed to offer users a natural interaction with their coffee machine, transforming it from a regular black box, into a colorful and warm companion that delivers a one-of-a-kind coffee experience at home."
Where to buy
How we test
As well as being gifted this machine, I was invited to the De'Longhi factory in Treviso, Italy to get hands-on experience with the brand's machines and observe its manufacturing processes. Here, I got the opportunity to spend three days with the brand to ask them about the Rivelia.
At home, I tested the machine for a couple of weeks, focusing on the following criteria, and asking myself these questions:
Packaging: How well are the machine and accessories protected in transit? Do the parts come wrapped in unnecessary amounts of plastic?
Weight: How easy is it to carry from my front door to the kitchen?
Setup: How easy is it to assemble the machine (if applicable) and make a coffee? How long does this process take? Does it require instructions?
Brew quality and grind: Here, I make each drink and assess the strength, bar pressure, extraction, and time it takes to make each drink.
Noise levels: Is this machine quiet enough to make coffee in the morning, without disturbing co-habitants and neighbors?
Size: Can the machine be used in a small kitchen? How tall is the machine and is there adequate counter clearance for it to sit underneath cupboards?
Features: Are the programmable settings helpful? Does the milk frother foam milk consistently and satisfactorily each time?
Cleaning: How easy is it to maintain this machine? Are coffee stains wipeable? Can the drip tray and waste bin be removed easily? Which parts are hand-washable or dishwasher-safe? How easy is it to descale this coffee maker?