Brew temperature, as read by instant read thermometer, A MEASLEY 175 degrees for majority of the brew!
Positive Product Points
Looks attractive, but most of all it's marketed and designed to appear better than the Barista Aroma series in almost every single aspect. It's marketed (wittingly or unwittingly- I don't know) as the "new" starbucks machine. I was told by the Starbucks manager (summed up), "The Barista Aromas are old, they have glitches, I used to own a Barista Aroma, I personally would buy the DeLonghi". I was led to beleive the DeLonghi DCM485 is "An Improved Barista Aroma" (a tantalizing thought, for the Aroma pulls great reviews, and most of all brews at an "acceptable" temperature in the mid 190s)
Negative Product Points
Bottom Line: Brew temperature, as read by instant read thermometer, A MEASLEY 175 degrees for majority of the brew! The max, which was at the very, very end of the brew (when only the last little bits of steam are exiting the drip head; At the point when no more coffee is dripping into the carafe) a MEASLEY 180!
My goal was simple: find and buy a drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe (I was getting tired of "losing" coffee to the hot plate), and equally important, a machine that brewed coffee in the 190s temperature range. By the way I didn't buy the Technivorm thermal, because it just looks ugly (that's what happens, I guess when you make coffee makers at the same time you are addicted to drugs... just kidding of course)- How hard is it to atleast make a VARIETY of styles?! Anyway, I had done a lot of research, and first narrowed my choices down to either a Zojirishi or a Barista Aroma. I chose to go with the Aroma, because, after reading the reviews, it appeared to be more heavy duty than the Zojirishi. By the way, isn't it pretty sad that there are so few models that fit the description: Autodrip + Thermal Carafe+ 200 degree brew temp. ?! WTF!!!!! How hard is it, really? There's certainly the demand out there, and I know it can not be that hard to make. If I had the means I certainly would produce a whole line of those bad boys (and I would be really really rich, too!) So I went to Starbucks with the strong intent of buying a Barista Aroma. (Long story short) I ended up buying the DeLonghi DCM485, because I beleived it was at LEAST as good as the Barista Aroma, but probably better. The manager told me that in the near future all Barista Aromas will be completely discontinued and will be replaced by the new DeLonghi DCM485 model (which I wander whether is really true or not, considering that he not only knew nothing about what makes a great coffee maker, but he didn't seem to know much about his own store either). I most eroneously assumed that the brew temp would atleast be the same as, if not better than the 190s degree-brewing Barista Aromas. First thing I did out of the box was check the brew temp with just plain water, no coffee. As detailed above the results were very, very dissapointing- with a steady brew temp of a measely 175 degrees. The coffee I subsequently made just did not taste full of flavor. Indeed, I sniffed the grinds after the brew- full of sweet smelling complexity that SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE CUP! To be sure, I had brewed the same great coffee (roast-on-premisis roaster) at a relative's just a week ago (different batch, of course- the test batch I just described WAS fresh). My relative has a hot brewing coffee maker (only problem is it doesn't come with a thermal carafe). The cup was amazing. I ended up taking the DeLonghi DCM485 back to Starbucks, and exchanging it for an 8-cup Barista Aroma. I performed the same brew temp. test fresh out of the box- A nice "acceptable" 190 degrees, with occasional fluctuations upto 195; A max at 200 degrees (unfortunately at the point when no more coffee will drip into the caraffe, though). Sure enough, the coffee complexity and aroma in the cup was right on with the Barista Aroma. I'm glad I took the DeLonghi back. I really am surprised Starbucks is selling the DeLonghi model- such a step down from the Aromas... As a side note, I had had a negative experience with DeLonghi in the past. I knew someone who owned a combo espresso/coffee maker (of course the reason they bought it was the cheap price!). Long story short it broke within a year. It was really cheap- not to mention the espresso maker produced cremless espresso. It felt cheap when operating it, too. Delonghi has always advertised their products as "just as good as the best, but at a cheaper price". After the experience with the combo coffee/espresso machine, however, I realized that you really do get what you pay for. When I bought the DeLonghi DCM485 at the price of $110 (RETAIL $149!) I really thought the higher price meant that Delonghi had made a conscious decision to "raise the bar" when producing this model, esp. since it was being marketed and sold next to Barista Aromas. Unfortunately, it looks as though DeLonghi merely raised the price without raising the bar at all. I lost even more respect for this company after this experience. Hope this helps... and don't be fooled when you come upon the Starbucks Brewer Sale!
Starbucks provided a very friendly environment, with customer satisfaction being an obvious goal. Although, expertise and knowledge is only as good as the individual you get your information from (esp. when it comes to selling brew machines, which is certainly not Starbuck's forte). There was no problem making an exchange (I saved the sale reciept). Barista Aroma came with 2 year waranty (only 1 year manufacturer warranty for DeLonghi DCM485).