Oh, to be back in the good old days when drinking coffee at my grandmother’s place made using an old-fashioned machine was a pleasure in so many ways.
Well, as a modern individual who firmly believes that the old and the new can mix, I began to look into vintage-looking coffeemakers equipped with all the desirable modern features of the top espresso machines.
Fortunately, a quick online search led to the DeLonghi Bar32 Retro coffee machine. At first glance, the DeLonghi Retro coffee maker does look like your grandmother’s old-fashioned espresso maker.
The rotary dials on top contrast with the digital control panel found in most modern coffeemakers. This feature adds to the vintage feel of this delonghi retro coffee maker although it must be said that its modern features are thoroughly, well, modern.
Indeed, this DeLonghi BAR32 looks retro on the outside, but its mechanisms on the inside are anything but retro, let’s have a look at it features.
Specifications and Features
The DeLonghi Bar32 can be used with either ground coffee or coffee pods, both of which can be purchased from the supermarket or a specialty online site. The coffee pods used are ESE espresso pods, which mean that almost any brand of coffee can be used.
To name a few of these brands, we have Folger’s, Senseo, Wolfgang Puck, Home Cafe and Aloha Island. Just imagine the wide variety of strengths, flavors and origins of the coffee beans that are right on our fingertips and using just one machine – the DeLonghi Retro coffee maker.
We also have the choice of preparing cappuccino and latte coffees topped with rich foam, thanks to its swivel jet frother. By the way, this retro-looking coffeemaker already comes with 18 Illy coffee pods as well as a measuring spoon for the ground coffee beans. The 35-ounce water tank is sufficient for at least 5 shots of espresso.
For another thing, the DeLonghi Bar32 features a self-priming operation. With a busy life, I am a fan of this feature since it skips on the annoying start-up preps that come with operating a vintage coffeemaker. Add in the two separate thermostats for separately controlling the water and steam pressure and this Delonghi retro coffee maker is anything but retro in its operation.
This machine comes in a black case with silver accents on the control panel and the nozzle. Its boiler comes in stainless steel while its body is made from hard plastic.
It consumes 1100 watts at 120 volts of electricity. With dimensions of 12.75x9x12 inches, it occupies little space on the countertop.
- Use convenient pods or ground coffee with the patented dual function filter holder. It makes espresso preparation simple and fast
Espresso Making Performance
Lest anybody start thinking that making coffee with the DeLonghi Bar32 requires professional barista skills, think again. Making espressos, cappuccinos and lattes are fairly easy – no professional skills, no struggling with the controls, and no hassles, thank you very much.
Turn the Delonghi retro coffee maker to its “Heat” function, which will automatically heat the water and prime the pump. When the “Hot” light comes on, fill the espresso cup halfway through with hot water – no coffee yet. The purpose is to heat up the espresso cup so that it is ready to receive the espresso later on; a cold cup ruins the flavor of espresso like no other factor can. Throw away the hot water and quickly dry the cup.
Then, turn on the DeLonghi Bar32 to its “Heat” function again. Place the ESE coffee pod or the ground espresso into the filter and twist into place. Turn the machine on, wait for a few seconds and voila! You have espresso.
If you are a fan of knob operations like I am, then the DeLonghi Bar32 is right up your alley. The silver knob only has four positions for preheating water, preheating water for coffee, water flow and off. How easy is that compared with the thingamajigs in digital coffeemakers that promise to make life easier but only serve to complicate matters?
Milk Steaming Performance
The plastic milk frothing wand is easy to use and yet still delivers the creamiest foam at home. You may have to practice a few times to perfect the wand’s angle and time for making the foam, but your efforts were well-rewarded.
As for cleaning the DeLonghi Bar32, it’s fairly easy, too.
Be sure to descale it every 2 months although cleaning the brew gasket must be done daily. Backflushing the filter basket every week is also recommended.
The consumer reviews over at Amazon.com for the DeLonghi Retro coffee maker were overall quite positive. The most notable comments included the following:
- Easy to use for making all types of coffee from pods and ground beans
- Great steam wand
- Good pressure coupled with quick operation between cups of coffee.
- It can be hard to make a great double espresso
- Steam wand can leak
- Plastic body does not seem durable.
To date this machine has received a credible 450 verified five star ratings on Amazon and averages 3.5 stars overall from over 100 DeLonghi Bar32 consumer reviews on Amazon.
Ultimately, the DeLonghi Bar32 makes great coffee for personal use. It’s a great investment to feed one’s coffee addiction, thanks to its affordable price, retro beauty and modern features.