I do want to start by explaining what exactly Diletta is. For those who may not be aware.
Diletta is a new in-house brand being developed by Seattle Coffee Gear, to be sold exclusively through their storefront. These two initial machines are manufactured by Quickmill, and the options, finishes, heating configurations, and virtually every single component have all been carefully chosen based on trends Seattle Coffee Gear have observed over the years selling machines to the consumer-level market. I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the people responsible for the design of these machines, and the level of customization they were able to do was very surprising to me. It’s not just picking a case color, and slapping a logo on it, far from it… which you’re about to see!
As I mentioned in the intro, I do appreciate that they decided to go against offering JUST a metal finish. The Mio is also available in white or black powder coated finishes, and at no additional cost.
As for the looks themselves, I don’t think the Mio is a bad looking machine, it sort of looks like a wide-body Gaggia Classic Pro, and the color options allow you to tailer it a bit to your individual kitchen. Speaking of the Gaggia, this isn’t the last time you’ll hear that comparison made in this article.
Moving on to the build quality, the Diletta Mio is solid in the areas where it matters. The chassis and shell are all metal, there is a metal cup rail, the portafilter is very solid, all of the switches feel robust and tactile… even the steam arm ball joint left me with absolutely no concerns. Good job at spending the money where it counts.
With that being said, there are clearly some areas where finishes were consciously sacrificed to keep costs down. Probably the most standout of which is the drip tray.
The drip tray, and drip tray cover are pretty rough around the edges, both figuratively, and in some places, literally. The drip tray itself is a simple metal box, with good capacity, which then slides snugly into the frame of the machine. To ensure it is pushed back far enough to be under the solenoid outlet, the cover then fits over-top, and is locked in by this slot on the back. Not the worst system, but it is a little fussy, and does have a tendency to slide side-to-side when you wipe, it if it’s not PERFECTLY centered.
Moving on to the features of this machine, you can see why Diletta chose to cut costs on certain lower touch points, because in return they have managed to fit in a LOT of nice to have features that aren’t present on other machines in this price range.
The 2L water tank is side accessible, which in my opinion the best way to go for home use, because it allows you to easily refill even if the machine is under low-hanging cabinets.
The 400mL brew boiler is also paired with a separate thermoblock that handles steaming. So while this is not technically a “dual boiler” because it only has one boiler, you CAN brew and steam at the same time. Also, if you don’t plan on steaming, you don’t have to heat up the thermoblock at all. There is a separate power switch for the steam circuit which is a really nice energy saving feature. There is also another energy saving feature built into the interface where you can program in how long you’d like the machine to stay on for before entering a standby mode.
Espresso extraction is using a commercial, 58mm portafilter, and the controls are completely manual with three buttons for power, brewing and steaming. The brew boiler is PID controlled, and I’m sure to the pleasure of many people watching there is an analog pressure gauge.
Now, normally I don’t really mind when manufacturers skip out on the pressure gauge, it really is a more broad indicator rather than a necessary tool in my opinion. However, on this machine it makes total sense, because Diletta have also made the OPV adjustment accessible right at the front of the machine. So if you want to raise or lower the pressure, it’s no more than a 10 second task, which is pretty cool.
Quickly touching on the user experience, I do have one pretty major complaint which is the cup clearance. Their site says 3”, it’s actually more like 2.75”, and either way it’s simply not enough. With any scale and any shot glass, the spouts end up inside the cup. Full-sized cups? Don’t even think about it.
However, other than that complaint, the Diletta Mio is a very enjoyable and noticeably lower-effort machine to use when compared to single boiler options. Having a PID controlled boiler, and the ability to brew and steam at the same time, drastically improves the workflow. The PID display also doubles as a shot timer which is super convenient. I think a good parallel to make is that this seems like a PRO version of the Gaggia Classic Pro.
They have similar build quality, similar looks, and similar tiny cup clearance, but the Mio has the addition of PID temperature control, a shot timer, simultaneous steaming, a much nicer portafilter, and a much nicer steam arm.
Moving on to espresso quality, the Mio was a surprisingly consistent performer. It is very temperature stable, not only due to fact that it is PID controlled, but because of the boiler position itself. The boiler is located almost directly above the brew group, so there are minimal thermal losses between the boiler and puck surface. The downside of this configuration, being the large forehead.
The PID itself also gives a true reading of the boiler temperature instead of just showing the set temperature you’ve selected like some other machines. This is nice because you can see if it’s overshot by a few degrees, or is still in the process of warming up.
Stock from the factory, the Mio was running right around 10 bar at the pump, which gets you down to around 9 bar at the puck. But again, this is very easily adjustable without having to go inside the machine, so if you want to play around with low pressure shots, or other funny things, it’s very easy to do so.
The vibratory pump driving the extraction was relatively smooth and consistent, and seemingly a bit quieter compared to many of the other machines I’ve used.
Moving on to milk steaming, the Diletta Mio comes with two steam tips, depending on whether you prefer a single hole or multi hole setup. The steam arm is a good size, with good adjustability, and is a no burn steam arm making it safer and milk cleanup way way easier.
One thing I did immediately notice is that it doesn’t come back in over the drip tray nicely… you have to sort of angle it around oddly into the brewing area. Now after talking to the designer, I learned that this was a conscious choice, to go with a longer, more adjustable, higher quality steam arm, versus the stock option that would have been smaller, and probably only rotate. Knowing this trade-off I do agree with the decision, as having a nice steaming experience is more important to me, but it is still a bit of an odd thing on a machine in this price range…
Steaming speed was good, nothing MIND bogglingly fast, but perfectly suitable for an entry to mid – level machine. Something like the Rancilio Silvia does have more steaming power, but at the cost of being able to brew and steam at the same time. The Mio is easily able to make many drinks back-to-back quickly, while also brewing simultaneously.
So, who is this machine for, and do I recommend it?
I think that Diletta have been very purposeful about where they did and didn’t spend money on the Mio to provide a feature set and higher-end user experience at a price point that undercuts other more expensive machines like the Rancilio Silvia Pro X and the Ascaso Steel Duo.
Is it a perfect machine? No, there are certain parts that feel a little rough like the drip tray and the fact that the steam arm is awkward to purge. But, the features you get, at this price point, do make it a compelling package for those who want to step up in terms of consistency and speed from something like a Gaggia Classic Pro, but aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars on a prosumer level dual boiler.
Need more? Watch the video!