DeLonghi BCO 120T Coffee Center

Oct 21, 2011 (Updated Nov 6, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Quality in housing design, manufacture of plastic. Long cord.

Cons:Thermal fuse for coffeemaker side wore out within a year after purchase.  Leaks randomly.

The Bottom Line:
Given average marks since we are fairly adept at repairing appliances. It was free, so it was worth it.  


In the spring of 2011, my husband was given this machine by a co-worker who said the coffeemaker side no longer worked.  They did not give us the user's manual, but we were able to download it from DeLonghi's website, as well as  a quick search found us the PDF manual, too from another site. We were also given the packing box.  Thanks to an internet repair site we were able to narrow down the problem to a thermal fuse.  We bought two new 250VAC, 10A thermal fuses from Radio Shack (an extra for future failure), my husband did the repair and now the coffeemaker side works.

The overall quality of this dual duty machine is nice. The company did a great job of manufacturing the plastic housing and the plastic filter basket and swing out holder.  (Note: I still do not know what the lided compartment on top is for?)  It comes with a wakeup digital timer and clock.  Useful for those that want their coffee made while they are still waking up.  It's a bit difficult to read the display, as it is dark and like a calculator display, but easily read with good lighting and reading glasses for my eyes.  I don't use this feature, and unplug the machine soon after making a pot as I don't like fresh  made coffee on a heating pad. That's just my preference.  This unit comes with a generous, roughly 51-inch length heat-rated cord. 
We have a Melitta Fast Brew model MEFB1 which makes very good tasting coffee.  I noticed when I make drip coffee in the DeLonghi machine, that I need to use a bit more grounds to make the same strength as the Melitta machine.  After doing a side by side water-only drip, the Melitta's water temperature was a few degrees hotter than the DeLonghi's water temperature.  I used a refrigerant thermometer, but just carefully hand-touching the carafes told me this, too. So, this would partly explain why I need to use more ground coffee.  I did make sure the knob, Flavour System, was set to Strong and use the mesh filter basket that came with unit.  I don't understand the necessity of the Flavour System knob.  If one wants stronger or weaker brew then adjust the amount of ground coffee used.

I have never had a cappuccino or espresso before and have had three espressos using this machine.  I make sure to use medium grind size for coffee upon instructions, otherwise you could have a blow out due to coffee grinds clogging the fine stainless steel filter. Delicious espressos! Just make sure to drink it soon after it is finished for the beverage cools off quickly.  I suggest pre-warming the cups.   I made an espresso a weak ago and for some reason, it took much longer than 3 or so minutes for it to finish dripping.  I have no idea what caused it and will have to look into how to clean the espresso maker side of this unit. I have made sure to clean the coffeemaker side once a month with Brewrite coffeemaker cleaner.

In the past month the DeLonghi has started to leak during brewing of coffee.  From searching on this problem, it appears to be due to the water holding tank not seating tighltly over the raised nipple that is at the bottom of the unit where the tank rests.  I have been setting the water tank in very lightly as not to wear out the gasket on the bottom.  I will take the advice I have found on the internet and push the tank down firmly to see if this solves this problem.

Update:  A day later and I was able to get a good cup of espresso this morning.  I went back to the instructions and read how to clean/descale the unit, both coffeemaker and espresso maker. Delonghi suggests to use citric acid powder, which I happened to have on hand for canning tomatoes.  So, I used that and cleaned both espresso maker and drip coffee maker and now the espresso drips freely within about 4 minutes.  I also turned the grind size lower (coarser) on my old Waring bur grinder as I think the grind size had something to do with the espresso not flowing. 

After cleaning the coffeemaker side and rinsing it according to instructions, I thought all was well with it not leaking.  Wrong.  I lifted the unit to move it and there was about 1/3 cup of water under the unit.  This, even after I had pushed the water tank down firmly in place each time I filled it up to clean and then to rinse it twice.  I checked the spring and gasket on the water tank and it looks fine.  Inside the unit where the tank seats, there is a round plastic or rubber gasket/seal that could be the culprit.  I'll have to have my husband look at it and see what he deduces.  He also has the safety Torx wrenches that are needed to remove the bottom screws.  I notice that there are three websites that sell replacement water tanks, from about $8.00 to $15 dollars.  I am reluctant to order one until I can pinpoint the problem.   Too bad they don't sell only the gaskets and spring seals, instead of the water tank, too as there is nothing wrong with the tank, only the seals that allow the water to drip down once the tank is in place.

Update on leak:  This week I managed to remove safety Torx screws using a jeweler's screwdriver 3/32".  Since these bottom screws had already been removed by husband using a safety Torx driver, they were easy to re-remove.  I examined the opaque silicon inlet tube with check valve and orange/red silicon heated water outlet tube.  No visible cracks.  I carefully placed unit on top of two bricks to raise it up and no contact with electrical parts.  This was to examine unit while I made a pot of coffee at two different times.  The check valve works and no leaks both times.  So, back to square one.  Put bottom back on unit and looked inside the housing where the tank is inserted and there is an overflow hole on the bottom.   I really do not know what this is for but to prevent one from pouring water directly in the housing.  If you do, you get a countertop of water.  This is where I believe the water leaked from, which makes sense if it is the water tank gasket leaking.   I removed the clear threaded looking seal on bottom of water tank and turned it over and replaced it.  So far the unit isn't leaking.  So, it appears that  a replacement water tank would be the answer to the problem.  Random problems are difficult to diagnose.  But at least I feel it isn't the inlet tubes that are leaking.  Drip coffee maker tubes are known to eventually crack over years of use, but some coffee replacement parts sites sell replacement silicon tubing.  I would suggest if any one is having a leaking tank, to clean/descale it with the recommended citric acid powder.  This also cleans the inlet tubes and makes sure the check valve is working properly. 

 
Update, leak located: No need to replace the water tank. I made two more pots of coffee and both times it leaked a small amount of water. Removed the bottom and had it raised, made another pot, and found unit started leaking a small amount while making a 5 cup coffee amount and using the 2-5 cup slow drip button. I located leak coming from top of unit and the water tank is not involved in this area. The heated water that leaves the bottom of unit is carried through the red silicone tube, which connects to a vertical, smaller diameter #2 plastic tube which is about 9” long and runs along rear right side of unit. This connects to a larger diameter 2” opaque silicone tube which then connects to the “shower head” the part that rains the water over the ground coffee. DeLonghi used a cable tie to secure the 5” tube to the opaque tube. The problem I see is that the top of the 5” plastic tube end fits inside the opaque tube. It would be better to have top of 5” tube a female end, and the opaque tube that joins it, a male end. They have it the other way round. Water can easily leak from this joint, in spite of the cable tie. Another flaw was the use of regular steel screws, 4, to secure the “shower head”. One was so rusty I had to use a drill to ream it out. Odd place for steel screws that gets a lot of moisture. Odder still as they used a few stainless steel screws in other areas of this unit.  One cause for the leak could be the cable ties.  One fell off when I removed the 9" tube from the red tube, so it obviously wasn't on securely and rubber does tend to shrink with age and exposure to heat.  I replaced all three cable ties.  I hope this solves the leak problem.


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