Delonghi ESAM 3300 review 2021: Worth the money?
When it comes to brewing espresso quickly, and at the press of a single button, the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 stands out for more than just one reason. It’s almost like a barista stationed in your very own home, waiting for your order.
Below, we take a closer look at this Delonghi coffee maker. Checking out its features one at a time discussing why this brewing system is a decent pick for almost any kind of espresso lover.
Delonghi ESAM3300 Review
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is classified as a super automatic espresso machine. As a direct to brew system, you automate everything from grinding to pulling shots.
- Great value
- Pre-infusion capability
- Dual boiler
- Need to steam your own milk
- Doesn’t work well with lighter roasts
What are the only things left for you to do? Load (with water and whole coffee beans), clean (the water tray, brew group, and milk frother), and steam (for your milky drinks). You can expect the same simplicity of use from the entire Delonghi Magnifica line.
This coffee maker is perfect for people who enjoy drinking good espresso more than making it. And if you refuse to sacrifice quality, this machine isn’t crazy priced either. A steal considering the features and the control the machine gives you over your coffee.
If you’ve only recently fallen in love with espresso as a drink, this is an excellent machine to explore it as a brew method. It automates areas that require more tools and a lot of skill, while keeping certain areas manual.
There’s also enough variability within your espresso within your control, so you get to explore manipulating isolated variables such as grind size, water to grounds ratio, and extraction time. These are areas that affect your coffees across all brew methods.
In short, the Esam 3300 is one of the best espresso maker picks today in terms of value for money. But let’s dive into the specifics behind this machine:
ESAM 3300 Magnifica Brewing Standards
What I love about the Delonghi Magnifica Esam 3300 is how it’s designed to let you completely customize your espresso.
The conical burr grinder has 7 fine settings for different origins and roast levels. This will affect the extraction rate and flavors drawn out. Keep in mind that with Delonghi Magnifica machines (and other super automatic espresso machines) it’s best to use medium roasted coffee beans. Light roasts are too dense, and dark roasts are too oily.
For the Esam 3300, there’s a knob for you to adjust the espresso shot size. This is one of two variables that make up what we consider as “brew strength”. You can program your espresso drinks to be anywhere from 15 to 240ml on this particular Delonghi machine. All while the 1.8L water tank makes sure you have enough supply inside your machine to brew shot after shot.
A separate knob is for the dosage of grounds you’ll be using in your next shot. This is the second variable that affects brew strength. You can set your dose to up to 16g of coffee per espresso shot, which is close enough to commercial dosing.
You can also program the length of extraction via the single and double shot buttons. These controls are on the front panel of this espresso brewer, making the ESAM 3300 Magnifica automatic espresso machine easy to use.
All in all, using this Delonghi machine at home is like ordering from the lead barista at your favorite friendly neighborhood coffee shop.
Delonghi Build Quality
The design of the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 machine is minimalist.
Outside it’s mostly a combination of stainless steel and hard plastic. Parts that need to be sturdy are stainless steel, and everything else is plastic.
You will realize that the external build is fair, given the price, but it all comes together tastefully. And yes, in case you’re wondering, it will fit in nicely with almost any kitchen, bar, or space.
You will notice once you brew with this Delonghi coffee maker that it was designed for functionality. It’s easy to operate and just as easy to clean. As a result, you can expect to brew good quality espresso on your Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 across time. Just a small caveat – make sure to maintain it properly!
One last notable characteristic of this machine is how all areas are from the front of this Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 model. The water tank, removable drip tray, and dregs drawer are all accessible from the front.
This makes it easier to find a permanent spot for your Delonghi Magnifica espresso machine. It also simplifies hand movements. You won’t have to burn your forearm every time you need to fill the water tank!
You can give the plastic parts a good wipe down in case of spills or splatters. For the stainless parts, just wipe with a clean damp cloth and immediately follow up with a clean, dry cloth to bring the shine back.
The Magnifica Brewer
This section of this automatic espresso machine review will discuss the brewing unit of the ESAM 3300 specifically.
It’s important to note that consistency is the biggest challenge when it comes to espresso. Even the best baristas need to dial in the coffee. It so happens that this is the biggest strength of Delonghi Magnifica super automatic machines. They automate certain areas of making coffee that are challenging to do consistently while leaving enough areas for you to make your ideal coffee.
First of all the ESAM 3300 Magnifica super automatic espresso machine has a dual boiler system. You can’t steam and pull espresso side-by-side, but you can do it simultaneously, one after the other. No more waiting time in between. This is pretty awesome given the price point of this machine. It isn’t a regular feature in this price bracket.
Secondly, there’s built-in pre infusion every shot you pull. This helps with even heat distribution that results in decent extractions. As the brewing unit has its own boiler, it brews fast and consistently. This comes in handy when you’re dialing in your coffee beans.
Next, the spout is adjustable to accommodate small and big cup sizes. Depending on how you like your espresso drinks, you can fully program your recipe’s black side for sure. You’re left to do the milk manually. I enjoy using the milk frother, even for cold drinks. I steam right before the milk gets hot, just to thicken and sweeten it naturally.
In a move that I view as efficient and pretty normal for automatic espresso machines, the stainless steel milk frother also doubles as a hot water dispenser. Controls are all in the ESAM 3300 control panel on the front of the machine. This saves space and simplifies cleaning. More on these later.
Magnifica Milk Frothing
Do you enjoy brewing a flat white? Perhaps a cappuccino or latte?
You’ll love the fact that Magnifica ESAM3300 espresso machines have a boiler just for the milk frother. While it isn’t as powerful as commercial machines, you can definitely get a good vortex going. You can check the table of contents of your Magnifica ESAM3300 for some tips on how to use and maintain your steam wand.
But if you want some quick tips now, remember to aim for the hissing sound and find an angle that creates a vortex in your stainless steel milk jug. Your steam wand basically delivers air and heated water to your latte to thicken and sweeten it.
If you want finer foam, remove the Pannarello wand extension and use the naked small tip. This is how you go for that fine flat white foam or that balanced latte foam thickness. This is usually a step done for cleaning, but it’s also a hack for certain milky drink types.
This area of making coffee is seldomly mastered. Once you do so, it’s satisfying and gratifying. Latte art is nice to look at, but steaming milk properly sweetens it. You’ll end up using less sugar for your daily cup in the process. Another point for brewing coffee yourself!
Coffee Maker Ease of Use
There is no doubt that the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is simple to operate. You have everything you need in the front of the machine.
The brewing unit was designed to make consistent coffee that delivers hot water, not boiling. Brewing with boiling water tends to make your coffee bitter. Bitterness comes with overextraction, and that’s something you don’t need to worry about with this brewer.
Secondly, the brewer has a built-in conical burr grinder. This saves you space and a bit of extra money.
You will also find a compartment where you can choose to use pre ground coffee. This allows you to use decaf easily. If a friend comes over wanting to test their favorite pre ground coffee, you can load it into the Delonghi Magnifica Esam3300 espresso machine and taste the brew together!
In terms of communicating with the machine and vice versa, it’s so simple that you can just study the manual. You’ll only need to master the functions of 6 buttons and 4 knobs. No more confusing menu settings to navigate around. You will get blinking light notifications for specific steps that need to be taken for the machine to run smoothly again.
You only need to hold the single and double shot buttons to record extraction times for programming espresso. No more cycling through menus. It rarely gets any easier than that.
Cleaning The Machine
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably waiting for some bad news about this machine.
You’ll have to wait a bit longer because Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 automatic espresso machines are as easy to clean as they are to use.
The water tank is accessible from the front, so you’ll need a good rinse every day before you. When you turn the espresso machine on you’ll hear it run fresh water through the brewing unit. There’s also a built-in slot for a water filter you can purchase. This comes in handy, so you let only the minerals you need to carry your coffee flavors pass through.
In case you’re wondering, yes, only mineral water is ideal for brewing. The water filter is for reducing minerals you don’t need and minimizing the need to descale. Limescale is that white stain in your coffee gear (usually in stainless steel parts) where heat and water usually contact each other. It’s fine in wide pathways but not in pipes throughout your machine.
All in all, the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 basically has its own notification and corresponding button for descaling. for everything else, just follow best practices.
Whether manual or automatic espresso machines, remember to rinse right away after each coffee you make. For the brewing unit and the steam wand, remove and deep clean the brewing unit once a week. Take apart the steam wand daily. This brewing system is easy to maintain, especially if you do it consistently.
Let’s go through a few more specifics about the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 to help you decide if it’s the espresso maker for you.
The bean hopper can hold 8oz or 240g of coffee beans. That’s around 15 cups of coffee per load. In parallel, the water tank has a little under 2 liters capacity, so you can keep brewing!
The number of espressos you can make will depend on your preferences. Make sure to check water levels so you don’t have to pause in the middle of brewing cycles. In case you run out, yes, you can easily access the tank from the front of your espresso machine. Heads up, a water filter improves the performance of machines and helps with longevity.
If you’ve dialed in your current beans and your recipe, you can save them as well. Make sure the 3 knobs are fixed at positions you like for your coffee: grind size, dose size, and brew strength. Your milk frother is good enough to allow you to make cafe-level coffees.
There is a heated cup tray on top of the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300. What’s this for? It was made for people who like their coffees hot. Good coffee extracts with pre-boiling water.
Every time water transfers containers, you cool by an average of 2 degrees celsius. You can imagine how hot cups help slow down the cooling process in your cup. Milk foam, when done right, also helps insulate your drink. So remember, practice makes your technique perfect when it comes down to learning how to use that stainless steel steam wand properly!
Worth The Money?
If you love espresso based drinks, then there is no doubt that the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a machine worth splurging your money on. You will be hard-pressed to find automatic espresso machines that produce quality coffee at this price range.
You’ll also be brewing at an ideal temperature range each time, which is critical when it comes down to taste. While your favorite cup will most likely be compatible with the Delonghi Magnifica because the brewing unit spouts are adjustable.
Once you have it, if you regularly purge, deep clean (the brewing unit and steam wand) once a week, and descale as needed, this machine will virtually last you a lifetime. Remember to use medium roasted beans as well. It’s that easy to maintain. Each year that it lasts piles up on an easy ROI, given its price, to begin with, weighed against what it delivers.
If you brew with mineral water, you’ll set yourself up to make good cups of joe. If you install a water filter, you lengthen the life of your machine.
For these reasons, the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is worth the money to me. The Delonghi Magnifica line is the perfect value-driven espresso machine line regardless if you’re brewing with ground coffee or fresh beans!
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Isn’t For You If..
You aren’t interested in learning how to steam milk
Automatic espresso machines like most of the ones in the Delonghi Magnifica line leave milk steaming to users. There’s a science and art side to making espresso, and the milk is the art side of things.
I personally enjoy being able to make milk using the machine. The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 gives you enough space and power to do it well. But if this isn’t your thing, this isn’t the machine for you.
You don’t drink espresso that often
If espresso is only one way you brew your ground coffee, then this machine might not be the best investment for you just yet. Not unless you have all the other brew method equipment with you already.
An espresso machine is one of the pricier pieces of equipment. If you might still want to explore, then maybe it isn’t time for a Delonghi Magnifica machine. Sure an americano is just espresso with water, but it’s still different from other hand brews.
You like light or very dark roasted beans
Light roasts are less “cooked” so they’re the densest. This challenges the grinder. When it comes to dark roasted beans, they’re the most cooked.
What does this imply?
Darker roasts are furthest along in the roasting process, so some of the beans’ oils are already extracted. This gives off the shiny look of dark roasts. These tend to still to the burrs of built-in grinders. The oil adds to wearing your machine down. The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 machine isn’t for you if these are your coffees of choice.
The Final Verdict
The answer re if you should or shouldn’t buy this machine depends on you.
If you’re a fine espresso drinker who so happens to have a limited budget like most of us, then this machine could be a good pick for you. If you care about water hardness, roast date, and flavor notes, you’ll most likely enjoy what this Delonghi Magnifica machine can do. It’s impressive quality for its price bracket.
As part of the new breed of espresso machine, it’s simple and easy to operate. From the water tank to the drip tray, all movement stays in front. This is safe and efficient for beginners and a breath of fresh air for experts.
Remember to dial in your espresso daily and enjoy the process of learning how to froth your milk! You will have a bit of a learning curve in terms of learning recipes with this machine, but always keep brewing!
Barista and coffee writer
Miguel Papa is a coffee fanatic with a passion for brewing. During the weekdays, you can find him experimenting with different drinks while he works as a barista. Otherwise, he’s likely writing here for Sip Coffee or enjoying the outdoors.