DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 Review: Is This Super-Automatic Worth It?
Have you noticed that the espresso makers at Starbucks are a little different than your favorite non-chain cafe?
All the staff has to do is press a button, you hear some whirring, and out pours some espresso. It’s not witchcraft; it’s super-automatic.
If you want to bring this technology into your kitchen, the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 is a great choice. Let’s delve into this espresso machine’s strengths and weaknesses in this review.
Summary: The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300
- Intuitive control panel with programmable menu settings
- High capacity water tank and spent grounds container
- Easy to clean and maintain
The compact and patented Direct-to-Brew System with Thermo Block technology provides excellent heat distribution and it’s removable for easy cleaning.– DeLonghi
DeLonghi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Review
With the Magnifica ESAM3300, DeLonghi claims that you can become your own barista as it gives you the freedom to craft everything from espressos to lattes. You can also fine-tune your shot by adjusting the dose and volume. With so many features to offer, is there a risk that the Magnifica might be too complicated for home users?
Design – 4/5
The Magnifica is an entry-level super-automatic espresso machine from DeLonghi, and it shows on the outside. It’s silver-colored, all-plastic exterior is well built but doesn’t have the elegant appeal of a stainless steel body.
In terms of features, however, the Magnifica excels. It comes with a fantastic cup warmer on top, and an auto-shutoff feature that’s adjustable from 15 min to 3 hours. This DeLonghi machine comes with a standard 2-year warranty too.
Measuring 11.0 x 15.3 x 14.4 inches and weighing 23.2 lbs, the DeLonghi Magnifica is a compact machine. But it’s the clever design of its components that ensures this espresso maker punches well above its class.
Brewing System – 4/5
One major advantage of the DeLonghi Magnifica is its 60-oz water tank capacity (versus the Gaggia Brera’s 40-oz capacity). This is particularly important if you are using your machine to make Americanos or other beverages that are hot-water reliant. The front-access water tank is great for putting your coffee maker in tight spaces, and indicator lights will let you know when it’s time to refill. Unfortunately, though, the water tank isn’t designed to accommodate a filter, so you’ll have to use your own filtration or bottled water.
The DeLonghi has dual stainless steel thermoblock boilers, with the brew side and the steam side each having their own. Unfortunately, you cannot brew espresso and use the steam wand simultaneously. However, DeLonghi’s Instant Reheat feature ensures the wait time between brewing and steaming is minimal.
When it comes to brewing, the Magnifica espresso machine’s stainless steel conical burrs grind coffee beans on demand. The grinder offers 7 grind settings but is quite noisy. On the plus side, the hopper holds 8.8-oz of coffee beans and has a pre-ground coffee bypass (if you find yourself craving a shot of decaf).
The steam wand on this espresso machine is Panarello-style, which Gaggia explains, works as follows (1):
On the side of each wand is a small air intake hole that sucks in air and injects it into the milk, creating froth.
The milk frother has a plastic sheath over a stainless steel pipe, so it looks a little cheaper than the entirely stainless steel wands on models like the Gaggia Brera. Despite not being entirely stainless steel, the milk frother is still easy to clean and use.
Not everyone is convinced by the results to be had from this type of milk frother. The good news is that the outside sheath is removable and the inner wand can be used as a traditional steamer.
Coffee Quality & Versatility – 4.5/5
While semi-automatic espresso machines can’t compete with a well-trained barista on a high-end manual machine, they are capable of delivering great espresso consistently.
The DeLonghi is no exception, and customer reviews agree that this machine makes great espresso.
Just like manual and semi-automatic machines, you’ll need to “dial-in” the DeLonghi Magnifica each time you change the beans. You can do that by adjusting the two dials on the front of the machine. The volume dial lets you set the shot volume from 0.5 to 6 oz, and the brew strength dial controls the amount of ground coffee dispensed.
You can use the single or double shot button to brew and can press it again to stop brewing before the entire shot has been pulled. With the volume and dose control dials, you can make anything from a ristretto to a long black. Add the steam wand’s ability to the mix, and you could even make yourself a cappuccino or latte. This ensures that the DeLonghi Magnifica can make any coffee beverage you want, even if the process of making milk-based drinks isn’t fully automated.
Cleaning & Maintenance – 4.5/5
One feature that sets the DeLonghi apart from nearly all of its competitors is the removable brew chamber. With the machine turned off, you can remove the chamber from the front, and give it a thorough rinse in your sink. You might need to do that every week as the rest of the time, the auto-rinse cycle and rinse button should suffice to keep it running smoothly.
This espresso machine has a removable drip tray with a level indicator. The used coffee puck drawer also comes out with the tray and needs to be emptied after 14 brew cycles.
No need to count, a warning light on the front will let you know when to clean out the used coffee pucks drawer.
Since the Magnifica can’t be fitted with a water filter, calcium deposits (a.k.a, scale) are a real problem. These deposits clog hoses, impact temperature control, and generally shorten the life of your coffee maker (2).
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 comes with a water hardness test strip and allows you to program the machine with the recorded hardness. The machine takes that information and sets a descaling interval accordingly. When it is time, a warning light on the front will prompt you to run a descaling program. All you have to do is fill the water tank with the manufacturer’s recommended solution, let the machine dispense into a 34-oz vessel. Then rinse, refill the tank, and repeat the process once more sans descaling solution.
The good news is that the DeLonghi Magnifica is a fairly reliable machine. And even if something does go wrong outside the warranty period, repairs are easy to DIY. You can access the innards by removing a couple of screws, and there are plenty of YouTube videos about solving most of the common issues.
Value For Money – 4.5/5
In the world of super-automatic espresso machines, you wouldn’t expect any coffee maker below $1000 to be any good. But the DeLonghi Magnifica defies all expectations and offers excellent value for money. Its sticker price is comparable to semi-automatic espresso makers with built-in grinders. Sometimes, you can even find a really good deal on the DeLonghi Magnifica, which makes it even harder to resist.
Do Not Buy The DeLonghi Magnifica If…
You want an espresso machine with a ceramic burr grinder – If you prefer ceramic burrs (usually used in commercial settings) over steel, take a look at the Gaggia Brera. Costing slightly less than the Magnifica, it offers similar features but with fewer customization options.
You only drink espresso or americano – The Jura Ena Micro 1 is a minimalistic, compact machine that makes excellent espresso. You can adjust the brew strength and make a ristretto or americano, but that’s it. In our review, we loved how easy and fast it was to make espresso in this Jura super-automatic.
You want infinitesimal control over your espresso – The Breville Oracle lets you channel your inner barista by offering you a fine-level of control over your shot. And on the days you’re feeling lazy, you have convenience of hitting a button to pull a shot with your pre-programmed settings. The Oracle is expensive, but we found it was worth every penny when we reviewed it.
The Verdict On The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 – 4.3/5
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 coffee maker delivers delightful espresso, makes smooth, frothy milk, and is easy to maintain. Reliability and build-quality are good, and the design is such that it can be repaired DIY-style with relative ease.
Compared to other super-automatic espresso machines in this price range, the DeLonghi Magnifica has a large capacity and a wider range of flexibility in the grind. What’s more, since this model has been around for a few years, you can get a great deal on a Magnifica these days.
The DeLonghi Magnifica has a height-adjustable coffee dispensing spout that can accommodate a cup with a maximum height of 4.25 inches. So whether you’re brewing into a shot glass or a tall cappuccino mug, you will be able to fit either under this machine’s spout. You won’t be able to fit a travel mug, though, unless it’s a small KeepCup.
- Steaming and Frothing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gaggia-usa.com/pages/steaming-and-frothing
- Perfect Daily Grind. (2018, July 20). What Café Owners & Baristas Need to Know About Water Quality. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/06/what-cafe-owners-baristas-need-to-know-about-water-quality/