Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Review

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delonghi-esam3300-espresso-machine

Introduction

If tweaking all the elements that would make a divine espresso is not your “cup of tea” or “espresso” in this context, then meet Delonghi ESAM3300.

With the push of a few buttons, the ESAM3300 will grind the coffee beans, dose the right amount for a single or a double shot, extract the maximum aroma, flavor, caffeine and pour the goodness into a cup or a tall mug. All is left for you is to sit down to experience the singular pleasure in life. This is what a super-automatic espresso maker will do for you ungrudgingly without a tip jar.

As much as I’ve read enough of the moaning and groaning about this machine, many are so pleased with the end result, i.e. the perfect cup of espresso that’s not too bitter or sour, gives you enough jolt to kick start your day that it rivals the heavenly espresso you had tasted in Milan, Italy.

In case you are not that familiar with the world of espresso machine, it’s classified as manual, semi-automatic, automatic and super-automatic based on the degree of automation. Each step leads to less manhandling, less thinking on your part. The Magnifica ESAM3300 belongs to the far extreme of do-it-for-you. Let’s find out what it does and how it works, shall we?

 Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Features & Benefits
3. Brewing
4. Steaming
5. Display & Control
6. Additional Features
7. How to Clean
8. Accessories
9. Power & Cord
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Features & Benefits of ESAM3300

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  • Double Boilers: The stainless steel dual boilers allow you to brew and steam without any recovery time. The temperatures are always perfect for either task and the water is pumped at a 15-bar pressure.
  • Integrated Coffee Grinder: This is a true bean to cup operation which means the coffee beans will be ground and dosed into the brewgroup automatically ready for brewing. The conical burr grinder can hold up to 7 oz. of beans and the dial is adjustable from 1 to 7. The higher the dial, the coarser the ground. The espresso ground should be on the finer side and you may tinker with the particle size until you find the perfect combination.
  • By-Pass Dosing: While it’s very handy to let the machine grind the beans, there is also an option to use pre-ground coffee as well. Adjacent to the bean hopper on the right, there is another container for filling ground coffee should you decide to go that route. One scoop is needed for a single and two for a double-shot. This will give you more options to try out different types of coffee in small dosage.
  • 60 Fl. Oz Water Reservoir: The size is not huge. Considering you only need a few ounces of water for each shot, it will last for a while before the next refill. There is a water-level indicator on the front panel to let you know if the level is below minimal. It’s always a great practice to check the water before each brew to ensure you won’t operate the machine when the reservoir is dry. The reservoir is on the right hand side convenient to take it out or put it back.
  • Volumetric Control: You can adjust the water volume level to suite your taste: single, double or anywhere in between by simply turning the dial from left to right (0.5 oz. all the way to 6 oz.). The more water you add, the less intense the espresso flavor. The opposite is true as well.
  • Patented “Cappuccino System”: It sports a steam wand that mixes steam and milk to create perfect froth and creamy texture. The steam wand rotates 180 degrees to give you the flexibility to hold the milk pitcher.
  • Adjustable Delivery Spout: Adjust from lower to higher to accommodate a standard cappuccino cup or a taller mug for an Americano. This is a very smart design feature as many similar machines have only one fixed height.

Brewing

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Before doing anything, make sure you read the User Manual and watch the included instructional DVD. Every espresso machine is different even if it’s made by the same manufacturer. Don’t assume they are operated the same way as your last one.

To make espresso, follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove the water reservoir, fill it with fresh water and place it back into the unit. Bottled or filter water is preferred to minimize the calcification, need for cleaning and help extend the life.
  2. Open the lid and fill the hopper with whole coffee beans and close the lid.
  3. Move the milk frother to the right hand side and turn the machine on by pressing the Power button. Place a cup underneath the steam wand.
  4. Turn the steam knob counter-clockwise to the right until it stops.
  5. Wait till 1/3 of an cup of water will be released from the steam wand and turn off steam knob by half a turn clockwise to stop the water flow.
  6. The “One Cup” and “Two Cup” indicator lights will be flashing while the machine is being preheated. To ensure the right temperature for brewing, the machine does an automatic rinse cycle with some hot water released from the brew spout. The the indicator lights will be staying on to signal the readiness for extraction.
  7. Choose the volume by turning the volumetric dial from left to right.
  8. Select the dosing amount by rotating the dial from left to right (less to more).
  9. Place a pre-warmed cup or two cups underneath the dispensing spout.

10. Press either the One Cup or Two Cup icon to make espresso.

11. After each brew, the machine will run a rinse cycle before switching off or be ready for another extraction.

It’s been a debate among the Delonghi ESAM3300 users whether or not oily coffee beans should be used in the machine. Some said to avoid as they tend to clog the bean hopper during the grinding while others don’t have any problem using oily beans as long as they are roasted fresh. Being fresh means no more than two weeks after roasting. You can experiment with either or both to draw your own conclusion.

The speed of delivery is hinged upon the fineness of the ground. The finer it is, the faster it flows. Conversely, the coarser it is, the slower the flow. The trick is to find the right combination between the speed of delivery and the appropriate coarse level so to extract the maximum aroma, flavor with a thick layer of crema. It’s no secret that making espresso takes a lot of practice, trial and error.

If you happen to make lots of espresso for your house guests, remember after 7 long or 14 short coffee, the indicator for spent coffee will be on to tell you to discard the used coffee.

If you’d like to use ground coffee instead, all you need to do is to press the ground coffee icon to select the function. Fill the container with one or two scoops of coffee in the funnel. After you are done, press the icon again to deactivate this feature.

Steaming

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The machine will do a rinse cycle by releasing some hot water from the steam wand.

  1. Place a container under the steam wand and turn the steam knob to the right (counter-clockwise) and let the machine do a flush to release some steam and hot water.
  2. Then turn the steam knob to the left to stop the flush.
  3. Fill a milk jug with 3.5 oz. of milk for each cappuccino. The jug should be 2 to 3 times larger in volume as milk expands by 2 to 3X while frothing.
  4. Dip the wand into the milk and turn the steam knob by half a turn counter-clockwise. Rotate the wand slowly from the bottom to upwards. You may either gauge the milk by the outsider temperature of the jug or using a liquid thermometer. The temperature range for steamed milk is between 140 to 160F.
  5. Pour the frothed milk into the espresso and top it with your favorite sweetener or cocoa powder.
  6. Turn on the steam wand and release the residue steam and wipe the steam wand with a wet cloth. If you want to do a more thorough cleaning, remove the frother cover and steam nozzle and rinse both in warm water.

Display & Control

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The Display Panel combines rotatory dials with push buttons. Most of the knobs and buttons are on the top left side from left to right and from top to bottom: Power, One Cup, Two Cup, Hot Water; Brew Volume Control, Dosing Amount; Water Indicator, Used Ground Container Indicator, General Warning Indicator (e.g. the water reservoir not placed correctly, etc.), Decalcification Warning, Ground Coffee, Ground Coffee Button, and Rinse and Decalcification Button. The Steam knob is on the right above the wand.

Additional Features of Delonghi ESAM3300

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  1. Cup Warming Tray: It’s passively heated from the residue heat from the machine and it’s not as effective as warming up the cup with hot water or in the microwave. I’ve seen people place the espresso on it until the frothed milk is ready.
  2. Drip Tray: Removable for easy cleaning.

How to Clean

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Two types of cleaning are needed, one of which involves cleaning the delivery spout, drip tray and steam wand after each use. As I said earlier, the machine is designed to do a quick flush before and after each brew to flush out any residue from the previous extraction as well as heating up the components for optimal brew temperature.

Calcification is bound to occur no matter what. It’s less of an issue if using spring or filtered water. The ESAM3300 has built-in detection when the decalcification is needed with the indicator light turned on. When that happens, follow the manufacturer instructions and use the recommended solution. Each decalcification cycle takes about 30 minutes to complete followed up by another rinse cycle to make sure all the cleaning solution is flushed out of the unit.

Accessories

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Included Accessories

A Quick Guide, DVD and a full User Manual are included with the purchase. I watched the DVD before writing this review. It was well done and step-by-step.

Optional Accessories

A few reviewers recommended Illycaffe coffee beans perfect for this machine. If you don’t have, you may want to get some double-walled espresso cups and mugs.

Power & Cord

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  • Input Power (W): 1350
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 110/60

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 11 x 15.25 x 14.38
  • Weight (lbs): 23.15

Warranty

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1-year limited warranty. I’ve seen two-year warranty online. Not sure which one is accurate. Play safe and assume it’s one-year limited warranty on parts and labor until told otherwise.

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Best in class for the price and performance. Brew heavenly espresso.
  • It’s truly a machine of beans-to-cup without much hassle. Fill the water and beans, it’s ready to work. Don’t need to fret about grinding, measuring, tamping and extracting. Sit down and relax. With fully automated functions, it’s like having your own barista from Italy on your kitchen counter. It will serve a perfect espresso on demand day and night.
  • Two boilers ensure the unit is always ready for brewing and steaming without much down time between the two cycles.
  • The 15-bar pump guarantees the maximum extraction to produce a full-bodied and aromatic coffee drink.
  • The integrated coffee grinder saves you a few hundred dollars in buying another appliance. Plus the counter space.
  • The compact size doesn’t take much counter space as many similar machines in the class. Whether living in a mansion or a small apartment in downtown Seattle, this espresso maker will fit into your space and life style. The stainless steel casing presents such a high-end clean line.
  • It can crank cup after cup of espresso if you are hosting a dinner party.
  • The auto flushing cycles before and after each brew makes sure the parts are cleaned and heated at the right temperature.
  • No need to take the machine apart or ship it to an authorized repair shop for decalcification. DIY at home and it only takes 30 minutes.

Cons

  • It’s hard to find a Delonghi repair location near you in the U.S. Chances are that you might have to ship the unit far away if an extensive repair is needed.
  • I’ve read mixed reviews about the Delonghi customer service, mostly negative about the non-responsiveness and long wait time for the repair.
  • It’s noisy in operation. Forget about carrying on a conversation while the machine is grinding. Fortunately it doesn’t take forever to grind coffee or brew a cup of espresso.

Consumer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5.0

A majority (77% rated as 4-5 stars) of the online reviewers swear by this machine. Quite a few of them had owned this model before and decided to buy a second unit or for the second time. One gentleman owns a PC repair shop and they’ve made 10,000 espressos in this machine. All he had to do was to replace a few o-rings that cost him a few bucks.

Price

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The price is a fraction of the cost compared to some high-end fully automatic models. No wonder it’s one of the most popular models sold on Amazon and elsewhere due to the solid performance and the affordability.

Summary

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If you are sick and tired of contributing your hard-earned money to the profit of Starbucks and would rather put it into your kid college fund, consider getting this Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica espresso machine. Assuming you spend $5 per day on your drink, it will take about 4 months to break even with the cost of this machine. Granted you’d be spending some money on coffee beans. This machine will last for many years beyond the breakeven point.

To me the bigger incentive is to be able to indulge in Italian quality espressos that you won’t be able to find or taste in one made by a teenager in Starbucks.

 

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  1. I usually grind my coffee separately and keep it in the fridge but this DeLonghi will make that obsolete. The automation is amazing.

    • Espresso Queen says:

      Barry,

      Thanks for stopping by my site. Good luck with your new espresso machine.

      Lei

  2. Angie says:

    Hi, we just got a DeLonghi 3500 and the last 4 days I keep searching what is to be done as the coffee taste so extremely bitter and sour even the odour is making us ill. I’ ve tried everything, temp, grind, read every ware, we just think maybe is this particular machine. What is your advice for us?

    • Espresso Queen says:

      I am so sorry about your poor experience with Delonghi 3500. Coffee tasting bitter or sour tells me that it’s either overextracted or underextracted. Overextraction may be caused by too fine of grind size, too much tamping pressure, too long of extraction time and the opposite is true for underextraction. The freshness of coffee and degree of roasting can influence the taste as well. Starbucks French Roast tends to be overroasted resulting in a bitter taste. I’ve had really good luck with Peet’s coffee such as Major Dickason’s Blend. Depending on where you are, you might be able to buy it in a local store or online. I know Target carries it and some grocery stores do too. Sounds like you’ve already tried to tweak every element in the brewing process. Have you tried to call Delonghi Customer Service yet? If I were you, I’d call them asap to see what they’ll tell you. Another thing you might want to try is to go to a local coffee shop and find an experienced barista. Pick his or her brain to see if he or she can offer any advice.
      In the worst case scenario, return the unit within the time limit.

      Good luck!

      Lei

      • Angie says:

        Hi Lei, I have to thank you for the advice, it is very clear.I going to return this machine as I really feel must be something really wrong, I never had such a coffee ever, taste like poison and is so strong and sour and bitter in all cases, fine grind or coarse. I will try another one and tell you if it is me or the machine! Thank you again!

  3. Angie says:

    Hi again, I’ve got another machine and this one works perfectlly, the coffee is tasty and absolute no bitter or sour, we are very happy! I wonder if it is better to let all the settings as they are or to program the quantities- we are used to much bigger cups. It is better to pour 2 cups once or to reprogram, how this will impact the taste?
    Thanks

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