Quick Answer: I’d recommend the Delonghi Magnficia ESAM 3300 if you want a reliable super-automatic espresso machine without breaking the bank. It’s an absolute bargain given its price
You’ve likely seen that the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is one of the cheapest super-automatic espresso machines on the market.
But cheap products are often cheap for a reason…
In his Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 review I’ll be looking at whether the espresso machine is a genuine bargain or whether you’ll be left wishing you’d spent a few hundred bucks more to buy it right rather than buying twice.
Should I Get the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300?
I’d recommend getting the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 if you want a cheap but reliable super-automatic espresso machine.
The ESAM 3300 is pretty much the most affordable super-automatic espresso machine that can actually make a decent espresso and last more than a few years.
The three main areas where Delonghi has cut corners in order to make the ESAM 3300 more affordable than the majority of super-automatic espresso machines are:
- User Interface: The ESAM 3300 has a super basic dial and button control panel. The dials and buttons are labeled with annoyingly vague symbols rather than words. This lack of guidance becomes particularly problematic if you have to troubleshoot the machine.
- Steam wand: The machine uses a manual steam wand rather than an automatic milk frothing system. This means that there’s much more of a learning curve and manual work involved in steaming milk with the ESAM 3300 compared to other super automatics.
- An inability to take a water filter: The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 cannot take a water filter. Most espresso machines can do this. This means that you’ll need to descale the ESAM 3300 more often than other espresso machines. It shouldn’t affect the way your espresso tastes, however.
If you’re not bothered about these three drawbacks then the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is an absolute bargain.
The machine makes as good an espresso as machines three times its price.
While it’s by no means a “buy it for life” product, it has a surprising level of longevity given its low cost.
Delonghi Mangifica ESAM 3300 Pros
Makes as good an espresso as super automatics twice its price.
It has a high level of durability given its cost.
It’s one of the cheapest super-automatic espresso machines I am happy to recommend.
Delonghi Mangifica ESAM 3300 Cons
Its single warning light for all technical faults can make troubleshooting the machine difficult.
It is incredibly noisy when heating up and when grinding your beans.
Its double shots are only brewed with a single puck of coffee.
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300: Overview of Features
Here is a breakdown of the Delonghi Magnficia ESAM 3300’s features along with my thoughts on how they affect the machine’s performance and usability.
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300’s brewing system allows it to make one of the best espressos of all super-automatic espresso machines. This is astonishing given its price.
Super-automatic espresso machines’ brewing systems (and therefore their espresso quality) differ much more across brands than they do across the same brand’s various models.
In other words, all Delonghi super automatics use the same internal brewing system and make the same quality espresso, regardless of whether it’s a $500 or a $2,500 model.
(The same is broadly true for other manufacturers like Philips, Jura, Gaggia, etc).
Delonghi super-automatic machines’ brewing system allows them to make better quality espresso than most.
In his comparison of seven high-end super-automatic espresso machines, barista, and coffee YouTuber James Hoffmann said that the Delonghi Dinamica Plus (which uses the same basic brewing system as the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300) made the second best-tasting espresso after the Jura Z10.
For context, the Jura Z10 costs around $3,000…
You can see James Hoffmann’s thoughts on the Delonghi’s espresso quality below (watch from 5:28 – 7:39):
As you can see the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s brewing system really does punch above its weight price-wise.
You’re going to get a better-tasting espresso from it than from many other more expensive machines.
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 uses a manual panarello steam wand. This means that it’s more effort to steam milk with the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 than most super-automatic espresso machines.
The Delonghi Magnifica’s ESAM 3300’s panarello steam wand means that you need to steam milk manually, just like how a barista does it in a coffee shop.
A panarello steam wand means that there is a plastic sleeve around the wand itself. This pumps additional air into the milk as you steam it.
This has two consequences:
- It has much less of a learning curve than “pinhole” steam wands (ones with no sleeves). All you have to do is stick the wand in the center of the milk and keep it in there until it hits your desired temperature. The micropump in the sleeve will do the texturing for you.
- You can only make large bubbled milk foam. No silky microfoam for latte art, I’m afraid.
The main downside about having a manual steam wand compared to an automatic milk frothing system (what most super automatics have) is the extra amount of work involved.
There is also an upside though.
Automatic milk frothers tend to only froth milk to around 130 Fahrenheit. Most people would describe this as warm, rather than hot.
A manual steam wand allows you to heat your milk to whatever temperature you want, so if you like really hot lattes then the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is ideal.
Button Operated Control Panel
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is operated by three buttons, one for a single shot, one for a double shot, and one to dispense hot water. Its steam wand is operated by a dial on its right.
This is pretty basic compared to machines that have a display screen operating system (most super automatics over $1,000 have this), but it does the job.
Just be warned that its double shot button doesn’t produce a true double shot.
A true double shot is two doses of water pumped through two pucks of coffee.
The ESAM 3300’s double shot uses the same quantity of coffee as a single shot. It just brews with double the amount of water than a single shot.
I’d therefore avoid the double shot button altogether – it produces very watery coffee.
Ground Coffee Dose and Espresso Volume Dose Adjustment Dials
You can adjust the weight of ground coffee and the volume of water that you brew using two dials on the front of the machine.
Although having these adjustments is cool, it’s pretty standard to have this on every super-automatic espresso machine.
I don’t like the fact that the dial’s steps are labeled in arbitrary increments rather than with actual numbers.
This can make dialing in your machine (working out the ideal quantity of coffee and water to brew with) harder than it needs to be.
I own the Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 4300, which uses the same brewing and dosing systems as the ESAM 3300 and I found that setting the dials in the configuration below created the best coffee:
This created a drink that was one ounce in volume from 10 grams of coffee.
I also would set my grinder setting to three.
Speaking of which…
The Delonghi Mangnifica ESAM 3300 uses a conical burr grinder. While its grind uniformity is more than adequate, it is incredibly noisy and can choke up the machine if you grind on its two finest settings.
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s use of a burr grinder (as opposed to a blade grinder) means that it will grind your beans uniformly.
A uniform grind is absolutely necessary for good espresso, although, in all honesty, a burr grinder is standard on a super-automatic espresso machine so it’s not like the ESAM 3300 is special in this regard.
The ESAM 3300’s grinder has two annoying features:
- It is INCREDIBLY noisy. I cannot stress this enough. My Delonghi Mangifica ESAM 4200 uses the same grinding system and I can hear it grinding from my bedroom which is three floors up from where the machine lives.
- The machine cannot brew on its finest two grind settings. A tiny amount of water will dribble into your cup and the rest will just stay in the puck, creating a soupy mess in your dregs tray.
These annoyances aside, if you set the grinder to its third setting (lower is finer) it’s going to grind coffee in a way that produces a good espresso.
Symbol and Light Warning System
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 uses flashing lights labeled with symbols to tell you when the machine needs to be filled and descaled. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious what each light/symbol corresponds to.
Below is an image of the Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 warning lights and what they each correspond to:
As you can see, it’s hardly obvious what these symbols mean.
By far the worst offender here is the “general warning” light.
This can indicate a wide variety of problems, ranging from the front door of the machine being open, the inside of the machine needing cleaning, or the brew unit needing to be lubricated.
Unfortunately, it gives you no indication of what this specific problem is, meaning that you need to go through a whole load of trial and error in order to troubleshoot the machine.
Most super-automatic espresso machines with display screens will tell you specifically on their screen what’s wrong with the machine when there is a fault. I wish that the ESAM 3300 had some way of doing this.
Ability to Open up the Machine From the Front
You can open up the machine from the front and remove its brewing unit for cleaning and lubrication.
The machine opens from the front and when you do this you can remove its:
- Brewing unit
- Used coffee grounds container
- Drip tray
I really like the fact that you can open up the machine in this way.
Not only does this make keeping the machine’s interior clean, but it also helps you troubleshoot more obscure technical problems like broken O rings and microswitches that have accidentally been switched to the wrong position/
Jura super-automatic espresso machines cannot be opened up and it means that you need to send them to a service whenever a technical problem arises (this is both annoying and expensive).
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has a 61 oz water tank that pulls out at the front. You cannot fit a water filter in its tank, unfortunately.
This is a pretty big water tank considering that the machine is compact by super-automatic espresso machine standards.
The fact that you can remove it from the front is particularly useful if you have limited counter-to-cabinet clearance space as you don’t have to bend over the machine to fill it up with water.
The main consequence of not having a water filter is that the machine will need to be descaled more regularly than other machines.
The machine will have you take a water hardness test when you first open it up and this will determine how often the machine tells you to descale it.
You’ll generally have to descale the machine every 6-8 weeks.
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 is 11.0″ wide x 15.3″ deep x 14.4″ high. This is more compact than most super-automatic espresso machines.
You can see how the machine’s basic design below:
The ESAM 3300 is one of the smallest super-automatic espresso machines on the market and the fact that you can open it up and remove its water tank from the front (rather than from the back or side) only adds to its suitability for crowded kitchen counters.
You can find a table of the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s key features and specifications below:
|Specification||Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300|
Button only operation
3 (single espresso, double espresso, hot water)
Yes – panarello steam wand (manual operation)
Serving size settings
Yes – 10 settings from 1 oz to 8 oz
Yes – 10 settings from 1 gram to 10 grams
Stainless steel conical burr grinder
Water tank capacity
Used coffee ground container capacity
Warning light when the water tank is empty?
Warning light when the used coffee ground container is full?
Descale warning light
Can you open up the machine?
Removable brew unit
Dimensions (width x depth x height in inches)
11.0″ W x 15.3″ D x 14.4″ H
Now that we’ve gone over the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s basic features, I am going to assess the machine across the following criteria:
- Espresso quality
- Milk steaming performance
- Ease of use and cleaning
- Design and build quality
- Value for money
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 makes one of the better espressos out of any super-automatic machines, massively punching above its weight in this regard.
As I said earlier, all super-automatic espresso machines from the same manufacturer have the same core brewing unit and therefore make the same quality of espresso.
Delonghi super-automatic machines make one of the better-tasting espressos (second only to Jura in this regard) and the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is no different in this regard.
Just be aware that to get a good espresso from this machine you need to set its grinder setting to three, its strength to full and its coffee size to about 25% of the way from lowest to highest (I’ll show you an image of this below):
I have to dock the machine at a point for espresso quality since its double espressos aren’t true double shots.
Instead, it brews using double the amount of water with only one puck of coffee. I’d avoid double shots on this machine altogether.
Espresso Quality Rating: 8/10
Milk Steaming Performance
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s panarello steam wand allows you to steam milk with more precision than the majority of super-automatic espresso machines that have automatic steam frothers.
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is one of only a few super-automatic espresso machines that have a manual steam wand.
The obvious disadvantage of this is that you need to overcome a bit of a learning curve to steam milk well and you need to put in some effort every time you want a milk-based drink.
You can’t just make a latte at the touch of a button.
A manual steam wand does give you more control over your milk’s temperature and texture, however.
A common complaint people have about coffee machines with automatic milk frothers is that they don’t steam milk to a high enough temperature.
You won’t have this problem with the ESAM 3300 as you can steam milk as hot as you want.
You can also play around with different milk textures by removing the outer sleeve of the wand and using it as an (admittedly low-quality) pin-holed steam wand.
In short, the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 can produce better-steamed milk than most super-automatic espresso machines – you’re just not going to be able to steam milk with a single button press.
Milk Steaming Performance: 8/10
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 has relatively few functionalities. It can basically only make a single shot of espresso and allow you to steam milk manually.
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 officially can make the following:
- Single espresso
- Double espresso
- Hot water
- Steamed milk
In reality, the machine can only make a single espresso and steam milk.
Its double espressos are not true doubles, and it cannot brew with enough coffee at one time to make a half-decent double espresso if you just crank up its coffee volume setting.
While it can dispense water, I always think that hot water dispensed from a coffee machine is inferior to freshly boiled water from a kettle.
Although the machine has few functionalities, it executes them well, so I can’t have too many complaints.
Functionalities Rating: 5/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s manual steam wand makes it more effort to make milk-based drinks than most super-automatic espresso machines. Its milk wand is easier to keep clean than most super-automatic espresso machines’ milk steaming systems, however.
Ease of Making an Espresso
It’s very easy to make a good espresso with the ESAM 3300.
Just set its grinder to setting three, fill it up with beans and water, set its strength and volume settings as I’ve shown earlier in the article, and press the single espresso button.
It’s as easy as that.
Ease of Steaming Milk
While steaming milk with the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is more difficult than most other super-automatic espresso machines (ie harder than pressing a button), its panarello steam wand still makes it pretty easy.
With a panarello steam wand, you just need to put the steam wand in the center of the milk and bring the milk up to the temperature you want.
The sleeve around the steam wand will pump in air for you so your milk will have a bubbly texture regardless of how you’ve positioned and maneuvered the wand.
If you want more control you can remove the panarello sleeve – just be aware that this will also make it more likely that you will heat your milk without actually texturing it.
Ease of Cleaning
To keep the Delonghi Magnficia ESAM 3300 you must:
- Take off the steam wand panarello sleeve, rinse it, and wipe down the wand after every use (you’ll also want to run some steam through it to remove any residue from inside the wand)
- Empty its used coffee grounds and give it a rinse every few days (don’t wait until it’s empty the grounds container comes on before doing this – it will get disgustingly moldy).
- Emptying its drip tray when the red buoy becomes visible
- Remove its brew unit and give that a wash every few weeks.
- Descale the machine whenever the descaling light comes on.
You can see a video of the machine’s descaling process below (watch from 1:20 – 3:47):
I think that it’s easier to keep the Delonghi Magnficia ESAM 3300 clean compared to other super-automatic espresso machines.
This is mainly because super automatics with automatic milk frothers usually have a jug and hose system that is a massive pain to keep clean (Jura machines are particularly bad for this).
Steam wands can be cleaned with a quick turn-on and a wipe-down, which is far easier than taking apart a jug and running water through a hose to wash away milk residue.
Ease of Troubleshooting
Here’s where things go downhill.
Troubleshooting the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a real pain because it has one general warning light that flashes if there is a fault with the machine.
This light just flashes…it gives you no other indication of what the fault is, or how to solve it.
Generally when this warning light flashes, the machine won’t brew until you manage to turn it off. I read reports on Reddit and Amazon reviews of people taking apart their machines trying to figure out how to turn the warning light off.
We need more information than this to troubleshoot the machine. Unfortunately, we don’t get it.
Ease of Use and Cleaning: 7/10
Design and Build Quality
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 combines a high internal build quality with a relatively cheap external build quality. This means that if you treat the machine gently, it should last you a long time.
Internal Build Quality
The Delonghi ESAM 3300 has a really high internal build quality. I’m basing this statement on three factors:
- I could find a lot of reports online (on Reddit especially) of people who had owned the machine for over five years. This simply would not be possible if it didn’t have a high internal build quality. Its pump or heating system would have worn within this time.
- The machine can make genuinely good espresso. It needs a high-quality pump and grinder to do this.
- The machine can quickly switch between pulling shots and steaming milk due to its double boiler. A lot of pricy espresso machines (ones more expensive than the ESAM 3300) cannot do this.
External Build Quality
Delonghi has clearly compromised on external build quality in order to keep the Magnifica ESAM 3300 affordable.
The machine makes no effort to hide how much plastic is used in the exterior (no steel finishes or anything like that) and moving parts like its front door hinge and steam wand are a bit flimsy.
While the machine can last a long time (due to its high internal build quality), you need to be gentle when you handle any of its external moving parts in order for this to happen.
One of the worst things about the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is how loud it is when it heats up and when it grinds your beans.
Unless you live in a mansion, the machine will certainly wake up anyone sleeping in your house or upset any animals living there.
It’s particularly annoying when it’s heating up. It makes an intermittent buzzing noise that feels like it goes on forever. It will give you the same shuddery feeling that you get when you hear that iPhone alarm noise.
Not nice at all.
How Long Should a Delonghi Magnifica Last?
Delonghi Magnificas are really durable machines. If you clean and descale them regularly they should last you easily over five years.
You can find a Reddit thread where several people talk about their Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 lasting for over 10 years here.
Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10
Value For Money
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 offers terrific value for money.
The machine can make as good espresso and steamed milk as many machines three times its price.
While it doesn’t have a fancy user interface or dozens of menu items, if you just want to do the basics (and do them well) then the machine is an absolute bargain.
Value for Money Rating: 10/10
Product Alternatives: Philips 3200 & Gaggia Brera
During my research, I saw a lot of people online asking whether they should get the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200 or the Philips 3200, or the Gaggia Brera.
These three machines cost around the same price, so I’m going to give my thoughts on how these models compare.
Philips LatteGo 3200: Poorer Espresso but Easier to Use than the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200
The Philips LatteGo 3200’s automatic milk frother and menu with six preset coffee types make it easier to make a coffee with than the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200.
You can make a latte at the touch of a button with the Philips. If you wanted to do this with the Delonghi then you would need to steam the milk manually yourself.
Easier to use than the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200
The Philips LatteGo 3200’s automatic milk steaming system makes it easier to make lattes and cappuccinos with than the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200
The Philips LatteGo 3200’s main drawbacks compared to the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3200 are that makes a slightly lower quality espresso and steamed milk:
- The Philips cannot brew at as high of a pressure as the Delonghi, meaning that its espresso is a bit more watery and dull tasting.
- The Philips produces a very large bubbled milk foam, a bit like what you’d get with one of those whizzy things that cost $10 at the grocery store. Larger bubbled milk foam is generally seen as inferior to smaller bubbled foam by latte aficionados.
Still, if you want to make milk-based coffee drinks without steaming milk manually and only have a budget of around $500, the Philips LatteGo 3200 is a good option.
Please see my Philips LatteGo 3200 review for more information on this machine.
Gaggia Brera: Worse than the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
I wouldn’t recommend the Gaggia Brera over the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 under any circumstances.
Although Gaggia makes some really good semi-automatic espresso machines, their super automatics tend to suck.
They brew espresso too quickly, leading to bland and sour shots. While the Brera has a manual steam wand (just like the ESAM 3300), its wand is very underpowered and takes a frustratingly long time to steam milk.
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Review: Final Verdict
The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is the best super automatic espresso machine you can get for around $500.
It can make a good espresso, decent milk foam and should last you a long time with proper care.
Its two only drawbacks are that it is very noisy when heating up and grinding your beans, and that its minimalist user interface can make troubleshooting the machine difficult.
If you’d like to find out more about Delonghi and super-automatic espresso machines generally please see my roundups of the best Delonghi espresso machine and the best super-automatic espresso machines.