Just look at this DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine, to give it the official title. DeLonghi says it has all the features of a full-size automatic espresso machine but in a streamlined, compact design.
It boasts not one, but two, stainless steel boilers, and a unique "beans to brew" system. Meaning it grinds your beans and produces espressos that can't be beaten for freshness, aroma, and taste. And with no stale grounds left in the machine. This product is presented as the best espresso maker you can get for under $1,000.
Backed up by the facts, or just hype? Let's take a look and find out.
|Table of Contents|
|Total Control||Luxury Plus...|
|About The Boilers||Features & Specs|
|Accessories||Pros and Cons|
Total Control with Ease of Use
When you've paid this kind of money for an espresso machine, you'll want total control down to the last detail. And a short learning curve with extreme ease of use. Plus, of course, espressos and coffee that just blow you away.
The ESAM3300 has a simple control panel that belies the number of settings and adjustments that are at your fingertips.
But DeLonghi have cheated a little bit here. Not that it matters. In fact, it makes operation that much easier. They've put the burr grinder knob, that controls how much you want your beans ground, inside the grinder itself. It's under the lid on the top of the machine, with seven settings, no less. Well, you probably won't want to change the grinding level very often, even though you know how to use a coffee maker. So out of sight, out of mind. Don't forget it, though.
All you have on the control panel itself are four buttons, sleek and stylish as they are, and two knobs. You rotate the knobs to control the amount of water per cup and the strength of brew. Two of the buttons are to select one cup or two. Then there are the on/off button and the steam/hot water button.
Underneath are the on/off light and a couple of warning lights (low water and de-scaling) and two more knobs to control the cleaning functions.
It's a bit like the dashboard of a top-of-the-range BMW car. There's not a lot to meet the eye, but it gives you total control over all functions. Now to do justice to the Delonghi ESAM3300 in one short review.
With a conical burr bean grinder and a milk frother built in, this espresso machine is all you need, whatever your coffee requirements. You place your beans (anything from 1/2 to 8-oz) in the grinder and in three minutes you have your brew. Often less. If you want to use ground coffee then you simply put it in the adjoining tray and hit the button. My money's on the beans as the more popular choice.
Select the amount of water and the strength of brew. This will take some trial and error until you're familiar with the machine. Choose one cup or two. The rest is up to the type of beans you have chosen, and the grind level you have set.
Once you've done that, you can sit back and watch as the Delonghi ESAM3300 grinds, tamps and extracts automatically. Except that you can't actually do that, can you? That would be, well, too easy. But it's all part of the fun. You have to froth your milk. Just put your cup of milk under the frother and turn the steam knob just above it. If you don't want froth then just keep the wand deep in the milk.
You can rotate the frother 180 degrees, and you can raise or lower the coffee spigot. So any cup size, from an espresso single cup to a long, tall latte, can be accommodated. You have a 60-oz water tank removable from the front for more convenience. You have a water level indicator, a generous sized bean container, and an electronic steam and coffee thermostat.
On top of all that, DeLonghi claim that the Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica is the only super-automatic machine that allows you to fill the water tank and empty the coffee grounds without moving the machine.
And it auto shuts off after three hours of non-use.
...a Traditional Espresso Experience
Is all this luxury too much? Do you want a good old-fashioned espresso machine that has hot water dripping out of every outlet and needs a drawer full of rags each day for the mopping up?
If you do then you'll only be mildly disappointed. The DeLonghi ESAM3300 does drip a little water and needs a decent rag for mopping up. Just like every other espresso machine on the planet. Especially if you dip your steam iron tube into the milk. So who's going to complain about that? [Some people actually do - see the Consumer Ratings below.]
Another common feature with espresso machines is that they don't have a water filter, and that applies here too. You have to filter your water yourself first, for optimum taste. Some users use a reverse osmosis system of water filtration.
They don't like oily beans either. Best to stick to a high-quality medium roasted espresso blend such as Lavazza. Don't forget that if you have any issues with your machine you can call DeLonghi's dedicated call center for help.
Isn't Cleaning A Bit of a Chore?
Most users agree the cleaning is rather easy. Just as well, as this is really important with any espresso machine. Probably more than half of the negative reviews of coffee makers are from users who haven't cleaned their machine regularly.
The drip tray and grounds bin can be easily removed and cleaned. The milk frother easily disassembles for rinsing under the tap. And the brew unit, incorporating the double boiler, is compact enough to be easily removed for cleaning. With that out of the way, you can easily clean the inside of the unit. A damp rag is all you'll need (you'll have enough of them, surely?) with no strong detergents required.
Every so often you'll have to decalcify the machine. This depends on how much you use it and how hard the water is in your area. You don't have to periodically inspect anything, though. The appropriate warning light will come on. You then simply put your cleaning solution in the water tank and press the decalcifying button on the control panel.
So cleaning isn't a bit of a chore. In fact, it's almost enjoyable. But don't forget that every two or three years your espresso machine will need a more thorough service. This should be carried out by an authorized dealer, and it will set you back around $250 to $300. You could, of course, save the money and take a chance. You might be lucky. But it's probably safer to pay up and have your ESAM3300 still faithfully satisfying your coffee habit for years after.
About Those Two Stainless Steel Boilers...
Having two stainless steel boilers sounds impressive -- and it is. DeLonghi haven't taken any shortcuts with this product. It's designed and made in Italy, where they know just about all there is to know about espresso machines.
It has a 1,150-watt motor and the whole appliance is covered by a 2-year limited warranty. But does it really need the double boiler?
Even having two boilers doesn't let the ESAM3300 brew coffee and steam milk at the same time. But it's comforting to know they're there, providing the power for such things as
- warming your cups on the cup tray so they don't bring the coffee temperature down, just like at the coffee shop,
- maintaining the optimum temperature so your coffee brews instantly,
as well as the heating of your espresso and milk.
Features and Specifications of the Delonghi ESAM3300:
Product Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 18 inches
Item Weight: 28.2 pounds
Shipping Weight: 28.2 pounds
Item model number: ESAM3300
Power: 1,150 watts
Rated voltage/frequency: 110/120V, 50/60 Hz
Water container capacity: 60 ounces/1.8 liters
Beans container capacity: 7.10 ounces/200 liters
Selection for 1 cup and 2 cups
Removable water container
- De'Longhi 5513292881 Stainless Steel Milk Frothing Jug (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- DeLonghi Double Walled Thermo Espresso Glasses, Set of 2 (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- De'Longhi EcoDeCalk Natural Descaler for Coffee Machines, 16.90 oz (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- DeLonghi Double Walled Thermo Cappuccino Glasses, 6 fl oz, Set of 2 (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
Pros and Cons
- Beans to Brew system means fresh aromatic coffee every time
- Simple control panel
- Choice of whole beans or ground coffee (including decaf)
- Instant reheat function means no waiting for your brew
- The burr grinder is a little noisy when operating
Watch this useful YouTube Video of an experienced coffee connoisseur reviewing the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica -
This section is a little longer than usual because I think it's important to cover some common misconceptions. Coffee maker reviews are different from reviews of most other products. Espresso machines and coffee makers are precision instruments that work with coffee beans, milk, and water at extremely high temperatures. That they typically work as well as they do is a tribute to the inventiveness and ingenuity of their designers and manufacturers.
Most reviewers, of course, understand this and are full of praise for an espresso machine like the DeLonghi ESAM3300. The ease of use, speed of brew, ease of cleaning, compactness and attractive styling, are generally appreciated. So is the quality of the coffee produced.
Others have posted negative reviews. One of the complaints about this machine is that the water tank, at 60-oz, is too small.
Sorry? A water tank of 60-oz is too small? Come on! What sized espressos are they brewing? Someone else with a similar complaint brews Americanos. In this machine? It's like using a Formula One racing car for the shopping.
Someone else doesn't like how the frother expels a few drops of water before it releases steam - it's too messy. Hey, this is an espresso machine. That's what espresso machines do. The laws of physics apply to them as much as to everything else.
But in spite of some reviews (with accompanying low scores) like this, the DeLonghi ESAM3300 scores impressively on Amazon. Over 4 out of 5 stars from over 800 reviews, to be nearly exact. Nearly three-quarters of reviewers give it four or five stars.
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine is a top quality product from a leading manufacturer. Luxury is what it promises and luxury is what it delivers.
More than almost any other espresso machine available today, it has panache. It has style. It has a simple control panel that enables you to produce the exact drink that you want. The size of brew, single or double cup, the amount of water, the strength of the brew, the foam or creaminess of the milk - all are determined by you.
Yet it also gives you the traditional fun of an espresso. You still need a rag to keep it clean and to run it through cleaning and decalcification routines. But it does everything else for you. And if you look after it then it will look after your coffee requirements for years to come. You can purchase this espresso maker with a high degree of confidence.