If you’re looking for an entry-level super automatic espresso machine, the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is it. It only has basic features, and it doesn’t have a display or a water filter. Plus, if you want frothed milk, you have to manually do it with a steam lance. Yep.
For its current price of $599.99 on Amazon, it has solid construction and is rather compact. Even cleaning is simple, and the brew group is easy to remove.
In this DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 review, I’ll share what I liked and what I didn’t.
Here’s a sneak peek: my favorite features are the numerous stepless adjustment options for the quantity of ground coffee and water and the 14 different grind settings to choose from while brewing.
I also found out that the pump was too weak to take advantage of the finest two grind settings. So, just be aware of that.
Though it’s been on the market for a while, the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is still one of the most affordable models out there and provides a foot in the door to the world of super automatic coffee machines for those who don’t want to go over $1,000.
It’s also been one of the best-selling super automatics in recent years.
Of course, it can’t do everything that the more advanced machines — like the DeLonghi Magnifica S can — but with the right settings, it makes a nice espresso.
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 at a Glance
What’s in the Box?
First things first: you’re probably wondering what’s in the box? Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find.
- DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 manual
- Get started guide
- Instructional DVD
- The machine and detachable parts
- Water hardness test strips
- DeLonghi EcoDecalk Descaler
Downloadable User Manual
Having a reference on hand will be important, so definitely download the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 user manual to your smartphone. It’s also helpful because this model doesn’t display to guide you through the settings. I mean, I’m usually one to forego the manual, but in this case, it’s kind of necessary.
Adjustable Spout Height
Whenever I buy an espresso machine, I like to know the spout height. If it’s too low, I know I’ll need to buy new cups, but if it’s too high, I’ll need to be ready to wipe down tiny splashes from the brewing. The spout height on the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is adjustable. It has a maximum height of 4.25 inches and a minimum cup height of 2.75 inches.
Removable Brew Group
If you’ve read my article about the best super automatic espresso machines 2023, you know that a removable brew group looks like more of a hassle at first, but has two big advantages:
- You can clean it under running water thoroughly — nothing cleans better than your own hands and a sponge.
- You can easily replace it should it ever break.
You can purchase parts for the Magnifica coffee machine on Amazon, which is a good thing since super automatic espresso machines tend to last a good while.
Of course, this is only an advantage if the brew group gets cleaned more regularly than your dirty socks! Then again, who are we both kidding.
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 grinder is definitely not the weak point of this super automatic espresso machine — it can grind beans down to a very fine grade. Though you can adjust the stainless steel cone grinder to 14 different grind settings, the pump can’t keep up, so the finest two settings are a complete waste.
DeLonghi claims that the stainless steel cone grinder “works particularly quietly.” Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Anyone who has a really quiet grinder — like the one on the Jura Z10 — will know how a quiet, albeit more expensive, grinder sounds. I’m just saying.
I have to be honest with you, though, that grinder is loud!
No Water Filter
The water tank of the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 automatic espresso machine doesn’t have a thread to screw in a water filter. So, it’s important to set the correct water hardness in the machine. Don’t worry because you can figure out how hard your water is with one of the test strips that comes with the machine, or sometimes you can even look it up online.
Tip: the harder the water, the more lime it has.
Hard water needs to be descaled more often, which means more work for you.
What I’d recommend is that you filter the water beforehand with a Brita water filter. Then it’s important to set the water hardness in the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 to soft aka “Level 1.” Here, the advantage is that you need to descale less often, saving you some hassle.
Teeny-Weeny Coffee Grounds Container
Though the coffee grounds container is a bit small, you can conveniently remove it from the front of the machine. The best practice is to empty the coffee grounds container and rinse it under running water on a daily basis. So, if you want the container to last, you should avoid cleaning it in the dishwasher — it’ll only damage the plastic in the long run.
The drip tray comes with a red float that tells the water level. A word to the wise: empty it as much as possible to avoid any spills. Though it’s small, it’s easy to remove from the front.
15 Bar Pump
We all know the pump in a DeLonghi fully automatic espresso machine forces the water into the coffee compressed in the brew group. What you may not know is that the pump of the DeLonghi Magnifica 3300 can apparently build up a maximum pressure of 15 bar. Wow!
That should easily be enough pressure to make a De Longhi espresso — which technically, only needs 9 bars of pressure to make.
If you grind the coffee too finely, though, this pump has difficulty pushing the water through the coffee puck.
That’s why I had to set the grind level a little coarser again. I ended up using “Level 3.”
Lukewarm Cup Warmer Tray
You definitely can’t fry eggs on this thing.
Unfortunately, the surface doesn’t really get warm at all. This may be a way to save energy, but I would like to have seen it operate at a higher temperature.
Extra Ground Coffee Compartment
Because there’s an extra compartment for ground coffee built into the machine, you’ll have to give special attention to your regular cleaning process or risk else it’s easy to forget.
I don’t really like ground coffee compartments because the whole point of a bean-to-cup espresso machine is to brew freshly ground coffee at the push of a button. Maybe the compartment is for holding a decaffeinated version if someone in your family wants that.
The instructions say not to use more than a spoonful at a time — I guess a little goes a long way. Why not just offer a second bean compartment?
Frothed Milk Needs Practice
In the photo, you can see that I’ve got a blister from constantly testing out espresso machines — it’s my sacrifice for you guys. No worries, though, because getting to drink cup after cup of Cappuccino definitely makes up for it.
Though the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has a steam lance, it’s not a “one-touch” cappuccinatore system like you’d find on the higher-end models from De’Longhi like the Dinamica or PrimaDonna.
That means you have to hold the pitcher or cup with your own hands under the steam lance — which works surprisingly well. As a professional barista, it’s my preferred milk frothing method, actually. I even got an acceptable result on my first try with the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300, and I’m sure, with practice, the results will only get better. Just be careful under all that hot steam!
Speaking of avoiding hot steam: it’s a good idea to purchase a separate thermometer and a stainless steel milk jug. Even better, you can buy the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 as a set that includes a stainless steel milk frothing jug. Heads up, though, while the steam lance does froth milk well, it’s certainly not capable of perfect Latte art quality. Remember, the temperature of the milk should not exceed 149 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look, I’ll level with you, frothing milk is a learned skill. So, if you need help learning, read my article on milk foam. It’ll give you a better understanding of how to prepare a good Latte Macchiato with the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 and give you all the information you need to succeed with frothing milk.
Warning: the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 instructions say not to use whole milk for some strange reason.
I completely ignored this advice, of course, and used fresh whole milk. You just can’t beat the richness of whole milk when it comes to flavor.
Don’t use whole milk? Who comes up with this stuff? Cows?
Setting Up the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
On the back of the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is the main power switch. And like you probably already figured out, if it’s not on, nothing works at all. At the front left, there is a separate on/off switch for convenience. Nice touch.
Word to the wise: always use the front one to switch the machine on and off to turn it on and shut it off properly.
If you’re removing the brewing group, don’t forget to switch off the main power switch on the back as well, but only after shutting down the machine using the switch on the front.
One cool thing about the auto-shutoff function is that you can adjust it on the DeLonghi Magnifica 3300. Thankfully, since by default, the machine waits two hours, which is a little too long, I think.
You can also adjust the water temperature on the DeLonghi Magnifica 3300, and it’s easy. I was happy with the factory default temperature myself, so I didn’t make any adjustments. But I know how important this is to many of you who follow this website, so I thought I’d point it out.
The machine heats up quickly, though you should know that it takes a little longer after frothing milk to build up enough pressure again to brew an espresso. It’s the Achilles’ heel of the design — the double boiler gets the machine to temperature quickly, but the pump still needs time to gain pressure.
What are the Best Settings?
My standard formula for brewing espresso with a DeLonghi fully automatic espresso machine is usually the “finest grind + smallest amount of water + maximum amount of coffee grinds.”
These settings didn’t really work on the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 because the pump didn’t have enough pressure to match the fineness of the coffee grinds. So, I adjusted the coarseness of the grind to “Level 3.” The goal was to get an espresso with 20 to 25 milliliters (0.67 to 0.85 ounces).
As you can see, I left the coffee quantity at the minimum — the right rotary switch. At a “Level 3” for the grind, I was able to get a 25 ml (0.85 oz) espresso. It had a nice cream on top and flowed well.
Like to experiment? It’s also possible — with the dials — to go beyond the specified ranges. I tried that at the beginning, but unfortunately, I didn’t get very far.
How to Clean a DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
You have to clean a super automatic espresso machine on a regular basis, preferably daily. It just greatly improves the quality of the beverage and overall hygiene.
Cleaning the Brew Group
There’s a removable brew group in this coffee machine, so take advantage of that! Rinse the brew group under running water and dry it thoroughly. Do not put it in the dishwasher!
Cleaning the Steam Lance
After using the nozzle, there will still be milk residue left on the inside and outside of the steam lance. So, you should wipe it down with a wet cloth that’s solely used for cleaning the steam lance — you know I always say this. You’ll also want to switch on the nozzle briefly and let some steam through it. Be careful, though, because the steam lance will be hot.
Water Filters and Descaling
First of all, there are no water filters. DeLonghi just didn’t design the ESAM 3300 for it. That’s why you need to descale the machine more often than on devices with a built-in filter. Pay attention to the water hardness setting, too. There’s no need to pull out a calendar, though, since the machine will tell you when it needs descaling.
If you want to descale less often, you can filter the water with a Brita water filter or buy water with a low hardness. All that to say, how often you need to descale depends on the water you use.
Water Reservoir and Collection Containers
I’ll just come right out and say it: please clean the water reservoir and the coffee grounds container thoroughly and regularly. It’s also a good idea to let the water reservoir dry completely every now and then. You’ll want to avoid putting either container in the dishwasher because it’ll damage the plastic and shorten the life span of these components.
Never skip the cleaning and descaling programs — it’s better to err on the side of frequency when cleaning. Just download the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 manual for step-by-step instructions.
Troubleshooting the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
Check out these tips to help you with troubleshooting your ESAM 3300 super automatic espresso machine.
What to Do If the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Brew Group Is Stuck?
Let’s say when you open the service compartment you find the brew group won’t budge. Trust me, this is not the time to roll up your sleeves and keep trying to force it. Trying to force it is not the answer! There’s a simple solution, though, that doesn’t require any force or the risk of damaging the machine.
So, like I said earlier, the Magnifica coffee machine has an on/off switch at the front and a main switch at the back. The main switch immediately cuts off the power. So, the brew group can’t move to its resting position for removal.
To remedy this problem, simply:
- Close the service compartment door.
- Switch on the power at the main switch in the back.
- Turn on the coffee machine at the front switch and turn it off again.
- Wait until the ESAM 3300 no longer makes a sound — that’s when you’ll know the brew group has moved into the correct position.
- Switch off the main switch in the back.
- Ta-da! You can now remove the brew group.
What Does It Mean When the Lights Are Flashing?
Flashing lights mean that the machine is not yet ready to start working. Most of the time, it’s because the machine hasn’t heated up enough yet.
Then again, if you’ve just frothed milk, it’ll take a little longer for the buttons to stop flashing because it has to reach the necessary temperature again to draw espresso. The LEDs for the milk frother first flash red and then permanently turn red so that you know it’s ready for frothing.
What If the Grinder Jams?
I would first try setting the grinder to as coarse as possible. In most cases, this will clear the blockage. But if you find that you need to manually remove stuck espresso beans, first, turn off the machine in the front and the back. Then unplug it before you continue.
What to Do if Water Is Leaking?
More often than not, you’ll see this with older super automatic coffee machines. It’s almost always due to a defective seal — which you can easily replace.
Another possibility is a seal being wet or covered with coffee residue. Try cleaning the seals first. If that doesn’t work, replace the seals immediately.
What to Do if No Coffee Comes Out?
Like I mentioned before, the pump can’t keep up with the quality of the coffee grinder. You’ll remember that I had to adjust the grind settings to “Level 3” for this same reason. So, first check to see how finely you have the grind quality set.
Next, this can happen because the pump hasn’t had enough time to build internal pressure. Give the machine a little longer and see if that solves your issue. I’d say drink a cup of espresso while you wait, but that’s why you were at the machine in the first place!
Do I Need to Grease the Machine?
The DeLonghi Magnifica 3300 super automatic espresso machine is already a loud device. If you grease it, though, you can reduce the volume a bit. Just don’t get too carried away!
What to Do if You Can’t Switch the Machine On?
Lots of things can go wrong when we haven’t had our morning coffee. So, first, check to see that you plugged in the machine. Hey, it happens! If that’s what it was, well, that can be our little secret.
Next, remember that the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has two on/off buttons. If the one in the front isn’t working, make sure the one in the back is turned on.
If these two options don’t solve the issue, bum a shot of espresso off your neighbor or run down to your nearest café. I’d probably do both before getting on the phone with support for a repair, but at this point, contacting De’Longhi is your only option.
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 vs DeLonghi Magnifica S
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 and Magnifica S are sometimes available for nearly the same price. So, what does the additional investment get you?
For starters, the Magnifica S ECAM 22.110 has a water filter, whereas the ESAM 3300 doesn’t. If you calculate how much you’ll save in descaling solution and owning a Brita filter, the price gap between the two machines quickly closes.
Another difference is that the ESAM’s maximum cup height is shorter. So, practically speaking, the difference between the ECAM’s 5.6 inches and the ESAM’s 4.25 inches will affect how easy it is to prepare milk-based drinks like Cappuccinos and Lattes.
Though both models have a steam lance, the ESAM’s shines by having two independent boilers. Why does that matter, you ask? Because having a single boiler means you’ll have to wait slightly longer for the water to heat back up to use the steam lance immediately after brewing a shot of espresso. Regardless, even when the Magnifica reaches temperature, you’ll still have to wait for the pump pressure to be enough for the steam lance to work.
Conclusion: A Solid Machine, But Not Our Number One Recommendation
Simply put: the $599.99 DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a no-frills, bare-basics DeLonghi fully automatic espresso machine. It has no display and no automatic cappuccino function.
Overall, the device is solid and sturdy. But in this price range, you usually search in vain for a machine with stainless steel housing.
What really stands out about the Magnifica coffee machine is how you can conveniently operate the machine from the front.
This means that you can access the drip tray, brew group and the coffee grounds container from the front of the machine. Isn’t that much better than having to always move the machine around for cleaning? I agree.
It also has numerous setting options, which I appreciate, and having double boilers is a definite plus!
Equally important: it’s easy to clean.
I haven’t done a long-term test, but I have read many testimonials where the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has lasted for a good five years of faithful service.
You can buy the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 on Amazon for $599.99, but I have to recommend the newer and better DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM 22.110 over the ESAM 3300. It’s my all-time favorite machine, which is saying a lot and definitely the better of these two De’Longhi Magnifica models.
What do you think of the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300? Do you think it’s still an oldie but goodie? Or have you permanently switched over to the Magnifica S ECAM 22.110? Send me your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!