DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 review: Is This Oldie Still a Goodie?

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. 

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 (at the time of writing) of $699.95 on Amazon, it’s solid construction and 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 XS can — but with the right settings, it makes a nice espresso.

With this model, it’s definitely worth comparing prices, too. You can check the current Amazon price here.

Newer alternative

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300

Newer alternative: Magnifica XS!

Convenient operation from the front of the machine

Double boiler for fast heating

14 separate grind settings

Removable brew group

Numerous adjustment options

No display

Relatively loud

No water filter

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 at a Glance

Manufacturer DeLonghi
NameESAM 3000
TypeSuper-Automatic Espresso Machines
Removable brew groupYes
Casing MaterialPlastic black
Milk frothing systemManual
User profilesNo
Water tank capacity60 Oz
Minimale Auslaufhöhe3.1 In
Maximum discharge height4.3 In
Grindercone grinder stainless steel
Bean container capacity0.4 lb
Two bean compartmentsNo
Grinding13 levels
Coffee grounds trayYes
Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a buttonCoffee, espresso
Coffee drinks prepared at the touch of a buttonNo
Adjustable coffee temperatureNo
2-cup functionYes (no milk drinks)
Hot water functionYes
Hot milk functionYes
Obtain milk foam onlyYes
Water filterNo
Weight22 lb
Dimensions (height x width x depth)14.1 x 11.2 x 14.7 In

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 (Note: You can buy more descalers here on Amazon 6 pieces)

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 super-automatic espresso machine reviews, you know that a removable brew group looks like more of a hassle at first, but that has two big advantages:

  1. You can clean it under running water thoroughly — nothing cleans better than your own hands and a sponge.
  2. You can easily replace it should it ever break.
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 super-automatic espresso machine removable brew group.

You can purchase parts for the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 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. 

No-So-Quiet Grinder

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.

The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 super-automatic coffee machine’s bean hopper.

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.

The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 super-automatic espresso machine’s water reservoir.

What I’d recommend is that you filter the water beforehand with a classic Brita 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 super-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 an 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

The DeLonghi ESAM 3300 super-automatic coffee machine’s 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.

The DeLonghi ESAM 3300 super-automatic espresso machine’s ground coffee compartment.

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

The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 super-automatic espresso machine’s steam lance.

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 DeLonghi 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 with holder 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 in the perfect Latte art quality like you’d get with the Krups EA 8808. 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 an espresso with a super-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 DeLonghi 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 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 0.85-ounce 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 discard 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.

Cleaning Programs

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.

If the brew group is stuck, most of the time, the coffee machine isn’t turned off (by the designated switch) and shut down properly.

So, like I said earlier, the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 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:

  1. Close the service compartment door.
  2. Switch on the power at the main switch in the back.
  3. Turn on the coffee machine at the front switch and turn it off again.
  4. 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.
  5. Switch off the main switch in the back.
  6. 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 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 DeLonghi is your only option.

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 vs DeLonghi Magnifica XS

Though the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 and Magnifica XS are very close in price, the ESAM 3300 is currently available for $699, while the Magnifica XS goes for $899. So, what does the additional $200 get you?

For starters, the Magnifica XS ECAM 22.110.B 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 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 ESAM reaches temperature, you’ll still have to wait for the pump pressure to be enough for the steam lance to work.

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 vs Breville BES870XL

Some of you who are reading this are still wondering if you should get a super-automatic espresso machine or a fully manual espresso machine. Good question!

It really boils down to personal preference. With a fully manual espresso machine aka a “true espresso machine,” there’s a steeper learning curve. The upside is that you have greater control over the brewing process, but that’s also the downside. Let me explain: if your espresso doesn’t turn out as planned, it’s your bad. If you want to explore this option, I recommend you check out my Breville BES870XL review.

The advantage of a super-automatic espresso machine like the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is how easy it is to handle. While the pressure is slightly lower, making it impossible to use the finest grind settings, once you find your ideal settings, the results will always be the same in the cup — and at the push of a button. In other words, you only have to change the settings when changing to different beans.

Conclusion: A Solid Machine, But Not Our Number One Recommendation

Simply put: the $699 DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a no-frills, bare-basics super-automatic espresso machine. It has no display and no automatic cappuccino function.

Newer alternative

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300

Newer alternative: Magnifica XS!

Convenient operation from the front of the machine

Double boiler for fast heating

14 separate grind settings

Removable brew group

Numerous adjustment options

No display

Relatively loud

No water filter

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 DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 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 check the current price at Check the current price on Amazon now, but I have to recommend the newer and better DeLonghi Magnifica XS over the ESAM 3300. It’s my all-time favorite machine, which is saying a lot. 

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 XS? Send me your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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