It can make great espresso, but also brew a regular cup of coffee. It allows you to customize your drinks just the way you like them, without being a nuisance and demanding constant attention like many other espresso machines.
The quality of the ESAM3300 is top-notch. The machine is made in Italy, the birthplace of many of your favorite espresso drinks. The body of the machine is stainless steel. It also has two stainless steel boilers, so the heat distribution will always be consistent.
I like the fact that most of the parts are detachable. DeLonghi can send you replacement parts if anything breaks, but in my experience that’s not an issue.
The machine is 14 1/4 inches tall, but you need access to the top of the machine. I wouldn’t recommend placing it under a cabinet unless you have at least 17 inches of space.
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica is a “super-automatic” espresso machine, which means that you can do practically everything with the push of a button.
It has a “direct to brew” system, which means that your beans are not ground until you’re ready for an espresso. This ensures maximum freshness of the beans.
The bean container holds 8.8 ounces of beans. The grinder itself is a conical burr grinder, which is the mark of a good espresso maker. Machines with flat grinders generally don’t produce high-quality espresso, because they are too coarse. But a conical grinder like this one can give you extremely fine grinds to make great espresso.
The grinder is adjustable, so if you prefer a drink that’s a bit coarser you can certainly get it.
One thing I love about this machine is that it can remember your settings. You tell it how fine of a grind you want, how hot you want your drink, and how much espresso you want. The machine will take care of the rest, and remember your preferences for next time.
Practically everything is adjustable on this machine. The Cappuccino System (DeLonghi’s name for the milk frother) can give you just the amount of froth you want on your milk. The wand is adjustable to hold whatever size milk container you want to use.
You’ll need to experiment with the Cappuccino System a bit to get your milk just the way that you like it, but I found it easy to make steamed milk with a lot of foam (when I wanted a cappuccino) or very little foam (when I wanted a latte).
Even the best machines have a couple drawbacks. Fortunately, they are fairly minor in the case of the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica.
This machine can be a bit noisy, but no moreso than any other espresso machine that grinds beans. If you’ve had an espresso machine before, you know what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t recommend running the machine right next to a light sleeper, but it’s not going to wake up the entire house.
DeLonghi recommends that you use regular beans to maximize the performance of the burr grinder. Some users on Amazon have reported problems with the grinder clogging when they use the oiliest beans, but they indicated that a mix of regular beans and oily beans should work just fine.
If your heart is set on exclusively using oily beans, you might want to check out a different machine instead. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express costs about the same as the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica, but I haven’t seen anyone complain about how it handles oily beans.
The ESAM3300 is super-easy to clean.
The milk frothing wand detaches. I usually just run it under the sink for a few seconds after making a latte or cappuccino.
The machine has a self-cleaning cycle that runs each time the machine turns off. It has an indicator that tells you when it’s time to de-scale the machine. The machine comes with instructions for what you need to do, so this is a fairly easy process.
Your spent coffee grounds end up at the bottom of your machine, and collect in a puck. This tray is removable, so just empty the spent coffee grounds when you’re done using the machine.
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica is a great espresso maker for under $700. I appreciate its balance and versatility. It’s a lot less work to make a great espresso with the Magnifica than most other espresso machines in this price range, but I love how you can customize your drinks exactly the way that you like them.
Unlike most machines in this range, it can make both espresso drinks and coffee, as fine or as coarse as you want.
The Magnifica is great for a person who wants to customize their espresso drinks without the “hands-on” experience that a machine like the Barista Express would require. You can just press a couple of buttons and the Magnifica will remember your drink order forever.