The De’Longhi Magnifica was one of the first super automatic espresso machines on the market, releasing way back in 2001, and has been a tried and true classic that many coffee lovers stand by.
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The ESAM3300 is well-known to create exceptionally aromatic espresso beverages using a pre-infusion direct-to-brew system. It also has a highly customizable professional burr grinder integrated into the unit.
Regarded as a reliable machine offering great value for money, the Magnifica makes a great addition to any level of coffee lover’s home. Its user interface is incredibly easy to use, yet still offers you a good amount of control over how you want to dial in your espresso.
It has a plethora of features allowing you to make any kind of coffee beverage you could imagine from drip coffee to cappuccinos and Americanos.
While the De’Longhi Magnifica was at the top of the market when it first released, does it still hold up by today’s standards? Let’s take a closer look at this machine and see if it’s the right fit for your home, or even the breakroom at your office.
What we love about the De’Longhi Magnifica:
- Direct-to-Brew System with Pre-Infusion for an Exceptionally Aromatic Espresso.
- Highly Adjustable Burr Grinder with 13 Settings.
- Steam Wand Doubles as a Hot Waterspout for More Beverage Versatility.
- Dual Thermoblock Heating System with Instant Reheat Function.
- 60-ounce Water Reservoir and 8.8-ounce Bean Hopper Capacity.
- Professional 15 Bar Pressure.
- Removable Brew System for Easy Maintenance and Cleaning.
- Twin Brewing Cycle, Great for Quickly Serving Small Groups.
- Classic Looking Machine with a Timeless Design.
Components of the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica:
B. Coffee bean container
C. Ground coffee funnel
D. Cup warmer tray
E. Steam knob
F. Patented Cappuccino
System Frother (Milk Frother)
G. Water tank (removable)
I. Measuring scoop for pre-ground coffee
J. Drip tray (removable)
K. Coffee grounds container (removable)
L. Service door
M. Coffee spout, adjustable in height
O. Control panel
Design of the De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica
The De’Longhi Magnifica has a timeless elegance. Its square shape manages to stay modern looking instead of boxy or clunky even decades later.
It’s a solid machine that’s built to last. It comes in at 23.2 pounds. And, it measures out to 11” wide, 15.3” deep, and just 14.4” tall which is great if you have low hanging cabinets. The top of the machine even has a cup warmer.
The front of the machine is a beautiful brushed stainless steel, while the back body of the machine is black plastic. What’s particularly special about this design, is that it doesn’t look messy even with all its features. The beans, bypass doser, and water reservoir are all hidden behind panels.
Perhaps our favorite feature is the location of the water reservoir – It’s accessible from the front of the machine. This is far more convenient than having it at the back like a lot of other espresso machines we’ve tested.
The pannarello steam wand is also at the front of the machine. It can be tucked away and hidden for a sleek and clean look. The wand rotates a full 180 degrees for easy access when making milk beverages, and you can turn the plastic cover left or right for cappuccino style or latte style foam.
Features & Performance of De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica:
Easy to Use, Programmable Menu
The biggest downside of any super automatic machine for a coffee aficionado is the lack of customization and control. That problem is no more with the De’Longhi Magnifica!
You can adjust temperature, coffee strength, and volume to dial in the perfect shot of espresso or cup of coffee.
The menu has an astounding five coffee strengths and a cup size rotary dial with four settings. Once you’ve found your favorite settings, just set it to the preferences menu and forget it!
Patented Direct-to-Brew System
De’Longhi’s patented direct-to-brew system grinds beans instantly for the freshest espresso.
The brewing system is compact and removable for a clean-up that’s easier than any super automatic we’ve had in the past.
Many of our favorite super automatic machines need to be sent to the manufacturer considering the brewing system can’t be accessed by normal means.
The professional steel burr grinder has an 8.8-ounce capacity and 13 adjustable grind settings.
Sit back and relax as the Magnifica grinds your beans fresh and delivers a refreshingly aromatic brew. If you prefer pre-ground coffee, use the bypass doser in the second chamber.
Bypass Doser for Coffee Grounds or Decaf
We think any good bean to cup system should include a bypass doser for ground coffee like the Magnifica does.
No matter how much fresher or cost-efficient whole bean coffee is, there are times where a pre-ground specialty or decaf coffee will grab you and you’ll want your machine to accommodate that.
Dual Thermoblock System with Instant Reheat Function
The Magnifica lives up to its name with its instant reheat function made possible by its state of dual thermoblock system.
The machine maintains an ideal temperature for brewing fast with two separate steel boilers. Unfortunately, you cannot steam and brew simultaneously, but the switch between the two is fast.
Patented Cappuccino System
The De’Longhi team designed the Magnifica’s pannarello steam wand with their patented cappuccino system.
Simply twist the wand one way to create a fluffier cappuccino style foam. Twist it back for a silkier latte style milk foam. The wand can be moved a full 180 degrees for easy access.
Hot Water Function
Even better than just steaming for milk beverages, the wand doubles as a hot waterspout to easily create authentic Long Blacks and Americanos. We end up using ours a lot for oatmeal and tea as well.
Easy Access 60-ounce Water Reservoir
If you’re considering the De’Longhi Magnifica for the back or frontend of your small office, its 60-ounce water reservoir makes it an excellent choice.
The machine will rarely need to be refilled, and when it does, you can easily access the tank right from the front of the machine for less mess and a faster refill experience.
One of the best things about the ESAM3300 in comparison to some other super automatic machines is its removable brew system, which makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze.
We simply rinse ours off with warm water, weekly, and reinsert it. It’s a snap! You’ll know when to empty the drip tray as well thanks to handy red indicator.
As far as descaling, you’ll be notified with a red flashing light.
- Fill the water tank with the recommended amount of descaling solution and then place a large bowl underneath the steam wand.
- Hold down the rinse button until the automatic descaling process begins.
- You’ll do one final rinse with fresh water and then you’re ready to go again!
Things to Think About
Considering the Magnifica has been in production for almost two decades now, there are some components that could be improved upon. One is its grinder. Though it’s fast and highly customizable, the grinder is noisier than most we’ve used in the past. The sound makes this one tough to recommend for the frontend of an office or boutique hotel.
Another is the steam wand. Its exterior is plastic, and the quality of the milk foam could be improved by some of the newer wands on the market. Also, you’ll need to manually purge the steam wand and it’s a bit slower than some newer steam wand innovations we’ve seen, but it’s still perfectly serviceable to create high quality café-style beverages.
Even though there may be slightly more efficient steam wands and grinders on the market, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these components. One thing we do wish this machine had, is the ability to steam and brew simultaneously. It has the dual boiler for it, so we wish they would have spent some more time working out the kinks in the system to allow for this.
The setup process for De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine is simple:
- Step 0: Remove all the machine’s packaging and place it in a cool dry area. Plug it in.
- Step 1: Remove the water tank and fill it with fresh water. Also fill the bean hopper with whole beans and close the lid.
- Step 2: Move the milk frother to the outside and place a cup underneath it. Turn on the machine and then immediately after turn the steam knob counterclockwise as far as it can go, and this will activate the rinse.
- Step 3: Wait for the coffee mug lights to stop flashing after the rinse and you’re ready to go!
Comparable: De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica vs. Breville BES870XL Barista Express
The De’Longhi Magnifica and the Breville Barista Express are two classic, reliable espresso making options. And, both have been on the market since the early 2000’s.
Both include bean grinders and steam wands, giving you the ability to make delicious lattes at home in a cost-efficient way for many years to come, all for an initial investment of less than $1000.
The Breville Barista Express’s extraction process is manual in comparison to the Magnifica’s super automatic system.
However, considering the De’Longhi still includes several manual dialing should you choose to use it, you are likely considering both as potential solutions for your needs.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between these machines.
Noticeably, both machines have a nice stainless-steel finish that will fit well in any kitchen. The De’Longhi Magnifica has a cleaner look considering its hidden grinder, while the Barista Express sports a more eclectic look and has a smaller stature coming in an inch shorter in height and four inches shorter in depth. The Express is an inch wider than the De’Longhi, however.
Both machines have steam wands and burr grinders. Due to the manual nature of the Barista Express, there is a tamp included that’s stored at the front of the machine. Both machines include a heated top for cup storage.
Whichever design you prefer will depend on if you like the tidy look of the De’Longhi super automatic that handles everything within, or the eclectic look of the Breville semi-automatic with the classic dial and other tools.
Generally, the functions of each machine are the same, but how the functions executed are different.
- The De’Longhi Magnifica is going to take you from bean to cup quickly and fully automatically.
- The Barista Express will require you to fill your portafilter with what it grinds out and tamp properly and evenly – before you secure it into the group head to pull your shot.
You’ll have more control with the ability to choose pressurized or non-pressurized baskets with the Breville, but it’ll also give you a lot more room for error.
The Magnifica still offers plenty of control with 13 grind settings, 5 intensity settings, and 4 volume settings without any of the guesswork.
The Breville Barista Express offers 18 grind settings, and you can adjust and pre-program two volume sizes.
The steam wand on the Barista Express yields slightly better results in a comparison test and it has an auto purge function, so we have to give the steam wand crown to Breville.
Which model should you get?
In the end, both machines are great and offer you a lot with great value for money. It comes down to your preferences. The Breville Barista Express, though technically a semi-automatic, is basically manual in comparison to the De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine. If you want to do as little work possible, the De’Longhi steals the show, no contest.
If you’re worried about best taste, don’t. You’ll get just as high quality of espresso as you would from a manual extraction process with the De’Longhi Magnifica in our opinion – and for a lot less hassle.
After taking another look at this tried-and-true machine after so many years gone by, we have to say De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine (view on Amazon) still holds up.
It makes consistently great-tasting café-quality coffee beverages, and it’s been easy to maintain for the nearly 8 years that we’ve owned our model.
The placement of its high-capacity water tank and its simple maintenance makes it a game changer for the office setting as well.
Whether you’re searching for a reliable bean-to-cup machine for your home or the breakroom at your business, you can’t go wrong with the De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine.
- Check out our list of best home espresso machines less than $1000.