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DeLonghi has a great line of automatic espresso machines, probably more than any other manufacturer. Their machines are great, reliable, and you can pick from a diverse range, on all budgets. The Magnifica line has a few great machines, with the low-end range priced somewhere between 500$ and 700$. The ECAM22110sb and ESAM3300 are many times compared because they are very close price wise, and they belong in that low-end range. The purpose of this post is to show you the differences between the two and help you choose yours.
At first Glance
At first glance, the two machines are very similar. If your budget is tight, you can probably go with the ESAM3300. It is not about the price difference, a mere $150, it’s about getting what you need. I’ll show you why in a bit.
DeLonghi ECAM vs ESAM – What is the Difference?
The ECAM series is the compact division of De’Longhi automatic espresso machines. The machines have a single boiler, are slightly lighter than the ESAM. In order to compensate for the second boiler, the ECAM series has a little bit more technology incorporated into it. This technology is called Rapid Steam, and it is basically a way to speed up the heating of the boiler. With regular technology, present in single boiler semi-automatic machines, it takes up to 30 seconds to heat up the boiler to steam temperature, after brewing an espresso shot. With Rapid Steam it only takes 7 to 10 seconds.
ECAM series accommodates coffee cups up to 4.25 inches, whereas with the ESAM series you can use taller cups, up to 5.5 inches.
The ESAM series has a dual boiler, one for espresso, and one for steam. Some ESAM machines will still be equipped with the Rapid Steam technology, which provides a certain advantage because it warms up the boiler faster from standby. Usually, if a machine has standby function, it will also have Rapid Steam.
ECAM22110sb and ESAM3300
Both machines have the espresso brewing completely automated, and you have to use the steam wand to steam, or froth milk. This means that for the latte/cappuccino part, you still need some work. The milk frothing is not automatic. Is this a bad thing, or a good thing. From a convenience perspective, is a negative, for sure. You just have to steam the milk yourself, if you make a lot of lattes. On the other hand, this reduces drastically the cost of the machine, and it increases its reliability since you have fewer pieces in the assembly. So, in the end, it matters what are you using it for, lattes and cappuccinos, or straight espressos mostly. A little amendment here, if you are a steaming and frothing milk expert, you probably don’t care. The operation is really, not that hard, but you need to learn how to do it.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica
ESAM3300 Magnifica is a workhorse, and it’s probably one of the best value automatic espresso machines. The double boiler and the high reliability of the machine make it one of the least returned in its class.
The milk frother is not a cappuccinatore, but it does its job. You need to practice a bit to achieve perfection, and you won’t get that fine microfoam like with the cappuccino systems. You will get a perfect steamed milk easily, and with some practice, you’ll get the froth too in time. If you want to know more about ESAM3300 Magnifica, we wrote a full review here.
Many other aspects are the same, in fact, the two machines are identical in many aspects. Here are the most important ones:
- 15bar pressure pump
- Silent grinder with 13 espresso-range settings
- 8.8 oz beans hopper
- Selection for 1 or 2 cups
- Special programs for descaling and cleaning
- Both can use ground coffee
- Programmable for the water hardness
- Infuser unit for proper grounds saturation
- “Rapid steam” – This is the feature that lets you steam milk without waiting after pulling a shot. This is possible because of the dual boiler design. Because milk steaming and coffee brewing have different preparation temperature, a single boiler means you have to wait every time you switch from coffee to milk and vice versa. With two boilers, each one has its own temperature, and you can make cappuccinos and lattes much faster.
DeLonghi Magnifica Comparison ECAM22110 vs ESAM3300
What is the extra $150 for? Is the ECAM22110 worth the price, or it’s just a marketing tactic to increase the manufacturer’s margin? I personally believe the extra 150 is worth, but I’ll show you the differences and you can decide yourself. Here are the facts:
Magnifica ESAM 3300
Magnifica ECAM 22.110.SB
|Dimensions: 11.0 x 15.3 x 14.4 inches||Dimensions: 9.4 x 17.0 x 13.8 inches|
|Weight – 23.2 lbs||Weight – 20.1 lbs|
|Input power (W)1350||Input power (W)1250|
|Maximum cup height 4.25 in||Maximum cup height 3.5″ to 5.5″|
|No Rapid Steam||Rapid Steam|
|Water filter – NO||Water filter – YES|
|Cappuccino system – No||Cappuccino system – Yes|
|NO Stand-by function||Stand-by function|
Let’s interpret the data from the table above, and see how that translates into a better brewing experience or a better coffee.
The dimensions are pretty similar the ECAM is a bit wider but less deep on your counter. Also, ECAM 22 is a little shorter, but again, nothing spectacular, if you ask me. ECAM 22.110.SB is lighter that ESAM3300. Not sure the 3lbs difference is something that can change your decision, but you need to know it at least.
Going to the interesting facts now. The 22.110.SB has a height adjustable coffee spout, that can accommodate both tiny espresso cups and taller latte glasses. This doesn’t look like a big feature, but when you have it, you’ll love it. The ESAM goes up to 4.25” compared to ECAM 5.5”.
The cappuccino system is what makes the difference between the two machines. For great microfoam, the 22.10SB is the right choice. Even the non-experienced barista can steam and froth milk easily. The ESAM3300 can steam milk greatly, but you need the experience. Even with the experience, the cappuccino system is still a better option, since it injects extra air, and it makes the foam better.
The water filter doesn’t seem like much, and some people even remove it, thinking it is an extra cost that is unneeded. The reality is that the filter protects your machine from limescale buildup. This, in turn, allows less descaling, and a longer machine lifetime.
DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Magnifica [Brief Review]
DeLonghi ECAM 22.110.SB is a compact automatic machine. The cappuccino system is the best feature of this coffee maker because it allows the inexperienced home barista to create great microfoam. The milk texture is perfect, and it doesn’t require any barista training or knowledge. Even my 8 years old can do it. The filter helps the machine stay healthy, and reduce the maintenance. Another obvious advantage of the filter is the perfect coffee taste. At the end of the day, your coffee is as good as your water is. The machine is exceptionally easy to clean, and disassemble. All parts are easy to remove and clean.
It looks like DeLonghi had in mind the typical latte and cappuccino lover when they designed this machine. The patented milk frother, and the option for taller cups, (up to 5.5″), makes it appealing for the latte lover that needs convenience and consistency.
For espresso lovers, with a hand for pannarello, the ESAM3300 is a great choice. For cappuccino and latte lovers, who need to simplify their daily routine, the ECAM22110 is the best choice.
ECAM23210SB [Brief Review]
Sure there are many options in the Magnifica series, and just nominating these three was not easy. We wanted to write about all DeLonghi automatic espresso machines. We chose these three, because they are on the inexpensive side, and they are great options. In fact, we weren’t even going to write about the 2310 SB, but we felt the comparison wouldn’t be complete without it. So here are some key differences between ECAM2310SB and ECAM22110.
ECAM2310SB comes with similar features as the 22110, and a few extra ones. It is slightly smaller than the 22110. The difference isn’t huge but still, if your counter space is limited, it does count. The other extra feature is the display. It has a display with icons, so choosing the right beverage and customizing it, is very easy. The display makes it very easy to change beverage strength and volume on the fly, without complicated button combinations. Everything is visual. This comes in handy when the machine is used by more people who like different beverages.
On the negative side, the bean hopper is only 5.3 oz compared to other Magnifica machines, (8.8 oz). I personally don’t consider this a disadvantage, because I don’t like to keep my beans in the hopper. I prefer to store them properly, in a vacuum sealed jar.