Delonghi ECP 3420 Review: Amazon's Best Selling Espresso Machine

is’s best-selling espresso machine, which intrigues me. So my idea for today’s review is first to take an overview of this machine, and then I want to do a performance test. I want to do the test in two parts. First, use this machine in basic mode, and then I want to use it in advanced mode.

Features of Delonghi ECP 3420

This little espresso machine caught my eye because it has been a bestseller for quite some time. Let’s talk about its features, what it comes with, and how it differentiates from the Dedica. Delonghi ECP 3420 is also a little espresso machine, and it is a manual one, so it’s straightforward to operate.

You’ve just got the knob, so you turn it to the right to start your espresso extraction, and you can turn it to the left to heat it to steam mode. That’s about it. The steam wand is on the side, there is a power button to turn it on, and inside there is a one-liter water tank. You got some handy storage on top where you can put your baskets.

That’s cool, and Delonghi ECP 3420 does come with baskets. For the pressurized extractions, you got a double and a single basket that this comes with. And it also comes with a pod basket that is this machine.

Delonghi ECP 3420 Versus Dedica EC685

Let’s see how ECP 3420 compares to the Dedica EC685. So if you compare both units, they’re both very small machines and just about the same height. The Dedica is much thinner than ECP 3420, but the depth is not that far apart either. Okay, so one big difference between these two is that ECP 3420 is an actual boiler machine and a manual one, as I mentioned. In contrast, Dedica EC685 is a thermal block machine, and it’s automated to a large extent.

Dedica is equipped with a volumetric dosing descaling reminder, and it will transfer back from steam mode to coffee mode all on its own. So there’s some automation here on the Dedica, which ECP 3420 does not have. For ECP 3420, you’ve got to do the extraction all on your own.

You have to turn the pump on and off by yourself and remember to go from steam mode back to coffee mode. However, I usually weigh my shots anyway. So for me, that’s no big deal, and although I appreciate the volumetric dosing ability on the Dedica, I weigh my shots instead. That’s when you’re trying to go for that famous one-to-two ratio.

If you put 15 grams in, you were going for about 30 grams in the cup. These two share in common that they both warm up quickly. Where these two machines differentiate, and it has to do with taste. The Dedica brew group is not heated, while for ECP 3420, the brew group is heated.

There’s a sticker on ECP 3420 that says, “Hot! Don’t touch”, and it gets hot. I measured the temperature, and it gets up to 75 degrees, even without an extraction. It is actively heated up to 75 degrees Celsius, and Dedica sits at about room temperature. So that gives ECP 3420 a decided advantage over the Dedica because you want the path of water from the start to the end to be as constant as possible.

You want the boiler obviously to be at the right temperature. You want the brew group to be at the same temperature as the portafilter, the basket, and into the cup; that is how you get the best extraction. In the Dedica, unfortunately, the espresso gets cooled down once it hits the cooler brew group and the cooler portafilter.

Performance Test for Delonghi ECP 3420

In this test, we will use this machine in the basic mode. That means with the pressurized portafilter and with the Pannarello steam wand. For everybody who doesn’t know what a pressurized basket looks like. It’s got one hole coming out the bottom. The rest of the holes are on the inside, so the basket itself is responsible for creating the crema and resistance to the flowing water.

Basic Mode

That means you can get just some pre-ground espresso from the store and make yourself an espresso. It’s straightforward. So this machine comes with an included scoop, and I’m going to go ahead and fill up the basket with about 14 grams, and we’ll give it a little tamp.

In this case, I wanted to measure my shot, but I don’t have enough space with the standard portafilter on, but that’s okay. It produced a decent shot with some crema, and it’s pretty thin, but it does have a little bit of crema. We’re going to make ourselves a cappuccino, and now let’s go into the steam mode in the basic mode.

The Panarello helps you inject air into the milk, which is a little help. It would be best if you purged the steam wand, and now we can do some steaming. It’s injecting quite a bit of air in there. You don’t have to do much except stick it there and get a swirl going.

After you are done, remember to turn the steam mode off, and you’ve got some good milk froth. However, because you don’t have much control over the amount of air you inject, it’s too thick. So, that’s the basic mode. So let’s go ahead and use it in the advanced mode.

Advanced Mode

Okay, so for the advanced mode, we’re going to do a couple of things. First, we’re going to remove the Panarello. All you have to do is twist that off and clean that. I want to teach you a nifty trick for the steam wand. Get a cable tie and put that tightly at the top of the steam wand.

And now you’ve got yourself a pretty lovely steam wand. What is the reason for the cable tie? The reason is that the nozzle will shoot off if you don’t use the cable tie. So make sure to put one on. So that is point number one. Point number two, we’re going to remove the portafilter that the machine came with, and we’re going to put a nice bottomless portafilter in there.

The bottomless portafilter is excellent because it allows you to use a proper normal basket, a conventional one that’s got holes that go all the way through. So with this basket, you can create ideal resistance through the puck. Next, warm up the basket; we’re ready for advanced mode.

The last thing we need is the WDT tool for distributing the grounds in a better way. It’s nice that the Delonghi ECP 3420 is magnetic so that we can attach the WDT bottle to it. The bottomless portafilter cost between $30 and $50. The basket typically comes with it; you can have the WDT tool for about $20. So you’re talking about $50 to $75 to bring this up to advanced modification. But of course, you do need something else. You need a grinder because to get the best out of this, You need to put good stuff into it.

So you want to get yourself some freshly roasted beans, get a decent grinder. You don’t need to go up that high and spend that kind of money. You can also get yourself a hand grinder for about $100, which will give you good results. But I’m a lazy guy, so I’m not too fond of hand grinding all the time.

Let’s go ahead and do the test in advanced mode. So our portafilter will get pretty nice and toasty. Let’s just let some water through to ensure it’s warmed up even more. The next thing that we want to do is tear out our scale and put 16 grams of freshly ground coffee in there.

It’s good to distribute the grounds and give it a good tamp. So our puck is prepared, and we are good to go. So, luckily now that we’re using the bottomless portafilter, we have enough space to put the scale there. We tried to get our two-to-one ratio, and we got precisely 30 grams of espresso.

There’s quite a difference in that shot and so much crema. This is delightful and exactly what I’m looking for from an espresso machine. Not only is there a lot of crema, but it also gives you an excellent shot. Let’s go ahead and go steam some milk in the advanced mode. Ensure your pitcher is about just underneath the noses because you want your milk to be warm and cold. Ideally, you want fatty milk with three and a half percent.

In the meantime, I will pour my espresso into the cup and purge the steam wand. You want to inject air right in the beginning, right away. Put your tip right there in about the lower quadrant. Make sure the milk is spitting nicely and once it gets hot to the touch, turn off the steam. The result is beautiful milk. I’m just so delighted with this little machine.

So let’s compare the result for the basic mode (left) and advanced mode (right). The cappucino produced from the advanced mode is way silkier and tastes better. So that concludes the test portion of this article.

My Verdict on Delonghi ECP 3420

Overall, I am delighted with this little machine DeLonghi ECP 3420. It is a reliable and convenient choice for home espresso enthusiasts. To convert the DeLonghi ECP 3420 to advance mode, you need a bottomless portafilter and a zip tie to practice your steaming. The WDT tool is always good; you’ll need a decent grinder.

It would be best if you had decent coffee beans between two weeks and six weeks, which is an excellent range as far as the roast state is concerned, and then you can produce the perfect espresso. So now, what do you guys think about this little machine?

If you have it, will you try the advanced mode? I invite you to do that. It’s pretty, a fun little machine to experiment with, and I’ll tell you one more thing. The more it heats up, the better it gets by the time this has been on for 15 or 20 minutes.

I hope this review for DeLonghi ECP 3420 is helpful for you. Until next time, I see happy coffee drinking and heaviest espresso drinking. Bye now.