Here is our exclusive De’Longhi ECP 3420 review.
Many De’Longhi ECP 3420 reviews have made it as if this espresso machine is suited for everyone. In this review, I will be giving you the key features, pros, cons and other useful information to help you decide whether this machine is right for you.
I found the De’Longhi ECP 3420 to be one of the best basic pump espresso machines for inexperienced baristas. It makes a great cup of espresso and the milk frother can be improved but it’s a perfect machine for someone who wants their daily cup of espresso.
In this comprehensive review, I will also list alternatives to the De’Longhi ECP 3420 that may be a better option for you and your home.
Let’s get started:
- Key Features
- Accessories Considered
- Who is this For?
- Who isn’t this for?
The De’Longhi ECP 3420 is a 15 bar pump espresso machine which is perfect for an inexperienced barista. This machine is one of the most user-friendly machines out there which is perfect for someone who wants to try a more ‘manual’ experience. It has an internal and external stainless steel plated boiler, this also helps give your home a retro barista looking style.
When it comes to reservoir capacity, the ECP 3420 can hold up to 37oz which can brew approximately 4.5 cups. It’s very light, weighing only 11lbs which is convenient for when moving it around the kitchen.
Overall, the De’Longhi ECP 3420 is a well designed espresso machine. It has basic features that are perfect for an inexperienced barista.
- Machine Type: Pump espresso machine
- Pressure: 15 bars
- Reservoir Capacity: 37 oz
- Weight: 11 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
Stainless steel boiler: Stainless steel is great quality material to use for espresso machines. This also gives the ECP 3420 a more premium look to it.
Cup warmer: This is a great feature as it will keep your cup warm in case you are too busy to drink the coffee immediately.
Removable water reservoir: Having a removable water reservoir is convenient when it’s time for your machine to have a deep clean.
Adjustable tray height: The adjustable tray height is a must when purchasing an espresso machine like this. It can be very frustrating buying fancy coffee carafes and then having a coffee machine that doesn’t even fit the damn cup.
Adjustable milk spout: This feature will help optimize the ECP 3420’s small and compact design. You can adjust the milk spout to be able to froth milk for any sized cup and can also move the milk spout towards the drip tray. This will allow milk to drip into the drip tray preventing any extra clean-ups.
The De’Longhi ECP 3420 comes along with some pros that will make your brewing experience more convenient… here are the following pros:
Budget-friendly: The ECP 3420’s affordability is one of the biggest pro’s between other pump espresso machines. You don’t want to be buying the most expensive espresso machine if you’re not planning on using all its functionality.
Very simple to use: The first time I was introduced to this espresso machine, I knew right from the beginning how to use the machine without touching it. If a simple machine is important for you then this machine will definitely stand out for you.
Very easy to clean and descale: In terms of cleaning and descaling, the ECP 3420 has many removable parts. This makes the machine very easy to clean, especially when cleaning your milk spout.
Suited for small counter space: The ECP 3420 is very small and compact which is ideal when having small counter space. I myself have small counter space in my apartment and this machine would fit ideally in my kitchen.
Accommodates for larger cup sizes: The ECP 3420 has an adjustable tray height which makes it easy to brew coffee in all different cup sizes. With its max tray height, I doubt you’ll ever need to use a cup that large.
Can make 2 espresso shots at once: What’s really convenient about the ECP 3420 is that you can make an espresso for both you and your spouse at the same time. This will help when both of you are in a rush for work and need that shot of espresso.
Separate thermostats: Although there isn’t much customization on the ECP 3420, it still has 2 separate thermostats. This will allow you to separately adjust and control the water pressure as well as the machine’s steam pressure.
Although the De’Longhi ECP 3420 has a decent amount of pros, it also has a few cons that might make you reconsider your buying decision…
Long start-up time: Many people believe that the start-up time is fairly quick as it usually takes up to 5 minutes to heat up. I do feel that the brewing process comes out better after 10 minutes. The start-up time isn’t too long but I do wish it were a little bit quicker to save that extra bit of time.
Inconsistent taste: The ECP 3420 does make a great shot of espresso except when it comes to using the milk frother. It sometimes produces an underwhelming taste to the coffee which isn’t ideal.
Small brewing capacity: When it comes to brewing capacity, the ECP 3420 is more focused on serving one or two people. If you plan on serving a couple of friends then it can be annoying constantly refilling the reservoir as the ECP 3420 can only serve about 4.5 cups.
Milk frother is overrated: Other reviews on the ECP 3420 talk about how great the milk froth this machine produces. To be completely honest, it’s not that great. It froths milk which is perfect for someone who isn’t concerned about a perfect creamy latte.
Does not come with an inbuilt grinder: The ECP 3420 does not come with a built-in grinder. This can be frustrating if you previously had a machine that grinds the beans for you. I myself prefer purchasing beans instead of pre-ground coffee as it seems to be less expensive and you’re not limited to a small variety of flavors.
Accessories You Should Consider Buying:
If you want to get the best out of the ECP 3420 then I highly consider buying the following accessories for this machine:
Frothing Pitcher: The ECP 3420 does come with a milk frother but you’ll need a frothing pitcher if you want that creamy latte experience. Buying a frothing pitcher will also help eliminate any inconsistent tastes.
Grinder: If you’re like me and love whole bean coffee beans then I highly recommend buying yourself a grinder. The ECP 3420 obviously does not have a built-in grinder which is frustrating having to only buy pre-ground coffee.
I personally prefer hand grinders to electric burr grinders as hand grinders seem to hold the flavors better.
Here are electric burr grinders I recommend looking at:
Here are hand grinders that I recommend looking at:
- 1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee Grinder
- Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder
- JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
If you are looking for the best hand grinders to buy then I recommend reading our article on the best hand grinders.
Who Is The De’Longhi EC3420 For?
- An inexperienced barista: If you have little to no experience at brewing barista-style coffee then this machine is for you. I think it’s a great beginners espresso machine for someone who wants to start using semi-automatic espresso machines.
- Someone looking for a budget-friendly machine: If you’re on a strict budget then this espresso machine is a good option to consider. It’s under $200 which is affordable and reasonably priced for this type of machine.
- Someone who has minimal counter space: I myself have minimal counter space and find that this machine will be perfect for my kitchen. It’s small and compact design pretty much allows you to place it anywhere in your home.
- Someone who has a tight busy schedule: Many people who have bought this machine find it quick and convenient to make espressos. The ECP 3420 can take a while to start up but once ready, you can make espressos immediately after one another.
Who Isn’t The De’Longhi ECP 3420 For?
- A well experienced barista: Barista’s who are very experienced in the art of brewing coffee may find this machine a bit boring. There are only 3 options and only one of those options will brew coffee. I recommend going for a more premium-end machine that comes with more options to play around with.
- Someone making coffee for groups of people: The ECP 3420 can instantly make espressos after one another but it isn’t ideal for groups. The water reservoir unfortunately holds up to 4.5 cups of coffee. This can be frustrating when having to refill your water reservoir every fourth cup.
- Someone who enjoys their milk froth: The one issue I have about this machine is that it does not produce proper milk froth. I find that the milk frother causes an inconsistent taste in your coffee. I recommend looking at a quality milk frother or looking at another espresso machine then.
- You don’t want to buy a separate grinder: Coffee whole beans are great especially when it comes to saving money in the long run. If you would like to use whole bean coffee and don’t want to buy a separate grinder then I recommend looking at buying an espresso machine with a grinder.
Tips and Tricks
The following tips and tricks will help you prevent any future mistakes which may ruin the taste of your coffee:
- To make superb crema for your coffee, make sure to grind your fresh coffee beans to an espresso sized ground. You can also use fresh pre ground coffee that is an espresso grind size.
- Make sure not to tamp the coffee grounds too tightly as water will struggle to flow through the coffee ground. This will produce less coffee and the coffee will taste too strong to enjoy.
- Some people end up overfilling the coffee filter which is one of the biggest mistakes. You should use one measuring scoop per cup.
- When it comes to cleaning, make sure you move your milk frother back into the machine to prevent milk dripping on your table. I also suggest cleaning the milk frother as soon as you finish frothing milk or after use.
De’Longhi ECP 3420 Alternatives
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma is basically an identical twin to the De’Longhi ECP 3420. If you are a Breville fan then I recommend looking at this espresso machine. There isn’t much of a difference when comparing the two but I do find the Breville ESP8XL to be slightly better when frothing milk.
If the De’Longhi ECP 3420 is not budget-friendly enough for you then the KRUPS 15 Bar Pump Espresso will be. This machine is the most budget-friendly alternative for the ECP 3420. The KRUPS does not have the best quality build and the ECP 3420 is much better overall but is still a good alternative if the ECP 3420 is too expensive.
The Breville BES860XL is a great alternative for an experienced barista or someone that wants a built-in grinder. This machine has a bit more customization that is beginner friendly but also well-fitted for an experienced barista. In terms of price, it’s more expensive than the ECP 3420 but is definitely worth its value. It’s also a good alternative if you wish to buy coffee whole beans.
The De’Longhi BCO430 is considered as the premium-end alternative to the De’Longhi ECP 3420. De’Longhi is well known for producing its Italian made espresso so there’s no reason to not buy a De’Longhi machine. The BCO430 is more pricier to the ECP 3420 but has a lot of customization to work with which is great for an experienced barista. It has a larger water capacity and comes with a built-in grinder which is ideal to brew coffee for a group of friends.
What kind of tamper does the De’Longhi ECP 3420 come with?
The De’Longhi ECP 3420 comes with a plastic tamp which has different tamper sizes on each size. The one side is 49mm and the other side is 51mm which is used for compacting the coffee grounds more for that extra coffee strength.
How to descale the De’Longhi ECP 3420
The best way to descale the De’Longhi ECP 3420 is by doing the following:
- Pour 100 mils of descaling solution in the water tank and fill the rest with water
- Place a large container under the spouts for the water to pour into
- Make sure to aim the milk spout into the container too
- Run the machine until the water tank is empty
- Repeat the process 2 more times but now with just water
The De’Longhi ECP 3420 is a great choice for the inexperienced barista as well as someone who is looking for an affordable semi-automatic espresso machine. It makes a great cup of espresso and is perfect for individual use.
Using good quality pre ground coffee will help you get the best out of the De’Longhi ECP 3420. Lavazza and Illy pre ground coffee will do the job unless you have another coffee brand in mind.
I hope this review gives you enough information to finalize your buying decision and perhaps one of the alternatives is a better option for you.