Delonghi ECP 3420 Review

Delonghi ECP 3420 Review

Delonghi ECP3420 Espresso Machine

Delonghi ECP3420 Espresso Machine from the front

ECP3420 in USA, ECP35.31 in EU

Delonghi ECP3120 Espresso Machine front view

ECP3120 in USA, ECP31.21 in EU

Delonghi have long been known as the king of value, when it comes to home espresso machines. Recently, when doing research for an affordable home espresso machine, I decided to check Amazon’s bestseller list. Atop the list is the ECP 3420, at somewhere around $150. Is it the price, or the espresso quality, that make this a bestseller?

The Looks of the ECP line

The ECP is a diminutive machine, without much for frills. Included is a selector switch for either brewing (engaging the pump), or steaming (increasing the temperature to the 2nd thermostat). It is encased in a boxy, plastic housing, and depending on the exact model, comes with either metallic or plastic paneling. Within the housing sits a 1 liter water tank, which is removable. That is good for cleaning. The portafilter is a mixture of plastic and aluminum, and the included baskets are stainless steel. The steam wand is a panarello type, making things easier for beginning users. The drip tray is plastic and metal, depending on which Delonghi ECP model you get.

Delonghi ECP3420 front view
Delonghi ECP3420 front view
Delonghi ECP3420 side view
Delonghi ECP3420 side view
Delonghi ECP3420 from above
Delonghi ECP3420 water tank

Specifications and Features

The ECP line, like all other Delonghis, includes a 51mm portafilter, and 3 baskets: a single, double, and for pods. Its main feature is its wonderful little boiler, which also keeps the portafilter warm. This is a BIG deal! By keeping the brew group, and consequently the portafilter warm, this machine is capable of producing silky, luscious espresso, at just the right temperature. I find this heated brew group so good in fact, that I recommend it over the more popular Delonghi Dedica.

Delonghi ECP3420 brew group is hot!

ECP Series heated group head

Delonghi ECP3420 shower screen

ECP Series 51mm shower screen

Delonghi ECP3420 drip tray

Delonghi ECP 3420 Drip Tray

ECP3420 in Basic vs Advanced Mode

While the ECP is good in its stock, basic form, this machine really shines in advanced mode: with a proper basket and ideally bottomless portafilter, and with the panarello removed. Check out the video below for how to convert to, and use this machine in advanced mode. After doing so, you will achieve really silky, well rounded espresso, and creamy, luscious milk foam. It is really a treat, once you get the hang of it!

In the meantime, the ECP series of espresso machines can be used for pre-ground espresso, such as Lavazza or Illy. Either of these will work just fine with the included pressurized baskets (pressurized baskets are those with just a pin hole on the exit side).

What are the best Delonghi Accessories?

The Delonghi Dedica is already good out of the box, at least with pre-ground espresso. But if you really want to get the best out of it, I suggest at a minimum, upgrading the basket to an IMS one. These are precision made baskets, made in Italy, and allow for a traditional, non-pressurized extraction. Just know that you will also need a decent grinder for this extraction method, too.

Besides a nice IMS basket, you may also want a Normcore or other bottomless portafilter, so that you can see how your extractions are looking. A good tamper is also helpful, to make sure your puck is compacted correctly and is not cock-eyed. The options for iKape or Normcore do a good job at keeping the puck level. Finally, a nice magnetic funnel is convenient as well, for making sure you don’t make a mess when grinding into your portafilter, or doing WDT.

Bottomless portafilter for Delonghi ECP models.

Normcore Bottomless

IMS 51mm espresso basket, H26 mm in height

IMS Basket H26

51mm tamper from iKape

51mm Tamper

Normcore 51mm magnetic funnel

51mm Funnel

Specifications:

– Dimensions: 185 mm x 240 mm x 305 mm

– 1100 Watt max power consumption

– 2 liter water reservoir

– Weight: 4 kg or 9 pounds

– 1.1 liter removable water tank

– 10 minute auto off timer (on European versions like ECP 35.31)

WAF – Wife Acceptance Factor

This machine has a pretty good WAF, due to the fact that it is small, and does not take up much space. However, it is a manual machine, which means one needs to start and stop the shot manually, and remember to cool down and replenish the boiler after steaming. So there is some instruction necessary. My wife honestly prefers the Dedica line, but I like the ECP better. Take a look here at the Dedica line for reference.

How good is the Espresso and Steam Quality?

I am just flabbergasted, how good this little machine can make espresso and milk foam. I am not even shitting you. It has quickly become my favorite little machine, and my go to recommendation, even over the Dedica. I think this is mainly attributed to the boiler sitting atop the brew group, giving the water in the extraction path a constant temperature, resulting in a smoothly extracted espresso, not being subject to a temperature shock upon reaching the portafilter. The temperature curve is pretty good too – not quite as stable as the Gaggia Classic Pro, but close. Check the videos below.

Delonghi ECP3420 Espresso Machine from the front

ECP3420 in USA, ECP35.31 in EU

Delonghi ECP3120 Espresso Machine front view

ECP3120 in USA, ECP31.21 in EU

YouTube Videos of the Delonghi ECP