Espresso has strong flavor and aroma
Fast and intuitive brewing
Powerful milk frother
Customizable drink settings
Loud, vibrating pump
No frothing pitcher included
Grinder adjustment a little confusing
We purchased the Philips EP3221 Series 3200 Espresso Machine so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Automatic espresso makers like the Philips EP3221 Series 3200 Espresso Machine are among the most advanced brewing devices available today. They combine several coffee accessories into one machine for a café-quality experience right from home. The Philips EP3221 can grind coffee beans, steam milk, and brew a variety of drinks in minutes to pour into a good espresso cup. But is it an overpriced headache that will sit idly on your counter? Or is it a worthwhile investment that will transform your coffee routine for years to come? I tested the item to figure this out. I focused on its setup process, overall design, maintenance, and performance, and I compared it to other automatic espresso machines. Each section is detailed one by one below to help you decide if the Philips is right for you.
Setup Process: A few to-dos but nothing difficult
Before unboxing the Philips EP3221 I worried the setup process would be tricky and time-consuming—this sophisticated machine must have dozens of parts to assemble, right? Thankfully, it comes almost fully assembled out of the box. The only parts to put together are the milk frother, which takes less than a minute, and, if your purchase includes it, the AquaClean water filter, which takes around five minutes. Philips also recommends rinsing the machine and adjusting the water hardness before brewing. All in all, it took me 30 minutes to flip through the instruction manual, complete the setup process, and brew my first espresso shot (more on that to follow). The setup isn’t particularly enjoyable, but it’s straightforward, and the length of time is on par with that of other automatic espresso makers.
Design: Stylish and user-friendly
There’s a lot to like about the Philips EP3221’s design, from how it looks in the kitchen to the actual experience of using the device. I was immediately impressed by its glossy black finish, which makes it sleek yet understated and suitable for any countertop. I prefer this aesthetic to the more common stainless steel of other espresso makers. Plus, it hides fingerprint smudges better.
The touch-screen control panel was easy to understand right away, and it makes brewing and customizing drinks effortless.
Measuring 17 x 9.6 x 14.6 inches (depth by width by height), the Philips EP3221 can’t exactly be called compact, but it is surprisingly narrow and, as a result, won’t overwhelm your countertop. You can also remove the bean hopper lid, which saves space under the cupboards.
Once I started using the espresso machine, I found it convenient and largely intuitive. The touch-screen control panel was easy to understand right away, and it makes brewing and customizing drinks effortless. Another detail I really appreciate is the removable, front-facing water tank; it’s much easier than having to fill a cup with water, carry it to the brewing device, and pour it into the back, often risking a mess.
The only two design features I found confusing were adjusting the grinder and brewing with pre-ground beans. It took me a while to figure out where to turn the knob for a finer or coarser grind, and you can only adjust the grinder while it's in use, which I found odd. As for using pre-ground beans, I had to consult the instruction manual to understand the sequence of buttons that activate the setting.
Performance: Delicious drinks in seconds
Possibly the highest praise I can give the Philips EP3221 is that it provides a combination every coffee drinker enjoys: speed and great taste. It takes roughly one minute for the machine to heat up (one minute and seven seconds, to be exact) and 40 seconds to grind and brew an espresso shot. I was impressed by the coffee’s strength and rich aroma from the very first sip, and that was without adjusting any customizable drink settings. The machine is fairly loud when grinding and brewing, so early risers or parents with young children may want to take that into account.
Possibly the highest praise I can give the Philips EP3221 is that it provides a combination every coffee drinker enjoys: speed and great taste.
I tried two different types of coffee beans—one a chocolaty dark roast, the other a fruity medium roast—and the Philips EP3221 brought out each one’s distinct flavors with a lot of clarity. The crema isn’t as thick as what baristas can pull in coffee shops, but other than that, I was pleasantly surprised how rich and authentic the espresso is.
The coffee doesn’t end there, though. There are preset options to brew an Americano, espresso lungo, and a drink similar to drip coffee. The Panarello frothing wand then opens the door for milk-based drinks like lattes and making cappuccinos. It’s strong enough to blend any milk. My only knock is it creates a little more milk froth than I expected.
Cleaning: Frequent but simple
A few routine cleaning tasks are required for this espresso/cappuccino machine, but most are quick and easy. The one I had to do most often was empty and rinse the drip tray, which takes very little time. I typically discarded the used espresso pucks while doing this because the coffee grounds container and drip tray are connected. Philips makes the process even easier thanks to a light-up sensor that notifies you when the drip tray and coffee container need to be emptied. It takes around 12 espresso shots until the coffee container is full, and emptying the drip tray depends on how frequently you turn the machine on and off.
Philips recommends cleaning the frothing wand after every use. This may be tedious if you make multiple lattes and cappuccinos a day, but the few added seconds are worth it to avoid dried milk clogging the frother. Users should also remove and rinse the brew group once a week (don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds). The most rigorous cleaning process would be descaling the machine, but if your purchase includes an AquaClean water filter, it will take 5,000 cups before you need to descale.
Price: A relative bargain
By itself, the price for the Philips EP3221 Series 3200 Espresso Machine may seem high. It starts around $600, and some retailers list it higher than that. But this is actually a steal compared to other automatic espresso makers, many of which surpass the $1,000 mark. Few machines in the EP3221’s price range have the ability to grind beans and brew espresso without a hand-held portafilter.
Few machines in the EP3221’s price range have the ability to grind beans and brew espresso without a hand-held portafilter.
If you’re interested in the device but operating on a different budget, Philips manufactures similar machines at varying prices. The EP3221 is the middle-tier option, so you can upgrade to the Series 3200 LatteGo, which automatically froths and dispenses lattes and cappuccinos, or you can save money with the Series 2200, which comes with fewer drink options and lacks temperature adjustment.
Competition: Finding your perfect cup
Breville the Barista Express: With its hand-held portafilter and microfoam steam wand, the Barista Express is more like an espresso machine found in an actual coffee shop. It offers greater control than the Philips EP3221 but sacrifices convenience. We reviewed the Barista Express too and gave it a similarly high rating, so rest assured you can’t go wrong with either option.
Gaggia Anima: The Gaggia Anima comes at a similar price as the Philips EP3221, and the two devices look and perform alike too. It doesn’t have touchscreen controls or as many grind sizes, but you get a couple more strength options.
DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Pro: This pod-based alternative to the EP3221 can brew a variety of drinks at the touch of a button, and it automatically dispenses frothed milk for lattes. The Lattissima Pro is an excellent option for those who prefer the convenience of Nespresso capsules; just keep in mind that pods have a hard time living up to the taste of freshly ground coffee beans.
Who doesn't want a gem?
No matter your experience level in making espresso, you can become an at-home barista with this versatile and easy-to-use machine. The delicious coffee alone makes it a worthwhile purchase, and when you factor in the reasonable price, it becomes an all-around gem.
- Product Name Series 3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- Product Brand Philips
- Price $599.00
- Weight 16.53 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 16 x 9.75 x 14.6 in.
- Color Black
- Material Plastic and stainless steel
- Wattage 1,400
- Voltage 120
- Cord Length 100 centimeters
- Water Tank Capacity 1.8 liters
- Warranty 2 years
- What's Included Grease tube, measuring scoop, water hardness test strip, AquaClean filter