Bezzera BZ10 Espresso Machine: How Great Can It Go?
So, you’ve been shopping for a compact heat exchanger espresso machine from a longstanding and reliable brand. And, our guess is, you’ve probably come across the Bezzera BZ10? Originating from Italy, the land of espresso, this brewer is packed with features. BZ10 makes a great espresso, and is available for surprisingly little money.
To learn more about what makes the BZ10 stand out from the crowd, keep reading this Bezzera BZ10 review.
SUMMARY: The Bezzera BZ10 Espresso Machine
- Unique electronically heated group for fast warm-up and improved temperature stability
- Top-notch build quality due to all in-house manufacturing
- Combination pressure stat makes maintenance more accessible and more cost-effective
We couldn’t be happier with this machine! It heats up quickly and is very easy to use. It pulls consistent shots every time, and the steam wand has plenty of power.– Jay M., Customer
The Bezzera BZ10 Review
Bezzera is based in Milan, Italy, a global hotspot for fine espresso. It has been making high-end espresso makers for over 110 years. In fact, the company is credited with manufacturing the very first single-serve espresso machine (1).
All these years later, Bezzera espresso makers continue to impress with their exceptional stainless-steel build quality, and a drive to innovate. Let’s dive into the details of their mid-level model, the BZ10.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
The Bezzera BZ10 espresso machine is based on a 1.5-liter nickel-plated, copper heat-exchange boiler. The boiler also has a vibration pump. Thanks to the heat exchanger, you’re able to pull a shot of espresso and froth milk at the same time, and it achieves this in a much more compact frame than a dual boiler. The vibration pump is a quieter option, though still a tad noisy compared to a rotary pump.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the BZ10 is its electronically heated group head.
More often than not, a machine at this price point will have the more common E61 group, with electronic groups reserved for more expensive models. Conveniently, the electronic group is still the standard 58 mm size, so it’s compatible with E61 accessories.
There are two main benefits to the electronic group, which uses two internal heating elements. The BZ10 is ready to brew much faster than a typical E61, taking about 10 minutes to heat up. Two, it offers improved temperature stability once heated, meaning more consistent espresso.
You control the temperature using a pressure stat rather than a PID. PIDs offer improved temperature control on dual boiler and single boiler machines, but whether this is true for HX espresso machines remains unclear. It is undoubtedly less of a factor. That said, PIDs are still preferred for their durability.
The front panel is adorned with a dual pressure gauge. The gauge’s top half reads the steam pressure, and the bottom half displays the brewing pressure. The brewing pressure should be around 9 bars. Being able to monitor both pressures while preparing a drink helps improve your skills and ensure consistent results. The Bezzera BZ10 is also equipped with an OPV for adjusting pump pressure.
User Friendliness – 3.5/5
If you haven’t used a heat exchange espresso machine before, the BZ10 will require a bit of a learning curve. But that’s not to say it’s user-unfriendly; it’s just a new skill set. Bezzera has included some excellent features on this machine to improve user experience. Some of the features are new to the latest iteration.
You need not worry that this century-old company is stuck in the past. They have continued to evolve in the ways that count as the 21st century progresses (2). Just check out their modern lever machine, the Strega. Other people testify to its progression, too:
This evolution of design combines several innovative features, such as ergonomic design, the use of quality materials and overall ease of use.
New to Version 2, Bezzera has upgraded all the push button switches to toggle switches. This is a small change, and yet you’ll really notice the improved workflow. The power and brew switches have been upgraded to chromed plastic for a solid and responsive feel.
You only get one 58 mm portafilter, which has dual spouts, but you’ll love the angled handle that means you can put it directly on a countertop for tamping and it will lie flat. No need to invest in a separate tamping station. It comes with both a single and double basket.
Milk Frothing – 4/5
Lovers of milky drinks like lattes and cappuccinos will be more than satisfied with the steam and hot water capabilities of the Bezzera BZ10.
True, the 1.5-liter boiler isn’t the biggest on the market, so you shouldn’t expect commercial style, lighting fast steaming. But for most home users, that level of steam power is excessive, making it more difficult to achieve proper milk foam. The two-hole tip is nicely balanced, and it will take you less than 20 seconds to foam 6 ounces of milk for a latte. Hardly a snail’s pace.
The wand itself is multidirectional and controlled via joysticks rather than knobs. Fans of joysticks, myself included, find that they’re more ergonomic than knobs and allow for quicker on and off. I especially like that you can flick the joystick in any direction for a burst of steam or lock it in the up position for hands-free steaming.
The Bezerra BZ10 has a separate hot water tap on the other side of the group, also controlled by a joystick. It’s not a multidirectional wand, but it has plenty of motion thanks to a ball joint and a hefty 4.25 inches of clearance from the tray.
The hot water joystick doesn’t have a lock position, so you can’t operate it hands-free. This might slow your workflow a little, but it definitely makes sense from a safety standpoint.
Build Quality – 4/5
Bezerra has a longstanding reputation for excellent build quality and ongoing innovation, a necessity if you’re going to last for 100 years in the competitive Italian espresso machine market.
Most impressively, they’re known for manufacturing all their components in-house. They cast all their own parts starting from the raw materials rather than outsourcing any aspect of the process.
This commitment means Bezzera’s quality control is exceptional as no step of the process is outside their scope.
The BZ10 body and frame are entirely stainless steel, with the exterior panels polished to a gleaming mirror finish. It’s a surprisingly compact machine, at just 10 inches wide by 15 inches tall by 17 inches deep. It weighs 50 pounds, a weight that is heavy enough to suggest durable components but light enough to make the BZ10 easy to maneuver around your kitchen.
In the newest version, Bezzera has made some nice aesthetic upgrades. The emblem on the back, a signature feature of the brand, has been changed from gray to gold. This adds a touch of class to this machine. The indicator lights have also been upgraded from standard bulbs to LEDs. They give off a brighter glow and, more importantly, last longer before they need replacement.
Like most mid-priced espresso makers, this one comes with a throw-away plastic tamper. I highly recommend you leave room in your budget for a heftier metal model.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
I was overall impressed with the cleaning and maintenance features of the BZ10, particularly the combination Mater pressure stat. In general, pressure stats wear faster than PIDs, which is one of several reasons the latter are preferred. Bezzera has installed a 3-in-1 pressure stat, vacuum relief valve, and pressure relief valve to combat this issue — three common wear areas typically have to be replaced or repaired separately.
You can remove the brew group with only 3 bolts, which makes cleaning and maintenance pretty straightforward. That said, the electronically heated group does offer some maintenance challenges relative to the more common E61 group (3). Because the E61 is the industry standard, it is easy to find spare parts and skilled technicians if required. With the Bezzera grouphead, any necessary maintenance should probably be done by an expert in the brand.
Anything special about it?
As you would expect at this price, the BZ10 is equipped with a 3-way solenoid valve, which is always helpful in keeping things tidy. This valve vents excess liquid and pressure from the group into the drip tray. So there’s no splatter when you unlock the portafilter, and your ground coffee puck will be dry and easy to knock out of the filter basket.
You can’t plumb the BZ10 directly to a water line, which means you will need to manage its water intake and output. Fortunately, both the water reservoir and drip tray are extensive, making this an easy task.
The water tank has a 3-liter capacity, one of the biggest in its class, including a particle filter. It is wired to an automatic fail-safe that will cut power to the machine if the water gets too low. This is great for avoiding damage to the machine if you forget to top up the tank on some bleary-eyed early morning. And we all know how forgetful we can be before that first shot of caffeine!
Things we liked:
- Electronically heated group head
- 1.5 liter copper heat exhange boiler
- 58 mm portafilter with angled handle
- Dual pressure gauges
Things we didn’t like:
- No PID
- Group head is harder to service than E61
- Can’t be direct plumbed
Don’t Buy the Bezzera BZ10 If…
You’re in the market for a dual boiler: Dual boilers and heat exchangers both allow you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time, and each has its pros and cons. If you prefer the operation of a dual boiler, Bezzera makes an excellent model, the Matrix. It is significantly more expensive than the BZ10, but the features and performance justify the cost if it fits your budget.
You don’t make milky drinks: There’s no reason to pay for a HX or dual boiler machine if you rarely froth milk. For an entry-level model, the Bezerra New Hobby makes a wonderful espresso for less than half the price of the BZ10. Or opt for a fancier single boiler like the PID-equipped Unica, which will still save you plenty of cash.
You prefer the E61 group: If you’re looking for a similarly compact heat exchange espresso machine, but featuring the more tried-and-true E61 group, check out either the Rocket Appartamento or the Lelit MaraX, both of which receive rave reviews.
If you want a quick-heating and compact espresso machine, the Bezzera BZ10 is one of the best in the business, especially given its relatively low price tag. Thanks to its heat exchange boiler, you can brew espresso and froth milk simultaneously, making this a perfect machine to delight family and friends with your latte-making skills.
- Meister, E. (2018, August 9). Coffee History: Luigi Bezzera, Inventor of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/coffee-history-luigi-bezzera-inventor-of-the-espresso-machine
- Grant, T. (2021, April 5). Technical evolution: How have espressomachines changed in the 21st century? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/04/technical-evolution-how-have-espresso-machines-changed-in-the-21st-century/
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 GroupHead: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://fivesenses.com.au/blogs/news/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/