Bezzera Magica Espresso Machine Review: All About Balance
Bezzera Magica espresso machine finds a happy medium in nearly every respect. It has the right features for the right price, and it perfectly combines modern technology with traditional engineering and design. As a bonus, Magica is a perfect size: between compact and over-large.
This espresso machine is built to please, but will it meet your needs? Let’s find out in this in-depth Bezzera Magica review.
Summary: The Bezzera Magica
- Semi-automatic espresso machine with a 2L heat exchanger boiler
- Exceptional build quality from the world’s oldest manufacturer of espresso machines
- Available with or without a PID temperature controller
Incredible quality and beauty! I started pulling great shots in the first few hours; it was so easy to dial in.– Customer
The Full Bezzera Magica Review
Bezzera has a long history of espresso machine manufacturing (1). Their founder, Luigi Bezzera, held the first patent for an espresso machine, making them a gold standard in the industry. Bezzera has been family-run from the beginning, with current general manager Luca Bezzera now the fourth generation. He credits hard work and enthusiasm for their ongoing success.
You need to put a lot of passion into your job and to dedicate a lot of yourself to your job.
Bezzera espresso machines stay relevant by innovating while maintaining traditional manufacturing techniques and design. The result is models like the Bezzera Magica, which do an excellent job pairing the best of the past and present.
Brewing Capacity – 3.5/5
The Bezzera Magica is a semi-automatic espresso machine with a heat exchanger boiler. This design reserves a portion of the boiler for lower-temperature brew water so that you can brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously.
At the heart of the Bezzera Magica is a 2-litre copper boiler. Copper is a top choice in high-end espresso machines thanks to its high thermal conductivity, fast heating and cooling and accurate brew temperatures. It’s paired with a vibratory pump that is plenty powerful enough to produce the requisite 9 bars of pressure.
This machine is available with or without a PID temperature controller. PIDs are a relatively new addition to HX machines, following pioneering examples like the Rocket Giotto Evolutione. While you still won’t be able to set the brewing temperature directly, you’ll be able to set the steam temperature and have fewer temperature fluctuations more accurately.
On the front of the espresso machine, you’ll find the iconic E61 group head, with a standard 58 mm diameter brew group.
The E61 group head uses a thermosyphon system for cycling hot water from the boiler to the group head. Also, it relies on a chrome-plated brass portafilter, keeping everything hot and temperature-stable in preparation for extracting espresso (2).
User Friendliness – 3.5/5
Like any heat exchanging system, the Bezzera Magica espresso machine has a learning curve, especially if you opt to skip the PID. You’ll need to use cooling flushes to manage the brew temperature for espresso extraction. With the PID, the process is a bit more obvious, with a simple display accompanied by +/- buttons.
The interface is very straightforward, with a simple on/off toggle switch and two LED lights, one for power ON and one for heater ON.
While the vibratory pump means this espresso machine is incompatible with direct plumbing, it does offer a 4-litre water reservoir, one of the largest around. When it needs refilling, it’s easy to access under the built-in cup warmer. The cup rails act as handles, so you can remove the tray easily without disturbing any cups. It would be nice to see a handle on the water tank itself, though, as it is pretty heavy when full.
The dual pressure gauges make monitoring brew pressure and steam boiler pressure easy. Using the two manometers to analyse a shot in progress makes it easy to dial in and reproduce a perfect espresso.
Milk Frothing – 4/5
Milk frothing is excellent on this machine, as the 2-litre heat exchanging boiler provides plenty of steam power. Spring-loaded joysticks operate the stainless steel steam and hot water wands. The joystick-styled knobs are a popular feature of this model. Compared with knobs, it’s easy to turn the steam quickly on and off, continually, or produce short bursts of steam.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
The build quality is as exceptional as you would expect from a century-old Italian espresso machine manufacturer. From the stainless steel exterior panels and drip tray to the copper boiler and E61 group head, the Magica is made from quality materials that are built to last.
It’s medium-sized, measuring 42.5 cm deep by 41.5 cm tall by 30 cm wide. The ample width is nice because you can fit a lot of mugs in the built-in cup warmer up top. But if you’re pressed for space, you could look at the smaller Bezzera BZ10, an HX machine with a 1.5-litre boiler and electronically heated brew group.
The Bezzera Magica has a retro design, especially modern-style models like the Matrix.
The aesthetic is minimalist, with gleaming mirror-finish steel panels, polished black accents, and white pressure gauges.
It comes with a single and double spouted portafilter; both adorned with the iconic snake logo.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, most premium espresso machines are created equal. You need to put some elbow grease into keeping a prosumer espresso machine in tiptop shape, but it can last for decades with the appropriate care.
At the most basic level, regularly keep the water reservoir topped up and empty the drip tray. This is quickly done with the Magica as both are pretty large compared to others in the class. Always use filtered water to avoid scale build-up, especially with copper boilers, which are more prone to corrosion than stainless steel alternatives.
This machine offers an emergency shut-off that will cut the power should the boiler run dry for peace of mind. This avoids a possible cause or catastrophic damage.
Note that a solid-state PID will last longer than a mechanical pressure stat. So if you’ve opted for the PID version of the Bezzera Magica, you can expect more longevity – or at least one less part that will eventually need replacement.
Don’t Buy the Bezzera Magica If…
- You don’t make milky drinks: If you rarely enjoy a latte, there’s no reason to spend the money on a heat exchanger machine. Instead, opt for a single boiler, a dual-use option like the Bezzera Unica, which still offers high-end features like an E61 group head. Or go for the much cheaper New Hobby and spend the cost savings on a quality grinder.
- You want a dual boiler: If you’re seriously into specialty coffee, you’re probably going to want the control that only a dual boiler with a PID can offer. In that case, consider the gorgeous and advanced Bezzera Matrix.
- You want a statement piece: If you’re splurging on a prosumer machine, maybe you want one can prepare an incredible espresso AND be a focal point of your kitchen – though be prepared to spend a bit more. The lever-operated Bezzera Strega certainly grabs the attention. Or indulge in the “Lamborghini of espresso machines,” the Slayer, which is expensive, beautiful, and high performance (3).
The Bezzera Magic is an easy espresso machine to love, beautifully balancing functionality with low cost. Indeed, both the PID and pressure stat versions offer excellent value. Equally impressive is its balance between modern technology with Italian tradition, delivering a timeless espresso machine you’ll be proud to enjoy for years to come.
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/
- Morris, J. (2020, December 23). The Faema E61 Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.historians.org/research-and-publications/perspectives-on-history/january-2021/the-faema-e61-espresso-machine
- Wolfson, J. (2018, May 4). Behind the Scenes with Slayer Espresso. Retrieved from https://coolhunting.com/food-drink/slayer-espresso/