Bezzera Matrix Espresso Machine Review (DE and MN)
For such a well-made and affordable dual boiler espresso machine, the Bezzera Matrix doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It even comes in two models, an automatic and a semi-automatic; there’s a version for you no matter your brewing style.
This review will discuss what makes the Matrix unique, including futuristic features like a touchscreen display and color-changing side panels. It’s about time espresso lovers took note of this impressive machine!
SUMMARY: The Bezzera Matrix (DE and MN)
- Double boiler espresso maker with PID temperature control and touchscreen display
- The Matrix MN is manually operated, and the Matrix DE is an auto volumetric
- Eye-catching, light-up glass side panels with adjustable color
The machine hums along effortlessly and the rotary pump is strikingly quiet compared to the vibration pump that I’m used to.– Customer
The Bezzera Matrix DE and MN Review
Bezzera makes two models of the Matrix. The base model is the manually operated MN. The more advanced model is the auto volumetric Matrix DE, which is surprisingly only a few hundred dollars more expensive.
In the following sections, we’ll look at both models in detail to decide which is right for you.
Brewing Capacity – 4.5/5
Let’s start with the basic specs common to both machines. Both the MN and DE are dual boilers with dual PID temperature control and rotary vane pumps. Both have a 15-ounce copper coffee boiler and a 35.5-ounce copper steam boiler. The coffee boiler PID can be set up to 204 ℃, while You can set up the steam boiler to 266 ℃.
Relying on a PID, rather than the more old-fashioned pressure stat, means better temperature control and consistency. According to Diego Castro, Technology Manager at Counter Culture Coffee, that’s an important factor in making the perfect espresso, (1).
The barista should never have to wonder whether the water delivered to their coffee is too hot or cold.
Thanks to the rotary vane pump, both can be plumbed in or run off the water reservoir. When plumbed directly, you have the option of line pressure pre-infusion, which is not always the case in other plumbed-in espresso machines. In either machine, you can program the automatic pre-infusion for between 1 and 5 seconds.
Speaking of programming, the Matrix models have one of the most advanced programming displays in their class. The stunning 3.5″ color touchscreen display, which gives you access to all the Matrix’s features, looks like something you’d find on a super-automatic machine.
Now let’s talk about where the two models differ.
The MN is the base model. It uses the industry-standard E61 group head in which temperature is controlled by a thermosyphon that continually cycles hot water from the boiler. To pull a shot of coffee, you start and stop manually using a lever.
The upgraded Bezzera Matrix DE has an electronically heated group head in place of the E61, though you’ll be happy to hear it’s still the standard 58 mm size. Electronic groups have the advantage of being faster to heat up and more temperature stable. The DE has a third PID that allows you to adjust the temperature at the group.
Additionally, the Bezzera Matrix DE model uses programmable volumetric rather than manual brewing. So it can act as an automatic rather than a semi-automatic espresso maker.
Four programmable buttons on the front of the machine, coupled with a flow meter inside, allow you to pre-set particular shot volumes. Then when it’s time to brew, you just push the button for a consistent output. This avoids the need for any additional equipment, like a scale, and frees your hands to steam milk or cook breakfast.
But don’t worry! If you prefer to be engaged fully in the process, there is a manual button as well.
User Friendliness – 4/5
The Matrix ranks high for user-friendliness thanks to the inclusion of the touchscreen display, a real rarity on this prosumer-grade espresso machine style.
The display gives access to a ton of functionality that makes the operation of this machine a pleasure.
What can you do? Honestly, it might be faster to list what you can’t do.
You can set the boiler temperatures and the group head temperature on the Bezzera Matrix DE. Plus, you can program pre-infusion. What else? You can set maintenance alerts or switch from running off the reservoir to plumbed in. It alerts you when the level in your water tank is getting low. The machine acts as a shot timer. It even has a neat mode where the display goes unresponsive for 10 seconds so you can clean it.
The Matrix DE model has a few additional touches, making it even easy to use. You can program the machine to turn on at a particular time and even tell it which boiler has priority during heat up. It also has handy little LED lights under the group, so your coffee will be spotlighted on those dark early mornings.
Of course, the volumetric controls of the DE version make it far more straightforward to operate, allowing you to pull a shot at the press of a button. That said, some baristas prefer the manual control and tactile feel of the E61 lever. If you’re a true manual fan, take a look at Bezzera’s innovative lever-operated machine, the Strega.
Milk Frothing – 3.5/5
The milk frothing on the Matrix isn’t necessarily a stand-out feature, but it’s more than adequate for a home user looking to churn out lattes and cappuccinos for friends and family. The 1-liter boiler isn’t the biggest in the business, but you can always increase the steam pressure by upping the boiler temperature with the PID controls.
If you have commercial experience and are looking for that “blow milk onto the ceiling” level of steam power, check out something like the ECM Synchronika. Or ignore budget concerns altogether and look into the La Marzocco GS3, a 3.5-liter boiler for steam.
There are separate wands for steam and hot water, and you control both with intuitive and easy-to-use joysticks. Whether you prefer joysticks or knobs is a personal preference, but joysticks are better for turning the steam on and off quickly and for generating quick bursts of steam. Bezzera’s joysticks can also be locked on in the up position for hands-free steaming.
The steam itself is very dry, and the two hole tip on the steam wand is nicely balanced with the size of the boiler.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Based in Milan, Italy, Bezzera is one of the oldest espresso machine manufacturers (2). Luigi Bezzera received one of the first patents for an espresso maker over 100 years ago, and the company is still family-run, four generations later. The result of this extensive experience is reliably high-quality machines.
But before we even talk about the build, let’s talk about aesthetics. Those light-up glass side panels are sure to be the first thing you notice about the Matrix. They’re certainly a creative idea from Bezzera’s team, and they’ve garnered this model plenty of fans.
The transparent glass lets you see the internals of the machine, which is pretty cool. But even more impressive are the built-in LED lights. Using the touchscreen, you can choose the light color, from red, green, or blue — or any combination thereof. Feeling purple this morning? No problem!
Not a fan of the modern look?
If you’re not a fan of the modern look, don’t despair. Bezzera makes a near-identical double boiler, the Duo DE or MN, with a more classic stainless steel design.
Another excellent design decision is the inclusion of rosewood accents. Many companies give you the option to pay extra for wooden touches, so it’s nice to see it offered standard here. You’ll find warm wood rather than plastic on the joystick knobs, lever handle (on the MN), and portafilter handles.
Moving on to the actual quality of the build, it is excellent, which is a hallmark of the best Bezzera espresso machines in general. Because Bezzera insists on making all of their components in-house, starting from the raw materials, rather than outsourcing any engineering aspect, their quality control is unmatched.
It’s a big machine, like most dual boilers. It measures 12.2″ wide by 18.5″ deep by 16.5″ tall and weighs 85 pounds. So make sure you’ve established where it will live in your home before you buy. And be sure you’re a fan of the aesthetics because it’s sure to become a focal point.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
With its rotary vane pump, you can plumb the Matrix to a water line, which is an excellent option for minimizing day-to-day maintenance of this machine, especially if you add in an appropriate filter for water conditions in your area. If you’re not set up for direct plumbing, there’s a solution for that, too.
The 4-liter water tank is one of the largest around, so you won’t need to refill it often.
Some differences between the two models come into play here as well. The Bezzera Matrix DE offers an automatic backflushing program, whereas the MN does not. However, the display of the MN will walk you through manual backflushing step by step, which makes it pretty foolproof.
When it comes to maintenance, the MN might have the edge just based on its E61 group head. Because these groups are so common, it is relatively easy to find skilled technicians and/or spare parts when they need service. This is less true of the unique Bezzera-designed electronic group.
Don’t Buy the Matrix If…
You’re looking for a more compact machine: Dual boilers are notoriously large. If you want to save space while still maintaining an efficient workflow, check out our Bezzera BZ10 review for a heat exchanger machine with a small footprint.
You don’t make many milky drinks: If you don’t often crave a latte or cappuccino, save your money by buying a single boiler espresso maker instead. The Bezzera Unica is an excellent choice if you still want PID temperature control. Or, take a look at the entry-level New Hobby. It comes in at about a quarter the price of the Matrix. Here’s our Bezzera New Hobby review.
You’re interested in flow control: These days, the idea of adjusting flow rate while you pull a shot is gaining popularity because it allows you to tease more flavors from your coffee (3). If that interests you, check out the Lelit Bianca or the ECM Synchronika, which you can upgrade with a flow control modification.
With the easy-to-operate touchscreen display and optional volumetric dosing, the Matrix is a fantastic dual boiler espresso machine for anyone looking to blend Italian espresso tradition with future technology. The stunning glass side panels will catch the eyes of your guests, but it’s the quality of the drinks you serve that will leave them truly impressed.
- Prinsloo, M. (2018, November 9). How Do Espresso Machines Work? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/11/how-do-espresso-machines-work/
- 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/
- Grant, T. (2020, July 29). How Flow Profiling Impacts Espresso Extraction. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/07/how-flow-profiling-impacts-espresso-coffee-extraction/