Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine Review
The Nuova Simonelli Musica is a do-it-all espresso machine — compact enough for a home kitchen but with the capacity for a small cafe or catering business.
So how can it fit in your life? Let’s find out.
In this Nuova Simonelli Musica review, we’ll look at everything this little workhorse has to offer, from its brewing capacity to its funky, futuristic style.
SUMMARY: The Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine
- Heat-exchanger prosumer espresso machine with volumetric controls
- Compact and NSF rated, so suitable for home or commercial use
- Commercial-level steam power and 4-hole steam tip for cafe-style microfoam
It not only looks amazing, but with a week or two of work, I’m making some lovely coffee! Very happy with the purchase.– Katherine, Customer
The Nuova Simonelli Musica Review
The Nuova Simonelli Musica is so versatile that it’s hard to classify. It has a compact footprint, which makes it suitable for home use. But its capacity, commercial-grade components, and NSF rating make it equally viable for a small business.
In this Nuova Simonelli Musica review, we’ll dig into the details so that you can decide how it can work for you. No matter the context, delicious espresso is a GUARANTEE.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
The Nuova Simonelli Musica is a heat exchanger espresso machine with a 2-liter copper boiler. So, you can steam milk and brew coffee at the same time. Plus, you can do it multiple times in a row. It uses a vibratory pump, which is slightly louder than a rotary pump but no less effective, and it is smaller and more affordable.
The Musica includes the same Soft Infusion System found on Nuova Simonelli’s higher-end models. This low-pressure pre-infusion stage settles the grounds before extraction, limiting channeling even if tamping and distribution aren’t perfect. The result is a richer and more flavorful shot with less room for human error.
The major difference between the Nuova Simonelli Musica and the-less-expensive Oscar II is the volumetric controls.
There are three soft-touch buttons on the group to program a set volume and a manual option.
This is especially useful for efficiency in a commercial setting. But even at home, it is nice to be able to let the espresso take care of itself while you concentrate on steaming milk (1). Nuova Simonelli’s high-end commercial machines operate the same way.
The group head is not an E61, which is the most common type on prosumer espresso machines like this, but the theory is the same. Hot water is siphoned from the boiler and circulated through the group head to maintain temperature stability. It’s very effective, with temperature stability being one of the hallmark features of this machine. Though if you’re looking for the additional temperature control of a PID, you won’t find it in the Nuova Simonelli Musica.
Another nice feature of the current version of this machine is that you can easily access the OPV. This has not always been the case. Now you can adjust the pump pressure without needing a tool kit and an hour of spare time.
User Friendliness – 3.5/5
Espresso machines with heat exchange boilers all require a bit of a learning curve because cooling flushes are needed to manage the temperature. But the Musica is no more difficult to use than any other. In fact, its programmable volumetric controls go a long way to simplifying the workflow.
A few other excellent features add to the user experience. An angled mirror positioned over the drip tray allows you to view your shot from the bottom without leaning over or craning your neck. This is relatively common in commercial machines, but less so in home machines, and it’s a welcome surprise.
The Nuova Simonelli Musica also has a pressure gauge on the machine’s front, another upgrade versus the Oscar II. The gauge is a nice way to be alert to what’s happening inside the machine and help you finetune your extractions.
The angled handle of the portafilters is another excellent touch. With the Musica, Nuova Simonelli includes a single and double spouted portafilter. Finally, both have angled handles so that the portafilter lies flat on a surface for tamping.
Milk Frothing – 4.5/5
Nuova Simonelli is known for its high-end frothing systems and a commitment to optimizing extraction (2). Indeed, this brand is the official sponsor and machine provider for the World Barista Championships. You can find the same four-hole steam tip used in competition on the Nuova Simonelli Musica.
The four-hole steam tip paired with the 2-liter boiler can yield so much steam pressure that it may be overwhelming for a novice barista. If you’re a new customer, consider swapping in a slower steaming tip while you get the hang of it.
The controls are push-pull, but they don’t offer a ton of power. They’re essentially just an on-off switch, with no easy way to produce shorter bursts of steam or slow down.
That said, the ergonomics of the push-pull design are superb. And ergonomics are an essential consideration when buying an espresso maker, especially for commercial use. Just ask World Barista Championship finalist, Fabrizio Sención (3).
The barista needs to feel comfortable when using the machine, and also the steamer should be at the right angle for the milk steaming process.
In another departure from Oscar II, the Nuova Simonelli Musica has a separate steam wand and hot water wand, though this is expected given its higher price.
Build Quality – 4/5
When discussing the build of the Nuova Simonelli Musica, the obvious starting point is its divisive futuristic design. They originally designed it to mimic a harp, hence the name Musica. It has a very modern aesthetic that would probably fit right in on Star Trek’s set, and how you feel about it comes down to personal taste. It is certainly unique.
There are two styles, one with blacks edges and the more expensive Lux, which has lights running down the sides. Although some will prefer the more tactile experience of pulling a lever on an E61 group, the interface is attractive. The soft-touch buttons are back-lit for easy visibility, and you can even adjust their brightness.
Setting aside aesthetics, the build quality of the Musica is fantastic. Unlike the half-plastic Oscar II, the outside is entirely stainless steel.
Inside, Musica features mostly commercial-grade components befitting its NSF rating, and the portafilters are the standard 58 mm version.
If you’re buying it for the home, you’ll notice it feels hefty and durable, and it will last much longer than a typical home machine. They built it to withstand making consistent espressos all day long. But also bear in mind that it’s larger than a standard domestic model. At 17″ tall, it won’t fit comfortably under upper cupboards, especially if you need to access the water reservoir.
There are a few misses. The drip tray is surprisingly difficult to remove, which is incredibly frustrating if it’s full of dirty water. And it comes with a useless plastic tamper, which is a disappointment at this price.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 3/5
In regards to water management, the Nuova Simonelli Musica is available in two versions. The Direct Connect is designed to be plumbed to a water line, and the Pour Over uses a 3-liter water tank in the back. There is no way to convert between the two, so be sure you know what you want when you buy.
In general, maintenance on this machine is the same as any other. Keep things clean, use filtered water, and backflush regularly. Unfortunately, the Musica doesn’t have an automatic cleaning cycle, so you need to do it manually.
It does have a three-way solenoid valve to release excess pressure and moisture from the basket into the drip tray. You don’t need to worry about the dreaded “portafilter sneeze” when you detach it, and your pucks will be dry and easy to knock into a knock box.
The internals are a bit chaotic, so if you need maintenance, it’s a complicated machine to work on yourself. Along with this, because Musica doesn’t use the industry-standard E61 group head, it can be a bit harder to find skilled technicians and spare parts.
Don’t Buy The Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine If…
- You don’t need volumetric controls: If you think you’ll mainly be using the manual button, you might want to consider the Nuova Simonelli Oscar 2 instead. It has the same boiler, group, and commercial quality components at a much lower cost.
- You want a medium-to-high volume commercial machine: The Nuova Simonelli Musica is best suited for low-volume commercial environments, like an espresso cart. If you’re running a mid-sized cafe, think about the Nuova Simonelli Appia instead.
- You don’t like its space-age style: This is a big espresso machine that will likely be the focal point of your kitchen, so don’t buy it if you don’t like its distinct look. There are other great heat exchanger options, like the Rocket Appartamento or Lelit Mara.
Whether you’re looking for a sturdy commercial level machine for your home or a compact brewer for your small business, the Nuova Simonelli Musica fits the bill. It stands out thanks to its unique futuristic design, but it’s the great espresso, steam power, and ease of use that will really impress.
- Northrop, R. (2017, April 18). Inside Digital Espresso Machines. Retrieved from https://www.freshcup.com/digital-espresso/
- Brown, N. (2019, October 16). With Simonelli Support, Coffee Science Foundation Launching Espresso Research Project. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/10/16/with-simonelli-support-coffee-science-foundation-launching-espresso-research-project/
- Ospina, A.K.M. (2017, June 14). A WBC Finalist’s Advice for Buying a New Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/a-wbc-finalists-advice-for-buying-a-new-espresso-machine/