Bezzera New Hobby Review: Why It Beats Other Killer Machines
Are you tired of shelling out big bucks for espresso at your local cafe? Or sick of the sub-par espresso you’ve been making with your cheap home machine? Fear not! There is another way, and it need not break the bank.
The Bezzera New Hobby espresso machine is affordable and compact but still delivers cafe-quality espresso, best-in-class steam power, a 3-way solenoid valve, and impressive build quality. If that sounds like what you’re after, keep reading.
Summary Box: The Bezzera New Hobby
- Single boiler dual use compact semi-automatic espresso machine.
- Most impressive steam pressure in its class and commercial style steam wand.
- Excellent build quality from one of the oldest names in the business.
It took me a while to learn what with all the variables, but I have far surpassed what I thought was the perfect cup of coffee.– Peter M., Customer
The Bezzera New Hobby Review
Bezzera’s New Hobby is the brand’s entry-level prosumer espresso machine. But it’s by no means low quality. On the contrary, even at the lower end, these machines are serious pieces of equipment.
In this review, I’ll look at all the details of this surprisingly affordable Bezzera model. I’ll also compare it to its closest competition, the Rancilio Silvia, where relevant, as there’s a good chance that if you’re here, you’re considering both.
Brewing Capacity – 3/5
Bezzera New Hobby doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the higher-end Bezzera models. And that’s because it’s the entry-level model. But that said, it’s still a prosumer-grade machine that is more than capable of making an incredible espresso (1). The main trade-off versus the more expensive machines is that it has a single boiler. So you can’t make espresso and steam milk for specialty coffees simultaneously.
At 0.25 litres, the boiler is relatively tiny. However, it’s heated with a surprisingly powerful 1100 Watt heating element, which means it can go from brewing to steaming temperature remarkably fast. In comparison, with the Silvia, you’ll get a slightly larger 0.3-litre boiler paired with a slightly less powerful 1000 Watt element.
The New Hobby uses a vibratory pump, which is expected at this price range and is true for all machines in this class. However, if you wish for a quieter rotary pump, be prepared to pay a bit more for a higher-end model, like both the DE and the MN versions of the Bezzera Matrix.
The portafilter has the commercial standard 58 mm diameter, which is always a desirable feature as it makes it easy to buy accessories like tampers and levellers.
User-friendliness – 4/5
A nice thing about entry-level models is that they tend to be simple to use, and this one is no exception.
The New Hobby is operated with four rocker switches on the front of the machine: power, pump, brewing, and steaming. This is not rocket science. Additionally, an indicator light turns green when the machine is at the correct temperature.
One of the nicest features of this model is its impressive 3-litre water reservoir, a rarity in such a compact machine.
Most, including the Silvia, have water tanks closer to 2 litres. If you often make a lot of back-to-back drinks to serve a crowd, you’ll appreciate not having to refill as often. A small window on the outside of the machine serves as a visible level indicator.
The top of the New Hobby serves as a passive cup warmer as the heat from the boiler radiates up. It’s pretty effective, but only after the machine has been on for a while.
Milk Frothing – 3.5/5
The New Hobby is an automatic espresso machine equipped with impressive steam power for a small machine with a small boiler. It uses a commercial steam wand with a two-hole tip that, if you’re upgrading for the first time from an appliance-grade espresso machine, is definitely going to wow you.
According to Neil Soque, a UK-based roaster and barista, there’s an industry-wide trend toward more power and control in steam wands on domestic machines (2).
This supports a more consistent, stable, and higher-quality microfoam for a range of beverages.
The Bezzera New Hobby steams 5 ounces of milk for a latte faster than any machine in its class, including the much pricier ECM Casa V. It’s also ready to steam very quickly, a full 40 seconds faster than the Rancilio Silvia.
A rarely seen feature of this machine is a dedicated switch for manually refilling the boiler after a lot of steam. You can also use this to get hot water for tea or Americanos. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated hot water tap, though that’s a space-saving decision.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Bezzera is one of the oldest manufacturers of espresso machines. Its founder Luigi Bezzera is credited with one of the first espresso machine patents well over a century ago (3).
With that kind of experience, it’s no surprise that all Bezzera machines are remarkably well made. This is because Bezzera has built its reputation on combining tradition with innovation. Take a look at the modern manual lever Bezzera Strega espresso machine, for example!
The New Hobby is a compact machine, measuring just 9.8” deep by 8.6” wide by 13.7” tall. It has a sleek design that won’t look out of place in small kitchens and can slide easily under upper cupboards. Just be aware that you won’t have a ton of clearance under the group for larger mugs.
The durable stainless-steel exterior is available in three colours: plain stainless steel, matte black, or a striking red.
The chrome-plated brass brew group on the Bezzera Hobby is commercial-grade, as is the portafilter, which is notably hefty. It features an angled handle, a rare feature at this price point, so it lies flat on the counter for tamping.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
The nice thing about a single boiler machine like the Bezzera New Hobby is that it has fewer parts and less to go wrong.
You need to do very little to keep this machine in tip-top shape. First, wipe down its surfaces with a microfibre cloth, backflush on the manufacturer’s schedule, and use filtered water in the reservoir. If you live in an area with hard water, consider using softened water to avoid the build-up of scale in the boiler.
This model features a 3-way solenoid valve that redirects excess water and pressure in the chrome-plated brass brew group into the drip tray. This means that after pulling a shot, your coffee puck is dry and easy to knock into a waste bin — no sloppy grounds mess.
Don’t Buy the Bezzera New Hobby If…
You make a lot of milky drinks: If you make a lot of milky coffees, it’s worth paying extra for something that can steam milk and brew coffee simultaneously. Consider the Bezzera BZ10 espresso machine, a heat exchanger machine with impressive specs.
You’re too advanced for entry-level: If you like the idea of a single boiler but want a machine that you won’t be inclined to upgrade, take a look at our Bezzera Unica review. While still affordable, it is a bit more advanced, with an E61 group head and PID temperature control.
You want to tinker: If you like the idea of buying an entry-level machine like the Hobby so that you can DIY some upgrades, you’re not alone. There are online communities dedicated to modifications for both the Rancilio Silvia and the Gaggia Classic Pro.
Whether you’re brand new to espresso or looking to break into prosumer-grade espresso machines for the first time, the Bezzera New Hobby is an excellent choice. This compact little brewer is easy to use, makes fantastic espresso, and outpaces the competition when it comes to steam pressure. You won’t regret giving it a home in your kitchen.
- Korhonen, J. (2019, July 22). Creating the Perfect Espresso Recipe. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/jori-korhonen/july-2019/creating-perfect-espresso-recipe
- Soque, N. (2021, March 1). Six years on: An updated guide to buying home espresso machines. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/03/six-years-on-an-updated-guide-to-buying-home-espresso-machines/
- 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/