Unic Mira Espresso Machine Review: Durable and User-Friendly
Looking for a commercial espresso machine that doesn’t take months of training to master? What about one that’s affordable and well-made? Unic Mira should be on your radar if you answered yes to both.
Available with one, two, or three groups to suit any size of cafe, the Mira can be as automatic as you want to make it. Professional baristas and trainees alike can easily prepare delicious espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes to thrill your customers.
Summary: The Unic Mira Espresso Machine
- Automatic commercial espresso machine with large heat exchange boiler
- User-friendly features make it easy for anyone to use
- Durable stainless steel construction
This thing is built like a tank. It’s easy to use and fast to heat up. I was pleasantly surprised.– Customer
Where to buy Unic Mira
When you decide to invest a larger amount of money in a piece of equipment, it is only fair that you’re given several options to choose. The options below are all trusted retailers and they all have something different to offer. So, take some time to consider all options before finalising your purchase.
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The Full Unic Mira Review
They offer an impressively large line-up or commercial models, with the Mira being one of the most popular thanks to its more affordable price tag. It’s available in several versions, all of which we will be discussing in the following review.
You can order Unic Mira with 1, 2, or 3 groups, depending on the size of your cafe. The 1 and 2 group versions are also available in a high profile model, which accepts taller mugs, and the 2 group is available in a semi-automatic version at a lower cost.
Okay, let’s dive into what you can expect from each of these machines.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
All the models of the Unic Mira rely on a heat exchange boiler, which allows you to steam milk and brew coffee at the same time. The more groups, the larger the boiler – 6.3 L for one group, 10 L for two groups, and 16 L for three groups. In every case, the copper boiler refills automatically, giving the barista one less cause for concern.
Typically, heat exchange boilers don’t offer quite the same temperature stability as double boiler set-ups, in which each group has its brew boiler. But Unic has an innovative design with each group mounted directly to the boiler, which improves traditional heat exchanger machines.
Mira requires very little in the way of cooling flushes, making it easy to learn to use.
Speaking of easy to use, other than the semi-automatic two group version, all the Mira models are automatic, with 4 programmable volumetric buttons per group. You can preset each button to deliver a certain amount of hot water (for single, double, or long shots, for example), making pulling a shot as simple as the push of a button.
You can also program different styles of pre-infusion. Not only does pre-infusion guarantee more consistent and flavorful espresso, but the different options provide a lot more flexibility when working with different coffees (2). Of course, there is also a manual mode, should you wish to operate your Mira like a semi-automatic.
Like most commercial machines, the Mira uses a rotary vane pump. These are quieter than the lower-cost vibration pumps and provide more consistent pressure.
User Friendliness – 4/5
Along with durability, user-friendliness is the hallmark of the Unic brand. For starters, these are automatic machines, meaning that once they’ve been programmed, pulling a shot is as simple as pushing a button. But that’s just the beginning of the user-friendly features.
The Unic Mira includes a dual pressure gauge that reports pump and steam pressure. This allows you to monitor how your drink progresses and makes it easier to reproduce a perfect result. It also includes an integrated shot timer, a handy option when dialing in new beans or pulling shots manually.
The Unic Mira is very adaptable, so you can make it even easier to use should you so desire. Adaptors and different group heads are available for various pods and capsules, though you will make sacrifices in quality if you opt not to use freshly ground coffee beans.
As with most espresso machines, the top surface of every Unic Mira acts as an effective passive cup warmer. If you opt for one of the high-profile models, you’ll also receive stainless steel risers for when you want to use demitasse cups, thereby avoiding messy splashes. These little details are really what distinguish the best machines from the rest.
Milk Frothing – 4/5
As you would expect from a quality commercial model, the Unic Mira is equipped with professional-grade stainless steel steam wands. The one group version has one steam wand, while the two and three group versions each have two wands. All three versions also have a single independent hot water tap with flow regulation.
The steaming on the Mira is excellent, which is no surprise given the huge copper boiler.
The steam is powerful and abundant, so you can churn out consistent large lattes even during a busy rush.
The steam is nicely dry with the stock stainless steel wands, perfect for creating a luxurious microfoam. You also have the option to swap the stainless for a Teflon steam wand, which is easier to clean but yields slightly wetter steam.
As I already mentioned, Unic is known for its user-friendly espresso machines, extending to the milk steaming process. You can add the brand’s SteamAir auto foam and auto temperature control for a small up charge, which automates the steaming process to make it virtually foolproof. This is an excellent option in a non-specialty cafe where barista training is a lower priority.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Unic espresso machines have a reputation for ruggedness. Company’s as been manufacturing them since 1919. They are made from stainless steel panels and a welded steel framework. While not as pretty as some others, what they lack in aesthetics, they make up for durability – not to mention low price. That said, their rather rugged, industrial look will undoubtedly appeal to some tastes.
According to distributor Chris’ Coffee, they are one of the most reliable brands they sell.
We will often sell Unic machines that will be located outside of our service radius area due to the fact that they rarely have service issues.
This little need for service is a massive advantage for a small cafe owner looking to save money over the long haul. Furthermore, when Unic machine needs service, the replacement parts are easy to obtain and more affordable than many other brands.
The Unic Mira should serve you well for at least a decade if you treat it right.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 3.5/5
When it comes to cleaning, ease-of-use is again the game’s name. The Mira includes an automated back-flushing cycle designed to take the hassle out of daily cleaning. Between this and the options for automated shot pulling and milk frothing, it requires very little training to operate this machine.
Beyond that, keeping the Unic Mira in tip-top shape is as simple as wiping down any components that come in contact with coffee and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance program, as you would with any commercial model.
As always, use filtered water rather than tap water when brewing (3). This prevents scale build-up in the copper boiler and yields a more delicious, cleaner-tasting espresso.
Things we liked:
- Better than average temperature stability
- Optional automatic milk steaming
- Automated cleaning cycles
- Well-engineered so it rarely needs service
Things we didn’t like:
- Spare, industrial design won’t appeal to everyone
Don’t Buy the Unic Mira If…
You’re not looking for a commercial espresso machine: If you just want a quality espresso machine for your home, even the single group Unic Mira will likely be overkill. Instead, check out the feature-packed M&V Vesuvius espresso machine, or any of our picks for the best prosumer machines.
You’re looking for something with a different style: If you don’t like the spare, industrial look of the Mira, you might prefer the Nuova Simonelli Appia. It offers similar functionality at a similar price point, but features smooth curves and is available in three colors.
The Decent Espresso DE1+Pro also sports a sleek design. This Decent espresso machine uses software to make espresso instead of manual manipulation of levers.
Regardless of the size of your cafe, the one, two, or three-group Unic Mira is up to the task. It particularly shines in situations where barista training is not a priority, as it’s packed with easy-to-use features that make it quick to learn and simple to operate. Combine that with the affordable price tag and durable build, a great-value espresso machine.
- Brown, N. (2019, April 25). Electrolux Acquires French Espresso Machine Maker Unic. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/04/25/electrolux-acquires-french-espresso-machine-maker-unic/
- Aloe, R.M. (2020, May 7). Espresso Parameters: Pre-Infusion, Pressure, and Water Temperature. Retrieved from https://towardsdatascience.com/espresso-parameters-pre-infusion-pressure-and-water-temperature-f543a3c4044e
- La Marzocco. (2016, March 2). Water for Home Espresso. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/water-for-home-espresso-machines/