In this guide, we're going to be comparing the Nuova Simonelli Musica vs Appia. We're diving into the details to bring you all the information you need to decide between them.
You're going to discover...
- The key similarities between the Nuova Simonellia Musica and the Appia II.
- What makes these machines different and what that means for you.
- Advice on which machine to buy based on your professional or individual needs.
Nuova Simonellia Musica
Combining beauty and functionality, the Musica is a good choice for small shops that want the whole package: style, flexibility and quality. This is the best option if you run a lower volume establishment.
Nuova Simonellia Appia II
This is another flexible machine that will give you excellent control when brewing and steaming. Pick one of the Appia II models if you need a machine for a slightly higher volume cafe.
One similarity between the Nuova Simonelli Musica and Appia II is that they're both available with one group, which is great for small businesses and operations that don't do high-volume espresso service.
However, there's also an important difference we'd like to note right away: The Musica only comes in a single-group version while the Appia II configurations come in one-group, two-group and three-group versions.
Since the Musica is a one-group machine, we'll be discussing the one-group Appia II configurations for the fairest comparison.
Here are the single-group machine configurations we'll be comparing:
- The Nuova Simonelli Musica
- The Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux
- The Nuova Simonelli Appia II Semiautomatic (1 Group)
- The Nuova Simonelli Appia II Volumetric (1 Group)
To see the range of configurations the Appia II comes in with multiple group options, read our Nuova Simonelli Appia II Review.
Both the Musica and the Appia II are constructed with stainless steel panels that give them a handy reverse mirror.
A reverse mirror shows you all of the angles of the espresso while you're brewing for closer observation.
The equation for making great espresso is part machine design and part user knowledge, but even experts rely on visual cues to make sure the final product is high quality.
With the reverse mirror, you'll easily be able to tell if a shot is pouring correctly or incorrectly and make adjustments accordingly.
Volumetric dosing is an excellent feature for busy cafes. To brew, baristas push a button that will dispense the water at a programmed volume, resulting in the perfect espresso volume.
The process is automatic, which means that baristas can step away from the machine to work on other preparations. It also means that newcomers to espresso machines will be able to operate this aspect of brewing flawlessly.
The Musica (basic or Lux) automatically comes with volumetric dosing while the Appia II has a volumetric option (The Appia II Volumetric).
The Musica and the Appia II offer manual dosing in addition to volumetric dosing (except the Appia II Semiautomatic, which strictly comes with manual dosing).
Manual dosing is a great feature for baristas who want a little more control of the brew process. The barista is responsible for starting and stopping the brew cycle via the manual button, which allows for greater flexibility.
A volumetric machine with the addition of a manual button will give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to streamline espresso service and switch to on-demand manual brewing for long shots, ristretto shots and other customizations.
Soft infusion is a system that ensures proper extraction by pre-wetting the espresso in the group head.
This system will guarantee that the water reaches every coffee particle for full extraction and optimal flavor.
Another advantage of using a soft infusion system is that improper tamping won't interfere with the extraction. Sometimes the wrong pressure or an uneven tamp can throw off the brew process, but tamping issues are counteracted with soft infusion.
Read next: View the top commercial espresso machines on this exclusive Majesty Coffee School guide.
Push Pull Steam
A push-pull steam trigger is a mechanism that looks like a flip switch. Simply put, it turns the steam wand on and off.
Different espresso machines will come with different steam triggers. One common design looks like a knob that you'll twist on and off.
The nice thing about a push-pull steam trigger is that it's easy to use and won't wear you out while you're making back-to-back drinks. As you can imagine, turning steam handles can get a little tiring.
The Nuova Simonelli Musica is definitely the more compact machine, though both of these models are fairly economical in terms of space usage.
The Musica is a mere 13 inches long, 17 inches high and 16 inches wide, which is ideal for cramped counter spaces already outfitted with a number of machines.
At 16 inches long, 22 inches high and 21 inches wide, the Appia II will need a little more room all around.
This is one of the big differences that separates these machines in terms of espresso service.
The Appia II Semiautomatic and Volumetric 1 Group machines have a boiler capable of holding five liters, which means that it can serve up to about 150 espresso drinks a day.
The Musica has a two-liter boiler capacity, which factors into the machine's rating of up to 60 drinks per day.
There are different pressure gauges in the Musica and the Appia II that indicate different types of information.
On the Musica, you'll see a boiler pressure gauge to keep track of boiler pressure. This will show you when the machine is ready for brewing and steaming.
The bar pump gauge in the Appia II is designed to show you how many bars of pressure you're getting while you brew, which aids in quality control.
Your machine needs to build about nine bars of pressure to brew correctly. If you're seeing that the pressure is inadequate via the Appia II gauge, you can start tweaking your brew ratio.
You'll also be able to tell if the pump ever needs to be replaced. It's similar to a car maintenance light showing you when it's time to take it in to the mechanic.
Raised Group Heads in the Appia II
If you're serving drinks in tall cup sizes, the Appia II Volumetric and Semiautomatic 1 Group machines will allow you to put the cups directly under the group heads while brewing thanks to the raised group heads.
The Musica is built with a traditional cup height. You'll be able to brew into shorter cups or shot glasses to transfer the espresso if you need to make a tall drink.
One system is not necessarily better than the other. It really just depends on your preferences.
But if speed is crucial to your operation, the raised group heads shave off a few seconds every time your baristas work on large drink orders.
Pour Over Option in the Musica
The Appia II model is a direct-connect machine, so it's plumbed directly into a water supply for a continuous feed.
The Musica comes in a direct-connect configuration as well as a pour-over configuration, which doesn't hook up to a water line. Instead, it comes with a reservoir that you'll need to manually refill as it gets low.
Generally, there are huge advantages to the direct-connect machine type, namely that the drink line won't get stopped up when the reservoir runs empty.
You'll also be able to install a water filter or softener, improving your water quality and protecting your machine against rapid scale buildup that can break it down.
However, the advantage of the pour-over machine is that you don't need to be near a water line to operate it, making it pretty portable. If this is key in your consideration, the pour-over Musica is a great option.
Cool Touch Wands in the Appia II
Nobody likes getting burned trying to clean a hot steam wand. This is what makes the Cool Touch wands in the Appia II so desirable.
The Appia II's Cool Touch wand technology keeps the temperature to a comfortable level so that you won't get burned accidentally while you're cleaning after steaming.
The cooler temperature will also prevent milk from sticking to the wands, which facilitates faster and easier cleaning.
Surface LEDs in the Musica
The Lux version of the Musica is truly a work of art with surface LEDs. These are carefully distributed around the machine to illuminate the work area and improve visual accuracy.
Even in a fully lit cafe, the diffused light source can sometimes make it difficult to monitor all aspects of the espresso cycle. Thanks to the LEDs, you can work with greater confidence.
But a discussion of the LEDs is not complete without talking about their striking visual appearance.
If you own a coffee shop or any type of business with coffee service, you'll want to put this machine in full view of your customers so that it can be admired for its breathtaking beauty.
Automated Cleanings in the Appia II
A thorough machine cleaning at the end of the day is necessary for proper machine maintenance. This can be a bit of a slow process, so the automated cleaning function in the Appia II is definitely handy.
To operate this function, the barista selects the group to be cleaned through the display and the machine will begin the cleaning cycle.
It's nice to have a little break from the manual cleaning if this becomes tedious for you. And if you're big on multitasking, you'll be able to step away from the machine throughout the self-cleaning cycle.
Water Level Indicator in the Appia II
The Appia II's water level indicator will show you boiler water levels so that you can easily monitor them.
Because it doesn't have a water level indicator, you'll need to keep a closer eye on the Musica to make sure that the boiler water level is where it should be.
AutoSteam Option in the Appia
There is an AutoSteam option available for the Appia II Volumetric 1 Group configuration, which makes frothing milk quick and simple.
If you opt for AutoSteam, you'll be able to press a button and have the machine texture the milk automatically, achieving perfect temperature and microfoam each and every time.
Aside from promoting consistency on the milk steaming side of beverage production, this is also one of those small time-saving features that adds up.
Because baristas don't have to watch the milk while it steams, they can interact more with customers or invest the free time in greater multitasking. Either way, your business can only gain from this feature.
These machines are pretty close to each other in price, though the Musica comes with the lower price tag.
All of the Musica models at Majesty Coffee are available within the $2,000 range, with the exception of the direct-connect Musica Lux with surface LEDs for $3,240 (the pour-over Musica Lux is priced at $2,515.
The Appia II 1 Group is in the $3,000 to $4,000 range depending on which configuration you choose.
The Appia II Semiautomatic 1 Group is available for $3,510. The Appia II Volumetric 1 Group comes with AutoSteam capability for $4,860 or without AutoSteam for $4,275.
So Which Should You Buy?
Without a doubt, you have a lot to consider when choosing an espresso machine. Product features, your business type, budget and personal preferences are all essential to analyze.
First, let's consider business type. The Musica, the Appia II Volumetric 1 Group and the Appia II Semiautomatic 1 Group are all designed for small businesses, including coffee shops, restaurants and establishments that serve high quality coffee.
Because the Musica is rated for the smaller number of espressos per day, it's best for the more intimate shops and cafes with lower customer traffic. It can even make a gorgeous office or home espresso machine for the prosumer.
The Appia II can serve more customers with its 150 drink per day rating, making it the best option for small shops with higher customer traffic or a faster pace.
Again, both of these machines are great for businesses with little room for equipment—even the Appia II, though it's larger than the petite Musica.
Now what about the volumetric versus the semiautomatic Appia II configurations?
If budget is your primary concern, the semiautomatic will save you some money. However, the semiautomatic takes a little more know-how to operate.
Users of all skill levels can brew espresso on volumetric machines and achieve quality and consistency, which can be especially valuable in a high turnover location.
Since all of these machines come with manual buttons, you'll have the opportunity to customize espresso shots regardless of which model you choose.
Last word on the direct-connect versus the pour-over machines—if you're not planning to move the machine around and away from a water line, consider the direct-connect. It'll save you time, energy and maintenance headaches in the future.