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Nuova Simonelli Musica vs Breville Dual Boiler

We made this guide to show you how the Nuova Simonelli Musica stacks up against the Breville Dual Boiler. We're covering everything you need to know about these espresso machines to help you figure out which one you should buy.


You'll find the following information in this guide...

  • The key similarities and differences between these machines and how they affect you.
  • How the price points of these machines compare.
  • Which machine you should buy according to your individual or professional needs.

Quick Summary

Nuova Simonelli Musica

nuova simonelli musica

This commercial espresso machine is a powerhouse for a small business or office, but it will also make a beautiful home machine. It's perfect if you own a small cafe or you just want an elegant machine to display while serving carefully crafted espresso.

Breville Dual Boiler

Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine,84 oz, Brushed Stainless Steel

Here is a home espresso machine built with commercial parts to impress the home enthusiast. Get this machine if you want to compete with your local high-end coffee shop and make the best lattes right in your kitchen.

Read next: Find the best commercial espresso machine options on right here.


Single Brew Group

single brew group on musica

Both the Nuova Simonelli Musica and the Breville Dual Boiler are designed with one brew group.

This makes these machines great for slower-paced environments that aren't pumping out steady streams of lattes and cappuccinos. 

You don't want to get a machine with two or more groups if you won't be using them. This will save you money, which is definitely a plus.

Automatic and Manual Dosing

These machines both offer automatic and manual dosing for the greatest amount of flexibility.

You can choose to run the automatic (otherwise known as volumetric) function on these espresso machines. This means that when you start the brew cycle, the machine will complete it per programming, giving you the ideal volume, flavor and quality.

But you're not limited to automatic dosing. You can also choose the manual button, which will give you the opportunity to start and stop the brew cycle. This way, you can control the volume and pull shorter or longer shots at your discretion.


The pre-infusion method prevents channeling and promotes full saturation of the coffee grounds.

When channeling occurs, the water takes the easy path through tiny spaces in the coffee puck, generating imbalanced extraction.

Because pre-infusion gently pre-wets the coffee puck at a low pressure to keep from disturbing the grounds, the water stream reaches all of the coffee particles by the time the full pressure stream is activated. 

Push Pull Steam

If you've ever worked on a machine that requires you to turn a knob to operate the steam wand, you may have noticed that it takes a certain amount of effort. A small amount to be sure, but if you're making several drinks back to back, it adds up.

The steam triggers in both of these espresso machines are operated by a gentle pull and push to the on and off positions, saving your wrists.

Key Differences

Dual Boiler vs. Heat Exchanger

double boiler espresso machine - how it works
heat exchanger espresso machine - how it works

One of the most prominent differences between these machines is that the Nuova Simonelli Musica features a heat exchanger system while the Breville Dual Boiler, as the name implies, relies on a two-boiler system.

While these systems provide the same sorts of functions, they work in very different ways. 

With a dual boiler system, one boiler is designated for the brewing of the espresso and the other powers steaming.

As you need two different temperatures for each of these functions, the two boilers easily maintain the correct temperatures so you can pull espresso shots and steam milk at the same time.

The heat exchanger has one boiler unit with another compartment inside to regulate steam and brew temperatures separately. 

When you're pulling a shot, the water is siphoned through a tube that heats the water to the perfect temperature as it funnels through to the group head. This method also provides excellent temperature stability while you're making lattes.

Is one better than the other? Some people have their own preferences, but each type of temperature control system will produce consistently excellent espresso.

Stainless Steel vs. Copper Boiler

With stainless steel boilers, the Breville Dual Boiler is built with stainless steel, which makes it sturdy and long-lasting.

The Nuova Simonelli Musica is designed with a copper boiler, which does give it certain advantages.

Copper provides natural insulation, adding temperature stability. It's also antimicrobial and resistant to rust, which is something you'll need to pay attention to in your cleaning and maintenance with standard boilers.

Direct Connect vs. Pour Over

This is another big feature difference to pay attention to. The Breville Dual Boiler is a pour-over machine whereas the Nuova Simonelli Musica has both pour-over and direct-connect options.

A pour-over machine requires manual water reservoir refilling. This would be inconvenient if you were making multiple drinks and needed to stop to fill the reservoir. 

You also can't install a water softener to prevent heavy scale buildup that can damage an espresso machine.

The good thing about it is that you can move the machine around as needed—you don't need to be right by a water line.

The direct-connect Nuova Simonelli Musica is plumbed directly into a water line, which means that the water will be automatically fed to the machine.

This is probably what you would prefer if you were planning to make back-to-back drinks with regularity. It's also better for your machine since you can install a water softener and cut back on scaling issues.

You can also add a water filter to the system to get the best quality espresso. Better water quality equals better tasting espresso.

Pressure Gauges

pressure gauge close up

Many espresso enthusiasts will be pleased to know that both the Nuova Simonelli Musica and the Breville Dual Boiler come with pressure gauges. However, these gauges convey different information.

The Breville Dual Boiler has a brew pressure gauge that will show you whether you're reaching the requisite nine bars for brewing. If not, you may need to adjust your brew ratio. 

The Nuova Simonelli Musica comes with a boiler pressure gauge, which lets you monitor the pressure in the boiler and see when the machine is ready to steam and brew.

These differences seem subtle but are quite distinctive, and both will help to eliminate guesswork when operating the machine.

Breville Dual Boiler PID Control

Breville has put a lot of work into making the Dual Boiler as thermally stable as possible. Part of the equation is its PID control.

PID stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative. In the Breville Dual Boiler, it uses an algorithm to control and stabilize the temperature of the machine.

PID controllers can also be found in many industrial applications, and they're certainly smart features in espresso machines.

Nuova Simonelli Musica Surface LEDs

LED lights on nuova simonelli musica

If you put the Nuova Simonelli Musica and the Breville Dual Boiler side by side, there's really no contest as to which one is prettier.

The Lux version of the Nuova Simonelli Musica is stunning with surface LEDs carefully placed around the machine.

Though they're visually attractive, their major function is to provide you with better lighting while you're operating the machine. If you find yourself working in low-light conditions, no problem—you'll still be able to see what you're doing.

Breville Dual Boiler LCD Display

The Breville Dual Boiler comes with an LCD Display and a menu button with easy programming and a shot timer.

You can also see machine temperature from the LCD display. Essentially, this feature is a little control center that's simple to use.

Nuova Simonelli Musica Reverse Mirror

Visually monitoring the espresso has never been easier with a reverse mirror. It's an intuitive design feature that helps you watch the stages of extraction without needing to bend down and get close to the espresso.

A good machine will be built to help you make high-quality espresso, but you still need to watch for the signs of proper brewing, including coffee color and how fast the water is filtering through the coffee bed.

With stainless steel panels that provide a mirror function, you can make sure that your shots are pulling correctly.

Price Considerations

Without a doubt, price is something to consider when you're buying an espresso machine, or any other piece of equipment you're investing in, for that matter.

The Breville Dual Boiler is the lower cost machine, typically priced in the mid-tier range range while the Nuova Simonelli Musica is priced in the 2,000-dollar and 3,000-dollar range, depending on customizations.

Bear in mind that price is important to consider, but only when you're comparing apples to apples. These machines are pretty different, and in some respects a bit like apples and oranges.

So Which Should You Buy?

If you're looking to supply your small coffee shop, hotel or business with an espresso machine, the direct-connect Nuova Simonelli is the machine to pick.

It's designed to handle long lines of customers like a champion. Because it's built with quality materials, you can also expect it to last for the long term.

The Breville Dual Boiler is an excellent machine, but it's not built for commercial use. The good news is that it's constructed with commercial parts for the prosumer, so you can expect professional quality right from your kitchen.

The Breville Dual Boiler is also a solid choice for office buildings that aren't using the machine too heavily on a daily basis. On the other hand, so is the Nuova Simonelli Musica. 

If you don't want to be bothered by scaling issues that are time-consuming to protect against, go with the direct-connect.

Of course, individual coffee enthusiasts will also by thrilled with the Nuova Simonelli Musica if they want the real-deal professional experience. 

Bottom line: For commercial use, stick with the Nuova Simonelli Musica. For personal or light use, the Breville Dual Boiler is an economical option.

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