We are back with an updated Crew Review of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar! This was the first cost-efficient heat exchanger espresso machine that we saw enter the market that didn’t compromise on the quality of espresso produced. Since it’s debut there have been a few other machines that get close to the price point of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, but here are some of the features that keep this machine a top contender.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar sports a 2 liter copper boiler. Be sure to give this machine about 25 minutes of warm up time to get optimal shots! The water reservoir in the back is a great size, coming in at 2.3 liters. Enough water to get you through several brew cycles by small enough that your water won’t go stale.
As we mentioned before, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar is a heat exchanger machine. What is a heat exchanger? It is the design of the boiler. The boiler is heated up to steam temperature, and the running through the boiler is a copper tube. This copper tube allows for cold water to quickly be heated up to brew temperature as is travels to the brew head. This design will allow you to steam and brew at the same time, while keeping the cost of a second boiler out of the equation.
Two heat exchangers, both from an Italian company. So which is best for you? Let’s take a closer look at the features and find out!
First up, the Nuova Simonelli Musica. This espresso machine features a 2 liter brass and copper boiler. The water reservoir holds 3 liters of water, which is on the larger size for this type of machine. The Nuova Simonelli Musica takes about 25 minutes to heat up to brew temperature, not too bad for a 1200 Watt machine. We love the look of this machine, it features a lighted edge which can be turned off if you are not in the mood. The steam tip on this machine is the same steam tip that Nuova Simonelli uses on the machines it provides for the National Barista Championships.
The Premium Plus with PID from Rocket Espresso features a 1.8 liter brass and copper boiler. So the two machines are pretty comparable in that department. The Rocket Espresso Premium Plus heats up to brew temperature in just 11 minutes. The steam wand is a no burn steam wand. That means it is insulted so that the milk won’t immediately burn on contact. However, you should still be wiping and purging the wand immediately after frothing milk. We do love the contemporary look that all of Rocket’s machines have. It truly looks great in any environment.
It is early in the morning and you just filled up the water tank in your Nuovo Simonelli or Rocket machine in preparation for that first shot of espresso of the day. And then it happens. The lights start to blink and the machine won’t run. Even though you are 100% sure you put water into the machine, the water detection sensors say otherwise. Why is this happening! And before I can even get my daily caffeine fix.
Well it turns out that the water detection sensors on all the Rocket and Nuovo Simonelli machines use an electrical current to detect if any water is present. And it turns out pure water is actually a very weak conductor. So why then do they always say not to use the hair dryer in the bathtub? Well, the ions that are dissolved in the water (think salt) act as charge carriers and allows an electrical current to flow through the water. So if you are using distilled water or water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process you have water that is pretty close to pure. So the water detection sensors won’t recognize the water that is actually in the tank.
Gail has a pretty easy solution to this issue, watch the video below to find out what it is!
Among our most frequently asked questions is “how do you create perfectly frothed milk?” This question is often closely followed by, “how do I then use that milk to create latte art?” or “how do I incorporate that milk into a shot to make a latte, cappuccino, etc.?” This comes as no surprise, since one of the trickiest parts of making a great drink is getting the milk frothed just right. You don’t want your milk to be too frothy, but not entirely flat either. In most cases the goal you are trying to achieve is creating just the right amount of microfoam. To further help you achieve caffeinated bliss; we’ve decided to tackle all of these questions in this series of brew tips, starting with how to froth milk. After all, creating perfectly frothed milk is the one of the key components for creating all the other drinks.
Getting your technique down, and then practicing a lot, is an important part of successfully frothing milk. However, the type of machine you are using as well as the type of steam wand the machine has, will also impact how your milk turns out. For instance, inexpensive espresso makers and machines like the Saeco Via Venezia, often have panarellos, which basically foam your milk for you. This is great if you are an espresso newbie who isn’t used to using a manual steam wand or just want to have foamy milk and aren’t picky about what type of foam you get. The plastic models usually have four or more holes on the top, which bring in a lot of air and will make your milk bubblier. If you don’t like bigger, airy foam with a lot of bubbles, you might want to upgrade to one of the stainless steel panarellos that typically only have one hole.
When it comes to frothing milk on a machine that has a traditional steam wand, like the Nuova Simonelli Musica, the rules about the number of holes in steam arm change. Wands with four holes will give you a lot of steam power and will heat the milk really quickly. These wands will also create really amazing microfoam. However, the quality of the microfoam you get is partially based on what type of machine you are brewing on as well as the tip. For instance, the Musica naturally has a lot more steam power, as opposed to a machine like the Breville Dual Boiler, which is a bit slower when it comes to steaming. That being said, neither machine is better than the other, it just depends on what you are looking to create. The Dual Boiler is nice in that it gives you a lot more time to work with, and produce a lot of, foam. On the other hand, it can be tricky to get a lot of foam on the Musica because it heats up so fast.
Once you’ve got what machines and wands you will be using for brewing, it all comes down to practice as we mentioned before. However, we realize this can be harder than it sounds, so here is our cheat sheet for how to froth milk for a latte or a cappuccino.
11 Steps for Frothing Milk for a Latte
1) Start with a very cold pitcher and milk. This will gives you more time to work with your milk. If it is already warm already it’s going to heat up faster, providing you with less time.
2) Blow out the extra water in the steam wand.
3) Adjust the angle of the steam wand to suite your preferences. We typically keep ours at a pretty high angle, but you can play around with it to see what works best for you.
4) Hold the tip of your frothing pitcher against the steam wand; this will give you more leverage when moving the pitcher around.
5) You will also want to angle your frothing pitcher to the side, which will help you get the milk swirling around in a circle.
6) Submerge the tip of the steam wand in the milk. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a high pitch squeal followed by slurping. While it is loud at first, this is exactly what you want to hear. As soon as you hear that squealing noise, make sure you bring the pitcher down so you hear that slurping noise as you start to incorporate air. This will help prevent you from getting too much foam, since for a latte you want to create a smaller amount of foam.
7) Submerge the rest of the wand in the milk after a few seconds.
8) Once you can feel the bottom of the frothing pitcher get nice and toasty, almost too hot to touch, remove the steam wand from the milk.
9) Always wipe down and blow out the steam wand when you are done to prevent the milk from getting sucked back into the boiler.
10) Mix milk in by slowly swirling the milk around the pitcher, to get a rich and creamy consistency. The milk will look a bit more porous before you begin this process, but once you start mixing it in it starts getting a really shiny texture and that’s exactly what you want.
11) Combine the milk with espresso and relax with your drink.
7 Steps for Frothing Milk for a Cappuccino
1) Just like with a latte, you will want to start with very cold milk and make sure to blow out the extra water in the steam wand.
2) Start with the tip of your steam wand submerged.
3) Once you start hearing that high pitched squealing noise, you will want to slowly bring the pitcher further and further down to incorporate more air.
4) As soon as you feel the pitcher and milk get hot is when you stop frothing.
5) Tap the bottom of a pitcher on a table and swirl the milk around the pitcher to mix it in. You will notice that the texture of the milk is a lot thicker.
6) If you are creating a drier cappuccino (or a cappuccino with more foam and less milk), you will want to let the milk settle a little bit after you have mixed it, and it will separate out.
7) Combine the milk with your shot of espresso and enjoy.
If you would like to see the process in action and follow along step-by-step, watch as our resident milk frothing expert Dori teaches Sarah how to perfect her pour. If you live in the greater Seattle area, you can also learn how to froth milk with Dori in person if you stop by for her Sunday milk frothing or latte art workshops in our Bellevue store.
Whether you’ve decked out your café with the latest and greatest espresso machines or are just starting to put together your shopping list of equipment, one of the most important things you’ll need is a commercial grinder. However, even though having a good grinder is a crucial aspect of your shop (in fact, some people would say it is even more important than your espresso machine) it can be hard to figure out exactly which one you should choose. For instance, what type and how big of a grinder do you need? Or what is the difference between all the various burr-set sizes, burr shapes and dosers anyway?
When deciding upon a grinder, the first step is to think about the type of shop you have and then calculate how many drinks you are expecting to serve per day. Based on our caffeinated mathematics for stores here in Seattle, a donut or bagel shop serves about 20-50 drinks, a coffee shop will serve around 200+ drinks and restaurant or a bar can expect to serve 10-50 espresso beverages a day. Of course these numbers can fluctuate depending on how big your store is, where it is located, etc.
Once you have determined how many people you will be serving, you can start thinking about what type of grinder to pair with your espresso machine. If you have a smaller sized bakery or donut shop with a one-group machine like a Rancilio Epoca, you’ll get something like the Mazzer Mini, which is a 58mm burr-set grinder that is perfect for doing 20-50 drinks a day. If you have a slightly higher volume store, such as a small to medium sized coffee shop that makes about 120-200 drinks a day you will need to move to a bigger grinder. Generally, if you are making this number of drinks you will have a two-group espresso machine such as the Rancilio Classe 7 or Nuova Simonelli Appia, so you will want to pair it with a 64-65mm grinder like the Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith or the Mazzer Super Jolly.
What is the advantage of having bigger burrs? You won’t have to wait as long to get a shot. With a smaller burr-set like 58mm, it will take you about 8-10 seconds to get a double shot of espresso, while with a 64-65mm burr-set it will take only 6 seconds. Thus, if you have a small volume café, it is ok to go with smaller burrs since you won’t experience as much of a time crunch. However, you cannot use a smaller grinder at shop at that is doing 150 drinks a day, as it will slow you down too much.
Does your shop fall somewhere in the middle? You can try getting a commercial grinder equipped with a doser. This allows you to make multiple drinks at once by grinding for them and then fill up the portafilter back to back. Another good rule to keep in mind is that 75 drinks a day is the limit for a smaller 58mm burr-set grinder, and 200 drinks a day is maximum for a mid-size 64-65mm burr set grinder. Finally, if you are making more like 300 drinks day rather than 200, you will need to get a large grinder to get your doses out even faster. For these grinders, you will be looking at something like the Mazzer Major, a 83mm burr-set (which is the biggest flat burr grinders get) grinder or even moving to a conical grinder such as the Compak K10.
Still have questions? Check out this video as Brandon and Kaylie describe picking out a commercial grinder in more detail.
Eureka! That’s right, we’ve found the prefect high-capacity grinder — the Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder. While this grinder is indeed a great discovery, the name comes from the brand Eureka, which was bought by Nuova Simonelli many years ago. This grinder is basically the same as the Nuova Simonelli MDX and still has as a 65mm burr set and identical internal features. The only difference in the Eureka Zenith 65E is that it has an electronic front on it. Nuova Simonelli created this machine because they really wanted to get into electronic grinders, and it is their answer to others on the market like the Mazzer Type A grinders or the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD.
As such, the big feature on this grinder is the new electronic doser, which is really easy to use. You have two programmable dosing options available to you, enabling you to decide whether you want your coffee to be dispensed by volume or by time, which can be adjusted at the push of a button. If you know an adventurous barista, you can lock these adjustment settings, so they won’t play around and make changes to your grind. Another unique feature on the Nuova Simmonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder is the resettable digital dose counter, which we actually haven’t seen on any of the on demands yet. In fact, people frequently ask how they can reset the counter on a Mazzer and there is no way of doing that.
In addition to these upgrades, Nuova Simonelli has carried over two of the most popular features from the MDX. One is the stepless micro adjustment dial, which allows you to adjust your grind finer or coarser by simply turning a knob with your finger instead of having to struggle to change the setting with a big lever as on other grinders. The second feature is the ability to open up your grinder and clean the burrs without having to recalibrate your grind. Not only does this make cleaning and maintaining your grinder a breeze, but it also makes the process quicker – you can probably the job done in-between shifts at your café.
To learn more about the features on the Eureka Zenith 65E, watch as Brandon explains what makes it different from other grinders on the market in this video. Just don’t blame us if find yourself shouting “eureka!” too by the end.
Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder
Nuova Simonelli how much do we love you? Let us count the ways. With their beautiful design and professional functionality it is really hard not to love these machines. However, if you want to ensure your machine has a good long life, you’ll need to give it a little tender loving care. Part of that TLC (no, we don’t mean T-Boz, Left Eye or Chilli) is replacing some of the parts of the machine that see a bit more wear and tear, like the brew head gasket and screen. Since Nuova Simonelli machines are some of the more popular espresso makers we have around, we decided to help you out and create a tune-up kit for the Oscar and Musica. This kit includes a brew head gasket, shower screen and show screw. These parts will work for both the Oscar and the Musica; the installation is just slightly different.
Replacing your brew head gasket and screen may sound difficult, but it is actually pretty easy. When it comes down to it, your main tasks are just removing a screw and puling out a gasket. If you have an Oscar, we recommend laying down some soft towels and flipping the machine over to have better access to the brew head. Unfortunately, you can’t do this if you have a Musica due to the way the boiler is set up. Your next steps are to remove the old, worn out brew gasket and screen, clean the brew head and install the new parts from the kit. Easy peasy! How do you know when to tune-up your machine? Some customers said they have noticed they need to replace these parts at about every six months or so, but if you use your machine less frequently you may find you only need to replace them once a year. You can also watch for coffee and water leaking around the top edge of your portafilter or for lots of coffee grounds building up around your screen.
Inspired to give your machine a tune-up but want to see the process in action before attempting it yourself? Check out Brendan’s video on how to use the tune-up kit for the Oscar and Musica and pick up a few tips and tricks.
Tech Tips: SCG’s Tune-Up Kit for the Oscar and Musica
If you asked us to characterize the nature of our time recently spent with the Victoria Arduino Adonis at Nuova Simonelli’s US headquarters, it would not be fit for the family-friendly tone of this blog. This sleek, gorgeous and elegant commercial-class espresso machine takes the sophisticated functionality of Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 2 T3 and wraps it in an incredibly fetching design.
Available in two to four brew group configurations, each with individually-controlled temperature and volumetric shot programming, the Adonis is designed for cafes that want the best of both worlds … if those worlds happen to be named Form and Function. With its gleaming stainless steel, accent lighting and unique brew head design, the Victoria Arduino Adonis is an elegant showpiece that will also produce exceptional coffee.
In this review video, Brandon guides us through its features and specs, then demonstrates how to make a latte. If you’re designing your cafe to include an element of showmanship and high design, then the Adonis by Victoria Arduino should definitely be considered.
Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Victoria Arduino Adonis
During our recent field trip to Nuova Distribution, the US arm of Nuova Simonelli, we had the opportunity to interview one of their master technicians, Ryan, on the ins and outs of the uber-sophisticated Talento commercial superautomatic espresso machine.
As a follow-up to Brandon’s comprehensive review and demonstration video, Ryan speaks to the design approach and methodology that makes the Talento such an excellent choice for certain commercial environments. With a high level of control on the part of the administrator and extensive troubleshooting tools for techs, the Talento is designed to provide worry-free espresso based drinks in environments that may not be conducive to lengthy barista training.
He also shares with us the technical decisions behind elements of the machine’s design, specifically around the brew group functionality, and then dives deeply into guiding us through the machine’s internal menu — how to program it, the different options and settings available, what each sub-menu is designed to do and more!
If, after watching Brandon’s video review, you wanted more detail on the Talento, this video is right up your alley. And if you want even more info on or want to discuss whether or not this machine is the right fit for your business, contact us!
Field Trip: Nuova Simonelli Talento Overview with Ryan
While there are several superautomatic espresso machines designed for home use, there is a relatively smaller selection in the commercial space. If your business requires exceptional ease of use and consistency, yet cannot support lengthy barista training, then a machine like the Nuova Simonelli Talento is well worth your consideration.
How does it differ from its residential-oriented counterparts? Like most commercial machines, it comes down to the robustness and quality of the components used to build it. Commercial-grade equipment is designed specifically for high volume wear-and-tear, so you can rely on it to consistently create what may be your business’ most important product. Some environments like large hotels with room service, high school cafeterias or even fast food restaurants lend themselves better to a superautomatic because, with little training on part of the operator, tasty espresso-based drinks can be crafted to order.
In addition to its exceptional build quality, the Nuova Simonelli Talento also features sophisticated programming for up to twenty different types of drinks and the option of using a one-touch cappuccino function or an automatic steam wand. During our field trip to Nuova Simonelli’s US headquarters, Brandon dove deep into this sophisticated superauto! Check out his full review and demonstration in this comprehensive video.
Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Talento Commercial Superautomatic Espresso Machine