Category Archives: Nuova Simonelli

SCG Customer Field Trip: Cederberg Tea House – Parts 1 & 2

Cederberg Tea House - SeattleOne of the coolest things we do here at SCG is help others get the equipment they need to start the businesses of their dreams. Recently, we headed out on a field trip to the labor of love of mother and daughter team Natasha and Cecile: The Cederberg Tea House, located in the heart of Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. With a unique rooibos tea latte preparation and delicious treats, these gals are focused on bringing a little bit of South African culture to damp Seattle.

Before they were fully open, we wanted to learn more about their experiences with starting their new business. What did they enjoy the most? What was the most difficult part of it? What do they know now that they wish they knew when they started out? Hear their story and watch Natasha craft us a delicious rooibos tea latte using a Nuova Simonelli Appia espresso machine.


Part One: Natasha and Cecile share their startup experiences


Part Two: Natasha makes us a rooibos tea latte

The Reluctant Barista: A Tale of Three Rockets

cellini classicRocket Espresso makes highly polished stainless steel home espresso machines in Milan, Italy. And we really mean highly polished: You can actually see your reflection in their gleaming surfaces. We have a row of Rocket demo models standing at the ready in our store, which can sometimes give the visual affect of a row of funhouse mirrors.

My go-to Rocket machine is the Giotto Evoluzione, which sits next to the R58 Dual Boiler and the Cellini Premium Plus. While I’m often found crafting one of my favorite drinks on the Giotto Evo (a Shot in the Dark), I also occasionally experiment with the other models — like firing up the R58 just to watch an espresso extraction with a bottomless portafilter (yes, that’s what we do for fun around here). But I hadn’t played much with Rocket’s entry-level model, the Cellini Classic, so decided to find out how it stacked up against my other favorites.

First, a little background: The only difference between the Cellini series and the Giotto series is their case styles. The Cellini has straight sides and the Giotto has more angled, diamond-shaped sides. In accordance with its name, the Classic has a straight design like the other Cellinis, however the sides are brushed stainless steel and the top and front panels remain polished. Next, ‘Premium Plus’ refers to models with an internal water reservoir only, while ‘Evoluzione’ refers to models that have a convertible water source — either the internal reservoir or plumbed to the main water supply. The Classic has an internal reservoir only and a few less features than the other models overall, but still sports the well-loved E61 brew group of its compatriots.

So I wondered, would I notice if a few Rocket Espresso features were left off? I gave the machine a chance to warm up and then I made Dori a latte. While the functionality was similar to the other Rocket models, the feel was different. The machine felt stiffer to use and the knobs were more plastic-y. Yes, I know espresso knobs are generally made of plastic, but this felt more plastic than usual, with sharper edges and none of the tactile luxury associated with other Rocket models. Looks aside, I felt like the performance was on par — my shots were great! The Classic operated very intuitively on my first and subsequent attempts, and I did not miss having a PID nor did I mind that I had only a single manometer instead of two gauges. When things go so smoothly right out of the gate, I don’t feel the need to fuss or fine tune.

For the price, I still prefer the slightly smaller stature and slightly larger boiler of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, another heat exchanger model. Even though the Oscar case is all-plastic, oddly enough, it does not seem plastic-y (at least not to me). It is interesting how we each have our own notions about the look and feel of espresso machines! The taste of the espresso produced is usually the main qualifier, but price, quality — and yes, even looks — all play a part in the decision.  The Cellini Classic will perform like a Rocket and that’s what counts, right? And you can always sink the savings into a high quality burr grinder, like the Rocket Mazzer  (for a sweet countertop set-up).

Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Appia Semi-Automatic Commercial Espresso Machine

Nuova Simonelli AppiaAnother commercial-class espresso machine that will perform well in a medium-paced business is the Appia by Nuova Simonelli. Available in both semi-automatic and automatic/volumetric formats, the Appia is simple and straight forward and certain to keep up with you.

Watch as Brandon takes us on a tour of the semi-auto version, going over its features and specs and then demonstrating how well it performs.

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric: Review, Internal Tour, Care and Maintenance

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II VolumetricAn incredibly popular machine for high production cafes, the Aurelia II Volumetric by Nuova Simonelli is built to keep up with long lines of latte-lovin’ customers. In this series of videos, our commercial sales manager, Brandon, guides us through everything from a straight-up functional and spec review to a detailed internal tour of the machine to best practice around maintenance and care. If you’re in the market for a machine for your business, the Aurelia II is definitely worth your consideration, and these videos lay down the groundwork for your research.

If you have more questions about these videos or need some guidance regarding the right equipment for your business, drop us a line!

 


Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric


Internal Tour of the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric Espresso Machine


Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric Care & Maintenance

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Single, Hx and Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Next in our series of the crew’s favorite picks covers the world of traditional espresso machines. Find out which single, heat exchange and double boiler machines the team digs.


Single Boiler Espresso Machines


Heat Exchange Espresso Machines


Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Face Off: Musica vs. Giotto Evoluzione

Decided to up your latte game and invite a ‘prosumer’ espresso machine into your home? I was interested in learning more about two of the the heat exchangers that we have in the store — the art deco inspired Nuova Simonelli Musica and the hand crafted Rocket Giotto Evoluzione — so I decided to take them each for a test drive. Now, if you’re into straight up features and spec comparisons, check out the table I’ve laid out below; but if you learn more from hands-on experiences, read on!

I started with the Musica and instantly fell in love with its portafilter. The smartly angled handle enables the filter basket to lie flat on the counter. Jessica held my hand as I dialed in the grind using the Mazzer Mini E – Type A grinder. After pulling a number of double shots, I came to appreciate the Musica’s automatic pre-infusion and programmable volumetric buttons, making this machine a breeze once you figure out the right grind and tamp for your bean. You can also steam milk extremely quickly using the standard three hole steam tip. I loved the paddle functionality to control the steam, allowing you to pulse or flip up for maximum power.

As I approached the Rocket, I could see my reflection in its highly polished casing. With a commercial-grade brew head, I was in store for consistent shots given the thermal stability provided by the E61. After inserting the portafilter, I flipped up the lever all the way to begin shot extraction. I was glued to a timer while pulling shots, and this would be best practice given there isn’t volumetric programming on this machine. Steaming was straightforward with a traditional steam knob and single hole tip, giving me a little more time to work up the microfoam.

In the end, there was no difference in shot or milk quality from these two exceptional machines, so it all boils down to a few essentials in your decision set. If you need a convertible water source, crave sleek steel lines and appreciate the ritual of classic espresso extraction, the Giotto Evo is a strong bet. If you need an NSF rated machine for a small cafe environment or dig  modern conveniences like programmable volumetrics and disco lights, give the Musica a happy home.

nuova_simonelli_musica_-_black_lining_3
Nuova Simonelli Musica
giotto-evo_1
Rocket Giotto Evoluzione
Dimensions 12.75 in W x 16 in D x 16.75 in 12 in W x 17 in D x 15 in (16.5 in w/ cup rails)
Reservoir Size 2.3 Liters 2.9 Liters
Water Source Either reservoir or direct connect Convertible
Programmability Volumetric control None
Case Design Stainless steel with optional disco lights Stainless steel and fancy like a race car
Steam Wand Traditional, not insulated, 3 hole tip Traditional, insulated, 2 hole tip
Boiler Material Copper Copper
Pre-infusion Automatic and programmable Passive
Boiler Volume 2 Liter 1.8 Liter
NSF rated Yes No
Pump Vibratory Rotary
Gauges Boiler pressure Steam boiler & brew head pressure

Compare: Nuova Simonelli Oscar vs. Rocket Cellini Classic

In the market for a heat exchange espresso machine but not prepared to drop a cool $2k on the endeavor? The Oscar by Nuova Simonelli and the Cellini Classic by Rocket Espresso are two excellent machines that feature commercial-grade components and performance for a relatively modest budget. And by ‘relatively modest’ we mean you’re still willing to sink at least a grand into your home espresso setup, love.

Check out how the two machines stack up against each other in Gail’s comparison video! We talk about their features, show off their innards and demonstrate their performance in this side-by-side review.

SCG’s Most Popular Coffee Gear – 2012

Even if you don’t buy into New Year’s resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about little ways to improve your quality of life and that of those around you. (We know what you’re like without your morning coffee. It’s okay, this is a safe place.) Why not start with a commitment to make better coffee in 2013? Here’s a list our best selling gear from last year to help you get started!

Under $500
Saeco Aroma Black – $229 Stainless Steel – $259
Compact and durable, the Aroma is a great entry-level espresso machine. It’s extremely easy to use, and the pressurized portafilter and included pod adapter will have you brewing with E.S.E. pods, pre-ground espresso, or freshly ground beans with ease.

Saeco Via Venezia Black – $299 Stainless Steel – $349
The Via Venezia and Aroma share the same internals therefore they function almost identically, but the Via Venezia offers some slight improvements: larger capacity water reservoir (98 oz), steam wand with more mobility, and more clearance between the drip tray and brew head so you can brew into larger cups. This little workhorse will keep you caffeinated with no problems.

Breville Infuser BES840XL – $499.95
The Infuser is the only espresso machine in this price range to offer an internal PID, and while it’s not programmable, it stabilizes the brew temperature for perfect shot extraction. With built-in pre-infusion, commercial style steam wand, and compact stainless casing, you’ll be proud to have this on your counter top.

Under $1000
Rancilio Silvia – $629 with PID – $879
Simple, reliable, durable. The Silvia is one of the best sellers in the home espresso market and it’s a great machine on which to hone your craft since you’ll need to be precise with your grind and tamp. Upgrade to the installed PID version for programmable temperature control.

Saeco Syntia SS Superautomatic – $849
The Syntia is a compact and stylish superauto that offers the convenience of automatic espresso brewing paired with manual milk steaming – perfect for folks who order extra-hot lattes. With Saeco’s removable brew group and Intenza water filter system, it’s also easy to maintain and a great option for those who need a little extra help in the morning. ☺

Crossland CC1 – $699 (now 10% off!)
A PID comes standard with this single boiler, which let’s you customize brew and steam temperature, pre-infusion time, and volume. We love the stainless steel casing, thermo-block enhanced steam to switch quickly between brewing and steaming, and the programmability for this price point.

Under $1500
Breville Double Boiler – $1199.95
When you’re ready to brew and steam simultaneously, you’re ready for this bad boy. With an easy to use interface, you can program the electronic PID with extraction temperatures, volumetric control, and pre-infusion duration.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar – $1050
If you think you need a dual boiler for simultaneous brewing and steaming, think again. Heat exchangers like the Oscar provide similar benefits at a lower price point. This machine has great steam pressure, a large water reservoir, and is also available as a direct connect machine. It’s available in a sexy metallic red as well – vroom vroom.

DeLonghi 23450SL -$1499.95
This is one of DeLonghi’s newer superautomatics on the market, and if you are a bleary eyed zombie before your morning java, you will appreciate its one-touch functionality. It produces some of the hottest coffee we’ve seen from superautos.

Under $2000
Saeco Exprelia -$1899
This one-touch dual boiler is streamlined and compact, and we love that if offers both one-touch functionality for auto-frothing milk or manual steaming with a stainless steel steam wand – no panarellos here. Right now we are offering a year’s supply of coffee with the purchase of a new Exprelia!

Rocket Cellini Premium Plus – $1799 Giotto Premium Plus – $1899
Hand craftsmanship, a commercial grade E61 brew head and high polished stainless steel seduce many an espresso lover to bring the Cellini or Giotto Premium Plus into their lives. You’ll be extracting delicious shots and impressing all your friends with this one.

Sky’s the Limit
Rocket R58 – $2699
You’re ready to take it to the next level with this powerhouse. The dual boilers work independently to stabilize the espresso boiler, and maximize steam pressure without compromising shot quality.

Saeco Xelsis – $2999 or Xelsis ID – $3199
The only thing missing from these superautomatics is the ability for them to read your mind…coming in 2015 (Just kidding!) Right now you’ll have to be satisfied with the ID’s fingerprint recognition technology to access your drink profile and create beverages at the touch of a button.

Izzo Alex Duetto II – $2250 Duetto III – $2495
This dual boiler has commercial quality components, electronic PID control, and the option to plumb into your water line. It’s new older brother, the Duetto III offers an upgraded fit and finish, larger drip tray, and stainless steel cup rails. Both solid performers can take your java to the next level.

Compare: Rancilio Silvia with PID vs. Nuova Simonelli Oscar

While these two machines certainly have some core functional differences, they are often compared by folks because once you retrofit the Silvia with a PID, its price tag is very similar to that of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. So, is one better than the other? As usual, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Watch Gail discuss the features and functionality of these machines, then demonstrate how they perform in terms of drink quality. She also talks about why you might choose one over the other, so if you’re on the fence regarding these two models, this comparison video was made with you in mind. Cherish it.

Compare: Heat Exchange Espresso Machines

Heat exchange espresso machines offer simultaneous brew and steam functionality by employing a large steam boiler with an embedded brew boiler and a dual pump. They’re easy to use and work well for the majority of home espresso enthusiasts who aren’t interested in dialing in and playing around with different temperatures.

In this video, Gail explains to us what a heat exchanger is and how it works, then talks to us about models from Pasquini, Rocket Espresso and Nuova Simonelli.