Your espresso machine is the star when it comes to making espresso-based drinks.
It’s imperative that the machine you choose fulfills all your business’s requirements, whether it’s speed, looks, or user-friendliness you’re looking for.
The Nuova Simonelli Appia II and the Nuova Simonelli Musica are examples of exemplary espresso machines for businesses with a low to moderate level of espresso volume. In this guide, we’ll analyze the Nuova Simonelli vs Appia.
That way, by the end of his guide, you’ll know the answer to the question: which espresso machine should you get?
We’ll discuss these important topics:
- Similar features the Appia and the Musica share, as well as what they mean
- Features that differ between these machines and how they affect daily use
- Key considerations to think about to ensure you end up with the best espresso machine
SINGLE GROUP MACHINES
One of the main features the Appia and the Musica have in common is that either one is available in single-group configurations.
Groups relate to how many shots can be pulled at the same time. If you have more groups, you can pull more shots.
Single-group machines are wonderful for shops that have a lower volume of espresso orders or even home users because they allow baristas to focus on each drink to ensure perfection.
There is one important thing that must be noted about group configurations with the Appia: the Appia II is actually available in configurations that range from one to three groups. For the sake of fairness, we will only be comparing the single-group configurations with the Musica, as the Musica is only available with one group.
That being said, these are the machines with one group that will be included in this analysis:
Crafting espresso drinks can be an art, and like an art, baristas need to be able to check on how it’s developing.
Reflective back plates on both the Appia and the Musica provide a clear view into the development of each shot from all angles.
If there’s anything off about the quality of the espresso, baristas will be able to respond right away through visual monitoring.
The basic and Lux models of the Musica as well as the Appia II volumetric come equipped with volumetric dosing.
Basically, this means pulling the perfect shot of espresso every time really is as simple as pushing a button. Once it’s started, machines with volumetric dosing will apply the correct amount of water for you, and end the brew cycle on their own.
As you can imagine, this makes these machines straightforward for beginners, reducing the time it takes to train new hires.
More experienced baristas might not get the same pleasurable experience out of using automated volumetric dosing and may crave more control.
This is when the manual dosing option provided by the Musica or Appia II shines. Your seasoned employees will be able to relish the flexibility that comes with pulling shots as long or short as needed.
This grants the ultimate ability for customization to meet various coffee profiles.
One thing to note: except for the Appia II semiautomatic configuration, the Musica and the Appia II offer the choice of either volumetric or manual dosing. The Appia II semiautomatic machine uses only manual dosing.
Businesses that can provide a high level of quality in drinks all the time earn good reputations with their customers.
While there are numerous factors that go into every great espresso drink, one of the most important is an even extraction. The Appia and Musica models use soft infusion to guarantee a balanced extraction each time.
Soft infusion works by saturating the bed of espresso before extraction. That way, any imperfections caused by poor tamping are smoothed away.
PUSH PULL STEAM
Generally, the steaming function on an espresso machine is controlled by turning a valve back and forth. The issue is, constantly turning a valve to and fro over the course of several hours leads to sore wrists.
With ergonomic push-pull steam switches on the Appia and Musica machines, users are kept comfortable during steaming when all it takes is the easy push of a switch.
This is a feature that seems deceptively small at first, but can really add up during long days of use.
Do you have a counter already crowded with appliances?
That’s when you’ll need to pay attention to the dimensions of any espresso machine you purchase. You wouldn’t want to end up with a machine that couldn’t fit in with your layout.
The Musica is an especially compact choice. It measures at 17 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. It will have no issue fitting beneath low-hanging cabinets or squishing between other appliances.
A little larger, the Appia measures at 22 inches tall, 21 inches wide, and 16 inches deep. It will need a bit more wiggle room than the Musica as a result.
As a crucial part of any espresso machine, the boiler is of utmost importance.
One thing to look for is how large the boiler is. A general rule of thumb you can remember is that a bigger boiler means more power.
Semiautomatic and Volumetric Single-group configurations of the Appia II have a whopping 5-liter boiler. In terms of numbers, this means you could make up to 150 espresso shots per day.
The Musica’s boiler is under half the size of the Appia’s, and can hold two liters. Predictably, this translates to less than half the daily drink total of the Appia – you can expect around 60 shots a day from the Musica.
Despite being from the same manufacturer, the Appia and the Musica have drastically different appearances.
It may seem shallow to focus on their look, but a lot of businesses have a particular atmosphere they wish to keep intact. In situations like that, the appearance of equipment is a worthy consideration.
The Appia II’s external look is mostly steel gray. However, it has a defining border that comes in black, red, or white, which makes it visually versatile.
Color aside, it has rounded edges that give it a softer, smoother appearance with a distinct air of refinement.
The Musica looks like a gleaming masterpiece. Its steel makeup and optional LED edges give it chic, futuristic demeanor that would top off a polished and trendy look.
Boiler and brew pressure are crucial elements in a well-made espresso.
This is what makes the ability to monitor pressure so very important. With the Musica, you’ll be able to tell instantly what pressure your boiler is at, and therefore if it’s ready to brew or steam, just by looking at its boiler pressure gauge.
The Appia II has a pressure gauge that displays the pressure in the brew pump. You’ll need around nine bars of pressure to make the ideal espresso, and this gauge will let you know if something is wrong.
If you see your pressure is insufficient on the Appia’s gauge, you’ll know instantly that you need to alter your brew ratio. It’s a simple tool that aids you in quality control.
APPIA II RAISED GROUP HEADS
Most coffee-centric businesses serve drinks of varying sizes to customers.
Unfortunately, there also many espresso machines that don’t make it easy to accommodate cups of different sizes by not having enough room under the group head to brew directly into bigger cups.
The Appia II Volumetric and Semiautomatic models are built with raised group heads, which allow you to fit taller cups beneath them. Instead of having to pour espresso for larger drinks by hand into the cup, you’ll be able to fit it right under the group head and brew right into it.
On the Musica, the group heads are the traditional cup height. You’ll still be able to brew into shot glasses or short cups, but if you need to use a larger cup, you’ll have to pour the shots in manually once they’re brewed.
It may seem insignificant, but if you need to hurry through a line of customers, those seconds spent transferring espresso to tall cups can add up.
MUSICA POUR-OVER OPTION
Pour-over machines are sometimes preferred because they don’t need to be connected to a water supply to function – they can be used anywhere, as long as you can refill the tank with water by hand once it runs out.
The Musica comes in a pour-over option so that those who favor portability can enjoy an espresso machine that isn’t anchored to one spot. This can be a key feature for caterers serving at events or coffee carts.
But the Musica is also flexible. If you find yourself thinking that having to refill the water tank manually is a hassle, you can purchase it as a direct-connect machine instead.
Direct-connect machines are an industry standard among coffee shops because they’re just more convenient. They connect to your water line and refill their reservoirs automatically.
An extra benefit to them is that it’s easier to install water filters or softeners to them, which guards your espresso machine from harmful scaling.
The Appia II is only available as a direct-connect machine. So if you are intrigued by the portability of a pour-over machine, the Musica is for you.
APPIA II COOL TOUCH STEAM WANDS
Baristas in coffee shops everywhere know what it’s like to receive a stinging burn from the steam wand on an espresso machine.
Blazing hot steam wands can make any espresso machine uncomfortable to use, to say the least. The Appia II negates the heat of a steam wand with Cool touch technology that keeps the wand cool even during heavy use.
But safety isn’t the only thing a cool steam wand promotes: it also keeps milk from burning into a hard-to-clean crust on the end of the wand after steaming. You won’t need to struggle to scrape crusted milk off the end of the wand on this machine, which means cleaning is quick and painless.
MUSICA SURFACE LEDS
The Lux configuration for the Musica comes with a stunning LED-lit trim.
The practical purpose of the LED lights is that they prevent low-light work conditions from interfering with the quality of your drinks. You’ll be able to see everything you’re doing working on the Musica Lux.
It’s certainly not a disadvantage, though, that these lights also make the machine look shiny and futuristic. Anyone looking at it would be impressed by the sight, including your customers.
APPIA II AUTOMATIC CLEANING
Make cleaning the espresso machine at the end of the day effortless and fast using the Appia II’s automatic cleaning feature.
All the barista has to do is choose which group to clean through the Appia’s display and it will clean the group itself.
This allows employees to multitask and work on whatever else is needed to close up shop rather than spending time thoroughly cleaning the machine.
APPIA II WATER LEVEL INDICATOR
The Appia II is built with a water level indicator that’s a truly unique feature.
You’ll be aware of the water levels in its boiler, so you can watch for any potential issues.
Comparatively, the Musica doesn’t have an indicator for its boiler water level, which means you’ll have to watch it more closely than you would with the Appia.
APPIA II AUTOSTEAM OPTION
On the Volumetric Single-Group configuration of the Appia, you’ll find an Autosteam feature which is just another step that contributes to a smoother drink-making process.
To use it, baristas just need to push a button, and the machine will steam the milk perfectly itself. You’ll see perfect, silky microfoam every time, no matter who’s behind the counter.
This feature is user-friendly, so even your newest employees will be able to learn to use it and deliver high-quality drinks to your customers.
To top it off, it also means your employees won’t have to carefully watch the milk as it steams, so they can work on other things such as customer service.
At Majesty Coffee, we work hard to ensure you get the best deals and highest quality equipment.
With that in mind, we offer our Musica models mostly within a $2,000 range. The direct-connect configuration of the Musica Lux with LEDs is the outlier at $3,240. Its pour-over counterpart with LEDs is $2,515.
Single-group configurations of the Appia II will vary based on which options you choose, but the general price ranges from $3,000-$4,000.
For example, the Appia II’s Semiautomatic single-group machine is in our store for $3,510. The Volumetric single-group configuration is $4,860, but the same configuration without the Autosteam feature is $4,275.
WHICH ESPRESSO MACHINE SHOULD YOU GET?
Even if you’re familiar with the features, it’s possible you’re still wondering:
Which espresso machine should you get?
To answer that question, it’s essential that you examine your own individual situation. Think about which features you prefer, what type of business you have, and your budget.
How does your type of business impact your decision? Well, certain features are more beneficial for businesses with a higher volume of espresso orders.
For example, consider the Appia II’s ability to make up to 150 drinks a day. Although either one of these machines is ideal for smaller coffee shops or restaurants, the Appia II outpaces the Musica for those settings where speed is important.
But if you don’t have as much of a demand for espresso, you’ll find the Musica more than meets the needs of smaller shops or cafes. Home users might also enjoy this machine, especially with its movable pour-over configuration.
You should also think about your employees. Do you often have to train new hires?
Then you should consider the volumetric options in the Appia II, which are easier to use than semiautomatic machines. The AutoSteam feature on some configurations of the Appia II also add to a lower training time.
At the same time, where your budget is concerned, the Musica has configurations that are less expensive, especially with its pour-over option. Pour-over machines are often more economical than direct-connect ones.
It’s important to mention, however, that direct-connect machines are typically the preference in commercial settings because they’re lower maintenance. Think about whether or not having to manually refill a water tank every so often is a deal breaker for you.
This is our conclusion:
Shops with a little bit more volume and that require speed and ease of use will find a more suitable choice in the Appia II – especially its Volumetric configuration with Autosteam.
Businesses that don’t necessarily have a high demand for espresso or have more restrictive budgets should consider the Musica.
For more information on the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and the Nuova Simonelli Musica, as well as the lowest prices online, take a look at their Majesty Coffee store pages here:
Appia II: https://majestycoffee.com/products/nuova-simonelli-appia-ii-volumetric-espresso-machine-1
Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team
Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.