Nuova Simonelli is an espresso machine manufacturer with around a century of experience. Throughout their existence, they have worked to innovate the industry, introducing cutting-edge machines that have even been used in barista championships around the world.
The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life is one of their more recent additions to the market. What sort of innovations does it make? Is it worth adding to your home or business?
In this Nuova Simonelli Appia Life review, we’ll take a close look at the machine and its features. This is what you’ll learn:
- Notable Appia Life features and how they’ll impact you.
- The various versions of the Appia Life that are available.
- Alternative options to the Appia Life.
- Information on Nuova Simonelli’s history.
- The prices of the Appia Life configurations and alternative machines.
Let’s get right to it.
There are a few different versions of the Appia Life, which we’ll discuss in more detail later, but the version we’re choosing to highlight here is the Appia Life Volumetric. We’ve selected it because it’s one of the most beginner-friendly espresso machines out there, with an ergonomic design and soft infusion system that promotes consistent quality in every drink you make.
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Key Features and Why They’re Important
Semiautomatic and Automatic
As we mentioned above, there are a few different configurations of the Appia Life espresso machine. This gives it a wide degree of versatility, so there’s likely a model that fits in to your situation.
One of the things you’ll be able to choose is whether you have an automatic or semiautomatic version of the Appia Life. Wondering why this matters?
The reason this is important is that whether you have an automatic or semiautomatic machine greatly affects your daily use of it. There’s a large difference in the amount of control offered by either type, so we’ll give you a quick overview of them here.
Semiautomatic machines require their users to start and stop the brew cycle. This translates to greater flexibility for experimentation, such as the ability to pull extra-long ristretto shots. The downside is that using these machines also demands a greater amount of skill from the barista.
Automatic machines, on the other hand, will stop the brew cycle for you at the correct time once you’ve started it. They do this through a number of pre-programmed settings that either time the shot or weigh it out for you.
Unfortunately, this does mean that machine is less flexible, since it forces baristas to give up some control over the process. The upside is that automatic machines ensure consistent quality regardless of the barista’s own skills.
Read Also: Nuova Simonelli Appia II vs Musica
Optional Multiple Brew Groups
Another variation between the versions of the Appia Life is their number of brew groups. A couple configurations will allow you to choose anywhere from one to three brew groups.
This will be important to you if time is of the essence in your business. The more brew groups an espresso machine has, the faster it is able to brew espresso.
Additionally, a machine with more brew groups tends to be wider than those with fewer groups. Because of this, multiple baristas may be able to work comfortably on the same machine if it has three group heads, increasing your output.
As our technology becomes increasingly advanced, it also grows more energy-efficient. This is great for a number of reasons.
For starters, increased energy efficiency is environmentally friendly. You can enjoy a clearer conscience when you’re using something that’s been designed to use less energy.
Second, energy efficient machinery is naturally less expensive to operate. In an espresso machine, this can mean reduced utility bills.
So how does the Appia Life tie into energy efficiency? All versions of the machine have insulated boilers. Because of this insulation, the machines don’t need to expend as much energy staying up to temperature. To give you hard numbers, Nuova Simonelli says that the energy consumption of the Appia Life line is reduced by 13% as a result of this insulation.
Additional Resource: Best Commercial Espresso Machines
Stainless Steel Construction
When you invest in an espresso machine, you want your hard-earned money to go towards something that will last. You don’t want to pay for something that simply breaks within a few weeks or even months of purchase.
That’s why each Nuova Simonelli Appia Life is sturdily built. They have bodies made from stainless steel, which makes them resistant to rust and, of course, breaking down.
Beyond the obvious durability of this design, there’s the aesthetics to take into consideration. Because they’re made from stainless steel, the Appia Life is undeniably refined in appearance. Its gleaming exterior is something you’ll be proud to display.
Raised Group Heads
The average coffee shop and restaurant has multiple drink sizes for customers to order to sate a variety of cravings. Even at home, you may find yourself brewing coffee in different sized cups to give yourself the same experience.
Not all espresso machines are as accommodating. Because some have low-hanging group heads, you’re unable to brew directly into taller cups. This leaves baristas dealing with the inconvenience of delicately transferring shots of espresso from small to large cups whenever a tall drink is ordered.
That won’t be a problem with the Appia Life. Its raised group heads will allow you to brew directly into taller cups, saving you time and preventing spills.
Soft Infusion System
If you weren’t already familiar with all the skills that go into making every espresso, you might be shocked to hear just how many things can go wrong when making a latte. There are numerous steps that must be done well, from grinding the beans to steaming the milk to velvety perfection.
It’s easy to see how the quality of drinks even from the same establishment could vary drastically depending on the experience of the employee making them. The brilliant soft infusion system designed by Nuova Simonelli was made to prevent inconsistency.
What exactly does it do? It’s simple: before the full water pressure of extraction is applied to your grounds, the Appia Life will settle the puck with a gentle stream of water.
Because of this, any unevenness in the espresso from poor tamping is smoothed out. The water is then able to reach all particles during extraction, which leads to a richer flavor every time.
Further Reading: 6 Best Plumbed Espresso Machines with Water Line Hookups
A couple versions of the Appia Life have the optional addition of the EasyCream system. You might be able to guess what that does based on the name, but we’ll explain just in case.
In the above section, we discussed how it can be easy to make a mistake in one single step of the drink preparation and ruin the end result entirely. This includes frothing milk, which takes a shocking degree of skill.
Nuova Simonelli’s EasyCream system was created to make frothing milk simple. You can think of it as an automatic steaming feature that will help your baristas produce consistently silky, smooth milk foam every time.
An espresso machine that makes you or your employees uncomfortable during operation wouldn’t be very useful. You’d find yourself dreading every use and may even try to avoid customer orders simply so you don’t have to use the machine!
One thing Nuova Simonelli has always done well is working alongside baristas whenever they design a machine. This includes the Appia Life, which has an ergonomic design that will have you and your baristas brewing and steaming in total comfort all day long.
All configurations of the Appia Life are available in three different colors: red, white, and black. You may find yourself wondering why that matters.
Truthfully, it might not be important to you. If it isn’t, we suggest you try and think about things from your customers’ or guests’ perspectives.
The look of an establishment is often enough to convince you to come back or stay away. If you’re able to cultivate the right atmosphere, you could turn a new customer into a regular.
As the appliance that’s going to be sitting front and center on your counter, your espresso machine may as well look impressive. With multiple color options, you can ensure you get something that complements your environment.
Related Article: Best Italian Commercial Espresso Machines
We made the Appia Life Volumetric the start of this review, since it’s one of the most user-friendly versions of the machine. We’ve touched on many of its features throughout the review as a result, but it still needs to go on the list of configurations.
The Appia Life Volumetric is, as its name implies, an automatic espresso machine. It will handle the dosing for you and your employees, guaranteeing you get precisely the same amount of espresso every time.
It’s available in its own configurations with anywhere from one to three group heads. The potentially large number of group heads makes it one of the faster versions of the Appia Life you can get.
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You can guess what the Appia Life Compact was designed for based on its name alone: it was created to have a small footprint on your counter. Because of this, it’s the Appia Life of choice for those who are short on room.
Despite its small size, you get a surprising number of choices with this little machine. For instance, you can choose to purchase either semiautomatic or automatic configurations.
That means it can be perfect for small specialty shops filled with skilled baristas or it can be a good choice in businesses that often have new hires to train.
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Are you looking for a semiautomatic version of the Appia Life for your most creative baristas to thrive on, but want something with a greater output capacity than the Compact? What you’re looking for, then, is the Appia Life Semiautomatic.
This machine comes in one- and two-group configurations. As the name implies, it’s only available as a semiautomatic machine that’s ideal for the more seasoned baristas out there.
Grab the two-group version if you’re looking for a machine that doubles the output of a single-group one. Plus, since the two-group configuration has two steam wands, you could easily have two baristas working on it at the same time.
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The beautifully and gracefully curved Aurelia Wave Volumetric is the perfect choice for businesses with a high espresso volume. In either its double or triple group configuration, it’s a speed demon of an espresso machine that will have your employees powering through orders.
Like the Appia Life, it has an integrated soft infusion system that helps ensure each drink is as good as the last. That’s another quality that makes it so exceptional for large businesses; even your new employees will be able to make espresso as good as the pros.
Here are some other noteworthy Aurelia Wave qualities:
- A reflective backplate that doubles as a mirror to monitor your espresso with.
- Manual dosing functionality so your more talented baristas have the versatility to experiment whenever they want.
- Cool touch steam wands that will protect your employees from burns.
- Surface LEDs to provide your employees with ample workspace lighting.
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If you want something like the Appia Life Compact that’s more affordable, the Nuova Simonelli Musica could be precisely what you need. As a single-group machine, it’s perfectly petite and great at squeezing into crowded environments.
Don’t let its small size fool you, either – it’s full of powerful features. It has the utmost thermal stability thanks to its thermo-compensated group and its insulated copper boiler.
What’s more, it also has a pre-infusion system that will smooth any inconsistencies out of your espresso puck. The result will be a reliably balanced extraction and delicious flavor.
These are some other important Musica qualities:
- Optional LED lighting on the Lux configuration.
- A water nozzle you can program hot water doses into for consistent teas and Americanos.
- An ergonomic push-pull steam trigger that’s comfortable to operate.
- Indicating lights that will tell you when the machine’s water level is low or when it’s heating up.
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If you’re wondering whether you can trust the brand behind the machines in this review, the short answer is…of course!
The longer answer is that Nuova Simonelli has been in business since 1936. From the beginning, they’ve worked to create espresso machines and grinders that are both beautiful and efficient.
They’ve contributed many innovations to the world of espresso machines. Their machines are so innovative, in fact, that some have been used in barista competitions.
There are multiple configurations for the Appia Life. Each version could be suitable for a different setting.
The Appia Life Volumetric is one of the best picks for larger businesses, thanks to its automatic feature. It will empower all employees to make good espresso regardless of who’s working.
On the other hand, the Appia Life Compact is a great choice for small coffee shops or prosumers. It’s much smaller in size than the Volumetric, so it’s easier to find space for.
Then there’s the Appia Life Semiautomatic. The Semiautomatic is a good fit for seasoned baristas who enjoy a challenge and total control over their espresso. We’d recommend it for specialty coffee shops with skilled employees.
What Customers Say
At this point in time, we don’t have feedback for any versions of the Appia Life yet. It’s important to mention again, though, that Nuova Simonelli has always produced top-quality espresso machines.
Given that our other Nuova Simonelli models have been exceedingly popular, we’re confident in the quality of all configurations of the Appia Life.
Majesty Coffee has the best prices online for the best coffee and espresso gear, including all our Nuova Simonelli machines. There are quite a few machines to cover here, so let’s get started looking at those prices.
First, the Nuova Simonelli Appia Life Volumetric is in our store for $4,900-$9,700 depending on the number of group heads you select. The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life Compact is available for $6,200-7,600 depending on whether you choose semiautomatic or automatic. Finally, we have the Nuova Simonelli Appia Life Semiautomatic for $4,000-7,200 depending on the number of groups.
Of course, there’s the Musica and Aurelia Wave to consider, too. The Nuova Simonelli Musica is in our store for $2,245-3,240 and the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Wave is in our store for $10,400-12,240.