Are you planning to open a coffee shop or upgrade your coffee setup at home? Two great options are the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and the Appia Life.

These machines are a serious investment; you can't dive in without doing your homework. That's exactly why I'm here.

I've put these two machines to the test to see if they really deliver on their promises. Want to know what I found? Stick around, and I'll spill the beans—literally and figuratively.

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

3.5


Overall Rating

4.1

Overall, I would rate the Nuova Simonelli Appia a 4.1 out of 5. It's nearly the perfect package for anyone serious about coffee because of the following:

  • Exceptional Copper Boilers
  • Dual Steam Wands
  • Pre-Infusion
  • Hot Water Wand
  • Automatic Backflushing

Pros

  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Temperature Stability
  • Customizability
  • Raised Group Heads
  • Volumetric Dosing

Cons

  • Price Tag
  • Learning Curve

Who Should Buy The Nuova Simonelli Appia Espresso Machine?

The Nuova Simonelli Appia series is your go-to if you're running a cafe or a busy restaurant and need a workhorse that can churn out quality espresso shots all day long. These machines are designed for high-volume environments, offering both speed and reliability.

The Appia II is a solid choice for those who value time-tested features, while the Appia Life brings in a bit of modern flair with energy-saving functions.

Either way, you're getting a machine that's easy to use for skilled baristas and even those just starting.


Why I Decided To Review The Nuova Simonelli Appia

I've been messing around with home espresso machines for years, and let's be honest, most of them can't handle the pressure—literally—of a busy coffee shop environment.

That's why I was stoked to test out the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life. These machines are known for being the top espresso makers under $5,000.

These machines are the real deal, engineered to serve up cup after cup of espresso perfection in high-traffic settings.

So, I’ve tried them out for a few weeks to see if they're actually an excellent choice for a busy commercial environment.

Here’s how I tested them:

Testing Conditions

Days Tested

30

Cups Brewed Per Day

10+

Level Of Experience Needed

Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert

Reviewer Background

Home brewing enthusiast who started with a Mr. Coffee machine and recently upgraded to the Breville Oracle Touch

Environment Tested

Pop-up coffee shop

Money Saved Per Year

Roughly $1,500 based on ditching my daily cafe visits

Favorite Drink To Brew

Lattes and Americanos

What’s It Like To Live With The Nuova Simonelli Appia

I didn't test the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life in a home environment but rather in a pop-up coffee shop setting. Imagine a place where the coffee orders never stop coming in.

That's where they shine. These are machines designed to withstand the heavy use that would fry your typical home espresso machine's circuits.

So, what is it like to use these commercial espresso machines? Let’s dive into their performance in Nuova Simonelli Life and Nuova Simonelli Appia II review.

What's In The Box?

When you get the Nuova Simonelli Appia II or Appia Life delivered, trust me, you're all set.

They've got you covered, from the machine to the nitty-gritty parts like filters and spouts. Everything is well-packed, secure, and organized so you can hit the ground running.

In each box, you'll find:

  • Machine
  • Coffee tamper (1 unit)
  • Single filter (1 unit)
  • Double filter (1 for each group)
  • Blind filter (1 for each group)
  • Spring (group number + 1)
  • Filter-holder (group number + 1)
  • Double delivery spout (1 for each group)
  • Single delivery spout (1 for each group)
  • Filling tube 3/8” (1 unit)
  • Draining pipe Ø25 (1 unit)

Note From A Barista!

This is based on a Nuova Simonelli Appia single-group machine.

The contents of each box will vary depending on the number of group heads you choose: one group head, two group heads, or three group heads.

If you're running a multi-barista setup, you'll appreciate that they've thrown in filter holders to match the number of group heads you have, plus one extra.

Each filter holder has double and single delivery spouts, so you can easily flex between different drink sizes.

For installation, you've got a 3/8" filling tube and a draining pipe. They've got you covered for a hassle-free setup. No extra hardware store runs are needed.

Overall, it's a complete package designed for a hassle-free setup so you can focus on what matters: making great coffee.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Life Accessories

Pulling My First Espresso Shot

First things first—you get your brand-new Appia II or Appia Life, and guess what? No grinder in sight.

Don't freak out; it's not a bad thing. While it is an additional cost, this allows you to pair the machine with a grinder that's perfect for your needs.

I've been pulling espresso shots for years, and let me tell you, the grinder matters.[1] It can make or break the quality of your espresso.

Setting up these machines is a piece of cake. You open the box, and it's all laid out for you. Everything you need to set up a commercial machine is there.

Alright, so the first pull—super important. You've got these raised group heads on both machines, making it easier to fit larger cups and nail that espresso extraction.

They also both have a rotary pump, the unsung hero that keeps your water pressure consistent, which is essential for a quality espresso shot.

One thing to remember: while both of these espresso machines offer almost the same features, they have a slight difference in performance.

If you're all about control, the Appia II espresso machine is your jam. It's got extra programmable buttons that let you get super specific with your espresso volume.

Now, if you're more of an eco-conscious person, then the Appia Life espresso machine is more up your alley.

It's compact, energy-efficient, and great for small or green-focused specialty coffee shops.

Regardless of which one you pick, both have these key features, such as volumetric dosing buttons and a soft infusion system.

The volumetric dosing offers consistency and accuracy in your coffee preparation, while the soft infusion system (also called pre-infusion) is your espresso’s warm-up act.

It basically trickles some water in the puck to ensure a balanced brew.

Either way, you'll get these awesome volumetric dosing buttons on both machines, which offer consistency and accuracy in your coffee preparation—in other words, no more guessing games.

Another thing that they both have is the soft infusion system, which offers a pre-infusion phase that ensures balanced flavors and a fuller-bodied shot.

You'll know you've nailed that espresso shot when you see that beautiful layer of crema on top, and these machines deliver just that.

If you're new to this whole barista thing, getting a semi-automatic machine can be scary, especially since it requires some skill to operate.

However, these two are different. They are super user-friendly!

For more seasoned baristas, you'll find plenty of ways to keep leveling up your espresso game.

Pulling Espresso Shot On The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life

First Time Frothing Milk

Frothing milk is something every barista, seasoned or new, pays close attention to, and I'm no exception.

Both the Appia II and Appia Life feature dual steam wands, which allow for steaming and frothing milk simultaneously.

The two steam wands are powerful and get the job done quickly, which is a perk when you've got a line of customers or friends eagerly waiting for their lattes.

Now, let's talk about the operation. You've got more control here than with automatic milk frothers. Automatic frothers are convenient but can't give you that velvety texture you're craving.

These two steam wands can. They're pretty straightforward to use; a quick turn of the knob, and you're in full control of steam and froth milk.

For the frothed milk itself? Expect that dreamy, velvety microfoam perfect for latte art or impressing your coffee date.

Appia II lets you fine-tune even more if you're into that, like if you want your milk creamier or fluffier.

As mentioned, the Appia Life's got this eco-friendly vibe, even if it’s a commercial machine.

It balances out the steam power with energy efficiency, which is cool if you're all about that green life. The Appia II espresso machine? It's a powerhouse; it doesn't hold back.

So, you're not just getting a drink but a whole experience. Honestly, after frothing with these two, you won't even look at an automatic frother the same way again. Trust me on this one.

How Much Control Do You Have Over The Coffee Experience?

With the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life, the coffee-making experience is all in your hands.

We've already touched on the programmable buttons. What you should know is that these machines give you more leeway than a yoga instructor in a pretzel factory.

Seriously, you get to tweak your coffee parameters till it's just the way you like it.

Kidding aside, the temperature control is a huge plus for seasoned baristas, and these two don't disappoint.

They come with solid temperature stability, ensuring your espresso isn't too hot or cold but just right. Believe me, temperature can be a deal-breaker.

It's like your home's thermostat; you only notice it once something's off.

Then there's extraction time. If you're going by the book, an espresso shot should take about 25-30 seconds, but who likes sticking to the rules all the time?[2]

With these machines, you can experiment. Shorter, longer—it's your choice.

Now, the Appia II has this tiny edge when it comes to small improvements in your espresso shot. Say you want to interrupt the coffee flow mid-way; you can totally do that.

The Appia Life is more on the automated side, a "set it and forget it" kind of espresso machine. So, choose what suits your coffee personality.

All in all, these machines put you in the driver's seat, letting you control just about every aspect of your coffee experience.

So, if you like to micromanage your coffee (in the best way possible), either of these machines will fit right into your morning—or afternoon, or midnight—routine.

Nuova Simonelli Appia II espresso machine on a countertop

How Does It Handle Different Roasts?

The Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life can handle pretty much any roast you throw at them.

One thing to note: You're pairing these machines with your own grinder, which opens up a world of possibilities. That's where you'll get the most control over how your beans behave.

Whether you're getting any of these espresso machines for commercial or home use, purchase a good grinder, like the Nuova Simonelli G60, and dialing in the grind size is a breeze.

Technically speaking, as long as you get the grind size right, these brewers can extract the flavors of any roast.

I've found that medium roasts work exceptionally well, offering a balanced cup that brings out the best of what these machines have to offer. Honestly, the sky's the limit here.

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine

So let's talk aesthetics and build quality—two things you will notice immediately with the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life.

Both have that flagship model feel, wrapped up in stainless steel that screams quality.

The ergonomic design of the group heads—especially those raised group heads—makes it easy to slot your portafilter in, even if you're working with larger cups.

This is a game-changer, especially when you've got back-to-back orders, or you're just looking to impress.

Now, if you're dealing with limited counter space, don't sweat it. The Appia Life comes in a compact version, aptly named Appia Life Compact.

It's ideal if you're looking for the functionality of larger machines but need something that doesn't hog your entire countertop.

One last thing: dimensions can vary depending on how many group heads you go for. So, tailor it according to your needs; more group heads means more coffees but also requires more space.

In a nutshell, both machines offer a pro-barista and high-end coffee shops vibe without being overwhelming.

They're a good blend of function and form, compact enough for smaller setups but robust enough to be your coffee shop's centerpiece.

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life

What Drinks Can It Make?

Both the Nuova Simonelli Appia Life and Appia II can brew anything—coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos—you name it. The real question is, can your skill level keep up?

See, the Appia II and Appia Life are semi-automatic machines, which means they won't do all the heavy lifting for you.

That's where your barista skills come into play. Whether you want to pull a good espresso shot or steam milk for a creamy latte, it's all on you.

If you can dream it up, and you've got the skill to back it, these machines are your canvas. The brew and cup possibilities are endless and impressive.

My favorite? The hot water wand! Not only are they reliable for any coffee drinks, but you can also use them to brew tea!

How Easy Is It To Use?

Both the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life espresso machines are pretty straightforward to use.

From the raised group heads that make it easier to slide your cup under to the dual steam wands that make frothing a breeze, everything is designed with the barista in mind.

The key features here are user-friendly, so you can focus on perfecting your espresso shots and milk steaming rather than fumbling with a complicated machine.

Ultimately, it's like riding a bike—it might take a moment to get the hang of it, but you'll be cruising once you do.

So, yeah, easy to use? I'd say they're a great choice, especially if you're willing to put in a little practice.

Using The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life

How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)

With the Appia II and Appia Life, you're looking at a heat-up time of just about 15-20 minutes, thanks to their exceptional copper boilers. So, plan that into your routine, and you're golden.

Once the machine is heated, expect to pull a shot within 25-30 seconds if you're playing by the book.

Remember, you've got the freedom to tinker with the extraction time to suit your taste. Craving a latte instead?

Add another 30 seconds for frothing with those powerful dual steam wands, and your creamy, dreamy latte is ready to go.

All in all, from heat-up to first sip, we're talking less than 25 minutes for an espresso and just under 26 minutes for a latte. Now, that's what I call efficient coffee making.

Does It Have A Water Filtration System?

No, neither the Nuova Simonelli Appia II nor the Appia Life has a built-in water filtration system. However, don't skimp on this.

Hard water can be a real nemesis to your coffee machine, causing scale build-up that can damage those exceptional copper boilers over time.[3]

If you care about the longevity of your investment—and you should, as these are expensive machines—consider adding an external water filtration system to your setup. It's not just about the quality of your coffee; it's about keeping your machine in tip-top shape.

How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?

When it comes to maintenance, both the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life make it pretty straightforward.

With automatic backflushing, your daily cleaning routine is practically on autopilot.

Just activate the feature, and it takes care of flushing the group head, keeping your machine in tip-top shape—no more manual cleaning of the boiler!

The only manual process you need to do in these machines is removing the water from the drip tray and wiping down their exterior.

As for descaling, the frequency really hinges on your water quality. Hard water can be a nemesis for your machine, especially those exceptional copper boilers.

Without a water filtration system in place, you'll likely need to descale monthly. However, if your water's softer or you're using a filter, a quarterly descale should suffice.

So, whether it's daily, weekly, or monthly upkeep, these machines keep it hassle-free, letting you focus more on perfecting those coffee shots and less on tedious maintenance.

Nuova Simonelli Appia espresso maker next to coffee cups

Different Configurations of the Nuova Simonelli Appia Espresso Machines

Nuova Simonelli Appia Compact

This machine is your jam if you're looking for smaller machines but still want a commercial-grade coffee experience.

Don't let the "compact" fool you; it's got dual steam wands, hot water wands, and exceptional copper boilers, ensuring it packs the same punch as its bigger siblings.

The Appia Compact is perfect for smaller coffee shops, yet it doesn't compromise on key features like volumetric dosing or automatic backflushing.

Even better, it fits snugly on your counter without hogging all the space.

Because this model takes the key features of Appia II and Appia Life—like those raised group heads for easy brewing—it's a cinch to transition between models.

The build quality? Solid. The aesthetics? On point. This machine is all about giving you control and quality without the size commitment.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Volumetric

You know how the Appia II and Appia Life are great at letting you fiddle with settings? Well, the Appia Volumetric takes it a notch higher with volumetric dosing.

That means you get the same, precise amount of coffee every single time. No more wondering about how much coffee to use.

What else? Dual steam wands, hot water wands, and exceptional copper boilers are standard here, too.

Designed for medium to large coffee shops, this volumetric machine comes with all the steam you'll ever need for those frothy drinks your customers crave.

It's like the flagship model went to grad school and majored in reliability. You get all the good features of the Appia II and Appia Life, with a cherry on top.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Semi-Automatic

Think of the Appia Semi-Automatic as the Appia II's free-spirited cousin. It strips down some of the convenience and automated features, but don't let that fool you—this machine's got game.

A good fit for small coffee shops or home baristas who enjoy the craft, it relies on manual operations that keep you engaged in the coffee-making process.

You still have those dual steam wands, hot water wands, and the legendary copper boilers.

It's like Nuova Simonelli took the ability from its commercial siblings and packed them into a more compact, easy-to-navigate setup.

Yes, it has the same group head setup and steam wands, but here, you're in complete control of your shot extraction and milk steaming.

So, if you're a purist who likes to have your hands on every aspect of your brew, this one's your jam.

Nuova Simonelli Appia LIFE Features

My Favorite Parts About The Nuova Simonelli Appia

  • User-Friendly Interface: The machine is a breeze to operate, even for novice baristas. Everything is intuitive, and I didn't have to waste time flipping through manuals.
  • Temperature Stability: The machine consistently delivers hot shots and steam without fluctuation.
  • Customizability: The machine is like a blank canvas that lets my inner barista artist come to life. The variety of options allows me to tweak every shot to whatever my customer wants.
  • Raised Group Heads: I'm talking more clearance for larger cups, so go ahead and make that venti latte without playing Tetris.
  • Volumetric Dosing: This is an absolute game-changer! It means every shot you pull is consistent, and let's face it, consistency is king.

My Least Favorite Parts About The Nuova Simonelli Appia

  • Price Tag: While you're getting an exceptional machine, the cost might make your wallet weep a little. It's an investment for sure, but it’s not really affordable.
  • Learning Curve: Despite its user-friendly aspects, mastering all the features took me some time. For new baristas, the plethora of options might seem overwhelming initially.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Vs Similar Machines

Nuova Simonelli Appia Vs Aurelia Wave Volumetric

When it comes to a face-off between the Nuova Simonelli Appia and the Aurelia Wave Volumetric, the battle is pretty intense.

The Aurelia Wave has a few more benefits, like its Pulse-Jet technology that optimizes extraction. However, the Appia holds its own with its exceptional copper boilers and volumetric dosing.

Both machines are stellar for commercial use, but the Aurelia Wave is like the elder sibling with a Ph.D.—more features but also more expensive.

If you're after affordability without compromising too much on quality, Appia's your go-to.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Vs Aurelia Wave Volumetric

Nuova Simonelli Appia Vs Musica

Both these machines are made by Nuova Simonelli, so you already know you're in for a treat no matter which you pick.

The Musica sings to the tune of affordability and dazzling aesthetics, complete with LED-lit sides that make it a hit in any coffee shop or high-end home setup.

On the other hand, the Appia is all about performance and ergonomics, complete with raised group heads that make espresso extraction a breeze.

While the Musica has the price advantage and could be a great choice for budget-conscious buyers, the Appia doesn't skimp on features or quality.

If you're seeking more control and robustness, Appia has your back.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Vs Musica

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is this machine plumbable?

Yes, the Nuova Simonelli Appia offers a plumbed-in version, allowing for a direct water line connection for convenience and consistent water quality.

What is the difference between a volumetric and a semi-automatic espresso machine?

A volumetric machine automates water measurement for consistent shots, while a semi-automatic requires manual control to start and stop the espresso extraction, offering more hands-on control.

Conclusion - Is The Nuova Simonelli Appia Worth Your Money?

Both the Nuova Simonelli Appia II and Appia Life are absolutely worth every penny, especially if you're a seasoned barista or running a commercial coffee shop.

Their reliability, high-quality build, and extensive control options make them a smart investment for long-term use.

However, if you're on a tighter budget, the Nuova Simonelli Musica offers many of the same benefits at a more affordable price. Either way, you're investing in coffee excellence.

Nuova Simonelli Appia Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

3.5


Overall Rating

4.1

References: 

  1. https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2023/may/how-to-grind-a-perfect-espresso/
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44886-w
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775162/

Kim Fernandez

Author

Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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