I have been wanting to this for some time, probably from the time I purchased the machine. With non-E61 heat exchange machines, measuring the temperature of the brew water is not the easiest or the cheapest task. I tried googling the subject to see if anyone else has done this test so I can simply copy their routine but the information I found was mostly for the Oscar and not the Musica and even that didn’t make me feel comfortable or didn’t make sense. My challenge was that I needed to determine a cooling flush that would get me somewhere between 197F to 200F to be exact. Why the lower-ish temperature? I mostly use medium and dark roast coffees and for those, a lower temperature is ideal.
I started by purchasing a thermocouple thermometer and luckily I found a brand new AMPROBE T-51 on eBay for under $35!
Next, I drilled a hole on the side of an extra, generic basket I had and I inserted the thermocouple and added some sealant to ensure the probe doesn’t move and the water doesn’t leak from the hole
Before I use the thermocouple thermometer, I decided to test it against my Bonavita kettle and see if it reads the same temp as the kettle, and it did.
Next, I had to come up with a way to restrict the flow of the water as to imitate a true extraction. For this I used a Rancilio rubber backflush disk that I had laying around from my Silvia days and placed a small hole in it to restrict the flow instead of completely eliminating the flow.
Finally, I was ready for business. I experimented with different cooling flushes but here’s what I settled on:
If machine has been idle for more than 10 minutes (at 1.4 to 1.3 bars of pressure), when you press the brew button you should see a lot steam (approximately 30gm of water) coming out of the grouphead, once that’s done, keep the water running till you hit 85gm then lock the portafilter and pull the shot. The shot will start at 200F or so and will drop down to 198F and will stay there (see video below)
If machine has been idle for less than 5 or 10 minutes, you should get less steam (approximately 16gm of water) out of the grouphead. If that’s the case, simply run the water for an additional 3 seconds after the steam stops for a total of 50 or 60gm of water. This should maintain the same range of 200F and dropping to 198F or 197F.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
In my last week’s blog post, I listed 5 things I don’t like about my Nuova Simonelli Musica. In this week’s post, I’m listing 5 things I love about it.
- The steam power, wand and tip: if you’re like me and you steam a lot of milk and love latte art then you will appreciate the steam on the Musica. The Musica has a 4 hole steam tip, the same tip used on the Nuova Simonelli machines used in the Barista Championships. You can watch this video here to have an idea for the steaming power. You can also watch some of my posts on Instagram to see examples of latte art.
- Temperature consistency: so far my experience has been that before I pull a shot, if I flush the same amount of water after the flash boiling stops (cooling flush), the temperature in the cup is pretty consistent so is the taste (assuming other variables are constant)
- Design: beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I personally find the design to be very attractive and a nice combination between modern and retro making it a good fit with other coffee equipment or appliances.
- LED strips: you may think that the lighting on the LUX model is a gimmick and unnecessary but I personally find it extremely cool and a nice WOW factor when I have people over at the house.
- Tank and drip tray capacity: both are huge compared to the size of the machine. The reservoir holds 3 liter of water while the drip tray holds close to a liter. Both don’t need to be frequently refilled/emptied often. Coming from a Silvia, which has a small water reservoir and a tiny, almost nonfunctional, drip tray, the Musica is a relief.
For those of you who don’t know or didn’t read my earlier posts, I’m the owner of a Nuova Simonelli Musica that I purchased off of eBay for 40% of its retail price! The Musica was a flop for Nuova Simonelli simply because it was double the price of its smaller sister the Oscar without double the features. Below I will list 5 things I don’t like about the Musica:
- Crazy price: the Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux (with the LED strips) retailed new for $2500 for the tank model while the Oscar retailed for close to $1000 and the Oscar 2 for close to $1300. Keep in mind, these machines are nearly identical except for the price and couple of other changes. I purchased this machine for close to $1000 so depreciation is crazy on these machines.
- Missing brew pressure gauge: for $2500, you would think that a brew pressure gauge (feature found on much cheaper machines) is a given but somehow the folks at Nuova Simonelli didn’t think so, so you only get a boiler pressure gauge.
- Unnecessary NSF certification: for some reason Nuova Simonelli thought that certifying a machine like the Musica, with its vibratory pump and 2 liter boiler, was a good idea. The certification was intended to make the Musica a viable option for small, low volume commercial application (e.g. galleries, small restaurants, etc.). However, the vibratory pump is ridiculous with its 1 minute on 1 minute off requirement and the heating element is only 1200 watts. The high price (for what the unit offered) and the reliability concerns all played important roles in making this machine a nonviable option for the commercial or even semi commercial environment.
- Can’t choose between plumbing and tank after purchase: the Musica must be purchased as either a tank (pour over) model or a plumbable model. You can’t plumb the tank model if you choose to after buying the machine and you can’t use a tank with the plumable model. Again, for the price, the option to switch between tank and plumbing should have been a given.
- Pre-infusion time is not adjustable: the Musica has a pre-infusion option, which you can turn on and off using the keypad, but the length of the pre-infusion is already set at 3 seconds and is not adjustable.
In the next post I will talk about the things I like about the Musica and why it’s a good buy in the used market.