Bezzera Unica Espresso Machine
Introducing the Unica by Bezzera. Equipped with advanced PID technology, which moderates the boiler temperature for both steaming and brewing, giving the Unica great temperature stability. The Unica is a single boiler machine, which is used both for steaming and brewing. Some additional features include a 3-way solenoid valve, a vibration pump, and the classic E61 group head made of chrome-plated brass. The machine comes with a multi-directional steam wand with a joystick control and a two-hole steam tip, as well. The compact design of the Unica makes it great for any space.
Bezzera Unica Espresso Machine features:
- Stainless steel construction
- Steam and hot water delivered through steam wand with lever tap
- Temperature adjustable by PID digital thermostat
- Coffee pressure gauge
- Water tank and single manometer vibration pump
- Made in Italy
- 46 lbs
- 0.5 copper boiler
- 10 inches wide
- 1 year parts and labor warranty
After working with the Unica for two weeks, here are my first impressions:
Ordering experience and delivery from COMISO were excellent. The grinder came very fast, the espresso machine was shipped from New Jersey rather than Phoenix which is where the company is located and took a little longer since we live in Denver.
As for the machine I had some difficulties getting started.
I didn't realized that the filterbasket is for 20g of coffee, where I was used to 17-18g in my previous machine. Even at 20g the puck is still a little soupy, I may have to go to 22 or get a smaller basket. I am going to try the basket from my Breville 900 which always gave me dry pucks. Then there is the pressure issue. If I manage to get the pressure at 9 bars, the flow it too fast and yields 40g of coffee in <15 seconds. At 12 bars, I get a nice flow and the appropriate length shot. Perhaps my manometer is off? I paired my purchase with the Eureka Mignon Silenzio and while it is silenzio and fast, it's not very accurate in delivery. It ranges from 17 to 21 grams. This is due to retention. When I bounce the grinder, a bunch of grinds come out and when I take off the hopper and blow through it while running the grinder a lot more comes out. I am going to retrofit/hack it so that it become a single dose grinder with a bellow on top. Back to the espresso machine. Going from espresso to steam and back is very fast, not an issue for me. The steam is enormous. Too much when I open the valve complete by putting it in the UP position. So instead I push the joystick down gently so I can control the flow. It takes about 10 seconds to steam my milk, it's insane. In the up position the valve stick a bit. Not sure what lubricant to use the remedy that. I'll call COMISO to see what their thought is. The drip tray is smaller than what I expected or perhaps it fills quickly because the tree-way valve dumps a lot of water after every pull even a flush without back pressure. As I was used to the float in the drip tray of my Breville which would warn me when it was time to dump, I've filled it to the brim and had to use a syringe to get water out or risk spilling water all over the counter and floor.
Also lacking is ability to see how much water is left in the reservoir and a warning when you're low/out. Again two features that I was used to on my Breville. I chose for the single boiler as opposed to my double boiler Breville, so that it would heat up faster and that is certainly the case. I heats up quickly, however the group heat is not hot yet, so I pull one or two blank shots first, or I wait 15 minutes. Switching back and forth to and from steam is a cinch by pressing the + button for 3 seconds and takes no time at all. Going back to espresso it a little more complicated as you have to open the steam want and turn on the pump. Which can be a little messy as powerful steam goes all over the place. I hold a towel around the nozzle to minimize that. This operation takes only 5-10 seconds.
The machine is gorgeous to look at and exudes quality and craftsmanship. My Breville 900 with the Breville Smart Grinder are very easy to dial in. For some reason my current combination proves to be more challenging. I am sure I'll figure it out soon. It's not rocket science. I would still recommend this machine for someone that's serious about espresso making.
I was amazed at the quality of this espresso machine. 5 Stars!
The title says it all! I love this machine! Sturdy, reliable and fits in great with my other stainless steel kitchen appliances.
1.) No option for a dedicated water line. If you’re looking for a product that offers that feature, this isn’t the machine you want.
2.) No water filter. meaning you’ll have to periodically descale the machine, unless you use distilled water in the tank, or filter it from some other source.
3.) There’s an auto-fill feature that works when pulling shots, so that the boiler refills from the tank automatically. That’s handy, but there are two drawbacks. The first is the fact that it’s impossible to tell the tank’s water level without physically opening the top hatch and peeking in.
4.) the auto fill feature doesn’t work with the steam wand, so after steaming 2-3 drinks, you’ll want to manually flip the switch on the front panel to refill the boiler manually, which quickly becomes a nuisance.
If you can deal with the issues mentioned above then the machine will do the job for you and you'll get plenty of enjoyment out of it.
The only reason it didn’t get a perfect five-star rating from me is that there are a few operational quirks you have to get used to. Once you do, however, you can make some magic happen. Measuring at 16” x 11” x 17,” it’s not a compact unit like they describe, but still small enough to make it fairly easy to find it a permanent home. The thing weighs in at a hefty 50 pounds, so it’s not something you’re going to want to move around alot. Also, its industrial appearance may make it clash with some kitchen décor themes. It’s doubtful that this would be a deal-breaker for many, but it is something to keep in mind. If you’re okay with the overall aesthetic, then you’re probably going to love the rest of the machine!