MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine: A Feature-Packed Entry-Level Espresso Experience

Published on Jan. 27, 2024, 3:39 p.m.

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine is an entry-level semi-automatic targeting beginner home baristas looking for cafe-quality espresso without breaking the bank. Offering advanced features like a PID and dedicated thermo-block at an affordable price point, it packs a serious punch.

Market Context

Before diving into the specifics of the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine, it’s essential to understand the landscape of semi-automatic espresso machines. This category has grown significantly, offering a range of options from entry-level to professional-grade units. Understanding this context will illuminate why the Apex stands out, particularly for beginners in the home barista scene.

Overview

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine is a semi-automatic espresso machine designed for beginners seeking a reasonably priced machine with the core functionality of professional equipment.

Technological Specifications and Features

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine stands out with its 1450W power output and 550ml stainless steel boiler, ensuring quick heating and consistent espresso brewing. The machine’s dimensions of 11”D x 9”W x 15”H make it an ideal choice for kitchen countertops without sacrificing valuable space.

Key features include a PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) temperature controller. This system allows users to fine-tune the brewing temperature, crucial for extracting the perfect espresso. Unlike traditional systems that might only toggle the boiler on or off, the PID system continuously calculates the exact power level needed to maintain the desired temperature. This precision prevents temperature swings that can adversely affect the taste of espresso by ensuring the water is exactly right for extracting the fullest flavor from the coffee grounds.

The machine’s ability to reach 9 bars of extraction pressure, the industry standard for espresso, is facilitated by an Italian-made vibratory pump, known for its reliability and longevity.

Furthermore, the Apex offers programmable pre-infusion, enhancing the espresso’s flavor by allowing the coffee to bloom before full extraction. This feature, combined with the machine’s precise temperature control, enables users to achieve a barista-level espresso at home.

In addition to its brewing capabilities, the machine boasts a separate thermo-block for steam production, enabling users to froth milk to a creamy consistency for lattes and cappuccinos. The inclusion of a commercial-grade 58mm portafilter ensures that users experience a professional brewing process.

 MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine

Design and Materials

Enclosed in a brushed stainless steel body, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine has a compact footprint of 27.9 x 22.9 x 38.1 cm and weighs only 8.6 kg. The sleek exterior gives it the stylish look of a commercial machine.

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine’s design combines functionality with aesthetic appeal. The brushed stainless steel exterior not only provides a modern and stylish look but also ensures durability and ease of cleaning. The machine’s compact design is perfect for home use, fitting seamlessly into various kitchen styles without occupying excessive space.

Attention to detail is evident in the machine’s ergonomic portafilter handle and intuitive control panel, which enhance user experience. The robust construction and choice of high-quality materials reflect MiiCoffee’s commitment to producing durable and reliable espresso machines.

How Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines Work

Semi-automatic espresso machines, like the MiiCoffee Apex, strike a balance between manual control and automatic functionality. Users grind the coffee, tamp it, and press a button to start the extraction process. The machine controls the water temperature and pressure, ensuring consistent espresso shots. Understanding this balance is crucial for appreciating the control and convenience offered by the Apex.

Features and Functionality - Barista-Level Controls

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine comes equipped with:

  • A 550 ml stainless steel boiler providing 1450W of heating power
  • An Italian-made vibration pump delivering 9 bars of pressure
  • A thermo-block heating system for steaming milk
  • A pressure gauge displaying real-time extraction pressure
  • PID temperature control for precise temperature regulation
  • Pre-infusion for optimized flavor extraction
  • A 58mm stainless steel commercial portafilter

These pro-level features allow home baristas to dial in cafe-quality espresso.

Ease of Use

As a semi-automatic machine, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine allows you to pull espresso shots with a simple tap of the brew button. Just load ground coffee into the portafilter, tamp, lock it into the group head, place cups under, and hit brew. The full automation of the brew process makes it easy for beginners to use. From turning it on to pulling a shot takes only a few minutes.

 MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine

Brew Types and Capsule Compatibility

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine uses ground coffee in its 58mm commercial portafilter basket. It is not designed for Nespresso or other coffee capsules. This machine is focused purely on making high-quality espresso using freshly ground beans.

Coffee Types

With its 9 bars of pressure and PID temperature control, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine can brew rich, aromatic espresso along with lungos and americanos. The 550ml boiler capacity allows back-to-back shot pulling without waiting for reheating.

Coffee Quality

Users report the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine pulls shots with a thick, velvety crema and complex flavors reflecting the origin and roast of the beans. The precision PID temperature control and low-pressure pre-infusion optimize extraction for cafe-quality taste.

To optimize your coffee experience, you can adjust the PID settings to slightly lower temperatures when brewing delicate, light roast beans to enhance their floral notes. Conversely, for darker roasts, a slightly higher temperature setting can help in extracting the rich, chocolatey flavors more effectively. Experimenting with these settings, along with the adjustable pre-infusion time, allows users to achieve a personalized coffee experience that suits their taste preference perfectly.

Temperature Control

The built-in PID allows adjusting and maintaining precise temperatures for optimal extraction.

 MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine

Pressure

Its Italian-made vibration pump generates 9 bars of pressure for full flavor extraction. The pressure gauge gives real-time read outs.

Innovations

The PID, pre-infusion, and thermo-block systems offer commercial-level functionality rarely found on such an affordable single-boiler home model. This innovative combination of features sets it apart.

Milk Frothing

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine features a single thermo-block steam wand for steaming and frothing milk. It can produce silky, microfoam milk texture when the steam power is properly controlled. However, the frothing capacity is relatively limited compared to larger dual-boiler machines.

Water Tank Capacity

It has a 1.7 liter removable water tank. The large capacity allows making multiple drinks before needing a refill. Just add water every few days for daily home use.

Additional Features

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine has a cup warming tray on top to preheat cups. The 3-way solenoid valve instantly releases pressure and keeps the portafilter dry after brewing for easy cleanup.

Noise

The machine produces some pump noise and steam wand hissing during the brew process, but reviewers find it acceptably quieter than some competing models.

Safety

With a stainless steel body, commercial-grade wiring, and UL certification, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine meets North American electrical safety standards.

Power

It has a 1450W heating system and uses a 120V 60Hz standard North American electrical plug. The generous 5 foot power cord allows flexibility in placement.

Cleaning

Users advise running water through the steam wand and wiping down surfaces after use for easy cleaning. The removable drip tray and portafilter basket are dishwasher safe. Backflushing weekly is recommended for maintenance.

Maintenance and Service

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine. The recommended maintenance routine includes backflushing with water, cleaning the portafilter and basket, and descaling the boiler to prevent mineral buildup.

MiiCoffee’s customer service provides comprehensive support, offering guidance for troubleshooting and maintenance. The one-year warranty underscores the brand’s confidence in their product and commitment to customer satisfaction. Users can reach out to MiiCoffee’s customer support for assistance with any operational issues, ensuring a reliable and enjoyable espresso-making experience.

Brand & History

MiiCoffee is a relatively new brand launched in 2017 that focuses on affordable, innovative home espresso equipment. They design their own machines optimized for convenience and ease of use.

Use Cases:

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine is perfect for home baristas who want to create coffeehouse-worthy espresso drinks in their own kitchens. Its commercial-grade features allow you to pull rich, aromatic espresso shots and steam silky microfoam milk for everything from lattes to cappuccinos. The Apex brings your favorite café beverages home.

User Feedback Analysis

Overall, reviews from MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine owners are overwhelmingly positive. Users rave about the commercial-grade performance of this compact, kitchen-friendly machine. Many home baristas comment that the Apex pulls cafe-quality shots, citing the smooth, full-bodied flavor and thick, long-lasting crema as evidence of its superior extraction abilities. The nuanced taste profiles keep them coming back for more.

Enthusiasts of milk-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes consistently report that the Apex’s commercial steam wand froths milk quickly and easily. The steaming power transforms milk into silky, microfoam perfection in seconds, according to users. They appreciate how the dual boilers allow brewing and steaming simultaneously.

Many reviewers praise the thoughtful design touches like the swiveling steam wand, removable drip tray, and sizable water tank. They find workflow is smooth and cleanliness maintained with minimal effort. Users also describe the Apex as surprisingly quiet and compact.

Overall sentiment is that the Apex delivers exceptional performance and convenience that rivals much pricier prosumer models. For those desiring top-notch home espresso and steamed milk at a reasonable cost, the Apex satisfies. Owners say the machine is an unmatched value and love recommending it to fellow hobbyists. While a couple users experienced defects, MiiCoffee’s responsive customer service had them back up and running quickly.

In summary, real-world feedback indicates the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine consistently delivers on its promise of cafe-caliber espresso drinks at home. With outstanding beverage quality and ease of use at this price point, it earns glowing reviews and high recommendations from owners.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Commercial-level features like PID, pre-infusion, thermo-block at an affordable price point.
  • Produces high-quality espresso with thick crema.
  • Compact footprint suited for home or small cafes.
  • Feature-packed for an entry-level semi-automatic machine.

Cons

  • Quality control issues reported in some units.
  • Steam wand has been reported to sputter water occasionally.

Cost-Performance Ratio

With pro-level features like a PID, thermo-block, and pre-infusion, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine delivers outstanding performance and quality for an entry-level semi-automatic espresso machine. Despite some quality control concerns, it represents excellent value for the relatively affordable price point.

Conclusion

With commercial-level features and performance at a budget-friendly price point, the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine delivers outstanding value. Although there are some quality control concerns, it remains a recommended option for beginners seeking a capable, affordable semi-automatic espresso maker.

 MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine

Specifications:

  • Boiler: 550ml stainless steel
  • Pump: Italian-made vibratory pump
  • Pressure: 9 bars extraction
  • PID Controller: Allows temperature adjustment from 85-102°C
  • Pressure Gauge: Displays real-time brewing pressure
  • Water Tank: 1.7L removable
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Wattage: 1450W
  • Dimensions: 11”D x 9”W x 15”H
  • Weight: 19 pounds

Box Contents

The MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine box includes:

  • Apex Espresso Machine Main Unit
  • 58mm Commercial Portafilter
  • Tamper
  • Manual
  • Power Cord

Frequently Asked Questions about the MiiCoffee Apex Espresso Machine

What are the key features of the MiiCoffee Apex?

The MiiCoffee Apex has a 550ml stainless steel boiler for brewing espresso and a separate thermo-block for steaming milk. It uses a vibratory pump to achieve 9 bars of pressure for extraction and has a pressure gauge to display the brewing pressure. The PID allows temperature control between 85-102°C and doubles as a shot timer. It also has programmable pre-infusion.

What is the boiler capacity?

The MiiCoffee Apex has a 550ml stainless steel boiler dedicated to brewing espresso.

Does it have a milk frothing wand?

Yes, the Apex comes with a commercial style steam wand for frothing milk. The steam is generated by a separate thermo-block system.

Is the portafilter pressurized or non-pressurized?

The Apex comes with a 58mm commercial style non-pressurized portafilter. This allows you to use ground coffee for a full bodied espresso.

How long is the warranty period?

MiiCoffee provides a 1 year warranty on the Apex espresso machine when purchased from authorized sellers in the US.

What is the recommended grinder for the Apex?

A quality burr grinder like the Baratza Sette or Eureka Mignon is recommended for optimal espresso extraction. The grind size should be adjusted to get a 2:1 brew ratio in 25-30 seconds.

Does the Apex have a cup warming tray?

Yes, the Apex has a cup warming tray on top to pre-heat cups before pulling shots. This helps maintain the coffee’s optimal serving temperature.

What maintenance is required?

Periodic backflushing with plain water is recommended. The group head gasket, portafilter basket, and shower screen should also be cleaned regularly. Descaling as per manual guidelines will prolong boiler life.