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Comprehensive Overview: Delving Deep into the nunc. Espresso Machine & Grinder Duo

Updated: Apr 22

I am thrilled to introduce the nunc. system to you—an innovative coffee solution that transcends the conventional boundaries of a mere coffee machine. Developed by the Next Level Coffee Company, nunc. embodies a bean-to-cup approach, offering more than just a brewing device. It is designed to create a holistic coffee experience, from the farm to your cup.

nunc. is not just about brewing coffee; it's about revolutionizing the way we perceive and interact with our favorite beverage. By prioritizing the essentials—the coffee itself, its origin, and the community sharing the flavor and passion for coffee—nunc. aims to redefine the coffee experience.

In this article, I will delve into how the nunc. system works and what sets it apart from traditional coffee machines. From its user-friendly interface to its focus on quality and community, I'll explore why I'm not just a fan of nunc., but also deeply inspired by the message it conveys. nunc. is not merely opening doors; it's breaking down barriers, making great coffee accessible to everyone. Join me as we discover the magic behind this innovative coffee solution.

nunc. system on countertop
nunc. espresso machine and grinder duo

Photo @nunc.

The Design and Build Quality of the nunc. Espresso Machine

In 2021, the nunc. made first waves by winning the prestigious IF Design Award. Spearheaded by the renowned German design agency, Phoenix Design, the visual concept of the nunc. reflects a perfect blend of elegance and functionality. Crafted from stainless steel and adorned with minimalistic contours and Art Deco glass elements, the nunc. creates a sense of solidity and modernity, while maintaining a light and classy aesthetic.

At first glance, the nunc. impresses with its sleek appearance, but for me it's the attention to detail that truly sets it apart. From magnetic placeholders to the sleek wooden portafilter handles, every aspect of the machine exudes effortless sophistication. Even the 4-liter water tank, though enormous in capacity, seamlessly integrates into the overall design, appearing deceptively small and lightweight—a testament to the concept of understated luxury that permeates every aspect of the machine.

The drip tray, often overlooked in other machines, is not merely a functional necessity but an integral part of the design. Spacious and thoughtfully integrated, it adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the machine. Moreover, the user interface is presented as a large screen on top of the group head with a sense of familiarity as if you would be using a smartphone—a design choice that enhances the intuitiveness of the machine's operation.

Overall my first impression of this espresso machine and grinder combination was that it looks a lot like a design object which made me doubt if it actually is functional. But after a closer inspection and evaluating the tank size and the look and feel of the machine in correlation with its functionality I definitely have to admit it is both. Beautiful and functional.

Features and Specifications

Let's talk about the plain stats this machine has to offer:

The nunc. is available in the color matte gray and features a powder-coated stainless steel casing. The dimensions of the machine are 332 x 286 x 315 mm, while the grinder measures 271 x 150 x 405 mm.

Both machines require a voltage of 230V, and the nunc. boasts a 4-liter water tank, which, as mentioned earlier, is quite large compared to the average home espresso machine's 2.8-liter tank. Additionally, the nunc. comes equipped with an 18g and a 10g basket, which is standard. However, a standout feature for home use is the 3-hole cool-touch steam wand, designed to prevent burns on hands or forearms.

With a warm-up time of just 1 minute, the nunc. is ready for use almost instantly. In comparison, conventional boiler machines typically require 15-25 minutes to heat up.

For tech enthusiasts, the nunc. features a 2.5-inch touch display and offers both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

When empty, the machine weighs approximately 13.8kg.

Turning to the grinder, it boasts a ø60 mm+ flat burr grinder module. It utilizes a single-dosing smart scale system, weighing each shot individually. Even with the hopper attached, the grinder functions as a single-dose grinder, which will be explained further in the section on grinder use. The burr adjustments are infinitely adjustable, and the grinding process begins automatically upon placing the portafilter in the magnetic bracket. Additionally, the grinder automatically connects via Bluetooth to the espresso machine and weighs 6.6kg.

How can the machine be instantly hot? nunc. is working with so-called thick film heaters which instantly heat up small amounts of water. This is a new and patented concept, which ensures temperature stability in the shortest amount of time possible.

features of nunc. explained
nunc. espresso machine and grinder features

Photo @nunc.

Here's how it works 

You select a coffee from a curated selection, meticulously sourced by barista champions and exclusively roasted for the nunc. machine. The offerings span from classic profiles to unique blends, including some with robusta, and extend to funky and lightly roasted options. 

Regardless of the choice, all coffees sourced for the nunc. are classified as specialty-grade. nunc. maintains direct communication with the farmers, ensuring complete transparency regarding the origin and quality of the beans.

Once you've chosen your beans, they are delivered in recyclable cardboard containers, each equipped with a recyclable chip containing vital information such as roast day and variety and recipe for this coffee. This information is crucial for the next step in the process. After placing the coffee in the hopper, you can easily attach it to the grinder. The hopper mechanism is magnetic, providing a seamless and satisfying experience when inserting the coffee. At the bottom of the hopper, there is a chute securely closed to prevent any beans from spilling out. Once the hopper is attached to the machine, the grinder reads the chip embedded in the cardboard, identifying the specific coffee variety, optimal grind size, and communicates instantly with the machine. This allows the machine to adjust settings accordingly, ensuring the perfect brewing yield, time, and pressure profile for the selected coffee.

Now, you can detach the portafilter from the group head, triggering an automatic flushing function. I particularly appreciate this feature because, in my years of being a coffee trainer, I've noticed that flushing is often overlooked in home coffee-making routines, yet it's essential for maintaining machine cleanliness and ensuring a great drinking experience. 

After detaching the portafilter, you can place it on the bracket and slide it towards the grinder chute. The grinder will automatically detect the portafilter and the inserted basket size (if it is single or double) and commence grinding. As the chute at the hopper opens, a smart scale will accurately weigh the precise amount of beans required for the programmed recipe stored on the chip. The grinder will then adjust itself to the specified grind size, ensuring that all variables necessary for grinding coffee are meticulously managed for you.

Once the ground coffee is in your portafilter, it's time to move to the machine. Simply insert the handle and press down the small button on the left side. It's like a sliding light switch. I can't quite describe the feeling of this button, but there's something about a manual switch that enhances the overall experience. They could have easily utilized the display for this function, but there's a certain satisfaction in using a manual switch. Once you've initiated the extraction process, the machine adheres to the provided recipe, adjusting pressure, flow rate, and temperature, as well as the required yield. Et voilà, you have a perfect shot on the first attempt and can now detach the hopper to try another coffee if you like.

nunc. espresso machine from the back
nunc. espresso machine watertank

Photo @nunc.

Milk Frothing and Steaming

Steaming milk and pouring latte art can be the most frustrating skills to learn and master when using an espresso machine. In my years as a coffee instructor, this was the point where real frustration sets in, and many people simply give up, feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, not everyone has the fine motor skills and sensitivity to temperature required for steaming milk.

The nunc. system addresses this challenge by providing an easy, guaranteed way to steam milk. First, you need to inform the machine about the type of milk you're using—regular cow's milk, almond, soy, oat, or any other variety. Once you've filled your jug and specified the milk type, simply place it under the steam wand, and the machine takes care of the rest. You don't need to hold the jug or intervene in any way. The machine's screen displays the current temperature, and when it reaches the desired level, it automatically stops.

But how does it work? Auto steam is a feature commonly found in high-volume cafes to ensure consistent, high-quality foam regardless of the user's skill level. It precisely controls the amount of air and steam, creating the perfect conditions for frothing milk. I was amazed to discover that they've incorporated such an advanced feature into this machine. It's a true game-changer, allowing even beginners to steam milk ready for latte art. However, pouring the latte art designs is still up to you, so it's time to start practicing those patterns! What is also absolutely amazing is, that after you have steamed and placed the wand back into its original position, it steams one more time, cleaning itself from excess milk. 

Machine steaming milk foam
magic milk feature, 3 hole cool touch wand with temperature sensor to steam perfect foam

User Experience

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the machine and the meticulous thought put into its design. It's evident that user experience was the top priority for the developers and the three founders—Markus, Dominik, and Marius. They were clearly frustrated with machines that didn't assist in extracting the best coffee, and their determination shines through in every aspect of the nunc. system.

While many features are automated, the essence of manual coffee making remains intact. Additionally, the machine offers the flexibility to operate entirely manually, allowing users to create their own recipes and experiment freely.

Cleaning the machine is a breeze, with step-by-step instructions conveniently provided on the display. Thanks to the autoflush feature, I find that the cleaning cycle doesn't need to be performed daily, in my opinion.

The smart subscription enables you to only order what you really need as the machine remembers your favorite coffee and the amount of coffee you go through. It will only order as much as you need to provide as much freshnes as possible. 

Value for Money

The machine will be available for purchase directly from nunc. via online order, priced at 3299€. This is incredibly affordable for a grinder and machine combination with such advanced software, an app, accessories, and sleek design. The machine will be manufactured in Switzerland and is currently in the final stages before production begins. 

I'm a big advocate of direct sales because it allows customers to engage directly with the producer without any waiting time or dependence on resellers. 

For those eager to get their hands on it sooner, preorders are now open at an incredible price of 2499€. This is a limited-time offer, and I believe it's an absolute steal!

woman holding phone with nunc. app
nunc. app in use to learn more about what is behind your favourite beverage

Common questions

Since I've been discussing this machine, I've received numerous questions, and I'd like to address some of them here: 

Is it a pod or capsule system? 

Absolutely not! I understand that the term "system" often conjures images of pod-based systems, but the nunc. is an espresso machine grinder duo that communicates seamlessly with each other and the provided beans. These beans are then freshly ground and brewed, ensuring a top-notch coffee experience.

Can I use other beans?

Nunc is planning to incorporate guest roasters to be featured, and as the machine can also be used fully manual, you can also use your own beans. However, in this case, nunc. can no longer guarantee that every shot will be perfect, but it is absolutely possible.

Is the coffee sourced ethically? 

The coffee nunc. is offering comes from direct trading relations and is sourced by Q grader and former Dutch barista champion Coen van Sprang. The app that comes with the system actually has the option to tip the farmer directly. The money will bypass the earnings of nunc. and will be sent directly to our partner farms.

Do I need this app to make the coffee?

You don't need an app to prepare your favorite coffee. The manual operation and the artisanal ritual remain natural to you. However, you can use the nunc. app to discover the fascinating story behind your coffee, to tailor recipes to your personal taste profile, to explore new coffee varieties, to get barista tips, to learn new barista skills, and to order new coffee to your home with just one click. Quite a lot for a small app.

Whatever your question is, please write to me in the comments!

from left to right: Marius, Markus and Dominik
founders team of nunc.

Photo: nunc. showing the 3 founders of nunc. Marius, Markus and Dominik, a very passionate and inspiring team

Closing words

In conclusion, the nunc. espresso machine and grinder system represents the epitome of innovation and thoughtful design in the world of home coffee brewing. From its award-winning aesthetics to its seamless integration of technology and tradition, every aspect of the nunc. system has been meticulously crafted to deliver an unparalleled coffee experience.

As a seasoned coffee enthusiast and instructor, I have encountered countless machines, but none have left me as impressed as the nunc. Its user-centric approach, combined with advanced features like auto-steam and smart grinding, sets a new standard for convenience and quality in home espresso brewing.

Moreover, the ethical sourcing practices and direct trade partnerships ensure that every cup of coffee brewed with the nunc. supports sustainable farming communities and celebrates the rich diversity of coffee culture.

In essence, the nunc. is not just a coffee machine; it's a gateway to a world of exceptional coffee, shared stories, and meaningful connections. I am not only a fan; I am wholeheartedly convinced that the nunc. is the future of making coffee at home.

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