At $1,199.99 US dollars, or £907.00, the Musso Pola 5030 is a commercial batch ice cream maker aimed predominantly at restaurants and cafes. It makes excellent quality ice cream that is dense, smooth, and creamy but it is not without its faults. Is this machine a good buy for the home cook? My opinion is yes, if cost isn’t an issue. Let’s have a look.
This review will discuss 1. the stainless steel construction; 2. amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list; 3. the impressive 2 quart, or 1.5 litre, capacity; 4. the freezing time; 5. the burning rubber smell; 6. the central pin issue; 7. cleaning; 8. the dasher; 9. the noise level; 10.the quality of the ice cream; and 11. my conclusion.
1. Stainless steel construction
One of the first things I noticed about this machine when perusing amazon was the ‘Made in Italy’ bullet-point. My first reaction was “Hmm, must be a quality product”. Then I opened the box after it was delivered and my first reaction was “Hmm, a quality product”.
The all stainless steel construction does certainly make this machine look impressive. The ice cream dasher and the bolt that fixes it to the machine are also made of stainless steel and both look durable. The only bits of plastic that you find on the exterior of the machine are the freezer bowl lid, the timer dial, and the freeze and churn buttons.
The second thing I noticed, after the excruciating pain, was just how heavy this machine is: it weighs an impressive 32kg, or 72 pounds. It is quite large for a counter-top machine and you will need to make sure that you have enough room in your kitchen to store it: the dimensions are 20 x 14 x 12.2 inches.
The stainless steel finish and its weight certainly get a big thumbs up from me.
2. A best seller?
It doesn’t always follow that a best selling item is a quality one but I do think that it is useful to look at what other ice cream enthusiasts are up to when deciding which ice cream machine to invest in. The Musso Polla 5030 is currently 9th in amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list. Here is a list of the top 10 best selling ice cream machines on amazon.com:
- Cuisinart ICE 30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker
- Nostalgia Electrics ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, Whitev
- Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker, White
- MaxiMatic EIM-506 Elite Gourmet 6-Quart Old-Fashioned Pine-Bucket Electric/Manual Ice-Cream Maker
- DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor
- Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker
- Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
3. 1.5 litres of ice cream per batch
The Musso Pola 5030 has a large 3 litre, or 4 quart, bowl, which allows you to make an impressive 1.5 litres, or 2 quarts, of ice cream at a time. Most domestic ice cream machines, bar the Cuisinart ICE 30, only have the capacity to make a maximum of 1litre of ice cream at a time.
The freezer bowl is built into the stainless steel housing and cannot be removed. The theory is that having a bowl that is built into the machine enhances the heat conduction from the bowl to the compressor, which should decrease the time it takes for the ice cream mix to freeze. This is important because the longer a mix spends in a machine, the bigger the ice crystals are likely to grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.
The in-built compressor means that it is possible to make one batch of ice cream after another. Lello claim that the Musso Pola 5030 can make ‘up to 6 quarts of ice cream an hour’ but I find this statement a little misleading. Realistically, I think that it is possible to make 3 litres, or 4 quarts, of excellent-quality ice cream per hour if you are making the same flavour (making different flavours usually means that you have to clean the machine in between flavours).
During testing, it took me about 15 minutes to pre-chill the freezer bowl before I added the mix. A 1500g mix took 25 minutes to churn and it took about a minute to empty the machine once it had finished. Churning another 1500g took 25 minutes with another minute to empty the machine. It took me 1 hour and 7 minutes to make 3 litres, 4 quarts, of ice cream.
4. Freezing time
In my first test, I pre-chilled the freezer bowl for 15 minutes by leaving the machine running with the compressor switched on before I added the mix. This ensures that the freezer bowl gets as cold as possible before the mix is added, which should reduce the time it takes to churn a batch of ice cream. It then took an impressive 13 minutes to churn a 1000g batch to a thick and creamy consistency.
In my second test, I again pre-chilled the freezer bowl for 15 minutes and it took 25 minutes to churn a 1500g batch. Although the 1500g batch took longer, the consistency of the ice cream was exactly the same as the first 1000g batch: both were dense and extremely smooth and creamy.
This 13 minute freezing time compares well to the larger Emery Thompson CB-350 (the Cristiano Ronaldo of ice cream machines) commercial batch ice cream machine, which takes only 8 minutes to churn a 6 quart batch. The Musso Polla 5030 freezes a batch of ice cream faster than the Cuisinart ICE100 (40 minutes for a 900g mix) and the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop (30 minutes for a 732g mix), both of which are domestic ice cream machines with in-built compressors.
Again, the time it takes a machine to freeze a batch of ice cream is extremely important because the quicker a batch is frozen, the smoother and creamier the texture is likely to be.
The large 1.5 litre bowl and the impressive 13-minute churn time are the two points that have most impressed me about this machine.
5. Burning rubber smell
An issue I have had with this machine is the burning rubber smell that develops at around 26 minutes of churning a 1500g batch; I have had this issue on two consecutive occasions. After checking the instruction manual, I noticed ‘To avoid breaking the drive gear, do not let the ice cream harden excessively‘.
What I found surprising was that the drive gear on this commercial ice cream machine struggled after 26 minutes when the consistency was firm but not yet excessively hard. This issue does lead me to wonder whether the 5030 will be able to cope with the constant churning of 1500g batches in a busy commercial environment.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 does make ice cream with exceptionally smooth and creamy texture after 25 minutes and I do think this issue can be minimised by ensuring that a large 1500g batch isn’t left in the machine for any longer than 26 minutes. I only encountered this problem when I churned a 1500g batch. I did not notice a burning rubber smell when I churned a 1000g mix for 30 minutes.
6. The central pin
I have also had an issue with preventing ice cream from dripping onto the central pin on which the dasher sits. The instruction manual tells you to ‘not get the central pin wet’ but I found this next to impossible when emptying the machine. This is an issue because there is a gap between the central pin and the solid plastic that surrounds it. If ice cream gets in this gap and hardens, it will add stress to the motor. I have read a review on amazon where hardened ice cream between the central pin and the hard plastic caused the drive gear to fail. In the same review, however, the user does also state that ‘The machine has been running for 10+ years’, which is good to read.
To help prevent getting any ice cream on the central pin, it is a good idea to remove the dasher, once the ice cream has been churned, and screw the stainless steel bolt back onto the central pin before emptying the ice cream. This will act as a protective layer and help keep any ice cream from reaching the central pin.
If you notice that ice cream has got into the gap and hardened, use a fine pin or toothpick to scape off as much of the hardened mix as you can.
I do find the central pin issue a bit disappointing and a design flaw that you would not expect on a commercial machine this expensive. However, it is also an issue that can be avoided.
I have found cleaning and emptying the Musso Pola 5030 extremely easy. Once the machine has finished churning, it is important to switch off both the dasher and the compressor to ensure that the ice cream doesn’t freeze to the bowl whilst you are emptying it. The large bowl means that there is plenty of space to easily manoeuvre a big wooden spoon to empty the ice cream.
The first time I cleaned the machine, I waited 10 minutes after I had emptied the ice cream and then started wiping it down with a wet sponge. This wasn’t quite long enough for the freezer bowl to warm up sufficiently as the water that I had on the sponge froze to the bowl, making cleaning more difficult.
I then waited a further 10 minutes for the freezer bowl to warm up and had no further issues with water freezing the bowl. It is therefore a good idea to leave the ice cream machine turned off for about 20 minutes before you start wiping it down with a wet sponge.
It is also a good idea to remove as much of the ice cream mix as you can with a spatula before you leave the freezer bowl to warm up for 20 minutes. Once the freezer bowl has warmed sufficiently, it takes a further 5 minutes to clean with a wet sponge, some washing up liquid, and some kitchen towels to dry.
All in all, I have found emptying and cleaning the machine very easy.
When you fix in the dasher with the bolt, it sits very closely to the side of the the freezer bowl. This is very important because when your ice cream mix comes in contact with the bowl, it freezes to the side. The dasher scrapes this frozen mix and incorporates it into the rest of the mix. If there is a large gap between the side of the bowl and the dasher, a layer of ice starts to build up there. This layer then acts as an insulator, slowing the transfer of heat from the mix to the bowl. This will, in turn, increase the time it takes for your mix to freeze. Anything that lengthens the time the mix spends in the machine is detrimental to your chances of making smooth and creamy ice cream because the longer a mix spends in the machine, the larger the ice crystals are likely to grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.
For the price of this machine, I would have liked to have seen a spring loaded dasher, similar to that found in the more expensive Emery Thompson CB 350 commercial batch machine. The strong spring in the CB350 pushes the dasher firmly against the side of the bowl and ensures that no ice gets frozen there. A spring-loaded dasher would certainly be a good addition to a future Lello model.
9. Noise level
The machine is incredibly quiet when churning a batch of ice cream. I have noticed that it starts to make a slight noise after about 25 minutes when the motor starts to struggle with the hardened ice cream. I haven’t found the noise this machine makes an issue.
10. The quality of the ice cream
Coming on to the most important question ‘Does the Musso Pola 5030 make good quality ice cream? My short answer is yes, absolutely. I found that with a 1000g batch, it made excellent-quality ice cream that was dense and had a very smooth and creamy texture. The dasher’s design and relatively low revolutions per minute, the Lello Musso Pola 5030 doesn’t incorporate a lot of air into the mix, resulting in a nice dense ice cream. I haven’t measured the amount of air this machine incorporates during the churning process but I would guess it to be somewhere between 30-40%.
The machine produced equally dense, smooth, and creamy ice cream, when it was filled to maximum capacity with a 1500g batch.
Would I recommend this machine to the restaurant or cafe owner? Yes, absolutely. I think this would be a good machine for the restaurant or cafe owner to start with to try the concept before moving on to a larger machine once demand increases.
Would I recommend this machine to the home cook? Yes, but only if money isn’t an issue. If money isn’t an issue and if making a lot of ice cream in a short period of time is your priority, then this commercial machine with an in-built compressor would certainly be a good choice.
However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on an expensive machine to make excellent-quality ice cream at home. The Cuisinart ICE30 makes ice cream that is comparable in quality to the Musso Polla 5030 and is an excellent machine for the home cook on a budget.
What you are paying for on the Musso Polla 5030 is 1. the impressive in-built compressor; and 2. the impressive 1.5 litre, or 2 quart, freezer bowl.
The in-built compressor can freeze a 1000g batch in about 13 minutes and a 1500g batch in about 25 minutes. This relatively short residence time (or the time the mix spends in the machine) contributes to the development of smooth and creamy ice cream by promoting the formation of small ice crystals: the longer a mix spends in a machine, the larger the ice crystals are likely to grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.
Having an in-built compressor also means that you can make batch after batch of ice cream. This is a big advantage over machine like the Cuisinart ICE 30 that don’t have an in-built compressor and require the bowl to be frozen overnight before you can make a batch of ice cream.
This machine is, however, by no means perfect. The burning rubber smell and the central pin issue are certainly two points that could be improved and need to be kept on top of.
If you are a home cook looking for an ice cream machine with an in-built compressor at a more reasonable price, I would recommend either the Cuisinart ICE100 or the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop. Both make excellent-quality ice cream that is dense, smooth, and creamy. If you are a seasoned ice cream maker or need to make a lot of ice cream at home AND money isn’t an issue, then I would certainly recommend the Musso Pola 5030.
If you found this review helpful and are thinking of buying the Musso Polla 5030, you can support the blog by using the link below to buy your machine from the chaps at amazon.
Hope that review helps.
All the best, Ruben
- Powerful in-built compressor that can churn a 1000g batch in about 12 minutes.
- Impressive 1.5 litre, or 2 quart, capacity.
- All stainless steel finish.
- Stainless steel dasher.
- Ridiculously expensive.
- The central pin issue.
- A burning rubber smell after about 26 minutes when you churn a large 1500g batch.