A Nespresso machine brews coffee similar to an espresso using single-serve pods. It’s almost like a Keurig for espresso.
Rather than requiring you to prepare the grounds, correctly measure them, and then brew, the Nespresso machine uses exclusive Nespresso capsules that contain a pre-measured amount of coffee. Simply insert the capsule, push a button, and enjoy your hot coffee!
There’s some debate whether a Nespresso is actually an espresso machine. A traditional espresso machine and a Nespresso cater to a different clientele in the coffee market.
Short Answer: There are numerous Nespresso machines available, and during my research, I selected the top 3 for us to take a closer look at: the VertuoPlus, Essenza Mini, and Creatista Plus.
I urge you to read this post as we learn more about Nespresso machines and how they’re different from our traditional espresso machines, as well as a detailed review of the top Nespresso machines on the market.
How are Nespresso machines different from espresso machines?
There’s no denying that Nespresso has built a reputation for itself and is becoming increasingly popular in households. You’re probably wondering why Nespresso is such a hot device and whether it’s a good investment.
To gain a better understanding, let’s compare a home espresso machine to a Nespresso machine.
How an espresso machine works
Brewing with an espresso machine involves filling finely ground coffee into a portafilter, fastening the portafilter, tamping it consistently, and running hot water through the coffee grounds at around 9 bars of pressure.
This process is not only complex but also frustrating as you need to control many variables at once.
- Grind Size — Even small changes in grind size can have a big impact on the flavor of the shot. Consistency and precision are non-negotiables.
- Tamping — You need to press down on the grounds with the right pressure every time to get consistent shots. Even a slight unevenness can change the flavor of the shot.
- Shot Timing — It takes between 25 and 40 seconds to pull off an ideal shot. Though it’s up to you to find the right timing, every second brings a difference in taste.
Even minor adjustments to any of these 3 variables have a major effect, resulting in a notable difference in the flavor of the final drink. Now you see why it can be really frustrating.
But if you’re an old-school coffee lover who wants a hands-on experience with all the stages in making espresso, then the espresso machine is perfect for you.
If you’re interested to find out the best espresso machines in the market right now, you can check out my in-depth post right here.
How a Nespresso machine works
The process of preparing a Nespresso shot is much simpler. Simply insert the capsule into the device, press the machine’s button, and watch it work its magic.
According to Nespresso, all of their machines can produce up to 19 bars of pressure, resulting in a fine crema and a concentrated shot. It’s easy, quick, and consistent.
For more sophisticated coffee drinkers, the convenience of the process and the automatic use of pre-ground coffee make Nespresso coffee a less desirable type of espresso, but that doesn’t mean it tastes awful or isn’t worthwhile.
The following table shows the basic differences between an espresso and a Nespresso.
|Ground Coffee||7 g||5 g|
|Hot Water||25 ml||25 ml|
|Extraction Time||25-30 seconds||20-25 seconds|
|Pressure||8-9 bars||15 bars|
By watching the video below, you can learn more about the distinctions between an espresso and a Nespresso machine.
How do I choose a Nespresso machine?
Before buying a Nespresso machine, you need to consider a few things. Just answer these straightforward questions to find out what Nespresso machine best suits your needs.
What kind of coffee do you prefer?
Nespresso offers a variety of milk and latte machines with integrated or standalone milk frothers.
The Lattissima and Creatista models include versatile settings that allow you to produce a variety of coffee and milk recipes with barista-like customization using one-touch systems.
If you want to know more about lattes and cappuccinos, click right here to read my post about it.
How much coffee do you drink every day?
Nespresso machines come in a variety of sizes and can make just a cup or a carafe depending on your needs.
Some machines can hold more capsules (from 6 to 13 capsules) than others. If you wish to make numerous cups at once, choose a model with a larger water tank (up to 1.5L) and a quick heat-up time (as fast as 25 seconds).
How much storage space can you allocate?
This is related to the size of the machine and the area you set aside for it.
The Essenza Mini versions are slender, sleek, and ultra-light, allowing them to adapt to small spaces. CitiZ and Milk are available in sizes ranging from 15.4cm to 19.4cm, with the Creatista Plus model being the largest in the collection.
Is it possible to use other capsules in a Nespresso machine?
You can definitely use capsules from other brands in a Nespresso machine.
There are many companies producing coffee capsules that are compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine, including Caffesso, HiLine, Jones Brothers, Lavica, and several others.
However, when you buy capsules from a different brand, be careful because some of them could damage your machine.
Best Nespresso Machines
Best overall Nespresso machine – VertuoPlus
This machine can make both coffee and espresso and uses barcodes on each capsule that are precisely designed to prepare the correct volume and intensity of your preferred drink every time. You can select from five different drink varieties, including cup, alto, espresso, double espresso, and gran lungo.
People also like this machine because its lid opens and closes with one touch of the lever, and the position of its water tank can be moved around to accommodate any space at the counter.
- Efortless to operate
- Makes coffee and espresso
- Automatic detection of capsule type
- Different colors to choose from
Price: $159 – $189 depending on the color of the machine
Best Value Nespresso Machine – Essenza Mini
The Essenza Mini is a small-but-mighty Nespresso machine. It’s capable of producing a great, full-bodied espresso with good crema.
You can choose from lungo or espresso, with the option to use or remove the drip base to accommodate a bigger cup. As this machine falls under the original line of machines, it reaches 19 bars of pressure while brewing.
This machine is quite compact and is an excellent choice if you are limited on space or prefer to keep things simple. Even if the water container is small, I don’t think you’d mind refilling it for the best-tasting cup of coffee.
- Full-bodied, creamy espresso
- Quieter than other original models
- Only makes espresso
- Doesn’t include a milk frother
Best Nespresso machine for lattes and cappuccinos – Creatista Plus
The Creatista Plus can be called a high-end machine because of the distinctive features it carries. It comes with a complimentary carafe and a classic Breville stainless steel design.
The machine has an integrated steam wand for milk frothing, and this makes it perfect for making lattes and other drinks. The attractive LCD menu lets you select between different milk settings and temperatures.
Because the Creatista Plus is part of the original series, it brews louder than the VertuoPlus due to its 19-bar pressure. It also does not make regular coffee.
It is also one of the more expensive Nespresso machines on the market. However, if you enjoy lattes and cappuccinos and always want good espresso from a stylish machine, it’s worth considering.
- Full-bodied, creamy espresso
- Stylish design
- Integrated milk frother
- Somewhat loud while brewing
- Only makes espresso
To sum it all up
Using a Nespresso machine is significantly simpler than using a traditional espresso machine. Simply open it, put in the capsule, and begin the brewing process.
It’s almost effortless to operate. The Nespresso machine is pre-programmed to deliver a consistent taste of coffee every time.
A traditional espresso machine, on the other hand, gives you complete control over all of the brewing variables, including the grinding of the beans, tamping, and everything else related to the extraction process.
My favorite of the Nespresso machines we reviewed here is the Essenza Mini because I enjoy a full-bodied espresso and it’s ideal for compact kitchen spaces.
Some old-school coffee connoisseurs believe that Nespresso’s simplicity takes away the pleasure of brewing coffee, although it does offer a very consistent cup in an efficient manner.
If you want convenience and consistency in your cup, the Nespresso is for you.