What is Nespresso, anyway? Is there more than one kind?
Nespresso is a company that is a division of Nestle. It offers a machine to make a coffee with a layer of crema on top, similar to espresso and frothed milk. The output is the size of a shot of espresso, not a large cup of joe. Like the famous K-cups, Nespresso “pods” are single serve only. Unlike K-cups, they are aluminum and not plastic, and therefore fully recyclable. This is a very popular single-use coffee system in Europe, and many styles of machines are available there and here.
But what is the best Nespresso machine?
While most of the machines here are from the flagship company, high-end coffeemaker company DeLonghi has also put their hat into the Nespresso ring and offers a few varieties of Nespresso makers as well.
We have looked at ten of the most popular machines, what makes them tick, and heard from actual owners about what they love and hate about each. Read on to discover the best of the best, as well as the perfect machine for your budget and needs.
As a bonus, if you have not bought a Nespresso maker because you don’t think you can recycle your pods nearby, Nespresso will send you UPS bags that you can drop at any UPS location and they will send them to the recycling center free of charge to you. Simply go online and order as many bags as you wish, and Nespresso picks up the tab from there.
A hotter, more versatile solution to some of DeLonghi’s other models. A budget price and a lot to offer. It has tried to look at the typical problems of other models- small cartridge ejection space, warm brews but not hot, the ability to make both coffee and espresso, the ability to brew multiple brands of cartridges– and to create an answer to many of these problems at a price that will work for college students and families alike
DeLonghi makes items designed to last generations. That’s why this Nespresso from Delonghi with aeroccino is regarded as one of the top gifts for coffee lovers. Buy this, and you will be bequeathing it to your grandchildren one day; it is that long-lasting
The Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker is a clear testament that coffee makers can be elegant yet effective. Besides delivering tasty, creamy brews, this coffee grinder comes with tons of features designed to save on energy and get an expert espresso. If you are looking for a coffee machine that offers a unique, stimulating brewing experience, then consider trying out the VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee maker
This is a vintage model that isn’t sold new in stores anymore. But the Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Machine is enough of a fan favorite that it might be worth looking around at used models to find one of your very own. Definitely a rival of Nespresso Essenza mini espresso machine
The Nespresso Pixie is a deluxe version of the Inissia. It offers a bit more heft as a result, but stainless is easy to wipe down and clean to a gleaming shine. This is a lovely part of the reason that you should consider this Nespresso espresso machine. Its small footprint (and price) and a host of great features are several more reasons
Overall, the Nespresso Citiz espresso maker is both useful and beautiful. The frother/steamer is a handy item all on its own, and when combined with this powerful, one-touch machine, it’s an excellent combo. Beautiful and elegant to look at, and it makes great consistent coffee!
Making coffee or espresso has never been easier, thanks to this cutting-edge invention from Nespresso. Despite its small, minimalist design, this machine functions exceptionally well without compromising the taste of your brew
This little red hot rod of Nespresso makers is the final model in our top tend of brewing machines. Like its Italian heritage, the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo deluxe is chic and practical.
One distinct advantage that DeLonghi offers when it comes to creating a coffee maker for Nespresso cartridges is that there is no financial incentive for them to use Nespresso brand cartridges exclusively. This means that it has added a barcode scanner that will look at the type of cartridge and adjust the brew settings to ensure the best cup of coffee possible, regardless of brand.
Versatility is something that Nespresso brand coffee makers, who profit from your purchase of their named cartridges, don’t have the incentive to do. If you prefer to have a number of cartridge options, to buy what’s on sale, or to reuse your cartridges, this is a distinct advantage. A centrifuge-based brew top rated system can also enhance the ability to get every ounce of flavor out of these tiny pods.
Barcode reader means optimal brews for every brand
Makes both coffee and espresso
Makes hotter coffee than most other models
Side location of the water tank means you can't stick it close to other appliances and easily remove the water tank
Troubleshooting guide is written in small, light gray print and hard for some to read
How does the Inissia stack up when it comes to Nespresso machines? Read on to discover the answer!
The Inissia is a good single serve machine for small kitchens and those who only need a cup at a time. Its sleek, black design is tiny and fits well in most kitchens. For those who are always on the run in the morning, it offers one design feature that is lacking in many of the other machines. Specifically, wake it up and walk away.
You don’t need to wait until the water has warmed to order your coffee, and you don’t have to push it to turn it off. This is a true innovation in comparison to other models, and if this is the one thing that drives you crazy about other machines, this is a clear winner for you.
Nothing wrong with that!
Sleek black design
Can accommodate taller cups
Your choice of two coffee styles
Small countertop footprint
You don’t have to wait for the water to warm to start your coffee
Doesn’t require you to touch it to stop brewing
Tech support is difficult if there is a problem
Small water reservoir if you drink a lot of coffee
So DeLonghi, a well-known name in espresso makers, has put their hat into the ring to get a piece of the Nespresso maker market. And when DeLonghi machines brew coffee, they do it in an elegant way. This is not the espresso maker to buy on a budget. It is instead the last one you will need ever buy.
Of special note is the top rated cream frother. It’s not just the instant pot crema foam that you find on the other espresso makers; this is special, patented milk froth that looks closer to what you find on a cappuccino.
Almost all users give it 4 to 5 stars
Huge range of perfect cup coffee style options
Luxurious Italian design
Easy to clean
Hard water users must purchase a descaling kit for cleaning
If you like milk, ice cream, cream, or non-dairy milk, this is one of the best milk-based Nespresso models on the market. DeLonghi has hit the ball out of the park with the Latissima Touch Plus. This is an easy-to-use French press like model with a variety of brew options that make it just as great for hot chocolate as it is for a latte.
If you want a latte that is cooked right on the spot at the push of a button, Latissima Plus should be your purchase. Period. Nothing else out there does as much on its own with real milk.
If you’re all about the espresso part, or if you want something with super hot milk or that’s super frothy, this may not be the product for you. But you won’t find an easier way to make milk-based coffee drinks with one touch, like the Lattissima touch!
One of the best milk steamers on the market that doesn't require cleaning with each use
Large container for used capsules
The only fully-integrated milk brewing machine
Easy to use touchpad makes it simple for anyone to operate this cook tool without instruction
There is some dripping that happens after use, which means you must empty the drip tray each time or keep a backup cup under the spout
The Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker is the latest coffee brewer in town. If you have a large family of coffeeholics, then this maker is the perfect choice for you. The VertuoPlus deluxe comes with an extra large water container, ensuring that you never run out of coffee when you need it.
This Nespresso maker by Breville with Aeroccino can brew up to five cups of deluxe coffee, espresso, double espresso, Gran Lungo or Alto at the touch of a button. As if that is not enough, the cup support is extremely adjustable and it can accommodate up to four different cup sizes.
Designed by coffee experts for coffee lovers, this unit uses Centrifusion™ technology to extract coffee capsules at speeds of up to 7,000 rotations per minute. With this kind of speed, you can rest assured of enjoying top quality deluxe coffee with the perfect layers of crema.
The centrifugal mechanism is an innovative feature that brews tasty, creamier coffee
This Nespresso machine features an easy to use interface
Sleek, elegant design
Extra large water and capsule containers for enhanced versatility
The Milk Frother is renowned for producing a perfect crema
The machine tends to leak under the water container
Some consumers have complained that this coffee maker drips after use
The Vertuoline is another great option that offers a great way to have the steamed or frothed milk you want when you need it, and an excellent cup of coffee when you don’t. This French press look-alike works with the more modern Vertuoline line of cartridges, but not with the original line of Nespresso cartridges.
Vertuoline pods are different, and they are brewed with a centrifuge extraction technology to draw every last morsel of flavor from the coffee beans. They are also smaller than the original capsules, which means that you can hold more empty cartridges in the waste container before you empty it.
The machine comes with no coffee grinder but the classic, highly functional Aeroccino milk frother that is a great addition to any cup of coffee. This gives you that excellent bit of cappuccino foam atop your delicious caffeine shot. It is easy to use and to clean.
Centrifuge on this model is an innovative design to provide better coffee
Easy to use and clean
Frother makes perfect crema each time
Bar code reader helps to perfect coffee from each brand of capsule
The coffee is a little watery after about 6 ounces
While out of stock, the plethora of five-star reviews make this a great choice, if you can find one.
Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker is a great little machine. It’s small, it’s programmable, and it gives you everything you need, especially if you need it fast and at the expense of little counter space. It occupies less space just like cutting boards or other small cook tools; you’ll never notice it!
Catches drips like a pro
Push the button and walk away. You don't need to wait for the water to heat to start it or to push another button to stop it, as this authentic espresso maker works faster than a pressure cooker
Small footprint is great for small apartments and single-person use
Tastes like real espresso
Only works with Nespresso brand cartridges
Not available for sale- must be found used or secondhand
Some leaking into the drip tray may occasionally occur if the water container isn't properly aligned
Want something beautiful, personal, and expedient? Nespresso Pixie is an excellent choice for you. This machine is in many ways a more artistic, metallic version of the Inissima. However, it has a few options that rise above the Inissima, specifically the choice of two different kinds of coffees.
Another great choice for the bachelor(ette) on the go, the college student, or the workaholic who needs one cup before dashing out the door each day.
Auto programming means you don't have to stand around waiting for the water to warm up
Sleek, sturdy stainless steel design
Not enough water capacity to cover a family of coffee drinkers without a water refill
Travel back in time with this lovely art-deco piece that is also a highly functional espresso maker!
The Nespresso Citiz espresso is a gorgeous little piece that is as beautiful as it is functional. Simple, backlit buttons offer one-touch functionality that makes it as easy as possible to push a button, get ready for your morning, and return to a tasty cup of sunshine. Add to this the functional, powerful Aeroccino milk steamer and frother, and you have an excellent and versatile coffee maker.
There are a lot of handy features to both to make your morning as simple as possible, like an auto-eject container that fits 10 empty cartridges and an energy saving auto shutoff that goes into effect after 9 minutes.
With a 25-second heating time that is faster than a pressure cooker, you’re still less than a minute from hot coffee at any time. The fast heat up time makes this machine the perfect choice for ardent coffee lovers.
Beautiful, easy-clean design
Can accommodate tall cups
Saves a ton of money compared to latte stands
Can make just espresso or use the frother to create lattes and cappuccinos
Alignment of the water tank must be precise to prevent leaks
Frother/steamer must not be left plugged in to extend the life of the unit
If you have a strong affinity for small, portable kitchen appliances, then this mini espresso maker is an excellent choice for you. Compact in design and weighing less than five pounds, the Essenza mini is regarded as the smallest coffee machine from the Nespresso brand by Breville.
The Nespresso Essenza makes everything look easy, thanks to its easy-to-use interface and minimalist design. You can make your favorite espresso blend or Barista-style coffee with a single touch of a button. Using compatible Nespresso pods, you can always look forward to enjoying a great cup of coffee.
With energy saving features and extremely affordable price offering, this Nespresso coffee machine offers good value for money.
Complimentary welcome gift capsules with every purchase
Energy saving modes
Does not produce much coffee
Some consumers have complained about the tastes of various brews
This information from this buying guide can help you to better pare down the perfect machine for you. From there, you can shop online or see the machines in person at a brick and mortar store.
How We Tested
Nespresso machines are all judged by reading through thousands of reviews to get a feel for how actual owners like their machines. We do this for a number of reasons.
First, we want to get a feel for the kinds of problems that are one-off or due to operator error versus those that are based on an actual problem with the product. This is difficult to gauge with a single review or the personal use of a singular product. We want an idea of the kind of job that customer service does in helping owners to get the most out of their products or in fixing problems that occur.
Finally, in-person testing is always on a new product. Reviews give you an idea of how long people own a product, how they like it a year or two into ownership, or how quickly they sought out something new. All of this, we feel, gives us a fuller understanding of the best kind of product for you.
How To Buy The Best Nespresso Machine
Nespresso machines come in a variety of styles with a variety of features because people are very individual when it comes to their coffee drinking habits and needs. Here are a few things that you need to ask yourself before researching a machine. By applying these filters, this can help you to better understand your options:
How many cups of coffee per day do you plan to brew, single serve or several cups?
How much room in your kitchen do you have for a machine?
Do you have a certain aesthetic style that you wish to match?
Do you only want basic Nespresso shots? Or would you prefer more than one option?
Do you like stainless or plastic?
What’s your price range?
Do you want milk froth?
This information from this buying guide can help you to better pare down the perfect machine for you. From there, you can shop online or see the machines in person at a brick and mortar store.
Nespresso machines have a number of basic features that are the same. This includes:
A reservoir for water. The amount of water this holds will determine how often you must refill it.
A reservoir for Nespresso capsules. This may hold one or it may hold up to around a dozen. Again, you will need to refill and empty this either every time you brew coffee or once every dozen capsules or so.
An activation button. Some will let you push it and predetermine the volume, others will make you push it both to turn it on and to stop brewing.
A milk frother (not all machines have this).
An option to choose different brews for coffee beans (again, not all machines have this).
What Is The Difference Between A Milk Steamer And A Milk Frother?
The big difference between these two different milk types is the texture. Frothed milk sits atop a drink like the ice cream. A shot of espresso will mix with steamed milk equally, while froth sits on top. The addition of froth creates a cappuccino, while the same drink with just steamed milk will create a latte instead.
Care And Maintenance
Care for a Nespresso machine is pretty easy just like waffle makers or any other kitchen appliances; most days it is simply to make sure that there is a cartridge and adequate water to use. If you have a frother or steamer, you will need to clean out the milk container.
The steaming element can be cleaned by pushing a lot of steam into a glass of water immediately after use. The container can be stored in the refrigerator and washed once per week or washed after use each time. Many of them are dishwasher safe. The drip tray should be regularly checked and emptied if you drip, and to see if there are any internal leaks, as this is where they will show up.
If you have hard water, you may want to buy a descaling kit or run white vinegar through the machine without a cartridge on occasion.
Design & Style
These machines are much more popular in Europe than they are in the United States. Because of this, you will find that many of the different designed cater toward this aesthetic.
Most machines are either black or stainless steel, and many have artistic elements that look rather art deco. They are often very geometric and easy to wipe down and clean. This matches the style that is popular in Italy and Switzerland, which are the two largest markets for this kind of machine.
The sizes can range from compact enough for a small space and a single person to something large enough to support a large family or the office break room of a business.
So what IS the best Nespresso machine?
Ultimately, though, the answer comes down to the best cup of coffee. And in that regard, our final contender, the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee, wins this honor. It does not come with a milk frother, and if you want a built-in frother, then this is probably not the model for you. However, this is the winner for a few key reasons:
Versatility of types of coffee cartridges: If you really want the perfect cup of coffee possible, you need a coffeemaker that will brew each brand’s cartridges to their best specifications. A brand that does better with one kind of cartridge over another limits your options.
It has looked at the problems that people have reported and tried to fix them: This Nespresso maker offers a lot of mores: more water, more empty cartridge room, more size and brew type choices.
The price point is right for everyone: This doesn’t cost a fortune, and this means it is an affordable choice for more consumers.
Of course, it is not the single most luxurious machine or the most versatile. It is the machine that will most consistently produce a trouble-free cup of tasty Nespresso at the touch of a button. This could just be the perfect gift card idea for your friends or family in the next festive season.