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.
Gotta love that!
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 alikeRead Our Review
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-lastingRead Our Review
A great instant pot latte machine for anyone who likes that simplicity of Nespresso cartridges for fast coffee drinks as your toast is getting ready in the wolf gourmetRead Our Review
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 makerRead Our Review
A great, highly-functional espresso machine with aeroccino that’s pretty to boot. A great choice for those who love both coffee and espresso!Read Our Review
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 machineRead Our Review
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 reasonsRead Our Review
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.
- 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.
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.