Before we enter the nuances and niceties of how to choose the best Nespresso machine, we are cautioned to explore a tiny handful of terms of art before we reach for our cup of sunshine, just to make sure we are sipping the same brew, so to speak. Let’s try four for now.
The most relevant term for our purposes is the brand Nespresso, coined by affixing the first letter of the Swiss-based food and drink juggernaut, Nestlé Group, S. A., to the generic base word espresso (N+espresso) to procreate its new brand. Great idea, Nestlé.
But that only identifies a single brand of espresso machines. There are dozens of espresso machine makers. An Italian first patented the espresso machine in 1901. Thus, freshly roasted and finely ground coffee beans must be processed through an expresso machine before it can be properly called espresso. No other method will suffice; otherwise, it is just plain ole coffee.
It took until the 1950s before the humble espresso machine jumped out of Italy and onto the international stage by becoming popular in the United Kingdom, supported by the already-popular milk bars operating under the Union Jack. After another 30 years, the espresso craze finally landed in the United States in the 1980s when it “suddenly” became a global sensation, advanced by the numerous worldwide coffee chains spawned by US entrepreneurs.
Thirdly, not any ole Texas cowboy can be a barista. You gotta be a caffeine enthusiast, be fastidiously trained, and possess a good bit of talent and pizzazz before you can sling an espresso. A barista is defined broadly as a person (man or woman) who dabbles behind a bar counter serving cold non-alcoholic and alcoholic thirst quenchers and hot (e.g., espresso) drinks, along with savory snacks and tiny cakes. In the US, the term is simply barista(s), while in Italy and a few other countries, it is baristi for barmen and bariste for barmaids.
Names of concoctions
We arrive, then, at the names of exotic concoctions you came here to imbibe, such as: café latte (frothy steamed milk with a shot of espresso); café mocha (hot milk, sugar, and chocolate or cocoa); flat white (micro-foamed steamed milk with small fine bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency); café macchiato (frothy steamed milk with a shot of espresso); espresso affogato (espresso with a dollop of vanilla ice cream), and of course, café americano (don’t capitalize it; espresso with extra filtered water added); and café correctto (espresso with a small amount of brandy, sambuca or grappa). And of course, there are still those alluring names for the espresso machines themselves, but I will address those as we sip along.
Finally, practice the terminology until you can flawlessly delight your boss with your new vocab while slurping (minus the sound effects, of course) down a blonde caramel cloud macchiato. It will only take a couple of cups for the lingo to fully sink in. So, quaff another gulp and Keep Up!
Okay. Take your wallet or purse out and carefully caress your coveted credit card because this is where the fun begins. This review of the best Nespresso machines will naturally concentrate on that product line of espresso machines only, but you will soon find there are plenty of sizes, variety, luxuries, choices of chromatic shades, and budget-busting prices to whet your caffeine fancy in the Nespresso family.
Nestlé has proven itself as a guardian of your interests by not Bogarting the market by limiting its product line of capsule-dominated espresso machines. Instead, it has invited premier espresso machine manufacturers like De’ Longhi and Breville to expand your selections, thereby giving your taste buds more reasons to celebrate and your budget more numbers to cogitate.
How to Choose the Best Nespresso Machine
Start by picking a trusted brand name that has a renowned reputation for quality construction, advanced premium features, elegance and functionality, and excellent customer service. In most instances, that would be a yeoman’s task. But the Nestlé brand, along with that of its affiliates De’ Longhi and Breville, has done all the hard work for you. You will feel right at home with the Nespresso family.
Another reason to choose an espresso machine is for speed, economy, and convenience. When you want an espresso, you want an espresso Now! You do not want to wait until you get dressed, to drive downtown to go to a nationally-franchised coffee hub, to stand in line for 15 minutes just for your name to be misspelled on the side of the cup.
With Nespresso, you can make your own espresso in under two minutes while still in your pajamas and later make the drive into work all relaxed and carefree ― for much less money and without a parking ticket.
After quality and convenience, concentrate on features. It is true that the plethora of makes and models in the marketplace come with features that range from bear boned to the exotic, and from a cinch to operate to requiring a Master’s in mechanical engineering just to get your first cup each morning.
But again, Nespresso has done all the work for you and have bundled the most useful, most used, and the most easy-to-operate and easy-to-clean features into a compact package, which not only works with you but works for you as the sun slowly rises. Simply stated, everything you need is just one sleepy fingertip away, and just in time to welcome your first smile of the morning.
With the Nespresso espresso makers, you will come incredibly close to a premium barista-made espresso bar experience without the need to sacrifice a lot of real estate on your countertop or digits in your bank account.
Top 4 Best Nespresso Machines
|The Nespresso Lattissima Pro - De'Longhi America||4.5|
|Breville Nespresso Creatista Uno||4.6|
|De'Longhi EN560W Nespresso Latissima Touch||4.7|
|Nestle Nespresso Prodigio with Milk Espresso Maker||4.8|
Let us start with the pinnacle of the product line, the Nespresso Lattissima Pro, manufactured by De’ Longhi in partnership with the Nestlé Group. This machine consistently receives 4.9 to 5.0 stars out of five by coffee lovers and connoisseurs alike.
Whether you want a quick picker-upper before dashing off to the office or gym early in early the morning or whether you are lounging on the sofa during a lazy Sunday afternoon ready for a soothing hot drink, this machine is for you. It has a bevy of extras, LEDs, pushbuttons, and knobs, but amazingly enough, the reason it is the People’s Choice is because of speed, convenience, and ― surprise! ― ease of use, because it is well-designed and intuitively easy to use.
When you are still drowsy in the early morning, that kudos is in top demand. The machine heats up and is ready to go in half a minute or less and the steel-tipped frothing wand preps your creamy milk almost instantaneously. It sports six instant-touch pre-sets to prompt you on your way without the need to scroll through a list of digital menus using early-morning still-numbed fingertips.
Next, pop in a fresh pre-ground coffee pod and you are almost in heaven. The coffee pods also go by another high-brow name that you should remember: “Nespresso ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) capsules”. I like it. Makes me feel high class.
Your taste receptors will not suffer withdrawals because Nespresso offers 28 color-coded hermetically sealed capsules filled with its Original Line arabica and Robusta coffees, ranging from the bold and bossy to the soothingly light touch of caffeine on silk. This machine lets you choose your own milk and customize your ground concentration, too.
This barista bully is for you!
The coffee pods are not expensive but nor are they cheap. They are, however, designed for convenience and for keeping the contents infused with maximal flavor over a prolonged time span. Simply ‘no fuss, no muss”, as grandma used to say. The result is a quick, trouble-free barista-quality cup of freshly brewed, uniquely customized, made to your order right in your own home, Italian-inspired 5-star brew. Not bad for about $1.00 per serving. That is a deal even your credit card could love you for.
If you have not purchased your Nespresso Lattissima Pro by now, let me seal the deal by highlighting these additional features.
Once you select your preferred settings, you are basically “One Touch” away from experiencing a delectable demitasse of pure joy, topped with a rich, thick, long-lasting dollop of creamy foam. The frothing wand facilitates a carefree frothed milk for your macchiatos, cappuccinos, and perfectly steamed topping for your café lattes. And afterward, the clean-up is automatic and the milk carafe is easily detached and placed in the refrigerator, thereby averting the waste of precious cream. The six “one-touch” settings are for preparing: lung (long), ristretto, latte, espresso, cappuccino, steamed milk, and of course, plain hot water for tea connoisseurs.
It has a brushed stainless-steel exterior, a countertop space-saving footprint of only 10.8″ L x 7.6″ W x 13, and there is a float button that signals you when the water is getting low in the rear-mounted container.
Breville is a highly touted manufacturer of expresso machines and has made Nestlé proud of their joint affiliation in this unique product line. Accordingly, you would expect its espresso maker to be fully featured and to have a few bonus accouterments, too. You will not be dissatisfied if you choose its combination of unparalleled features.
The easy access frothing wand produces top-shelf micro-foam that offers you three grades of milk temperatures for your coffee masterpieces. It also encourages your talents at producing café-style latte art presentations.
With this little coffee-making wizard, you do not compromise on features and convenience. Its technologically advanced micro-foam milk design is an industry first for a single-cup dispenser of your cherished hot beverage. You will be a latte master on day one, as soon as you push the “go” button.
With its intuitive user-friendly and bright interface, you can explore your creativity and passion to experiment with your treasured (and new) recipes from classic black to flat white espressos as you add perfectly texturized milk that is so light that it seems to float on air. Because it is so well designed, it is easy to clean and maintain.
Indeed, its auto-clean functionality includes a self-purging mode for the frothing wand, further reducing your workload and giving you more time to savor your prized coffee beans in a pod. It is lightweight with a scratch-resistant non-metal body that features a patented coffee mix extraction mechanism so you do not even have to open the pod. Just stick the pod in and close the door. It is that easy. Finally, it ships with a capsule container and a 20+ ounce removable water carafe.
The Latissima Touch comes with a lungo (long) and an espresso feature that works in tandem with a four-way combination coffee and milk system that lets you automatically put:
- Creamy froth on the top, extra milk throughout the middle and more coffee at the bottom for your creamy lattes;
- Coffee in the middle, milk on the top and bottom, with as much froth on the top as your little heart desires, for your latte macchiato;
- An evenly distributed combination of milk and coffee, with just the right textured froth on the top for all your signature cappuccinos; plus
- Steamed milk and/or water for your choice of libations.
You can also make warm milk without adding the coffee, if that better suits your mood, like when you just want a nice cup of hot chocolate or tomato soup with an extra bit of hot cream delicately infused throughout. Yummy!
Finally, as you would expect, this is a quality-manufactured espresso machine that will last you many years. The frothing wand is removable for easy cleaning or if you do not need it. I like the white iteration but it also comes in black. Either way, its attractive avant-garde design and small footprint will make a welcome addition to your kitchen counter or the refreshment cupboard in your study.
This little emperor of the espresso machines is consistently rated as 5-star for its outstanding performance and unparalleled Italian-design and modern features. It heats up and notifies you that it is ready to go in 25 seconds or less.
It has a whopping 19 bar high-pressure pump mechanism to produce barista-style espresso results as it extracts nuanced aromas and delicate flavors from each inserted coffee capsule, while dispensing a dense, pure white cream. Take care, however, because the capsules compatible with this machine are the ones in the OriginalLine only.
The Nespresso Prodigio with Milk Espresso Maker comes with three programmable buttons that trigger automatic flow stops for different size espressos like ristretto, regular espresso and lungo (long/tall) sizes, along with a foldable spill-over tray for a variety of cup and glass sizes. The rotating water carafe has a small footprint and adjusts to accommodate the size and shape of your kitchen counter space. It automatically shuts down after nine minutes of non-use.
There is a nice warning system that alerts you when there is an empty water tank; when you need to insert a coffee capsule; or when the machine needs a de-scaling (clean-up). The used capsule container is removable for your emptying-out ease and it holds nineteen used capsule.
5. Other fine espresso machines from Nespresso
1. Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine with Milk Auto Steam Wand, by Breville
2. Pixie Espresso Machine, by Breville
3. Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother, by Breville
4. CitiZ Espresso Maker, by Breville
5. Inissia Espresso Machine with Aeroccino3 Frother, by De’ Longhi
6. CitiZ C111 Chrome Single Serve Espresso Machine comes with an Aeroccino 40-capsule storage drawer.
FAQs about Nespresso machines
I am new at this and this might be a dumb question, but, does this machine also make regular coffee?
A café lungo (also known as a “long” coffee) and a café americano are espressos with double water and come pretty close to what we [Americans] call coffee. Café lungo is one of the choices on this machine.
What is the main difference between this machine and the less expensive Lattissima Plus?
The ability to heat just milk and the ability to dispense hot water. Larger milk, water, and spent pod reservoirs. LED display. You are prompted to clean the milk receptacle. A ristretto setting (a very small amount of espresso). I have both and use both every morning when preparing lattes for my husband and myself.
Which Nespresso capsule does this use? VertuoLine or the OriginalLine?
Original line. My husband has not had a regular cup of coffee at home since he bought this FOR ME on Mother’s Day. I am starting to think this purchase hid devious motives. (I love it, too.)
Some key features
- Speed, economy, and convenience; ready to work in 25 seconds or less.
- You can make your own espresso in under two minutes.
- Nespresso offers 28 color-coded hermetically sealed capsules filled arabica or Robusta coffees.
- Renowned reputation for quality construction, advanced premium features, elegance and functionality.
- Affiliates with premier espresso makers like De’ Longhi and Breville to expand your selections.
- Detachable milk and water carafes for easy cleaning and storage.
- Steel-tipped frothing.
- The ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) capsules are attractive to toddlers and may be easily swallowed. Exercise caution.
Well, there you have it. We have explored a bit of espresso machine and espresso history and learned a few new vocabulary words. We have also examined in detail some of the features and benefits of a few products in the Nespresso line of espresso machines.
Hopefully, you are now well on your way to deciding if one of these spectacular “coffee bar in a gadget” machines will become your early morning friend. If you do select one, it will always be there ready to give you your first smile of the day.
If I may pilfer a phrase from France’s 17th Century philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, René Descartes, I hereby proudly proclaim that: I caffeinate, therefore I am.