Want great coffee?
In the past, you could have it taste great, make it easy to brew or buy, or not have it break the bank… but you had to pick two. That’s how it was before Nespresso machines made their way into the United States. Now you can have high-quality espresso and your favorite café-quality drinks without the hassle — and the price — of one. Nespresso machines are like Keurig machines, but they’re made exclusively for espresso. The basic idea is the same: Coffee comes in single-serve pods that you can easily insert and remove. Then, at the touch of a button, you can brew amazing coffee in under a minute. With Nespresso, you can have your favorite drinks whenever you want them… and you don’t even have to wait in line!
What exactly is espresso?
If you’re just looking for a shot of morning joe, you might be asking yourself, “What makes espresso different than regular coffee?” In other words, what’s the difference between Nespresso machines and Keurig machines?
Espresso is a strong “shot” of coffee that’s concentrated by brewing with intense pressure. Hot water is literally forced through finely ground and tightly packed beans to create a rich, bold, and complex beverage. Whenever you order a latte or cappuccino, a shot or two of espresso is always at its heart.
So while Keurig machines pour water through the cup like a regular batch brewer, Nespresso machines use 19-bar pressure to give you a totally different experience like you would find in a café.
Are K-cups and Nespresso Capsules the same thing?
The short answer is no. What works in a Keurig won’t work with a Nespresso, and vice versa. Nespresso capsules are airtight and insulated to give the “grand crus” — or “superior grade” — experience. Nespresso machines can also hold quite a few capsules at a time, meaning that you don’t have to deal with a single pod every time you need a quick drink.
One great advantage that Nespresso capsules have over K-cups is that they are fully recyclable. In fact, Nespresso makes it easy for you to help protect the environment. When you’re ready to dispose of your capsules, you can simply mail them back to the company knowing that they will be reused and won’t end up in a landfill.
What are the benefits of a Nespresso machine?
First, remember that traditional coffee and espresso makes you pick two of three options: low cost, simplicity, or great taste. Nespresso lets you have all three!
Regardless of which model you choose, Nespresso machines are engineered to be simple, efficient, and easy to use. Whether you want everything ready for you at the touch of a button or prefer a little more customization, you won’t find yourself having to tackle a steep learning curve.
This also cuts down on the amount of equipment you need to own. If you wanted a traditional espresso bar set up on your kitchen counter, you would need a clunky espresso machine, a milk frother and steaming pitchers, a knock-box, tampers, grinders, cleaning supplies, and more. With a Nespresso machine, you can have the café experience with only one small appliance.
And as anyone who’s a regular at any coffee shop knows, a coffee habit can be a little tough on the wallet — not to mention all that wasted time spent driving there and waiting in line. Having a setup at home lets you cut out the corporate cost and drink a great cup whenever you want it.
But what about taste? Can espresso out of a machine really taste all that great? Well, it really does! You don’t need to be a seasoned barista to brew great espresso, and you certainly don’t have to settle for the less-than-appetizing taste of instant espresso mix.
Finally, Nespresso is made by veteran coffee company DeLonghi. So when you buy a Nespresso machine, it’s backed by a company known for its world-class quality. You’ll be given access to their exclusive Nespresso Club and have a ton of great refill options at your fingertips. And given their wide range of machines, just about anyone can afford one.
We’ll go into a lot more detail of each model below, but here’s our quick picks for which Nespresso machine might be best for you needs. Here are the best machines for…
Busy people: Nespresso Prodigio
Beginners & frugals: Nespresso Pixie
Espresso aficionados: Nespresso Citiz
Coffee shop regulars: Nespresso Lattissima Pro
Everyone at the office: Nespresso Evoluo
There really is a Nespresso machine for everyone. Read on to find out more about each model.
Nespresso Citiz Review
The Nespresso Citiz was crafted with the urban consumer in mind. The first thing to note is its sleek, black and chrome exterior — a winner of the Red Dot Design Award.
Capsules can easily pop in and out of the Citiz, and the machine itself has programmable options for espresso and lungo (a 1.5 oz shot). The first drip tray also collapses to make room for bigger cups.
With a 25-second heat up time, you can have amazing espresso in less than a minute. The machine can hold 11 capsules and 34 ounces of water at a time, meaning that you don’t have to fool with set up and preparation every time. And If you forget to turn the machine off before you head out, the Citiz will save energy and shut down after nine minutes.
The Citiz can be ordered with or without the Aeroccino milk frother, which is essentially a container with a heater on the bottom. Adding milk to espresso gives you a lot of creativity, though the nature of the Aeroccino makes it better for less-foamy drinks like a latte or flat white.
Overall, we recommend the Nespresso Citiz for people who want, more than anything, a consistently fantastic shot of espresso.
Nespresso Evoluo Review
What if you already have a coffee maker at home? Having a coffee maker and an espresso machine can seem a little frivolous, not to mention the counter space it takes up. The Evoluo eliminates that problem by being able to make both espresso and traditional coffee.
The Evoluo includes a barcode sensor which automatically detects whether a Nespresso capsule is made for espresso or traditional coffee and adjusts the brew variables accordingly. In either case, this machine heats up in as little as 15 seconds, meaning that you can have a cup ready to drink within the same minute that you start thinking about it.
Also unique to the Evoluo is Nespresso’s “Centrifusion” technology, which spins water around the grounds at a high speed to ensure perfectly even extraction. The result is a smooth cup in any circumstance. For those that want to turn their espresso into milk-based drinks, the Aeroccino milk frother is available separately.
The container can hold anywhere from 13-20 capsules, and the tank holds 54 ounces of water at a time. This, combined with the almost instantaneous heat up time, is great for machines that get used frequently. That’s why we recommend the Nespresso Evoluo for office settings or larger households.
Nespresso Inissia Review
The Nespresso Inissia is a small but powerful machine. In fact, it’s probably the easiest machine on this list to use.
The Inissia weights in at only five pounds, making it ideal for small spaces or places where it might get moved around a lot. Brewing options include the regular espresso shot as well as the lungo, which is a larger, more tame shot.
Like the Citiz, a folding drip tray can accommodate larger cups. And like the Evoluo, the Aeroccino milk frother is available separately. With a Nespresso machine, you can have your favorite café-style drinks no matter what your spatial restrictions are.
While this machine is small, it can still hold 11 capsules in its container and 24 ounces of water in the tank. This means that you can use it quite a few times without having to think about refilling anything.
For these reasons, the Inissia is perfect for dorm rooms and tiny spaces.
Nespresso Lattissima+ Review
The Lattissima+ is the ultimate system for people who want the best drinks in the simplest way. This machine includes a built-in automatic milk frother for thick cappuccinos, creamy lattes, and most other drinks that your local coffee shop might offer.
The milk frother works with a fully integrated container, so, unlike with the Aeroccino frothers, you don’t have to keep track of any extra equipment. Everything you need is in one unit.
However, this also means that you won’t have the ability to pour and practice latte art. If you want to hone your inner barista, an Aeroccino might be better for you. If not, then the Lattissima frother couldn’t possibly be any easier.
This machine also has four one-touch, programmable drink settings for multiple users or a variety bank. With a 30 ounce water tank, everyone can have a few cups in the morning without having to deal with refilling the reservoir.
And to make things easier, the Lattissima+ also has electronic indicators which will notify you when the machine needs maintenance. “Maintenance” for this machine typically just means a quick and easy descaling process.
The Lattissima+ is perfect for people who love café drinks like lattes and cappuccinos and want the convenience of having them at home.
Nespresso Lattissima Touch Review
The Lattissima Touch is a slight upgrade to the Lattissima+, so read the review above if you haven’t already. It still comes with an automatic frother in an integrated container and a 30 ounce water tank.
The main difference is that the Lattissima Touch includes a “touch” button on the milk frother, allowing you to control and manipulate the texture at will. Maybe you like just a little foam on top of a latte, or maybe you want your cappuccino “extra dry” with all the foam you can get.
Either way, the Lattissima Touch gives you more control than the Lattissima+, which is fully automated.
The second difference is that this machine offers two more programmable buttons for a total of six stored drink settings. This makes it a little more hassle-free if you need a lot of options.
Nespresso Lattissima Pro Review
The Lattissima Pro is the ultimate, top-of-the-line Nespresso machine. It includes all the features of the Lattissima+ and Lattissima Touch, plus just about every feature of all the other machines on this list… plus a touch screen!
7 programmable buttons means that you can have an espresso, lungo, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more with only a single touch. In fact, you can have all of them in the time it takes you to get dressed in the morning.
The Lattissima Pro boasts two more great features: an automated cleaning system and a 44 ounce water tank. This is a machine you almost never have to think about. The self-cleaning feature means that it will take care of the descaling process itself, and the large tank will hold water for a long line of espresso shots.
This machine is like having your own personal barista 24/7. If you want the best café-style drinks without any of that hassle, then there’s no doubt that the Nespresso Lattissima Pro is the perfect machine for you.
Nespresso Pixie Review
The Nespresso Pixie is a lot like the Inissia. In fact, the Pixie is an upgrade from the Inissia, and it’s great if you’re looking for a simple and compact machine.
All the features of the Inissia are in the Pixie as well: 25 seconds to heat up, a 10 capsule container and 24 ounce water tank, light weight, and an option for brewing lungo.
The only real difference is that the Pixie has an electronic indicator that will notify you when the water reservoir is empty. Additionally, the exterior is made of a more sturdy metal housing. Other than that, almost everything else is the same.
The Pixie is best for people who don’t need a lot of options or are just beginning their journey into Nespresso machines.
Nespresso Prodigio Review
The Nespresso Prodigio is really cool. Why? It has built-in Bluetooth technology that can connect to your smartphone.
This technology allows you to schedule brewing times, receive maintenance alerts, and manage your stock of capsules even when you’re away from your machine. To see it in action, you can try it out with Nespresso’s virtual smartphone.
While the Prodigio doesn’t have a fully integrated milk frothing system like the Lattissima series, it does come with a built-in Aeroccino frother. The machine itself also allows for a ristretto setting in addition to the standard espresso and lungo functions. Perfect for those who want a little more strength in their cup.
The design of the Prodigio accommodates a variety of spatial needs by including a rearrangeable rotating water tank and a system that automatically ejects capsules when they are done brewing. All you have to do is send them to Nespresso for recycling.
A 25-second heat up time, 19-capsule container, and 27-ounce water tank means that you can brew cup after cup without having to think about replacing anything. But when you do, the machine will send a notification to your smartphone for you.
Nespresso Vertuo Review
The Nespresso Vertuo was the original machine in the VertuoLine, which now also includes the Nespresso Evoluo. It includes the same Centrifusion technology and barcode sensor, giving you a perfect brew every time.
One great benefit of the Vertuo, as well as the Evoluo, is that it can make larger cups of coffee as well as shorter shots of espresso. With the 15-second heating time, you can have enough for an office party in just a few minutes.
The Vertuo doesn’t have a milk frother, but you can buy an Aeroccino separately if you want to make things like lattes and cappuccinos.
We still recommend the Evoluo, as it’s essentially the “next generation” of this machine, but anyone who purchases a Vertuo won’t be disappointed.
As you can see, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes Nespresso machines or even coffee itself. Here’s a recap. The best machines for…
- busy people — Nespresso Prodigio
- beginners & frugals — Nespresso Pixie
- espresso aficionados — Nespresso Citiz
- coffee shop regulars — Nespresso Lattissima Pro
- everyone at the office — Nespresso Evoluo
If you’re tired of sacrificing time, taste, or cash for great espresso, look no further than these Nespresso machines. Whatever your needs may be, there’s a machine for you.
Once you've chosen a great Nespresso machine, check out these great Nespresso Compatible Capsules from Cafe Joe!