The 10 Best Nespresso Machines
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in March of 2018. Traditional espresso makers can be quite complicated and occupy more counter space than many people have available. Thankfully, these relatively compact Nespresso machines can provide you with caffeine-packed shots without overwhelming your brain or your kitchen. Our selection includes everything from basic options that just do the job to more advanced models with a host of features. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 08, 2020:
While there are a lot of different options among Nespresso machines on the market, there are still a few simple things to look for to help you figure out which one is right for you, based mostly on the type of coffee you like and the amount of space you have. For example, the De'Longhi Essenza Mini has an absurdly small footprint, brings its heating element to an ideal temperature in no time at all, and offers espresso and lungo sizes for your servings. Unlike the De'Longhi Lattissima Pro or the De'Longhi Lattissima Plus, however, there's no option to integrate a milk frother.
Perhaps one of the best combinations of space-saving design and milk availability is the De'Longhi CitiZ, whose frother element is actually a separate piece that is sometimes sold apart from the main machine, and that can be kept in the refrigerator to preserve your preferred milk until it's ready for use. That allows you to keep a slightly smaller machine on the counter throughout the rest of the day.
Bear in mind when looking at different models that there are essentially two kinds of Nespresso pods: Original Line and Virtuo Line. The Original line pods look like small coffee creamers you might see at a diner, but with a conical end, and the Virtuo pods look more like hemispheres. Essentially, the company had something go wrong in the patenting process for the Original design when bringing the machines to the US, and other companies came out with Nespresso compatible pods at a lower cost than the brand name, but it's much harder to find of-brand Virtuo options. If you're a bargain shopper, a model that uses the Originals, like the De'Longhi Expert Original, might be the way to go.
April 29, 2019:
Say goodbye to days of waiting in long lines at coffee shops for sub-par cups of espresso. We looked for Nespresso machines with all the features you need, so you'll never miss those over-priced, restaurant-purchased beverages again. The De'Longhi VertuoLine Evoluo makes five different cup sizes, including a 14-ounce Alto for those days you need a lot of caffeine. Meanwhile, the De'Longhi Lattissima Pro can create six pre-programmed drinks, including a Ristretto, otherwise known as a very small amount of espresso, for those times you just need a little kick. If you're all about the foam, then you'll love that the De'Longhi CitiZ has an impressive milk frother, and the De'Longhi Lattissima Plus even has a milk reservoir, as well as a frother. The Breville Creatista Plus boasts 11 milk temperatures and eight frothing textures, for nearly unlimited customizing. If you're intimidated by making your own espresso at home, don't be, since we chose several intuitive models that make the process easy. The Breville Creatista Plus comes up again, with an LCD that walks you through everything. The De'Longhi Pixie will let you know, via a light, when it's low on water. And the KitchenAid KES0504ER has an easy capsule-insertion system, so you won't get caught up just trying to load in your pods.
The Nespresso Allure
Across the globe, at this very moment, people are drinking coffee.
Across the globe, at this very moment, people are drinking coffee. Some made their brew with a percolator, some used an AeroPress, and some opted for instant (woe unto them). But as time marches on, it's more and more likely that each cup of joe might be prepared with a Nespresso machine — and there are plenty of benefits that make it easy to see why.
Consider the convenience, for example. Some of us simply cannot function until we have a cup of coffee in hand, which of course leads to the age-old dilemma: how can you be expected to make coffee before you've had some? Enter the Nespresso: simple to operate and doesn't ask much from a groggy user, taking the hassle out of your morning routine. They even eject the pods for you for hassle-free cleanup.
They also offer consistency. If you've ever argued with a coworker or spouse about how much coffee should go in the basket of a traditional coffee maker, you know that the water-to-grounds ratio is a fraught question. With a Nespresso, you don't have to worry (or fight) about portions. The grounds are pre-measured for the perfect beverage, every time. And using these machines simplifies other variables, too, such as water temperature, which you might struggle with if you own a French press or similar.
Then there are the intangibles. The Nespresso brand has a certain je ne sais quoi, a feeling of a charming yet serious coffeehouse and a European sensibility. It helps that the brand is endorsed by such celebrity heavyweights as George Clooney, Danny DeVito, and Natalie Dormer, and that it offers the trendy Nespresso Club for consumers, which claims to offer exclusive services and assistance in becoming a coffee connoisseur.
For a variety of reasons, then, the Nespresso machine has become a worldwide favorite, offering a high-quality, coffeehouse brew in home kitchens at any time of the day or night. It may not suit java fanatics who like a little more control, but for most folks, groggy or otherwise, it's just the ticket for a quality beverage.
Nespresso Versus Keurig
On the surface, Nespresso and Keurig machines seem quite similar: they're both single-serve coffee brewers that demand little work of the user. You might already know that Keurig comes from America, whereas Nespresso hails from Europe, but these aren't the only differences.
You might already know that Keurig comes from America, whereas Nespresso hails from Europe, but these aren't the only differences.
One very important difference is the kind of beverage they each make. Nespresso machines were originally designed to make espresso drinks, whereas a Keurig makes a standard cup of drip coffee. But competition drives change, so it's now possible to find Nespresso machines that make standard coffee and brews of various sizes. The opposite isn't true, though; you can't make an actual espresso with a normal Keurig. In fact, depending upon whom you ask, you can't make a true cup of espresso with a Nespresso machine, either, but it's close enough for most.
There's also the question of variety. If you want a wide selection of hot chocolate, tea, or even coffee brands, then Keurig is the machine that delivers. Again, however, manufacturers are zigging and zagging to keep up, so as time goes on, there are more and more options for Nespresso pods. Both currently also offer reusable receptacles for grounds, however, so your imagination is the limit.
Another important variable is price. Keurigs tend to be less expensive, but they also tend to be less durable. You'll probably find that K-Cups are less pricey, as well, so if you're in a budget crunch but have your heart set on a single-serve machine, the Keurig may be the way to go. If you're looking for longevity and elegance, then the Nespresso is probably the better choice. It has a certain cachet that the Keurig lacks; it's an elegant continental espresso machine, whereas the Keurig is a no-nonsense item that is just as often found in hospitals as in homes. Plus, a Nespresso makes drinks that seem more like real coffeehouse drinks, not just faster drip coffee.
Dress Up Your Cup
A Nespresso machine makes consistently high-quality espresso and coffee, but you can crank your coffee-drinking experience up a notch with just a few simple actions.
But your taste buds are the ultimate arbiter, so trust them.
The first potential area of change is your water. There's a lot of debate — if you want to draw a coffee snob into an argument, this is a good issue to bring up — but most agree that soft water can make a flat tasting brew, whereas water that's too hard leads to bitterness. The middle ground seems to be key, as creating the best taste is about avoiding extremes. Water that's somewhat hard is good, because the minerals help boost the flavor, but when it goes too far one way or the other, the taste may be affected. So, if you have very hard or soft water, you might want to try bottled or filtered. But your taste buds are the ultimate arbiter, so trust them.
The next thing to consider is your drinking vessel. For the cleanest taste over time, you'll probably want to avoid plastic. Plastic tumblers and mugs are durable, true, but they tend to retain odors over time — and that's not pleasant. Stainless steel and ceramic or glass won't suffer from this problem, but you need to choose high-quality stainless, so that the mug doesn't impart a metallic taste. To keep your liquid lifeblood warm, look for a tumbler that features double walls and don't forget to choose one that's not a hassle to clean.
Moving on from the basics, you may want to grab a milk frother if your Nespresso machine didn't come with one (many do). They aren't terribly expensive, and could help you save some cash in the long run, since they let you whip up lattes, cappuccinos, and more, without the barista. And, bonus: you can use them to make gourmet hot chocolate for your kids.