Nespresso Machines Are They Any Good?
The Nespresso machine looks great on the snazzy marketing material, but does this coffee brewer actually live up to the hype of being a full fledged espresso maker alternative?
NO, not exactly, let’s be honest, there will always be a place for a proper espresso machine. But if you want a to brew decent, palatable coffee at home with little to no fuss then the Nespresso machine is more than capable of keeping up with the big boys on the coffee pod stage, such as Keurig, and in my opinion, it actually brews a better tasting cup.
YES, the Nespresso is a coffee pod brewer, so it utilizes those small plastic 1-cup capsules. I've never really been a big fan of those coffee pods, mainly because they simply can’t brew a decent cup of coffee.
With that being said, I must admit the Nespresso machine does do a good job of replicating coffee on-par with almost any high street coffee house (but it's not in the same ballpark when compared to say freshly ground coffee brewed using the manual pour over).
But if you're a fan of coffee pod machines keep on reading because the Nespresso beats the Keurig hands-down in both flavor and performance.
What is a Nespresso Machine?
Nespresso machines are simply a single serve coffee maker that utilizes prepackaged coffee pods. Through these pods, the Nespresso can brew either an Espresso or Lungo style of coffee (at the time of writing there are several types of both espresso and Lungo capsules within the Nespresso range).
One of the advantages of using the Nespresso coffee machine is that you don’t have to grind, weigh or prepare your coffee for each brew. The Nespresso capsules are already pre-measured with the perfect amount of coffee.
The only interaction you have is placing the coffee pod into the machine and then pressing a button, all of the guess work is taken away, and you'll get the same coffee experience every time.
Nespresso Machine vs. Dolce Gusto
If you've been looking to buy a Nespresso machine, you may have also come across the single-serve system called Dulce Gusto, which is another similar looking device by the makers of Nespresso (Nestlé).
Sure they look the same, but there's a big difference when it comes to the quality and type of the coffee as well as the end brew. Let's take a closer look.
- Nespresso capsules are made of pure coffee. This brewer only produces pure espresso “like” coffee. You get a fresh cup of coffee, free of any additives and flavors. You can then add milk, cream, frothed milk, etc. to your coffee once it has been brewed.
- Dolce Gusto capsules come already flavored. With this brewer, you buy flavored coffee pods that contain everything in them such as coffee, artificial flavors as well as powder milk, etc. With the Dolce Gusto, you will find a large variety of flavors such as Cappuccino, Latte Machiatto, and Chococino, to name a few. This coffee pod brewer is very similar to the Keurig machines.
Which one is better boils down to how you like your coffee. If you like to drink a lot of sugary, chocolatey, latte, Starbucks-like drinks, then you’ll probably love the Dolce Gusto.
However, if you're more of a purist who loves bold black coffee which you can drink as-is or use as a base for other beverages, the Nespresso Machine is the way to go.
How to use Nespresso Coffee Machines?
Operating the Nespresso machine is super easy, and it only takes around 25-seconds for the machine to fully heat up ready to use; which is impressive.
Once ready, just place your chosen coffee capsule into the machine, pull down the lever, and press a button (see I told you it was easy). Surprisingly, the brewed coffee comes out almost immediately after pressing the button.
Once the brew cycle has finished lift the handle and remove the used coffee capsule. A lot of the best Nespresso machines actually use a barcode system which is printed on the capsule which tells the machine exactly how much water to use and the correct water temperature for optimum brewing.
The Nespresso can get pretty loud during the brew cycle, and this is due to the high-pressure used to extract the coffee from the pod. This is actually a good thing as it shows that high pressure is being used; which is very similar to a REAL espresso machine.
Best Nespresso Machine
Since the first Nespresso machine hit the consumer marketplace more and more, brewers have become readily available that have various features, settings, storage options, and capacity settings.
One thing that all of these Nespresso coffee machines do have in common is that they all use the same coffee pods and feature simple one-touch operation.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I am not a fan of coffee pod brewers. That being said I did get a chance to test the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker below. Let's take a closer look at my Nespresso Pixie review.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
First off the Nespresso Pixie is one of the fastest power to brew-ready units I have ever tested, under 2-minutes from turn on!
In the morning, If you're a get out of the house as fast as possible kind of person that needs a caffeine fix quickly, this is the machine for you.
Loading the coffee capsules is dead simple. Pick a Nespresso pod, pull up lever, drop in the coffee pod, pull the lever forward, you're ready to brew.
Despite the small size of the Nespresso Pixie, at only 4.3 inches wide, it still has a 19-bar high-pressure pump which actually puts it on-par with a full fledged espresso machine.
With this much pressure being forced into the Nespresso capsules you are almost guaranteed a good dense crema with each brew.
The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker allows you to brew both Espresso and Lungo with a simple push of a button. A smart feature of the Pixie is the red back-lit water tank that lights up to alert you when you are running low on water. If you forget to turn off the coffee machine, the auto-power off will do it for you after 9-minutes of being left unintended.
Now I am an espresso lover, and I love my coffee, strong and black. However, I do believe that the average person buying the Nespresso machine does not actually realize that they are getting a single shot brewer and they might be more in favor of the alternative Dolce Gusto which offers more coffee brewing options.
A few Last Words on the Nespresso Coffee Machines
For not being much of a coffee pod fan I must admit the Nespresso machine does a good job at brewing a no-fuss pure black coffee. Sure it's not as good as freshly ground coffee used in say your Chemex or Hario V60, but for a coffee pod machine, it’s bloody close!
At roughly 50 cents per capsule the cost of brewing coffee at home can quickly add up, and if you think about it, are you really going to be content with just one small shot of espresso - between 4 and 6 fluid ounces in the morning. Probably NOT, so the cost could quickly spiral out of control.
Coffee capsules are readily available at places like Amazon, and you can even find Nespresso capsules sold by third party companies that will also work in the Nespresso Machine, which opens up the door to even more types of coffee the Nespresso can brew.
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