The Best Nespresso Machine

Nespresso machines are the perfect choice for those that love espresso, but like the convenience of a capsule machine. I spent 6 weeks testing and reviewing the best Nespresso machines on the market. If you’re looking for an all-in-one machine that makes coffee and espresso, the Nespresso Evoluo is an excellent choice. However if you’re just interested in espresso, I’d recommend the Nespresso Citiz. Both provide easy espresso at a fraction the cost of a real espresso machine. Best of all, there’s no mess to clean up.


Nespresso Evoluo

Our Pick: The Best all-in-one Nespresso machine

For those that want one machine that can do it all, the Nespresso Evoluo is our top choice. It is reliable, has a large water tank and empty capsule bin. It is the machine I personally own and use everyday.

I’m a huge fan of the versatility of the Nespresso Evoluo. It’s a solid machine with a single button. I think the Evoluo is the best of Nespresso’s Vertuo machines, which is the line that can produce coffee or espresso drinks. Unlike other machines in the lineup, the Evoluo has its water tank and empty capsule bin on the sides. It makes it much easier to read the water level and amount of empties as well as access them.

Nespresso Citiz

Our Pick: For those who only want espresso

The Citiz provides a great way to get a decent espresso fast and without a mess. The Citiz was easily the most attractive machine we tested. If you have the counter space for it, it’s absolutely a worthwhile purchase.

This Citiz is an Original Line Nespresso machine. That means it uses the smaller capsules and only produces espresso. In our testing most machines in the line have similar performance. The main differences are in the size and location of the empty capsule bin and water tank—and aesthetics. The white model we tested was stunning. The pictures you see of the Citiz online don’t do the machine justice. It is one of the more attractive appliances I’ve seen.

More Details: Nespresso Citiz Review

Nespresso Essenza Mini

Budget Pick: Great for those who have less space or want to spend less

The Essenza Mini produces the same quality espresso as the Citiz, but it generally costs less and has a smaller footprint.

Also part of Nespresso’s Original Line, the Essenza Mini produces quality espresso drinks, but with a small footprint. I like it’s boxy, but modern shape. It has a smaller bin and water reservoir than the Citiz, but you’ll be getting the same quality coffee.

Although it’s our budget pick, the Essenza Mini is no slouch. It was dubbed the best Nespresso machine by The Wirecutter as well as Consumer Reports. However, I do prefer the looks of the more compact v

More Details: Nespresso Essenza Mini Review

Why trust me?

The collection of Nespresso Machines we tested sitting on my office floor.

I love coffee, but I’m also a minimalist at heart. In order to save on counter space I decided to replace my OXO coffee maker and grinder (see our OXO coffee grinder review) with a Nespresso machine.

I wasn’t sure what the best machine for me would be so I spent a couple weeks absorbing every Nespresso review I could find—YouTube, reddit, Nespresso forums. I asked for input from other Product Dork members. Then I went out and purchased what I thought were the four best Nespresso machines on the market: the Essenza Mini, Citiz, Evoluo and Vertuo Plus Deluxe.

I spent several weeks with those machines taking notes and rotating through them each morning. I gave away one machine, sold two on eBay and kept the Evoluo, which I’m still using to this day.

By now I know an unreasonable amount about Nespresso machines. I have written this guide so you can make a decision trusting I’ve done my diligence. If you’re considering making a purchase and have any questions. Feel free to ask them in the comments.

Nespresso Vertuo or Original Line?

The Vertuo espresso shots (left) have more foam than the original Nespresso shots (right). Neither produce a true crema, but we like it anyways.

Nespresso has two systems: Vertuo and Original. The Vertuo system and capsules are newer and can make espresso as well as coffee drinks. They tend to compete with Keurig and other capsule-based coffee makers.

Newer doesn’t necessarily mean better. I’ve listed the primary difference below.

Feature Vertuo Line Original Line
Drink Size Various size drinks Only espresso
Capsule Cost $0.80 - $1.20 $0.70 - $0.90
Extraction Method Centrifugal 19 Bar Pressure
Flavor Variety ~30 ~1,000
Produces Foam Yes No

As a general rule I’d recommend that you purchase an Original Line machine like the Citiz or Essenza Mini if you only care about espresso. The original capsules are cheaper and there is a larger variety.

If you’re looking to save on counter space or reduce your number of appliances an all-in-one like the Evoluo is an excellent choice.

How we picked and tested machines

The use cases for each machine are different. Considering that, we decided to pick a couple machines from each to test.

Three Vertuo machines were considered: The VertuoPlus, VertuoPlus Deluxe and the Evoluo. I ended up dropping the VertuoPlus. It was very close in price to the VertoPlus Deluxe and the finish on the machine was not as nice.

It was much more difficult to select Original Line machines to test. We considered the Essenza Mini, Citiz, Pixie, Latissima Touch and the Creatista Plus. Both the Latissima Touch and the Creasta Plus are more advanced machines (and more expensive). The Latissima Touch will automatically produce lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. While great in theory, I found several threads where people were having issues with milk frothing. The Creatista Plus takes a different approach and combines a Nespresso Machine with a steam wand so that you can produce your own lattes. It was highly reviewed, but both machines did much more than I wanted to capture in my reviews.

I was very close to choosing the Pixie over the Citiz. We had a Pixie in the office at an old job and it was my first introduction to Nespresso. However, there are a few things I think are a bit odd about the machine. The empty pod bin is made of a clear plastic, so you see the empties. There’s also an indicator light in the bin, but it just ends up highlighting the empty capsules—it’s strange. Anyways, I’ve written a bit more about the Citiz vs Pixie in the review.

The vast majority of the reviews are my own observations about how the machine works, looks and who should consider it. However, we also created a few tests for each machine. For every machine that was reviewed, I kept a log of the temperature and brew time. I also measured the water tank and capsule bin capacity.

As a general rule each line of machines performs similar in both temperature and time. Once you’ve decided what line you’re interested in. Things like aesthetics, capacity, footprint and bin location are what you should be evaluating.

Nespresso Evoluo: The best all-in-one Nespresso machine

Nespresso Evoluo

Our Pick: The Best all-in-one Nespresso machine

For those that want one machine that can do it all, the Nespresso Evoluo is our top choice. It is reliable, has a large water tank and empty capsule bin. It is the machine I personally own and use everyday.

There are several machines to choose from in Nespresso’s Vertuo line. They will all make quality coffee and espresso drinks. However, the Nespresso Evoluo feels like a standout based on looks and general functionality.

We recommend the Evoluo mostly because of its ease of use and reliability. The machine is largely hard plastic, but the materials have a quality matte finish. The machine is operated by a lever and a single button. The lever locks the capsule in place with a satisfying click. Pushing the button starts the machine. That’s it.

The capsule lock and single “start” button on top of the Evoluo.

To brew the coffee the machine forces hot water into the capsule and then spins it 7,000 times per minute. Each capsule has a barcode that tells the machine whether it’s an espresso, double espresso or a coffee. As the machines spins and forces water through the capsule it produces a delightful foam that appears on the top of your drink. My girlfriend and I absolutely love this feature. It adds a thickness to the coffee without adding milk or creamer.

The machine produces a fine foam for both coffee and espresso drinks. It’s a favorite feature of ours.

The Evoluo is a well-thought out machine. I appreciate that the large water tank and pod bin are placed on the sides of the machine instead of the back. It’s obvious when the water is empty or the trash is full. It also makes them easy to access without moving the machine.

Both the used capsule bin and water tank easily detach from the machine.

If you read reviews on the Nespresso reddit or other forums, you will see some complaints about temperature. I really didn’t see an issue here. The lowest temperature I’ve recorded for the Evoluo was 150.2F. Most commonly drinks were 155F to 160F. Perhaps, if you add a ton of milk or creamer the coffee might cool a bit much.

Nespresso Vertuo capsules: Altisso Espresso (left), Hazelnut Coffee (middle) and the Dolce XL (right). The Alto XL pods product 14oz drinks.

As with all the Vertuo machines the variety is limited. Nespresso has about 20 varieties of coffee available and there are a handful of seasonal options that change. I was a little concerned about that initially, but it hasn’t been a problem. We’ve landed on a few coffee flavors that we really like and repeatedly order.

Flavor Size Description
Intenso Coffee (7.8oz) Deep and dense
Stormio Coffee (7.8oz) Rich and Strong
Bianco Leggero Flavored (5oz) Sweet Biscuit
Diavolitto Espresso (1.35oz) Highly Intense and Powerful
Altisso Espresso (1.35oz) Creamy and Full-Bodied
Voltesso Espresso (1.35oz) Light and Sweet

All things considered, I think if you’re in the market for a Nespresso machine it would be difficult to go wrong with the Evoluo.

Nespresso Citiz: For those who only want espresso

Nespresso Citiz

Our Pick: For those who only want espresso

The Citiz provides a great way to get a decent espresso fast and without a mess. The Citiz was easily the most attractive machine we tested. If you have the counter space for it, it’s absolutely a worthwhile purchase.

If you already have a drop coffee maker or only care about espresso, I’d recommend the Nespresso Citiz. It’s an Original Line machine, which means it takes the smaller, cheaper pods that come in a much larger variety.

Like the other Nespresso machines mentioned here, the Citiz is incredibly quick and easy to use. Insert a capsule, pull the lever and press one of two buttons. One for an espresso or the other for a lungo.

We like how intuitive the machine is. It’s impossible to insert the capsule in the wrong direction.

The Citiz was the easily the most attractive and durable feeling of all the machines we tested. We purchased the white model, which looks fantastic. It feels premium without being gaudy. There are several design touches that I appreciate. I love the metal construction. The espresso tray flips down to accommodate larger cups. I was able to even fit my 20oz Yeti Tumbler under the spout. The capsule bin is in the front, but obscured by a series of angled slats. The empty pods are only visible when you’re right next to the machine—it’s a really clever design.

The used capsule bin that hides empties until you’re next to the machine. It’s one of my favorite design features on Nespresso machines.

The machine has a decent capacity for water and used pods. It has a 33oz water tank and the bin can hold up to 9 capsules.

There are a few small issues that you should consider before you make a purchase. The Citiz contains a lot of chrome and shiny metals that are prone to smudges—the lever especially. The other thing is the machine is fairly heavy at 9 lbs. You’re not going to want to move it to get to the water tank when it needs a refill.

If those aren’t issues for you, the Citiz is an exceptional machine.

Nespresso Essenza Mini: A great machine for less

Nespresso Essenza Mini

Budget Pick: Great for those who have less space or want to spend less

The Essenza Mini produces the same quality espresso as the Citiz, but it generally costs less and has a smaller footprint.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for easy espresso, the Essenza Mini is also an excellent choice. The machine costs a good bit less and has smaller dimensions than the Citiz. It uses the same exact capsules. So you can expect the same quality espresso.

As I mentioned earlier the Essenza Mini is among the most highly reviewed Nespresso machines. It was The Wirecutter’s pick for best Nespresso machine. It was also among Consumer Report’s top rated. And that’s not a surprise. It’s an excellent value.

Like the Citiz, the Essenza Mini’s design makes it impossible to insert the capsule the wrong way.

For aesthetic reasons I prefer the squarish Breville model to the A-frame De’Longhi one (Although sometimes that one is cheaper). I’m not sure you could go wrong with either though. Neither are as ornate as the Citiz, but I think that’s fine. Its size and shape makes it easy to pick up and move. If you’ve got limited counter space, or don’t have espresso too often, it would be easy to store in a cabinet.

The Essenza Mini uses a series of plastic slats to obscure the empty capsule bin. However, because the machine is smaller you’ll get a smaller 6 capsule bin as well as a 20.3 oz water tank.

Although the design is slightly different, the Essenza Mini uses the same shutter concept to obscure empty capsules.

There are a couple potential issues with the Essenza Mini. My 12 oz coffee mugs fit under the spout with the drip tray removed. However, if you want to fit anything larger you’ll have to put the machine on the edge of your counter. One odd design decision was to force the water tank to detach to refill. It’s not a big deal, but the machine is light enough where I’d rather just pick it up to refill it from the fridge.

What else? The Essenza Mini I reviewed came in Piano Black. It collected a ton of fingerprints. I’d recommend this machine to anyone, but would encourage buying the white or one of the matte colors.

Recycling Nespresso capsules

Nespresso’s recycling program recycles the aluminum capsules and composts the coffee grounds. Both Vertuo and Original capsules can be recycled—and it couldn’t be easier.

When you order new capsules from Nespresso.com, you can add free recycling bags to your order. These bags come with resealable tape and a prepaid UPS shipping label. Simply fill up the bag with used capsules and drop it off at UPS. That’s it!

The Nespresso Store sells a recycling bin to store your empty pods, but it wasn’t well-reviewed. If you don’t go through coffee fast enough, the pods will get moldy and start to smell. I found a couple of reddit threads with the great tip to freeze the empty pods.

In the past I just put the recycling bag in the freezer, but the adhesive strip would come off, start sticking to things and the capsules would spill out. I’ve since learned getting a simple plastic bin to put in the freezer is the best way to store used Nespresso capsules. Do yourself a favor and get one, if you’re part of the recycling program.

Nespresso’s recycling program is easy and well-thought out. It’s probably not as environmentally friendly as coffee with a paper or portafilter. But it’s a fantastic alternative to throwing away plastic pods from Keurig machines.

What about reusable Nespresso pods?

There are companies that manufacture reusable Nespresso Pods. The ones that I saw repeatedly recommended were Blusea capsules for the Vertuo Line and SealPods for the Original Line machines.

There are a series of hurdles to make them work though. You’ll require a decent burr grinder that is capable of espresso quality grinds. Those machines tend to start around $150.

Unless you buy a bunch, you’ll have to fish the pods out of the empties bin once they cool. Because most reusable capsules are stainless steel, they get very hot while the machine is making coffee.

The Vertuo Line machines are newer and require a barcode to tell the machine what drink to make. So you’ll need a capsule for each size drink you’d like to make.

I have not personally tried them, but the general consensus seems to be that reusable Nespresso pods are a ton of work—and that they completely negate the point of a capsule machine.

Cost of Nespresso pods vs Starbucks trips?

As I’ve mentioned in the long-term notes about our Nespresso machine, we’ve cut back significantly on our trips to Starbucks—even before the Coronavirus pandemic. Prior to our Evoluo, we’d probably order Starbucks 3 or 4 times a week.

Now Nespresso pods are not inexpensive. My girlfriend and I have been going through about $80 worth each month. Considering our average Starbucks ticket was about $12, we’ve probably saved $50 to $100 in our coffee spend each month.

That’s a pretty solid outcome. If you’re addicted to Starbucks, a Nespresso machine will pay for itself in a couple months.

Long-term notes

June 20, 2020: Our Nespresso Evoluo has received daily use for the last 6 months. We’re still huge fans and absolutely recommend it.


References

  • Coffee Lingo: Red Eye, 1335 Frankford, Published 9/9/2015

  • Sabrina Imbler, The Best Nespresso Machine (But It’s Not for Everyone), The Wirecutter, Retrieved 1/20/2020

  • Nespresso Essenza Mini coffee maker, Consumer Reports, Retrieved 2/10/2020

  • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé, Nespresso Essenza Mini Review, HipsterPixel, Retrieved, 2/16/2020

  • OrangeBoxLibrarian, Essenza Mini and new to Nespresso review, reddit, Retrieved 2/16/2020

  • EricBNC, Fresh Nespresso Anyone?, CoffeeGeek.com 1, Retrieved 1/19/2020

  • Nespresso by DeLonghi CitiZ EN267BAE coffee maker, Consumer Reports 2, Retrieved 1/20/2020

  • VillaGave, Nespresso Citiz vs Pixie. Which one to pick?, reddit, Retrieved 1/20/2020

  • Sabrina Imbler, The Best Nespresso Machine (But It’s Not for Everyone), The Wirecutter, Retrieved 1/20/2020

  • HauntingDegree, I just ordered a CitiZ… right choice or not?, reddit, Retrieved 1/20/2020

  • CitiZ a good machine?, reddit, Retrieved 1/21/2020

  • Where do you store your used capsules?, reddit, Retrieved 4/18/2020

  • Looking for ideas for storing used capsules, reddit, Retrieved 4/18/2020

  • SealPod - Reusable Stainless Steel Pod - First Impression and Thoughts, reddit, Retrieved 6/15/2020

  • This reusable Vertuo pod WORKS!, reddit, Retrieved 6/15/2020

3 Likes

I like those espresso glasses. Where are they from?

Appeciate the question! Those glasses are from De’Longhi. They are light and well-insulated. However, they break easily. Because of that I wouldn’t really recommend them.

We bought this white stacking set from world market and love them. Unless you really want glasses, the stacking set is cheaper and more durable—plus the cups stack!