Best Espresso Machine Brands for Home

Which brand of espresso machine is the best? Sounds quite simple but hard to define. There are literally scores of home espresso machine brands in the world with more concentrated in Europe. I thought it might be helpful to review some of the well-known ones so you can match up with your expectations of performance as well as price points. (Note: This is a work-in-progress post that I’ll add more brands as time permits).

Nespresso

Overview

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nespresso-d60-pixie-with-carousel

Nespresso, founded in 1986, is an operating unit under Nestle Group based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Nespresso system can be attributed to Luiggi Bezzera’s original espresso coffee concept. It evolved into a trendsetting coffee delivery system with proportioned and prepackaged capsules used in a dedicated machine to deliver a variety of coffee flavors and strengths with the touch of a button.

The system was first introduced in the Swiss market in 1989 and has since then been expanded to worldwide markets. In 1997, it was distributed to the U.S. masses through a partnership with KitchenAid.

Nestle is the manufacturer and marketer of the espresso machines as well as the coffee capsules exclusively for the Nestle delivery units.

Types of Espresso Makers

Design Styles and Features

The Nespresso machines are characterized by different design styles from modern, sleek, ergonomic, retro to sophisticated. Each line comes with a multitude of colors that will add a splash of color to your otherwise industrial-looking kitchen décor. All the models are equipped with simple insertion of the coffee capsule, 19-bar pressure to extract the maximum aroma and flavor from the coffee, optimal flow and distribution of hot water through the coffee ground and easy ejection of the used capsule. All is done under 2 minutes.

Product Bundling

Some units have espresso machines while others are paired with a stand-alone or integrated milk frother easy for preparing cappuccinos or lattes. Still others are bundled with a capsule carousel for easy access and storage.

Exclusive Capsules and Cost Per Serving

The Nespresso capsules are sold exclusively by Nespresso and a very few select retailers such as Amazon in the U.S. The capsules per serving can be up to 3x more expensive than regular coffee ground. 19 “Grand Crus” are available in Arabica and robusta coffees. Each year in spring and fall, Nespresso introduces two Limited Edition Grand Crus and a set of new variations and flavored capsules during holidays.

Each capsule contains 5-6 grams of ground coffee for one cup of coffee. The volume varies from espresso to lungo (1.35 to 3.7 fluid ounces respectively). You can choose from ranges in Pure Origin, Espresso, Lungo, Limited Edition and Variations (released during Christmas time). Each range may represent a different combination of coffee intensity, size of cup as well as aromatic profiles.

Customer Ratings

Many of the Nespresso espresso machines are top-rated by consumers due to the design style, features, convenience, speed and easy of use and cleaning.

Price

The espresso machine price ranges from just under $100 up to under $700. The purchase includes a starter-kit of 16 grand cru capsules. The capsule is priced from $.50 to $1.00 or more per serving which is a significant recurring cost you’d have to consider.

The Verdict

The Nespresso espresso machines are extremely user-friendly, compact and stylish. The pre-proportioned and formulated coffee capsules ensure very minimal work on your part so you can sit down and enjoy a cup of espresso. No grinding, tamping and pulling the shot are required. The icing on the cake is that you don’t have to discarding the wet coffee pucks and rinsing/cleaning various parts afterwards.

It is ideal for those who are always in a rush to get ready for work in the morning, yet still need a good cup of Joe to kick start the day. Also a great travel companion to take it to your vacation destination or even business trips. If you live in a high-rise apartment in the city, then a Nespresso unit won’t hog all the limited space.

The varieties of capsules offer so many possibilities of coffee strengths, flavors and types of coffee no matter what floats your boat on a given day.

It does come with a hefty price tag to get a machine and re-purchase of Nespresso coffee capsules. It’s more costly than buying coffee beans or pre-ground coffee and a minor hassle of reordering.

The Nespresso espresso makers are not made for those who love to have the full control from grinding to brewing. While you may double the shot by using two capsules or more at a time, it’s still not the same as selecting your own favorite coffee beans and dose just the right amount for your coffee craving.

If you are interested in learning more, I wrote detailed reviews on a few Nespresso models as well as a comparison post.

 

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