Nespresso C520 Gran Maestria Espresso Machine Review

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nespresso-gran-maestria-espresso-machine

Introduction

Nespresso C520 Gran Maestria is the latest and greatest capsule espresso machine in the Nespresso line. It comes with a built-in cup warmer, double drip trays to accommodate short or tall cups and an Aeroccino machine for you to froth and steam hot or cold milk.

This bundle screams for speed, convenience and consistency for those who only want to lift a finger in order to enjoy a delicious cup of espresso or cappuccino.

Comparing to its predecessors, the Gran Maestria is designed with a few unique features:

  Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Features & Benefits
3. Brewing
4. Steaming
5. Display & Control
6. Additional Features
7. How to Clean
8. Accessories
9. Power & Cord
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Features & Benefits of Nespresso Gran Maestria

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  • Volumetric Control: Like other models in the Nespresso collection, the C520 has two buttons for brewing espresso or lungo (short or long coffee). The added feature is the volumetric control to allow the users to adjust the coffee strength by turning a dial from 1 to 5 for each button.

    Mind you the numeric numbers for the two buttons are not equal. For example, at the # 1 dial for the espresso, it means 0.85 oz. espresso vs. the same for 2.36 oz. on the lungo. For some who likes to have a stronger espresso, you may find yourself using the Espresso button at the lowest dial, less water, more coffee intensity.

  • Cup Warmer: You might have read or heard about how important it is to heat up the cup in order to carry on the temperature consistency from the brew. Nespresso added this nice touch to the unit. All you need to do is to hold a cup upside down over the cup warmer and press it down for 5-10 seconds. A squirt of hot water will rinse the inside of the cup to get it ready for your fresh shot.
  • Aeroccino Milk Frother: This is the newest version 4 milk frother. It enables you to steam and froth cold or hot milk with a personalized froth level for less or more to suit your taste.
  • 47 Oz. Water Tank: One of the complaints some customers have had with the previous Nespresso machines was the small water tank. The Gran Maestria bumped it up to be a larger size of 47 oz., which translates fewer refills and more time to enjoy your drink.
  • Sturdier Housing Material: The C520 is made of heavy aluminum in the casing. It’s studier and gives a space-like feeling to it.

Brewing

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You need to flush the unit before the first use. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove water tank, rinse and fill it with drinking water and place it back to the unit.
  2. Plug it in a wall outlet and power it on.
  3. Adjust the Lungo button to 5. Press and rinse the machine. Repeat this step 3 times.

The operation of the machine is very similar to all the others before it.

  • Plug the power cord and turn on the power.
  • Fill the water tank with fresh water.
  • Lift the lever, insert a capsule of your choice into the slot and close the lever.
  • Warm the cup on the cup warmer
  • Place the warmed cup on the drip tray. If using a tall glass, lift the top cup tray upward.
  • Adjust the dial on either the Espresso or Lungo button. Hit Espresso or Lungo to brew. Here is a quick summary of the numbers and the corresponding volumes:
    • Espresso:
      • 1: 0.85oz/25ml
      • 2: 1.01oz/30ml
      • 3: 1.35oz/40ml
      • 4: 1.69oz/50ml
      • 5: 2.02oz/60 ml
    • Lungo:
      • 1: 2.36 oz/70ml
      • 2: 3.04oz/90ml
      • 3: 3.72oz/110ml
      • 4: 4.39oz/130ml
      • 5: 5.07oz/150ml
  • After you are done, lift the top lever and the used capsule will be dropped into the used coffee container.

Steaming

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Add appropriate amount of cold milk to the frother. There are marked lines in the pitcher. The first line is for making lots of foam and the maximum for steaming milk. Close the lid and place the frother onto the base. Adjust the dial on the right hand. They are from bottom to top:

  1. Cold Milk Froth
  2. Hot Milk Froth
  3. Maximum Foam
  4. Steamed Milk

The frother stops automatically when it’s complete. Pour the milk into your espresso cup according to your drink. If cappuccino, pour some steamed milk and spoon in some foam on top. Add your favoriate toppings such as sprinkles of cane sugar or a dash of cinnamon.

Display & Control

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I am not going to repeat the info as mentioned earlier such as the Brew Buttons and the Steam Dial. Plus the Power button and indicator light. Easy and breezy!

Additional Features

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It has an auto shut-off feature after being idle for 9 minutes. You can reprogram it for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours or 8 hours.

How to Clean

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These are the daily routines to clean the main unit:

  • Empty the used coffee container
  • Empty the drip tray when it’s full
  • Wipe down the exterior of the unit

Take out the whisk from the Aeroccino and remove the seal to clean both parts. Place the whisk back into the unit to prevent misplacement or loss.

Descaling is needed regardless of hard or soft water. The difference is that for soft water, you’ll need to do it less frequently. The entire descaling cycle takes about 20 minutes. The User Manual provides very detailed instructions on what to use and what to do.

Accessories

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Included Accessories

The Instructional Manual, a cup warmer, a milk frother, an extra drip tray for shorter cups and a sample of 16 capsules.

Optional Accessories

The only drawback is that you have to reorder the capsules from Nespresso or Amazon periodically. The good news is that it only takes one day if from Nespresso. There is a flat shipping charge when ordering 50 capsules. They come in a sleeve neatly packaged with different blends and flavors for Espresso or Lungo. This is the added cost you’ll have to consider. Some online reviewers have calculated to be $.60 to $1.00 for each espresso shot. It’s still a lot cheaper than the same at Starbucks. Plus it tastes much better and consistently.

Power & Cord

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  • Input Power (W): 1260
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 120/60

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 6.69 x 15.16 x 11.89
  • Weight (lbs): 15

Warranty

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 2-year limited warranty on parts and labor

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Deliver a home barista experience without fuss or muss
  • Consistent and flavorful espresso and milk-based drinks
  • Everything is at your fingertips, the brew unit, the cup warmer and the frother.
  • Quick heat up time and takes less than 2 minutes from powering the unit on to enjoying your own creation
  • You are in the driver seat to adjust the coffee strength and foam level.
  • So easy to use and effortless to clean
  • Stylish and compact design of an espresso service station without taking much precious counter space

Cons

  • Expensive to buy the unit and the recurring cost to reorder the capsules
  • Have no control over each step of the brewing process since everything is done for you whether you like or not.

Consumer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5.0

So far, customers have been very pleased with this model as reflected in the 5 out 5-star ratings on Amazon. Similar ratings are found on Nespresso’s website.

Price

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At the time of this review, it’s priced under $700 on Amazon about $20 cheaper than Nespresso’s website.

Summary

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The Nespresso Gran Maestria was designed with a specific segment of the espresso/coffee lovers in mind. These people like to focus on the joy of espresso, not so much the labor or work in making it. The complete set offers you everything you’d need for the ultimate luxury, speed, ease and convenience. If these features are what you are striving for, then add this machine to your short list. If you are concerned about the price tag but like the features, you may want to consider a less expensive option such as a Nespresso Pixie or Citiz.

Although you are given a few options within the confines to adjust the brew intensity and density of froth, but in the end of the day, you can’t get involved in the process as you would in a semi-automatic or manual machine. If you get a kick out of doing and being in control, a Rancilio Silvia or a Gaggia Classic would be a better choice.

 

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