Best Nespresso Machine for 2020: Reviews, Recommendations & Buyers Guide

In this article, I will look at the 9 best Nespresso machines. What is it? Many people associate the term "nespresso" with Nestlé Nespresso, the company behind the Nespresso system - producing coffee machines and coffee capsules aka coffee pods. And they are not wrong.


History of Nespresso

Nestlé patented this system after one of their employees, Eric Favre, was getting his caffeine fix. He realized in one popular Rome café, what is the buzz about.

They had so many customers, because of their espresso makers repeatedly pumping water into ground coffee, using air pressure, that draws out more flavor from the coffee grounds, and creates a beautiful crema on top.

Inspired by his Italian adventure, he began putting the coffee into coffee pods, sealing them, and keeping the coffee fresh until it was inserted into the machine.

We all know that Nestlé is a giant on the market, from bottled water to baby food. When Nestlé’s patents for Nespresso capsules lapsed in 2001, competitors started to create compatible ones, and they are still around. The same applies to machines.

The company lost many patents over the years and even if Nestlé filed complaints and tried to sue competitors, companies such as Keurig, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, De Longhi, Krups, and more, make and sell pods and/or Nespresso machines.


How Does A Nespresso Machine Work?

Convenient and quick. The machine heats the water, the needle-like piercer makes a hole in a pod on either end.

Then the machine runs the hot water through it. The barometric pressure is about 15 to 19 bars. No adjustment on your side is needed. Presto, pronto, prego.

But if you are more of a high-hat coffee enthusiast, capsule-system might be too simple and quick for you, plus you do not have control over the coarseness or brewing time.


What Is A Nespresso?

Nespresso has a medium body and rich but balanced flavor. Nespresso capsules come in packs and you can choose from a variety of them from espresso, lungo, ristretto to even decaf and chocolate or caramel flavor. They are usually packed by 20/50/100/2000 pieces.

If you want to make Cortado or Ristretto, according to the official Nespresso website, you will get 25 ml. Cappuccino and espresso are 40, and lungo and americano 110-150 ml per cup.

Some coffee makers stop automatically, some do not (check step 7 in How to make a nespresso.)

I do not encourage you to tamper with your machine, but there are nifty manuals online on how to reset it and reprogram the cup size or automatic turn-off time.

Plus if you like to grind your coffee, look into refillable coffee capsules that can be opened, filled, used, emptied, cleaned, and subsequently filled with your favorite ground coffee.

That way you can control the strength of your coffee. Just make sure that the pods are compatible with the machine you use.


How Is Nespresso Different From Espresso?

Compared to espresso, nespresso is weaker. Espresso tends to have a bigger kick (from acids) and a more complex flavor.

Nespresso is also easier to prepare and Nespresso machines are in general cheaper than espresso coffee makers.


How To Make A Nespresso?

  1. 1
    First, you need to fill the water tank of your machine. The machine will use only the amount needed for a certain kind of coffee, but you should pour more water in. Usually half the capacity of the water reservoir.
  2. 2
    Turn the Nespresso coffee machine on. This will allow it to preheat itself. Button’s position depends on the model. Some models can have two buttons, too (for espresso and lungo.) IMPORTANT: Preheat first, put the pod in second.
  3. 3
    You usually know that it is ready because of the indicator light. If unsure, consult the manual. Or you know, our friend, the internet.
  4. 4
    Take the capsule full of ground coffee beans and insert it into the capsule compartment. It is usually revealed by pulling a lever, but again, it depends on the manufacturer and type of your machine. Close the lid/pull the lever. This will secure the pod in place. IMPORTANT: Do not remove the lid and place it correctly. If you can see the logo, it usually means you are good to go.
  5. 5
    The machine will do the work. A sharp needle or piercer penetrates the capsule.
  6. 6
    If your machine has one button, press it. Some machines have more, and you can select the size of your drink. Bear in mind the size of your cup 🙂
  7. 7
    Some machines stop automatically, some do not. If yours does not, you can find hints in the manual - how many seconds or flashes of light to wait before you manually turn it off.
  8. 8
    Take your coffee and eject the pod by moving the lever.
  9. 9
    You can add milk, sugar, or syrup into your nespresso - up to your liking. No worries if you forget to turn the machine off, they all have an automatic energy-saving function and turn off after 9-30 minutes of inactivity.
  10. 10
    The best practice is to run water (without capsule) through your machine after every use. Some companies also sell cleaning capsules that you can use every 30-50 brews.
  11. 11
    You should also empty the drip tray and the capsule container every day.
  12. 12
    I would suggest removing the water tank and lid and using an odorless detergent and warm water to clean them once a week.
  13. 13
    If your machine comes with a frother, do not forget to rinse the milk jug.

Pluses And Minuses Of Nespresso Capsules

PLUSES

  • Easy to use
  • Convenient
  • Affordable
  • Diverse
  • Fresh
  • Efficient
  • Consistent in taste

MINUSES

  • Contain less coffee than usual espresso (5-6g)
  • Hard or impossible to recycle
  • Less variety in taste
  • some capsules are not interchangeable (Original Line vs Vertuo Line)
  • Missing out on special blends or artisanal coffee

There are 2 big CONS for me. With coffee pods, what you see is what you get. No room for experimenting. The second factor is the ecological impact.

Did you know that some researchers estimated that there were enough coffee pods buried in landfills in 2014 to go around the Earth 10.5 times?! One city, Hamburg in Germany, even banned coffee pods in government buildings.

Still, I do not want to discourage you. Even Nespresso reacted, with its Nespresso recycling program

Coffee pods are still not reusable, but the company will send you a special bag to collect your used pods and send them back where they will be recycled.

Also, they support over 100,000 farmers across 15 countries and their new machines (from 2020) are made from recycled materials

This coffee maker definitely saves time and you always get the same result. If you are not into “getting dirty” and grinding your coffee and experimenting with brewing methods, a Nespresso machine is a safe bet.

If you want to be green, check producers of compostable, aluminum-free ones such as Roar Gill, Halo Coffee, or Grind.


How To Use A Nespresso Machine?

There are some good practices to follow when using this type of machine. Follow them and you will end up with a very nice coffee in your cup.

  1. 1
    Always use drinkable water from the tap or the filter. I live in Thailand, so I always need to use bottled or filtered water.
  2. 2
    A poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 80% of owners of Nespresso Machines in the UK stick to buying the branded coffee pods. If that is not your case and you like to experiment, make sure that you are using the right ones. Some of them are interchangeable, some are not.
  3. 3
    Descale your machine every 6 months, please. Ain’t no one drinkin' bacteria on my watch! You can buy special descaling kits, or you can use citric acid. It prolongs the life of the machine and removes any residue and gunk. The University of Valencia found out that there were 35 to 67 different types of bacteria in EVERY machine they tested!

Which Nespresso Machine Is The Best?

Let's look at the line up of these 9 Nespresso machines, which come with a welcome sample pack of capsules and a used capsule container for 6-12 pieces. Some of them come with a milk frother, too.

Best Nespresso Machines - Comparison of all Reviewed Products

Product

Highlights and benefits

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother

  • Features a milk frother
  • Easy to clean

Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by De'Longhi

  • Featured a milk frother
  • Motorized lid

Breville Nespresso Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine with Milk Auto Steam Wand

  • Features a steam wand
  • Nice stainless-steel design
  • Compatible with OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Inissia Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

  • Award-winning design
  • Comes in seven colors
  • OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville

  • A minimalist design
  • Saves space in your kitchen
  • Compatible with OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by Breville

  • Features a milk frother
  • Award-winning design

DeLonghi-Nespresso Original Lattissima Touch With Milk Frother

  • Features a milk frother

Nespresso Pixie Coffee Machine by Breville

  • Intuitive and energy-efficient
  • Compatible with OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo

Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine

  • Small and portable
  • Great for travelers, hikers...
  • Operated manually and at 8 bars, opposite to usual 15
  • Compatible with OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother

Capsules: For use with Nespresso VertuoLine Grand Cru capsules only. Not compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine capsules.

Features: Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother (for hot/cold milk froth)

This model is discontinued (it was released in 2015), but still available online, for example on Amazon. To ensure a rich, full-bodied espresso taste, the Nespresso Vertuo offers a unique “Centrifusion” technology - 7,000 rotations per minute.

You can get a large 8 oz cup of coffee with a dense crema, or a small espresso (1.35 oz) by a touch of a button, simple as that.

The heating-up time is relatively short, however, the coffee that comes out is nowhere near steaming hot. Also, capsules are more expensive than other types.

Still, it is easy to clean and comes with a frother, which is great. Also, the VertuoLine machine is capable of brewing espresso, and coffee-based drinks, too.

Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by De'Longhi

Capsules: Designed for Nespresso Vertuo capsules only.

Features: Aeroccino Milk Frother (for hot/cold milk froth)

With this machine released in 2016, you can brew a nice espresso drink in any size you want, single, double, gran lungo…

The water tank capacity is slightly smaller than its predecessor but big enough. Making coffee is easy as a Sunday breeze, even the lid is motorized and opens/closes itself!

Breville Nespresso Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine with Milk Auto Steam Wand

Capsules: You will need OriginalLine Nespresso capsules

Features: Auto-purge steam wand

This machine is still pretty easy to operate, but gives room for creativity: you can adjust coffee volume, texture, and milk temperature. 

Everything can be seen on the flat-panel display. Heating takes only up to 10 seconds and the process of making coffee is quiet. The added milk frother makes Breville Nespresso Creatista perfect for milky coffee drinks, such as Latte Macchiato.

Altogether, there are settings for 8 drinks. With stainless steel design and gloss finish, Nespresso Creatista is also eye-catching.

Nespresso Inissia Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

Capsules: Nespresso OriginalLine capsules and compatibles

A big plus of Nespresso Inissia is that it is more affordable than other models. Not at the cost of functionality, though. There are settings (buttons) for 2 sizes of cups - espresso and Lungo.

The water heats up fast, too. There is no milk frother so you would have to froth milk by yourself. I personally like PowerLix milk Frother. Nespresso Inissia is very stylish-looking, it even won the Red Dot Award for product design in 2014.

It comes in 7 colors and will spruce up your kitchen. I also like that Nespresso Inissia has an “A” energy efficiency rating.

Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville

Capsules: OriginalLine capsules

If you do not like hefty kitchen devices or want to save space, this is your choice. Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine is a quiet, modern, and minimalist one-touch Nespresso single-serve machine. It is small but powerful.

30 seconds and the hot water is ready. The volume of the drink is pre-set and you can remove the cup stand, so even a bigger cup will fit.

Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine is the perfect machine for one or two people, not so much for the office, as you would need to refill the 0.6-liter container.

Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by Breville

Capsules : Nespresso CitiZ takes Grands Crus capsules

Features : Aeroccino Milk Frother

Make espresso (1.35 oz) or Lungo (5 oz) fast, and thanks to the frother, enjoy some crema on top. Nespresso CitiZ heats up fast, however, it is a tad louder than previous machines.

However, it looks great - no wonder Nespresso CitiZ won The Red Dot Award, and produces tasty coffee with a simple push of one of the two buttons (espresso, or lungo.)

DeLonghi-Nespresso Original Lattissima Touch With Milk Frother

Capsules : Nespresso compatible pods

Features : A milk frother

The availability of 6 one-touch recipes and a milk frother for hot milk makes De Longhi Lattissima a decent single-serve machine for a creamy latte, with nice texture.

I would say that the only minus (considering the price tag of Lattissima) is that unlike the Nespresso VertuoLine, it does not have a “cold milk” model.

Nespresso Pixie Coffee Machine by Breville

Capsules : OriginalLine capsules

The intuitive and compact machine Breville Nespresso Pixie comes with 2 programmable buttons for espresso and lungo.

It is good-looking, easy to clean, very fast, and energy-efficient: rated A+.

However, it is on the louder side. What is a plus is that Nespresso Pixie uses OriginalLine capsules that are cheaper than Nespresso Vertuo.

Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine

Capsules : Nespresso Original and compatibles

The only single-serve machine from our list that you can go camping with, and the only machine that is operated manually - by pumping a piston. It is easy to use and weighs less than half a kilo! Other Nespresso machines operate at 19 bars of pressure, this small, slick, portable one at 8 bars.

Naturally, the water tank is also smaller (70ml/2.35 oz.) and good for normal espresso. You can buy a bigger water reservoir if you want to prepare more/bigger drinks. The only minus of Wacaco is that it does not come with a protective case - you need to buy it separately. I still think it makes a good gift for nature lovers.


BONUS: MAKE YOUR NESPRESSO CAPSULES!

Yes, you read that right. Do you love buying coffee beans, grinding them, experimenting with coarseness levels, and noting down the results but do you also have a Nespresso machine?

With the Capsulier Lite, a capsule packaging machine, it is possible. This device is mess-free and capsules you get as a result are compatible with Nespresso Original machines. Imagine: you can make your own blend! Tasty and sustainable solution. In the long run, it is also a money-saver. 🙂


Which Nespresso Machine To Buy?

All of the machines mentioned above do the job. Which is the best Nespresso machine?

I would say to each its own - look at the material the machine is made from (do you want plastic or invest in a steel model), and look into how much are they. Then look into how much coffee do you drink, check prices of capsules, do the math.

If you like milky drinks or latte art, look for a machine that comes bundled with a milk frother.

Do you want to travel with your Nespresso coffee maker? Go for a portable espresso machine, such as Wacaco.

If you hate waiting, pick Breville Nespresso Creatista or Creatista Plus. Water is ready in 3-10 seconds (average is 30 seconds.) Plus, each machine and milk jug is made from stainless steel.

Looking for a small machine? Check Nespresso Essenza Mini.

If you like a machine that looks the best and makes the best nespresso drinks, then check out award-winning Nespresso Inissia or Nespresso CitiZ.

If you want both coffee and espresso drink options, pick any Vertuo Line coffee and espresso maker. Capsules will cost you more than Original Line, though.


What Does The Future Hold?

According to Fior Markets, the global capsule coffee machines market is expected to reach an astonishing 9.84 billion dollars by 2025!

People love the comfort Nespresso coffee maker brings to their homes. Harris Interactive found that 22% of Brits own a Nespresso coffee machine, and buy coffee capsules a lot.

The UK is famous for tea, but the same poll states that coffee pods will overtake teabag sales by the end of 2020.

USA Today found out that 40% of US residents have purchased a single-cup coffee Nespresso machine at some point in time.

Coffee makers with pods are ever-present.

Nestlé patented the system in 1976. Looks like it is here to stay. It is convenient, fast, even if restocking coffee pods is a drag.

However with COVID-19, with most of us sitting home, and reevaluating the sustainability of our lives, pressing issue of landfills, endangered nature, pleads by eco-movements such as Fridays For Future, or nationwide bans of single-use plastic products in several countries, etc.: I think that the future lies in alternatives: completely recyclable coffee pods, compostable coffee pods, refillable pods, pod-less single-brew coffee makers or good old French press 😉

How about you? Do you own a Nespresso machine? Which one?