After 12 hours of researching Nespresso's entire coffee range we've determined there are not one but two best Nespresso machines. For the espresso lovers, it's the Essenza Mini. For the cappuccino lovers, it's the Lattissima One. Read on to find out why we had to choose two winners.
The Quick Picks
So why did we pick two winners instead of one?
Quite simply it's because Nespresso has two types of coffee makers to choose from:
- Single serve espresso makers, and
- Coffee makers with milk frothers.
As the two types cater to different tastes (black and milk coffee lovers) we figured it was better to divide the first prize in half.
Solomon would approve.
In our opinion the Essenza and Lattissima One are the best value Nespresso machines for each of their respective categories. But there are also close contenders that we'll discuss further below.
In this guide we'll first outline Nespresso's latest range, discuss how to pick the best Nespresso coffee maker for you, and then finish up by reviewing in detail our winners and notable mentions.
Best Nespresso Machines
Nespresso Buying Considerations
When buying your first Nespresso machine there are a few key questions you have to ask yourself.
What's My Budget?
This is the first question most people ask. Fortunately Nespresso coffee machines are affordable when compared to traditional coffee makers. However remember to take into account the ongoing cost-per-pod. This is where Nespresso makes its money as a single pod can cost 70 cents, less if you buy in bulk. If you're looking to reduce pod cost, check out where to buy Nespresso pods. Note these alternative pods only work on OriginalLine machines, I explain the difference below.
What Type of Coffee Do I Love?
Nespresso makes two types of coffee makers: espresso only and coffee makers with milk frothers. The machines with inbuilt milk frothers tend to be more expensive. But if you enjoy the occasional cappuccino a good compromise is buying an external milk frother. This usually ends up being the cheapest option if you want milk based drinks.
Do I Want Automation?
The more automation a machine has, the more it tends to cost. The main automation features that premium machines have is frothing the milk automatically within the machine. Basic single serve machines like the Essenza are the cheaper option as they just produce espresso.
How Many Coffees A Day Will I Drink?
If you're living by yourself you probably don't need anything more than a Essenza, but if you have a coffee obsessed family or are in a office setting, you're better off getting a machine with a bit more capacity like the Lattissima One due to its larger water tank.
OriginalLine vs VertuoLine
Nespresso has recently released a new range of coffee makers called the "VertuoLine". Nespresso differentiates this machine from their original machines ("OriginalLine") by using smart barcodes for the machine to read that control how different types of pods are made. For example some types of coffee will taste best at different temperatures and the pods themselves can dictate how much volume is extracted. The VertuoLine also uses a centrifuge system that "spins" the pod while extracting, which produces a "frothier" crema, while the OriginalLine creates a more traditional crema by extracting coffee with 19 bars of pressure.
Now this is the official story Nespresso is promoting, but the commercial reality is that the VertuoLine of Nespresso machines were created because Nespresso's pod patents on the "OriginalLine" coffee makers have expired, which lead to a flood of cheaper third party Nespresso pods entering the market and reducing Nespresso's market share. So in order to reclaim this lost marketshare the "VertuoLine" has a fresh set of patents that seek to protect Nespresso's pod monopoly. This means that old and third-party OriginalLine pods do not work with VertuoLine machines, and you can only buy your pods direct from Nespresso.
So what does this mean to consumers? Is it better to get an OriginalLine or the new VertuoLine?
If you prefer the flexibility of using third-party capsules that offer you greater range and cheaper prices, I prefer the OriginalLine machines. But if you enjoy a more frothier crema and automation, the Vertuoline is a good choice.
Nespresso Machine Reviews
Below are individual Nespresso machine reviews of our round up. We first discuss our two winners before moving onto the other options. Make sure to read through the entire guide as some machine may better suit your personal circumstances.
The first half of the trophy goes to Nespresso's original single serve espresso maker, the Essenza. If you're an avid espresso or black coffee drinker you really don't need any other machine. The Essenza is the best Nespress machine for you.
This is because the Essenza's job is to do one thing right over and over - make great tasting espresso.
More expensive Nespresso machines provide value by adding automatic milk frothing and drink selection options. But if your go to coffee is the classic espresso, then this is the machine for you. There's no point spending extra money for the bells and whistles that you won't use.
But if you're ever in the mood for a cappuccino you can always pick up an external milk frother. Pick yourself up a budget frother and the total cost can be cheaper than buying a Nespresso with an inbuilt milk frother
The second half of the trophy goes to the consumer favourite, the Lattissima One. The One is the newest version of the Lattissima range, which has always been a popular choice as it strikes a great balance between price, build quality and features.
The Lattissima has two features that makes it stand out from the Nespresso range.
The first is its programmable drinks settings. With a press of a button you can make a americano, cappuccino, latte and more. There's no need to fiddle with external milk steamers rather this is a one press pod to coffee system.
The other highlight is the integrated milk frother that lets you make milk based coffee. Most of Nespresso's range don't come with milk frothers as standard, rather you have to buy an external one. The Lattissima streamlines the coffee making process. The milk frother also is removable and dishwasher safe.
The Lattissima One is the ideal Nespresso machine for the milk based coffee lover.
The Creatista Plus was very close in taking first place all by itself. The only reason it didn't is due to its price, as it's one of the more premium Nespresso machines. But this is for good reason.
The Creatisita Plus is the first Nespresso machine with an automatic steam wand built into the machine. But wait, doesn't the the Lattissma above have a milk steamer built in? What's the difference?
Well it's the type of milk that it produces. The Lattissma One's milk is very frothy which makes it great for cappuccinos. But if you enjoy to drink milk based coffees like those found in fancy city cafes, then the Creatista Plus produces milk that is much more similar to it. The Creatista creates real "micro foam" just like the one needed to make latte art. So the texture of the milk is a lot more smoother. You can even select four levels of froth and 11 temperature settings.
The Creatista Plus is also the first joint venture between the coffee brand Breville and Nespresso. It combines all that's great between both systems and merges them into one. I wrote a more indepth review about the Creatista Plus here.
If price is not an issue for you and you enjoy milk based coffee with a premium enclosure, I would pick this Nespresso over the rest.
The Vertuo Plus is Nespresso's entry level machine for their VertuoLine coffee pod system. It is the basically the alternative to the Essenza OriginalLine that shares our first prize pick.
Now you may have noticed that this machine got a lower score than the Essenza even though it is a newer model machine. I would even say that it has a better looking design that the Essenza.
So why is this the case?
It is solely due to it being a VertuoLine machine rather than a OriginalLine machine.
As explained in my buying guide above, Nespresso still owns the patent for VertuoLine Nespresso pods. This means the only place you can buy the capsules for this machine is from Nespresso themselves. There are no cheaper or alternative third party pods available for this machine.
Buy by no means is this a deal breaker. If you enjoy the selection Nespresso provides then this coffee maker is a fine choice. It also has a new centrifuge system that creates a "frothier" crema. It is also a great looking entry level Nespresso.
But if you are a person looking to upgrade your OriginalLine Nespresso who is a fan of third party capsules, I would give this one a pass. As you will no longer be able to use the third party pods you enjoy.
The Nespresso Expert the high end machine for those who enjoy black coffee. However Nespresso's entry level coffee makers make straight black coffee. So how does the Expert differentiate itself? In its design, technology, and temperature controls.
The Expert allows you to choose between three temperatures and create your own customizable drinks through its Bluetooth technology. With a press of a button on your phone, your favorite drinks is made. So no need to fiddle with the settings.
The Expert is also self cleaning and also allows you to order replacement capsules from Nespresso's website to your door through its app interface.
The Expert is a stylish machine, but at the end of the day it didn't score higher in our ranking. This is because it still makes the same coffee like to lower end models. Black coffee is black coffee. The main reason you should get the Expert is for its design and if its connectivity features are something that provide extra value to you.