Best Nespresso machine 2019: thank pod for coffee made so simple

The market leading capsule coffee maker comes in many flavours. Which is right for you?

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Nespresso is like the Apple or Manchester United of coffee. You might not like it, but you have to admit that a lot of people do. 

That's because, if you can get past the high-ish price of the pods, and the amount of waste that results from using them, Nespresso is a great system. 

In fact, if you love espresso coffee but can’t be arsed with messing around with coffee beans and getting hit-and-miss results, we'd say a capsule-based machine is the best way to go.

Nespresso produces consistently good results, there’s minimal mess involved, and, since a series of lawsuits, the choice of pods from third parties is wide, and growing.

What is the best Nespresso machine?

If we were to recommend just one Nespresso machine, it would be the new  Magimix Vertuo Plus M600, which uses a completely new type of Nespresso capsule.

If you’re hellbent on sticking to the standard Nespresso system, the fancy-pants Sage Creatista is a top choice because it comes with a milk frother. And if you’re looking for a simple no-frills budget option then check out the excellent Krups Essenza Mini

For well under £100, the Krups is attractive enough, even if it's not a work of industrial art like the Sage machine, and it produces consistently excellent results. There's no milk frother included with it, but you can always buy your own.

Finally, if you travel a lot and simply can’t survive without a proper morning caffeine hit then make the portable Wacaco Minipresso NS your first port of call.

How to buy the best Nespresso machine

Standard Nespresso pods are smaller than those by other coffee capsule brands like Lavazza and Illy, with around five grams of coffee per capsule. So if you like a decent caffeine hit first thing then I’d advise using two pods, one after another. 

Alternatively, purchase a Nespresso Vertuo machine instead. This is a whole new kettle of coffee because, instead of just one capsule size, it uses five: Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, Mug and extra large Alto. It’s able to tell what size pod you’ve put in by reading a unique barcode which tells the machine the amount of water required and the length of extraction. This is a brilliant way to satisfy a wide range of coffee preferences.

Unlike standard espresso machines that use steamy water under pressure to extract the coffee flavour and accompanying crema, the Vertuo system uses centrifugal spinning technology (the pod spins at a phenomenal 7,000rpm) which creates the same strong flavour but with a much, much deeper and silkier crema. Nespresso Vertuo espresso pods start at a fairly reasonable 39p with prices rising to a rather steep 62p for the Alto blend.

When it comes to finding the right standard Nespresso blend to suit your palette, you’ll be required to sip through a chocolate box assortment of 29 different flavours and intensities with names like Arpeggio, Kazaar, Bukeela, Roma and Risretto. And that’s just Nespresso’s own selection.

Alternatively, look online and in many supermarkets, and you’ll find a host of artisan coffee providers offering their own Nespresso-compatible blends. For instance, Pactcoffee.com UK sells a range of Nespresso compatible pods filled with an interesting variety of bean blends, while Colonna does everything from high-quality espresso to full-on, rare, artisan beans for coffee connoisseurs. And in compostable pods, to boot. Sadly, the unique nature of the Vertuo system doesn’t allow for third-party capsule manufacturers to get a look in.

Most of the Nespresso machines reviewed here come with a free selection box of 16 different flavours and blends. The general rule of thumb is that the darker the pod colour, the stronger the blend.

At Nespresso’s own website, every variety is explained in detail. You can even set your own search parameters like intensity, cup size and whether you prefer a fruity, balanced or more intense flavour. Expect to pay between 31p and 39p per capsule and more for Vertuo pods.

Most Nespresso machines are sold through the Nespresso website and at stores like John Lewis and Amazon. Some machines are Nespresso branded and made by Eugster/Frismag while others are produced under license by well-known companies like Krups, Sage, Magimix, KitchenAid and De’Longhi.

Rest assured that all the models featured on this page are dead easy to use. Simply drop in a pod, hit the button and out pops a stream of crema-topped black gold every bit as rich and aromatic as the last one. However, we urge you to give the new Vertuo system a try because it not only covers a wide variety of coffee-style preferences, but it produces some of the best capsule-related espressos we’ve ever tasted.

The best Nespresso machines, in order

best nespresso machine, magimix vertuo plus

1. Magimix Vertuo Plus M600

This new type of Nespresso maker rocks on all fronts

Specifications
Width: 11.5cm
Reservoir: 1.8 litre
Frother: No
Reasons to buy
+Makes a wide range of different coffees+Its espressos come with massive crema+Large water reservoir+Huge used-pod collector
Reasons to avoid
-Shiny surface attracts dust-It won't accept a standard Nespresso pod

 

•Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

If you find standard Nespresso capsules are too small in size to produce a decent caffeine hit, consider this new Vertuo machine from Magimix. Nespresso’s newish Vertuoline pod-based system is totally different to the standard Nespresso capsule system. For starters, the pods are almost twice the size and shaped completely differently so you can’t use a standard Nespresso pod in a Vertuoline machine, and vice versa.

The best thing about the Vertuo system is that it’s capable of using different sized pods – Espresso and Double Espresso to Gran Lungo, Mug and extra large Alto – and this makes it a great choice for those who like a variety of coffees throughout the day.

The Magimix VertuoPlus comes with a monstrous 1.8-litre water tank that can be positioned behind or either side of the machine depending on your worktop space. It also has the biggest used capsule bin in the business – enough for 13 large pods.

To use, simply tap upwards on the protruding silver disc and the whole lid moves up mechanically. Now pop in a pod blend and size of your choice and tap the top button. Every pod comes with its own unique barcode which instructs the machine to provide just the right amount of water and the optimum length of extraction. Uniquely, the Vertuo system uses Centrifusion technology instead of just steamy water under high pressure. Basically, the capsule is suffused with hot water before being sent into a phenomenally fast spin – at up to 7,000rpm.

The result is the deepest, thickest and creamiest crema you will likely ever get your lips around. Granted, some espresso purists will say it’s just a foam and not strictly a crema but this writer begs to differ because, to me, it has the same consistency of a genuine crema, only it’s much deeper and richer – like the head of a Guinness draft. In fact, it’s so rich and creamy that, if you add a drop of hot milk to it, it turns an ordinary espresso into a mini cappuccino. 

This writer received a variety box of 12 capsules with the test machine and can vouch that the Diavolitto Espresso and Double Espresso Scuro blends are strongest and by far the most satisfying. But if you prefer a weaker blend, then there are plenty of those to choose from, too. After all, the whole point of this system is to cater for as wide a variety of tastes as possible.

Magimix has pulled off a doozy with this particular machine – it delivers consistent results and is just so easy to use. I also love the huge water reservoir, enormous capsule collector and its clever automatic capsule loading and unloading mechanism. Best buy on the market.

best nespresso maker, KRUPS ESSENZA MINI

2. Krups Essenza Mini

Best affordable Nespresso machine

Specifications
Width: 8.4cm
Reservoir: 0.6 litre
Frother: No
Reasons to buy
+Great coffee, great price
Reasons to avoid
-No milk frother

This writer has tested and owned innumerable espresso machines over the years, both standard and pod based, and can vouch that Krups machines are among the most reliable and durable.

This elegant, entry-level Krups unit is just 8.4cm wide and perfect for even the smallest of kitchen worktops. It couldn’t be easier and more practical to use. Simply place an espresso cup under the spout, lift the lever, insert a pod and hit either the one-cup or two-cup button. You don’t even need to stand around waiting for the machine to heat up since the coffee is dispensed automatically as soon the boiler reaches optimum temperature, which takes less than two minutes.

Granted, the small used capsule collector fills up pretty quickly but that’s hardly a hassle given that all it takes is to slide out the drawer and empty the contents into the recycling bin.

This slim, keenly-priced gem produces an excellent espresso replete with a decent head of crema. But, as is so often the case with the Nespresso brand, if you like your coffee to pack a palette-smacking punch, you may need to use two pods at a time – or buy a Vertuoline machine instead.

best nespresso maker, sage creatista

3. Sage Creatista Black

Best high-end Nespresso machine

Specifications
Width: 17.7cm
Reservoir: 1.5 litre
Frother: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Intuitive controls+Great espresso options+Well built
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive, of course

At the other end of the scale, here’s Sage’s connoisseur entry to the Nespresso roster of third-party machines. The Creatista is superbly built and there’s a reassuringly large amount of metal used in the construction, but, holy mother of pearl, it’s an extraordinarily pricy thing.

What impresses most here is the typically Sage-like intuitive interface, which is so easy to use my cat managed to whip up a flat white without even looking at the instruction manual. There’s an LED panel on top that displays one of eight coffee styles from short-shot ristretto to latte macchiato. Just choose an option and let it do its stuff.

The milk foaming wand is also excellent and almost entirely automatic – simply set the amount of froth required and hit the button for a Mont Blanc-like peak of rich, luxuriously creamy froth.

best nespreso maker, minipresso ns

4. Wacaco Minipresso NS

Best portable Nespresso machine

Specifications
Width: 6cm
Reservoir: One cup
Frother: No
Reasons to buy
+Truly portable+Makes excellent espresso
Reasons to avoid
-Requires strong fingers-A bit fiddly to use

This portable model produces espressos as rich and aromatic as any of the kitchen-bound Nespresso machines.

Just fill the small chamber with hot water (most hotels have a kettle in the room), slap in a pod, seal the lid and add a good dose of hand pressure to squeeze the piston closed. Voila, instant espresso replete with a proper dollop of crema.

If hotel coffee rarely meets your high expectations, you’re out camping in the wilds or visiting a relative who only drinks instant dishwater, pop one of these in the shoulder bag and you’ll never be without a proper caffeine fix. Highly recommended.

best nespresso maker, Dualit Café Cino

5. Dualit Café Cino

A neat and tidy option for Dualit fans

Specifications
Width: 18cm
Reservoir: 0.8 litre
Frother: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Decent looks+Uses both Dualit and Nespresso pods
Reasons to avoid
-Very noisy-Rattly metal cup holder

This new standard Nespresso machine from Dualit doesn’t take up much space and is very easy to use – it comes equipped with a touch interface that provides a variety of extracts from espresso to Americano, plus a side-mounted milk frother for cappuccinos. It also heats up in 40 seconds flat – handy for those in a rush to get out of the house first thing in the morning.

On the downside, the Café Cino is noisy as hell and, worse, the metal cup tray rattles about, especially when used with a small espresso cup. On the plus side, it produces as good an espresso as most machines on this page, so it’s still worth a gander.

Incidentally, like many third-party Nespresso pod manufacturers, Dualit also makes its own range of reasonably-priced coffee – and tea – pods that are usually cheaper than Nespresso’s own. Just thought you should know.

best nespresso maker, MAGIMIX PRODIGIO

6. Magimix Prodigio

Best Nespresso machine for tech heads

Specifications
Width: 21.8cm
Reservoir: 0.8 litre
Frother: Optional
Reasons to buy
+Aeroccino milk frother+Endorsed by dreamy George Clooney+Bluetooth control
Reasons to avoid
-A tad gimmicky, perhaps?

For technophiles who simply must have their lives controlled by AI, this model comes with a smartphone app that tells you when to top up the 800ml water tank, when to empty the 19-capacity used capsule bin and when to descale. It also keeps track of how many pods you’ve used and when to order some more via a simple tap of the ‘give yet more dosh to Nestlé now’ button.

The Prodigio also lets you set a timer or brew up from the couch or your bed. Obviously, you will first have to load a pod, and then get off your jacksy to actually collect the coffee, so maybe this feature isn’t quite so amazing.

As a cappuccino lover, I’d recommend getting the Prodigio & Milk version, because then you get an Aeroccino milk frother too. However, espresso purists can always buy one without the frother.

best nespresso maker, KITCHENAID ARTISAN

7. KitchenAid Artisan 5KES0503

Best Nespresso machine for larger kitchens

Specifications
Width: 20.8cm
Reservoir: 1.4 litre
Frother: No
Reasons to buy
+Large water tank+Sexy enamelled exterior+Six brew settings
Reasons to avoid
-Very large

This 9-kilo kitchen cracker sports all the tell-tale olde-worlde design flourishes of KitchenAid's vast range of Artisan food prep machines: the heavyweight die-cast construction; the curved enamelled exterior; the reliable componentry, it’s all here. 

It’s a big thing, mind – arguably somewhat larger than it needs to be – so clear the worktop of all those other small kitchen appliances you’ve hardly used because you’re likely to use this one every day.

The sturdy Artisan warms up in a thrice and comes with a removable 1.4-litre water reservoir and a large used-capsule container with capacity for up to 14 expended Nespresso pods.

The espresso extraction process is a breeze: lift the oversized lever, load your favourite blend of Nespresso, pull down on the lever, choose between the six pre-programmed extraction settings and hit the button. Setting one produces a short, powerful hit while setting six is for those who like a long, mild brew.

Do you like a choice of colours? Well this one is available in six sexy hues.