Grind is a sustainable home-grown artisan roaster with a roster of eight stylish café bars serving Londoners their daily fixes. Aside from its bricks-and-mortar outlets and a burgeoning portfolio of increasingly popular online coffee blends – in both bean and Nespresso capsule form – Grind has also designed and produced its own retro-style Nespresso capsule machine – the Grind One.
I’ve just used the Grind One for my current colossal test of 25 artisan Nespresso blends and it’s been a reliable workhorse that’s dispensed every last drop of black nectar as if its life depended on it.
It’s therefore only right that I should give it its dues and write a full review on the machine, if only to tell you more about it and why should buy one, immediately without fail. It really is one of the best pod coffee machines out there and, for my money, the best Nespresso machine.
Grind One: Price and availability
The Grind One is available in the UK from the Grind store (£275 with 20% discount using the code on their website) and Amazon, where it's selling for a flat £275. There’s also a Grind One bundle with a matching milk frother and some Grind capsules thrown in, for £350.
If you live in the USA and most countries in Europe, you can buy it direct from Grind and possibly Amazon UK too, though postage costs will likely ramp up the price. Tough luck if you live in Australia this time around but keep your eyes peeled, because you never know.
Grind One review: design
Let’s start with Grind’s packaging, or rather the colour of its packaging. If you like pink, then you may want to keep the box this Nespresso machine comes in because it’s the best pink you’ve ever seen. It’s not puce, it’s not too dark, it’s not garish – it’s just a gorgeous pale, dusty pink that runs through all of Grind’s branding, including the metal steam train-like badge that takes pride of place on the front of this machine.
Nespresso sells a lot of different machines on its own website – all made by companies like Krups, Magimix and De’Longhi – but, aside from the excellent Sage Creatista Pro, they’re all made of plastic and some of the current designs are pretty staid it has to be said.
By stark contrast, the Grind One is made almost entirely from stainless steel and it’s a wonderful sight to behold. Really, this machine is suitable for any style and size of kitchen because it just blends in so well, no matter the decor. At 23.5cm in height, 26.5cm in depth and just 15cm in width, you will have no problem finding space for it on your worktop. Moreover, because the whole unit is clad in stainless steel, it's really easy to keep clean with just a quick wipe.
Designed to look like an espresso machine from a bygone era, the minimalistic Grind One is equipped with a raft of old-fashioned switches, buttons and levers that make using this machine a true pleasure. First, there’s the classic aircraft-style on/off switch which you simply flick up to turn it on. Over to the right you’ll find a couple of backlit buttons, one for a single shot (ristretto), the other for a double (lungo) and just to the side of them, a six-inch heavy-duty steel lever that opens and closes the capsule hatch above and centre. Although the top of the machine has a railed area for storing espresso cups, it doesn’t actually warm them in any way.
The cup shelves on most Nespresso machines I’ve used in the past have just two height positions but this one goes the whole hog by having five positions – from small espresso cup to full-sized mug. The tray itself is made of plastic with stainless-steel cladding and a stainless steel perforated tray to collect coffee drips from the stainless steel group head. A lot of stainless steel, in other words.
Heading over to the back you’ll find a lovely glass-like plastic 1.2-litre water tank with an easy-to-grab handle for easy removal when filling. Given this machine’s diminutive proportions, having a tank of this size is a massive bonus. The spent capsule container, meanwhile, will easily accept up to 15 spent capsules without jamming up on you. This is a very good thing because most other machines can only handle a maximum of ten capsules before they’re full.
And that’s it. There are no digital displays, no fancy electronics – just good, simple design principals that make using this machine an absolute cinch.
Grind One review: features
As you’ve likely gathered, simplicity is the key here. Just lift the lever, load in a Nespresso pod, pull the lever down until it locks firmly into position and press either the short or long extraction button.
At 19 bars, the Grind One’s high-pressure pump takes no prisoners and makes the very most of each extraction. Amazingly – and unlike pretty much every other capsule coffee machine I’ve ever used – no excess water is dumped into the spent pod collector and I know not why. What I do know is that I can empty the pods directly into my recycling bin without first having to block the pods with my hand as I empty a load of unused water into the sink.
The default doses are pretty well dialled out of the box but you can easily change the extraction time to suit your palette. Simply hold the single-shot button in for the length of extraction you prefer and it will stay that way forever. The same technique applies for the long-shot button.
One thing you should be aware of is that this machine will not turn itself off automatically – you will need to flick the on/off switch to the down position when you’ve finished. This isn’t a major issue, mind, because the machine goes into power-save mode where the boiler is switched off. Nevertheless, when in the ‘on’ position, the machine will continue to draw a small amount of electricity, but not enough that your meter will ever notice. And anyway, the main power light will be on so you won’t be able to miss the fact it’s in power-save mode.
Incidentally, you get a two year warranty with this machine and that means free repairs during the entire period.
Grind One review: performance
I have had zero issues with this machine – indeed it’s one off the very best Nespresso extractors I’ve ever used. I’d say it’s easily up there with the Sage Creatista Pro while being a lot easier to use.
Every Nespresso this machine extracts comes out of the group head in the same way – a wide and slow but steady golden stream of crema-laden espresso that is always consistent in texture and flavour. I just love how easy it is to use and I adore the springy action and engagement of the mighty pod-loading lever on the side. It makes me feel like I’m pulling a pint.
I’ve used every style of pod on the market in this machine – both compostable and aluminium – and everyone one of them has fitted the group head interface with no issues. They’ve all ejected properly, too.
By the way, there's no milk frother here, so you will have to consult our guide to the best milk frothers if you are more of a cappuccino and latte lover.
Grind One review: verdict
Although it’s more expensive than most other Nespresso machines, I have not a bad word to say about this exemplary coffee pod machine. It’s beautifully designed in stainless steel, small enough for any worktop and it’s arguably the most intuitive Nespresso machine ever made. Crucially, it captures the very essence of any Nespresso-compatible capsule you care to stick in its gob. In the arena of capsule coffee makers, I put this cracking contender up there with the equally stylish Smeg A Modo Mio Lavazza machine. And that means it’s a corker. Bring on Grind Two!
Fancy a different kind of Nespresso maker? Check out our guide to the Best Nespresso Machines