No longer just a skill possessed by trained baristas, making espresso at home is super easy with Nespresso’s line of chic, automatic espresso and coffee machines. All that’s really required is a capsule and the touch of a button. But what about navigating through Nespresso’s different models? This is not quite as straightforward. To help you, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing between the best Nespresso machines.
First, decide if you’re exclusively interested in making espresso, or if you want a machine that can make espresso and coffee. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll want to pick one of Nespresso’s Vertuo machines which offer the versatility of brewing espresso and coffee, all the way up to an 8-ounce cup. Nespresso’s more basic, espresso-only machines are a good option if you’re not looking to spend too much, or if you have limited space, as they tend to be pretty compact.
If your intention is to replace your visits to the coffee shop by making specialty drinks at home, consider buying a machine that has a built-in frother. While these don’t come cheap, they have pre-set programs to take the guesswork out of making perfect cappuccinos, lattes, and more. But if you choose a machine without a built-in frother, you can also opt to buy a standalone frother to get the same outcome with a bit more effort.
Whichever model you choose, the best Nespresso machines bring convenience and consistency to your morning caffeine routine.
1. The Overall Best: Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo by De'Longhi
This machine, designed in partnership with appliance brand De’Longhi, is one of the most versatile Nespressos available. Built to be compatible with Nespresso’s Vertuo capsules, it’s both a coffee and espresso machine. The integrated barcode scanner recognizes which volume and style capsule you insert, and can brew five different Vertuo cup sizes, ranging from 14 ounces to a 1.35-ounce espresso shot.
The removable drip tray can be raised or lowered to fit small cups or taller mugs, reducing splatter during brewing. A transparent 54-ounce water tank sits to one side, while a 17-count used capsule container sits on the other, both easy to view so you know when it’s time to fill or empty them, respectively.
2. The Best Basic Machine: Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville
Small and dependable, the Essenza Mini is the best basic Nespresso model. Priced to be slightly more affordable than other models, and only 5.5 inches in width, it’s a good option for espresso-drinkers who don’t have a ton of space. But just because it brews espresso only doesn’t mean it’s a one-trick pony. You can make iced drinks by brewing directly over ice, or simply dispense hot water without a capsule to make a rich, larger-volume Americano. Operated with a simple lever, choose between two sizes: "espresso" or the slightly larger "luongo" size. The 20-ounce water tank removes easily for refilling, and the machine weighs just under 6 pounds, making it effortless to move and even travel with.
3. The Best For Specialty Coffee: De'Longhi Lattissima Plus Espresso & Cappuccino Machine
If you’re an aspiring barista or love milky specialty drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, or flat whites, the Lattissima Plus is the best Nespresso for you. A Vertuo model like the overall best pick here, this machine comes pre-programmed with three espresso and two coffee settings. And instead of a manual steam wand for making foam, a built-in frother and milk tank does the work for you. Simply fill the tank with your milk of choice (Nespresso recommends low-fat or skim milk for the best foam), and the frother works in combination with the machine to create classic specialty beverages. The 30-ounce water tank is on the smaller size, but allows for the machine to have a relatively compact footprint considering how versatile it is.
4. The Best Value: De'Longhi VertuoPlus Bundle
Are you looking for the versatility of a Vertuo model, but also want the option of making milk-based drinks? Look no further than this bundle. Sold alone, the De’Longhi VertuoPlus retails for $153. This means that for about $5 more, you get the machine plus one of Nespresso’s Aeroccino frothers, which can cost $70 on their own.
The machine has a swiveling, 60-ounce water tank that can be moved to fit into tight or awkward spaces on countertops or shelves. And the Aeroccino frother is versatile in its own right. Use it to froth milk for non-coffee beverages like matcha lattes or hot chocolate. Utilizing the same recognition technology as the overall best Nespresso machine above, this model can brew five different cup sizes, ranging from a 14-ounce "alto" coffee, to a 1.35-ounce espresso shot.
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