Nespresso Expert Coffee Machine Review
Our trustY old Senseo Coffee machine that we have had for years broke down the other day. At least, I thought it had but we’ll get onto that later. I tried to fix it as the lid was jammed shut and as I did So a little piece snapped off and flew across the kitchen. By now I was in need of a coffee so decided it was time for a new machine. And so began some research into what was available these days.
Pods vs Beans
We decided that pods were the way to go again. OK, they may not be the height of coffee snobbery but they are pretty good. Most importantly they give you much more flexibility. A nice strong coffee in the morning, decaf in the afternoon, hot chOcolate at beditime, they can do it all and with minimum fuss, minimum bother, minimum waste and minimum effort. They are also easy to use, clean, tidy and look good too.
Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Tassimo?
Next thing to decide was the best system to go for. There are quite a few systems out there. The Senseo system that we had used for years seems to have fallen out of favour somewhat and getting pods for it was becoming difficult. They were still available online but rarely available in the supermarket. It wasn’t that muCh of an issue as we tended to buy them in bulk, but it looked as though it was time for a change. The three main contenders tHese days seem to be Tassimo, Dolce Gusto and Nespresso.
Both Tassimo and Dolce Gusto pods are readily available in supermarkets. They also seem to cater for people who want particular drinks such as a latte or cappuccino and therefore often come with integrated milk in the pods. Nespresso pods by contrast are only available direct from Nespresso but they do seem to be catering more for the coffee connoisseur so their pods tend to be different blends of coffee that you then make whatever type of drink you like from. Tassimo and Dolce Gusto are therefore hot drinks machines, whereas Nespresso is more of an Espresso machine that allows you to make hot drinks. This may not be entirely true but that’s the way I saw it.
As well as the branded pods there are third party pods available for both the Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines. These generally provide a fair amount of saving over the genuine pods. The cost of pods direct from the manufacturers are all fairly similar. Genuine Nespresso pods are around 30-40p each, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto pods are around 25-35p each. Compatible pods for the Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines range from around 18p each upwards. Speciality pods and hot chocolates etc tend to be slightly higher priced, and the milk based pods for the Tassimo and Dolce Gusto machines are usually around 50p each. Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than a coffee from a coffee shop!
There are a wide variety of machine available for each type too.
|Genuine Coffee Pods||Milk Based Pods||Compatible Pods||Pod Range||Machines|
|Tassimo||25-35p||50-65p||Not Available||A wide range of drinks including coffees, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate and tea||Plenty available from Bosch with a wide range of features.|
|Nespresso||30-40p||Not Available||17-30p||Wide range of single origin and blended coffees along with flavoured coffees, speciality blends, decaf and hot chocolate||A large range from Nespresso and third party manufacturers. Most with a classic coffee machine look|
|Dolce Gusto||25035p||50p||15-30p||A huge range of drinks including coffees, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate and tea||Lots available, many in weird and wonderful shapes|
It wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but for us it came down to the fact that we aren’t that bothered by the milk-based drinks as we tend to add milk ourselves. We therefore liked the look of the range of coffees available from Nespresso along with the fact that it seemed to be more of a real Espresso machine. Essentially it’s an Espresso machine that uses pods rather than coffee beans, not a hot drinks machine like the others.
With the type of pod decided our search for a machine was narrowed down somewhat. We were now looking at just Nespresso machines.
There are quite a few available and to start with I was looking at the cheaper end of the spectrum. What I wanted most from a machine though was one that made nice hot coffee. It was then that I came across a machine made either by Krups or Magimix that had an ‘Extra Hot’ setting. It was the only one I could find with this setting, and it had plenty of other settings too. Four sizes of coffee:
It also had a hot water feature. This provides a separate flow of hot water used for topping up and making Americano’s or just as a hot water dispenser. Admittedly it wasn’t the cheapest, but it also had Bluetooth connectivity so connected to an app on your phone (everyone needs that from a coffee machine surely!) and it looked nice too.
Krups Nespresso Expert Coffee Machine
Before long, the deed was done and a Krups Expert Nespresso Machine was on it’s way. The Magimix version is exactly the same, but for some reason the Krups version which has a RRP of £249 was on Amazon for £202 and then discounted to £182 the day I looked.
It’s a lovely looking machine and fits well on our kitchen top. It arrived while I was away for the weekend paddling and camping in North Wales so Anna set it up and tried it out first. It’s easy to use, produces nice coffee and looks easy to keep clean too. We’ve since ordered a nice range of coffees and should get a free dispenser with that order. We’ll soon try some of the third party compatible pods too to compare them.
With such a wide range of pods on offer and so many settings on the machine it might take a while to work out which settings are best for which pods. So far for us I think heating some milk in the microwave and then adding the espresso shot using the larger Lungo setting seems to be the way forward. However, that may not be the case for all pods as some are better using the smaller espresso or ristretto settings. apparently Espresso goes through three different shades of colour as water pours through – red/brown, caramel, and finally blonde.
- Firstly, the red/brown shade is the ristretto which gives your coffee sweetness and body.
- Next, the caramel colour gives the coffee its balance and is the main ‘espresso’ section of the pour.
- Finally, the blonde colour coming through is only extracted bitter water.
It makes sense therefore to watch as the colour changes. You can then hit the stop button if you wish to get the perfect coffee. You can also program the machine to remember theses settings for each of the four sizes. You can even program how much water is used to top up an Americano drink. In fact, using the companion app on your phone you can set up as many favourites as you wish – possibly even one for each type of pod if you have the patience to compare the various settings for each. I think we’ll keep it simple for now but I will set up a few favourites just to try it out.
As well as setting favourites, the app allows you to start the machine, schedule brews for certain times, keeps track of your pod stock and of course allows you to order new pods. It also keeps track of the water tank level and sends you descaling notifications.
Not a good enough reason to buy this machine and there’s really no need for bluetooth connectivity in a coffee machine, but it’s fun all the same.
The Old Machine
Throw it in the bin I hear you say. Well, yep, that was the plan. However while I was away Anna cleaned out the pod holder, and apparently, despite the bit of plastic that I snapped off, it once again works perfectly. We still have a few bags of Senseo pods left as well. Maybe we should re-purpose it as a coffee machine at work. That sounds like a good idea to me!