Whether you’re partial to espresso or a creamy flat white, you’ll find your perfect coffee partner with these nespresso machines
Over the years, we’ve reviewed more nespresso machines than you can poke an espresso cup at, and here you’ll find our pick of the best nespresso machines for every type of coffee drinker. Regardless of budget or preference, there’s something for everyone on this list, and after tasting countless coffees and putting the very latest machines head to head, these are the ones that tick all the right boxes for getting that quick, flavourful nespresso fix.
The appeal of a nespresso machine couldn’t be simpler: you can create professional-looking espressos and long coffee drinks at home without mess, fuss or even the remotest bit of barista skill. Simply pop a pod in and you’re ready to go. If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to master a professional coffee machine, or simply want a coffee-shop style cuppa in just a few seconds, they’re a great shout.
It’s not the cheapest way to drink coffee, mind you, but buy in bulk and nespresso coffee capsules often come in at under 50p per cup. That’s a lot more reasonable than spending the best part of a fiver at a well-known coffee joint, and with some of the best nespresso machines starting from as little as £90, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get started.
How to choose the best Nespresso machine for you
What types of drinks can I make?
Most nespresso machines produce three sizes of plain black coffee: ristretto (around 25ml), espresso (around 40ml) or lungo (around 110ml). For each of these, there are plenty of dedicated nespresso capsule options. These include anything from single origins and classic blends, to barista creations, which are typically sweeter, limited edition drinks.
If you prefer a longer drink, some nespresso machines come with a steam wand for heating a jug of milk, and others have a specialist milk carafe that produces silky hot milk and foam at the touch of a button. Some require you to manually add the hot milk to the coffee, but other pricier models do so automatically, allowing you to prepare flat whites, cappuccinos, cafe lattes and similar milk drinks at the touch of a button.
What type of machine should I buy?
The smaller, cheaper machines are restricted to espresso and lungo drinks. Then there are medium to large machines which offer the above coffee options but also come equipped with milk heating options. Finally, there are machines that cater to both classic small drinks, as well as larger, milk-based coffee drinks. These usually have detachable milk contraptions for frothy coffees and one-touch options for milk-based drinks.
If you prefer basic black coffees such as ristretto and espresso shots, or lungo coffees, then a smaller, basic machine will likely satisfy your needs. It is possible to buy standalone milk frothers further down the line if you decide you want the option to make flat whites, cappuccinos and the like. However, larger, pricier machines will provide more drinks options, and may include steam wands and milk carafes for far more professional-looking results.
The best Nespresso machines you can buy
1. Nespresso Essenza: Best cheap Nespresso machine
The essenza is an ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight machine that makes just two drinks – espresso and lungo. This is ideal if you haven’t got much space and enjoy classic short coffees. It comes in a range of colours and two shapes: a classic slimline rectangle made by krups and a more unusual rounded triangle shape designed by magimix (we tested this one). Both cost the same price and offer the same coffee options, so which one you choose is down to personal preference. Making coffee was simple: just pop the capsule on the top, press the button, wait for your coffee and enjoy. The next time you lift the lever, the old capsule drops down into the waste bin.
During testing, the coffees came out relatively consistent in volume and time taken to brew, taking 19 seconds for an espresso and 30 for a lungo. Though these weren’t as consistent in these areas as the pricier models on this list, it didn’t affect the flavour of the coffee all that much. If you want a quick, tasty black coffee, then this is an affordable first step into nespresso.
2. Nespresso Vertuo Next: Best for long coffees
If you’re a long coffee drinker who prefers the occasional espresso shot, the vertuo next might be more up your street. Nespresso vertuo machines (in all their forms) use specific vertuo capsules that aren’t compatible with other nespresso machines. These capsules are designed to produce longer drinks as they contain more coffee.
The vertuo next is quite bulky but the design is significantly better than that of its predecessor, the vertuo plus. It couldn’t be easier to use: to keep things as simple as humanly possible, there’s only one button on the machine itself (the smartphone app contains the rest). Despite the capsules varying in size, the machine automatically detects the size of coffee via the barcodes on each capsule, pulling through the right amount of water. You can also personalise the amount of water that comes through the machine via the settings.
If you love a longer black coffee, the vertuo plus is a top choice – the basic machines will require you to add hot water from a kettle to get a similar-sized drink, so this is the easier, hassle-free option.
Nespresso Sage Creatista Uno: Best for latte art
Do you like the idea of making your own latte art and sublimely frothy coffee at home? Nespresso’s creatista uno by sage lets you do just that with its automatic milk texturing and stainless steel milk jug. Alongside coffee options for ristretto, espresso and lungo, you’ll also find the steam button, as well as buttons to adjust the temperature and froth level of your milk.
Coffee-wise, it works much like the other machines on this list: pop the capsule in the top, select your preferred drink and get your coffee almost instantly. Milk steaming is done separately, but it is automatic, and the temperature sensor underneath the jug means that it gives a wonderfully consistent silky froth. It purges (cleans) itself fairly soon after the cycle finishes, so it’s best to remove the milk just as soon as the steaming stops. One minor niggle: the single boiler means that you can’t steam milk at the same time as brewing a coffee.
Nespresso CitiZ: Best small Nespresso machine
If you’ve ever stayed in a city hotel in europe, you might recognise the citiz machine, as it’s often the coffee machine of choice in rooms. The slimline design is ideal for small spaces and it comes in a range of colours.
It only does the two standard drinks sizes – espresso and lungo – but we were impressed with citiz’s performance. Drinks came out at a consistent temperature and there wasn’t a great deal of variation in the amount pulled through each time. In comparison to the essenza mini, the citiz is far more consistent.
One thing to watch out for is the price. Like many of nespresso’s machines, there are two versions of the citiz. The older version, manufactured by krups, is cheaper. The newer version manufactured by magimix is £175. There is a slight style and height difference between the two, but aside from this, they have the same specs.
Nespresso Gran Lattissima: Best machine for milk-based drinks
The Gran Lattissima is quite possibly our favourite machine on this list. It’s a fairly big machine, but it makes superb milk-based coffees at the touch of a button and the build quality is superb.
Alongside the three classic drink sizes, the Gran Lattissima can prepare a number of milk-based coffees at the touch of a button. This means you can recreate your favourite coffee shop drinks at home for a fraction of the cost and without the long queues.
The milk carafe (referred to as the rapid cappuccino system) is the key to one-touch milk-based coffees and pulls milk from the jug through a spout and directly into your cup.
Every coffee pulled matched up to the quality of the other pricier machines on this list and while the milk froth might not be quite up to the standards of your barista, it does a good enough job of producing professional-style coffee in less than two minutes.
Our only real issue with the Gran Lattissima is that the milk carafe is fiddly to clean. If you don’t have a dishwasher, it needs to be soaked in hot, soapy water and this could be off putting if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
Nespresso Expert: Best Nespresso machine for americanos and smart connectivity
The nespresso expert is a smart, stylish machine. The exterior has a smooth, matte finish which makes a nice change from the classic glossy casings and the addition of tactile control dials is a nice touch. As it’s also designed to fit flush to your wall, it’s a good fit for more cramped kitchens.
The most unusual part of this machine, however, is the app that lets you customise your drink recipe, brew remotely and schedule drinks from your phone. The machine connects to the phone app via bluetooth and from there you can personalise your cup of coffee, manage your stock of capsules and order more.
There are four cup-size settings on the nespresso expert, as well as a hot water setting and options to adjust water temperature – this means you can make americanos without reaching for the kettle, which is handy. The quality is very similar to the other machines we’ve tested, but coffee comes out a good deal hotter than any of the others we’ve tested, even on the lowest temperature setting. If you hate anything less than piping-hot coffee, then the expert may be right up your street.