If you’re like me, then you love having a smooth, rich shot of espresso to start your day. Not only does it get you energized and help you feel better about getting up in the morning, but the flavor and experience of drinking it can provide you with the best possible introduction to your daily routine.
The downside of loving that daily espresso shot is that it’s quite an expensive habit. If you’re going to buy a high-quality machine, then it means spending almost $1000 without even factoring in the cost of beans and other accessories. On the flip side, you can buy shot espresso from the coffee shop, which adds up to even more money in the long term.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Nespresso is a company dedicated to bringing the high-quality coffee experience to your home without having to go to the coffee shop down the street. Best of all, you can get the same incredible taste without having to take out a second mortgage on your house.
Therefore, I want to show you the top models that Nespresso has to offer so that you can find the right one for you. Don’t settle for an average espresso shot whichever cup of coffee you prefer: get a Nespresso machine and start every morning the right way.
Starting us off is the Citiz coffee machine from Nespresso. The Citiz comes in a variety of sizes and styles that make brewing a cup of espresso a breeze. In this case, you get a brilliant cherry finish that has a slight hint of Art Deco design. Not only that, but it’s relatively compact, meaning that you don’t have to sacrifice a ton of counter space to get a delicious cup of coffee in the morning.
One thing that’s nice about the Citiz (and Nespresso machines in general) is that it can store up to 10 of the capsules. This allows you to go longer in between cleaning, ensuring that the device is more convenient than anything else. Also, it has a large 34-oz. water tank, which can make quite a few espressos. However, if you’re a lungo lover instead, then you will have to refill the system more frequently.
The other feature that I like about the Citiz is that it can heat your coffee really fast. Although some people prefer a piping hot cup, this device warms it to a perfect temperature in my book. Not too hot, but definitely not cold—just the perfect shot of espresso. That being said, you have to drink your Nespresso quickly if you want to avoid too much cooling.
Keep in Mind
The Citiz C111 is the base model of the Nespresso product line. As such, it’s not as well-built as higher-end units, so some components may feel a bit flimsy. Also, some users have reported that the coffee maker leaks a little sometimes, so keep that in mind. It doesn’t seem to be excessive, but it can be annoying if you’re not prepared for it.
Finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate espresso device, you won’t want the Citiz because it doesn’t come with a milk frother, nor can you make double or triple servings without causing the coffee to cool down substantially.
If you like everything that the Citiz has to offer, but you prefer to buy one with a Citiz milk frother included, then you will want to get this model instead. It has all of the same great features and benefits as the unit above, but you also get Nespresso’s high-quality frothing machine bundled with it.
What I like about the Citiz milk frother is that it can serve both hot and cold milk. Since many people are concerned with the heat level of their coffee, being able to mix warm milk into your espresso is a delightful bonus. Personally, I can go either way, but I like having the option, particularly on cold winter mornings.
Otherwise, the features of the Citiz are essentially the same. It has a 34-oz. water reservoir, it can hold up to 10 Nespresso capsules and it makes both espresso and lungo coffee at the press of a button. The cup holder folds down so that you can accommodate large and small vessels and the whole thing has a slim profile so that it doesn’t take up too much room in your kitchen.
Keep in Mind
According to some users, the milk frother may not heat your milk as much as you might like. That being said, most people say that it works wonders, so it could just be a few outliers that are acting up.
Also, all of the issues that came with the standard Citiz are still here. The unit itself may leak a little water from time to time (including in the storage space for old capsules), and it can feel a little flimsy in parts. Overall, though, the Citiz is a perfect accessory for your kitchen.
Since the Citiz is the standard espresso machine for the brand, you can find several varieties to meet your needs. The C122 is the upgraded version of the C111. In this case, many of the issues that the older model came with (i.e. leaks) have been addressed and corrected. However, the downside is that this version does not accept Vertuoline Nespresso pods. Instead, you have to go with Original Line capsules.
Nonetheless, the reliability and functionality of this device are still high-quality. I like the way it looks, with a sleek matte black and chrome finish that is both retro and modern at the same time. This particular model also comes with a milk frother, although this one doesn’t have a handle for pouring. Instead, it has a thick rubber exterior that allows you to hold the frother while pouring.
All of the same fundamentals are still present with this machine. It has a slim profile to take up less space on your countertop, it has two size options (espresso and lungo), and it has a folding drip tray. Also, the water tank is high-capacity so that you can go longer without having to refill it. Finally, it can hold up to 11 capsules, making it slightly more efficient than the old Citiz model.
Keep in Mind
As Michael points out, this machine (as well as all other Nespresso units we’ll see) doesn’t do double shots. If you don’t mind coffee that isn’t too hot, you can use two pods to get the strength and size you prefer. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to preheat, so it’s not that big of an issue.
The other thing that’s kind of a negative is that you can only use Original Line pods. Since many people prefer VertuoLine instead (myself included), this might be a deal breaker. However, you can find third-party coffee sellers that are compatible if need be.
Next, we have another upgraded version of the C111 Citiz, although this model doesn’t include a milk frother. That being said, the Aeroccino add-on is available on its own, so even though it’s not bundled in this case, you can always buy it separately if need be. One thing that I like is that the Aeroccino works with any Nespresso machine, so you don’t have to make sure that they are compatible with each other.
A couple of features of the Citiz that we haven’t really covered yet are the automatic shut-off and the high-pressure system. To save energy, the device will turn itself off after about nine minutes of inactivity. Although I recommend turning it off yourself once you’re finished brewing your coffee, it’s nice to know that it won’t become a hazard if you forget on occasion.
As far as the pressure system goes, this is what really sets Nespresso apart from the competition. Coffee makers like Keurig don’t pressurize the coffee, meaning that you don’t get to extract as much of the flavor and aromas. With the Citiz, you get coffee-shop quality every time thanks to this feature.
Keep in Mind
As Anita points out, one way to “hack” your Citiz is to make larger cups by pressing the water button. As she covered later on in her review (not listed here), she and her husband buy concentrated pods and then water them down. The benefit of doing this is that you can get the same strength as a double shot while also getting more coffee to drink. I love double espressos myself and this is a tip that I have taken to heart.
As yet another upgrade from the standard Citiz, here we have the D111 model from Nespresso. Although I believe that all of these machines are high-quality, getting this version is a little better, thanks to the more durable construction and better reliability of the internal components.
That being said, the D111 is a little pricier than older versions, so you will want to keep that in mind. Nevertheless, it still has all of the same incredible features that you would expect from Nespresso.
First, you can make up to 10 cups of coffee before you have to change out the used pods. This is a feature that I love about these machines. Second, it has a 34-oz. water reservoir, which is more than enough for any amount of coffee you like (even Venti lovers). Third, it has a sleek, retro design and black finish that upgrades the look and style of your kitchen.
Finally, this machine is super fast. All it takes is 25 seconds, and you’ll have a perfect espresso or lungo coffee. As far as single-serve coffee makers go, this is what makes Nespresso the top of the heap.
Keep in Mind
Unlike the C-series of Citiz coffee makers, the D111 is a better machine overall. As long as you’re okay with the higher price, you will love the results that you get. As you can see from Roland’s glowing review, this device makes enjoying premium cups of coffee so much more affordable and so much simpler than any other method.
If you insist on bundling your Nespresso machine with a milk frother, then this is the final option that I’m featuring on this list. The C122 is a remarkable model that comes with the handle-free frother. Personally, I prefer to have an easier way of pouring my frothed milk, but the sleek design and safety of the rubber covering make it a viable option for most users.
As we’ve seen, Citiz comes with a variety of features that make it one of the best coffee makers out there. I really like the fact that it has a slim profile and a retro design, as I don’t have a lot of space in my kitchen. I also try to get things that look classic and timeless, and the Citiz is exactly that. The cherry red finish commands attention without being too overwhelming.
The high-pressure system and the energy efficient design are also reasons that I highly recommend Nespresso. If you want to save money at the coffee shop, then this machine will enable you to get the flavor and aroma you crave without the high prices or long lines. Also, with just 25 seconds to heat up, you can get on your way much faster.
Keep in Mind
As Silvio has pointed out, the milk frother can be something of a liability, depending on how you like your milk frothed. Personally, I enjoy it without any problems, but I know how exacting some coffee lovers can be.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can only use Original Line coffee pods, not Vertuoline. I like the latter much better, so I would rather get a Citiz model that enabled me to enjoy those instead. However, you may have different preferences.
Our final model is also the smallest. While the Citiz is a remarkable machine, the Pixie is all that in a smaller package. If you live in a smaller apartment or you don’t have to make as much coffee in the morning, then the Pixie is going to become your best friend.
Some unique features that I like about this model include the carrying handle on the top. It’s used to place the pods inside, but you can also utilize it as a means of bringing the Pixie with you on your journeys. I love taking this machine with me on vacation so that I don’t have to deal with subpar coffee wherever I go.
Also, there’s a place to store the power cord on this model, making it even more compact and portable.
Keep in Mind
If you prefer to make larger coffees in the morning, then the Pixie isn’t right for you. Also, it takes longer to heat up, so if you do double shots, you will have to contend with slightly colder coffee. Nonetheless, it’s a great device and perfect for on-the-go people.
Although I have to say that I love all of these Nespresso Coffee Makers, one of these units stands out above the rest. The Pixie model is my favorite, thanks to its compact design (with carrying handle!), its sleek finish and remarkable consistency.
Although I do appreciate that some other devices come with milk frothers and accessories, the Pixie is just a delight and it’s perfect for both everyday use and vacations. Its compact size and weight allow you to bring it along on road trips. It makes hotels much better as you can keep your morning routine without having to rely on watered-down hotel coffee. Overall, the Pixie is my top recommendation.