Looking for Nespresso Christmas gifts? 2017 promises to be the biggest year yet for Nespresso, with more machines and coffee variations than ever before.
There is plenty of hardware to choose from if you’re looking to buy a Nespresso coffee machine for Christmas: from entry level machines for the newly-introduced to beautiful top-of-the-range machines that you can even practice your latte art with!
Nespresso have also released three new Christmas variations for 2017, and we’ll take a look at these as well. Let’s dive in and help you decide what the best gift is this festive season for the coffee-loving Santa in your life!
Nespresso Gift Guide: The Types of Nespresso Machine
There are many different types of Nespresso coffee machine, but they broadly fit into three categories:
Advanced Nespresso Machines
The ‘cream of the crop’ Nespresso ranges include coffee machines that are designed with higher build quality and more features. These machines could have all-metal casing, cup warmers, more temperature and texturing options for water and milk respectively, and have additional advanced features that other machines wouldn’t have.
These machines include the following ranges:
KitchenAid – premium materials and iconic KitchenAid design
Creatista – the Nespresso machine you can texture milk and practice latte art with!
These are slightly more advanced Nespresso coffee machines that may suit users who have had an entry level Nespresso machine or other basic coffee machine before. They typically include a few additional features such as the ability to make milk-based coffees, have different water temperature and volume settings or even offer phone connectivity via an app.
Prodigio – Nespresso’s first Bluetooth enabled connected coffee machine!
Entry Level Nespresso Machines
These Nespresso machines are mainly designed for people who are new to Nespresso and their ranges. They typically provide few options for what coffee you want, but will produce a consistently strong water-based coffee. The most basic machines generally offer an espresso and lungo size, but a few also offer a ristretto option (for more information about what these sizes mean, check out our lungo, ristretto & espresso blog post).
Christmas 2017: Which Nespresso Coffee Machine Should I Buy?
Now that we’ve explained basic categorisation, we can go ahead and break down which Nespresso machine might work best for the person you’re buying for. Please remember that while we do our best to inform and recommend, everyone is different and you might decide that a different model of Nespresso machine is the right one for you – which is great!
The High End Coffee Enthusiast
For the person who really enjoys his or her coffee and likes to take time to create the perfect cup, we recommend the Nespresso Creatista coffee machine. It is the top of the line machine Nespresso currently offer, and the only one with a dedicated milk texturing steam pipe as well.
The Creatista has a large number of built-in water volume and temperature functions, as well as dedicated settings for you to choose how to texture your milk. It is the ultimate Nespresso machine in terms of customisation, and it is also made from premium materials with a fantastic build quality.
Many of us have a friend or family member who demands the very best in whatever they buy, and put great emphasis on getting the highest quality and best looking things for use at home. For these people, we would recommend the Nespresso KitchenAid. KitchenAid is an iconic brand with a wonderful and long history – the shape of the Nespresso KitchenAid is unmistakable and the timeless design would fit in well with a high-end kitchen.
For someone who enjoys their gadgets or is an early adopter, we recommend the Nespresso Expert & Milk. Nespresso’s latest addition to their connected coffee machine range is their most advanced yet. It incorporates an app that lets you make a brew at a scheduled time as well as notify you if the number of capsules you have is running low, or your machine needs maintenance.
If you’re buying a Nespresso machine for someone who enjoys their milk-based coffees but you don’t want to splash out on a top-of-the-range Creatista, you may appreciate the simpler but consistently high quality Lattissima Pro. It’s at a lower price point, has ready-made milk options and the touch screen on the top (which is the biggest day-to-day difference between the Lattissima Pro and Lattissima Plus models) makes it a joy to use on a regular basis.
For a basic coffee machine that’s small / convenient and also fun, we recommend the Pixie. The Pixie range can be stylised by buying custom side plates to suit or accent the room you put it in. It’s a lot of fun, but also quite simple and very easy to operate. This is ideal for a busy professional who wants basic black coffee but appreciates quality and style.
Finally, if you know someone who is making their very first foray into Nespresso (or perhaps coffee at all!), or someone who you know only wants a consistently good espresso and nothing else – we would recommend the Nespresso Inissia coffee machine.
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Inissia for anyone who already has a Nespresso machine (as there are many that you could ‘upgrade’ to), but for a pure espresso experience this could be your perfect ticket!
Nespresso have also released three new coffee pod variations for the festive season! They are called the Confetto Snowball, Confetto Licorice and the Confetto Orangette.
The three new variations have colourful, candy-inspired capsules associated with them. Craig & Karl helped Nespresso design these, and they look beautiful! But more importantly, what’s inside and how do they taste?
Nespresso Confetto Snowball
The Snowball is a really fun pairing of subtle coconut (!!) notes on top of a sweet, vanilla espresso. It’s really quite delicious and perhaps ideal as a standalone fun flavoured coffee (possibly with a sweet cake as well it could be a bit much for some people). Nespresso has this at an intensity rating of 6.
Nespresso Confetto Licorice
The Confetto Licorice is more than the flavour of the sweet candy, combining the flavour with a variety of spices to really give this espresso variation a bit of a kick. The notes are still subtle so it won’t overpower the coffee itself. This is one best enjoyed perhaps as a complement to a snack, to help you best enjoy the spicy contrasting flavours. The intensity here is a 6 on Nespresso’s scale.
Nespresso Confetto Orangette
The Confetto Orangette capsule isn’t just (although it is mainly!) about orange – to contrast the flavour of the peel, which is actually slightly bitter, Nespresso have also put a hint of chocolate into this variation. The intensity of this final Nespresso variation is also a 6.
You can try these new seasonal variation capsules now:
Nespresso are now starting to attract attention from some of the world’s largest coffee brands – and Starbucks® has entered the ring with new Starbucks® Nespresso compatible capsules.
Duncan Moir, who is the EMEA vice-president for channel development, says “Our customers value convenience and expect excellent coffee wherever they are. The single-serve coffee capsule market is growing fast, and by launching these new espresso capsules we have a great opportunity to bring the Starbucks® quality coffee experience to even more consumers right where they want it, at home.”
There is no information about the level of collaboration between Starbucks® and Nespresso, as some third party manufacturers in the past have reported compatibility issues when Nespresso produced new machines. We can only assume that some collaboration has taken place, given the size of these companies and the production capacity they both have.
Starbucks® have launched four distinct types of Nespresso compatible capsule. In their marketing they avoid the use of the Nespresso name as other brands can also take the ‘K-Cup’ type capsules. Instead, they refer to these simply as Starbucks® Espresso capsules, or Starbucks® Espresso pods.
Let’s take a look at the four types of coffee capsules that Starbucks® have launched in more detail: the Fairtrade Espresso Roast capsule, Guatemala Antigua Espresso capsule, Kenya Espresso capsule and Colombia Espresso capsule.
Starbucks® Fairtrade Espresso Roast Capsule
Starbuck’s® signature espresso roast comes home with you in a capsule that can be described as their ‘baseline’ offering as they venture into coffee capsules and coffee pods.
The Fairtrade Espresso Roast capsule is a rich blend with a hint of caramel, which is the same house roast that Starbucks® use in their coffee as standard. To quote Starbucks®, “a recipe for caramelly sweetness so right it’s never been changed.”
The Starbucks® Guatemala Antigua espresso capsule is a medium roast single origin coffee.
It’s farmed from the Antigua Valley in Guatemala where farmers take pride in traditional cultivation methods. It is more complex in flavour compared to the standard Fairtrade Espresso Roast, with flavours including lemon, chocolate and soft spice.
Starbuck’s® Kenya Espresso capsule is a single-origin capsule that is much brighter in flavour than the rest of the range.
There is a lot of acidity that can be tasted in this coffee, with more pronounced citrus flavours and wine-like notes that make it taste distinctly different. Notes of grapefruit and blackcurrant in particular can be spotted, and these get more pronounced as the coffee cools as well.
The Starbucks® Colombia Espresso capsule is a pretty traditional single origin Colombian coffee, but that doesn’t detract from the signature flavour you get.
The farms that produce these coffee beans are at high altitude in the Latin American countryside. The result is a very round body with still a decent amount of juicy taste – but where you can tell it’s different is the nutty finish which is the signature taste of this particular coffee. This is a medium roast with rich undertones and a walnut-like finish.
Starbucks® espresso capsules work with all normal Nespresso machines that you would buy for home use. The only machines that Starbucks® Espresso Capsules do not work with, are built-in units such as those in a Miele integrated unit or a business solution Nespresso machine. For 99% of us, it should be no problem at all.
Please also note that Starbucks® manufacture their own brand of capsule coffee machine called Verismo. These have different and unique pod styles and don’t take the ‘standard’ K-cup sizes seen here, so these will not be compatible.
Conclusions and Where to Buy Starbucks® Espresso Capsules / Starbucks® Espresso Pods
You can buy these Starbucks® coffee capsules from participating Starbucks® stores, where they are rolling out the product range throughout the first half of 2017. You can also buy variety packs of these coffees online through the links below. We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of all four types of Starbucks® Nespresso compatible capsules!
Back in 2015 we wrote a guide to Nespresso coffee capsules – you can find the old Nespresso coffee capsules guide here. When originally released, there were sixteen varieties of the Nespresso coffee capsule. Recently, eight more Nespresso coffee types have been released, upping your total number of choices to twenty-four. Not sure which are right for you? Here is a Nespresso coffee guide to help you make your choice and get to know these new capsules.
The 24 Nespresso Grands Crus capsules are are split into six ranges:
Espresso capsules are the shorter coffees that most people are used to drinking. Just because they are typically ‘short’ coffees does not mean they’re very strong. Some are, but there is a good variation of intensity among these capsules. Most of the coffees that go into this have blended origins.
Intenso capsules have split out (previously some of these were in the Espresso category) and contain some of the fuller flavour, more intense Nespresso coffee flavours. These are again typically blended in their origins.
Pure Origin capsules have their beans typically sourced from one location. These are very specific in flavour to where the capsules originate from and have a very unique taste.
Lungo capsules are especially designed for longer drinks where a larger volume of water is added to the coffee. These have the potential to bring out more complex flavours and allow you to enjoy subtler tastes, without detracting from overall intensity as some of these are still quite strong in flavour.
Decaffeinato capsules do what they (almost) says on the tin – some of the great coffees from other categories but with the naturally occurring caffeine taken away. Ideal for those who have poor reactions to caffeine and simply enjoy the taste of coffee.
Variation capsules are typically based on the Livanto (Espresso) capsule, but with specific additional flavours to give your coffee that little extra kick of contrasting flavour.
Nespresso Grands Crus Coffee Chart
Below you can find a handy chart of the intensity and flavours of each of the 24 Nespresso Grands Crus capsules. This is a current list for 2016 Nespresso coffee capsules and of course may change in the future. Feel free to look at and download the larger version! You can link directly to the larger Nespresso coffee capsules chart from here.
Nespresso Espresso Grands Crus Capsules
Capriccio Grand Cru
With this capsule, you will get a strong, grainy cereal note, from one of the most aromatic espressos in the collection. It contains both Arabica and Robusta coffee, but only a bit of the latter. Both are from South America, with the Arabica coffee grown at high altitude to lighten the acidity.
Sweeter and nuttier than many of our other Nespresso coffee types, this capsule uses only the very best South American Arabica for a little bit of acidity and fruitiness. A mixture of lightly roasted and pure coffee goes into this Grand Cru, which allows a bit of fruitiness to shine through.
For a delightful blend of fruitiness and cereal notes, choose this capsule. Delicate, but intense, it uses Aravicas from all over the world to achieve its unique flavour. The Cosi Grand Cru uses a blend of Costa Rican and Kenyan coffee beans, lighted roasted, to create its unique flavour.
Taking hints from Costa Rican coffee, this capsule offers a strong flavour, with just a touch of chocolate. Both creamy and intense, it is a great choice. Fine grinding combined with very intense roasting is what gives the Arpeggio its taste.
The height of luxury, Roma is both sweet and aromatic, lingering on the palate long after the last sip. A lighter roast than many of the other options, it still has the intensity you expect from Nespresso. The Arabicas from Central America that are used in this blend are specifically of the high altitude variety, which brings more subtle flavours to the aromatic profile.
Combining the best of Eastern African and South American Arabicas, this espresso is both intense and fruity, with a fully body. Both South American and East African Arabica coffees are present in this Grand Cru which gives it a light acidity, in addition to a small amount of Robusta which adds a kick to create a fantastic profile.
Roasted for much longer than other espresso, over a lower heat, this capsule provides an intense flavour, with a subtle note of cocoa and a slightly nutty flavour that combine to be both silky and sophisticated. There are four different origin coffees present here which contributes to a really strong and complex flavour.
This is a blend of two of the best Robustas on the market, both from South America. Perfect for those who enjoy a bitter espresso, it is both creamy and boasting peppery notes. The Brazilian Robusta that contributes to the Kazaar is sun dried, and the Guatemalan Robusta is washed – so you have the intensity of flavour but without some of the harshness that you might otherwise expect from a Robusta.
Made from Arabicas derived from the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, this blend is slightly musky, with a hint of wood. The Sidama beans are gently washed and dried in the sun before roasting. These are mixed with a western Ethiopian bean which is unwashed and naturally processed.
Created to embody the very best flavours of Indian coffee, this espresso has a full body and spicy notes that remain on the palette, making it distinct from all other flavours. It uses a combination of an Indian Arabica and Robusta bean to bring a big breadth of flavour. The Arabica is only roasted lightly while the Robusta is intensely roasted, and these combine to form the Indriya Grand Cru.
This blend made only from the very best coffee beans in Colombia, has the acidity and wine notes that are typical of Colombian coffee. The coffee that goes into the Rosabaya are predominantly from smaller coffee farm owners at high altitude.
Smooth and creamy, this capsule has slight cereal notes. It is made only from the very best Bourbon coffee beans that Brazil has to offer. Sun drying to allow the mucilage sugars to adopt the flavour of the bean combined with light roasting means the natural sweetness is maintained.
Created to be one of the most balanced blends in the collection, it combines the robustness, smoothness, and intensity of many different regions. Lightly acidic, subtly floral, and slightly bitter, it is a unique flavour.
Compared: Nespresso Inissia, U and Pixie Coffee Machines
The increasingly popular Nespresso brand now has more coffee machines than ever, each of them with different features and purposes. However, even though many of these machines are similar they come with their distinctions, pros and cons. Today we look at some of the entry level coffee machines that Nespresso has on offer, and compare the Nespresso Inissia, Nespresso U and Nespresso Pixie coffee machines.
All of these Nespresso coffee machines will ‘do the trick’ for basic but great coffee, and many features are common to all of them. None of them come with an Aeroccino / milk frother as standard, which is an accessory reserved for some of the more advanced machines such as the Latissima Plus.
The Nespresso Inissia coffee maker is an affordably priced coffee maker found in the region of $100 at time of launch – it is the newest entry level coffee machine by Nespresso. Easy insertion and ejection of capsules comes as standard and you’ll find no corners cut here, with Nespresso’s compact brewing unit technology giving the Inissia a fast preheating time of 25 seconds.
Nespresso Inissia comes with 2 programmable buttons for lungo and espresso preparation. It features a removable 24-ounce water tank with a folding cup tray for different recipe glasses. Finally, you also have the standard used capsule container which will hold between 9 and 11 spent Nespresso coffee capsules.
The Inissia also has an automatic power off function after 9 minutes of inactivity. However, as the most inexpensive model it foregoes a few features: there is no on/off switch (simply plug in and wait for it to be ready), and there’s no LED indicator for when you need to add water to the tank.
This machine, while basic, will do the main job of making a good Nespresso coffee and do it both consistently and well. As an entry level product Nespresso have really done themselves proud here. However, if you are looking for something better and more advanced, we’d suggest you to keep reading.
The Nespresso U is an alternative to the Inissia for an entry level model. This is a slightly advanced machine that comes with fully automatic piercing, brewing, and ejection of used capsules that give you the ability to retract coffee and stop it from dripping after the coffee is brewed. The U has a slightly higher capacity 27 ounce water tank and has an equally fast 25 second preheat time. The biggest difference here is that the Nespresso U caters for larger cup sizes as well, featuring 3 coffee sizes (espresso, ristretto and lungo). The Nespresso U also features a magnetic drip tray in order to hold larger milk recipes.
A slightly larger 12-capsule empty tank is bolstered by a nice light indicator that tells you when the empty capsule tray is full, or that more water needs to be added to the coffee machine.
The Nespresso U can deliver a wider variety of coffees and it is more suitable for slightly advanced users. Experimentation with sizes of coffee cup and the potential addition of milk (but note this doesn’t come as standard) are what’s most attractive about the U.
The Nespresso Pixie is broadly similar to the Nespresso U – there are the same fast heat times, automatic off functions and both have a convenient drip tray (although the Pixie’s folds up while the U’s is entirely removable). The main differences are in size, modularity and aesthetics.
The Pixie is slightly smaller than the U and was designed for space saving in the kitchen. As a result you’ll need to refill the water reservoir just a little bit more often, and the spent capsule tray has a little less space (a maximum of about 10 used capsules of storage in the Pixie versus the 12 used capsules of storage in the U).
In terms of expansion and potential to grow, the Pixie falls a little short of the U. The Nespresso U is built with possible expansion into the U Milk, allowing for milk based coffees as well and three different coffee cup sizes. The Nespresso Pixie only comes with two sizes as standard and while it’s possible to use an Aeroccino Plus unit with it, the Pixie isn’t naturally designed to be as easily compatible as the U. However, if milk based coffees aren’t your thing then this won’t be that bad for you.
Finally, there’s style and colour. The Nespresso Pixie has Pixie Clips which allow you to take off and put on a wide variety of coloured sides to your coffee machine designed to suit whatever style of kitchen the machine gets placed in. While both the Nespresso Inissia and Nespresso U have options for colours, they are nowhere near as close as the Pixie as you could end up with potentially endless designs to suit a single coffee machine.
In conclusion, all three coffee machines by Nespresso would do an excellent job at entry level, but there are a few useful pointers that you can take away if you had to decide between them:
For milk based coffee lovers, the Nespresso U is a good bet because of the modular add-on to make it the U Milk for lattes, cappuccinos and so forth.
The Nespresso Pixie is by far the most customisable machine in terms of look at feel thanks to Nespresso’s creative Pixie Clips, allowing you to adapt the coffee machine to any kitchen.
The Nespresso Inissia is perfect if you want simple, uncomplicated Nespresso coffee and prefer straight coffee to milk-based drinks. If these are your only priorities it is the cheapest option of the three.
Nespresso Prodigio Coffee Machine
Nespresso Moves into the World of Connected Coffee Machines
Nespresso are now venturing into the world of connected devices with the new Nespresso Prodigio coffee machine. This is a smart coffee machine that lets you use an app on your phone to determine when you’d like a coffee! If you’re looking for the smartest coffee machine on the market, this is the one you want at entry level without a doubt.
Smart Coffee Machine – Bluetooth Connectivity
The Nespresso Prodigio is a Bluetooth coffee machine that uses the same capsule technology brew you an espresso, but is connected to the internet, so you can brew yourself a cup of coffee without even having to get out of bed. If you have a smartphone and this connected coffee machine, you have wireless control over your Nespresso.
The Prodigio makes it possible for you to brew yourself a cup, schedule a brew for later in the day (or to coincide with your morning alarm), and even check on whether or not your machine needs maintenance or a cleaning. It gives you almost complete control over your smart coffee machine, without having to be anywhere near that coffee machine (except to actually grab your espresso).
How effortless this Nespresso machine is depends on your circumstances, but this is a very welcome and useful function. Take, for example, the following situation: you know that you are going to want an espresso when you get out of the shower, but you do not want to go downstairs to set your machine. With the Nespresso Prodigio, all you have to do is grab your smartphone off of your nightstand and schedule yourself a brew.
You will get the same high quality espresso you have come to expect from the Nespresso line, without any hassle. Most other machines with the same features are significantly more expensive. This machine is designed to be an affordable version for a great smart coffee machine. The connectivity features will also help you keep your machine in better condition and help ensure that you never run out of capsules.
Should I Buy the Nespresso Prodigio or Prodigio & Milk?
There are essentially two different versions of this connect coffee machine, the Prodigio and the Prodigio & Milk, which allows you to make a wider variety of drinks, including macchiatos and cappuccinos. The Prodigio & Milk comes with an Aeroccino unit which allows you to make milk-based coffees. The Aeroccino unit is also available as a standalone extra for other Nespresso machines, called the Aeroccino Plus – and is designed to be used with a number of the machines available in the range. However, in more recent times because of popularity, the Prodigio & Milk has become the standard, so you will tend to see the combination available for purchase rather than just the Prodigio unit itself.
We highly recommend using the Nespresso Prodigio as a brilliant connected coffee machine if you would find scheduling your brew to be particularly useful!