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:
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.
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.
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!
Nespresso and KitchenAid have partnered to produce a coffee machine specifically for Nespresso showcasing the design and flair of KitchenAid products. KitchenAid are a home appliance brand that specialise in kitchen equipment, so it’s interesting to see that they have invested in making a Nespresso machine.
Unlike other manufacturers such as Krups and MagiMix, at present KitchenAid have only focused on producing the one Nespresso machine, positioning it as a premium product with KitchenAid quality and experience behind it. It is named “KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso” and was available in two colours initially: Candy Apple Red and Onyx Black. The range of colours has now expanded to include Almond Cream, Medallion Silver, Empire Red (which is darker than Candy Apple Red) and Frosted Pearl. A photo showing the colour options is below.
The KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso coffee machine comes with a hefty price tag, but is definitely on the high end of the scale when it comes to Nespresso coffee machines. Most people’s experiences of other KitchenAid appliances are very favourable, and what you are paying for in this instance is the fully metal finish to the coffee machine as well as the sleek lines and design elements which blend in with other high end KitchenAid products.
From a technical Nespresso point of view, the coffee making process itself is the same as some of the cheaper models like the Nespresso U or the Nespresso Inissia, but these machines won’t carry the premium finish that the KitchenAid model does. The KitchenAid Nespresso can be expected to be at home in a kitchen where the best products are on display, and the user fancies high quality in the appliances they buy.
You can also combine the KitchenAid Nespresso machine with Nespresso’s Aeroccino milk frother to allow you to make silky milk-based coffees at home as well – it is not just an espresso exclusive.
The parts that make up the KitchenAid Nespresso are predominantly die cast from both zinc and aluminium, and as a result can often be extremely sturdy and reliable. Naturally nothing is ever 100% but the finish truly is superb and this is what you’d be paying the extra for on the price tag.
If you’re after a premium finish or want a Nespresso machine that looks fantastic and is extremely reliable in your kitchen, then look no further than the KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso if it’s pure high quality that you’re after.
On the other hand, if you only care about the end result in terms of coffee then some of the other Nespresso models such as the CitiZ, Pixie and U may be more suitable as they’re a cheaper price but for a very similar product.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful! If you are considering buying your own KitchenAid Nespresso coffee machine you can check out the links below.
The new Nespresso Prodigio connected coffee machine has just been released, and marks a bit of a sign of the times as far as home appliances are concerned. While the internet of things and more appliances at home being automated has become ‘headline news’ for the last few years now, the newest line of coffee machines from Nespresso allows us to pre-program our morning coffee for whenever we choose to wake up!
The Nespresso Prodigio is controlled using the My Prodigio app, which you should check to make sure is compatible with your smartphone. Not all smartphones work with Nespresso’s Prodigio (although the vast majority will), but given the entire point of this particular Nespresso machine is to use your phone, you really want to ensure compatibility first!
You’ll see the home screen looking a bit like this – very minimalist but also great and not complicated.
An internal diagnostic tool allows you to glance at whether there’s any internal issue with the machine, if you need to order more capsules and whether the water levels are okay to make a coffee. For example, the Prodigio will tell you if your machine needs de-scaling.
After this, you can move into the “Set schedule” screen to plan your morning coffee for the next day, or perhaps one when you come back home from work or similar.
You can use a Ristretto (25ml of water), Espresso (40ml of water) or Lungo (110ml of water) for cup size, and the scroll wheel allows you to choose a time to schedule your coffee. The scroll wheel is intuitive to use and is a simple circular design representing the hours in a day – simply set your timer for whenever suits you and press the “Schedule brew” button.
The process is semi-automatic at best though, because ultimately you still need to make sure a cup is underneath the machine and that there’s a Nespresso coffee capsule inserted in the top of it – but this bit of forward planning is relatively minimal.
The Prodigio initially comes in two colours: Silver and Titan, designed to suit the environment the machine is sat in whether it’s light or dark (or whether you want your machine to blend in or stand out).
There are also two styles of machine, the normal Prodigio and the Prodigio & Milk, which comes with an Aeroccino system to help you froth the perfect cup of milk to complement your coffee. However, please note that making the milk for your coffee has to be done manually and this part cannot yet be automated with the Prodigio’s automated brewing system.
One useful aspect of the app is being able to see how many coffee capsules you have left, so you don’t run out accidentally. If you click into the “Capsules” screen you’ll see an estimate (usually correct since it goes off of how many times you make a coffee, so you assume you put a capsule in each time) of how many capsules you have remaining.
From this screen in the app you can directly order new capsules from Nespresso, which is handy when you know your stock / supply is getting low. However, note that the number displayed is based on your orders via Nespresso directly. If you order Nespresso coffee capsules from Amazon, a third party capsule provider or just buy them directly from a shop, the app cannot automatically update your stock level.
That’s why there’s a plus and minus button either side of your estimated number of capsules left – so that you can add any other capsules you buy elsewhere to your total in the app.
One unfortunate side-effect of having a simplified number of capsules left is that you can’t really split it out. For example, if you have 10 of one Nespresso capsule and 10 of another, there’s no way of knowing how many of each flavour you have left, of course – just the total number.
The Nespresso Prodigio coffee machine is an excellent example of how increasing connectivity in our home appliances is designed to make our lives easier. It will attract lots of people who enjoy being early adopters of technology, and for people who are more night owls than early morning risers the automatic coffee in the morning will be a welcome way to start their day.
On the flip side, however, the process is far from fully automated still – cups, water, milk etc. still have to be done manually the night before, so to some that don’t mind actually pressing the button and getting their accessories ready in the morning, the ability to schedule a brew can be seen as a bit of a gimmick. It also depends highly on your schedule, and whether or not for example you can commit to having a coffee while it’s hot if you set it for a particular time. Otherwise, hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock could mean a cold Nespresso!
Finally, not all smartphones are supported (although most tech savvy people will have a smartphone that’s compatible we’re sure) – so it will definitely pay to do your homework and ensure the Prodigio is the right machine for you and your phone before making a purchase.
Ultimately, the Nespresso Prodigio is a great option for “non-morning people” to schedule their coffee, or for someone to save a bit of time when coming back from a lunch break or from work to a welcome brew. It’s a step in the right direction for the Internet of Things and home appliances in general, and soon we’ll be able to do a lot more with these machines as well.
For those with less-set lifestyles and schedules, or those who don’t mind the extra time / effort to make a brew themselves, most of what sells the Prodigio could be seen as a bit of a gimmick. However, for the equivalent price there are plenty of other Nespresso machines to consider if automating your morning coffee isn’t high up on your priority list.
In short, the Prodigio does admittedly cater to a very niche audience – but if you’re part of this niche audience, we have no doubt you’ll love it to bits.
Nespresso has developed and unveiled two new single-origin limited edition coffee capsules, and they’re pretty exciting! We have the Umutima, or the Umutima Wa Lake Kivu Rwanda, and the Tanim, or Tanim de Chiapas Mexico in long form.
They are characterised on Nespresso packaging by having beautiful and distinct African and South American designs layered on top of the green & pink coffee capsule pod.
Deliberately chosen to highlight Nespresso’s commitment to sustainable coffee farming communities, the two types of coffee capsule produce different tastes that quite excitingly, you can taste the difference of when trying them side-by-side.
Below is an introduction and review of both the Nespresso Umutima and Nespresso Tanim limited edition coffee capsule – enjoy!
These coffees come from very different backgrounds. In Lake Kivu in Rwanda farmers have adopted post-modern harvest practices, and coffee is grown mainly in small plots under the beating heat of African sunshine. On the other hand, in Tanim de Chiapas in Mexico traditional coffee farming methods are used which were passed on from generation to generation. Most of the coffee here is grown alongside other crops, and rather than in sunshine the coffee beans are crown under the canopy of trees in the shade.
To help highlight the tastes that are a result of different farming methods, Nespresso have done something rather clever to bring out the flavours of both coffees – they split-roasted them!
The two textures of the coffees are really quite different – the Tanim in particular is unbelievably smooth but has a nice nutty aftertaste to it, and the Umutima feels slightly courser and with a deeper, almost dark-chocolatey feel to it despite the flavours tasting quite fruity – it’s really quite a remarkable mix! To bring this out and make it obvious to normal coffee-goers (like us!), Nespresso roasted half of their Tanim beans at a very long, low-temperature setting which keeps the nuttiness of the flavour intact. They then left the other half of the roast to be darker, which focuses more on the texture. That way, they get the best of both worlds!
Similarly, the Umutima is half roasted lightly to keep a hold of all the juicier, fruity notes – and the other half is left darker to preserve the texture, which in this case is a bit coarser and stronger.
Here you can see a photo of us taste-testing the Umutima coffee (we tried both as an espresso / lungo / ristretto and also with a bit of milk) at a Nespresso Experience store. If there’s one near you we highly recommend visiting one, as it can be a really fun place to experience all the different flavours without having to buy one of everything!
The first thing to note is how strong the coffee is – even though officially the Umutima is a ‘6’ and the Tanim a ‘7’ on Nespresso’s intensity scale, because of how smooth the Tanim is and the more delicate flavours (nutty as opposed to bright and fruity in the Umutima) it tends to be recommended in smaller sizes. The official Nespresso guidelines say that the Tanim de Chiapas is suited to Ristretto (25ml) & Espresso (40ml) sizes, whereas for the Umutima wa Lake Kivu the recommended sizes are Espresso (40ml) and Lungo (110ml).
We agree with this – the Umutima is seriously bright and fruity, and at an espresso size you can really taste it, whereas the Tanim is a bit more delicate (although personally we preferred the nutty flavours in the Tanim). Therefore, the Umutima is probably better suited to milk-based coffees like flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos. The Tanim is suited to shorter drinks where you can appreciate the delicateness of the flavours more, like an espresso or perhaps a macchiato if with milk.
Your choice of whether to get Umutima or Tanim coffee capsules for your Nespresso machine depends highly on what kind of coffee you prefer. For milk-based coffees we recommend the Umutima capsule, where the brightness of the flavours won’t get lost even if you use milk as your base. For straight coffees we recommend the Tanim (unless you really like the bold flavours of the Umutima, of course!) because you can appreciate the subtle nuttiness of the coffee better in a water based coffee.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief guide – please make sure to share if you’ve liked it! Until next time, happy drinking!
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