Nespresso machines make single-serve coffee fast and efficient. But it leaves people asking, is it real espresso? I asked myself the same question when I first discovered this nifty little machine.
Well is it espresso?… Not really, but it’s close. In fact, it’s close enough that anyone other than the snobbiest of coffee snobs might actually love it. If you are curious, you can keep reading to find out all about it.
What is a Nespresso?
Nespresso is a luxury coffee pod machine that makes both coffee and espresso. The pods are also called capsules and they consist of single-serve, preportioned coffee grinds.
They’re owned by the Nestle company but manufacture under several different brands such as De’Longhi and Phillips. They got their start in 1975 when Eric Favre, a Nestle employee, wanted to prove to his wife that he could make the ultimate espresso.
Farve and his wife went to coffee bars all over until they noticed an Italian barista named Eugenio who instead of pumping the piston of the machine just once, he aerated the coffee by pulling the lever at several short intervals.
He discovered that it creates oxidation and this brings out the flavors and aroma from the beans. This led to him inventing the Nespresso system. He figured out that a sealed capsule where the air is trapped before water is forced through fills the cup with a frothy espresso.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the machine gained popularity. Since then, it’s been very popular in Europe and is making an entrance into the U.S. coffee scene.
Is Nespresso Coffee or Espresso?
The beautiful thing about a Nespresso machine is that it can make both coffee and espresso. It’s not the traditional espresso that you might get from a coffee shop, so if you are an espresso snob, you probably won’t like the Nespresso ones.
The rest of you out there should give it a try. They claim it can generate 15 bars of pressure. This is enough to make a wonderful cup at home that even has crema.
You don’t have to be an expert to make it either. There are no adjustments that need to be made or fine-tuning to the brew. You simply put the pod in and let the machine do the rest. It can’t get any easier.
Is Nespresso Worth the Money
While it’s not a traditional espresso, it is definitely not something you should overlook. The luxury pod brewers tend to produce a medium bodied cup full of rich flavor and little acidity.
It can be compared to the results you get from a Moka Pot rather than a traditional espresso machine. It’s not going to be as flavorful or intense but it sure is a lot less work.
What is the Best Nespresso Machine?
There is a giant learning curve when you try to brew espresso from home with a fancy machine. This is why you should just avoid it altogether and stick to coffee shops for “real” espresso.
When making espresso there is so much you have to do. Grind the beans, tamp the grounds, pull the shot, then if it’s not right you make the adjustment and start all over. It seems like a huge waste to me.
Instead of doing all that, grab yourself a Nespresso machine and just take the easy road. The best machine we have found is the Nespresso Essenza Mini.
We love it because it’s small, but powerful and can make any drink that the other ones can while still keeping your kitchen clutter-free. And let’s face it, you don’t need anything crazy or expensive, just pop the pod in and brew.
How Do You Clean Your Nespresso?
Over time, residue and coffee oils will build up inside your machine. This will eventually block the nozzle and produce bitter coffee. Too much build-up can even make the capsule not fit correctly.
After each use, you should remove the capsule and run water through the flow system. Every 3 months, it’s recommended to run a cleaning capsule through it.
Steps to Descale:
Not using filtered water can lead to mineral build-up and water deposits in your machine.
- Get descaling liquid or sachets
- Turn machine on
- Empty the water from the machine and drip tray
- Place a large container under the outlet
- Pour water and descaler into the machine
- Start Descale mode
- Empty and Clean the tank
- Fill it with fresh water and run again
- Clean out the drip tray
- Disable descaling mode
You can find instructions to de-scaling each machine on Nespresso’s YouTube channel.
How to Recycle Your Pods
If you didn’t know, the aluminum that your Nespresso pods are made of is actually recyclable. This makes brewing the pods an environmentally friendly option. All you need to do is return them to Nespresso.
You can do this one of 2 ways. You can drop them off at a recycling point or fill a Nespresso recycling bag then mail it back in.
Are the Pods Vegan?
Nespresso coffee pods are vegan. They don’t use any animal products what so ever. You can rest assured there are only ground coffee beans, plastic, and aluminum.
If you are looking for a good espresso, Nespresso is the way to go. If you are looking for great espresso, find a coffee shop. At the end of the day, if you aren’t willing to put in the money and time required to make “great” espresso at home the “real” way, but you do want to drink a good cup of “espresso”, give the Nespresso a try.
The choice here is up to you.
Want to know all of our Nespresso Hacks? See them here.