I am a coffee gadget enthusiast so it was a certainty that I would eventually get an espresso machine. The only thing holding me back was the hefty price tag for yet another large-ish countertop appliance. The Nespresso Essenza Mini is the perfect size for a countertop espresso machine and won’t break the bank.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is part of Nespresso’s original line of espresso machines and uses the smaller original capsules. At just over a foot long, a few inches wide and under ten inches tall, it takes up very little space. The unit I purchased came in a white & black color scheme and includes a variety pack of capsules so you can figure out what kind of Nespresso capsules you like before buying them. Other colors are available, you’ll just have to shop around.
The Essenza Mini uses a small water tank at the back of the machine, which holds about 20oz (590ml) and there are two pour sizes to choose from. The classic espresso button is 1.35oz (40ml) and the lungo button dispenses 3.72 (110ml). So from a full 20oz tank, you get about 14 espressos or 5 lungo pours. These volumes are adjustable so you can have more or less volume programmed for each button. Doing this is as simple as holding the button and releasing it when the desired pour volume is reached. The unit will save this setting for future use.
The integrated wastebasket is a nice feature and holds up to 6 spent capsules so you don’t need to pull out each used capsule as you go. In front of the wastebasket is a generously-sized drip tray that is more suited for small 5-80z cups and espresso shot glasses. However, this is removable and I have no trouble fitting a normal sized coffee mug under the spout.
The machine has a pump that produces 19 bars of pressure so you are getting a true espresso-style brew, crema and all. Other machines that don’t brew under pressure don’t make true espressos although they may have a button that just produces extra strong coffee.
I am very impressed with how fast the machine heats up. It only takes about 20-25 seconds to go from room temperature to operating temperature and it will hold that for 9 minutes before automatically shutting off. You can extend this time to 30 minutes though if desired.
I have had no issues with the Nespresso brand capsules, they are fantastic. However, I did try some third-party capsules and was not pleased with the performance. The system took almost double the amount of time to brew and I suspect the cause was coffee that was too finely ground. I did not want to risk damaging the pump on my nice new machine so I ditched the rest of third-party capsules. Also, the cost difference was not really enough to make me not buy the Nespresso capsules.
One of the top reasons I like the Nespresso capsule system is because they offer a recycling program. They provide a free, pre-paid bag that holds over 100 pods and you just mail it back when it’s full. Since Nespresso’s pods are made of aluminum, they can be recycled and the used coffee can be composted. This is a huge advantage over traditional plastic pods like k-cups and other off-brand plastic cups. This program more than compensates for the slightly extra cost per pod, when compared with buying bagged coffee, or third-party pods. Here’s a quick video on their recycling program in the U.S.
Speaking of cost, at the time of writing this, Nespresso offers $10 off of your first order from Nespresso.com. The coupon code was included on a pamphlet in the box. Also, when you order at least $35 worth of coffee on their site, you get free shipping and delivery around 4 business days. There’s also a convenient mobile app where you can order pods right from your phone (Android and iOS).
The selection of capsules that are available is great, ranging from super robust and dark, to light and sweet flavors. I recommend the Volluto and Livanto as a good starting point unless you know you will like more robust flavors.
I am very pleased with my Nespresso Essenza Mini and highly recommend this espresso machine if you are looking for one that makes great coffee and doesn’t take up much space. The recycling program and variety of pods available make ordering direct from Nespresso a no-brainer. If you enjoyed this review, please leave a comment and continue to check back for new reviews and posts each week. Thanks for reading!