Fancy a coffee? All you need to know about those machines
Pricewatch casts a cold eye on coffee makers and narrows it down to this fantastic four
Pricewatch has been hard at work sampling coffee from a range of machines. Photograph: Getty Images
Nespresso Sage Creatista €499.95
This allows you to “easily create authentic, top-quality latte art coffee at home” according to the promotional guff. And it’s not wrong.
If you have a steady hand, artistic flair and time on your hands you can do wonders with your coffee thanks to the maker’s “advanced milk texturing technologY” (and no, we’re not entirely sure what that means either).
If, on the other hand you’re like Pricwatch and in a hurry and happy with a cup of coffee with a splash of cold milk then this may be wasted on you. Milk art aside, it looks gorgeous and – once you can afford it – will make your kitchen look swisher. The self-cleaning system is excellent and stops gross milk build-ups. And the brushed chrome milk jug is a nice addition. But then there’s the price. At €500 it will be beyond many budgets.
Verdict: Will be loved by loaded latte lovers.
This is a brand new Nespresso concept we were most suspicious about. The root of our suspicion was the barcoded new pods unique to the Nespresso brand, which means no cheap knock-off pods will work in it.
Anyways, it turns out we were entirely wrong. This is a great machine and will be perfect for anyone who likes a big cup of coffee of a morning. The capsules allow you make cup sizes from a 40ml espresso, a 414ml large black coffee and the machine’s “intelligent system” uses that barcode technology to recognise what capsule is what and to automatically change the brewing parameters.
It is not cheap, but if you are the type to use two (even three) pods when making a coffee this could save you money. The quality of the coffee it makes is excellent too.
Verdict: A great addition to the range.
Star rating: ★★★★★
Essenza Mini from Krups €89.95
This is the cheapest Nespresso machine we could find. It costs more than five times less than the most expensive options on the market. But when you look at the two side-by-side they are not worlds apart.
As with the high-end options this makes coffee pretty effortlessly. And while it lacks all the bells and whistles it can’t really be faulted for the job it does. It has only two size settings: big and small; but has other things going for it.
It is nice and compact so will fit into the smallest of kitchens. At just over half a litre, the water reservoir is on the small side and this machine is not the sort of thing you’d show off to visitors – unlike, say, the Creatista – but it will do what is asked of it with minimal fuss.
Verdict: Good value
Star rating: ★★★★
This is the moment when the Internet of Things meets your coffee machine. The unique selling point about this machine is it talks to your smart phone and your smart phone can communicate with it. And what use is that, you might well ask.
Well, truth be told not much. Yes, you can turn it on remotely and you could have it make you coffee in the kitchen while you’re in the bedroom. But you would have had to insert the pod in advance and you’d still have to go into the kitchen to drink the coffee. So, try as we did, we could not work out any use for it.
It wil also send you reminders when capsules are running low which is a whole lot more useful, if kind of annoying particularly when you buy more capsules independent of the app and forget to tell it so it gets confused and keeps sending the messages.
Verdict: The future but for now a bit gimmicky?
Star rating: ★★★