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Nespresso Machines - Dan Metcalf's Review
Posted: April 9, 2013, 11:58am
review rating: 0.0
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Nespresso Espresso Machines
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More About This Product
Arrow The Nespresso Machines has 37 Reviews
Arrow The Nespresso Machines has been rated 8.02 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 6, 2003.
Arrow Nespresso Machines reviews have been viewed 485,940 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Peter Chenoweth 8.50
Gene B 8.28
McKenna Ross 8.14
J R 8.00
Andy B 7.20

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.0
Product Reviewed: Citiz & Milk M190
Manufacturer: Magimix Quality: 6
Average Price: Varies Usability: 8
Price Paid: $299.00 Cost vs. Value 6
Where Bought: SurLaTable Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 6 months Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: It's a great instant espresso machine for those without a proper setup.  With refillable pods it becomes affordable.
Positive Product Points

Simple to use
Cleanup is easy
Descale is simple
Decent espresso that surpasses Starbucks
Shot size adjustable
Heats up quick
EmoHome 4th Gen Reusable PODs work great

Negative Product Points

Pressurized portafilter
Nespresso pods are expensive
Water temp is lower

Detailed Commentary

Starbucks paid me to market test their Verismo product pre-release last year.  I enjoyed using the system, but found the quality of the 'espresso' to be lacking, although this was mostly due to the dark roasted espresso beans they have in the espresso pods.  My wife liked the pod convenience, so I went looking at alternatives.

First off, change those buttons so you get the amount of espresso you want per shot.  These are 5-6g pods, so I think a 25-30ml extract is maximum for these, and for the "lungo" button I set it to 55ml.  That works much better in my opinion.

Research led me to the Nespresso.  I tried one out and it was better than the Verismo, better than Starbucks by any stretch, and there are Emohome 4th Gen reusable pods available for this machine on eBay.  I purchased the Nespresso CitiZ & Milk, Nespresso pods, and 30 reusable Emohome pods.  The Nespresso pods are fine, taste good, and work fine in milk drinks, but they are a bit expensive.

Being a frugal guy, I bought some Whole Foods in-house light roasted beans, ground them up at the store on their espresso fine setting and loaded up my pods in batches.  (Yeah, I know freshly ground beans go stale quickly...  Ignore that for a sec.)  I was making more flavorful coffee than the Nespresso pods and never turned back.  I have been running locally roasted and store ground beans through this thing since that time and it's working great.  (Whole Foods changed their grinder and it no longer grinds fine enough for my Nespresso, so I now have a Baratza Vario to handle that job perfectly.)  I've been using the same 30 Emohome pods for 6 months, running through up to 10 pods in a day, so they get used quite a bit and I have had zero failures.  (I did have a pod that wouldn't even drip it was packed so tight, and I attempted to run the espresso out with 5 or so presses of the espresso shot.  When the pod was ejected I saw that along with the heat of the water and the pressure from the pump it had changed shape and was no longer usable.  I carefully heated up the clean, damaged pod with a heat gun, sandwiched it between 2 other pods and it's as good as new!  These things are reliable.)

Since the Nespresso works similar to a pressurized portafilter there's always some faux crema extracted, but I've found that by varying the grind and packing of the pods I can greatly effect the level of 'crema' as well as flavors like a normal espresso would.  The Nespresso prefers a slightly coarser grind than a normal espresso machine though, and since the water temp is a little low I find my setup prefers beans that have been roasted at least 4 days ago otherwise we get some sourness that is gone by day 5.  'Stale' grounds don't seem to be much of a problem on this machine either, although I probably should test that more.

Summary:  Get your EmoHome 4th Generation or better pods, grind your own coffee, experiment with packing pressures - don't need much at all, and then you'll have your coffee for under $0.20/single shot.

Buying Experience

Sur La Table was great, and I purchased before they dropped their lifetime warranty on this machine.  It was a steep price to pay for it new, but it's covered for as long as I want, so that's fine by me.

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Posted: April 9, 2013, 11:58am
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