HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Questions about Nespresso machines and Frothers

We've decided to purchase a single-serve pod system and after a fair bit of research, including reading through the great posts here, we're leaning towards purchasing a Nespresso machine since we prefer espresso-based drinks.

I do have some questions and I'm hoping folks here may be able to assist me.

NESPRESSO MACHINE QUESTIONS:

- How many ounces of coffee does the largest cup size yield? I used a Nespresso CitiZ machine at a hotel recently and the large cup option barely filled a tea cup so I'm guessing it was about 5oz...is that right? If you want a larger cup of coffee would you use 2 pods or, just add more water run through the machine? (trying to get a sense of the strength of the coffee).

- How hot is the coffee? I'd say the coffee I made at the hotel was hot but not "piping hot" which I'd prefer.

- If you have a CitZ & Milk system, are you happy with it? Would you recommend this combo system vs the two stand-alone items?

FROTHER QUESTIONS:

- Which brand of frother provides the hottest milk? I understand that Nespresso's Aeroccino 3 gets milk to 150°F

- Any recommendations or warnings relative to a certain brand or model?

Thanks so much for any help you can provide.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. We have the Pixie and Aeroccino and have been very happy with it. A 5 gram pod will give you about a half cup of coffee (takes about 10 grams to brew a "full" cup of coffee in a regular coffeemaker, so it makes sense that you get less here). We've been using the fillable pods. They work great, take next to no time to fill and end up being fairly inexpensive compared to the Nespresso capsules (about 15 cents for the capsule and 15-20 cents for coffee). These are great:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/200-EMPTY-CAP...

    There's more competition in Europe so they have more capsule alternatives.

    As for the Aeroccino I like the ease of use and cleaning. I've never given a thought to the temperature but have always felt that it was an appropriate drinking temperature.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      Thanks very much for your helpful post ferret. Knowing that the pods hold 5g was particularly helpful as, like you we presently purchase freshly roasted beans then grind them ourselves and indeed we use 10g/cup. I sincerely appreciate the link to the empty capsules and I will most definitely order some when we get our machine. I love the coffee from our local roasters (and that we pick up on our travels) so it's nice to know that we'll still have the option of doing this.

      Thanks too for sharing your experience with the Aeroccino. I called my local retailer and they suggested I come in and give it a test run so I can see about the temperature. It's very helpful to hear you've been satisfied with the unit. I have to admit, I really like the simplicity of the design. The other unit I'm looking at is a Breville and while it does allow for temperature adjustments, it isn't as aesthetically pleasing!! Nonetheless, I do want to be sure whichever unit I purchase gets the milk to a temperature I'm happy with. Thanks again for your help.

    2. I'm not going to recommend one machine over another. I happen to think all these pod coffee machines are a expensive waste of money, and make lousy coffee to boot. I will comment on the heating of milk. 150* is the hottest you want to steam milk, anything higher will result in scorched tasting drek.

      8 Replies
      1. re: poser

        And this is helpful to the poster how? Generalizing that "all these pod coffee machines" are awful is helpful if you've tried them all before rendering an opinion. I've had bot bad and good experiences but the Nespresso is a cut above the rest and it makes a very good cup of espresso given the convenience and I've had worse cups from traditional machines.

        1. re: ferret

          My comment was directed toward the heating of the milk. I also posted I would not give an opinion on the coffee machines.
          I'm happy you like your Pod machine, I just feel they offer nothing but stale coffee.

          1. re: poser

            And while you specifically addressed the milk issue you were generally dismissive of single-serve machines (you can really say "i would not give an opinion" when what you wrote was "I happen to think all these pod coffee machines are a[n] expensive waste of money and make lousy coffee to boot."

            Given that my post includes details about user-fillable capsules, then your "stale coffee" objection would be moot.

            1. re: poser

              Thanks for your experience with the milk poser.

              FYI, I did speak with Nestle about the freshness of their pods as part of my original research and in fact, this was a key factor in helping me decide on their Nespresso machines. Nespresso insists on distributing their own pods and ships them to your door within 2 days of ordering to ensure optimum freshness. The other factor that sets these machines apart is the 19 bars of pressure they use to produce a superior aroma and flavour in their coffees. Their success in the European markets is exemplary and compelling. Of course, nothing beats folks personal preferences and for my coffee $, I simply haven't been able to produce a better cup of coffee at home than I've sampled from these machines.

              1. re: poser

                You can get a Super-Automatic Espresso machine for around the same price point. For that matter you can get a really good refurbished model for under $500. I like these much better than the pod machines and think the quality of coffee/espresso is much better and the machine is much more versatile.

                1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                  You can buy the Nespresso with the Aeroccino for $200 to $300 as a bundle (depending on which machine you choose). I've never seen an automatic of any kind near that price. We have a $4,000 machine in my office and if I could afford one at home, I'd get that, but the Nespresso doesn't disappoint.

                  1. re: ferret

                    Try this site out. A couple years ago I was able to get a $2000 machine as a refurb for around $450. But you have to look for deals when they are offering refurbished machines. http://www.wholelattelove.com/outlet....

                    Here's one for $329 - no tax and free shipping

                    http://www.wholelattelove.com/Saeco/s...

                    1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                      I've had enough (bad) experience with manual espresso machines to be leery of a place that sells refurbs with a very limited return policy and no free return shipping.

          2. I have no personal experience regarding these two coffee machine. For what it is worth, during his Starbuck Verismo review, the reviewer, Brier Dudley, wrote quite a bit about Nespresso.

            "I should confess that I'm a big fan of the competing Nespresso system from Nestle, which pioneered the pod coffee business.....I've tried other single-serve systems but haven't found one that makes straight shots of espresso as well as the Nespresso. The Verismo is the first one that has come close....."

            Here is his review:

            http://seattletimes.com/html/technolo...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Thanks very much for the insightful article Chemicalkinetics. That was great info!

              I do love my Starbucks lattes and spoke w the manager of my local shop to get her thoughts on the Verismo after reading this. She said she thought the coffee itself was good but that work needed to be done w the milk as it prevented the unit from producing a product comparable to what you would purchase in store.

            2. I can't speak to pod machines. I grind my own beans and have a classic gaggia - such a wonderful workhorse - that I use several times daily. I'm fussy about cleaning and attending to the frothing wand is very time consuming. After picking up the Aeroccino , my coffee machine's frother has gone unused. The Nespresso frother is simple to use, consistent and clean up is zippy.

              I do find that if you're frothing for consecutive cups, the foam volume is best in the first run. There is also a cold froth setting which I never use as it results in an uninteresting iced cappuccino. That said, I've been very happy with the Aeroccino - I have an extra one at the cottage and have given them as gifts.

              6 Replies
              1. re: SweetSweetPotato

                Aside from the very good results the "rinse and wipe" ease of cleaning is a very strong selling point, and the magnetic frother attachment is a clever and elegant solution.

                1. re: ferret

                  I saw that magnetic attachment in a You Tube product review video ferret...what a great idea and as you say, an elegant solution. I must say I was really impressed by the quality of the Nespresso machines too. So many units are plastic these days so it was nice to see metal bodies on some of these machines.

                2. re: SweetSweetPotato

                  Thanks so much SSP, that's very helpful to know...I'm impressed! Our neighbour at a previous house also had a Gaggia machine that he had inherited from his uncle. The machine was a sight to behold. Like you, he kept it in pristine condition and it was truly the focal point in the kitchen. I must say he made a mean cappuccino as well....it was hard to move!! ; - )

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Good Evening:

                    To answer your NESPRESSO MACHINE QUESTIONS:

                    - How many ounces of coffee does the largest cup size yield? I used a Nespresso CitiZ machine at a hotel recently and the large cup option barely filled a tea cup so I'm guessing it was about 5oz...is that right? If you want a larger cup of coffee would you use 2 pods or, just add more water run through the machine? (trying to get a sense of the strength of the coffee).

                    A: The newer models allow you to use any cup size you want: Espresso, Lungo, or a North American Coffee Mug. You simply move the coffee cup platform to fit your cup.

                    - How hot is the coffee? I'd say the coffee I made at the hotel was hot but not "piping hot" which I'd prefer.

                    A: Good question. Using our Rösle Kitchen Thermometer (converted into US F degrees), I have the following readings:

                    Coffee in a Lungo cup: 165 F
                    Areoccino milk: 151 F

                    - If you have a CitZ & Milk system, are you happy with it? Would you recommend this combo system vs the two stand-alone items?

                    A: Having had numerous Bialetti, Krups, Gaggia, Capresso, and other machines, I do prefer Nespresso for it's good taste, consistency, ease of use, and zero repair problems. My garage workshop still has a section of parts and old manual machines leftover from those days.

                    In fact, I take a Pixie machine and capsules for 30 days when I travel, along with an up/down converter.

                    Stand alone machines are two electrical plugs and mains usage. A combination machine is one plug and perhaps more efficient space usage.

                    FROTHER QUESTIONS:

                    - Which brand of frother provides the hottest milk? I understand that Nespresso's Aeroccino 3 gets milk to 150°F

                    A: 151 F just now, per the above reading.

                    - Any recommendations or warnings relative to a certain brand or model?

                    A: None. That and colour, and features are a matter of personal choice. I actually rarely use the Aeroccino which came with the Citiz. Large milky drinks are not common here, but it is nice to have if you or a guest wants that option.

                    Note: Now and then someone comes over wanting a old-style espresso. For that we a stainless steel Bialetti cooktop pot, and a small bag of Lavazza Gold in the freezer. Used once last year.

                    I hope this is helpful.

                     
                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                      SWISSAIRE, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write such a comprehensive and incredibly helpful response. Special thanks for taking the temperature of the coffee and milk for me as well. I agree w you about the models and colour being a matter of personal choice and I have to say we love the style of the CitiZ and it was a toss up as to whether we went w the red (as I see you have!!) and the Limousine black).

                      Thanks once again for your thoughtful and indeed, very helpful response.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Morning.

                        I had wondered about this too, so gave me an opportunity to use the thermometer.
                        Yes, Red on the Citiz, and Tangerine Orange on the Pixie.

                        My pleasure.

                3. I LOVE my Nespresso Pixie machine. It's Swiss made while the new "U" model is made in China. I make a latte every morning in an 8 oz. glass with 2 tbs of NIDO dry whole milk powder and KAL brand liquid stevia. I do two 1.75 oz. pours first of hot water into the milk powder mixture and froth it with a Black & Decker frother, and then a 4 oz. pour of the Ristretto capsule and a bit of cinnamon on top. Absolutely delicious with no aftertaste. This tastes better than the capps and lattes I've had at the Nespresso store, and this milk froths well into a thick, delicious, rich froth. Always have the milk on hand and no worries of it going bad. Only 80 calories!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blondelle

                    Thanks very much blondelle. I'm in Canada and haven't seen the NIDO milk but when I Googled it I do recognize the pkg so I'm guessing I must have seen it in US grocery stores so I'll pick some up on our next trip across the border in a couple of weeks. Thanks again!

                  2. I am sitting here having a morning Nespresso as I type. I am a recovering coffee snob, I have been a purist in the past but have simply given up. Here is my take on the Nespresso machines:

                    1. Where the best espresso you've ever had down cobbled laneway in Italy served by a barrista who looks like a young Gina Lollabrigida is a ten then a Nespresso shot is a reliable 6-7. You can get better coffees served from a traditional machine used by a skilled maker. nevertheless the coffee from the Nespresso machine is "good". I also make the point that frequently I taste coffee from the traditional machines that is worse than Nespresso. I have never, ever, had a coffee from a domestic traditional espresso machine at somebody's house that is better than Nespresso. Admittedly my friends aren't full on purists but they like their coffee

                    2. People look at pods as expensive but I know from personal experience that it is a very cheap option for espresso type coffee compared to any machine other than the basic Italian stove top (which are great, btw). I used to buy coffees, two a day and pay $3 each for them. I have a Pixie at home. Since taking a pod machine to work, Ive saved a bundle of money. A noticable bundle.

                    3 There is no machine to match it for simplicity of use. Purists don't care, bless them, and in fact it might even be a negative for a purist, but there it is. They are the ultimate machine for ease of use. Ditto the aerochino

                    4. Mess. What mess? A pod sits in the basket in the machine and gets put in the bin when the basket is full. No other coffee system apart from instant is less messy.

                    To answer your question, there are two types of pod the standard size produces a 40ml shot (sorry I'm from Australia and can only think in metric) the Lungo pod produces 110ml. When making a coffee do not over extract. If you want to add hot water then do so from the kettle but it is better to get used to smaller coffee. I find the lungo to give me a good mug in the morning.

                    Summary not the best coffee in taste but better than most and plenty good enough for me. Factoring in cost and convenience, they win hands down. I'm a happy camper.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jhamiltonwa

                      jhamiltonwa, I smiled as I read the first line of your post and I just kept smiling as I read on. I felt as though I was right there w you and I thank you for such an informative post. ( and I'm Canadian so I speak metric too!!!)

                      I have never been a purist. As I hang my head in shame, I admit to having sampled...okay, even enjoyed my share of flavoured coffees in the 90's! Then we travelled to Italy and, though our first Barista wasn't quite a Gina Lollabrigida doppelganger (he actually had a beard!!) he did show us how real coffee should taste. And so we came home, Bialetti pot (and we still have it too SWISSAIRE!) and hand made copper milk pan in hand and started grinding our own beans and making coffee atop the stove but never, ever, quite replicated those inspired coffee moments. And so it goes...

                      I'm happy to report that a CitiZ machine in Limousine black is en route via our friends at Amazon along w a Breville Milk Frother that gives me the option of scorching (w a nod to poser) my milk to a steamy 170°F if I so desire.

                      Sincere thanks to all for your help!

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Morning .

                        I hope you enjoy your new Kitchen tool in the black of the Limousine.

                        A Bialetti pot in stainless steel is a great espresso pot, and an excellent back-up at home.

                    2. We bought a CitiZ model three years ago and have been very happy with it. I work from home so driving to a coffee shop everyday is not an option. Counter-space was a big factor in buying the model without the attached milk frother. We bought the Aeroccino separately; I like being able to put it away when it's not being used.

                      The espresso pods contain 5 grams of coffee, and their lungo line contains 20% more grounds. I prefer the deeper flavor so I run about 60 ml (2 oz) water through the espresso pods, and about 3 oz (88 ml) through the lungo pods. Rather than running two pods into one cup, I make single shots so my drink is always hot.

                      Fyi: Nespresso has an excellent service program. About a year ago our CitiZ started putting out poor foam, weak extract. After troubleshooting over the phone with a customer service representative, It turned out that the pressure system had given out. They sent us a loaner CitiZ and I shipped off my machine in the box it came in. I got my machine back within a week and I returned the loaner in the same box. I about paid $129 for the repair and it was covered under warranty for another 6 months.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AntarcticWidow

                        Decades ago I was asked if I could donate a few weekends and test a new SUV that Porsche was considering for the North American market, specifically Southern California market share.

                        I jumped at the chance. This was all somewhat secret with letters being signed that no cameras, or other recording devices be allowed. So our team of 30 signed our life away, and had a good time for around 4 years testing, rating, and commenting on the proposed design. The project was then known as the " E-1, " which later became the Porsche Cayenne, and then later for the Porsche Panamera.

                        Being a Bang & Olufsen enthusiast, I tried to suggest that the sound and navigation system consider technology use by that company. I wrote that Porsche should consider less buttons and more touch-screen surfaces.

                        I also commented on a coffee holder or two being appropriate in Southern California and received three looks of absolute frozen astonishment from the German crew running the operation. I said that perhaps a Nespresso machine might even be fitted into the center console area.

                        " Your joking " came one dead serious reply after a few seconds of silence. No, I replied, and they like large coffee mugs, and big milk drinks in North America too. More astonished looks. You could hear the eyelashes blinking behind three pair of metal Rodenstock spectacles.

                        Came the reply finally. " You know we don't allow that in Germany with Porsche. That would not be serious driving at all, so No, I don't think we will consider this. " And that ended that.

                        How times have changed.

                      2. We warm our coffee cus up by filling with hot water and let the cup warm up for about a minute, then pour out the water and make coffee. That way the coffee doesn't loose heat by warming the cup and it all stays warmer longer.