Brewing the perfect shot of espresso can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with expensive, complicated machines and pages of instructions. The Nespresso Essenza Mini wants to bridge the gap between flavorful espresso and ease-of-use.
The compact and affordable Essenza Mini aims to save you time and stress when crafting espresso without sacrificing flavor. Easy, one-touch operation, and the use of convenient capsules make this espresso machine worth consideration though there are some drawbacks to such a straightforward device. Let’s take a closer look at the Nespresso Essenza Mini.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Single-Serve Espresso Machine
Before you decide to jump in and purchase an espresso machine, you will want to keep several things in mind.
Be honest about your experience level with espresso machines. Not everyone is as skilled as a trained barista, and that’s okay! While you can certainly learn how to operate an espresso machine in time, it may be best to start with a simpler one first.
For example, novice espresso drinkers will probably appreciate the convenience and simplicity of a capsule machine. They get decent flavor with ease. However, skilled brewers will prefer a more complex machine that allows them to adjust settings and play with grinding, dosing, and tamping for a fresher and richer flavor.
Budget and Size
Your budget is also important. Single-serve machines, like the Essenza Mini, are often more affordable than large semi-automatic ones. Likewise, consider the size of the device and how it fits into your home. If you live in a small apartment, a compact espresso maker would probably be more suitable than one that takes up all of your counter space.
You will also want to think about the purpose you wish your espresso machine to serve. If you need a coffee maker for your morning cup of java, an espresso machine may not be the right choice for you. But, if you enjoy treating yourself to espresso or cappuccino once a day, a machine specializing in espresso is perfect.
Who is the Essenza Mini Made For?
The Nespresso Essenza Mini works well for beginners who do not want to spend hours learning how to operate a complicated espresso machine. Because the Essenza Mini uses capsules, brewing espresso is as easy as placing a capsule in the machine and pushing a button. There are two programmable settings to make the process even simpler.
That said, the Essenza Mini still produces a robust and rich flavor, but it is a small machine with a low capacity. If you are looking for a basic coffee maker and want to drink multiple cups per day, this is probably not the machine for you. It is better suited to someone interested in enjoying a quick pick-me-up a couple of times per day at most.
Essenza Mini Overview
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a compact single-serve espresso machine that uses capsules to brew espresso. It has a sleek minimalist design and promises easy operation that delivers full-bodied flavor in every cup, along with a strong aroma and rich crema.
Consumers can buy the machine only or a package that includes the machine and a milk frother. Either way, it comes with a variety of 16 capsules so you can try different flavors.
How Does It Compare with Other Machines?
The most popular single-serve pod espresso machine on the market today is the Nespresso Pixie. Similar to the Essenza Mini, the Pixie uses only Nespresso capsules to brew espresso or a lungo. But the Pixie has a better capacity with a water tank that is 20% larger than the Essenza Mini, so it brews more cups with one fill of the tank.
Released in 2017, the Essenza Mini has no previous versions. But, because they are so similar, the Pixie is like the first version of the simpler and more basic Essenza Mini.
The Essenza Mini is the most compact and portable of Nespresso’s espresso machines. It is plastic, which makes it less durable, but lighter, than the aluminum Pixie. The Essenza Mini has a smaller waste reservoir and a less flexible drip tray.
Things We Like
- Compact size
- Programmable for convenience
- Heats quickly for fast brewing
- Strong, rich flavor
Room for Improvement
- Tight 5-inch cup clearance
- Not very versatile
- Small capacity
Features & Benefits
Here’s a look at the central features of the Nespresso Essenza Mini.
The Essenza Mini is a straightforward machine. You don’t have to worry about adjusting the grinder or keeping up with extensive maintenance like you would with a semi-automatic machine. All you have to do is insert a Nespresso capsule, choose a setting, and watch your espresso brew.
The simplicity of this machine also means that it lacks versatility. You can use it to make espresso or espresso-based café drinks, like lattes, but it is not the best machine if you want to experiment with your espresso.
With espresso and lungo settings built into the machine, the Essenza Mini is convenient and saves time during brewing. Programmable settings are perfect for early morning brewing when you don’t have the time or energy to fiddle with a complicated machine.
But, the simplicity and convenience of the Essenza Mini will not help if you want to learn how to craft barista-style drinks. While you can adjust some settings, it does not give you the option of playing with gauges and doses to figure out what you like best.
And, if you program a customized volume larger than an espresso or lungo, it may end up watered down and with weaker flavor.
19-Bar Pressure Pump
This machine’s 19-bar pressure pump lends the power needed to puncture the Nespresso capsule and release the grinds and aroma. It’s a lot of power for such a small machine and helps water flow evenly through the coffee grounds in the capsule for a rich aroma and intense flavor.
Fast Heating System
The Essenza Mini reaches ideal brewing temperature in less than 30 seconds. You don’t have to wait long to enjoy your espresso, which makes this machine a convenient option for a quick jolt when you are short on time.
Uses Capsules Only
The Essenza Mini is only compatible with Nespresso capsules, and you cannot use ground coffee in it. Capsule machines like this one are less messy than traditional espresso machines. They are also excellent machines for beginners because the capsules are so easy to use.
However, capsules are very limiting. Even though there are 24 flavors of Nespresso capsules to try, you still must choose from those options. You cannot try different methods of brewing, like grinding beans for a fresher taste.
Compact and Light
The Essenza Mini is ultra-compact at 3.3” x 12” x 8.03”. It fits in any kitchen and is easy to move around at only five pounds. With its small size, you can also store it anywhere.
Since the machine is so small, the water tank is also compact, and the number of drinks you can brew each time you fill the tank is limited.
The Essenza Mini includes several environmentally conscious features. It has an eco-mode for low energy consumption, as well as an automatic energy-saving function. It also shuts itself down after nine minutes of inactivity to save energy.
Nespresso has a capsule recycling program, too, so you don’t have to feel guilty about constantly throwing away used capsules. These considerations not only save money on energy bills but make customers feel positive about reducing their environmental impact.
Since there are not many settings to play with, the Essenza Mini produces the same result every time. Depending on the capsule you choose, you will get the same flavor, aroma, and crema in a matter of seconds. If you are inexperienced with espresso machines, the reliability of this one makes life much easier.
But the dependability of the Essenza Mini will not allow you to understand how an espresso machine works. Adventurous espresso drinkers and those interested in exploring their machine may become bored with making the same drink every day.
One of the most affordable espresso machines available, the Essenza Mini, blends quality flavor at a reasonable price. Espresso lovers with a small budget should consider the Essenza Mini.
However, its relatively low price reflects its small size, small capacity, and simple design. More expensive machines are more versatile and customizable.
The Essenza Mini strives to deliver rich flavor, strong aroma, and golden crema with every espresso shot. Even though you do not have much control over grinding, dosing, or tamping with the Essenza Mini, it does produce a pretty delicious espresso, especially for a capsule machine. The crema is consistently light and fluffy.
The Essenza Mini’s lungo is bitterer and smokier than the regular espresso, as it should be. If you also purchase the milk frother, you can make espresso-based café drinks. But, since the Essenza Mini uses capsules, you miss out on grinding espresso beans, which gives a fresher and more authentic taste to your shot.
5-inch Cup Clearance
Since it specializes in espresso and is already a compact machine, the Essenza Mini does not have the space to accommodate large mugs. It fits an espresso shot easily, but to brew anything taller, you will need to remove the drip tray. It is not ideal for full-size coffee mugs.
The Essenza Mini has a built-in waste reservoir to store used capsules, so you don’t have to empty each one individually every time. Due to this machine’s small size, though, the waste reservoir is tiny and holds about six capsules only, which means you still have to empty it frequently.
Check out this video for an interactive look at the Essenza Mini!
Alternatives & Conclusion
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a single-serve espresso machine that works exclusively with Nespresso capsules. The use of capsules cuts down on mess and promises the same rich flavor with every shot of espresso. It is a compact and light machine that fits into any kitchen and is easily transportable.
However, because of its small size, the Essenza Mini has a small capacity. Capsules limit the variety of flavors and brewing methods you can try, reducing your ability to customize your espresso. And, even though the programmable settings are convenient, they keep interested drinkers from learning how an espresso machine works.
While the Essenza Mini may be a simple option for those who want fast and straightforward brewing, it is not perfect for everyone. Here are a few alternatives to check out.
For Coffee Drinkers
The Essenza Mini specializes in espresso, so if you want to brew regular coffee, you should consider another machine. You can still use convenient single-serve pods with the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker, or you can brew a whole pot of coffee if you need to serve a larger amount, which makes it more adaptable than the Essenza Mini.
For More Versatility
If you want an espresso machine with more versatility, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker includes an automatic milk frother to help you make a cappuccino or latte. It also has one-touch controls but with more programmable drink options than the Essenza Mini. It uses coffee grounds instead of pods, which makes it more flexible when it comes to flavor.
For Fresher Flavor
If you are looking for a richer or fresher taste, it may be helpful to consider a semi-automatic machine. The Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine is more expensive and more challenging to use than the Essenza Mini but creates more authentic barista-style drinks. It grounds beans fresh for a fuller flavor and aroma with a rich crema.
For Brewing Coffee and Espresso
If you need a machine that can brew great-tasting coffee and espresso, the Nespresso VertuoPlus is a very popular option with five cup sizes compared to the Essenza Mino’s two. It also uses capsules and is user-friendly. It is affordable compared to more premium machines, while still making decent espresso and coffee.
Overall, the Nespresso Essenza Mini produces richly flavored espresso with the convenience of pod brewing. It is a basic machine best for novice espresso drinkers in need of a quick pick-me-up and those who do not want to spend tons of time learning how to operate a complicated machine.
However, because it lacks variety and versatility, adventurous drinkers and espresso aficionados may want to look elsewhere for their next jolt.
Nespresso Essenza Mini Review: Small in Size but Strong in Flavor
Nespresso Essenza Mini is the perfect bridge to flavorful espresso and ease-to-use machine. Check out our full review on the Essenza Mini.
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