487 of 496 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nespresso's best machine ever reinvents in-home Cappuccino
Nespresso has long been known for their espresso makers, especially in Europe (where you see them everywhere). They've had separate gadgets for making milk-based drinks like cappuccino and lattes, too, and for the last couple of years we've owned one of those coffee-making duos, the Nespresso Citiz and Aeroccino Plus. They were big hits at home, especially when guests...
Published on October 4, 2011 by Michael Fortson
266 of 292 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quire sure what to think of it
Quite frankly I am perplexed and not sure if I like the Latissima Plus or not.
First the positives.
First, the process is fully automated, though it helps to follow the instructions as per manual to avoid initial frustrations. The entire process is simple. Just insert the pod and press one of the four buttons to get your drink. The machine does the...
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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487 of 496 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nespresso's best machine ever reinvents in-home Cappuccino,
Nespresso has long been known for their espresso makers, especially in Europe (where you see them everywhere). They've had separate gadgets for making milk-based drinks like cappuccino and lattes, too, and for the last couple of years we've owned one of those coffee-making duos, the Nespresso Citiz and Aeroccino Plus. They were big hits at home, especially when guests visited. So after seeing their new combo unit, the Latissima+, we had to give that a try. This review will primarily look at the device as an upgrade over those two separate components, since the integrated milk steamer is such a big part of this machine, but it should also help people just starting out with Nespresso or anyone upgrading from an espresso-only model.
Just One Button for Cappuccino/Latte
This makes a huge difference, which is a bit surprising. After all, we had a perfectly good milk frother in the Aeroccino Plus. The problem was that even though it was fast and cleanup was easy, using a separate gadget to heat and froth the milk added enough steps to the process that we just didn't do it very often, despite our best intentions. Now with the Lattissima+ it's just a single button, and we use it almost every time.
Real Steamed Milk
Say what you want about the clever heated+frothed milk in the older Aeroccino models; it still wasn't quite the same as freshly steamed milk froth. That's what you get in the Lattissima+ -- pure steamed milk. Huzzah. You have full control over the level of foaminess with a simple knob on top.
Steaming milk at home is usually loud enough to wake the dead; it's just not something you do if you expect anyone to remain asleep anywhere in the house. The Lattissima+ changes that -- it's genuinely quiet when steaming. It's not silent, mind-you, but you probably won't wake someone in another room with it. The only time you hear a loud-ish steam noise is when cleaning it, which you can safely put off until a little more noise is acceptable.
Easy Preparation & Cleanup
Nespresso really nailed the ease-of-use with the detachable milk unit: add milk, make your beverage, and toss it in the fridge until next time. A single press of the "clean" button blows steam through the milk nozzle for a few seconds to clean it out before you put it away. Brilliant. The container is dishwasher-safe, too.
Not quite as tall as the older Citiz, this stylish compact cube is about as small as one could expect a combination unit to be. The footprint is smaller than the combo Citiz + Aeroccino models, and the cord stores neatly under the base. The used-capsule container seems to be a bit larger than the one in the Citiz, and it is less fussy to empty since the retractable coffee cup pedestal is separate. It's Italian-made, and it runs more quietly than our Swiss-made Citiz, with less of a buzzing noise coming from the 19-bar pump. It's an elegant design overall.
I won't go into too much detail here since there are lots of other places to read about the Nespresso capsules, but in brief: surprisingly good espresso, real crema every time, good selection, and fast & easy online or phone ordering & delivery. If I call before 4pm, my order shows up the next day. Great service from the Nespresso Club.
Water Container Size
The new water container is ever so slightly smaller than the one in the Citiz (0.9 vs 1.0 Liters), but you'll be using it both for espresso/coffee and for milk steaming, so it runs empty pretty quickly. Mitigating this is the handy combination lid+handle, making it easy to grab the unit and refill. The container is wide and narrow, and it doesn't rise above the back of the unit the way the previous models do, so if you are accustomed to pouring in the water without removing the container, that will be more of a challenge. Removal and replacement are easier than before, though, so it's not much of an issue overall.
Overall: It's fabulous.
I'll update this review as we get more experience with our Lattissima+.
229 of 239 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best automatic espresso machine under $1,200...,
Being lazy and on a budget we've been using Keurig for a few years for morning coffee, and a simple Makineta on the weekends for a real espresso taste. The Keurig is not really coffee, but it is fast and easy. The Makineta produces exceptional espresso, but it is hard to setup and clean, only creates two shots at one cycle and you have to froth the milk separately. Bottom line - not a practical solution on weekday mornings when you need to get the kids to school, feed and walk the dog before heading out to work. When we came back from a trip to Europe this summer we couldn't even look at the Keurig machine anymore, and we shifted our search for a fully automatic espresso machine to high gear. I've been following the Nespresso machine for a while now, but never got one because I wanted a machine that does it all. The only other machine I was considering was the Jura, but I could never get myself to pay over $1,200 for an espresso machine. The day I saw a video online featuring the Nespresso Latissima I knew that my prayers were finally been answered. The first chance I got I went to the Sur-La-Table store in DC to see it in action and to get a taste. 10 minutes later I was carrying a nice red one back to the car with a big smile on my face. I took a leap of faith because I usually wait to see more than 2 reviews for a product before purchasing it, but everything about this machine seemed right.
Two weeks later we couldn't be more pleased with the results - we LOVE it!!! The box comes with a variety of samples that were gone really fast, and we are into our second order from the online store - we can't stop using it... I don't like buying capsules - I prefer to buy and grind my own coffee and I know I'm paying more for the capsule system, but I can live with it because of the speed, the ease of use, the cleaning and the taste of course. From the moment I turn the machine on to the time I hold a cup of an amazing latte in my hands it takes about five minutes, and the next cup will take about two minutes. When you are done you use the rinse button, and simply take the milk container and place it back in the fridge. What really surprised me was the quality and the consistency of the frothed milk - it is very thick and creamy, almost like whipped cream. The milk volume can be adjusted on the go with a dial, and if you are really picky, then you can use the programming buttons to tweak the modes (we didn't see a need to change anything). One more word about the capsules - You can only buy them online from Nespresso, or at specific Bloomingdale's locations. I don't like this because it requires planing ahead, but on the other hand they deliver in two business days, and I guess this is their way to keep the capsuls fresh and under tight control.
Bottom line - I still think that the Jura is a better machine in terms of freshness(instant grind), but the Nespresso Latissima is going to give it a good run for the money coming in at about 1/4 of the price with almost as good results. Who would think that I could just walk out of my house every morning with a fresh Cappuccino or Latte that is better than Sta***ks and took under 5 minutes to prepare with no cleaning afterwards? I'm happy!
266 of 292 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quire sure what to think of it,
Quite frankly I am perplexed and not sure if I like the Latissima Plus or not.
First the positives.
First, the process is fully automated, though it helps to follow the instructions as per manual to avoid initial frustrations. The entire process is simple. Just insert the pod and press one of the four buttons to get your drink. The machine does the rest.
Second, there is an ability to customize your drinks. The machine comes with the pre-set amounts of water and milk that is used in the process of creating drinks. If you do not feel that those factory pre-sets fit your expectations, then you can customize the amounts of water or water and milk up to certain limits. You do that by pressing and holding down the button of the drink you want to create until you get to the desired amount of selected liquid (either water or milk) then let go off the button. The machine will use that amount next time. So you can customize all four drink types to your liking, within the limits. I experimented with those amounts without using the coffee pods, just water and milk trying to get where I wanted to be.
Third, the machine has a small footprint and is not tall, so it can fit neatly under the cabinets.
Fourth, using the pod based system helps you avoid the messiness that may come with the non-pod systems. I think most of the people who buy this machine look for the convenience. Who has the time in the morning to take several steps and clean the mess when using the non-pod machine.
Now to the caveats or potential negatives.
First, the customization has its limits. The maximum amount of coffee per drink is 200 ml. Same with milk, 200 ml only. That means the maximum amount of your latte cannot be more than 400 ml. Ask yourself, what's your preferred size of latte?
Second, milk based stuff is not necessarily hot. It is not cold when it is made, but the milk portion is not hot, just barely warm. So depending on your personal preference you may or may not feel that the drink is hot enough for you. Again, ask yourself how do you like your latte?
Third, the pods are small. That means the amount of coffee per drink is limited to what's in the pod. I tried the top strength pod (number 10) and did not feel that it reached my maximum tolerance level in terms of amount caffeine per drink. Possibly adding another drink or two on the top of the first one would solve the problem, but then the cost could add up to what you would end up paying in the coffee house. If you like strong coffee, try first the strongest pod at the store to make sure it is strong enough for you before you move forward with the purchase.
Fourth, the pods again. I am not sure if I want to limit myself to one source only for my coffee needs. With this machine you need to go to the manufacturer's website and register yourself in order to get your pods. The minimum order is 50 pods and the price range from about 65 to 70 cents per pod plus the $6.95 shipping fee. My concern is that the pods are unique to the manufacturer, so your choice of coffee is limited to what the manufacturer offers, second the manufacturer controls the pricing. While their coffee is generally good, I do like to have choices in terms of selection and pricing.
Overall you're getting what you're paying for. For about 360 dollars you will get what looks like a quality machine with an automated process that has its limits, including the temperature of the milk based drinks, the maximum size of the drinks and the full dependence on the manufacturer for your coffee supplies. I realized that if I want more flexibility and more independence, I just have to pay more. There is a reason why fully automated espresso makers can cost thousands of dollars.
So at the end it will come down to the budget and your definition what do you expect from your espresso/latte/cappuccino maker. How do you like your espresso or latte? If you are OK with the features as described above, then this looks like a solid choice. If you want more, then look for a different machine and end up paying more to get what you truly want.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Your Own Barista,
I'm a full-fledged coffee addict. That doesn't mean I'm the expert or aficionado that many other reviewers are, but I do know what I like in my cup and I like it often. A frequent Starbucks customer, the local baristas were used to my love of espresso, but when visiting a different store I always got the "you want *how* many shots?" look. Many people complain that Starbucks burns their coffee, and in many cases they're right... but some stores do know how to make it correctly. Of course I've also had espresso at other places made with fancier machines, and most are better than the best cups I could get at starbucks, but not any cheaper. I digress... my point is that I drink a lot of espresso, and I have developed a taste for it that requires a good pull.
I decided to try to cut back on some starbucks expenses without giving up my addiction. Driving to the store and paying the premium to have someone else prepare it was adding up to quite a hefty chunk of my budget. I wanted to save money, so buying a grinder for several hundred dollars and an espresso machine for several hundred more than that just wasn't an option. I wanted something that could deliver the taste and caffeine I crave, but actually saved me money. Enter the Lattissima Plus!
At 60-67 cents per shot, Nespresso cups are not exactly cheap, but they are about half the cost of starbucks on a per-shot basis. Buy them from the Nespresso club site directly to get that price. I personally started with the intro offer from the club which came with 200 cups for about $125. Shipping was fast and I got to try out all the main flavors. One note, though - there are 4 or 5 sleeves (10 cups per sleeve) of *decaf* varieties in that starter pack... you might not want that so choose accordingly.
As for the machine, I couldn't be happier. I've run about 150 shots through it at this point and haven't had a single issue. It's easy enough to adjust the volume of each type of shot to your preferences, including both the espresso and the optional milk. I don't take a lot of milk so adjusting this was key for me. I've found that setting the froth level to the highest setting and using 2% milk provides just the right amount of froth for me. skim froths more, whole froths less. Adjust to your taste :).
Cleaning the machine is incredibly easy. I've made a routine of it, emptying the bins and cleaning the frother after each use. It adds maybe 2 minutes to the time it takes to prepare a couple of drinks. I can prepare both my favorite recipe and my wife's, then do the basic cleaning in a total of about 6 minutes. A couple times per week I clean it more thoroughly, taking all of 5 extra minutes. much faster ( and cheaper) than driving to a coffee shop, AND I get more control over how the drink is made. I couldn't be happier.
We all like our coffee a little bit different, but here's my favorite (and my wife's) recipes if you'd like to try them:
4-shot mocha cappuccino: 2% milk in the container, one scoop of nestle quick in the cup (better IMO than the ghirardelli syrup). I like the Rosabaya blend the best, you'll need 4 of those cups. In a large coffee cup, start with one cappuccino pull. This will add the milk and one shot of espresso. Stir slightly, then add three more shots, one at a time. Another light stir and optionally top with a small amount of whipped cream.
brain defogger: I tried this once after a sleepless night and it was great... but it's a lot of caffeine so keep that in mind. two tablespoons of ghirardelli white mocha syrup. 6 shots of your favorite 4-6 intensity blend on top of that and stir. put in a 7th shot and hit the cappuccino button (again with 2% milk). another light stir and enjoy! The espresso really does well with very little flavoring or milk. This filled a 20-ounce travel mug to the top :)
double caramel macchiato: 2% milk, one tbsp of ghirardelli caramel sauce per shot (2 in this case). In a large cup, start with the syrup then add a macchiato pull. This is a more tame drink, so my wife prefers an intensity 3 or 4 variety. One extra shot, a light stir, and you're done!
It sounds easy, and it is :). It's fun to experiment with the different blends and combinations of flavors to find exactly what you like. I highly recommend this product!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Expresso Machine I ever used! Best coffee I've ever tasted!,
This review is from: DeLonghi White Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System (Kitchen)
The Lattisima Plus Nespresso Capsule machine produces the best expresso and "lungos" (large lattes) I've ever tasted. Further the machine is fool-proof and even cleans itself. At $399 it's a screaming bargain, and both Amazon and the major kitchen stores such as Sur La Table have it at that price throughout this Christmas season. Don't even THINK about getting some other machine!!! It blows away high-end machines costing $2,000+ (I know because I taste tested it against 2 other Neospresso machines and a $2000+ German Meile in Sur La Table) and can be cleaned and ready for use within a minute. It has a button that steam cleans the tubing; the milk container is designed to store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it; and it comes up to full pressure (19 bars!) within a minute. From that point on, just drop in a capsule (about $.57 cents each -- 20 different varieties available from Nespresso within 2 days for a $7.95 delivery fee), press down one lever to pierce the capsule, and press one of 4 buttons: expresso, cappuccinno, "lungo" (double-shot expresso_, or "Latte Macchiato" (large latte with lots of foam). Further, when I taste-tested the coffee, it not only beat the other machines but it blew away the cappuccinos made by any of the chain stores such as Starbucks. The latte macciatos are my paricular favorite made with either skim milk or a 50/50 blend of nonfat chocolate milk and nonfate white milk; and the lungos are also terrific. Be sure to make these coffees with the lungo pods, otherwise the results are too thin. Through adjustments you can vary the size of the cups and the stiffness of the foam. Without any ado, it can produce foam stiff enough to support a teaspoon on top if you like that style as I do. So far, my only complaint is that I'm drinking too much coffee; and that the coffee is not available from even the kitchen specialty stores. A HINT: This is one of the only cases where I didn't buy a high-end product from Amazon, because Sur La Table offers life-time service or exchange on it. However, after going through about 100 cups, nothing appears to be in danger of breaking.
134 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upgrade from the first batch of Nespresso machines,
I've been using the old Nespresso C101 with the Aeroccino Milk Frother. It is a great machine, and there is no question that the Nespresso capsules are the closest thing to great coffee you can get from an pod-type machine. However, my main issues were that it took so long to clean the milk frother. If you didn't clean it thoroughly, the milk would bake on the bottom and lead to pretty bad cappuccinos the next time around.
When I first saw the Latissima+, I was pretty excited since the milk container is built in and had an auto clean button. After using it for a couple of days, I can definitely say this is an upgrade. Its quick to start up, can auto shut down, and most of all its a breeze to clean up. While not zero work - you do have to press a "clean" button for about 10 seconds every time you finish your morning batches of coffee if you use the milk - this is a lot easier than the old Aeroccino. And due to this, I find myself making coffee a lot more often.
A couple other things I wish I knew. The entire milk frother attachment is dishwasher safe (although you have to take it apart). The manual suggests cleaning it this way at least once a month. Like the older machines, you can also program how much coffee and also how much milk is added for each of the four buttons.
To me, this machine is a good upgrade from the earlier machines, and if you are in the market for a first Nespresso machine - this is the one to beat.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Important note for all the negative reviewers: READ THE MANUAL.,
First of all this thing is amazing. I have one at home and we bought one for the office. You can read all of the other reviews to hear about how great it is.
I'm here to debunk some of the things people are knocking it for in other reviews, because apparently people don't read the manual or bother to learn how these drinks work.
1. Not enough coffee? Water volume for each button is programmable (manual, p10).
2. Too much / not enough milk? Quantity of milk for each button is programmable (manual, p10).
3. Coffee is not strong enough? Use more than one capsule to get more "shots" of espresso. Also, see above settings.
4. Foam is not to your liking? Adjust the amount and / or choose a different milk fat %.
5. Machine is inconvenient to clean? Please. I'm sorry you have to hold down the "Clean" button for 10 seconds after your 90 second latte. And I'm sorry you have to clean the milk container once a week in the dishwasher. Maybe you should keep going to Starbucks where they do all of this for you, and charge you 8 times as much.
6. Drink is not hot enough? This machine makes coffee to drink NOW and it is plenty hot (steaming). This isn't like Starbucks where you must wait 5-10 minutes to take your first sip.
Hope this helps everyone with doubts. For the money, and even compared to units costing much more, this little machine is extremely impressive.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Machine - High Maintenance,
I've been the owner of a Nespresso LeCube for several years now, which I use at home, along with a Nespresso Citiz and Aeroccino Plus for the office. Both have worked great with absolutely zero issues so far, so I certainly didn't *need* a new Nespresso, but I was attracted to the simplicity of the Lattissima Plus with the automatic frothing.
Very Quick Frother
Simply fill the milk frother up and press the Latte or Cappuccino button to create your desired drink. In less than a minute, you'll be enjoying some fine espresso and milk.
My honest assessment is that while the milk is good, it's not as frothy or "velvety' as the Aeroccino Plus. Plus, I prefer to add the milk on top of the coffee for a better mix, vs. the separation that is created with the Lattissima Plus. It's much faster than having to clean the Aeroccino, but not as tasty.
There is also some downsides that I'm surprised I haven't read about until I unwrapped my new Nespresso.
The instruction manual advises that any milk left in the frother should only be kept for two days and then discarded. This isn't much of an issue as the frother isn't very large, so two days is about all it honestly holds.
Following each drink using the frother, you'll need to press the "clean" button for about 10 seconds. Again - no issue.
But the next cleaning tip is what may restrict many people from using it in an office environment or having to re-evaluate how user-friendly it is.
You are advised to disassemble the "Rapid Cappuccino System" and "put all components in the upper drawer of the dishwasher at least twice a week". I don't typically need to use my dishwasher twice per week, so this is certainly an added task.
Don't get me wrong, the machine is great, but once you start integrating heated milk into the equation, just make sure you are also ready for the added maintenance requirements.
55 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Burned My Tongue!,
Unless you have been a loyal early generation Nespresso user, as I have, you cannot fully appreciate the significance of the statement that "I burned my tongue." I have never been so happy to burn my tongue before. I have owned a Nespresso Le Cube (no longer made) for several years now, and in fact, wrote a detailed and long review here. My only complaint was that the Nespresso didn't truly make a hot cup of coffee. On balance, this did not dissuade me from loving the Nespresso coffee maker because for the speed, cost, efficiency and ease of use (no clean up), and after tons of research, I felt that the Nespresso espresso and cappuccino was the best out there. Mine came with the Aerocino, which was fine to use, but a bit of a pain in the you know what. It was another device to lug out of the cabinet, another item to clean, and I never wanted to leave it out on my bare counter tops because it wasn't terribly stylish and thus I did not use it as much.
Fast forward several years later and I bought the Lattimsa Plus. I was amazed at first at how compact this machine is. It is smaller than the Le Cube side to side, and the only noticeable "problem" was that the water reservoir looked smaller than my old one. It took a few steps to get set up correctly, run the dishwasher for the milk attachment, get the coffee levels right, and voila, a near flawless and perfect latte and cup of coffee.
One button milk steaming, and it's perfect. There's no question, as other reviews have pointed out, that the quality of truly steamed milk is better than heated up milk such as you get with the Aerocino. It's just hotter and better. The one button clean up is a breeze and it all works perfectly.
Again, for people who have older Nespresso machines, or who are on the fence, the fact that this thing brews a truly hot cup of coffee is worth the price of admission! Right there. Boom. Buy this thing if you want one button espresso without any clean up or if you mix coffee drinks for yourself or your friends. It is so much better to have one button access to the milk steamer, this, too, is reason enough to buy this over other models.
Comparisons: I tried many K-Cup models before buying the last Nespresso, and they make a weak and not terribly hot cup of coffee. Even if you buy the double strength K-Cups, you will be disappointed with the coffee if you count yourself among those who enjoy a bold cup of coffee. If you want strong coffee in a one button machine, you should not look any further than the Nespresso line, plain and simple.
Coffee Ordering and Selection: For those of you who are worried about the "selection" of the coffee pods, I think that is overrated. For one thing, the coffee is ordered on line and comes to your house like clockwork within two days. I buy it in large amounts and don't have to re-order for months on end. The coffee choices are more than adequate for those who like to experiment, but honestly, you end up picking one or two colors/strengths of coffee and you stick with what you like. Think about it. If you order beans at your local Starbucks or whatever, I bet you only buy one or two varieties of beans. After all these years, I've settled on Restretto, (the Black), the boldest and most universal of the coffees for straight Americano (just brew a Longo and either run one more cycle without a pod for hot water or drink it straight). The ordering and delivery of the coffee is not a problem.
Descaling and cleaning: This machine also one ups my older machine. If I remembered to descale the Le Cube it was only a matter of luck. Descaling the machine is critical to optimal performance, and I only remembered to do it a few times (you buy the cleaner/descaler online as well). Well Lattisma Plus takes care of that for you too! It gives you a warning to clean it by changing one of the buttons and all you have to do is plug the decaler nozzle in, pour the junk into the water reservoir and run the machine a few times and rinse. As for cleaning the machine otherwise, it's a snap because the milk thing has a Clean button that blows steam through it for 10 seconds. Genius. And wait, there's more. The entire milk thing dis-assembles into four or five pieces and every one of them (including the frother knob) goes into the top drawer of the dishwasher. What could be easier. No mess, no fuss. Clean and ready to go. As for the milk frother, you keep the milk in it for a few days and keep that in the fridge. Pop it back in when you're ready to make coffee and you are good to go.
Reliability: I have read about some issues popping the coffee capsule, but never experienced myself. I never had a problem with my Le Cube (not a one) and so far, this one is solid. I know from stories I have read that when or if Nespresso has a problem, they send you a loaner, so even with that they take good care of you.
Pluses: compact, good strong coffee, one button truly steamed milk, ease of use, ease of clean up, ease of ordering and delivery, quality, descaling warning.
Minuses: Really none, except maybe if you count that the water reservoir is a little small. If these guys could figure out how to connect one of their home machines to the water line, I'd be in heaven. This machine really has no minues to speak of.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One-Touch Convenience Albeit With Some Quirks,
It has come to my attention that there has been countless reviews both praising and being critical about the Lattissima Plus. I will be focusing on both ends of the spectrum.
The Lattissima has been highly praised for the one–button creation of milk-based drinks. To some, this may be worth the premium over the more rudimentary models such as the Citiz Milk, Pixie, and Escenza.
This review serves several purposes:
1. To help the reader choose between the different models
2. To elaborate upon the pros and cons of the Lattissima Plus
3. To give some tips on more effective operation of the machine
4. To address common concerns and issues users are currently facing while operating the machine
This is a long review. I suggest skipping to the conclusion if you do not wish to dwell into the specifics.
= Comparison Between Models =
The Nespresso range consists of two main categories: milk and non-milk models. Regardless of the choice, all machines (except Lattissima+, elaborated later) use a very similar single-thermal heating block design of for brewing the espresso shot. This is important to note, especially when choosing between different models. Unlike purchasing a traditional, more expensive espresso machine that uses coffee grounds, purchasing a Nespresso machine involves much less critical consideration. One only has to decide which functionality is of more importance, and how much more will one be willing to pay for that.
For example, do you like milk-based drinks? Or do you prefer single shot pure expresso? Do you value a more convenient integrated one-button coffee solution, or would you prefer a modular system of making milk-based drinks such as the Citiz Milk?
All the different machines are at different price points, along with different degrees of convenience when producing that cup of coffee. I will not be elaborating on prices of the machines because it is always subject to price fluctuations, however I will touch upon the main functionalities and classifications of the machines.
Non-Milk Models: Inissia, Pixie, Essenza.
Modular Milk Models (Aeroccino): U, Citiz, Gran Masteria.
Fully Intergrated Milk Models: Lattissima+, Maestria.
Focusing on the milk models, the category is divided between models with the modular Aeroccino container, and those with the integrated milk function. (Refer to classification of models above)
The main point of differentiation between the fully integrated versus the modular milk models, is that the integrated milk frother produces milk with much finer microfoam compared to the modular Aeroccino. Further, the integrated model has the capability to greatly customise the frothy-ness of the milk, simply by turning a knob. This is customization is limited with the Aeroccino to just changing the frothing wands at the base of the unit. However, it does not offer as fine a degree of customization as the integrated solution.
Unlike the Aeroccino, the milk container in the Lattissima does not require daily cleaning. Instead, the whole module can be put in a fridge after you have dispensed your drink. Highly convenient. The Aeroccino however, has to be cleaned shortly after use. It also has to be cleaned thoroughly; otherwise the milk remnants might get burnt at the base of the unit upon subsequent use.
One might argue that the Lattissima’s price point is justified because it uses two thermal heating blocks - one for the coffee, and one for the milk. It is the only machine in the Nespresso range with such a feature.
So you have to decide how much of a premium you want to pay for that added convenience of having the Lattissima. Do you mind washing the milk container daily for the modular milk models? Do you prefer milk with a finer consistency? Do you value the one-touch convenience of producing highly customisable cappuccino? Or would you rather spend time brewing coffee, heating up milk, and crafting the cappuccino manually?
Personally I upgraded from the CitiZ & Milk model, after finding the Lattissima Plus on sale. I find that added convenience to be well worth the premium paid for the Lattissima
= Pros =
I believe that much of the pros have been covered in other reviews. However, one of the biggest plus points I see in the Lattissima is the ease of use of the machine.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest selling point of this machine is the automatic creation of milk-based drinks.
In terms of the size of the machine, it does not have a very big footprint, and sits comfortably on my countertop. I can even fit it inside a bookshelf.
Compared to other models, the Lattissima has a rather large water tank. This allows me to refill the machine only once every two or so days.
On a similar note, the Lattissima also has a relatively large used capsule container. Something which I find convenient because I do not have to empty as often compared to my CitiZ model.
The machine also dispenses warm milk, something that I find useful especially when wanting a cup of hot chocolate in the middle of the night. A plus point, is that I can even have frothed milk! Something a microwave can never accomplish.
= Cons =
Although I have lavished this machine with much praise, there are some quirks about it which irritates me at times. One of them would be the drip. Because I have been so spoilt by the convenience of the machine, it pains me to have to constantly clear the drip tray. After brewing from the capsule, and pulling the usual empty shot of water to clean the system, the Lattissima tends to drip for a good 10 seconds after the shot. Although this leaves only a small amount of excess water in the drip tray, it annoys me because it eventually leaves water stains both on metal top of the tray and below it. This may not be a major point of consideration to some who are less fussy. I have dealt with Nespresso customer service in Europe specifically to address the drip issue. They have been more than helpful in offering an explanation for the occurrence, but not a solution. Nespresso claims it to be part of the normal operation of the machine. Oh well.
= Coffee taste. Intensity. Costs. =
After building up a tolerance for caffeine over the years, I find that one capsule of the strongest blend available, Ristretto, is not enough to wake me up. I often find myself dispensing two capsules, just to make a strong cappuccino. This is highly subjective, so I strongly urge you to head down to a Nespresso boutique to try out the three strongest flavours available: Ristretto (10), Dharkan (11), Kazaar (12). Arpeggio (9) is another mild favourite. Personally, I find two capsules of Ristretto being sufficient to wake me up on normal days. Two Kazaars when hung over; one Arpeggio after dinner; one Dharkan with vanilla bean ice cream. With taste being highly subjective, is best for you to try out the flavours yourself.
An additional point to note, is that these costs add up. If you consume quite a few capsules a day, because you find a coffee not sufficiently strong enough, you might want to do a serious cost analysis of your consumption. Capsule prices vary across jurisdictions, and depending on what country you live in, it may be cheaper to just go to a coffee shop for your caffeine fix.
Now here are some tips on more effective operation of the machine.
= Hot coffee. =
There have been concerns about the coffee dispensed not being hot enough. Well I certainly do not like my coffee being so hot that I have to wait 10 minutes to even take a sip (McCafe, Starbucks). I do however, appreciate a certain degree of temperature in that brew. One way to produce a decent hot coffee, is to run the system once through before placing in the capsule. Closing the lever, pressing the espresso button once while there are no capsules in the machine, does this. I often dispense the hot water directly into the cup that I am about to use. This not only pre-heats the cup to a desired warmness, it also warms up the internals of the machine.
= Hot milk. =
There also has been some discussion about the milk not being hot enough. This is a valid concern, something I face when making the occasional midnight hot chocolate. One way to alleviate this problem is by preheating the system, similar to what we have done previously. Again, with the milk system loaded in the Lattissima, hold down the clean button for 10 seconds. The system will make a noise loud enough to wake the dead, and it will also spew out hot steam. This not only heats up the internals of the second thermal heating block that is used for the milk, it also heats up the cup. The milk should be sufficiently steaming hot right now.
Personally, before making a decent cappuccino, I run the system with hot water once, and also activate the steam system prior to pulling a capsule through the system. The steam also heats up the walls of the cup, not just the base. This ensures a more than sufficient temperature to the drink.
= Generic Capsules =
On a separate side issue. This relates to the use of generic capsules. Particularly, about the incompatibility of some generic capsules. This is of interest because of the vast availability of viable alternate capsules currently in the marketplace. Not only do generic capsules give you the opportunity to use your own beans, it also does so at a significantly lower price point compared Nespresso capsules. Further, some may argue that it is more environmentally friendly because of the reusability of the capsules, resulting in less wastage in aluminium.
Back to point, as with all generic items, you cannot expect it to be fully compatible with the machine. This is because the Nespresso business model is similar to that of razors and even printer cartridges, although some may argue that the price of the machine itself is not highly subsidised to offset the high cost of the capsules. You cannot fully blame Nespresso for having a machine that doesn’t work well with generics, but you can read online reviews to find the best generics that do work. Personally, I do not use generics because I find them troublesome – both in terms of compatibility, and the inconsistent taste. It might be the case that Nespresso’s hyperactive marketing strategies may have got the best of me.
Particularly promising, is the fact that Nespresso’s stronghold on these capsule patents have just recently expired in 2011. Further, a recent development in the European Union, has mandated that Nespresso tone down its use of controversial anti-competitive modifications to the machines, which had the sole intent making generics incompatible with the system. I find it very encouraging, and may even purchase a few generics to try out in the near future.
= Water Leakage =
there has been reports about water leaking at the base of the machine. Fortunately, I did not encounter this problem with my machine. I would strongly recommend anyone facing this issue to stop using the machine immediately, and call the customer service hotline. Water leaking out of electrical appliance is nothing to be taken lightly. I am sure the customer service agents would take the appropriate measures. They have been very helpful on the occasions that I have talked with them.
= Conclusion =
It is hard to choose the right coffee machine with so many available different functions. However, within the Nespresso range, the Lattissima is the only fully integrated, automatic, milk–based coffee machine. Further, the integrated milk frothing solution is better than the Aerocinno because of the reduced cleanup times, and higher customisability to the frothiness of the milk. The Lattissima also has a small footprint, a large water tank, and a large used capsule container. It can even dispense hot milk on the fly. The system however, does have an annoying habit of dripping small amounts of water after use. Consumers may not only find the capsules costly, but also find it restrictive, to find themselves confined within the closed ecosystem of Nespresso capsules. However, the market may see some changes in the near future due to anti-competitive regulation concerning these capsules in the European union – making it easier for generics to enter. Although it appears on several reviews about the machine dispensing lukewarm coffee and milk, I find that with the proper measures taken, the Lattissima is more than capable of producing a piping hot cup of coffee. I am giving the Lattissima four out of five stars. It would have been perfect if it were not for the annoying drip issue, something which they seemed to have recognised, and dealt with in the modular U system. I hope to see this implemented in future iterations of the Lattissima.
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