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Nespresso Pixie Overview

October 17, 2011


So I’ve seen a number of reviews by coffee snobs for this little machine. As it so happens, I have one! This morning, after failing to get a drinkable cup of coffee with my stovetop espresso machine I was rescued by the Pixie so I thought I might as well throw up a quick overview of the machine, as well as my likes and dislikes. I’ll do a more detailed review of the capsules (by type) later on.



Cost: this machine is cheap. There is pretty much no set-up in existence which will get you (relatively) fresh espresso as cheaply. One important caveat: yes, the coffee is pre ground, but it is individually sealed! This is huge, because it sets it a world above other pre-ground espresso coffee. Once you open the container of pre-ground espresso it’s starting to bad immediately (if it was ever any good, of course). The Nespresso capsules are relatively freshly ground, and you can even find out when your batch was roasted! What this means to me is that this machine does NOT compete with a set-up where you only have an espresso machine, but rather competes with a complete set up where you have both a grinder and a machine. Try finding a set up where you can achieve espresso for 250. Heck, It’s hard to find a grinder that grind to espresso fineness for 250!  



Appearance: wow is this thing small. I can fit it inside my microwave. Miniscule footprint and what’s more: it actually looks good! There is no reason to hide this little dude away in a cabinet, especially considering that you can get it in a number of attractive colors to match your preference.



Performance: Well, there’s the rub. The brew head on this machine is plastic and the boiler is tiny. These two factors offer both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include unbelievably quick warm-up times. Like 30 seconds quick. Push the power button and in 30 seconds you can brew espresso! Compare this to more costly and “serious” set ups where you need to give them a half hour to an hour to warm up! Espresso means express right? Whats so express about waiting an hour for a shot of caffeine? Disadvantages: coffee is kind of weak. Let me talk a little more about that.



The capsule system: I already wrote about my experience with an excellent espresso system (Lavazza Espresso Pointe) and this doesn’t really stand up to it. The Nespresso is a much cheaper machine, and it has a huge variety (like 19 options) of espresso to choose from, compared to Lavazza’s half dozen or so, but I will admit that the Lavazza produces a far better shot.



In conclusion, and I will write more about the capsules later, I think that this is a nice machine for someone that wants something cheap, that looks good and can be proudly displayed on the counter and will give them a little caffeine boost when they need it. Me? I’m going to wait a couple more weeks, then return it and save for the real deal. Who cares if it’s more work? Who cares if there is more variability in the final product? I want make my espresso, not just push a button and say that I made my espresso. 






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