There are many machines in the Nespresso lineup, and which one you opt for will come down to the features you prioritize. Want one-touch brewing? The Nespresso Lattissima is for you. Want the flexibility to brew both coffee and espresso? The Nespresso Vertuo offers this. Want cafe-quality milk? The Nespresso Creatista excels at this. So where does the Nespresso Essenza Mini fall in the lineup?
As the name suggests, the Essenza Mini’s essential feature is its compact size. If you are short on space and want a sleek, compact machine, then the Nespresso Essenza mini is for you. But before you hit the buy now button, this coffee maker isn’t for everyone. Read on to see if it is right for you.
Nespresso Essenza Mini
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is an affordable and compact machine. It comes in two designs; the more traditional looking Mini C or the modern Mini D.
The Essenza Mini offers some tempting features like a compact footprint, 19 bar pump pressure, single serve brewing and two programmable cup sizes. It produces consistent shots with a thick layer of crema. The downside is that the machine has a small capacity and is loud when in use.
If you have been looking into Nespresso machines, you will have noticed that they have 2 lines of single-serve machines; the OriginalLine and VertuoLine.
In short, the OriginalLine machines were the first to be released and offer a more traditional method of brewing coffee, with a 19-bar pump used to extract shots.
The VertuoLine machines were later released and use Nespresso’s new Centrifusion brewing system (where a coffee pod is spun at high speeds) and barcode scanning technology to extract shots from Nespresso capsules. These machines are able to produce both espresso and coffee.
The general consensus is that the OriginalLine machines are superior to the VertuoLine machines. The pump brewing system produces more authentic espresso, and the absence of a barcode scanning system means these machines are compatible with both the Nespresso brand and less expensive third-party capsules. The Nespresso Essenza Mini falls into the OriginalLine.
Nespresso Essenza Mini Review
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is produced by two of the greats in the coffee industry: Breville and Delonghi. While the brewing system employed by these single-serve machines is identical, along with the capacity and price, the two models have slightly different aesthetics.
Breville produces the Essenza Mini C. The Mini C has a sleek look with a rectangular shape and clean-cut lines. It is available in a range of neutral colors; white, black, grey, and silver. Delonghi produces the Essenza Mini D. The Mini D has a more modern look with a triangular shape and rounded edges. The Mini D is available in the standard black, or a bold lime green or red for those looking to add a pop of color to the kitchen.
The key selling point of the Essenza Mini is its compact, slim footprint. In fact, it is the most compact machine available, and an excellent choice for small kitchens, dorm rooms, or campervans. The downside of this is that the machine does have a limited capacity. The 20.3 oz water reservoir is small and needs to be refilled regularly. Likewise, the drip tray and used capsule container need to be emptied frequently.
Because the machine has such a narrow footprint, the drip tray too is narrow and tall to increase the capacity. However, this does make it challenging to fit a normal-sized mug under the coffee outlet. Thankfully the drip tray can be removed to create more space.
Given that the Essenza Mini is one of the least expensive models, it is not a surprise that the machine has a basic build, composed mainly of plastic. The machine is rather loud when in use and some users have complained of durability issues, although we have never experienced this.
Despite the inexpensive price tag, the Essenza Mini employs the same brewing technology as other OriginalLine machines, producing identical coffee. To use the Essenza Mini, you simply turn the machine on, insert the capsule, and shut the lever. The machine punctures the capsule and then pumps hot water at high pressure through the capsule to produce a strong, single-serve coffee topped with a thick layer of crema on top.
The Essenza Mini offers two cup sizes: an espresso (1.35 oz) or a lungo (5 oz). Both drinks use the same capsule with a dose of around 5 grams of coffee. So the Lungo is simply a larger, but weaker coffee.
When compared to traditional espresso, the biggest difference between Nespresso and espresso comes down to the coffee dose. A single espresso shot is typically pulled with a dose of 7-9 grams of coffee. In contrast, a Nespresso capsule has a lot smaller dose of coffee at around 5 grams. While a Nespresso machine produces rich, flavorful shots topped with crema, Nespresso coffee can’t compare to that made with freshly ground coffee on a traditional espresso machine. In saying that, Nespresso machines are all about convenience, and they are a good option for those who don’t have the time or inclination to make a hobby out of espresso.
The Essenza Mini is compatible with both the Nespresso capsules and less expensive third-party capsules, opening up a whole world of flavors and blends.
As one of the most basic Nespresso machines, the brewing features on offer in the Nespresso Essenza Mini are limited, to say the least.
Two Programmable Brewing Sizes
As mentioned above, the Essenza Mini offers two single-serve brewing sizes; an Espresso (1.35 oz / 40 ml) or a Lungo (5 oz / 110 ml). These brewing sizes can be programmed to your desired settings by pressing and holding either the Espresso or Lungo button, and then releasing the button once the desired volume is reached. The machine will automatically save the new setting.
The Essenza Mini has a fast 25-second heat-up time, brewing then takes less than a minute. Not to mention that minimal cleaning is required following this. It is a very quick and convenient way to get your morning fix.
Simple to Use
With only 2 buttons; Espresso or Lungo, the Essenza Mini is simple to use. The machine is turned on by pushing either button. The light will blink while the machine is heating up, then turn to steady when it is ready to brew. Brewing is then as easy as inserting a capsule and selecting your drink size.
A few other settings like programming the brew size, auto-off time, or initiating the descaling mode can be accessed by holding down a combination of the two buttons.
Energy Saving Mode
The Essenza Mini also has an energy-saving feature, where the machine automatically turns off after 9 minutes of inactivity. This can be extended to 30 minutes by pressing and holding the espresso button for 5 seconds.
Capsule Recycling Program
Nespresso offers a free capsule recycling program. If you are ordering capsules from the website, you can add a recycling bag to your order for free. The recycling bag can then be filled with used capsules and dropped at any UPS and Nespresso takes care of the rest.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini does not come with a built-in milk frother. However, when purchasing the machine you do have the option of upgrading to a bundle, which includes the Aeroccino 3 milk frother. This offers good value for money and allows you to create milk-based beverages.
On a day-to-day basis, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is very simple to clean and maintain. The drip tray, capsule container, and water tank are all removable. These should be emptied regularly and washed with warm water and detergent before being replaced. The only other regular cleaning task is to wipe the body down with a damp cloth to keep it gleaming.
Descaling needs to be performed after every 300-1200 cups of coffee brewed. This takes around 15 minutes, and the Essenza Mini has a descaling mode that can be accessed by holding the Espresso and Lungo buttons for 5 seconds.
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Nespresso Essenza Mini- The Verdict
If you are looking for a small, single-serve espresso machine, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is an excellent choice. It has a compact footprint, is simple to use, and delivers consistently good coffee. It is a basic machine, with few features, but the silver lining is that it won’t blow the budget.