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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Espresso Machine Comparison


I'd love to say that I've always wanted an espresso machine but that would be a lie. The truth is I don't really like espresso or coffee that much.  I do, however, like cream and sugar and I like being able to stay awake after getting all of my sleep sucked out of my body by a restless household of kids and animals.  That said, my review of these espresso machines is based on my ability to operate these machines while only half awake and the ability of the pure, un-milked or un-sugared espresso to not make me gag. 

The competitors consist of whatever machines I could pick up at my local stores and which I could easily return even after opening and using them.  I found that both William Sanoma and Bed Bath and Beyond had terrific return policies and friendly staff.  Without further adieu, I bring you the line up:




 Tassimo T55 - $169.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond (Minus 20% with a coupon)

First I'd like to take a look at the Tassimo.  This is a great little machine that makes both espresso and coffee.  It doesn't have a milk frother but you can certainly buy one separately.  The things that I most liked about it were its relatively low price, the wide selection of pods available for it and its fairly small counter footprint.  The things I least liked were the taste of the espresso pods that I bought and the fact that pods needed to be manually taken out and thrown away, there wasn't a build in pod disposal container.  

Key Facts:
Cost: $169.99 + cost of a milk frother
Size: Medium
What does it brew?  Coffee, espresso, teas and cocos
How loud is it?  Very quite
How easy is it? Fairly easy, although you do have to froth milk separately
Does it come with a sampler pack of beverage pods? Nope.
How many pods can you pick from?  Hundreds.
But will it froth? Nope.   


Keurig Rivo - $229.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond (Minus 20% with a coupon)

Next lets take a gander at the Keurig Rivo.  Its a BEAST of a machine taking up a LOT of counter space and immediately presenting the problem of "where will it fit in my kitchen?"  The flavor of the espresso was acceptable which is a darn good thing because if I didn't like it I had exactly three other options of pods and that was that.  You can make exactly four beverages with this machine which to me is pretty unfortunate since its so huge.  
Key Facts:
Cost: $229.99 + cost of a milk frother
Size: Large
What does it brew?  Espresso.  Exactly 4 kinds to be exact.
How loud is it?  Average volume, not too loud but not crazy quiet either. 
How easy is it? Fairly easy, although you do have to run the milk frother separately from the espresso maker. 
Does it come with a sampler pack of beverage pods? Yes!
How many pods can you pick from?  Four.
But will it froth? Yes!

CBTL Americano - $49.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond 

I had never heard of this machine before and had no intention of buying it but when I saw it was only $50 bucks I said "hey, why the heck not!?" Honestly, I don't think we gave this a fair shot because it was so cheap and unheard of we just sort of brushed it off.  Also my husband has a very picky palate and he didn't care for the espresso it produced calling it "harsh and bitter" so it dropped off our list pretty early on.  The flavor of its espresso was acceptable to me but it was borderline.  It makes a wide variety of things, its a fairly small footprint and its DARN cheap.  If you're husband is less particular than mine, I might give this a try especially since you can always return it!

Key Facts:
Cost: $49.99 + cost of a milk frother
Size: medium
What does it brew? Coffee, espresso, and teas.
How loud is it?  Average volume, not too loud but not crazy quiet either. 
How easy is it?  Fairly easy, although you do have to froth milk separately
Does it come with a sampler pack of beverage pods? Yes!
How many pods can you pick from?  About 25.
But will it froth? No.

Nespresso Latissima Plus - $399 at William Sanoma

I really didn't want to like this machine.  Its the most expensive of all the ones I purchased and a friend of ours already owned it which would make us "copy cats."  Additionally they have an absolutely ridiculous policy on how they sell pods, you HAVE to buy them online directly through Nespresso unless you live near or want to drive to one of their vary rarer Nespresso boutiques.

That said, they certainly have their aesthetics and ergonomics down pat.  This was a very elegant machine, the pods were beautifully packaged and offered a slew of various devices to display them decoratively in your kitchen.  This was also the only machine that would dispense frothed milk directly into your glass.  Almost in perfect response to my mission of being able to groggily get out of bed and put a button to get a warm beverage to wake up with, Nespresso made this machine.  

Key Facts:
Cost: $399.99 
Size: small
What does it brew? Espresso
How loud is it?  Fairly loud.
How easy is it?  Amazingly simple.
Does it come with a sampler pack of beverage pods? Yes!
How many pods can you pick from?  23
But will it froth? Yes!

Nespresso Vertuoline - $299 at William Sanoma


In contrast to the Latissima Plus, I really wanted to like this machine.  It looks gorgeous on your counter, it sounds really neat when its wrrrring away, it produces a beautiful looking cup of espresso or coffee and it is fun to talk about, "it uses centrifugal force to brew a superior espresso with a best in class crema" 
Unfortunately, at the end of the day neither my husband nor I liked the espresso it brewed.  It has a particularly harsh flavor to it that just made us both cringe.  We even invited some friends over to try its brew to see if we had gone mildly insane but no.  It was just undesirable.  

Key Facts:
Cost: $299.99 + cost of a milk frother
Size: medium
What does it brew? Espresso and coffee
How loud is it?  Medium?  Its a nice low wrrrring sound.
How easy is it?  Easy to operate but milk has to be frothed in the separate milk frother. 
Does it come with a sampler pack of beverage pods? Yes!
How many pods can you pick from?  4 types of espresso, 8 types of coffee. 
But will it froth? Yes!


Final Results


Still have questions?  Begging for more?  Check out my LONG video review over on youtube!


As always, comment below if there is something I missed or you want to hear more!