Quality and convenience usually are mutually exclusive.
But not with Nespresso.
The capsule-based espresso machine manufacturer’s machines have been popping up everywhere, even in some of the most exclusive establishments:
But what people might not realize is that of the 2,400 Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, Nestlé says about 30 percent partner with its haut-coffee-pod brand.
If you’re ready to add Nespresso to your daily coffee routine, you’re in the right place as the Essenza Mini is a unique model with a lot to offer (despite its small size).
We break it down completely in The Coffee Maven’s Nespresso Essenza Mini Review.
Nespresso Essenza Mini Review
The Nespresso Essenza Mini delivers premium Nespresso performance in a condense, smartly designed package. At just 3″ wide and 13″ long, it fits just about anywhere, and it has two default brew sizes (1.35 oz and 3.70 oz) plus simple one-button programmability to give you any brew size every time.
Rating: 92 / 100
- Product Line: OriginalLine
- US/CA Partners: Breville, DeLonghi
- UK Partners: Krups, Magimix
- Brew Sizes: 1.35 oz espresso, 3.70 oz lungo
- Reservoir: 20.3 oz
- Pressure: 19 bars
- Frother: Included in bundle (see below)
- Spent Capsules: 5-6 capsules
- Wireless Connectivity: No
- External Material: Plastic
- Dimensions: 3.2″W x 12.8″D x 8.1″H
- Weight: 5.1 lbs
- Watts: 1310W
- User Manual: Click here
- Bundle Available: Yes, click here for more info
Pros of the Nespresso Essenza Mini
- Compact design (only 3″ wide!) fits snugly in almost any home
- Most affordable model in the Nespresso universe
- Brews either 1.35 oz ristretto or 3.70 oz lungo with easy one-touch programmable sizing if you want more/less
Cons of the Nespresso Essenza Mini
- Only 20.3 oz water reservoir and 6 oz spent capsule capacity
- Custom sizing aside, no handy features of any kind
- Maximum cup clearance of 5″ fits most but not all mugs
The Coffee Maven’s Ratings, Explained
Performance: 93 // The Essenza Mini works as advertised, delivering quality espresso with a crema-like foam on top. (Scroll down to the bottom for why I say crema-like.) The machine is easy to clean, never jams, and gives you easy control over serving sizes with Nespresso’s one-touch custom sizing system.
Features & Design: 85 // Due to its compact design and low price point, the Essenza Mini loses points for not having many features. (The one-touch custom sizing system is about as fancy as this model gets.) The compact size also means the smallest water reservoir (20.3 oz) and spent capsule capacity (6) of any Nespresso machine. However, that’s all by design! I own the Essenza Mini because I don’t have a ton of counter space and want a compact model. In that regard, this model delivers.
Materials: 90 // Internally, the Essenza Mini is made of quality, durable components that yield a reliable coffee time after time. Externally, the Essenza Mini falls behind other Nespresso machines. Its shiny plastic exterior shows fingerprints and isn’t totally scratch-resistant. In fact, the whole thing is made of plastic, unlike a few Nespresso machines with stainless steel components, such as the Nespresso Pixie.
Durability: 94 // A compact unit made from quality internal components without a ton of extra features — that’s the recipe for a durable unit. I’ve owned the Essenza Mini for about 9 months and use it almost every day. No decline in performance. No signs of stopping. (Just maintain it properly.)
Value: 97 // Bang for your buck, the Essenza Mini scores high marks. It’s the smallest, most affordable machine Nespresso offers and delivers the same quality OriginalLine-style coffee without fail.
Brand: 92 // Nespresso is a big name synonymous with quality; in fact, many high-end hotels and restaurants provide Nespresso machines for their clientele who know what great espresso is. The Essenza Mini itself is manufactured by either Breville or DeLonghi, which aren’t slouches either.
Compact design measures only 3″ wide and 13″ long
If you’re seriously considering the Nespresso Essenza Mini, you probable care about one of two things:
- Incredibly compact design
- Affordable price tag
Both are attractive reasons to own this model — they’re why I own this model. I mean, just look at how sleek the design on this thing is:
(Sweet retro Honolulu Marathon mug, right?)
This machine will fit just about anywhere.
Have a few inches between your blender and refrigerator? The Essenza Mini will fit. Live in a small apartment or dorm room? The Essenza Mini will fit. Want a personal machine for your desk at work? The Essenza Mini will fit.
Pro Tip: Have a favorite mug? Measure it! Most demitasse cups, espresso cups, or coffee mugs should fit under the spout, but better safe than sorry.
Two default brew sizes: 1.35 oz espresso and 3.70 oz lungo
The Essenza Mini has just two buttons on the whole machine:
- 1.35 oz espresso
- 3.70 oz lungo
Note: The model reviewed above is about 9 months old and has been used almost daily, so it has a little visible wear and tear.
Nespresso’s design allows you to accomplish all necessary functions with just those two buttons:
- Power On: Press either button; wait until it stops blinking (about 30 seconds)
- Program Brew Size: Press and hold the button you want to program; release at the desired volume
- Descale: Press and hold both buttons until they begin flashing (about 3 seconds); then press the lungo button
Pro Tip: When descaling, the Essenza Mini will cycle through all of the remaining water in the water reservoir, so make sure you have a container under the spout that holds 20 oz.
20.3 oz water reservoir isn’t exactly huge
A downside of the Essenza Mini’s compact design is its reduced capacities, chiefly the 20.3 oz water reservoir.
How small is 20.3 oz? You won’t need to refill it every day, but definitely every few days. It’s enough for 5-10 coffees, depending on whether you prefer 1.35 oz ristretto, 3.70 oz lungo, or something else.
But you don’t get a ton of additional water tank capacity by scaling up. Check out these reservoir sizes for similar models:
So all-in-all, 20 oz isn’t that much smaller.
One-touch brewing couldn’t be much easier
Simplicity is the name of the game with the Essenza Mini. Now, almost all Nespresso machines are easy to use, and the Essenza Mini isn’t an exception.
How to Use the Nespresso Essenza Mini
- Lift the lever
- Insert a capsule
- Lower the level
- Press either brew button
The capsule drops into the spent capsule container below, which holds up to six used capsules.
The final product is a beautiful (and delicious) espresso
I mean, just look at that.
In the Performance section above, I mentioned that your resulting espresso has a crema-like foam on top. What do I mean by that? Take a look at the definition of espresso:
I have some issues with calling Nespresso beverages espresso because they don’t meet those criteria.
Specifically, I measured the water temperature at just 163°F, well below the 200°F temperature in the definition above. And that was measured on the third run through a pod-less machine into a pre-heated mug. So I prefer to call Nespresso beverages espresso-like and their crema crema-like.
Bryan, does that mean you hate Nespresso?!
No! Actually, I really like Nespresso if you can appreciate it for what it is.
I don’t think anyone is going to claim that Keurig makes objectively great coffee. It just doesn’t. But people still love Keurig coffee makers because they’re simple and good enough.
Similarly, Nespresso is simple and good enough — even better than good. I genuinely like a good Nespresso beverage!
Nespresso Essenza Mini Review: Final Word
I’m a big fan of the Nespresso universe. While Nespresso doesn’t directly compete with Keurig, who goes after coffee drinkers, I think Nespresso makes a far superior single serve machine with better durability and a better final product.
Related: Nespresso vs Keurig
So we’ve decided that Nespresso is great and you definitely want one of these machines. Good decision.
Is the Essenza Mini that machine?
If you value compact size and affordability more than having features like an integrated milk frothing system, then the Essenza Mini is for you. If you don’t mind refilling the water reservoir or emptying out the spent capsule container every few days, then the Essenza Mini is for you!
Have you ever used this machine? Comment below with your own Nespresso Essenza Mini review and tell us what you think!