Nespresso Pixie Review

Nespresso Pixie
Overall Rating
Coffee Quality (40%)
Design & Features (20%)
Durability (20%)
Ease of Use (10%)
Brand Reputation (10%)
The Bottom Line
Our favorite bang-for-your-buck Nespresso machine, the Pixie delivers no-fuss espresso in a durable, scratch-resistant, awesome-looking aluminum case. If you don't need the fancy extras, you want the Pixie.
The Coffee Maven's editors select and review products independently. We may receive a commission if you purchase through one of our links at no additional cost to you.

Key Features of the Nespresso Pixie

Key Features of Nespresso Pixie

  • Product Line: OriginalLine
  • US/CA Partners: Breville, DeLonghi
  • UK Partners: Krups, Magimix
  • Brew Sizes: 1.35 oz espresso, 3.70 oz lungo
  • Water Reservoir: 24 oz
  • Milk Container: None
  • Pressure: 19 bars
  • Frother: Sold separately
  • Spent Capsules: 10 capsules
  • Wireless Connectivity: No
  • External Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 4.4"W x 9.3"D x 12.8"H
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • Watts: 1160W
  • Other Features: Auto-Off after 9 minutes

Nespresso Pixie Overview

Nespresso has two lines of capsule-based espresso machines:

  • OriginalLine: Their original line of machines (duh) that use a 19 bar pump to extract shots
  • VertuoLine: Their new line of coffee machines that use Centrifusion (rapid capsule spinning) to extract shots from barcode-enabled capsules and also brew standard coffees up to 17 oz

For our money, OriginalLine units are better than VertuoLine because their pump produces more authentic espresso, the resulting coffee tends to be hotter, and there's no barcode scanning system meaning you can find less-expensive pods from other roasters.

One of Nespresso's best-selling models, the Pixie is a touch more feature-rich than the uber-compact Essenza Mini with a pair of upgrades:

  • Larger 24 oz water reservoir (instead of 20 oz)
  • Larger spent capsule container capacity (10 instead of 6)

In terms of specs and performance, it's basically identical to the Inissia, except the Pixie has an aluminum exterior versus the Inissia's ABS plastic polymer housing.

Capable of brewing espresso and lungo shots from 1.35 oz to 3.70 oz, the machine has two brew buttons, which you can program easily to customize your shot size.

If you'd like to brew specialty beverages (like cappuccinos and lattes), you could always upgrade to the bundle or purchase the Aeroccino4 milk frother separately for your own home barista setup.

  • Actual 19 bar pressure is better than VertuoLine Centrifusion
  • Awesome avante garde design with a durable aluminum exterior
  • Simple-to-use one-touch sizing system lets you adjust brew size by pressing and holding the brew buttons
  • Made in Switzerland with quality components so it won't break down quickly
  • Compatible with third-party coffee capsules from other roasters
  • Stated 19 bar pressure is inconsistent
  • Relatively small 24 oz water tank
  • Doesn't have many extra features that you'll find on more expensive espresso machines
  • Doesn't brew standard cups of coffee

Is the Nespresso Pixie for you?

Are Nespresso Pixie for you?

The Nespresso Pixie is our top pick among all Nespresso models if you want convenient capsulized coffee without any fancy, unnecessary features. Put simply: The machine just works.

It doesn't have capsule-reordering buttons, WiFi connectivity, and integrated frother, or the ability to brew standard coffees.

What it does have is an awesome design and the ability to brew shot after shot of high-quality espresso from any type of OriginalLine compatible coffee capsule (including those not produced by Nespresso).

If you're looking for a similarly compact machine with more features and modern functionality, check out the Nespresso Essenza Plus.

If you're looking for a VertuoLine machine that can brew standard coffees up to 17 oz, similar to a standard coffee machine, check out the Nespresso Evoluo.

Nespresso Pixie Review: An In-Depth Look

This section of our Nespresso Pixie review dives deep into how the Nespresso Pixie espresso maker works and addresses some of the most common questions users have about this small but powerful espresso machine from one of the most recognizable brand names in the coffee world.

Who makes the Nespresso Pixie?

Nespresso owns the proprietary technology behind all of their brewers, but they don't actually manufacture them. Instead, four companies are licensed to make the machine:

  • In the United States and Canada, it's made by both Breville and DeLonghi.
  • In the United Kingdom, it's made by both Krups and Magimix.

Each manufacturer produces an espresso machine that performs exactly the same, though you may notice they look a little different. (Hint: Look at the side panels.)

nespresso pixie espresso machine by breville
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine by Breville
nespresso pixie espresso maker by delonghi
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker by DeLonghi

What pods does the Nespresso Pixie use?

The Nespresso Pixie is an OriginalLine espresso machine and uses OriginalLine Nespresso capsules. Though Nespresso sells their own branded coffee capsules, you can also find compatible third-party coffee capsules for OriginalLine espresso makers from brands like HiLine Coffee, Gourmesso, and more.

VertuoLine coffee machines, like the Nespresso Vertuo Next and Nespresso Evoluo, use different capsules that have DRM barcode scanning technology. You can't use VertuoLine capsules in the Nespresso Pixie.

Our complete comparison of Nespresso OriginalLine vs VertuoLine covers all of the similarities and differences.

Our complete guide on Where To Buy Nespresso Pods will help you score the best deals.

nespresso originalline vs vertuoline capsules
Nespresso OriginalLine vs VertuoLine Capsules

How to use the Nespresso Pixie

The Nespresso Pixie machine is extremely simple to use with a simple brewing process:

  1. Fill the machine's 24 oz water tank with filtered water (the machine doesn't have a water filter in its water tank).
  2. Press either of the two buttons on top of the machine to heat the water to brewing temp—about 185°F (85°C). The two buttons will blink for about 25 seconds until the water has reached brewing temp, after which they'll remain on.
  3. Insert your coffee capsule of choice from either Nespresso or a third-party roaster.
  4. Place your demitasse cup or mug under the exit nozzle on top of the drip tray. You can remove the drip tray to accommodate taller mugs.
  5. Choose which size you want—either a 1.35 oz shot of espresso or 3.70 oz lungo shot. The machine also has a simple "custom shot size" feature, which allows you to set the espresso or lungo button to any volume. To customize your shot of espresso, press and hold the button you'd like to program. The 19 bar pressure pump will begin extracting your shot. When you've reached your desired volume, release the button. The machine will remember that volume every time you brew using the same button (until you change it again, that is).
  6. The machine doesn't come with a milk frother, but you can buy a Nespresso Aeroccino frother either separately or as part of a bundle to froth milk for cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, flat whites, and whatever Nespresso recipe you can concoct.
  7. Enjoy your espresso shot or great espresso-based specialty beverage.
  8. After brewing, the used capsule will remain in the brewing chamber until your next brew. When you open the chamber, the used capsule falls into the spent capsule container, which holds about 10 used capsules on the Pixie.
  9. After every few uses, empty and clean out the drip tray.

That's it—I told you it was easy to use.

Does the Nespresso Pixie make quality espresso?

There are two answers to this question:

  • Simple answer: Yes, the espresso quality is quite high.
  • Technical answer: Not exactly, because the machine doesn't make true espresso.

Let me explain.

Simple answer

The espresso produced by the Nespresso Pixie are rich and evenly extracted with a signature crema. In my opinion, the Pixie makes a better shot of espresso than any of Nespresso's VertuoLine machines, and it's certainly better than the espresso produced by the Keurig K-Cafe or any other pod-based coffee maker.

The Pixie won't deliver the same espresso quality as a high-end coffee shop using freshly ground coffee and a professional machine, but it does better than you'd expect from an affordable espresso maker that emphasizes convenience.

Technical answer

True espresso snobs will tell you that any pod-based espresso maker doesn't make a true shot of espresso, which requires the following three criteria to be met:

  • 200ºF water temperature
  • 9 bars of pressure during extraction
  • 25-30 seconds of extraction time

Technically, the Nespresso Pixie fails on all of those fronts:

  • Water is heated to just 185ºF instead of 200ºF.
  • The Pixie's 19 bar pressure pump applies pressure inconsistently and doesn't maintain pressures about 9 bars.
  • Extraction times are less than 25-30 seconds because Nespresso capsules have less ground coffee than a barista would dose into a portafilter.

Our full guide—What Is Espresso?—has more information on official espresso terminology and definitions.

Overall, the Nespresso Pixie's shots are a rather impressive example of espresso quality for a pod-based espresso machine. If it's good enough for high-end Italian hotels and restaurants—don't let the snob who wrote that article convince you otherwise—it's good enough for at-home espresso enthusiasts like you.

What beverages can I make with the Nespresso Pixie?

The machine has two buttons for both espresso and lungo shots using OriginalLine coffee capsules. By default, you can brew two beverages:

  • 1.35 oz espresso shot
  • 3.70 oz lungo shot

It doesn't have an integrated milk frother for cappuccinos, lattes, and other specialty beverages like Nespresso Lattissima and Nespresso Creatista models, but you can purchase an Aeroccino frother separately or look for a Nespresso Pixie bundle, which includes both the espresso machine and milk frother.

If you like to drink the occasional long coffee, you can brew an Americano (espresso plus hot water). The Pixie doesn't come with a default button for Americanos like the Nespresso Essenza Plus does, but you can easily program either (or both) of the two buttons on the machine to set up your own Americano system using your favorite Nespresso capsules or other OriginalLine coffee capsules:

  1. Set one button to be your preferred shot size
  2. Set the other button to be your preferred hot water volume

In between pressing both buttons, just eject the capsule so you don't re-run water through the spent coffee grounds. That would result in a more bitter cup of espresso.

If you're making milk-based beverages, Americanos, or other drinks with more volume than a typical shot of espresso, you can remove the drip tray to accommodate taller mugs. When it's time to brew a standard shot again, reinsert the drip try to elevate your cup and prevent splashing.

types of espresso beverages

Can I brew a regular cup of coffee with the Nespresso Pixie?

No, the Nespresso Pixie espresso machine doesn't let you brew a full-sized cup of coffee like Keurig coffee makers. However, you can brew an Americano, which has around 5 oz of volume and is similar to a small cup of coffee.

If you really want the ability to brew both coffee and espresso, check out the Nespresso Vertuo Next or another other Nespresso VertuoLine machine. They're a hybrid Nespresso coffee machine and function as both espresso and coffee makers with the ability to brew both espresso shots and full cups of coffee up to 17 oz.

How quiet is the Nespresso Pixie espresso machine?

The Nespresso Pixie is reasonably quiet for a pod coffee maker. It's quieter than a Keurig coffee maker and larger Nespresso espresso makers, but you can still hear its motor running from the other room while it pulls a shot of espresso. If you want the quietest Nespresso machine, check out the Nespresso Essenza Mini.

What other features should I know about the Nespresso Pixie?

Good question. There are several other features that every Nespresso Pixie review should mention:

  • Automatic shutoff: Program the machine to power off after 9-30 minutes of inactivity. Out of the box, the unit is set to power off after nine minutes.
  • Removable water tank: The machine's 24 oz water tank is positioned in the rear and can be removed for easy refilling. Consider where you'll place the machine and make sure you have enough overhead space to reach behind the unit and remove the water tank.
  • Recyclable pods: Pods sold by Nespresso can be recycled through Nespresso's recycling program—coffee grounds and all. You may be able to recycle pods from other roasters, but you'll have to check with each roaster.

Why choose the Nespresso Pixie over other pod espresso machines?

Let's round out our Nespresso Pixie review by asking (and answering) the most important question: Why choose the Nespresso Pixie espresso maker instead of the other 20+ Nespresso machines available?

  • It a Nespresso OriginalLine unit, which we think is superior to their VertuoLine models. OriginalLine machines use either Nespresso capsules or pods from other roasters, OriginalLine units have a 19 bar pressure pump that achieves better extraction than VertuoLine coffee makers, which don't have a pump, and OriginalLine machines make a hotter cup of espresso.
  • A small, compact unit with a 24 oz water tank volume.
  • Uses thermoblock technology for rapid heating and is ready to go in under 30 seconds.
  • Easy to use custom volume feature for a dialed-in espresso shot.
  • Aluminum exterior is more stylish and durable than the plastic exteriors on most Nespresso machines.
  • Overall, the machine offers fantastic bang-for-your-buck, which is why the Nespresso Pixie espresso machine has remained an in-production unit many years after it was first released.

Check out our Nespresso Machine Comparison to see specs for each capsule-based espresso maker.

Check out the Nespresso Pixie!

Check out Nespresso Pixie!

Nespresso Pixie
Our favorite bang-for-your-buck Nespresso machine, the Pixie delivers no-fuss espresso in a durable, scratch-resistant, awesome-looking aluminum case. If you don't need the fancy extras, you want the Pixie.

More Nespresso Reviews From The Coffee Maven

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating: 88
Alto Intenso (Alto, Intensity: 7) features a blend of Costa Rican coffee with a washed Robusta bean from Guatemala, which you won’t find in any other Nespresso capsule, for a bold, woody flavor with hints of caramel.

Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Vertuo
Overall Rating: 87
Don't let its name fool you. The Vertuo is more advanced than either the VertuoPlus or VertuoPlus Deluxe! Its 40 oz reservoir is so-so but its 1350W heating element leaves you just 15 seconds from brew-ready water.

Nespresso Lattissima Pro

Nespresso Lattissima Pro
Overall Rating: 91
Arguably the top-end Lattissima model, the Pro has a large 44 oz water reservoir, 16 oz milk container, an integrated frother, and 6 preset recipes on an interactive touchscreen display to make anyone a home barista.
About The Coffee Maven
bryan de luca
Bryan De Luca

I'm Bryan but most people know me as The Coffee Maven. I grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts and received my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Providence College. My first introduction to coffee was during my college days, when I used it as a source of caffeine to fuel late-night study sessions, but soon I became obsessed with the chemistry of coffee. How did changes to water temperature or contact time affect its taste? Why do beans from Africa taste fruity while beans from Indonesia taste spicy? I launched The Coffee Maven in February 2017 to explore these questions and help others brew their perfect cup. Welcome to my site, and thanks for reading!