Pod Coffee machines have been growing in popularity ever since George Clooney appeared on our screens spruiking Nespresso, and while coffee purists will usually snub their noses at these modern devices, the innovation and progress in this space is undeniable.
If you’re in a busy household or simply don’t want to mess around with grinders, bulky machines, or delicate pour-over methods, a capsule coffee machine might be just the ticket.
The current market is flooded with products, each with different features, looks, pod compatibilities, and price tags. Below we list our picks for the best capsule coffee makers on the market to provide you with a starting point in your search.
Best For Most People: Delonghi Nespresso Citiz
A popular mid-range option, the Citiz is a slightly larger Delonghi machine that delivers consistently good Nespresso. The optional milk frother is a big bonus, meaning you can choose the type of machine that best suits your preferences.
Its is exceptionally easy to use. There are only two buttons – Espresso and Lungo, providing you with options for two different volumes of coffee.
It has a nice, sleek appearance and while it is a lot larger than machines like the Essenza Mini, with a width of only 12cm it could still slot in neatly next to the kettle or toaster in most kitchens.
Coffee from the Citiz tastes great (in line with most other Nespresso Original machines) and comes out at a good temperature.
The option to have the integrated Aeroccino milk frother is excellent, however be aware that milk must be frothed separately then added manually, rather than being delivered straight into your cup as is done by some higher-end machines.
- Sleek appearance
- Great espresso crema
- Very easy to use
- Can accommodate large or small cups
- Optional integrated Aeroccino milk frother
- Espresso and milk must be prepared separately then combined
- Only Espresso and Lungo shot options
- Milk frother must be washed by hand
Best With Milk Frother: Nespresso Breville Creatista Uno
The Creatista Uno is a premium Nespresso machine that allows you to make flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos with perfectly frothed milk. It is ready to use in just 3 seconds and is a versatile choice that makes great coffee exactly how you like it.
One of the key features that sets this capsule machine apart from the rest is the milk steamer. It is a great choice if you want to make cappuccinos or lattes with no mess and minimum effort as the built-in milk frother automatically froths milk at the touch of a button. You can adjust the milk temperature and froth texture to suit the drink you are making and the machine does the rest for you.
This is a high-performance capsule machine that has a fast 3-second heat-up system so you won’t be waiting around for your morning coffee. It also automatically turns off after 9 minutes to save energy when not in use.
Although the coffee amount is programmable, the machine doesn’t have a screen which makes it a bit more difficult to make the adjustments you want. If you choose not to customise this, the machine has a standard setting it uses.
The design of the Nespresso Lattissima is modern and sleek, it looks tidy and there’s a couple of colours to choose from. The empty capsule compartment can hold up to 9 capsules so it doesn’t need to be cleaned out too frequently.
The integrated milk frother has an adjustable arm so it can work with all cup sizes. The milk froth level can also be adjusted to suit your personal preference. The frother itself needs to be cleaned after each use but there is a cleaning button that can be held down that makes this quick and easy.
- Makes great coffee
- High quality
- Automatic milk frothing
- Low maintenance
- Parts are hand wash only
- Used capsule container is small
Upgrade Pick: Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus
The Creatista Plus is ideal for anyone that wants the convenience of a pod machine combined with the added ability to effortlessly create customised coffees with perfectly frothed milk.
The automated steam wand requires no additional skill to use and the adjustable options are easy to set thanks to the user-friendly digital interface. This machine also boasts an impressive 3 second heat up time so you won’t be left waiting around.
The digital menu keeps the interface clean and intuitive and makes it easy to cycle through the adjustment options including coffee volume, milk texture and milk temperature.
This machine uses a 19-bar pump which helps get the most from each capsule and it produces impressive crema which is something that is often missed with many automatic machines.
If you’re looking to try your hand at latte art this is a great option as you can choose between 8 milk textures and 11 temperatures to create the perfect microfoam for your drinks. For ease of use, the milk steamer automatically cleans itself after each use.
The generous 1.5 litre water tank and large empty capsule container make sure maintenance is kept to a minimum. After 9 minutes the Creatista Plus automatically shuts off to save energy.
The Nespresso Creatista Plus is easy to use and gives you a lot of control over your drinks. It doesn’t quite offer all of the freedoms of a manual or semi-automatic machine but does give you lots more customisation and versatility compared to the entry-level Nespresso machines.
One of the great features of this model is the automatic milk frother. This frother lets you choose the texture and temperature for the drink you are making and provides excellent microfoam. You can even give latte art a try with this cafe-quality microfoam.
The digital display lets you choose the drink and the settings with ease. There are only two buttons on the top of the coffee machine, one lets you scroll through the menu and the other is “start” which confirms the selection and makes the coffee. The Creatista Plus does not have a touch screen as the Creatista Pro does but the interface is easy to use and looks great.
- Great milk frother
- Intuitive user interface
- Can make a range of coffees
- Difficult to keep clean
- Higher price tag
Best For Small Spaces: Delonghi Nespresso Essenza Mini Solo
The Nespresso Essenza Mini Solo is the smallest of the Nespresso pod machines. It takes up hardly any space on the kitchen counter, is lightweight and looks smart. Despite being small in size, the Essenza Mini Solo offers speed and convenience with excellent results.
This is an inexpensive pod machine that boasts 19 bar pressure to extract the coffee. This is the same pressure power as higher cost, premium machines. Its water capacity is 0.6L so may not be the best option if you frequently make coffees for groups of people.
This coffee machine has 2 drink size options which are pre-set to espresso and lungo but can be customised to suit your preferences. To save energy the machine automatically goes into Eco mode after 3 minutes and will turn itself off after 9 minutes of inactivity.
Used capsules automatically fall into the container which can hold up to 6 capsules. If you enjoy milky coffees it is best to get this in a bundle with the Aeroccino3 so you can enjoy warm, frothed milk in your lattes and cappuccinos.
The Essenza Mini Solo looks great, is unobtrusive, and requires hardly any cleaning. It does make some noise when it is brewing so don’t expect it to be silent. The coffee tastes great and does have a small layer of crema on the top too.
The construction is plastic but it looks nice and feels sturdy. The space between the drip tray and the coffee spout is quite small so you may have to remove the drip tray to make enough space for your cup.
- Compact size
- Offers 2 customisable drink sizes
- Quick and easy to use
- Coffee is high quality with a layer of crema on top
- Limited user settings
- Small used capsule container