Nespresso Machine vs. Espresso Machine: What’s The Difference?

Nespresso vs. Espresso: A Comparison of Coffee Machines

Curious about the difference between Espresso and Nespresso? Let me explain! Espresso is known for its strong flavor, made by pushing hot water through finely-ground beans. Nespresso, on the other hand, uses convenient pods.

But there's more to it! I'll compare these machines, exploring flavors and how they work. Plus, we'll answer the big question: Is Nespresso real espresso?

Whether you're a coffee lover or just starting, this article has something for you. Ready to learn? Let's dive in!

In this article we'll cover:

  • Espresso Overview
  • Nespresso Overview
  • Comparing Nespresso and Espresso
  • Espresso Machines vs Nespresso Machines
  • Is Nespresso the Same as Real Espresso?
  • Conclusion
  • Frequently Ask Questions

Espresso Overview

Best Espresso Machines

I think espresso is the best kind of coffee. I love spending my weekends playing around with my espresso maker to make the perfect cup.

Let's talk about what makes espresso real.

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a strong coffee with a creamy top layer called crema. It's made by pushing hot water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. This brings out rich flavors, giving you a small but intense shot of coffee.

Originally from Italy, espresso is more than just a drink – it's a way of making coffee. It's used to make drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. People like it because it brews quickly and has a unique taste.

Now, let's talk about the machines that make espresso.

Espresso Machines

Espresso machines come in different types, each with its own good and bad points.

For instance:

  • Manual machines give the barista lots of control but need skill and effort.

  • Semi-automatic ones do some parts automatically but let you control how long the shot is. Good for new home baristas.

  • Super-automatic machines do everything at the push of a button but don't offer much flexibility.

The main thing with espresso machines is they need good beans that you grind just before brewing. Using pre-ground coffee won't give you the best results!

Cost Per Serving

When considering the cost of each shot of espresso, it's important to break it down:

  • Single Shot: 11 grams of ground coffee, costing $0.20 per shot.

  • Double Shot: 17 grams of ground coffee, costing $0.32 per shot.

These calculations are based on the Specialty Coffee Association Of America's standards.

Now, let's compare this to the Nespresso pod system.

Nespresso Overview

Nespresso BEC120RED Inissia Espresso Machine

Nespresso is the first to bring us single-serve pod coffee. As someone who loves traditional espresso, I was unsure when I tried the Nespresso Vertuoline.

But after using it, I've grown to like the convenience and tech behind Nespresso.

What is Nespresso?

Nespresso makes coffee easy. It uses special capsules filled with coffee. You put these capsules into a Nespresso machine, which makes coffee by pushing hot water through them.

This gives you a quick and consistent espresso-style coffee. Nespresso offers lots of flavors, so everyone can find one they like. It's great for people who want a quick and easy coffee at home or work.

But how does Nespresso compare to traditional espresso machines? Let's check out the different Nespresso models.

Nespresso Machines

Nespresso machines mainly come in two types:

  • OriginalLine: These machines brew coffee using centrifugal force, making a single 1.35oz shot of coffee, similar to traditional espresso.

  • VertuoLine: These machines brew coffee by spinning it centrifugally. They can make both 1.35oz coffee and larger cups up to 14oz by scanning barcodes to customize the brew.

While Nespresso machines are very convenient, they don't offer the freshness and customization of traditional espresso. However, their technology makes it easy for almost anyone to enjoy quality espresso-style coffee with minimal effort.

Cost Per Serving

As expected, the cost per serving with Nespresso is higher than with an espresso machine.

Here's how it breaks down:

Cost per shot (capsule) = $0.75.

This is calculated by dividing the average price of a sleeve of Nespresso capsules by the number of capsules in the US (specifically Nespresso original pods, not Vertuoline pods).

Now that we understand the basics, let's compare these two coffee brewing methods side by side.

Comparing Nespresso and Espresso

Now that we've discussed the basics of each coffee maker, let's directly compare espresso and Nespresso.

How Does Nespresso Taste Compared to Traditional Espresso?

When it comes to taste, espresso lovers prefer the flavor of freshly ground beans – and I'm with them on that.

Freshly ground coffee releases oils that give off amazing aromas and flavors, which you can't always find in store-bought coffee.

The crema on top of espresso is thicker and creamier with fresh beans.

However, Nespresso has improved their coffee capsules to keep flavors better. But is it as good as a real espresso made with freshly ground coffee from your burr grinder?

I'd say no, but Nespresso pods still give you a tasty espresso-style drink that's easy and consistent.

Espresso Machines vs Nespresso Machines

Brewing espresso involves mastering skills like dosing, tamping, and pulling the shot. Nespresso makes it easy with just a button push.

But this simplicity has its downsides. You can't customize strength, milk texture, or use different beans like with espresso machines.

With Nespresso, you're limited to their pod options, which can be pricey and not as varied.

Espresso machines need a bigger initial investment, but when you factor in ongoing pod purchases, Nespresso's long-term costs are similar.

Here's a breakdown of the main differences between espresso machines and Nespresso machines:

  Nespresso Machine Espresso Machine
Skill Required Low: Simple to use and automated High: Requires advanced barista skills
Brewing Control Limited: Pre-set by capsules High: Manual control over brewing
Convenience High: Quick and easy operation Lower: Involves more steps
Cost Per Serving Around $0.75 per capsule About $0.20 per single shot and $0.32 per double shot
Initial Investment Lower upfront cost, but ongoing pod expenses Higher initial cost, but lower ongoing expenses
Accessories Needed Few: Mainly for milk frothing Many: Including grinder, tamp, scale, etc.
Taste and Flexibility Consistent but with limited options Flexible: Offers full control over variables
Pressure Uses centrifusion instead of traditional pressure Typically, pressures of 9 bars or higher are considered ideal for an espresso shot.
Best For Convenience and speedy espresso Coffee lovers, hobbyists, and businesses

Is Nespresso the Same as Real Espresso?

Nespresso vs. Espresso

The answer isn't simple. Nespresso uses some espresso methods, but real espresso needs freshly ground beans.

Nespresso capsules aren't fresh and offer limited customization options.

While Nespresso can create coffee and espresso-like beverages, the question remains: Does it brew genuine, authentic espresso?

There isn't a universal definition of espresso. Even the Specialty Coffee Association has differing guidelines, and Italians have particularly strict standards for what they consider an authentic espresso shot.

Here are the general parameters for making a shot of espresso:

  • At least 7 grams of finely ground coffee.

  • At least 9 bars of water pressure.

  • 25-30 seconds of extraction time.

  • Approximately 25 mL of water.

While Nespresso meets some espresso criteria—like using 5g of coffee and reaching up to 19 bars of pressure—it falls short on traditional extraction time and method.

Nespresso's quick 20-25 second brew time may not match the standard. Thus, purists debate its authenticity. Nevertheless, Nespresso offers convenient espresso-style coffee, pleasing many.


In conclusion, the choice between espresso and Nespresso boils down to personal preference.

Espresso offers control and intensity from fresh beans, while Nespresso provides convenience with comparable taste.

Whether you prioritize crafting your coffee or quick and easy brewing, both methods offer a satisfying coffee experience.

If you want to know more about Espresso and Nespresso machines click on the articles below to learn more!

Frequently Ask Questions

How much espresso can you make with one Nespresso capsule?

A Nespresso capsule holds 5-7 grams of ground coffee, giving you around 50-75 milligrams of caffeine per capsule. However, the flavor and texture of the coffee may vary depending on the blend and intensity of the capsule, as well as the extraction process used by Nespresso machines.

Are there any notable differences in the maintenance and cleaning requirements between Nespresso and espresso machines?

Nespresso machines generally require less maintenance and cleaning compared to espresso machines, which may need regular descaling, backflushing, and portafilter cleaning to maintain optimal performance.

Is Nespresso coffee good quality?

Nespresso coffee is generally considered to be of decent quality, with a range of flavors and intensities available to suit different preferences. However, some coffee enthusiasts prefer the taste and freshness of coffee brewed from freshly ground beans.

Can Nespresso capsules be recycled?

Yes, Nespresso offers a recycling program for its aluminum coffee capsules. Customers can return used capsules to Nespresso boutiques or designated collection points for recycling.

Are Nespresso machines easy to use?

Yes, Nespresso machines are designed to be user-friendly, with simple operation and automatic brewing processes. Users can simply insert a capsule, press a button, and wait for their coffee to be brewed.



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