This is one of the dilemmas only a true espresso lover would understand. Those who only care about the caffeine kick they get from their coffee would never understand how some apparently insignificant factors can affect the quality and the supreme flavor of a real espresso and how important it is to find the best machine.
Now, Nespresso and DeLonghi are both very popular well-established brands, they make good espresso, but still, how do you know which to choose?
Nespresso machines are made by a Swiss-based company which is part of the Nestle food giant. They have an extensive range of single-cup coffee makers, among which the most popular models are Pixie, Inissia, Citiz, and Vertuo. They use top quality materials so you can be sure their machines won’t break in a couple of months.
Nespresso became famous worldwide with its patented espresso coffee pods, which come in various exquisite flavors. All you have to do is select the coffee you’re in the mood for, pop the pod into your Nespresso machine, and in less than a minute you have a steaming barista-grade espresso ready.
DeLonghi is an Italian company that’s been in the home appliances business for 100 years, so they know their trade. Their machines are reliable, fairly easy to use and one of the most affordable options on the market.
The weird thing is the DeLonghi company also manufactures a range of Nespresso machines, which obviously use Nespresso pods. However, we’re not going to talk about these machines as they’re still Nespresso. We’re going to focus instead on real DeLonghi coffee machines, as it is not our concern here that they also make machines for a rival company.
They’re both essentially espresso makers but many people out there are addicted to cappuccino or latte so how about those?
Nespresso is the best choice for those who only care about espresso. If you’d like a milk-based drink you’ll have to buy one of their frothers on the market in the Aeroccino range. If you look at their latest Nespresso VertuoPlus models, you’ll see it can prepare straight espresso, lungo, ristretto, and even a more basic drip coffee.
If you insist with the cappuccino you will have to buy the Nespresso Vertuo Machine Bundle, which includes a frother that can make either hot or cold milk foam.
DeLonghi, on the other hand, has an integrated milk frother on all the models, even the cheaper ones, which means you can get whatever beverage you prefer at no extra cost.
Don’t think Nespresso doesn’t care about cappuccino lovers, there’s plenty of those in the world so the company created the Lattissima range to cater to their cravings.
The Lattissima Pro has a 44 oz water tank and a 17 oz milk reservoir, so you can make plenty of latte with that, along with the basic espresso, that is.
On the other hand, the DeLonghi EC146 Espresso Cappuccino Maker is quite a stylish machine that can prepare two drinks at the same time – one of you can get a shot of espresso, while the other can enjoy a latte, thanks to the integrated milk frothing arm. It doesn’t get any easier!
DeLonghi machines use what is known as the Hot Milk system, which is a detachable milk tank that fixes to the machine. This system does everything you need – heating, mixing, and frothing the milk for whatever drink you choose from the menu on the machine. As the tank is detachable, you can store any leftover milk that can be stored in the fridge.
As they are designed to create different types of coffee, both machines come with a system that allows you to adjust the size of the cup to be used, which saves you a lot of trouble.
Nespresso conquered the world with its pods which bear exotic names such as Fortissio Lungo, Roma, Rosabaya, or Arpeggio. The pods offer you variety and convenience, but on the other hand, you’re kinda tied to this company. You can, of course, look for compatible pods elsewhere, but that’s an additional hassle. And Nespresso has a smart program to keep customers buying those pods by offering discounts on new espresso machines.
Some customers complained that the Nespresso pods only pack 5 g of coffee, instead of 7-8 g which should be optimal for a strong espresso. However, loyal Nespresso fans point out the latest Vertuo pods which introduced the barcode revolution.
The pods for the Nespresso Vertuo have barcodes which the machine can read and adjust the cycle to create the perfect drink. To be fair, if you have a good extraction process you can get a strong and flavorful espresso even from 5g of coffee.
And we should point out that some customers have similar complaints about the quality of the DeLonghi espresso, which they say tastes like it was made by a barista-in-training rather than an award-winning one.
On the other hand, with DeLonghi, you have more choices. They also have coffee capsules, which go by the name ESE, but some of the models allow you to use your own pre-ground coffee, which is a cheaper option. Or you can look for a DeLonghi machine with an integrated grinder, which brings us to another question.
A trick you can use on both machines is to fiddle with the control buttons, even though they are preset for all drinks. If you watch the flow of coffee into your cup, you will notice the liquid is first reddish-brown, that’s typical for ristretto, then turns golden-brown, which is the color of espresso, and finally becomes yellowish, which means the extraction has basically ended.
So, if you’re aiming for a really strong coffee, stop the program before the machine starts pouring weakly-colored water into your cup.
Many customers wonder if the coffee grounds in those famous Nespresso pods are as fresh as they should be. Coffee experts unanimously recommend using freshly ground beans for a perfect brew. So the coffee that’s been sitting there in the pod for God knows how long is it fresh? According to the company it is, as they use nitrogen to seal in the freshness.
And, we have a tip for you – when you buy pods check to see if there’s a slight bulge to the foil. If it’s saggy or flat this means there’s a hole in it, and exposure to air can make coffee go stale!
So, if you’re ready to live with pods, you should buy Nespresso – this will make your morning ritual quite easy. Put the pod in, press the button and you can sit down and enjoy your espresso.
However, if you’re the sort of coffee enthusiast that loves to explore new flavors, you should probably choose a DeLonghi, with or without a grinder, and use whatever coffee blend catches your fancy.
The Nespresso machines can be easily cleaned by flushing them with clean water and this should be enough for day to day use. However, all espresso machines need descaling from time to time – ideally once a month, if you don’t forget about it. You can order special descaling pods from the company which will take care of the job easily.
On most DeLonghi machines, especially the low-priced ones, you will have to clean it manually, which might be a bit of a bother.
The top of the range DeLonghi models do have automatic cleaning systems at the touch of a button, including the milk container.
Nespresso single-cup coffee makers are suitable to people who prefer a straight espresso, no milk, no-frills. They offer only the best technology and are very intuitive to use. And you have plenty of flavors to choose from as they have various types of pods on the market.
However, Nespresso machines can be pretty expensive and if you want to prepare cappuccino as well you’ll have to buy one of the Lattissima models, which don’t come cheap.
On the other hand, you’ll be quite happy with your morning coffee so you’re set to have a really good day, work hard, make money and…buy more Nespresso pods!
On the other hand, DeLongy also offers good reliable machines, which can guarantee a decent espresso every day, not to mention all the cappuccinos and lattes you can make with them. If you’re not very picky, do yourself a favor and save some money by going with this budget espresso-maker!