Frothy coffee at home — here are 8 easy barista coffees you can make with a Nespresso machine

Five coffees on orange background
(Image credit: Future)

Ever fancy barista coffees at home, but don't have all the kit? Thankfully, once you learn how to froth milk at home, even a basic Nespresso machine can be used to make barista-type drinks right in your kitchen. 

Although Nespresso coffee makers are simple pod brewers, famous for their quick and easy espressos, they can be used to create drinks that you'd spend good money on at the coffee shop. It's just like how you'd use one of the best espresso machines, but without all the complicated parts.

Nespresso make some of the best coffee makers available, but my machine is relatively basic compared to most. It's the Nespresso Essenza Mini, part of the Original line of coffee makers that offer limited functions compared to the newer Vertuo line

This didn't deter me, though. Read on to discover how I mastered eight rich and creamy coffees with my Nespresso Essenza Mini and a milk frother and to find out how to froth milk without one.

What you'll need to make barista coffee with your Nespresso machine

From flat whites to latte macchiatos, I brewed eight (very) tasty coffees with my Nespresso Essenza Mini and used the milk frother on my new Jura GIGA 10 coffee machine - but you don't actually need one for hot or frothed milk. 

Everyone has their own tastes, but I used a selection of Nespresso's Ispirazione capsules (the Ispirazione Roma capsules are a personal favorite). You can find the Nespresso Ispirazione Variety Pack at Amazon. And if you want more choice, a Nespresso Vertuo machine like the Lattissima would take your brewing possibilities even further.

How to froth milk at home

Adding hot, steamed, or frothed milk to an espresso in different ways can create drinks like lattes, flat whites, and so many more. 

You don't necessarily need a milking device for this, either. You can heat milk in the microwave or on the stove, and you can froth milk by whisking it or shaking it in a jar.

If you're looking for a milk frother, the Aeroccino4 is Nespresso's best and latest model, designed to be used with Nespresso coffee machines to heat and froth milk in four different ways. Or, this hand frother from Zulay is a more affordable frother alternative (but you'll need to heat up the milk yourself).

Espresso: The classic

Espresso coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

Espresso is the base of any barista coffee. (Image credit: Future)

Of course, all Nespresso machines can brew an espresso. It's the traditional base of any barista coffee, meaning any simple espresso machine can be used to brew a whole variety of beverages. 

Flat white: Strong & smooth

Flat white coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

A flat white balances coffee strength with smooth milk. (Image credit: Future)

A flat white has long been my go-to coffee order. It's like a smaller latte but with a stronger, more intense flavor. For me, this is the ideal coffee-to-milk ratio, with that creamy, velvety texture creating a smooth drinking experience. 

It's made using a double espresso shot as its foundation. Then you pour steamed, velvety milk on top. A good ratio to follow is 50ml (1.69 fl oz) espresso to 60ml (2.03 fl oz) hot milk, but of course, this can be changed to your preferences. 

For mine, I frothed the milk slightly to give it a thicker body and, after taking the above picture, mixed it all together and enjoyed a creamy coffee that was ready in minutes. 

Cappuccino: Satisfying & milky

Cappuccino coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

Coffee, hot milk, frothed milk - that's the traditional recipe for a cappuccino.  (Image credit: Future)

Cappuccinos are a classic - the rich, satisfying flavor makes it a popular choice for any coffee drinker. And it's actually fairly easy to make at home.

Traditionally, cappuccinos are made using a third espresso, a third hot milk, and a third frothed milk. This allows for the espresso's intensity to be mellowed out by the milk, and the frothed/hot milk combo provides more diverse textures.

This is definitely one of my favorites to brew at home. I like my cappuccinos milky, so I added a bit of extra hot milk before pouring the foam. And when mixed, it was thick and creamy enough to taste like a barista had done it. 

Latte: Extra frothy

Latte next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

Before mixing, you can see how a latte looks with its espresso base and poured-on milk.  (Image credit: Future)

Barista drinks often start with espresso as the foundation, and a latte is just espresso with rich and creamy milk poured on top. It's one of the more milky coffees, with the ratio often being around one part espresso, three parts hot milk, or 40ml espresso to 120ml hot milk (1.35 fl oz / 4.06 fl oz).

I decided to make my latte a bit frothier than usual to make the most out of my Jura machine - and it tasted great. And don't worry, I gave it a good mix before drinking.

Latte macchiato: Good-looking, triple-layered

Latte macchiato next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

Latte macchiatos are one of the more visually-appealing coffees out there. (Image credit: Future)

Lattes start with espresso first, then milk. But a latte macchiato starts with milk with the coffee and then is poured on top. It's a subtle difference but one that can really change the look and texture of the drink.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to start with 150ml of frothed milk (5.07 fl oz), then pour 40ml of espresso (1.35 fl oz) on top. As the espresso sinks below the milk froth, this creates the distinct, visually satisfying three layers. 

Mocha: Indulgent chocolate infusion

Mocha coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

Combine the flavours of coffee and chocolate with a homemade mocha. (Image credit: Future)

It's one of the most popular flavor pairings for a reason. Anyone who loves coffee and chocolate will appreciate this and will have likely tasted many mochas in their time. 

Especially as the weather gets colder, learning how to make a mocha at home can make all the difference. There are different ways to make one - you can even use dark chocolate blocks or ice cream for a really thick and indulgent result - but it doesn't take much to brew a simple, delicious mocha. 

Using espresso as the base, I added two teaspoons of hot chocolate powder (this time, I used Lindt's - one of my personal favorites), then poured a generous amount of hot and frothy milk on top. This creates a smooth balance of chocolate and coffee, with the milk mellowing out the taste so that neither flavor is overpowering.

Espresso macchiato: Smooth & intense

Espresso macchiato coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

An espresso shot becomes smoother after placing frothed milk on top. (Image credit: Future)

To make an espresso macchiato, all you need is an espresso shot with a small amount of frothed milk on top. It's best to use frothed milk that is relatively stiff so that it sits nicely on top of the dark espresso crema.

Espressos are naturally intense, so adding a spoon of frothed milk can smoothen the experience. It's a quick and easy way to make your espresso shot a little less intense.

Americano: The easy one

Americano coffee next to Nespresso Essenza Mini

An Americano is easy: add as much hot water as you want to a shot of espresso. (Image credit: Future)

Americanos are very simple to brew: all you need is a shot of espresso topped up with hot water. 

This is a great way to weaken the intensity of an espresso shot while making your coffee last longer. The flavor is diluted into the water, so be sure to pour the right amount to your desired coffee's strength and size.

Final thoughts

This is only the beginning of the long list of coffees you can brew with a Nespresso machine. Once you start throwing in ingredients like whipped cream, chocolate, and ice cream - you can use a Nespresso to make some of the fancy coffees you'd expect from a coffee shop like Starbucks.

And if you're looking to upgrade your home coffee station, be sure to check out our Black Friday coffee maker deals hub for all the biggest discounts on coffee machines this year.

Dan Fauzi
Features Editor

Dan Fauzi is the former Features Editor of Top Ten Reviews, with experience in digital product writing across all sorts - including tech, outdoor living, sports, and homes & gardens. Outside of work you'll find them at gigs, exploring creative spaces, or cooking up something good in the kitchen.