When we tested and ranked the best espresso machines on the market, we chose The Nespresso CitiZ&milk as the best pod machine. A pod machine doesn’t use coffee grounds in a portafilter to make espresso; instead it uses small flavored capsules that you simply insert into the top of the machine. This greatly simplifies the espresso-making process and eliminates the guesswork involved with grinding, tamping and pulling the coffee manually.
The CitiZ&milk scored highly on every test we put to it. In our espresso quality test, this machine scored an 8 out of 10, which is significantly higher than the category average of 6.4 out of 10. The individual flavored capsules gave each drink we made a unique and tasty flavor. This machine produces the most crème of all the machines we evaluated. While it isn’t the best espresso we saw, it’s as good as or better than what you can get at a commercial coffee shop.
Part of the reason this espresso machine scored so highly in our quality tests is that it has more pressure bars (a measurement indicating the amount of water pressure the machine uses to create espresso) than nearly all of the other machines we looked at. All other things being equal, the more bars, the better espresso you’ll get. This espresso machine has 19 bars of pressure, which is significantly higher than the 15 pressure bars featured on almost all the other machines we evaluated.
The milk frother included with this machine was hands-down the best one saw during our evaluation. Most of the other frothers require you to have a milk jug that you place under a nozzle and froth the milk yourself. This machine gives you a thermos style jug that froths the milk to near perfection. All you have to do is fill the thermos, place its base connected to the machine, push the frother’s button and it will automatically swirl the milk into smooth, tasty froth. This is made possible by a small frothing spring in the bottom of the thermos. No other espresso machine we looked at has this technology. The froth received high marks from both our barista and reviewing team, with an overall score of 9 out of 10.
Additionally, this espresso maker is the easiest to use of any machine we evaluated. As mentioned above, all you need to do is insert flavored pod you want, close the lid and select whether you want a single or double shot, and you’ll have ready-to-drink coffee in less than two minutes. It scored a 10 out of 10 in our ease-of-use test; only one other machine, the Aicok Espresso Machine, got this score – and it is also a pod machine.
The tradeoff for this kind of convenience is that you need the special Nespresso espresso pods to make it work. You get a dozen or so with the machine itself, but once those are done, you have to get more from the Nespresso website. And it may or may not be more expensive, depending on what kind of coffee grounds you’d buy instead.
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This is not only a great pod-based espresso machine, it came close to being our top overall pick. It’s very easy to use, makes excellent espresso and froth. It uses much more pressure to make its coffee than other machines we reviewed, which contributed to its high-quality score. It’s frother is a masterstroke and unique among the machines in this category. Just make sure you keep your supply of capsules high, so you don’t wake up one day to find an empty box and no way to make your morning brew.
Contributing Reviewer: Danny Chadwick