Nespresso Essenza Mini Review 2021: Small But Mighty

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Close up of the Nespresso Essenza Mini

I’ve always had small kitchens, which can make buying new appliances a challenge.

Each one needs to not only deliver great results, but also be a compact machine that I can find a home for somewhere on my limited kitchen counter space.

In my Nespresso Essenza Mini review, I’m taking a detailed look at one of the most popular, mini Nespresso machines available today.

(Looking for something else for your morning cup? I have a massive coffee brewing archive that has more to explore!)

What To Look For In An Espresso Machine

There are countless espresso machines on the market that use coffee capsules. Finding the right one for your own kitchen can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

Before looking more closely at the Nespresso Essenza Mini, there are a few questions that are worth considering. This will help narrow down your options

Can You Still Use Ground Coffee?

The cost of coffee capsules can add up fast. It’s important to be aware that you’ll be investing in this sort of coffee experience over time.

The plus side of that argument though is that you have access to a huge range of flavors. That means you can experiment more freely.

You don’t have to buy anything in bulk, and can instead narrow down to some personal favorites.

Some single serve espresso machines do also include the option to continue using ground coffee though. These typically come with a separate chamber or filter basket for the job.

The Size Of The Water Reservoir

If you’re drinking nothing but espresso shots (which are typically 1.5oz or less), then you won’t need an enormous water reservoir.

Do make sure it’s easy to access and remove from the espresso machine for refilling though.

Choosing the right size will ultimately come down to how you yourself plan to use the machine on an individual basis.

Once you know how many drinks you’ll get through each day, you’ll be able to determine the right water resorvoir size for you. Balance that with how often you’ll need to refill the thing.

The water reservoir tends to be one of the larger components on these machines. There’s always going to be a trade-off between size and capacity.

Do You Need Advanced Features?

These types of espresso machines is designed to be extremely simple – and fast – to use. Only the most impatient of coffee addicts would need to set it up ahead of time!

That said, I always think it’s worth looking for a machine that at least has an auto shutoff. That’s good for your power bills and the environment.

Nespresso Essenza Mini

Breville’s Essenza Mini is one of the most compact Nespresso machines on the market.

Sale
Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso...
  • SIZE: Discover the newest and smallest ever single serve espresso maker from Nespresso by Breville,...
  • PERFORMANCE: Create a barista-style coffee or espresso drinks every time, thanks to our one-touch...
  • EFFICIENT COFFEE MACHINE: In just one touch, the water reaches the ideal serving temperature in 25...

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The idea here is that you get the same coffee quality you’d expect from other machines in the Nespresso line. The difference though is that it’s delivered in a much smaller form factor.

It’s also designed to be pretty zippy. The Nespresso Essenza Mini is ready to brew its first cup of the day in just under 30 seconds. That’s great if you’re in a hurry in the mornings and don’t have time to wait around.

If you’ve only got a little bit of kitchen space for new appliances, I think this espresso machine is a very good option. The dimensions are 3.3 (W) x 12.9 (H) x 8.0 (D) inches -that’s extremely narrow!

Just be aware that you’re limited to using officially branded pods with the Essenza Mini Nespresso.

Unlike some other single-serve espresso machines, there’s no – official – way of using your favorite pre-ground coffee. That means you’ll have to commit to buying more pods over time.

Pros

  • A very compact espresso machine that still delivers knockout coffee.
  • Includes drink options of a 1.35oz espresso shot and a 5.0oz Lungo drink.
  • A starter kit of Nespresso pods comes with the machine.
  • Fast heating-up time.
  • A well-made espresso machine that feels durable.

Cons

  • You can only use Nespresso pods, and so the cost of owning the machine increases over time.
  • Pods can be harder to source locally than the more popular Keurig capsules.
  • Real coffee connoisseurs will find the flavor wanting. It’s fine for the average coffee drinker though.
  • Drips a little after the brewing cycle has finished.
  • A rather loud machine for its size, although this is a common issue with pod coffee makers.

Nespresso Essenza Mini: Key Features

That’s a very brief overview of the Nespresso Essenza Mini. Here’s a closer look at some of the machine’s most important features.

Brewing Pressure

To get a decent espresso extraction, you should look for a machine that delivers at 15 bars of pressure or more.

The Essenza Mini performs at 19-bars. That’s enough to get a really rich extraction out of whichever pod you happen to be using.

Operating Speed

Pod machines exist to get really good coffee inside you without any hands-on involvement on your part. Speed is another crucial part of the experience.

Most of them will get the job done in under a minute, but the Mini works quite hard to reach its optimum brewing temperature in just under 30 seconds.

That’s about as good as it gets with these machines!

Water Reservoir

The water reservoir on the Nespresso Essenza Mini seems small at first glance, but remember you’re typically using this machine to make smaller drinks.

It’s also located towards the rear of the espresso machine. Just make sure you can access it easily from wherever you plan to situate it.

Design Quality

In terms of design, I think the Nespresso Essenza Mini is an unusually striking piece of kit at this end of the market.

It certainly stands out from other machines of its type really well, and I think it adds a bold design element to the kitchen.

Many single serve coffee makers have a very cheap finish to them, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

Programmable Settings

Although the Nespresso Essenza was designed to be a very simple espresso machine, there are two different settings which provide some degree of flexibility.

First up you can brew a standard 1.35oz espresso shot. This will likely be your go-to drink and it produces a pretty intense coffee drink.

There are always going to be times when you want a longer brew though. For those occasions, the Nespresso Essenza also includes what’s called a Lungo setting. This brews a 5oz shot instead.

That’s really useful when you want to make bigger drinks such as iced coffee.

In each case it’s very easy to select the drink you want, with two buttons dedicated for this very purpose.

If the default volume settings aren’t working for you though, it is possible to change the sizes altogether.

It’s a pretty simple process:

  • Open the lever, insert your capsule and then close the lever.
  • Place your cup underneath the dispenser.
  • Press the Espresso or Lungo button.
  • Keep it held down.
  • Once you’ve reached the desired volume, stop pressing the button.

From now on, whenever you use that button the Mini will produce the new volume of coffee!

Auto Shut Off

If you’re making multiple drinks then you won’t want the machine to power down constantly. It is reassuring to know that an auto shut-off mechanism is featured in the Essenza Mini.

If you want to make multiple drinks then the machine will stay warmed up and ready to go. Once you’re done though, the Mini automatically powers down the water heater after nine minutes, and enters its eco mode.

Not only is that good for your power bills, but it’s also kind to the environment too.

Personally I have a bit of a thing about leaving hot appliances liked espresso machines unattended, so I like the peace of mind this provides.

Extras In The Box

To help you get started with the Nepresso Essenza Mini you actually get quite a few welcome extras.

As well as comprehensive instructions, you also receive a bundle of OriginaLine capsules. With those you can start experimenting with some of the flavors.

Some – but not all – pod machine makers provide a similar bonus and I think it’s always very welcome.

If you’re the kind of person to get paralyzed by choice then this is a great way of getting use out of the machine right away!

The Nespresso Essenza Mini Bundle consists of 14 sample pods.

Cleaning & Descaling

It’s really important that you allow a little bit of time here and there to care for this sort of machine.

Espresso machines last much longer if you care for them, and you’ll get great tasting espresso if the maker is properly cleaned and descaled.

You should take a few minutes each day to empty out the drip tray and also check the capsule container. It’s worth giving the water reservoir a good rinse out every day or two as well.

As for descaling it’s a pretty simple process, although the whole thing does take around 15 minutes and requires you to be on hand.

You add a combination of descaling liquid and water to the reservoir, then put a suitably large container under the dispenser. You then hold down both serving buttons for five seconds.

Next, you have to return the water / descaling liquid to the tank and repeat the process.

Finally, you need to run clear water through the machine one time to remove any of the solution.

It’s not a complex process by any means, but this is particularly important to complete if you live in a hard water area.

Alternatives To The Nespresso Essenza Mini

There are quite a few options when it comes to choosing a single serve coffee maker like the Nespresso Essenza Mini espresso machine.

Here are a few popular alternatives which you might like to consider:

Breville Vertuo BNV220CRO1BUC1

This alternative machine from Breville offers much more flexibility when it comes to serving sizes.

Breville BNV220CRO1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and...
  • AUTOMATIC COFFEE/ESPRESSO MACHINE: Create barista grade brewed single serve coffee or espresso cups at...
  • VERSATILE COFFEE MAKER: Brew 5 different cup sizes at the touch of a button - Espresso (1.35 oz), Double...
  • SMART COFFEE MAKER: Brew the perfect single serve coffee or espresso drink time after time, thanks to...

There are five in total, which means you can make anything from a standard 1.35oz espresso shot to a 14oz Alto.

That larger serving will be ideal if you plan to take your coffee on the go and need to fill a travel mug, for example.

To accommodate these larger serving sizes, the water tank size has been increased to 40oz. It’s not the largest on the market, but it’s big enough to make a variety of drink sizes throughout the day.

Nespresso by De’Longhi ENV135B

De’Longhi’s ENV135B features an even larger water reservoir at 54oz. That should be more than enough to get you through the day I think!

Sale
DeLonghi America, Inc ENV135B Nespresso...
  • Black color
  • Centrifusion technology and One touch operation
  • High capacity, 54 ounce removable water tank

Like the previous Breville machine it also produces a larger number of serving sizes, from 1.35oz to 14oz.

It heats up even faster as well, with a warm-up time of just 15 seconds. If speed is the most important factor for you, then this is probably the best option within this budget range.

Breville BNE800BSSUSC Nespresso Creatista Plus

Breville’s Creatista Plus is more of a high-end machine, but it does include a milk frother. That opens up a whole extra world of coffee drinks to you, but you will need to spend a little time getting your milk settings just right for the brew you’re making.

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee...
  • SINGLE SERVE COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MACHINE: The Nespresso Creatista Plus offers freshly brewed coffee as...
  • BARISTA GRADE: Brew different single serve coffee and espresso beverage options at the touch of a button...
  • SMART COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MAKER: Brew a perfect single serve coffee or espresso cup time after time with...

There are many more settings to play around with on this machine, from adjusting the coffee volume to tweaking the milk temperature. This machine is ideal if you’re happy to spend more time getting your drink just how you want it.

It’s also the fastest machine I’ve looked at so far, offering a positively blistering three second warm-up time!

Verdict

Nespresso machines exist to get great quality coffee inside you quickly, and with as little fuss as possible.

In that sense I think the Nespresso Essenza Mini is a really solid choice. You are restricted to using only coffee pods, but there’s a huge range to experiment with. The quality of the coffee range is very good too.

Sale
Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso...
  • SIZE: Discover the newest and smallest ever single serve espresso maker from Nespresso by Breville,...
  • PERFORMANCE: Create a barista-style coffee or espresso drinks every time, thanks to our one-touch...
  • EFFICIENT COFFEE MACHINE: In just one touch, the water reaches the ideal serving temperature in 25...

I like that you can tweak the presets to suit your drink size preferences. The compact size of the machine is another big plus for those of us with smaller kitchens.

Click here to find out more about the Essenza Mini, and read more reviews.