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As much as I like the convenience of a Keurig, it’s no great secret that K-Cup coffee can leave a little to be desired when it comes to flavor.
Far better is the coffee produced by Nespresso capsules. In our Nespresso Evoluo review I’m taking an in-depth look at one of the most popular machines in this category.
Things to consider before buying
Single serve coffee machines like the Nespresso Evoluo are designed to provide total convenience, without compromising on the quality of your coffee.
They typically use coffee pods – rather than grounds – during the brewing process, and so you’ll be limited to using these capsules. The good news is that all of these machines support a vast range of flavors, so you’re not exactly going to be stuck for choice.
If that sounds a little too restrictive for you though, then you’ll be better off with something like a drip coffee maker, or even a dedicated espresso machine. You will, of course, lose the convenience factor by doing so.
The cost of these pods do add up over time too, so go in with your eyes open on that front. They’re not exactly great for the environment either, so you’ll need to recycle them properly.
If you’re all about the convenience though, here are some of the features you should be looking for when reviewing single serve machines:
- Water Reservoir: Check how much water the machine can hold at any given time. No one wants to be refilling these things all day long, so make sure the tank’s generous enough to last you the day.
- Capsules: What capsule range is the machine compatible with? Look a few of them up online and make sure you’re not going to be limited to flavors you wouldn’t necessarily choose over the other options.
- Size: It might sound silly but it’s important to check the amount of space you have available in your kitchen or office. You’ll likely need to open the top of the machine to insert pods, so make sure you’ve got at least six inches of extra space available on top.
- Design: Most single serve coffee machines come in a variety of colors, but not all do so check the listings carefully. You should also consider whether or not you want a very stylish machine, or something more functional.
- Maintenance: It’s worth getting a machine that lets you know when you need to descale it. Running it through a descaling cycle will dramatically increase its lifespan and save money in the long run. It should also be easy to clean, and the messiest parts should be easy to detach from the machine itself.
The Nespresso Evoluo is a hybrid coffee maker designed to brew espresso and larger coffee drinks. As such it represents a tremendously versatile, all-in-one solution for home kitchens.
If you’re into coffee but not so into coffee that you want more than one machine, it offers a lot of flexibility.
If you like espresso but your partner likes larger drinks, for example, it’ll work for both of you.
This is a capsule machine though, and so you are restricted to a specific range of coffee flavors found in the Vertuoline range.
The good news is that there are a lot of options to choose from on that front, and the coffee quality’s pretty dang good.
As for serving sizes, you’ve the following options:
- Espresso – 1.35oz
- Double Espresso – 2.7oz
- Gran Lungo – 5oz
- Regular Coffee – 7.77oz
- Alto – 14oz
- An all-in-one hybrid machine that’s a cut above the competition.
- Extremely easy to operate. There’s only one button and the machine scans the pod you’ve inserted for optimal brewing.
- Although made of plastic, it’s a very nice-looking and sturdily-built machine.
- 54oz water reservoir is a generous size for this kind of coffee maker.
- Initial warm-up is just 15 seconds, and your coffee’s ready around one and a half minutes after that.
- Espresso quality is very good but not outstanding. It’s definitely better than Keurig though!
- You’re limited to using Vertuoline coffee pods.
- The cost of those pods will add up over time. They’re better tasting than the competition, but typically more expensive to buy.
- No “add water” alert, and the ridged design of the reservoir can make it tricky to check at a glance how much water remains.
- Drinks aren’t as hot as you’ll get from other coffee makers. That will be more problematic if you plan to make a lot of milk-based drinks.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that are specific to the Nespresso Evoluo.
This is the flagship feature of the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo and it works very differently to other pod-based coffee makers.
Most other machines will force hot water under pressure through the pod, which then fills your cup up.
Not so with the Evoluo.
Instead, it actually spins the pod at tremendous speed (around 7,000 RPM) while the water is directed through it.
The end result is a strong brew with a pretty decent crema on top. (That’s the aromatic froth that sits on top of the espresso).
Each of the official capsules has a barcode on it, so the machine knows how to brew each one just right. This also means you get a very consistent coffee experience.
Just be aware that if you’re planning to make milk-based drinks like a latte or a cappuccino, you’ll need to pick up a separate frother!
The process for inserting new pods is really simple and in keeping with the machine’s core design philosophy.
All you have to do is open up the brew chamber, put the pod in, and then close it again. Twist the top until the two markers align and the machine’s good to go. That’s it!
Rather cleverly, opening the machine again (after brewing…) will automatically spit the used pod into a container that sits at the rear of the machine.
This can hold just under 20 used capsules, and it’s pretty easy to detach when you want to empty it into the recycling bin.
Just give it a bit of a clean every now and then too, so it doesn’t get gunked up.
The coffee produced by the Evoluo tastes pretty good. It’s definitely not as bold as you’d enjoy from a proper, manual espresso machine but the results are impressive nevertheless!
I quite like the taste of Nespresso capsule coffee, and I’d say the Evoluo’s brewing process does a good job of extracting the flavor from them.
It’s rich and smooth and there are lots of options to choose from including decaffeinated coffee if that’s something you enjoy.
You get a dozen or so pods included in the box with the machine, so I don’t think it will take you long to find a flavor that works for you.
One thing to be aware of is that the Evoluo doesn’t make the hottest coffee in the world.
That problem will be magnified if you’re planning to make very milky drinks, but this is largely going to be a question of personal preference.
If you can settle for nothing less than piping hot coffee that makes your lips purse up, you might find the Evoluo a little wanting.
In terms of pure aesthetics, the Evoluo looks a lot better than many of the single serve coffee makers out there. Taste is a very personal thing, of course, but I think has a very pleasant modern look.
It’s made of plastic but it seems to be a pretty hard-wearing machine. There have been complaints that it can scratch easily though, so that’s something to keep in mind.
In terms of overall durability, this machine range has a pretty good reputation for longevity.
That is by no means a common thing with this sort of coffee maker, but you are paying a premium in the short term.
As for colors, you have the following options to choose from:
- Graphite Metal
Here are the assembled dimensions of the Evoluo too. Remember to allow room on top to open up the pod chamber!
- 9.0” (W) x 12.3” (D) x 12.2” (H)
The Evoluo can hold up to 54oz of water in its reservoir at any given time.
How quickly you’ll get through that will depend on the size of the coffee servings you brew. It’s fair to describe this as a generous size at this end of the market though.
The only annoying thing about the water tank is that the ridged design can make it tricky to see the current water level. It’s not a major problem, but not ideal either.
A lot of the single serve coffee makers I’ve reviewed can be quite annoying in that you can’t really get big cups or travel mugs under the spout.
You can take the drip tray out altogether and see how big a mug you can fit in there, but that’s prone to causing a lot of annoying mess.
To avoid this frustration, you can adjust the Evoluo’s drip tray to one of three different heights.
That means you’re not making a splash if you’re using a small cup. At the same time you won’t have coffee dripping everywhere, just because you want to fill a travel mug and have had to ditch the drip tray altogether.
I reckon you’ve got enough space to fit a seven inch travel mug here, so do check the size of your cups and mugs before settling on this machine.
Ease of Use
Convenience is core with this sort of coffee maker, and the Evoluo keeps things as simple as possible.
There is but a single button on the Evoluo and it controls every aspect of the machine!
The machine automatically shuts down nine minutes after its last use as well. If you know you’re done and dusted you can hold this button down for three seconds to switch it off manually instead.
Personally I’m not a fan of leaving hot appliances behind me, so I’m always glad to have this option.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Everything on the Evoluo that you’d want to clean (such as the drip tray and capsule container) comes apart from the machine easily enough.
Once taken apart, they’re very easy to clean, dry off and then re-attach.
There’s also a self-cleaning cycle which gives the maker’s innards a good clearing out.
This runs three times in total and takes around five minutes to finish, but it’s really helpful for keeping the machine in good working order.
Not many machines of this type have this kind of feature, so that’s a big plus for me.
There’s also a dedicated light that warns you when the machine needs descaling. It’ll blink to let you know it’s time to descale, but if you ignore it it will eventually stop brewing until you’ve completed the process.
Although potentially annoying, it’s also a good thing because nothing will degrade the machine (and your coffee) faster than build-up of scale!
The manual explains how to finish this process clearly, so don’t be too put off. It takes around 30 minutes to complete, but you’ll need to be on hand for some of that.
If you’re not sure if this is the machine for you, there are some very worthy alternatives to consider. Here’s a very quick look at some of my favorites:
You’ll need to buy a separate frother if you want to make cappuccinos with the Evoluo, but De’Longhi’s Lattissima Plus is purpose-built for this kind of drink.
If you’re committing to a Nespresso machine for the long-term, then the Breville Creatista Plus is a good investment. You do pay a premium for its benefits though:
One of the most compelling features of this machine is the barista-quality milk frother that’s built right into it.
This can automatically produce eight different milk textures, and has 11 temperature presets too. You get a lot of room to experiment with this machine, in other words!
De’Longhi has another great Nespresso machine in the form of the catchily-named EN80BAE.
If the Breville machine is a little too intimidating for you, this maker comes with a separate Aeroccino milk frother and it won’t break the bank.
As an all-in-one coffee maker I think the Nespresso Evoluo is a really solid choice. It’s very versatile and adapts to any number of situations.
The coffee is very good but not quite great, although that applies to every coffee maker of this type so that’s probably an unfair criticism.
Vertuoline pods are some of the better ones as well, and the Centrifusion process does a really good job of extracting the flavor optimally.
The Evoluo is also very easy to use and I like the built-in maintenance alerts which keeps the machine in good working order for the long term.
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