From its low price tag to its small size, this Nespresso Essenza Mini review should give you a better idea of whether this machine is for you.
After using the Essenza Mini for a long time, I can say there’s much more to it than being cheap and small.
Of course, the question of whether it’s better to get a proper espresso machine instead of Nespresso always pops up. And if you’re on the fence, check out our article on Nespresso vs espresso similarities and differences.
But if you’re set on getting Nespresso, this article should help you determine whether the Essenza Mini is the right model for you. So, let’s dive straight in.
Nespresso Essenza Mini: A Quick Overview
The first thing you notice about this Nespresso model is its compactness. But don’t get fooled by the size. This machine makes a shot just as good as other models in OriginalLine.
Of course, the size of the Essenza Mini is one of its most significant qualities. This tiny machine can easily fit anywhere if you’re short on countertop space. It’s also about half the weight of other OriginalLine machines, which is handy when you have to move it.
The Essenza Mini is a straightforward machine to use. It has two drink options, espresso and lungo. Plus, you can choose the shot size.
However, if you want to make milk-based drinks, like a latte or cappuccino, you’ll need to get a separate frother.
Maintenance is also a no-brainer. Aside from regularly cleaning the drip tray, pod container, and water tank, you should descale the machine every few months. The process is automated, so all you have to do is start it and come back after 15 minutes to get brewing again.
The price tag of this model reflects its design simplicity. It’s one of the most affordable Nespresso models, which makes it a great entry point for a first pod machine.
A Closer Look At Nespresso Essenza Mini Features
The Nespresso Essenza Mini has several amazing features, all of which I’ll elaborate on in detail to give you a better idea of what to expect with this machine. Let’s talk about each of them individually.
What’s The Machine Design Like?
At first glance, the Nespresso Essenza Mini seems like a simple, minimalist coffee machine. The entire body is plastic, which doesn’t sound very fancy.
But trust me, that plastic is really durable – just remember, Lego is also plastic, yet it’s sturdy like concrete. Plus, the machine’s exterior looks sleek, regardless of the material.
Now, you might have noticed that there are two slightly different Essenza Mini designs. One is rectangular and comes in muted colors: black, gray, and white. The other is slightly rounded at the top and comes in either black or one of the two vivid colors: red and lime.
What’s the catch? Well, while Nespresso invented their machines, the brand doesn’t make them. Instead, it distributes licenses to other manufacturers. In the case of the Essenza Mini, Delonghi makes the rectangular model, while Breville makes the rounder one.
And no, there are no functional differences between the two. Both machines work the same. It’s only their appearance that’s slightly different.
The removable water tank on the Essenza Mini is just as tiny as the machine itself. It has a capacity of 20.3 ounces, so you don’t have to refill it often. That is not necessarily bad, as your coffee is as fresh as the water you use for it.
But if your entire household also drinks coffee, daily refilling is necessary.
While I wish Essenza Mini had a sound or light indicator to tell you when it’s time for a water reservoir refill, that’s not a deal breaker. Just remember to do that every other day (or more often, depending on how many cups you drink daily).
Compared to the machine’s overall size, the drip tray is quite bulky. Still, it doesn’t have a huge capacity, requiring more attention than the reservoir.
Now, the reason why it’s so big is to hold your demitasse without coffee splashing all over the machine. And I get that. But it makes it impossible to place a regular-sized cup underneath.
Of course, you can remove it completely to do that, but then expect to clean up the coffee drops afterward.
Nespresso machines are generally known for their small footprints, but the Essenza Mini goes one step further. With 3.3×12.8×8 inches, this model takes practically no space on your countertop. It’s ideal for small spaces, including dorms and RVs.
Not only that, but this compact machine weighs just 5 pounds. That means you can easily bring it to the office or even on a vacation with you.
How Well Does It Perform?
When it comes to single-serve coffee machines, Nespresso is one of the most trusted brands. All Nespresso machines are rather reliable and have a consistent output.
Now, does the Essenza Mini perform better than any other Nespresso machine? I doubt that. But you can rest assured it’s at par with other models from the brand.
The Essenza Mini heats up in less than 30 seconds, which is standard for most OriginalLine machines. But when you compare that to real espresso machines that take several minutes, that’s impressive.
Another impressive detail is the quietness of this model. Sure, every espresso machine makes a buzzing noise, but this one is barely noticeable. It’s the least loud Nespresso model, and you can rest assured it won’t wake up the household in the morning.
To be able to make espresso, the machine needs to be able to achieve high pressure. The Essenza Mini has a 19-bar pump, which helps achieve that.
You might be thinking – isn’t a 9-bar pressure ideal for pulling a shot of espresso? And you’d be right. But those 19 bars refer to the pressure at the pump, not the brew head.
In reality, most espresso machines lose a bit of pressure along the way, so they still achieve those optimal 9 bars for extraction. That’s also the case with Nespresso.
One thing I must mention is the water temperature. With Nespresso machines, there’s no option to adjust the brewing temperature, which is set to 181-186F. That is somewhat lower than the optimal brewing temperature, which is 195-205F.
However, that doesn’t mean your pod gets under-extracted. For some reason, the temperature works well, allowing you to sip your coffee immediately.
What’s The Coffee Quality?
As a big coffee enthusiast, I must agree – no single-serve coffee maker will give you the same results as a proper espresso machine.
With that being said, the Essenza Mini still makes an amazing shot of espresso. After the capsule is punctured, the 19-bar pump pressures heated water into the holes, causing the capsule foil to burst and release coffee into your cup.
And let me tell you right now – a cup of espresso made with this machine looks wonderful. It’s thick and features a nice layer of crema on top.
When it comes to the taste, it depends on the coffee pods you’re using. Nespresso OriginalLine has a huge range of coffee capsules with different roasts and flavors, so you can find what works best for you. Regardless of the capsule, you can expect consistently good results each time.
What Drink Sizes Are Available?
The Essenza Mini is a simple machine, and that’s also true for size options. As we already established, there are two buttons available. One is for a single espresso shot, which is 1.35 ounces, and the other is for lungo, which brews a 3.72-ounce shot.
The Nespresso OriginalLine capsule capacity is 5 grams of coffee, and by choosing one of the two options, you determine its coffee-to-water ratio. Of course, if you want a double shot of espresso, you’ll need to use two capsules instead.
Now, while there are no additional buttons, that doesn’t mean you can’t customize your drink. You can change cup sizes and save the configuration for future use.
The process is pretty straightforward. You need to hold the button while pulling a shot (not just clicking on it once). Release the button once you reach the desired shot size, and the machine will blink three times to confirm new settings.
What’s Cleaning & Maintenance Like?
While I love making coffee, I’m not too fond of the cleanup that comes after it, which is my biggest issue with classic espresso machines. If that’s your pet peeve, you’ll surely enjoy using the Essenza Mini.
One feature I particularly like is the used capsule container. After you brew coffee, the capsule automatically goes into the container, so you don’t have to touch it while it’s hot.
The container can store up to six capsules, so by the time you have to empty it, you’ll probably have to refill the water tank. And while you’re there, why not clean all the removable parts?
With the Essenza Mini, the only removable parts are the drip tray, drip base, capsule container, and water tank. You can wash all of these in the sink. As for the coffee outlet and inside of the machine, a damp cloth will do the job.
These parts require frequent cleaning, which shouldn’t take you longer than a few minutes. Aside from that, you also need to descale the Essenza Mini after every 300 capsules.
The descaling process is also fairly easy. You need to pour the descaling solution into the water tank and press both buttons for five seconds. That will start the auto mode, which will descale your machine within 15 minutes.
After that, just run clear water through the machine to remove any residue. If that seems complicated, check out our guide on how to run a Nespresso cleaning cycle for more tips.
Ease Of Use
I must admit, I don’t think it gets any easier than the Nespresso Essenza Mini. With traditional espresso machines, you have to grind the beans, tamp the grounds, ensure all the settings are correct, pull the shot… But there’s none of that with the Essenza Mini.
To brew espresso, you must fill the water tank, add the pod, press one of the two drink options, and wait for it to brew. In other words, there’s no way you can mess that up. Well, the only scenarios where things might go wrong are:
- Using non-compatible capsules
- Trying to brew without any water in the tank
Plus, thanks to the capsule container, you don’t even have to deal with the used pod right away. If you’re lazy, leave that for tomorrow – that’s every procrastinator’s dream.
What Are Some Additional Features?
Given its size and price tag, you probably don’t expect a lot of nifty features on this machine. And while it doesn’t have many bells and whistles, there are a few things worth mentioning.
First, the Essenza Mini offers a programable energy-saving feature. The machine automatically shuts down after being idle for 9 minutes, thus saving you energy and eliminating the risk of short-circuit accidents.
But if, for some reason, you want to extend that time to up to 30 minutes, you surely can. To be honest, I don’t see why the time extension is necessary, but hey, it’s always great to have options.
It’s also worth noting that Nespresso offers a 1-year warranty on this machine. That will cover any repairs or replacements in the case of a defect. You might even get a loaner machine to use in the meantime.
Finally, I want to mention the pod recycling program Nespresso offers. When buying capsules from the brand’s website, you can add a recycling bag to your cart – for free. Use this bag to store used capsules, which you can drop off at a collection point or partner store.
Truth be told, this whole process should be even simpler. But it’s always great to know that those capsules you use aren’t in the landfill.
Do you Get Your Money’s Worth?
The Essenza Mini is among the most affordable Nespresso models. You might not have a frother or touchscreen, but you get everything you need to make a decent espresso.
If you were to compare features between this machine and other Nespresso models, you wouldn’t see much difference. Sure, most have larger water tanks and capsule containers, but the whole point of the Essenza Mini is to keep the small size for those with limited counter space.
In short, I really believe that the price of this machine is a good reflection of its features and quality.
Final Thoughts on the Nespresso Essenza Mini
If convenience, affordability, and compactness are what you’re after, then you’ll surely love the Essenza Mini. It takes very little of your countertop space, doesn’t hurt your wallet, and requires no manual to figure out how to use.
With that being said, the cup of coffee you get with this machine, although good, is not as great as the coffee real espresso maker brews. But considering the price and complexity of such machines, the Nespresso Essenza Mini seems like a really good trade-off.
Need recommendations on what pods to use? Here’s our article with the best Nespresso pods.
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