Nespresso Essenza Mini is the most compact espresso machine that the brand offers. So, of course, it’s an excellent option if you’re short on space. But is that its only selling point? Or does it have more to offer? Let’s find out in this Nespresso Essenza Mini review.
Keep reading as we look into this mini espresso machine’s details to see exactly who its target market should be. Learn what to expect when it comes to design, coffee quality, and how enjoyable it is to use daily.
Long story short: it’s not for everyone.
SUMMARY: The Nespresso Essenza Mini
- Available in two unique designs, the traditional Mini C and the more modern Mini D.
- The smallest Nespresso machine, measuring less than 5 inches wide.
- Makes two espresso drinks, a single shot and a lungo.
I love how compact this machine is! I bought it so I can take it in the trailer for camping. The coffee comes out super hot, and I like how it brews espresso and lungo sizes. Highly recommend.
– Nadisha, Customer
The Full Nespresso Essenza Mini Review
First, a brief word about the two models of the Nespresso Essenza Mini, the Mini C and the Mini D. Both versions are the same price, have the same capacity, and use the same brewing system inside. The difference between the two is purely aesthetic.
- The Mini C has a more traditional look, with straight sides and a boxy design. In keeping with this, it’s available in neutral colors: black, white, and gray.
- The Mini D has a funkier, more modern look, with a triangular shape, and it’s available in black, red, and lime green. It’s just slightly wider than the Mini C at its base.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the essential details of both brewers, including how they work, how well they work, and whether they’ll make your life easier.
Espresso Quality – 3/5
All OriginalLine Nespresso machines use the same extraction technology and thus produce the same espresso, the Nespresso Essenza Mini included. After inserting the aluminum espresso capsule into the machine, the machine punctures the capsule, and a 19-bar pump pumps it full of pressurized hot water. When the pressure gets high enough, the Nespresso capsule bursts and releases the brewed espresso into your waiting mug.
This system produces a strong coffee with a frothy layer on top resembling crema, but it doesn’t quite measure up to coffee shop quality espresso from a real espresso machine. However, not many of us have the time or money to make proper espresso at home, explains Kyle Glanville of the famed U.S. coffee roaster Intelligentsia (1).
[Espresso is something] very few people can really undertake. It definitely requires dedication and patience and a lot of money.
So Nespresso has become a convenient alternative.
The coffee dose is the biggest difference between real espresso and Nespresso coffee. A single espresso typically contains 7 to 10 grams of ground coffee, whereas Nespresso capsules have only 5 grams. If you’re used to drinking espresso, primarily if you’re used to double shots, you might wonder why you don’t feel quite as perky after your Nespresso brew.
That said, unless you’re a real espresso nerd (in which case you’d likely not be reading a review of the Nespresso Essenza Mini), you’ll enjoy the coffee from this espresso machine. It’s tasty and has a rich flavor, particularly the darker roasts; it is easy to prepare, clean up, and consistent. Even a pro can occasionally pull a bad espresso shot, but it’s impossible to mess up a shot from a Nespresso coffee maker, no matter how groggy you are first thing in the morning!
Breville vs. DeLonghi
If you’re a Nespresso enthusiast, you’ll know that they often contract other brands with more coffee machine expertise to produce their espresso machines. This great system benefits both the companies involved and the consumer.
In the case of the Essenza Mini espresso machine, Breville makes the more traditional style Mini C and DeLonghi makes the more modern Mini D. Both Nespresso machines produce identical espresso, have the equivalent build quality, and cost the same. So don’t let brand loyalty be a deciding factor.
Custom Brewing Features – 3/5
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a basic machine with very few brewing features, but this simplicity is part of its appeal.
You have two espresso drink options, a single-shot espresso and a lungo.
The espresso is 1.35 ounces, and the lungo is 3.72 ounces.
Keep in mind that both coffee drinks use the same capsule with a 5-gram dose of ground coffee, so the lungo is a larger and weaker drink – not to be confused with a double shot of espresso. If you want a double shot, you’ll need to use two Nespresso capsules and brew twice in a row into the same mug, though this method quickly becomes expensive.
Unfortunately, if you want to opt for a refillable Nespresso pod, which is an excellent choice from an environmental standpoint, in that case, you’ll be confined to an even smaller capsule capacity of about 4.5 grams. This is due to the design of the coffee capsules, and Refillable capsules let you use your favorite pre-ground coffee rather than being confined to the Nespresso brand.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini has no milk frothing capabilities, so it can’t make you a latte or cappuccino. However, you can buy it bundled with the popular Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother for a discount.
‘Make Your Life Easier’ Features – 4.5/5
The whole premise of a Nespresso machine is to make your life easy, and the Nespresso Essenza Mini certainly delivers. It’s one of the simplest roads to a quick pick-me-up.
Essenza Mini’s most convenient feature is that it’s such a small machine.
Indeed, this distinguishes it from other Nespresso coffee makers – and why we gave it the Most Compact Machine award in our round-up of top Nespresso machines. It is the brand’s most miniature model, measuring just 4.3 inches wide by 12.8 inches deep by 8 inches tall. And it weighs only 5 pounds. It’s an excellent choice for small home kitchens, but it is also perfect in less conventional coffee-making locales like the office cubicle, an RV, or a dorm room. Some people consider it portable, taking it on vacation to hotel rooms and AirBnBs.
By the way, if you’re pressed for space but not sold on the Nespresso brand, check out our complete list of the best small coffee makers.
Its compact size and the fact that this Nespresso machine requires minimal cleaning is another reason it’s suitable for various locations. You don’t need easy access to a sink to brew coffee with a Nespresso maker. The Nespresso Essenza Mini espresso machine can hold up to 6 used Nespresso pods in its waste capsule container. You can brew six espresso shots before worrying about finding a trash can.
Though single-serve espresso machines like Nespresso aren’t always known for their environmental benefits, the Essenza Mini has a few nice features in this regard. It only takes 25 seconds for it to heat to read-to-brew temperature, much faster than most espresso machines, and brewing coffee takes less than a minute. It automatically enters a low energy consumption eco mode after 3 minutes without activity and will power down after 9 minutes.
Nespresso has also dramatically expanded its recycling program (2). So it is now easier than ever to recycle used Nespresso capsules at local facilities or by mail.
Water Reservoir – 4/5
The Nespresso Essenza Mini espresso machine has a removable water tank that holds 20.3 ounces of water. This is a nice size that balances keeping the machine’s footprint small without adding the inconvenience of constant refills.
Essenza Mini’s water tank size matches the capacity of the waste capsule container. After brewing 6 espressos or lungos, it’s usually the right time to empty the used capsules and refill the water tank. The only thing this espresso maker lacks is a light or sound indicator to tell you that the tank is running low on water. So you’ll have to remember to check it yourself.
The drip tray requires more frequent attention than the water tank, and the balance between footprint and capacity is tougher in this case. Because the espresso machine is so narrow, the drip tray must be pretty tall to hold a reasonable volume. Some people have complained about this because it is challenging to fit a normal-sized mug under the coffee outlet. This machine was designed with espresso cups in mind. If you prefer to brew in a larger mug, you can remove the drip tray to create much more space. There are even some entrepreneurs offering 3D-printed drip trays with a smaller volume.
As with the water tank, the drip tray doesn’t have an indicator to let you know it’s getting full. Be sure to keep an eye on it to avoid a mess, especially if it’s sitting on your office desk or in your camper.
Don’t Buy the Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine If…
Small size isn’t a priority: The compact design of the Essenza Mini distinguishes it from the rest of the Nespresso machines line-up. If you aren’t too pressed for space, the slightly larger Nespresso Pixie is less expensive, produces the same coffee, and is just as easy to use.
You prefer brewed coffee to espresso: If you’re looking for a single-serve coffee maker for brewing regular coffee, consider the Keurig K-Mini Plus, which is just as tiny as the Nespresso Essenza Mini espresso machine. Home Grounds recommends pairing the K-Mini Plus with a reusable K-Cup, which is better for the environment and will yield a higher-quality cup of coffee (3).
You make a lot of milky drinks: If lattes and cappuccinos like they have at your local coffee shop are more to your taste, you might prefer to buy an espresso machine with the capability to steam milk. While the Aeroccino milk frother is popular and easy to use, it doesn’t allow you to control the milk texture as a steam wand does.
If you still want the convenience of an espresso machine that uses coffee pods, check out the Nespresso Creatista, the brand’s highest-end model that includes a built-in milk frother. Or, if you’re willing to delve into the world of true espresso, you might appreciate the more affordable Breville Bambino Plus. It’s one of our favorite espresso machines for home use and includes an automatic steam wand.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is best suited to someone looking for the tiniest possible espresso machine that still offers the convenience of pod-based brewing. If you only have 5 inches of counter space to spare, this machine will fit nicely and deliver you a reliably tasty morning cup. On the other hand, if you have a bit more room, larger options will deliver the same great-tasting coffee for less money.
- Nosowitz, D. (2012, June 12). FYI: What is Espresso? Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-06/fyi-what-espresso/
- World Finance. (2021). Sustainability Awards 2021. Retrieved from https://www.worldfinance.com/sustainability-awards
- Hamblin, J. (2015, March 2). A Brewing Problem. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/