This is my review of the Nespresso Essenza Mini, one of the most compact Nespresso machines on the market.
I own the Nespresso Essenza Mini and spent half a day researching other users’ experiences with the machine to put together this review.
Let’s get started.
Should I buy the Nespresso Essenza Mini (Quick Verdict)?
I would recommend buying the Nespresso Essenza Mini. The Essenza Mini makes excellent espresso and is very compact and easy to use. The machine uses OriginalLine pods which aren’t actually that much more expensive than making espressos with ground coffee.
While the Essenza Mini still doesn’t make quite as good an espresso as a good quality espresso machine, I am constantly amazed by the quality of coffee it produces considering its simplicity of use.
The table below contains all the key product specifications of the Essenza Mini:
|Specification||Nespresso Essenza Mini|
|Dimensions||3.2”W x 12.8″D x 8.1″H|
|Maximum height with lid up||11.8 inches|
|Mug clearance||3.75 inches|
|Used pod container storage||5 pods (although advertised as 6 pods)|
|Available sizes of coffee||Single Espresso (1.75 fl oz) Double espresso (3.5 fl oz)|
|Reservoir size||20 oz|
|Maximum brewing pressure||19 bars|
|Milk frother||Not included|
|Manufacturing partner (USA)||Breville, DeLonghi|
|Manufacturing partner (Europe)||Krups, Magimix|
|Compatible with Nespresso app||No|
The Essenza Mini is absolutely tiny.
I don’t see how anyone will struggle to fit this on their countertop, no matter how crowded it is.
The machine saves space by forgoing “optional extras” like a milk frother and container. It just does the basics of making single espresso very well.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is part of Nespresso’s OriginalLine, meaning that it takes the smaller Nespresso capsules and only makes espresso-style coffee.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini can only make two espresso sizes: single espresso (1.75 oz) and double espresso (3.5 oz).
(Please note that the double espresso is sometimes called Lungo, but a larger 5 oz espresso is also sometimes called Lungo, so I am calling it double espresso in this article).
Quality of Coffee
The Nespresso Essenza Mini makes a good single espresso but only a mediocre double espresso.
The Essenza Mini makes a very good quality single espresso.
This is because the machine uses pods that contain 0.21 oz (6 grams) of coffee.
This is just a touch below the recommended 0.25 oz (7 grams) of coffee for a barista’s standard single espresso.
Nespresso machines are able to brew ground coffee under the required pressure to produce espresso’s signature syrupy texture and crema.
Although the machine brews espresso a bit too quickly, meaning you would get a better quality espresso from a “traditional” style espresso machine, I am still very impressed with how well the Essenza Mini produces single shots.
Double Espressos from the Essenza Mini are a bit bland and watery.
The machine uses the same 0.21 oz capsules for single and double espressos.
This means that the Essenza Mini uses less than half the recommended amount of coffee for its double espressos. This results in an underwhelming final drink.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini costs around $59 per year more to operate than a traditional espresso machine.
According to Nespresso’s website, Nespresso Original pods cost on average $0.40 a pod
This means that if you have one coffee a day, the Essenza Mini will cost $146 per year to operate.
For reference, a 12 oz bag of good quality coffee costs around $10 and contains enough coffee for 42 single espressos.
This works out at $0.24 per coffee.
If you were to have one coffee each day an espresso machine would cost you $87 per year to operate.
|Cost per…||Nespresso Essenza Mini||Espresso machine|
This means that the Nespresso Essenza Mini costs $59 per year more to operate than an espresso machine.
You can find out more about the operational cost of Nespresso machines in my article on whether Nespresso machines are worth it.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The Essenza Mini, like all Nespresso machines, is very easy to both use and clean.
The Essenza Mini could not be easier to use, all you need to do is lift up the lid, drop the pod into the port, and press either the button with the small cup on it for a single espresso or the button with the large mug on it for a double espresso.
One problem that I have had with this machine as far as user experience is concerned is that the mug clearance between the drip tray and the spout is so low that you cannot fit an 8 oz mug in this space.
The machine is designed to be used only with those small espresso mugs which not everybody has.
Used pods are deposited in a container within the machine.
This container can only hold five used pods at a time, and the machine will not work once this is exceeded.
This is not a problem if you are aware that you need to empty the pod container after every five coffees.
It is, however, annoying that the instruction manual claims that the container can hold up to six capsules.
If you are finding your Essenza Mini has suddenly stopped working, it is always worth checking and emptying the used pod container.
Cleaning and Descaling the Nespresso Essenza Mini
The machine’s drip tray, reservoir and used pod holder can all be removed and cleaned in the sink. None of these parts are dishwasher safe.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is not too difficult to descale once you know how to do it, however, the descaling instructions are not that well written on the machine’s manual.
I, therefore, had to look up how to do this online and, in fairness, Nespresso created an excellent video on how to do this.
I do think the Nespresso Essenza Mini should have some sort of “descale warning” that tells you when it needs to be descaled.
Nespresso themselves say that the machine needs to be descaled “every 6 months or after every 300 brewed coffees”, but in reality, this depends a lot on the mineral content of the drinking water in your location.
This means that the frequency you need to descale your machine will vary a lot, and since using a machine with scale can cause long-term damage to your machine, it would be nice for the machine to be able to sense and tell you when it needs to be descaled.
Some coffee machines do have this functionality, so it is possible.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini has a good build quality and is unlikely to break or malfunction within the first few years of ownership.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini feels like it’s built to last.
It has a thick plastic finish, a reassuring amount of weight to it, and all the hinges on the machine are stiff and heavy.
It has a far better build quality compared to other single-serve coffee machines like Keurigs.
The machine warms up very quickly. It is able to brew a coffee within 25 seconds of turning on.
It is also very quiet when it makes coffee, a testament to the fact that the manufacturers have not scrimped when building the machine’s pump and heating elements.
Known Technical Issues
I searched through reviews of the Essenza Mini on Amazon and all the threads that mention this machine on the Nespresso subreddit to find out whether there were any commonly-found technical issues with the machine.
I could not find any major issues that would make the machine unusable.
The one problem that a lot of people complained about was that the spout would drip coffee for quite a while after coffee was made.
I have found this to be true, and it is particularly annoying combined with the fact that you often have to use the machine without its drip tray in order to accommodate your mug.
The best way to mitigate this problem is to wait a minute after your coffee is brewed before you drink it so all the last drops from the spout end up in your cup.
What Users Say
The Nespresso Essenza Mini has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from over 5,000 reviews.
Positive reviews of the machine praise how well it makes coffee given its small size and ease of use:
Amazon reviewer, May 2020: “First, if you are going to order an Original Line machine, this Essenza Mini is THE ONE to get. Don’t let its diminutive size scare you. Everything about this machine is FANTASTICO—ease of use, simplicity of cleaning, and no maintenance whatsoever.”
Negative reviews of the machine mention its drippy spout and say that it can produce inconsistent coffees:
Amazon Review, November 2019: “This machine is very inconsistent. Sometimes, the coffee is good, sometimes it is very bitter. Quite frequently, water drips out of the machine and there are stains on the countertop and the container to catch coffee drips is full of water.”
Since the Essenza Mini has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5, it’s well worth noting that negative reviews of the machine are few and far between.
Here are a couple of products that you might want to purchase instead of the Nespresso Essenza Mini if you want slightly different features and functionalities.
Nespresso Creatista Plus: Best for Making Milk-Based Coffee Drinks
The Nespresso Creatista Plus makes espresso from Nespresso pods but also has a milk wand built into the machine.
This makes it excellent for making milk-based espresso drinks such as latte, cappuccino and flat whites.
The milk wand on the Creatista is excellent for people not used to making these milk-based drinks as it has presets for how frothy it makes your milk.
This greatly reduces the learning curve in frothing milk properly, meaning that you can make exactly the drink you want without too much trial and error.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus: Best for Making Espresso and Filter Coffee
If you want a single-serve coffee machine that can make filter coffee as well as espresso, your best bet is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus.
Only Nespresso VertuoLine of machines can make filter coffee and espresso, and the Vertuo Plus makes the best coffees in the VertuoLine range.
If you want to find out more about Nespresso’s VertuoLine range of machines, please see my comparison of the Nespresso Vertuo Plus vs Vertuo Next.
I would wholeheartedly recommend someone buy the Nespresso Essenza Mini if they were looking for a compact coffee machine that makes good single espressos.
The machine does single shots very, very well.
Although it might struggle with double espressos, this is due to a design flaw that affects all Nespresso OriginalLine machines, rather than just the Essenza Mini.