Author: SuperDee

Calphalon Temp iQ vs. Breville: Review and Comparison

Calphalon is an American brand that specializes in premium kitchen appliances and kitchenware. The name Calphalon is synonymous with high quality hard anodized aluminum cookware, but they also have several appliances, just as premium, and an espresso machine is one of them.

Calphalon’s Temp iQ espresso machine with built-in grinder, which is model we’re reviewing here, is usually compared to Breville’s famous Barista Express espresso machine with built-in grinder, especially that both are priced similarly.

In this post, we’re looking at the features of Calphalon’s espresso machine and how it compares to Breville’s Barista Express.

Features of Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder:

Sale
Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless
  • 15-Bar Italian pump delivers the right amount of pressure for maximum flavor extraction and produces a beautiful layer of crema for your Espresso
  • Freshly grind your beans to your preference With the integrated conical burr mill Grinder with 30 adjustable grind settings
  • Pre-programmed settings for single and double shots, and dial interface for selecting steam, or hot water
  • Includes single- and double-shot single wall filter Baskets
  • Thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control delivers even heat for consistently great-tasting Espresso, and gentle pre-infusion blooms The espresso grounds for optimally extracted Espresso

The Calphalon Temp iQ espresso machine is a pretty sleek machine that delivers solid results. It has the standard 15-bar pump, so you should expect a flavorful and nicely extracted espresso shot.

On the control panel, you’ll find three buttons. Two of them a pre-set for a single or double shot, the third button is for manual extraction. A dial knob allows you to switch between steaming or hot water, which is useful for instant hot water either for Americanos or instant drinks.

Thermoblock heating as well as PID temperature control (digital temperature control) deliver consistent temperature either for extraction or steaming. The machine will ensure it reaches optimal temperature for each task before it starts.

When it comes to the included portafilter, the Calphalon includes a 58mm portafilter basket, which holds more ground and allows for more even water distribution.

The Calphalon has a generous 94 oz water reservoir that is removable for easier refilling and cleaning.

What’s Included with Your Calphalon Espresso Machine:

  • Stainless steel milk jug.
  • Tamper
  • Cleaning disc
  • Cleaning pin
  • Cleaning brush
  • Single and Double shot basket filters

Calphalon vs. Breville Barista Express, What Is The Difference?

Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
58mm
54mm
Reservoir Capacity
97 oz
64 oz
Pressure Gauge
Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless
Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
58mm
Reservoir Capacity
97 oz
Pressure Gauge
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
Built-in Grinder
Portafilter Size
54mm
Reservoir Capacity
64 oz
Pressure Gauge

Breville Barista Express is a widely popular espresso machine. It is packed with everything one might need to get started as a home barista. It is user-friendly, has a built-in grinder and all the technical specs you need to produce a great cup of coffee. When it comes to features, Calphalon and Breville are neck-and-neck. So, are there any differences and how do you pick between them?

If you need to read a full review of the Breville Barista Express you can click here.

There are actually several differences between them that I can bring to your attention:

Although both machines have built-in conical burr grinders, how you adjust the grind settings is quite different. On the Barista Express, you have the Grind Amount and a dial for increment settings, but you have very little to no control over how precise your grind size is. On the Calphalon, you have control over the actual grind numbers giving you more control over your grind.

Portafilter sizes are different. The Barista Express has a 54mm portafilter, while the Calphalon has a 58mm portafilter. Does that make any difference to you? Although both filters can, technically, hold the same grams of ground coffee (up to 22g), having a larger portafilter (Calphalons) allows for better water distribution at pre-infusion and as the espresso being extracted. That’s why 58mm is the standard size used at coffee houses.

The steam wand design on the Calphalon is more of a commercial design than the one on the Barista Express.

Calphalon’s water reservoir is quite large at 97 oz (2.8L). Barista Express’s reservoir is 67 oz.

The Barista Express has a pressure gauge that shows you when your machine has reached optimal pressure. Calphalon doesn’t have a gauge, but uses light indicators instead.

Which Machine Is More User Friendly For a Beginner?

Both machines have been designed with beginner home users at mind. But both will require some trial and error until you get things right. Especially if it’s your first time using an espresso machine.

Things you’ll have to experiment with:

Milk frothing – getting that silky microfoam milk froth requires some practice.

Grind Size: if it’s your first time using an espresso machine, expect to make some terrible shots before you make the perfect one. Getting the right extraction depends on your precise grind setting, and the right grind setting will change depending on the type of coffee beans you use. This is why you’ll have to try different settings until you get the correct one.

Calphalon vs. DeLonghi La Specialista Espresso Machine:

Another espresso machine comparable to the Calphalon is La Specialista by DeLonghi. Although both have built-in grinders and few similar settings, there are some differences to set them apart:

De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Knock Box
  • FRESHEST COFFEE, EVERY TIME: Integrated grinder with Patent Pending Technology delivers consistent grinding and optimal coffee dose.
  • Knock box in the set - enjoy the ultimate espresso experience at home with additional convenience
  • HANDCRAFTED PRECISION: Smart Tamping Station ensures the right pressure for flawless results
  • 1 SECOND QUICK START: Power the machine on and immediately start grinding
  • ACTIVE TEMPERATURE CONTROL: Provides ideal temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction

Let’s start with the grinder. La Specialista’s built-in grinder has 6 grind settings to adjust the flavor of your shot. Of course, it goes from fine to coarse, but all are within the espresso grind range. Adjusting the grind only fine-tunes the taste of your coffee to make it stronger or milder. The Calphalon has the same adjustment options.

The second step would be to tamp your ground coffee. La Specialista has a built-in tamper. So as the portafilter sits in the same cradle where it collects the coffee ground, you pull down a lever and it will tamp it for you perfectly. Neither the Calphalon or Barista Express have this option.

When it comes to pre-sets, La Specialista has a few extra of those settings. You have your single and double shot presets, which are the standard in any machine. Then you have a few recipes to pick from: espresso, Americano and Coffee. As we all know, Americano is prepared by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso, so that’s exactly what the machine does. After extracting the espresso, it will add hot water using a dedicated hot water spout. What about the Coffee option? Coffee, in this case, is another variation of an Americano, so you shouldn’t expect this machine to make a traditional drip coffee. It will prepare Coffee using the same Americano recipe but with different measurements/ratio of water and espresso. Another great option is the ‘My’ button, which allows you to program your own recipes and save it.

Like the Barista Express, this machine has a gauge on the front panel to help you read the pressure of the machine. Included accessories are: 2 filter baskets, dual-wall single and dual-wall double baskets. Also includes a stainless steel frothing jug.

Should You Buy an Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder or Buy the Grinder Separately?

Before you decide whether to go with the Calphalon, DeLonghi or Breville’s Barista Express, here are some thoughts on espresso machines with built-in grinders:

  • It is important to keep in mind that the built-in grinder in your espresso machine is good for just that – grinding for Espresso.
  • So if you’re someone who also enjoys drip coffee, or any type of coffee other than espresso, you will not be able to use the built-in grinder in your espresso machine for other brewing methods. Grinders built-in to espresso machines have limited range of grind settings that are optimized for espresso grinds only, so all they offer is fine grind settings. If you want a grinder that can does it all (drip coffee and espresso), I highly recommend getting the espresso machine and grinder separately.
  • Built-in grinders are also somewhat harder to clean than separate grinders. You cannot take out the grinder on a built-in espresso machine and put it upside down or shake out older grinds.

Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine (Without Built-in Grinder):

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Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand, Stainless
  • 15-Bar Italian pump delivers the right amount of pressure for maximum flavor extraction and produces a beautiful layer of crema for your Espresso
  • Dial interface for selecting steam, hot water, and pre-programmed single and double shots
  • 58mm café-sized porta filter holds more grounds and ensures even water dispersion and extraction for robust flavor
  • Thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control delivers even heat for consistently great-tasting Espresso, and pre-infusion gently blooms The espresso grounds for optimally extracted Espresso
  • Removable 2.0L water reservoir with hinged lid for easy filling

If you like Calphalon’s espresso machine but decided for a machine without a built-in grinder, this would make your best pick. It has the same features as the model with the built-in grinder, but this one is slightly smaller, so expect a smaller reservoir. But everything else should be the same, including the accessories.

Breville BCG820BSS Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Stainless steel conical burrs designed to minimize grinding heat and protect the essential oils in the coffee bean
  • 60 precise grind settings from the finest Espresso to the coarsest French Press Grind. Voltage: 110 120 Volts. Power: 165 Watts
  • Precision Electronic Timer allows users to adjust grind time in 0.2 second increments and consistent dose every time
  • 18 ounce coffee bean capacity with locking system for easy removal, storage, and transfer of the bean hopper
  • Grind directly into portafilter, grinds container, gold tone filter basket or paper filter

You will still need a grinder though, and I highly recommend Brevill’s Smart Grinder which makes a great entry-level grind that has 60 grind settings from espresso fine to coarse grind for french press and everything in between.

Best Nespresso Vertuo Machine – Which One To Buy?

Since you are looking for the best Nespresso Vertuo machine, then you’ve probably settled on buying a Vertuo instead of an OriginalLine machine. Great decision! Now, on to the next…. which Vertuo machine should you buy?

Before getting to Vertuo’s models and which one to go for, let’s remind you of a few things just to make sure you’ve made the right decision.

Nespresso Vertuo vs. OriginalLine, What’s The Difference?

Nespresso has two range of machines:

OriginalLine – Their original machines which brew espresso and can be used to make any espresso based drink.

Vertuo line – which can make 5 to 6 different cup sizes from espresso, coffee mug to a large travel mug size. It’s an espresso and coffee machine.

These two ranges of machines also use different brewing technologies:

OriginalLine work like most espresso machines, using a pressure pump to force water through the capsule to produce a shot of espresso.

Vertuo machines use a whole new technology, exclusive to Nespresso, called Centrifusion. This technology rapidly spins the coffee capsule, at 7000 rotations per minute, while forcing the water through the capsule to produce a cup of coffee or espresso. This allows for better distribution of water and full saturation of the coffee ground in the capsule.

The third big difference between OriginalLine and Vertuo machines is the capsules. They are completely different in size and design and cannot be used on interchangeably.

Since OriginalLine only produces espresso, the machines use smaller capsules. The capsules are available from Nespresso as well as other brands.

Vertuoline’s capsules vary in size, depending on the coffee size you’re brewing. They also have a unique design. The rims of each capsule feature a barcode that is read by a laser inside the machine to recognize the type of capsule and adjust brewing parameters (water volume, brew time, temperature) to match it.

Vertuoline capsules are only available from Nespresso. There are no capsules available from other brands

Should You Buy a Vertuo or an OriginalLine Machine?

Here are the two questions you need to ask yourself:

What coffee drinks do you enjoy the most? If you’re mostly making espresso based drinks such as cappuccino, lattes and so on… an OriginalLine would be more than enough. Bundle it with a milk frother and you’re all set for an at-home coffee house experience!

When do you pick Vertuo over the OriginalLine? If you want to brew larger cups of coffee (5 oz, 7.7 oz and 14 oz).Vertuo will give you every possible coffee drink, from espresso and up to a large coffee.

What Does Vertuo Coffee Taste Like?

If you’re switching from drip coffee machine or a Keurig machine, it’s important to note that Vertuo’s coffee (as in serving sizes 5 oz, 7 oz and 14 oz) will not taste like those. Drip coffee and Keurig coffee are brewed using a different process so it produces different taste. Vertuo’s coffee tastes closer to an Americano if you’ve ever tried one. And with Nespresso’s different varieties of coffee blends, you’ll experience coffee of different intensities and flavors.

Best Nespresso Vertuo Machine to Buy:

Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have a look at the best rated Vertuo machines…

Nespresso VertuoPlus:

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Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches, Grey
  • Automatic coffee/espresso maker: Espresso VertuoPlus offers the latest innovation from espresso with an all-new design and colors to complete the perfect single-serve coffee or espresso cup experience. Designed for espresso capsules only.
  • Smart coffee maker: Brew the perfect single-serve coffee or espresso drink time after time, thanks to Nespresso's technology using barcodes to deliver the best in-cup results including the perfect cream for large coffee cup sizes. Simply insert the capsule and enjoy freshly brewed coffee or authentic espresso.
  • Complimentary gift: Each machine includes a welcome kit with a range of Vertuo capsules with unique aroma profiles. Cable length- 29.13 inches. Power rating (in watts)- 1300 watt
  • Barista grade: Brew different single-serve coffee cup sizes at the touch of a button depending on your coffee needs - espresso (1.35 ounce), double espresso (2.7 ounce), gran lungo (5 ounce), coffee (7.7 ounce) and alto (14 ounce). Pour over ice to create your favorite iced coffee drinks.
  • Features: The VertuoPlus has a motorized head and moveable 60 ounce water tank. The water tank can swivel out or stay behind the machine based on the configuration of your counter space. The machine also has a fast heat-up time of only 20-25 seconds and has an automatic shutoff after 9 minutes. Input power (watts): 1350

The VertuoPlus is the best overall machine in Nespresso’s Vertuoline. It has a beautiful retro modern design, a somewhat compact and adaptable size and it’s available in different colors.

The VertuoPlus has a motorized lid, lightly press the notch for it to open up, place in your pod and press again for it to close.

The 40 oz water reservoir is removable for easy refilling and cleaning, and it’s also rotating. So to adapt to your space, you can have it on the back of the machine or next to it.

Serving sizes: Espresso 1.35 oz, Double Espresso 2.7 oz, Gran Lungo 5 oz, Mug 7.7 oz and Alto 14 oz (travel mug/tall cup).

VertuoPlus vs. VertuoPlus Deluxe:

  • VertuoPlus has a 40 oz water reservoir, and all plastic housing/accents.
  • VertuoPlus Deluxe comes with a larger 60 oz water reservoir. And it has some chrome accents.

Nespresso Vertuo Next:

Nespresso ENV120W Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker, White
  • IMPOSSIBLY GOOD QUALITY: The only Nespresso Vertuo machine that brews 6 sizes: coffee (5 oz, 8 oz, and 14oz), Espresso (single and double). New pour-over style caraffe (18 oz) coffee exclusively for Vertuo Next
  • QUALITY ENABLED BY TECHNOLOGY: This Nespresso Vertuo machine delivers the optimal in-cup results for each blend using capsule-specific brewing with barcode reading resulting in a silky crema atop the coffee; a signature of a truly great cup of coffee
  • QUALITY MADE SIMPLE: This Nespresso machine delivers a consistent and delicious cup of coffee at a touch of a button. After brewing, the capsule is automatically ejected and stored – ready to be recycled– and the machine will turn off to save energy
  • QUALITY DESIGN: Nespresso's newest innovation, Vertuo Next is the most compact, sustainable and smart Vertuo single-serve coffee maker yet. It’s made of 54% recycled materials, is only 5.5 inches wide. It also comes with a removable water tank
  • QUALITY ROOTED IN SUSTAINABILITY: The aluminium sealed capsule protect the freshness of our coffee, but its also recyclable. Nespresso's recycling program makes returning and recycling your capsules easy with at-home and in-store options nationwide

VertuoNext is Nespresso’s 2020 machine release, and it’s made from 54% recycled materials.

In addition to the 5 brewing sizes that all Vertuo machines can brew, the NEXT model has one serving size that is exclusive to it, an 18 oz serving size that Nespresso calls ‘Pour-over style’.

Vertuo Next is also a connected machine. It can pair to your smartphone or tablet to allow for several things: firmware updates from Nespresso, water reservoir alerts, descale alerts, factory reset.

Unlike the VertuoPlus, Vertuo Next’s lid is manually opened/closed. So you have to hard close the lid in order for it to pierce the capsule, rotate the lock then hit the brew button.

Vertuo Next is available in several models:

Vertuo Next which is fully plastic housing, Vertuo Next Premium with some chrome or rose gold accent or the deluxe model which has some dark chrome or chrome finishes.

The difference between models is just aesthetic, all other features are the same.

Other Nespresso Vertuo Machines:

Breville BNV220CRO1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine, normal, Chrome
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Breville BNV220CRO1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine, normal, Chrome
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Breville BNV220CRO1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine, normal, Chrome
Breville BNV220CRO1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine, normal, Chrome
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)

There are two other machines that go by the name Vertuo or Evoluo. These are earlier releases of Vertuo machines. While they still work okay, many customers mentioned that they has unstable temperature or lower than desired brew temperature. All has been fixed in the newer Vertuo machines (VertuoPlus and Vertuo Next). Which is why I don’t recommend you buy an older model.

Pros and Cons of Nespresso Vertuo Machines:

Pros:

Serving Sizes:

It’s great that you can finally get a full cup of coffee out of your Nespresso machine. The variety of serving sizes is great for most people’s daily coffee needs.

Convenience:

Nespresso is very convenient. It’s a quick, one-button operation that gives you a high quality cup of coffee in no time. And the best part it, it does not require regular clean up after each use.

Cons:

Pod compatibility is still limited to Nespresso. To me personally, it’s not a problem as I really like the variety of blends that Nespresso offers. But I know some people would prefer to buy from other brands, too.

Somewhat pricey: The pods vary is price depending on the size, and sometimes on whether it’s a seasonal blend or a regular one. Price range for Vertuo pods are $0.85 to $2 per pod.

Nespresso Vertuo Breville vs DeLonghi

When shopping for a Vertuo or OriginalLine machine from Nespresso, some machines will be labeled under the brand name Breville, others will be under DeLonghi. Is there a difference between them?

No, they are all the same internally. Operation and performance wise, they are the same. The differences could be aesthetic, as some brands might have colors that the other brand doesn’t have or slight changes in exterior design.

It doesn’t matter which name you go for, they are all the same Nespresso machines.

Nespresso Vertuo Compatible Pods:

Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Flavored Variety Pack, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 oz, Flavored Assortment (SYNCHKG105830)
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine , Intense Variety Pack, Dark Roast Coffee, 40 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 and 1.35oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Melozio, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Flavored Variety Pack, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 oz, Flavored Assortment (SYNCHKG105830)
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine , Intense Variety Pack, Dark Roast Coffee, 40 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 and 1.35oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Melozio, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Flavored Variety Pack, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 oz, Flavored Assortment (SYNCHKG105830)
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Flavored Variety Pack, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 oz, Flavored Assortment (SYNCHKG105830)
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine , Intense Variety Pack, Dark Roast Coffee, 40 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 and 1.35oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine , Intense Variety Pack, Dark Roast Coffee, 40 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 and 1.35oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Melozio, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8oz
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Melozio, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8oz

Vertuo machines are compatible with capsules by Nespresso only. There are no 3rd party pods available. So if you’re buying a Vertuo machine, you’re committing to capsules by Nespresso only.

Nespresso offers a wide range of capsules and are continuously adding more blends, single-origins and limited edition blends and flavors.

Vertuo capsules vary in size as their contain different measurement of coffee ground, depending on the cup size you’re brewing. They also vary in prices depending on the size.

You can buy your Vertuo capsules directly from Nespresso or Amazon.

Can You Use Nespresso Original Pods in a Vertuo Machine?

No, they are completely different designs and non will fit in the other system.

To tell them apart, you can see from the photo that the OriginalLine pods are small. Vertuo pods are circular and have a barcode all around the rim which helps your Vertuo machine identify the type and size of pod you are brewing.

Can You Use Your Own Coffee in Nespresso Vertuo? Using Refillable Vertuo Pods:

Using a refillable capsule for your Nespresso could bring down your coffee expenses and allows you to use your favorite coffee ground.

Refillable pods have been available for OriginalLine machines for a long time now. For Vertuo, there’s been some recent and very few refillable pods.

Before we look into available refillable pods for Vertuo machines, there are a few things I’d to say on why I truly DON’T like refillable pods:

To start, they take away from your Nespresso experience. The whole idea is for you to get the coffee you like with a push of a button. Using a refillable pod, you have to fill up a pod, measure coffee grounds and clean the pod after each use.

The coffee does not always come out right. According to customer reviews, some cups come out quite weak, others are okay.

Reusable capsules could affect the performance of your machine. And if your machine breaks because of a reusable pod, it will no longer be covered under warranty.

That said, if you’re still curious about refillable pods for Vertuo, here are some of the available pods:

Table could not be displayed.

Can You Use a Nespresso Vertuo Pod Twice?

Technically, the machine will not know if you’re running the same pod twice, so, it can be done. But the only thing you’ll be getting out of it the second time is watered down coffee.

How To Make Espresso without a Machine (Plus, Other Espresso Tips)

Espresso is a strong type of coffee that is enjoyed either as a shot on its own or as the base of most of coffee house drinks. Many people find it way too strong as a drink on its own, others enjoy the bitterness and intense taste of it.

How Is Espresso Made?

Traditionally, Espresso is made using a high pressure espresso machine. The pump of the machine forces water through very fine coffee grounds to create a shot of this highly concentrated coffee drink.

That said, to make Espresso, you NEED an espresso machine.

What if you want to make espresso at home but don’t want to invest in an espresso machine? Are there any alternative ways to make espresso without the use of a machine?

The short answer is – no. If you’re looking for an authentic shot of espresso, like what you’d get at a cafe, it cannot be done without a machine. However, if you’re looking to make coffee that is similar to espresso, let’s call it ‘coffee concentrate’, then there are some ways to do it.

The Easiest Way to Make Espresso at Home (Using a Machine):

I know I said I’ll find you alternatives to make espresso at home. But here’s one thing before getting to those:

Espresso machines can be intimidating to a lot of people. They require a lot of work and practice until you can get a handle of them. They also require regular clean up and maintenance.

If those are reasons you don’t want to buy an espresso machine, then you can consider a single-serve espresso maker like Nespesso. Using pre-measured coffee capsules and a single push of a button, you’ll get your Espresso fix at no time, with no special skills and certainly no clean up required.

There are many Nespresso models to choose from. They can also be bundled with an electric milk frother that will heat and froth milk to create delicious coffee drinks.

Read more about Nespresso machines and how they work here.

Not looking to buy an espresso machine? Read on for your best alternative for espresso-like drinks:

How To Make Espresso without a Machine:

How To Make Espresso Using a French Press:

I’ve used a french press for years before finally switching to other coffee brewing methods (I hated cleaning it with a passion). A French Press, or as some simply call it press coffee, is an immersion coffee brewing method where the coffee grounds soaks in the hot water for a few minutes before pressing the filter down to stop the brewing process and filter the coffee.

It’s a manual brewing method, so there’s no way for it to make an authentic shot of espresso. French press using coarse grounds of coffee, as opposed to espresso that uses fine ground.

Sale
Bodum 1928-16US4 Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter, 34 Ounce, Chrome
  • French press: Chambord French press brews a premium cup of Coffee in just 4 minutes, simply add course ground Coffee, hot water and press
  • Stainless steel: 3-part stainless steel plunger has a mesh filter that helps extract your coffee's aromatic oils and subtle flavors instead of being absorbed by a paper filter. Made of plastic
  • Durable design: Coffee press features Bodum Patented safety lid to keep contents from spilling and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Maximum flavor: pressed Coffee extracts the perfect amount of essentials oils and acids from the Coffee bean for maximum flavor; the preferred method for brewing for Coffee enthusiasts everywhere
  • Servings: premium French press Coffee maker makes 8 cups of Coffee, 4 oz each

So, what can you do here to make “espresso” using a french press?

You can make a few changes to make something close to a shot of espresso:

  • Pick an espresso coffee blend. This usually means that the coffee is a darker roast so it will give you a richer brew.
  • DO NOT change your coffee grind. You can’t use fine ground coffee in a french press, it will be hard to press down, your coffee brew will turn out muddy and quite bitter.
  • Use less water to create a stronger brew, and brew as usual.

This method works usually best when you want to make a coffee concentrate to mix with milk. You can use it to make iced coffee (let it cool first, obviously), or to make a cappuccino or latte – and you’ll have to froth milk for these drinks.

The Difference Between Espresso Coffee and French Press Coffee:

Espresso is a concentrated coffee shot that is made using a high pressure machine. For espresso, you use very fine, dark roasted coffee grounds. Medium coffee blends can be used to taste, too. Espresso shots are short, drank in a 1.3 oz cup for a single shot. A single shot is extracted in 20 to 30 seconds time.

French Press on the other hand, is used to make a filtered cup of coffee. It’s close to drip coffee made by a coffee maker, but a french press is a manual method perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to use a machine. To make a pot of french press coffee you will use coarsely ground coffee which will immerse in hot water for 4 minutes. After plunging down the filter, you’ll get a clean yet bold brew of coffee.

Why You Can’t Use Espresso Finely Ground Coffee in a French Press:

How you grind your coffee correlates directly to your brewing method. As a rule:

  • Coarsely ground coffee produces less bitter coffee, but takes longer to brew.
  • Finely ground coffee can produce a bitter cup, but it brews rather quickly.

When using a French Press, the coffee immerses in water for a few minutes to slowly release the flavor from the ground before pressing it down to stop the brewing process. Since coarse ground make larger coffee particles, it makes them easier to plunge down with the filter (water goes through them easier).

On the other hand, finely ground coffee, they longer it stays in the water, the muddier the brew gets. The result would be a cloudy and bitter cup of coffee.

How To Make Espresso Using a Stovetop Moka Pot:

Although moka pots are known as ‘stovetop espresso makers’, they still don’t make a real shot of espresso, but a concentrated cup of coffee that is just as strong.

Moka pots use fine ground just like espresso machines, so you can expect a brew that’s just as intense. However, it lacks the crema which is usually produced from the force of an espresso machine. It’s also usually drank in a larger volume than espresso.

You can read all about Moka pots, how they work and which is best to buy in these posts:

What Is Espresso Roast? Do I Have To Use It To Make Espresso?

You’ve probably come across the term ‘Espresso Roast’ when shopping for coffee beans. What does that mean exactly? And is it necessary for making espresso? Or can you use anything you like?

To start, all coffee beans are the same and will work for any brewing method. What’s going to be different is the coffee grind for each method.

Espresso roast usually refers to the fact that the coffee beans have been roasted for a longer period of time to create a dark and less acidic coffee, which works best for espresso brewing method. Does that mean you can’t use different roasts or blends for espresso? No, you’re free to use whatever blend or roast you like, as long as you grind it correctly.

Nespresso Vertuo Next Review and Comparisons

If you’re familiar with Nespresso’s Vertuo machines, such as VertuoPlus and Evoluo, you’ll find the Vertuo Next machine to look similar yet more modern. But an update to the design isn’t all there is to it. Keep reading to learn more about the Vertuo Next and how it’s different from other Vertuo machines.

What Is Nespresso Vertuo?

Nespresso, makers of single-serve espresso makers have two main line of products: OriginalLine and Vertuo line.

OriginalLine machines, such as Lattissima machines, CitiZ, Pixie, Creatista and Essenza, are designed to make espresso and espresso based drinks only (cappuccino, latte, macchiato and more).

Vertuo machines (VertuoPlus, Evoluo) are designed with a special technology patented to Nespresso that allows them to brew espresso as well as coffee. Unlike other machines, Vertuo machines don’t use a pump or drip mechanism to brew espresso/coffee, instead, it uses Cetrifusion technology, which spins the coffee capsule rapidly while saturating them with water to produce a flavorful cup.

You can learn more about the difference between Vertuo and OriginalLine machines here.

Features of Nespresso Vertuo Next:

  • New compact design.
  • Brews 5 cup sizes: espresso (1.35 oz), double espresso (2.7 oz), gran lungo (5 oz), coffee, (7.7 oz) and Alto XL (14 oz).
  • Automatically adjusts machine settings to match type of capsule you’re brewing by scanning the barcode on the rim of the capsule.
  • Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect your machine to your smartphone or tablet to receive any software update to your machine and for capsule reordering.
  • Compatible with Nespresso Vertuo capsules only.
  • Water reservoir capacity: 60 oz.
  • Made from 54% recycled materials and 100% sustainable packaging.

What’s New in Nespresso Vertuo Next?

  • New design. Vertuo Next is the most compact Vertuo machine, followed by the VertuoPlus.
  • Connectivity: Vertuo Next is the only Vertuo machine (as of the time of writing) to have WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Another Nespresso machine with this connectivity is Essenza Mini Plus, which is an OriginalLine machine.
  • Material: One great thing about the VertuoNext is the fact that it is 54% made from recycled materials.

Click here to learn more about Vertuo Next, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Nespresso Vertuo Next vs. VertuoPlus and Evoluo – What Is The Difference?

Nespresso ENV120WAE Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker, Machine + Aeroccino, White
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches, Grey
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Nespresso ENV120WAE Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker, Machine + Aeroccino, White
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches, Grey
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Capacity
60 oz
40 oz
54 oz
Brews Espresso and Coffee
Bluetooth/WiFi Connectivity
Cup Sizes
5
5
-
Nespresso ENV120WAE Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker, Machine + Aeroccino, White
Nespresso ENV120WAE Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker, Machine + Aeroccino, White
Capacity
60 oz
Brews Espresso and Coffee
Bluetooth/WiFi Connectivity
Cup Sizes
5
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches, Grey
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches, Grey
Capacity
40 oz
Brews Espresso and Coffee
Bluetooth/WiFi Connectivity
Cup Sizes
5
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker, Graphite Metal (Discontinued Model)
Capacity
54 oz
Brews Espresso and Coffee
Bluetooth/WiFi Connectivity
Cup Sizes
-

For the most part, using the Vertuo Next is the same as other Vertuo machines. They are all compatible with the same capsules and programmed with the same cup sizes.

The biggest difference is its Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity which allows for future updates. This might give you machine extra time of use as Nespresso unveils new features.

Other than that, if you currently own a Vertuo machine that works just fine then keep it. There’s no need for the upgrade. However, if you’re new to Vertuo machines, Vertuo Next is the perfect machine to start with.

Philips Carina 1200 vs 2200 vs 3200 – Which To Buy?

If you’re looking for an affordable compact super automatic coffee brewer, The Carina (1200 Series) by Philips is a great machine to consider. It’s a very simple machine that does exactly what it’s suppose with push-button operation. It has enough customization options to make a nice cup of coffee the way you like it.

Features of Philips Carina Super Automatic Espresso Machine:

  • All in one, bean to cup coffee maker with built-in ceramic grinder and milk frother.
  • Push-button beverages: Espresso, Coffee and Hot Water.
  • Milk frothing wand allows you to heat and froth milk to create drinks like Cappuccino or Latte.
  • Adjustable 12 grind settings.
  • Adjustable 3 temperature settings.
  • Adjustable coffee volume.
  • Bypass doser for using pre-ground coffee.
  • Front loading water reservoir with 1.8L capacity.
  • Bean hopper capacity: 10 oz.
  • Air-tight lid keeps coffee beans fresh inside the hopper.
  • Compatible with Philips’ AquaClean smart sensing water filters (sold separately).

Click here to learn more about Philips Carina, read the customer reviews and buy it

The Difference Between Brewing Coffee and Espresso:

A lot of super automatic machines only brew espresso, which is a shot that is made by extracting a strong brew using high force of water. To extract a shot of espresso, machines use a 15-bar (sometimes 19-bar) pump pressure. That’s why espresso machines operate on a totally different level than a drip coffee maker.

Espresso is either drank on its own, or with the use of frothed milk, can be used as a base for many specialty coffee drinks like Cappuccinos, Lattes or Macchiatos.

What about those times when you don’t want espresso, but would prefer a classic cup of coffee instead?

A machine like the Philips Carina can make that for you, too. Although the machine does not drip coffee the same as a classic coffee maker, it uses low pressure to replicate it and produces a long cup of coffee that’s just as good as a traditional drip machine’s.

Hot Water Option – What’s It For?

The hot water button provides you with boiling hot water instantaneously. You don’t have to heat water manually or use an electric kettle to bring water to boil, with the Philips Carina, it’s as simple as pushing a button to get hot water to use for tea, instant meals or whatever else you might need it for! The hot water goes through an independent spout, so you don’t have to worry about any coffee taste or residue in your hot water.

Philips Carina 1200-series vs. Philips 2200-series, What’s The Difference?

Philips Carina 1200-Series Compact Super-Automatic All-In-One Programmable Espresso Machine (EP1220/04)
Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother, Black, EP2220/14
Philips Carina 1200-Series Compact Super-Automatic All-In-One Programmable Espresso Machine (EP1220/04)
Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother, Black, EP2220/14
Beverages
Espresso, Coffee, Hot Water
Espresso, Coffee, Hot Water
Grind Settings
12
12
Temperature Settings
3
3
Milk Frother
Steam wand
Steam wand
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic conical burr
Ceramic conical burr
Aroma (Brew) Strength Settings
Philips Carina 1200-Series Compact Super-Automatic All-In-One Programmable Espresso Machine (EP1220/04)
Philips Carina 1200-Series Compact Super-Automatic All-In-One Programmable Espresso Machine (EP1220/04)
Beverages
Espresso, Coffee, Hot Water
Grind Settings
12
Temperature Settings
3
Milk Frother
Steam wand
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic conical burr
Aroma (Brew) Strength Settings
Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother, Black, EP2220/14
Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother, Black, EP2220/14
Beverages
Espresso, Coffee, Hot Water
Grind Settings
12
Temperature Settings
3
Milk Frother
Steam wand
Built-in Grinder
Ceramic conical burr
Aroma (Brew) Strength Settings

If you’ve seen the Philips 2200, it looks identical to the Carina. And we’re not wrong, they both have the exact same features:

Beverage options: espresso, coffee and hot water.

Temperature settings: 3

Grind settings: 12

Milk Frother: classic steam wand

They also have the same ceramic grinder and water reservoir. So, where’s the difference?

There’s just one single difference between these models: Aroma strength.

The 2200-series has a selection of 3 Aroma Strength settings, which is basically brew strength. Adjusting this setting will allow you to create regular or bold coffee depending on your choice.

Philips 1200, 2200 vs. 3200 Series, What’ the Difference?

If you want to go next level with the features, the 3200-series has the most features out of this line of machines.

Sale
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother, Black, EP3221/44
  • Enjoy 4 coffees at your fingertips, makes espresso, hot water, coffee, Americano, Espresso Lungo
  • Intuitive touch display, frequency: 60 hertz
  • Adjust aroma strength and quantity
  • 12-step grinder adjustment
  • Aroma seal keep your beans fresh for longer

The Philips 3200 has:

  • Four preset beverages: espresso, espresso lungo, coffee and americano. It has the hot water option, too.
  • It has adjustable temperature, coffee volume and aroma strength settings.
  • Unlike the 1200 and 2200 series, the 3200 series has its temperature setting on the front panel so you can change it with a press of a button. The other models have the temperature settings inside of the machine that requires a bit of a tinkering.
  • Design wise, the 3200 has some nice stainless steel accents like the bezel around the front panel and the stainless steel drip tray.

Philips 3200 Series vs. 3200 LatteGo Fully Automatic, What’s The Difference?

Sale
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ LatteGo, Black, EP3241/54
  • Enjoy 5 coffees
  • Intuitive touch display
  • 12-step grinder adjustment
  • 20,000 cups of finest coffee with durable ceramic grinders
  • Keep your beans fresh for longer thanks to the aroma seal

The LatteGo is an upgraded version of the 3200-series machine offering you even more features:

  • It has 5 preset beverages: espresso, coffee, americano, cappuccino and latte macchiato. As well as hot water on demand.
  • The LatteGo has an integrated milk frothing jug. This type of milk frother heats, froths and pours in the milk into your cup automatically. So you don’t have to froth the milk manually using this model.
  • Since the machine has an integrated milk frother, you can adjust the milk and froth volume as well as coffee volume.
  • Unfortunately, this model lacks adjustable temperature settings. But instead, it uses Aroma Extract System, which is an intelligent system that works on balancing temperature and aroma to water flow settings to create the perfect cup.
  • Adjustable settings are temperature, aroma, coffee and milk volume.

Which of These Should You Buy?

If you’re looking for an all in one, push button solution then the 3200 LatteGo has it all. The automatic milk frother means you only need to push the cappuccino or latte button to get your favorite beverage done for you fully automatically. The milk froth will be perfectly done every time. This is the biggest advantage the LatteGo offers you.

If you don’t mind frothing your milk manually, then your choice is between the 1200, 2200 and 3200. The 3200-series offers extra presets (lungo or americano), but I do believe you can save a bit of cash and manually create those presets on either the 1200 or 2200 models. Both models have instant hot water (so you can easily make an americano) and the espresso volume can be adjusted to create a lungo.

If Aroma Strength (brew strength) is important to you, then you can go for either 2200 or 3200.

If you want the most affordable option that still does most tasks, the 1200 is your choice.

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