Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Nespresso machine coffee taste test

Today we are testing out 3 different Nespresso coffee machines. It just so happened that while we were in Colorado, we had 3 different versions of coffee makers that all used the same Nespresso coffee pods.  When an opportunity like that comes along, we like to compare them. 

Way back when, Theresa and I had a Starbucks habit that was getting to be expensive. Looking for another option for quick coffee in the mornings, we turned to Nespresso and their coffee pods. 
And all three of these were ours at some point in their lifecycle. 
First there's the Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville (~$170). This is our latest purchase and is hopefully going to be just the right size for the RV. 
Second is the Nespresso Lattissima by De'Longhi (~$300). This was actually our first Nespresso purchase and we've had it for over 10 years now. It has the benefit of a removable milk frother than can be refrigerated when not in use. This has since become my mother's coffee maker. 
Last is the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi (~$500). It's a step up the from the regular model, including a larger milk frother and bonus hot water dispenser. This is what we've been carrying around in the RV with us, and it's time to let it go. 

So like I said above, three different coffee makers above. They all use the same coffee pods. What's going to be different about them? We'll have to try them and see!

Digging into each maker a little closer, the first is this Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso by Breville. It's small and lightweight. The discarded pod canister can only hold 4-5 pods before it's time to pull it out and throw them away.  

And the water canister on the back hold about 22 ounces. 

Next is the Nespresso Lattissima by De'Longhi. It has the benefit of a milk frother with an adjustment knob for more or less foam. This discard container holds about 10 pods. 

And the water reservoir on the back holds about 33 ounces.

Last we have the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi. Along with a milk frother, it has a hot water attachment for teas and other hot beverages. 

The water reservoir can hold a whopping 48 ounces. 

So, like I said, this is going to be a taste test. We've got to compare the different machines, but it wouldn't work too well if we knew which machine produced which coffee. That's why this is going to be a blind taste test. 
First though, we have the coffee. All from the same sleeve, this is a Stockholm Fortissio Lungo pod. An all-Arabica coffee that is an 8 on Nespresso's intenseness scale.  

And because you can program how much water comes through on each machine, I manually stopped each one to give a precise amount of coffee. 

Stopped when it reaches exactly half a cup of liquid, not including whatever foam comes out. 

The cups that we're trying them in are all identical, and I preheated each cup with boiling water, so as not to cool down what each machine is putting out. The Essenza put out coffee that was 150F. 

Next is the Lattissima. 

Which came out at 153F. 

And finally the Lattissima Pro. 

With coffee that is 157F. 
Interesting. I was wondering what differences there might be between them. From this one test, it appears that the more expensive machine creates a hotter coffee. 

But it's not all about temperature. There's flavors to be considered too. Do they come out at different pressures? Spend more time in the coffee pod before being dispensed? We've got to taste them all and see what we think! 

Three identical cups. There's markings on the bottom of each, and I've had someone mix them up after I dispensed them, so even I don't know which one came from each machine. 

All we know at this point is First Cup, Second Cup, and Third Cup. 
I included a spit bucket just in case anyone wanted to slurp and spit, but no one took me up on it.  

Keep it in your mind, which you like. 
Megan - I have my opinion. I can tell one major difference between them. 
Sheila - The second one smells better than the first. 

Mickey used to drink pots of coffee. Always black. 
Patrick - I'm starting to not like coffee. (I don't think he usually has his black)

Patrick - Mom can't do the black coffees. 
Sheila is making her own lattes with each one, seeing if there's noticeable difference when milk and sugar are added. 
So in your mind, what are you feeling? Different tastes? Different temperatures? No difference? 
Mickey - I already know my favorite and my least favorite. 

On the count of three, everyone hold out a finger and vote for your favorite cup of coffee. 
It looks like 4 votes for the First Cup, 1 vote for the Second Cup, and 1 vote for the Third Cup. 
Sheila - I hated the First Cup!
Megan - I hated Two! Strongly!
Joe - I disliked Three. 
Patrick - I disliked Three.
Theresa - Three was awful! It had a sour bitterness. 
Sheila - One smelled the worst! 
Megan - We're ridiculous. 
Joe - Three was the least hot, right? 
Megan - Yes, and I think Three was the mildest. 
Patrick - Texture was the same across all of them. 
Megan - What do you mean texture? 
Patrick - It all coated my teeth the same. 

But which were they? 
4 Votes - First Cup - Nespresso Lattissima Pro ($500)
1 Vote - Second Cup - Nespresso Lattissima ($300)
1 Vote - Third Cup - Nespresso Essenza ($170)

Theresa - Aww. I like my expensive machine...
Joe - The heavy one that's not coming in the RV any more. 
Patrick - If I was only given one of those, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. 

Theresa - We should do it again. Those pods are one of my least favorites. 

Really? Alright then. I shuffled everyone out of the kitchen, then got all the measuring equipment out and did it all again. 
Meet the Nespresso Cape Town Envivo Lungo. An intensity of 10, with a woodsy aroma and punchy bitterness. 

The coffee cups are lined up again in a random order and it's time to taste again. 
Three more cups of coffee but a different pod. 

Megan - Alright, I've got my strong opinions!
Mickey - Those are all three the same pods? 
Patrick - I'm going to need another round. 
Megan - I think my opinion would be swayed if I had cream in it. For this, I like the one the tastes good by itself, but with cream, I'd want a stronger more bitter one. 
Patrick - I know which one I don't like. 
Theresa - I definitely have an opinion. 

Time to vote!
3 votes for the First Cup. 2 votes for the Second Cup. 1 vote for the Third Cup. 
Theresa - The second cup was stronger. 
Joe - Yes, two was bitter, that's why I didn't like it. 
Megan - That's why I did like it! 
Mickey - I thought the First and Third were similar.
Theresa - Yes, those were very similar.

So this time which machine was the winner? 
3 Votes - First Cup - Nespresso Lattissima Pro ($500)
2 Votes - Second Cup - Nespresso Essenza ($170)
1 Vote - Third Cup - Nespresso Lattissima ($300)
Interesting. In both tests the expensive machine got the most votes, but only Patrick and I picked it consistently. 

So Theresa has figured out in the blind taste test that she hates her new machine! D'oh! At least it's going to be lightweight in the RV! And once we mix it with milk and sugar, are you really going to be able to tell the differences? 
Theresa - My new machine will do for now, but I'm getting my good machine back when we get a house. 

1 comment:

  1. That's the spirit, Theresa :-) ...the small, mini machine will do for now but the good one gets repossessed for the future home! What an interesting test...the varying temperatures was probably a reflection of the better heating elements as one went up in price...guess price gave quality this time. Fascinating to test the same coffee pods but from different machines...never would have dreamed up that taste test. That was fun and interesting to see. EOM