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I've had this machine over two years now and it is still making great coffee with very little fuss. It can do espressos (40 ml shots of strong coffee) and lungos (120 ml big coffees with frothy milk).
To make a lungo you put in a coffee pod, fill the reservoir at the back (big enough for 4-5 cups), put a mug under the spout and push the go button. The machine makes a bit of a racket while it is going (reminiscent of a elderly moped) but this only lasts for 30-60 seconds. Meanwhile you stick some milk in the milk frothing bit on the side and push the button to heat and froth it up - a little magnetic whisk bit spins round on a nubbin at the bottom. Pour your frothy milk into the waiting mug and voila, bob's your uncle etc.
It helps to wash the milk frothing pot immediately with non-scratch acrylic scourer otherwise it can be very hard to clean if goes too solid.
Espressos are even easier, just put in a pod, stick a cup under the spout and push the button. They're quick and yummy.
A downside to this machine (and indeed any coffee system) is being tied to one manufacturers coffee and their uncompetitive pricing. I order new pods from the nespresso website where they cost 29 p (espresso) or 30 p (lungo) each. You can get free delivery if you order 200 at a time. You can buy generic 'nespresso compatible' pods from supermarkets which work out slightly cheaper - around 25 p each. I've tried some of these and they're okay but not quite as rich and aromatic as the proper nespresso ones.
The instructions are also rather insistent that you descale the machine every 3-6 months with kit from nespresso which costs £7 per go. I haven't done this yet but will have to bite the bullet soon as I'm reluctant to risk damaging an expensive coffee maker with a generic descaler which might be incompatible.
Wide awake in dreamland
I hate instant coffee. I don't care if its called millicules or is endorsed by tennis players. Coffee for me is ground coffee. The rate at which Costas and Starbucks (boo!) have been cropping up all over the UK suggests that I'm certainly not alone in my feeling.
But when it costs so much to get a decent cup of coffee, you have to ask yourself if there's a better way. A cost-effective way in which you can get the same quality coffee at home, in the morning without mess, without fuss, and quickly.
The answer is; yes.
Out with the old
We had our old machine for six years. It looks monolithic and takes up loads of space on the counter. It is messy to use and the amount of coffee used to make a decent cup of java is wasteful. The milk takes forever to heat and the frothing device sounded like a cement mixer.
Having looked around, we settled on a Krups Nespresso Citiz machine in fire engine red. It comes on a sturdy stand with its own milk heater/frother and looks the absolute business. By this, I mean not only is it much smaller than it's predecessor, it looks very expensive.
Was it? Some may think so. It cost us £156. But that gets you a device that is a proper 19-bar coffee machine. This represents the pressure used to force the water through the coffee grounds. The result is an expresso or lungo (standard size coffee to the rest of us) that is dark as sin with distinct crema on top. This is the measure of a damn good coffee.
In with the new
The design of this device is excellent. There's a lever at the top that when opened, allows you to drop a pod in. These pods will only fit one way. Closing the lever punctures the foil in a cross-hatched pattern. When you're finished brewing, operating the lever again ejects the used pod into a container below for swift removal.
At the back is an easily removable water reservoir, large enough so that you can fill it up and leave for repeated uses. On top of the main unit are two rubber-like buttons. One for an Espresso, one for a Lungo. The unit automatically switches itself off, so no worrying any longer about "Have I turned the coffee machine off, and will the house burn down while I'm at work?"
When activated, both lights flash for around 8 seconds while the device prepares itself. Pressing either button will result in a rumble as the water is heated, pressurised and forced through the pod. In front there is a drip tray and a drop down cup holder for smaller cups that is easily folded out of the way for larger ones.
What about the milk? Well, the frother sits on a base plate. It is solid and feels as if it will last forever. There is a transparent lid and a magnetised bottom that one of two frothing devices sits on. (One does more froth than the other)
The space inside runs only half the height of the unit, the remainder reserved for the power and heating elements. There is a minimum and maximum level clearly distinct within. Do not overfill the unit, or it will spill. I speak from experience. The milk takes about a minute to complete its cycle, powering off when done. The coffee only takes about half this time.
The resultant fluff at its fluffiest represents the consistency of mousse. Pour on top of a Lungo for a latte to remember. You can use less to seal in an Americano or add a little suaveness to an expresso. The first time you do this is when your doubts at spending a not inconsiderable amount of money vanishes. This is as close as you will get to a Costa coffee without spending two to three times the money on a machine that will grind the beans for you.
All the Nespresso range is operated by coffee pods. The machine came with 12 assorted ones. You are always best off buying from Nespresso themselves. It is far cheaper than other sources such as Amazon. You will have to buy 50 pods per order which with postage costs £20. That breaks down to 40p per pod. A minimum of 50 cups of coffee. More, if you go Lungo and share.
Nespresso offer 12 "grand crus". That's a pretentious way of saying blends. I will list them below. The higher intensity, the stronger the coffee (d'uh)
Dulsão do Brasil (intensity:4)
Indriya from India (intensity:10)
Rosabaya de Colombia (intensity:6)
Decaffeinato Intenso (intensity:7)
Fortissio Lungo (intensity:7)
Vivalto Lungo (intensity:4)
Linzio Lungo (intensity:3)
Decaffeinato Lungo (intensity:3)
Linizio Lungo(intensity: 4)
Each pod is colour coded. They do have their own little nuances, but you will quickly develop favourites. Roma and Ristretto are mine. You do get a nicely bound booklet with the machine containing plenty of information including a quick reference guide.
In summary, this is a little luxury. And like all such, there is an initial investment. But the machine is well designed, sturdy and easy to clean. Your wife's friends will be green with envy, as mine was, unless they have one themselves. It draws the eye as you enter the kitchen, looking every inch as though it was designed to be used by Prince Baron on Mongo.
Recommended for all coffee lovers. You could buy the main unit and milk frother separately, but you wouldn't save any appreciable amount of money and you don't get the baseplate that seats both. Nespresso also do a range of accessories. We got the cappuccino cups (£7 each) that looked better in the brochure than they do in person.
The only obvious room for improvement is recyclability. Nespresso offer a few places in London (and elsewhere) where you can go to recycle the pods, rather than chuck them. They need to improve this, or provide pre-paid envelopes or boxes to allow you to return them once you reach a certain number.
I have owned this machine for the past few months and I am delighted with my purchase. As a regular coffee drinker I wanted a reasonably strong coffee without being too full bodied and I am impressed with the range of coffee from Nespresso. This machine is a mid range Nespresso machine that cost me £140 from amazon.co.uk website. I think that this was an excellent purchase as I also redeemed a voucher over the winter which gave me a £40 Nespresso coffee capsule rebate which I used to re order some additional capsules at no extra cost to myself on one particular occasion. In short, the advantages of this machine are that the machine itself is not that expensive. The design of the machine is quite compact and does not take up as much space as my Delonghi coffee machine. The Nespresso Krups machine also does not require much cleaning at all. To make a cup of coffee requires me having enough water in the tank at the back of the machine and a Nespresso coffee capsule. After around a minute I am able to press either of 2 buttons to make my coffee and within 20 seconds I will have an excellent flavored cup of coffee. Regarding the cleaning all I need to do is to remove the tray and place the empty capsules in my kitchen bin. That is all that is needed in terms of cleaning. As I use filter water into my machine I have not as yet needed to de-scale my Nespresso Krups machine.
From my experience I have ordered the replacement capsules from the Nespresso website and also have visited Nespresso concession area within Selfridges store in Oxford Street, London. The prices of the capsules are between 29p to around 33p per capsule and you have to order sleeves of their Grand Cru coffee which come in packs of 10.
Nespresso Krups Citiz and Milk XN7106
The design to my eyes is neat and compact and tidy. There are effectively four elements to this machine. Firstly there is the machine itself and has a narrow yet rounded shoulders. It is not that big in terms of size. My machine is colored fire engine red on the outside and is black in parts. The small nozzle is silver chrome colored. Secondly the Aerocinno which froths the milk is black and has a silver colored colored top. Thirdly there is the tray that holds the machine and the milk frother which again follows the same black colored design. All in all the machine is well designed and makes an espresso and a capuccino with less time and effort than you would think. It is effortless and very quick and efficient. The design is slightly retro.
There are two buttons on the machine itself which indicates a small and a large espresso size coffee. This makes it very easy to recognise the size of the coffee you want, although the sizes are pre determined. The way I make my coffee last longer is by making myself a capuccino sized drink which I use the Aerocinno device. I have to pre heat some milk from the microwave and then add the warm milk to the Aerocinno. The Aerocinno does not take long to get ready and within about 20 seconds or so you will get frothy and good quality milk for the capuccino.
In addition there are two drip trays which are made using stainless steel which are easy to clean. The trays look quite nice and a good feature of the design of the machine. They are not only practical but add a nice design feature.
Despite the reasonably high cost of capsules if ordering them regularly, this is still an excellent machine to make Nespresso coffee from. I do like in particular the fact that it is possible to make an Nespresso coffee within less than 2 minutes. Within seconds I check if there is enough water at the water device at the back of the machine, and then I place a coffee capsule in the top of the machine. Then I wait around 1 minute for the water to get warmed up, and by pressing the Nespresso button on the machine will soon deliver my coffee within around 20 seconds or so. Asides from myself enjoying an excellent smooth and tasty coffee, all I have to do cleaning wise is empty the tray of the used coffee capsules. This aspect of the machine I like and it is so much more advantageous and time saving than owning a coffee machine whereby you have to use ground coffee powder. In terms of time saving and cleaning it saves me a lot of time, which is one of the main reasons why I bought the machine.
Using Delonghi espresso machines you can choose types of ground coffee and beans to use, however with Nespresso you are in some respects limited to currently 16 types of coffee capsules. I find that the coffee capsules are convenient.
It is a very neat design,that does not take up a lot of space and would easily fit into most kitchens.
I paid £140 for this machine early January 2012 and so far think the world of this machine and coffee system. This coffee machine has enabled me and other members of my family to enjoy top quality coffee with a system that is extremely easy to use. I did not take long in knowing how the machine worked. I was however confused by the slightly limited range of 16 Nespresso capsule pods. I do like in particularl the Areppegio, Volluti and Dulsao Grand Cru Nespresso coffee capsules. T
The only negative of owning this machine and Nespresso machines in general is the availability of places to buy the coffee capsules from. I have had to order online from Nespressos website and have visited Selfridges in Central London to buy additional coffee capsules. It would be nice if supermarkets sold a select range of these capsules as well. This to me is not the most convenenient way of getting the replacement coffee capsules.
In terms of safety the machine is easy to use and the lid for the water tank is easy to be filled. There are no sharp edges which would to cause injury. The finish of the machine is smooth and there are no sharp edges. Because of the design the machine is easy to keep clean and will therefore remain hygienic.
When making the espresso coffee the machine makes some noise but is reasonably quiet. This is yet another advantage of this product.
In terms of making a choice it comes down to personal preference. If you want to particularly use ground coffee from beans or use a selection of ground coffees then the Nespresso would not be your choice. However, for a coffee lover who wants to enjoy a consistenly good cup of coffee from a good range of coffees, but without having to deal with ground coffee mess, then the Nespresso system would be the ideal choice.
My day always starts with coffee. Regardless of whether I wake up on the right or wrong side of the bed my morning coffee sets me up for the day. It is more than just the taste and caffeine buzz, it's also the waking up ritual that goes along with it which makes me feel human at 5am in the morning! My mother is also a coffee lover and so as a birthday gift I clubbed together with my brother to buy her the Krups Citiz Nespresso machine.
The design of the coffee machine is sleek and stylish and would look great in any kitchen setting. It comes in four colours - cream, titanium red and black with hardware. I played it safe and opted for the black but they are so well designed and made that you can't really go wrong!
The machine is incredibly easy as well as being a pleasure to use. You simply fill the water holder with water, pop the capsule containing the coffee into the machine and press a button and step back and admire as the machine pours a delicious shot of espresso for you to enjoy! The machine is auto programmed to pour two types of espresso drink - the standard sized espresso and the slightly larger in volume lungo.
The taste of the Nespresso coffee is exceptional! I worked in coffee shop which prided itself on its fine espresso and I have to say that this machine matches it entirely! If you are really into your coffee then Nespresso have a wide range of capsules which all have different notes and bases as well as differing intensities - both my mother and I have our favourites! I have also found that it is also great for entertaining as a strong shot of espresso is a great way to round off a dinner party for you and your guests.
This model of Nespresso machine comes with an aerochino (i.e. a milk frother!) which comes with two attachments one for frothy cappuccino milk and another designed to gently aerolate the milk to a creamier consistency. I tend to drink my espresso straight with no milk but I have found that the aerochino is great when I want to make a luxurious hot chocolate or chai tea latte for myself. It heats the milk to the perfect drinking temperature and froths it into tiny creamy bubbles.
Practically speaking the machine requires a little dusting now and then but no major cleaning is required. That is a testament to its great design; it also has a space for you to stack your own espresso cups so that you always have them to hand when you need that shot of coffee.
From a financial perspective the capsules range in price from 29p to 32p each depending on whether they are special edition or a part of a special taste collection. At 29p a cup this soon mounts up if you are having two or three cups of coffee a day. The capsules are available at select retail stores (very, very select there is no store that sells them in my area and I live in a relatively large city) otherwise you can purchase them from the official Nespresso website. I have had no problems with purchasing/delivery as they really provide a high quality service and give you a tracking number although it is my experience that even with standard delivery they deliver promptly. Another service they provide via the website is the recycling of the capsules which I think is an inspired environmental initiative.
Of course you will be paying for the capsules in order to use the machine but of course there is the initial financial outlay of purchasing the machine in the first place! At the time of writing I can find the machine on Amazon for £149.99, I remember I purchased the machine at John Lewis for £179 which was a couple of years ago now. From a value for money perspective if all you want is a caffeine hit then by all means hit the instant but if like myself you view coffee as a treat and a luxury then it is a great investment.
I am a big fan of this coffee machine and can recommend it highly.
The machine has two key components - the part which produces your coffee from a nespresso capsule and an aerochino machine which is used to heat your milk. The aerochino machine has two settings - you can either make frothy milk (for example for a cappucino) or warm your milk without it being frothy.
You can buy Nespresso capsules for your coffee online or from certain department stores (such as Selfridges). They are reasonably priced for the quality of coffee you get and come in a range of different flavours and intensities.
The machine looks incredibly smart and is very easy to keep clean and use. For the cost of the machine and the quality of coffee it produces, I think it is definitely good value for money - and think of all the money you will save from buying coffee in expensive coffee shops!
The only disadvantage it has is that it can only make one cup of coffee at a time - if you have friends over and need to make 4 or 5 cups, it means that it will take a few minutes longer than using a caffetiere.
Which make and model should you choose when buying a coffee machine? - there are so many different varieties available that the process can be daunting. When I chose my coffee machine, I simply opted for the only one I could find with no negative reviews on the Internet - and that happened to be the Krups Nespresso Citiz and Milk (XN710640). The machine is available in three different colours - Fire Engine Red, Frosted Aluminium, and Titanium.
Price, Design, & Assembly
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Costing £189 from a number of high street and online retailers, the XN710641 is predominantly constructed from metal, although there are various plastic elements (including the nozzle) in its design which slightly detract from the overall high quality. Overall the Krups is a modern and pleasant looking piece of kit which should grace any kitchen worktop. As well as producing espresso coffee, the machine also features a milk frother for Cappuccinos and Lattes.
Out of the box there's very little assembly required; the base needs to be slotted into position, the drip tray and milk frother dropped into place - and that's about it. Before the first use, you'll need to run six cups of water through the machine - the process is fully explained in the manual. The Krups is compatible with Nespresso Pods (which are only available direct from Nespresso themselves) - although there are cheaper unlicensed third-party pods available on eBay, the quality of which can be variable.
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Known as the 'Sixteen Grand Crus', I have found the genuine Nespresso Pods to be especially flavoursome. The pods take the form of hermetically sealed aluminium capsules, coated on the inside with a protective film. The range of coffee flavours are impressive, and there will undoubtedly be a few that suit your particular taste (including a couple of decaffeinated varieties). When you buy the machine as new you'll get free samples of all the coffee varieties to get you started.
Using the machine is simplicity in itself - fill up the transparent plastic water tank, lift the metal lever and drop your chosen Nespresso Pod in place, replace the lever, then put your cup under the nozzle. Now simply press the Espresso button for a small coffee, or the Lungo button for a larger cup. Once the coffee is made, the used pod (which is recyclable) drops into a plastic drawer located at the centre of the machine. If you want to use the milk frother - simply remove the lid, pour in the milk, replace the lid, and press the button on the front. Not only will your milk be frothed, but it will also be heated - this will take approximately seventy to eighty seconds.
Speed and quality of coffee
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In terms of its speed, the XN710641 is fairly quick; when you first turn the machine on it takes roughly thirty seconds to start up. After that, it's on with the show - an espesso takes around twenty seconds, and a Lungo takes around thirty. In use, the machine produces a fairly loud noise, but it's nowhere near as loud as an industrial coffee machine.
Regarding the quality of the coffee that the machine produces - it's very good. Not only do a number of the Nespresso blends offer a really rich and intense flavour, but each cup comes complete with an excellent crema layer. In terms of the downsides - well, there's only one which is noteworthy; the temperature of the coffee isn't quite hot enough for my liking. That said, I understand that this is a problem with many consumer coffee machines - the problem can be remedied slightly by making sure you heat your cup before use.
Maintenance & Final Word
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Cleaning the XN710640 is easy, and simply consists of ensuring that the drip tray is wiped clean, and the water in the tank changed regularly. If you live in a hard water area, the device should be descaled after roughly 300 cups - or 1000 for a soft water area. Overall, the Krups Nespresso Citiz and Milk produces great tasting coffee at the touch of a button - the less than piping nature of the coffee only slightly mars what is ultimately a great and reasonably priced coffee machine.
Short name: Krups XN710640