As of winter 2020 the Nespresso Inissia has been discontinued.
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to use
Low upfront cost
REASONS TO AVOID
Uses expensive capsules
Does not include milk frother
You'd be hard pressed to find a simpler espresso machine than the Nespresso Inissia. With only two buttons, one for a normal shot and one for a long shot, anybody can pull a nice shot of espresso on the first go with this capsule based machine. This simplicity earned the Inissia out Top Pick for Espresso Shot Convenience Award. If your morning would be improved by a quick and easy straight espresso shot, look no further. The Inissia beat out its main competitor, the Nespresso Evoluo, for this award because the Evoluo is more geared towards coffee and thus has fewer flavors of compatible espresso capsules available. You can make milk espresso drinks with this machine, but you'll have to buy a separate milk frother.
The Inissia picked up a score of 6 out of 10 in our taste testing. This put it about average as scores in this metric ranged from 3 to 9. Shots pulled from this machine generally pleased our testers. However, they were noticeably less bold than shots pulled from the super automatic machines that used beans instead of capsules, and were much less rich than the shots pulled from the top scoring Breville. When we combined the Inissia's shots with milk frothed in a separate milk frother we ended up with some nice cappuccinos, but again they tasted a bit weaker than cappuccinos made with other machines.
Ease of Use
We found the Nespresso Inissia incredibly easy to use. It earned an 8 out of 10 in this metric, which had score ranging from 4 to 9.
The Inissia's initial setup was quick and simple. We had it up and pulling shots within 15 minutes. The included instructions weren't the greatest, just a bunch of pictures and no words, somewhat reminiscent of a lego instruction booklet. However, the Inissia is so straightforward that this didn't matter.
The Inissia's interface really couldn't get any simpler or easier to use. Just one port to put the espresso capsules in, one button to pull a normal shot, and one other button to pull a long shot. We're pretty sure you could easily train a monkey make espresso with the inissia. The only downside of this simple interface is that it is very limiting if you want to change any advanced settings. For example, if you don't like the long shot setting and want to make it a little longer it involves sitting down with the manual while you type out cryptic codes on the two buttons. This is what kept the inissia from earning the top score in the ease of use metric.
Fast Espresso and Quick Cappuccino
The Inissia can warm up and pull a shot in just about two minutes, and requires no effort apart from turning it on, inserting a capsule, and pressing a button. Making a cappuccino in our timed cappuccino test took a little over three minutes, mostly because we had to use a separate milk frother that required some cleanup. The water tank is fairly small at 24oz, so it does require refilling more than other machines. However, like everything else with the Inissia, this is a quick and easy task.
Ease of Cleaning
The Inissia scored 8 out of 10 in our ease of cleaning testing, putting it towards the top of a metric that saw scores from 5 to 9.
Short Term Cleaning
If you're just making espresso the Inissia requires next to no daily cleaning. Spent capsules are deposited in a bin to be recycled and you'll have to wash whatever glass you drink your shots from, but that's it. If you add frothed milk into the mix you'll have to clean the milk frother. Most electric milk frothers have a similar design and can be a bit of a hassle to clean, but generally take no more than a minute of scrubbing and rinsing.
The Inissia's descaling process is fairly easy and only took us 15 minutes. The only slightly annoying thing is that the Inissia is somewhat short, so we had difficulty finding a large container that would fit underneath the spout to catch all the spent descaling solution. This left us using a small cup and constantly checking in to make sure it didn't overflow.
The Inissia earned a measly score of 1 out of 10 in our milk steaming and frothing testing. This is because the machine itself does not have any device for frothing milk. You can get a separate milk frother to get you closer to cappuccino nirvana. We used both of these frothers extensively and found that they can make decent foam to top off a dry cappuccino with, but can't quite get the creamy and slightly sweet steamed milk you'd get in a cafe latte.
The Inissia is the most inexpensive model we tested. However, since it uses relatively expensive Nespresso capsules it ends up in the middle of the pack in terms of lifetime cost. If you're looking for the most convenient shot, this is a good value. However, you could save some money in the long run with a non-capsule super automatic machine like the Gaggia Brera. Additionally, if you want to make milk espresso drinks you'll have to factor in another $40-$70 for a milk frother.
The Inissia pulls the most convenient shot of all the machines we tested and requires virtually no cleanup. It is also one of the least expensive home espresso machines available, though it does require using relatively expensive Nespresso capsules.
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