• Natalie Alayne

The Ultimate Guide to Nespresso

Updated: Jul 3, 2018


Nespresso is without doubt a leader in the coffee industry. With their state-of-the-art technology, user-friendly machines and George Clooney at the forefront of their commercials, it is no wonder that Nespresso has won the hearts (and cups) of so many people around the world. Whether you are a coffee connoisseur or a beginner, Nespresso offers you the ability to tailor make your coffee, your way, in the convenience of your own home, caravan or office.


Making a Nespresso coffee is truly as simple as popping a capsule into a machine, but in order to make your coffee experience even more rewarding I want to share what I know with you. Introducing ‘The Ultimate Guide to Nespresso’. You will find a plethora of information regarding the coffee, extraction process, machines, recycling and much more. So why don’t you make yourself a coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy as we explore the wonderful world of Nespresso.



The Foundations of Nespresso


Nespresso is owned by Nestle and originates from Switzerland. In 1976 a wise lady encouraged her inventor husband Eric Favre (an employee of Nestle at the time) to invent a coffee machine that extracted Italian style brew (smooth, full bodied, with a generous crema and rich aroma). Like any smart husband would, Eric listened to his wife and drew inspiration by closely observing the baristas methods in Rome. As a result Nespresso was founded in 1986, but it wasn’t until 1996 that their first patent was created. As they say, the rest is history and now stands a thriving coffee empire.


The Coffee


Nespresso coffees are referred to as ‘grand crus’. It is a term most often used in the wine industry to characterise vintages of the highest quality. There are twenty-four traditional grand crus and twenty-two Vertuo grand crus. For this article I will be focusing on the traditional grand crus. If you would like more information on Vertuo’s centrifusion technology head to:


https://www.nespresso.com/au/en/choose-your-system


The traditional capsules are grouped under six different coffee categories:


Intenso

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Kazaar - 12 - Arabica & Robusta - Brazil & Guatemala

Dharkan - 11 - Arabica - Costa Rica, Peru & Indonesia

Ristretto - 10 - Arabica & Robusta - Brazil, Columbia, Kenya & India

Arpeggio - 9 - Arabica - Brazil & Costa Rica

Roma - 8 - Arabica & Robusta - Brazil, Mexico & Nicaragua

Extraction: 40ml


Espresso

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Livanto - 6 - Arabica - Brazil & Guatemala

Capriccio - 5 - Arabica & Robusta - Brazil & Columbia

Volluto - 4 - Arabica - Brazil and Columbia

Cosi - 4 - Arabica - Costa Rica & Kenya

Extraction: 40ml


Pure Origin

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Indriya - 10 - Arabica - India

Rosabaya - 6 - Arabica - Columbia

Dulsao - 4 - Arabica - Brazil

Extraction: 40ml


Bukeela - 3 - Arabica - Ethiopia

Extraction: 110ml


Lungo

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Envivo - 9 - Arabica & Robusta - India & Mexico

Fortissio - 8 - Arabica - Columbia & India

Vivalto - 4 - Arabica - Brazil & Ethiopia

Linizio - 4 - Arabica - Brazil and Columbia

Extraction: 110ml


Variations

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Caramelito - 6 - Arabica - Brazil & Guatemala

Vanilio - 6 - Arabica - Brazil & Guatemala

Ciocattino - 6 - Arabica - Brazil & Guatemala

Extraction: 40ml


The Variations grand crus have a base of Livanto and then are infused with their flavoring. They have no added sugars or preservatives and are allergen, dairy and gluten free.


Decaffeinato

(Grand Crus - Intensity - Varietal - Origin)


Ristretto Decaffeinato - 10 - Arabica & Robusta - Brazil, Columbia, Kenya & India

Arpeggio Decaffeinato - 9 - Arabica - Brazil & Costa Rica

Volluto Decaffeinato - 4 - Arabica - Brazil and Columbia

Extraction: 40ml


Vivalto Decaffeinato - 4 - Arabica - Brazil & Ethiopia

Extraction: 110ml



Nespresso uses a natural water-based (chemical free) process to extract the caffeine from the coffee. When the water comes in contact with the coffee beans the caffeine inside dissolves gradually which means that the integrity of the coffee is preserved. This is why the decaffeinated grand crus taste almost identical to their caffeinated sisters. The ‘decafs’ are easily identified by their red square on the end of the coffee sleeve, as well as a red dot on the capsule itself.


Each grand crus has individual notes that make them unique from one another. These distinctive flavour profiles are reflective of their country of origin. The pure origin grand crus are single origin coffees and are not blended with beans from other countries. Nespresso coffee beans are sourced from eleven different countries. There are sixty species of coffee tree in the world but only two of them are cultivated for consumption, Arabica (Coffea Arabica) and Robusta (Coffea Canephora). Any coffee with a blend of Robusta beans will be higher in caffeine content than those with 100% Arabica beans. Nespresso grand crus are usually harvested by hand and are graded by size, density and colour. Only a small portion of the coffee produced meets Nespresso’s quality control standards. This is why perfection is maintained cup after cup.


Aluminium Capsules


There are two types of grand crus capsules, espresso (40ml) and lungo (110ml). There are 5 grams of coffee in one espresso capsule and 7 grams in one lungo capsule. The coffee grounds are packaged in an aluminum casing and have a protective film coating on the inside. They are also hermetically sealed to protect the freshly ground coffee from air, light and humidity. The capsules come in a sleeve of ten and range in price from $6.90-$9.50 dependent on the grand cru.


TIP:


I recommend leaving your capsules in a cool, dry place, out of the sun and away from ultra violet light. This will avoid the seal from warping and the coffee being spoiled. There is a one-year best before date on the coffee sleeves but as long as there is no visual damage to the capsules they will still make a tasty cup if you choose to use them. Otherwise, simply recycle them.



Intensity Level


The grand crus intensity level ranges from 3-12 and refers to the intensity of the roast on your pallet. The higher the number, the stronger the coffee tastes. When milk is added to a grand crus it adopts a whole new flavour profile. This means that the intensity of the grand crus can be customised with milk and be met with almost an infinite range of tasting experiences.


TIP:


If you like the taste of a particular grand crus but it is just too intense for your palate simply add more milk. On the other hand if it is too mild you could always hold back on the milk or opt for a higher intensity grand crus. Adding milk to a grand crus can really enhance its flavour profile but adding too much milk can dilute it. There is a little bit of a science to it but that is half the fun. Keep in mind that there are alternatives to cows milk such as soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and lactose free milk.


Extraction Process


The Nespresso machines use 19bar of pressure to push the water through the capsule in order to brew the coffee. This high-pressure extraction process is indicative of an Italian style system. The Nespresso lead-in model machines have two buttons, a little cup on the left and a larger cup on the right. Many people assume that this is referring to the size of the cup that they are using rather than the capsule that is being extracted. The cup sizes are in fact indicating the two extraction options, an espresso shot (40ml) and a lungo shot (110ml). Lungo translates to ‘long’ in Italian. The small cup should be used for espresso (40ml) capsules and the large cup should be used for lungo (110ml) capsules. The basic rule of thumb is . . . only use the large cup button when you are extracting a lungo (110ml) capsule. You can use the small cup button on the lungo (110ml) capsule but keep in mind that you are not using the capsule to its full potential. There are illustrations on the coffee sleeves that indicate Nespresso’s suggested option for extraction. It is also worth mentioning that some machines have a third extraction button. It is an even smaller cup known as a ristretto shot (25ml). This is also referred to as a half shot.



Don’t feel discouraged if you have been pressing the wrong button when extracting your coffee. Many consumers are guilty of running too much water through their capsules (I even caught my Mum doing it). The most common misunderstanding is sending the lungo shot (110ml) through an espresso (40ml) capsule. This is not recommended because sending too much water through the capsule will burn the coffee and create a bitter taste in the brew. It will also strip away the grand crus intended notes. Likewise, it is not advisable to send a second shot of water through the same capsule, as this will also burn your coffee. The capsules are intended for single use only and should not be extracted a second time. Trust me when I say, you are not getting more out of your capsule by extracting them more than once.


TIP:


Many of you may be thinking “then how do I get a large cup of coffee from one espresso (40ml) capsule?” There are two ways that you can achieve volume from an espresso (40ml) capsule. The first is to simply use two espresso (40ml) capsules so that you have a total of 80ml of brew before milk ever hits your cup. The second is to extract the 40ml, lift the lid on the machine to release the capsule into the canister, lower the lid back down so that the piercing plate is closed and press the same button again. This will send through 40ml of hot water into your cup, which mixed with the 40ml of brew will give you the volume you desire without compromising the integrity of the grand crus flavor profile. Then simply add your milk. In my 300ml travel mug I use two espresso (40ml) capsules with milk if the grand crus intensity is mild (e.g. Volutto and Cosi), but only one espresso (40ml) capsule, a 40ml hot water shot and milk if the grand crus intensity is high (e.g. Indriya and Arpeggio).



Coffee Styles


How do you drink your coffee? Black, white, with froth or on the go? There are many ways of enjoying your cup of heaven. Here are some of the more popular recipe options:


Black Coffee

Espresso – espresso shot (40ml)

Long Black – espresso shot (40ml) topped up with hot water or lungo (110ml) shot


With Milk

Macchiato – espresso shot (40ml) with a dash of milk.

Piccolo – espresso shot (40ml) topped up with milk.

Flat White – espresso shot (40ml) or lungo shot (110ml) with hot milk.

Latte – espresso shot (40ml) or lungo shot (110ml) with frothed hot milk.

Cappuccino – espresso shot (40ml) or lungo shot (110ml) with extra frothy hot milk.

Travel Mug – 2x espresso shots (40ml) or 1x lungo shot (110ml) with hot milk (to enjoy on the go).

On Ice – espresso shot (40ml) extracted on ice with cold milk (aerated if you have an Aeroccino).

Affogato – espresso shot (40ml) or lungo shot (110ml) extracted into a jug to pour over ice-cream.


TIP:


For an added treat I recommend adding Baileys, Tia Maria or ice-cream to your coffee. Also, if you like whip cream I would invest in getting yourself a professional whip cream dispenser with nitrogen canister refills. It will only set you back $50 or so but it will allow you to have fresh airy whip cream at home. You can either keep it simple or add flavouring like lemon or lime. Once made your whip cream will keep in the dispenser for 7-10 days. My husband makes a killer Baileys whip cream then drizzles my coffee with homemade caramel sauce. Yum!


Recycling


As aluminum is infinitely recyclable Nespresso capsules can be re-purposed for various different applications without losing any of its inherit properties. The coffee grounds are even given a second life and are turned into fertilizer or mulch. Unfortunately capsules that are not recycled just end up in landfill. You can bring your Nespresso capsules into your nearest Nespresso boutique, drop them into a participating florist or purchase one of the prepaid postage satchels to send them back to Nespresso. You do not need to purchase recycle bags in order to recycle your capsules. However, for your convenience Nespresso does offer the following recycling products:


Nespresso Recycling Bag (to bring back into store)

- $0.20

- Holds 200 traditional capsules / 100 Vertuo capsules

- Bring the bag back into your nearest Nespresso Boutique or participating Nespresso recycling point near you


Australia Post Recycling Satchel (to send back to the Nespresso)

- $1.90

- Holds 130 traditional capsules / 65 Vertuo capsules

- Postage cost is already included in the satchel price

- Take the bag to your nearest Australian Post depot or drop it into a post office box


Recycling Canister

- $29

- Holds 100 traditional capsules / 50 Vertuo capsules


TIP:


Used capsules have a bit of a habit of going moldy if they are left to their own devices. I suggest keeping them in a zip lock bag or a container inside your fridge/freezer to stop them from developing an unpleasant odour.


Machines


There are a variety of different Nespresso coffee machines on the market. You can find lead-in models that simply extract the coffee, machines that come with a stand-alone milk frother (Aeroccino 3), machines that have an integrated milk canister, as well as machines with all the bells and whistles. There are even machines that will connect to your smart phone so that you can make a coffee from the comfort of your bed.



Here are some of the machines and their features:


Essenza (Square set and V-shape design)

- Small footprint

- Draws less power than most other machines

- Suitable for small kitchens, caravans or to take on the go


Citiz

- Classic design

- Larger water tank

- Suitable for home use


These lead-in machines have two buttons and extract the coffee the exact same way as one another. You can use an Aeroccino 3 to heat up your milk. Alternatively you can upgrade to a Latissima with an integrated milk canister. The pros of each of the Latissima machines are as follows:


Latissima One

- Compact design

- Dishwasher safe detachable milk canister

- Suitable for one person and espresso coffee drinkers who enjoy milk occasionally


Latissima Touch

- Large square detachable milk canister (hand wash recommended)

- Adjustable setting for milk froth

- Suitable for families and milk drinkers


Latissima Pro

- Extra large round detachable milk canister (hand wash recommended)

- Display screen for ease of use

- Suitable for large families or office use


Then we move onto a high-tech coffee machine:


Expert and Milk

- This is the only machine that you can control the temperature of the brew (68-82C)

- Bluetooth compatible

- Suitable for a consumer who appreciates the technical features of this machine or simply wants a hotter coffee

Then last but definitely not least is the machine of all machines, the Creatista. With its automatic steam wand this barista inspired machine will have you creating café-style coffee at home.


Creatista

- Melamine casing

- Heats up in 10 seconds

- 5 milk temperature settings

- 4 milk froth texture settings


Creatista Plus

- Stainless steel casing

- Heats up in 3 seconds

- 11 milk temperature settings

- 8 milk froth texture settings


Comparing the Creatista Plus to its sister the Creatista, I believe that the Creatista Plus is definitely worth the $100 more that you will pay for it. This dream machine is on my bucket list for when we have a bigger kitchen.


Warranty


Nespresso machines come with a two-year manufacturers warranty. If your machine requires maintenance during this time the cost will be covered. Any repairs that fall outside of this warranty period will be at your own expense. Warranty will be void if non-Nespresso capsules are used. If your machine requires maintenance simply call the Nespresso Club (1800 623 033) and they will organise for it to be serviced. Repairs include an extended 6month warranty. Subject to availability a loan machine may be able to be sent to you until your machine is returned.


TIP:


Get into a good habit of running an espresso shot (40ml) or lungo shot (110ml) of hot water through your machine after every extraction or at least once you have made all the coffees you intend to make in one sitting. This will help flush the system so that coffee does not build up internally. It is also advisable to descale your machine regularly.


Descaling


Descaling is required in order to flush your coffee machine of minerals that build up overtime. It is recommended to descale your machine every six months if you are using regular tap water or once a year if you are using filtered/bottled water. If you use your machine excessively or you know that your water has a high PH level I suggest descaling your machine more often.


The descaling box comes with two satchels of lactic acid solution. You only need to use one satchel at a time. Descaling is easy, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:


- Lift the lid to release any capsule that may be in the machines piercing plate (pyramid triangle).

- Lower the lid back down so that the piercing plate is closed.

- Empty your water tank.

- Pour one satchel of descaling solution into your water tank.

- Fill up your water tank one-third to half way with water.

- Place a large container in front of the coffee dispenser to catch the solution.

- Initiate descaling. If you have a machine with two or three extraction buttons then hold down all the buttons simultaneously for five seconds until they flash. Release and then press all buttons simultaneously once. If you have a Latissima insert your descaling tool and press the flashing button. If you have a Creatista go to the maintenance screen and follow the steps for descaling.


TIP:


To further clean your coffee machine simply use a soft toothbrush to lightly scrub around the inside of the piercing plate (pyramid triangle). This will help break down any build up of minerals or coffee that may be lodged. If your machine is still not working 100% after descaling and using a soft toothbrush I suggest calling the Nespresso Club to get it serviced.


Aeroccino 3


While the main function of the Aeroccino 3 is to heat milk, many people are not aware that the device also has the ability to aerate cold milk. If you press the button on the device once, the circle surrounding it will turn red and the contents will heat. However, if you hold down the button the circle will turn blue and the contents will spin but not heat. This is especially useful for ice coffees or to add an extra element of froth to your cereal in the morning.



Inside the Aeroccino 3 there is a black part that you can attach the whisk onto. This is how you can control the amount of froth your milk has. If you leave the whisk off you will get more of a flat white consistency. If you attach the whisk you will get a cappuccino texture, which looks like a panna cotta. If this is your preferred style of coffee make sure to only fill the milk up to the lower line as indicated inside the device. If you overfill your milk with the whisk on it is highly likely that it will overflow the device and make a mess. When you are not using your whisk you can store it inside the lid. It is worth mentioning that the older model Aeroccinos came with two black parts, one without a whisk and one with a whisk attached. The same principle applies with the use of these parts.



Warranty


Nespresso Aeroccino’s come with a one-year warranty. During this period Nespresso will either repair or replace any defective devices at no charge. Replacement products will be guaranteed for only the unexpired portion of the original warranty or six months, whichever is greater.


TIP:


I suggest rinsing out your Aerocino 3 with cold water straight after every use. Make sure that you do not submerge your device in water, as the electrical element at the base will not work if it becomes wet. I also suggest leaving 0.5cm-1cm of water in your Aerocino 3 while it is being stored, as it will deter any build up of milk residue inside the device. If you would like to wash your Aerocino 3 thoroughly make sure to use a non-abrasive sponge or microfiber towel. You want to avoid scratching the inner surface of your device because otherwise your milk may burn.


The Nespresso Club


The Nespresso Club is a community of Nespresso consumers that are eligible to receive exclusive offers. It differs from most loyalty programs because there are no points to collect or redeem, however you are rewarded by means of club benefits:


- 24/7 toll-free customer care assistance (1800 623 033)

- Coffee expertise and technical support

- Email or mail correspondence regarding new product launches and promotions

- Online ordering and delivery (free delivery on orders of 200 capsules or more)

- Standard delivery within 3 business days for metro areas

- Tracked history of sales for future reference


When you become a new club member or buy a new Nespresso coffee machine you are eligible to take advantage of the welcome offer. Simply purchase one of the following:


Morning Selection

- $99 (full retail $108.70)

- Saving of $9.70

- 15 sleeves (150 capsules)

- Includes 9x espresso grand crus 2x lungos grand crus (four grand crus are doubled up)


Or . . .


Discovery Selection

- $99 (full retail $114.10)

- Saving of $15.10

- 15 sleeves (150 capsules)

- Includes 9x espresso grand crus, 2x lungos grand crus, 1x decaf grand crus and 3x flavor grad crus (no grand crus are doubled up)


And you can choose one of the following complimentary gifts:

- Bonbonniere Capsule Dispenser (valued at $35)

- 2x Capuccino cups (valued at $34)

- Recycling canister (valued at $29)


Or purchase this larger welcome offer:


Ultimate Selection

- $179

- Saving of $7.30

- 25 sleeves (250 capsules)

- Includes all grand crus except Cosi, Ristretto Decaf, Vivalto Decaf and Ciocattino


And you can choose one of the following complimentary gifts:

- 2x Cappuccino cups and 2x Lungo cups (valued at $68)

- Touch Sleeve Dispenser (valued at $60)

- Versilo Capsule Dispenser (valued at $50)


TIP:


For coffee information at your fingertips simply download the Nespresso app. It is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. For your convenience make sure to add your Nespresso club account number into the app.


Smart Boutique


There are two Nespresso smart boutiques in the whole of Australia and they work a little differently to other stores. They have a self selection wall that allows you to collect the coffee you wish to purchase and then make payment through automated sales machines. Here are a few simple steps to help make your transaction as seamless as possible:


1. Take a bag from the rack.

2. Select your coffee from the self selection wall.

3. Make sure the coffee sleeves are laying flat inside the bag.

4. Place the bag into the machine.

5. Place and hold your Nespresso club card up to the detection area (marked ‘2’). This will identify you as a club member and display the contents of your bag on the screen. If you don’t have a club card ask one of the Coffee Specialists to assist you.

6. Press ‘Pay’ on the screen.

7. Present your card for payment (credit card or debit card with pay pass only).

8. Remove your card (unless you want to pay for the next persons coffee).

9. Wait for the receipt to print (if you take the bag out before the receipt prints it may cancel the sale).

10. Take your bag.


TIP:


- Only the medium size bags that are hanging on the racks will work in the automated payment machines. If you don’t want to take the bag home with you simply use it for the purpose of the sale and then hang it back up on the rack.

- If your coffee order is over $100 make sure to insert your card straight away instead of using the pay pass option because the system is a little antiquated and does not switch very well from one payment option to the other.

- If you want to pay with cash or eftpos you will need to go to the front terminal and be served by one of the Coffee Specialists.

- The automated payment machines are using RFID tags (radio-frequency identification) to detect the coffee. Sometimes this smart technology does not work seamlessly. Simply lift up your bag and try again or ask a Coffee Specialist for assistance.


Here are a few other things to note about smart boutiques:


- If you have your Nespresso club card on you or know your club account number it will expedite the transaction process. If you do not have one simply ask one of the Coffee Specialists to create one for you.

- Coffee sleeves cannot be pushed back into the self selection wall as it designed to push the coffee forward. If you have a sleeve or two that you do not wish to purchase simply put it in the return slot underneath the bag rack.

- If you want 20 sleeves of the same grand cru make sure to ask a Coffee Specialist to get you a box from out the back. This will save you from having to pull 20 individual sleeves out of the self selection wall.

- Coffee tasting is complimentary so feel free to try before you buy.



AAA Sustainability Quality Program


Developed in 2003 with the Rainforest Alliance, the AAA Sustainability Quality Program is a unique coffee sourcing initiative. It was designed to improve conservation as well as guarantee small-scale farmers higher remuneration than the standard market price. Today over 80% of Nespresso’s coffee is sourced using this program and the company aims to reach 100% by 2020.


The Positive Cup


In 2009 the Positive Cup was introduced to improve farmer welfare and drive environmental sustainability not only in coffee sourcing but also in consumption. The initiative also focuses on reducing carbon footprint and the proper disposal of capsules. Nespresso believes that each cup of coffee has the potential to restore, replenish and revive environmental resources, aiming to make every cup a positive cup by 2020. Nespresso’s key ambitions include:


- Source 100% of their permanent range of coffees sustainably through the AAA Sustainability Quality Program.

- Assist farmers to achieve high certification standards with particular attention to water management, biodiversity and fair treatment of workers.

- Pursue innovative solutions for farmer’s welfare such as a retirement savings plan for coffee farmers in Columbia.


Other Tips and Tricks


- Shake your milk before pouring it into your heating device in order to mix the fat content so it disperses evenly throughout the bottle. This will make sure that each cup will get creamy and there won’t be any inconsistencies with your froth.

- The Nespresso travel mug has an airtight screw on lid. Before turning into the Incredible Hulk and tearing the top off, simply lift the mouthpiece cover to release the air pressure and unscrew the lid.

- Breville and Delonghi are machine distributers for Nespresso. When one of the two names is branded on a machine it indicates who the distributer was.

- Buying your coffee sleeves in gift packs will sometimes save you money rather than buying the sleeves individually.

- Nespresso has a complimentary sleeve promotion a few times per year. It is only available for club members and the more you buy, the more you save.


For further information please refer to the Nespresso website:

www.nespresso.com


Important Notice: This article has been written from my perspective as a Nespresso Coffee Specialist. The information in this article may change from the time it was originally written. If changes occur please disregard the outdated information. All suggestions are optional.



I hope that this article has given you greater insight into how Nespresso operates and inspires you to get creative with your next cup of coffee.


As always please feel free to share this article with your family and friends so they too can benefit from this nifty knowledge.