We have been using our manual espresso machine and burr grinder for the past 3 years to make espressos, americanos, capuccinos and lattes and have become very discriminatory regarding quality of coffee. During weekdays we go to work early and we dont have time to heat up the manual machine, grind the beans, tamp, pull the shot, steam the milk manually. We feel the D290 is a great compromise between the time it takes to make the drinks and the quality of the beverage. I must admit that espresso shots are more than decent. I like my coffee STRONG so maybe for my personal taste they are a bit on the weak side but flavor profiles have some complexity and are fully enjoyable. This system also permits us to make decafs without having to empty our bean grinder and swap beans (we just dont make decafs anymore) but now we can enjoy them late in the evening with the D290. The downside to the system is having to order the cups online and not being able to run to the store to get more. The proprietary system is also a turnoff (dont you hate monopolies) but I assume the patents should expire soon and other companies should be releasing their capsules creating competition and downwards pressure on prices. We paid 150$ for the machine and really think it's a great bang for the buck. Having taste the Keurig machine, this system is really in a class of its own.
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I bought this machine when it was on sale for $160 in early Dec 2011. The normal retail price was 300$ (as are most espresso machines) and judging by reviews, the only downside was the initial 300$ price tag so I felt like I HAD to get it. Let me tell you, it was one of the smartest impulsive purchases I have ever made. This machine was delivered to me in downtown Toronto in ONE day, setting it up is super easy, and it introduced me to a world of espresso that I never knew. You can look up past reviews and see how happy owners are, even after paying 300$, so you can imagine how estatic I am. There's only 2 minor downsides: 1) You need to buy the capsules from Nespresso's website or their stores. In Ont, they only have ONE store, which is in the Bay department store at the Eaton Centre. I happen to live very close by, but if you don't, then your only option is to order online. However, it comes up to $0.50-0.60 a cup and compared to Starbuck's $4-5, I don't think it's a big issue 2) It ruins espresso drinks everywhere else. Starbucks tastes like garbage to me now. It's ranked there with Tim Hortons ha ha.
What are you waiting for? Buy it now!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
114 of 117 people found the following review helpful
Couldn't be easier, but could be cheaperJan. 22 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I've had 3 of the Nespresso 150 coffee machines for about 5 years divided between my offices and home, which have worked splendidly. Finally the gaskets are starting to harden, and water is starting to leak, and one or two could use cleaning. The 150s are fine and I'll still use one at home, but I just got a fire-truck red D290 for the office. However, after using the 290 for a couple of weeks, I may have to get another for home.
Aside from the shock of paying so much for a coffee machine, I couldn't be more pleased. I rationalize that with three shots of espresso per day, after two years at work (~600 cups), the pod and maker together are just $1 a shot. Similar logic "paid off" for my old 150s, and saved oodles of time in line at coffee shops.
The espresso is very good (at fifty cents per capsule), the capsule delivery is easy and quick ordering from the web page, and the brewing is easy even before I've had my morning caffeine. Plus it looks cool and the lever and buttons all have a solid feel.
My advice - order the special coffees, which show up about twice a year, they taste the best. The spiced flavors are a bit of an acquired taste. Some of the blends are 95% arabica + 5% robusta beans, others are 100% arabica. Look into it if you're a purist who disdains even traces of robusta.
Read the manual, it just takes ten minutes. Put it where it can be admired, and lock it down, and prepare to be asked for an espresso by your friends often.
[7/8/08 - 500 cups of coffee, no problems.] [9/1/10 - another 1000 or so. No problems yet, still working like a charm.] [4 year mark - 1/2011 - something is failing. The machine is tossing out less and less espresso, and when I re-press the bottom, the next increment of espresso is not hot. Likely it's fixable, but I replaced it with a Nespresso Essenza C101, rather than mess around. I think I'll use the hulking D290 as a prop, next to the lamp that's not plugged in in my outer office.]
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Simple, Fast, Real EspressoJan. 31 2009
Daniel G. Lebryk
- Published on Amazon.com
Admitedly I am addicted to this machine, the espresso. I have owned this machine for around 3 years now and made mabye 5,000 cups of espresso with this. Two to three per day is my standard, and my wife usually has one or two Lungos per day. Hopefully you can understand that I love this machine, and I love this espresso. This is far superior to any other "on demand" coffee makers, this machine makes real espresso.
The machine is sturdy beyond imagination. During these three years the sum total of the maintenance I have done on this machine, about once per 9 months I run the descaler kit. That's it, nothing else, no parts broken, no repairs required, nothing. Initially I got very scared when I switched between steam delivery and making espresso - the machine makes a lot of noise and steams all over the place for about 60 seconds (it's scary the first time). Quick call to customer service and I found out this is normal. The other oddity was occasionally the short cup espresso would only run for a few seconds. Well I found out that we were accidently reprogramming the time for the short cup (hold down the button for the amount of time you want water to flow).
Absolutely 100% completely problem free.
December 12,2011 Update: After 6 years and thousands of espressos, the machine finally started to act up. After sitting overnight, the first turn on in the morning, the machine would not start heating right away. If I ran a little bit of water through the machine, it would then heat, and make perfect espresso. I decided to replace the machine with a Fire Engine Red Citiz and an Aeroccino Plus. The new machine is beautiful. There is a tiny difference in the crema on the new machine, maybe not as perfect as the D290. But, the Aeroccino is simply incredible - be sure to buy the Plus model. I am keeping the D290, I'll use it in the basement. Nespresso does have a replacement and repair program for out of warranty machines. They even provide a loaner machine if you choose the repair route. Nespresso C110-US-RE-NE CitiZ Automatic Single-Serve Espresso Maker, Fire-Engine Red Nespresso Aeroccino Plus
Noise - yes this machine makes noise. ALL mechanical espresso machines make noise, there is no way around that problem (you have to pump the water to reach the 90 some odd PSI to make real espresso). To me, this machine makes the most beautiful noise ever. It's a solid heavy pump sound, not some whimpy whiny noise. It's also so beautiful because my mind knows what is coming next, a great cup of espresso.
From cold machine to a cup of espresso is roughly 1.5 minutes. Warm up time is around a minute, and brew time for the cup is about 30 seconds. Couldn't be faster, couldn't be easier.
On to the quality. You will never ever drink a better cup of espresso at Starbucks or Caribou, you can't. They make those drinks in paper cups and by definition the espresso can't be as good. There is nothing like drinking from a ceramic cup, it enhances the flavor more than you can imagine. You cannot mess up making the espresso. The capsule is hermetically sealed in aluminum, there is absolutey no air exchange, unlike plastic or paper containers. There is no need to refrigerate or freeze these capsules - they do not deteriorate due to air exchange. Nespresso has solved some of the most critical variables in making espresso, fineness of coffee grind, roast time and temperature, preventing air from interacting with the coffee, pressure and temperature of the water, and brew residence time. Each cup tastes exactly the same one after the other.
The espresso itself. Oh my goodness, I have spent a lot of time in Italy drinking espresso at corner cafes. Nespresso is as good as, if not better than, anything I ever had in Italy. It is the rare US or Canadian restaurant that can brew a better espresso. Nespresso has become the gold standard by which I judge espresso when I travel. The crema on these drinks is amazing - thick, rich, and perfect.
The real competitor to this machine, the Illy line, and $1000 true ground espresso machines. Here's the huge downside to those machines - the Illy machines are well over $750, and the cartridges are paper wrapped (so once you open the can, you need to use all those cartridges quickly - air is ground coffee's worst enemy). The ground coffee versions, you have a long warm up time to build heat and pressure in the vessel, you have to grind your own coffee, there's a huge variable introduced in grind size and coffee packing, and you have messy coffee grounds to clean up.
When you compare this machine to the alternatives for real espresso, this is a cheap machine. Add the convenience, and this is a no brainer choice to me. The one downside to this machine and all the Nespresso machines, you have to buy your coffee from Nestle directly over the internet or phone. Nobody else makes these capsules. Myself, I simply buy 500 at a time and watch my supply. From ordering to delivery is usually 3 days.
One of my biggest concerns in buying this was the longevity of Nestle producing these capsules. I think they will produce these for a long time in the future. The machine dates back to 1986. It is very popular in Europe. The capsule they use is a commodity aluminum capsule that is used by a number of other industries - in other words, Nestle buys these formed aluminum capsules, fills them, and seals them. There is no proprietary container, unlike the other two popular beverage on demand machines. Nestle's investment in capsule manufacture and distribution (all 100% internet or phone based with no marketing in the US) is really small for a great return to them.
Visiting Italians have told me this is the best espresso they have ever had in the US. And my wife, who rarely ever drank brewed coffee, looks forward to her luongo every morning.
This does have a steamer attachment to make foamed milk and deliver hot water. There's also a gizmo to foam milk for cappucino or lattes. The gizmo was just too much of a pain to clean for me, so I've used it maybe 10 times. The steam attachment, I can make a great cappucino with that pretty quickly with no mess, so I lean that direction.
Compared to some of the newer less expensive machines, this one is really rock solid and well proven to me. I love the automatic short or long buttons. I would buy exactly this machine again in a second. But, remember, I'm an addict.
If you are looking for that special $100 arena, and only want an on-demand beverage maker, this is by far the best machine you can buy: Bosch TAS4511UC Tassimo Single-Serve Coffee Brewer, Silk Silver - just remember, it makes great coffee, cappucino, hot chocolate, tea - but it does not make espresso (no matter what anyone says or claims, it is incapable of doing that). They have fixed the awful sound of the original machine by working with Bosch. The other alternative for just coffee making (no cappucino or hot chocolate) Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System.
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Awesome Espresso and Cappuccino -- But At A Cost (5- stars)Aug. 12 2008
Debbie Lee Wesselmann
- Published on Amazon.com
At one time I owned a Krups espresso/cappuccino machine that I ended up using for only a few months since it was such a pain to set up and clean. Right now, it's sitting in my basement, gathering cobwebs. However, when I received this Nespresso machine as a gift, I now can have cappuccino whenever I want in mere minutes. I turn the machine on, wait for the solid red light to show proper heat/steam (it takes about 30 seconds), pop in a pod, and press the correct cup size for espresso or the larger "lungo." The coffee is forced through the pod and into the cup below in seconds, with a nice brown crema on top. For cappuccino or latte, you need only to then press the steam button (the machine comes with a steamer attachment), stick the tube in a cup of milk, press the lever, and watch the machine suck up the milk and deposit it, hot and foamy, into the cup. Clean up? A breeze. Even if you steam milk, you have only let the steamer suck in water for a few seconds and deposit it into another cup. The empty pods are tossed into an internal receptacle that holds ten or so. There is no tamping for preparation. No scraping the grounds out afterward. No dishwashing. It really is that simple. And the espresso and cappuccino taste just like they do in Italy.
Of course, there are downsides to every machine, and this one is expense. Not only is the machine pricey, but the pods must be purchased through Nespresso at approximately fifty cents per pod. (They come in sleeves of ten.) The Nespresso also must be particularly sensitive to power surges, since mine stopped working in less than a year, as did my sister's, for no apparent reason. But . . . the customer service is awesome. I called, and they sent a loaner machine overnight, with packing and a pre-paid label to send mine in for servicing. When mine was fixed a week later, I simply shipped the loaner machine back using, again, a pre-paid label. I didn't pay a cent. Still, I now leave my machine unplugged when not in use. Others may want to put it on a surge protector.
I was worried that the pre-measured portions of coffee would taste canned, but they have excellent flavor. Once you buy this machine, you will be part of the "Nespresso Club" (wait until you see how exclusive they make it seem -- you'll have to laugh!). You will buy your coffee off the web site or over the phone, and receive it within two days. The "Ristretto" pods make the best full-strength espresso and cappuccino. Even when I make "lungo" coffee, I tend to use the higher strength coffees such as "Arpeggio" since I'm not a fan of the milder types. "Decaffeinato Intenso" makes competent decaf cappuccino as well as lungo, although I wish they had an even stronger decaf. (The regular "Decaffeinato" is milder.)
This machine is a luxury, to be sure, and I doubt I would have splurged on my own. However, this is one gift that I use regularly, with as much appreciation for it as I had the first week. Unlike my Krups machine, this one sits proudly on my counter. Friends who come to dinner eye it longingly, hoping that, once again, I'll offer up espresso or cappuccino with dessert. Of course, I always oblige.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
First-timerJune 16 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This is the first espresso machine I've owned and so far I am not a bit disappointed. I'm glad I did my homework before the purchase and appreciate all the previous reviews.
Likes: - Size. Since I do not have a lot of counter space. - Ease of use. Clean up is a breeze, especially important in the mornings. - Taste. Although I am not the connoisseur that some other reviewers are, I'm very pleased. - Capsules. So easy and convenient. I haven't even decided on a favorite...I'm just thankful to be making it in my own kitchen! - Noise level. I can't believe anyone would be complaining that this machine is loud. It sounds like an espresso machine!
Could be better: - Exclusivity. Would love to be able to purchase the capsules from a store shelf instead of ordering, although shipping is quite fast. - Cup height. I am not actually an espresso drinker, rather lattes and cappuccinos. Would love to be able to fit a travelers mug underneath. As is, I just use the espresso cup and pour into my larger mug. - Instructions. Thank goodness for YouTube videos and other posted instructions.
Tips: - Take a minute to admire the auto-frother, then disconnect and store/throw it away. Any complaints about cold/luke-warm coffee must be due to this piece. The regular steamer works perfectly on its own. I sink it well into the non-fat milk (my preference) and it steams/froths and heats the milk to 150 degrees in 30-45 seconds or so. If it's not inserted deep enough, the froth overflows before the milk is heated enough. - Cappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 froth - Latte: 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, thin layer of foam (I'm sure both of these recipes are arguable, so just do your own Googling.) - No offense to Amazon, especially since they offer free shipping, but it seems this product is well in demand and rarely goes on sale, if ever. I discovered I could have purchased it at my local Williams-Sonoma for the same price. Which would only be beneficial if I needed to return it, which I haven't. And if I did, it sounds like Nespresso makes that task easy enough and at no cost.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
98% of a perfect shot of espresso!Dec 4 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I grew up in the Miami area where the Cuban style espresso is popular and available on practically every street corner. The liquid is thick and sweet and if made correctly has a dense crema...many folks own stove top espresso makers but that isn't real espresso and the crema is literally beaten out of it, not naturally occurring. Every espresso expert will tell you how important the crema is, it's your sign and reward for choosing the freshest roasted beans, grinding them to just the right fineness, tamping the coffee properly and hoping your machine has the requisite pressure and the water is the perfect temperature. Any error along the way will produce a light crema or even none at all. A good crema also serves to seal in the flavor.
I own 5 or 6 espresso makers including a professional model that's hooked up to the plumbing, an old brass model which requires a strong arm to operate the pump to produce the pressure, and an all-in-one unit that you add the beans and it grinds, tamps, brews, disposes the old coffee, and rinses itself out (if it would only do the ironing!).
My favorite and most used machine is the Nespresso D290...I've had three different models over the years. With these you need not procure fresh oily beans, use an expensive grinder, etc...you pop in a capsule and get a rich and creamy crema every time, naturally. With my pro-commercial machine, you are lucky to get a crema if every step is followed...and with warm-up time and cleanup...it's a production to make a couple of shots of espresso and the results are often hit and miss.
Most recently I replaced my old Nespresso D300 with a Romeo machine....I was disappointed in the crema so Nespresso sent another, also disappointing. They then replaced the Romeo with a D290 for me to try....the espresso was in another catagory! The crema was thicker and longer lasting than the Romeo and my original D300...the D290 doesn't have the warming plate, which I miss, or the digital read out, or the little trick where the capsule disappears before your eyes...but maybe this machine will last longer being simpler...and maybe, therein lies the secret to its better espresso.
The capsules aren't cheap but to buy a pound of beans and then wind up throwing half away because they get stale before I finish the pound...the capsules are not a bad deal at all. I love the D290....even the appearance has grown on me and my espresso shots are always a real hit with our friends and family.
BTW, I've found that the other lesser Nespresso models also yield a better shot than the expensive Romeo.
I should add that doing business with Nespresso has been nothing but a pleasure...their agents in the various stores around here, the ordering of capsules, and especially the customer care department...all employees aim to please.