The Nespresso CitiZ is a compact, true espresso maker but it’s not without faults. It’s very easy to set up, use and clean but the outer design doesn’t quite reflect the quality and smooth performance under the hood. Maintenance and durability are where this machine falls down.
All too often when you see the words “pod espresso maker” it means a mock espresso maker that produces a very strong shot of coffee. So, when we checked out the Nespresso CitiZ to find it really does use 19 bars of pressure to create a true espresso with crema, we were very excited… especially considering the price tag.
Features and Functionality
The Nespresso CitiZ is a small, home kitchen countertop espresso maker from Breville. At just 5 inches wide and 11 inches tall, it fits in even the smallest of kitchens. In that small space, the CitiZ packs in:
- A 19 bar high-pressure pump.
- Fast heat-up system.
- 9-minute auto-off feature that can be programmed up to 30 minutes.
- Programmable espresso and lungo buttons for pre-set and custom volumes.
- Adjustable folding cup tray for tall/short cups.
- Removable 34oz water reservoir.
- 10 capsule capacity.
- 1 year’s warranty.
- Welcome pack containing 16 Nespresso Grands.
- Instruction booklet and information folder.
As you can see, it’s a one-job machine made for convenience and speed. It makes espresso, with a few adjustable features so you can get it to your liking. The CitiZ & milk model offers all these features plus hot, frothed milk for lattes.
The welcome pack of Nespresso pods you receive doesn’t come in the box. They’re added by Nespresso and are often delivered separately. They’re not always packaged well and are sometimes damaged, so we’d recommend buying some extra pods separately so you can use the machine straight away regardless.
Features that stuck out to us as missing are water filters, milk frothers, and auto-start/warm-up/timer functions.
The missing water filter is especially important when it comes to performance.
Nespresso Citiz Performance
Testing the machine once, twice, thrice, etc. was fine. We didn’t experience any problems and the resulting espresso was always smooth. The hook here is speed and convenience – it’s epic and making a good espresso with minimal fuss. It took us a few attempts to adjust the volume of the espresso before we got the ideal strength for our tastes, but once set up just right you don’t have to bother with this daily.
Operating it is simple. Fill the reservoir, add the pod, place your glass under it, press the button and wait patiently. It’s smooth running and we were very pleased.
However, with further digging, we found that many people find trouble with this machine after using it for a while. Most problems seem to spring up between 6 months and 2 years after first use. For a cheap, mock-espresso maker that’s not too bad. But considering the price tag of this bad boy, we expected more.
Most issues come down to the unit leaking water. We didn’t experience this ourselves but it does add up. Without any water filter to soften hard water, plus a removable water reservoir, natural wear and tear is bound to happen over time.
Our tips to avoid this issue and keep it like-new for as long as possible are:
- Use filtered water.
- Only add as much water as you need.
- Clean the machine sensibly – too often and you’ll speed up the natural wear and tear, but too infrequently and water/coffee left inside can soften and corrode the machine.
- Don’t leave water sitting in the reservoir when not in use.
The design is quite nice. It’s not repulsive and ugly, but it’s not sleek either with a primarily plastic outer shell plus clear plastic reservoir. Having the water reservoir at the back of the unit could make it tricky to remove and refill, especially if you put the Nespresso CitiZ on the counter but underneath overhead cupboards.
Nonetheless, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. The 19 bar extraction system, reservoir and internal mechanisms are all designed in a compact way that doesn’t impact the performance. It’s small but powerful.
To program the espresso size you want, simply hold down the button you’d usually press once. Let go once you’ve poured the right amount of espresso into your cup and the machine will be programmed to pour that exact amount each time. If you want to program very exact and specific volumes, this isn’t the espresso maker for you.
The adjustable tray for your cup is easy to use and allows for tall glasses but again that shiny mirror plastic pretending to be metal isn’t fooling anyone.
What you’re paying for here is a clever, compact machine that’s well designed… but encased in a coffee machine shell that doesn’t quite live up to expectations.
Nespresso Citiz Pros/Cons
- Makes true espresso fast and conveniently.
- Adjustable volumes and auto-off.
- Removable good-size reservoir.
- Easy to clean.
- Plastic outer design.
- Prone to leaking.
- Awful customer service from Nespresso.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning instructions for the CitiZ are unbelievably basic on the Nespresso website. Wiping it down with a damp cloth and washing the reservoir/trays that are removable is so obvious they didn’t really need to say it.
For descaling, you can buy a descaling kit from Nespresso to use or go DIY with homemade vinegar mixes or grocery store generic cleaners. Fill the reservoir and run through the machine without a pod to flush it through. Cleaning is very simple but it is manual. You can’t just fill it with cleaner and select a pre-set cleaning program.
As for maintenance, finding replacement parts for the CitiZ is not easy. We’ve also heard that trying to claim the warranty or get support from Nespresso leaves a sour taste in your mouth. They’re not helpful and some people we spoke to were told that they voided the warranty through negligence.
It’s not what you want to hear!
It makes good espresso and it’s easy to use. When you first open the box your verdict is going to be great! Compared to professional home espresso makers, the pod espresso maker is a lot lighter on your wallet. However, we’re not entirely convinced it’s worth the money.
Over time, this espresso maker just goes downhill with little chance of ever being as good as when you first used it.
Our recommendation would be to get this espresso maker if you fancy an espresso a few times a week… alongside a more trustworthy drip coffee maker that you can fall back on when the Nespresso CitiZ goes under.
We doubt that the CitiZ could handle long-term daily use but for a quick, convenient espresso when you’re in the mood but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, it’s perfect.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.