The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a simple, fast and easy to use espresso maker. The minimalist design, set-up, and method make it one of the best espresso makers for beginners who are looking for a capsule-only coffee maker.
When the Nespresso Essenza Mini arrived on our doorstep for a thorough weekend of testing, we were surprised and slightly suspicious at just how small the box was. We’re happy to report, however, that it was a good surprise by the end. They say good things come in small boxes, after all!
Nespresso Essenza Mini Features
Sure, it may be a mini espresso maker but it does pack in a ton of features. To make an excellent home espresso, the Nespresso Essenza Mini features:
- Compact size (3.3 x 12.9 x 8 inches) and weight (5.07lb).
- 20oz removable water reservoir.
- One-touch operation system.
- 19 bar high-pressure pump.
- 25-second heat-up system.
- Capsule container to hold 5 to 6 capsules.
- Programmable espresso and lungo buttons for pre-set and custom volumes.
- 3-minute automatic energy-saving feature.
- 9-minute auto-off feature.
- 14 compatible capsules.
- 2-year warranty.
It’s very similar to other Nespresso espresso makers, particularly the CitiZ, with a few key differences.
This model has a removable reservoir that only holds 20oz – it’s a smaller reservoir than usual, but it does mean that Nespresso can guarantee it will heat the water to the perfect temperature in under 30 seconds.
Just like other models, the espresso (1.35oz) and lungo (5oz) buttons can be reprogrammed to deliver custom volumes of coffee.
The main reason you’d pick this particular espresso maker over other Nespresso makers is the “mini” size. It’s minimalistic, fast and portable.
Essenza Mini Performance
Performance is oversimplified by Nespresso to the point you can be extra lazy in the mornings and still make a good shot of espresso.
- Turn the machine on by pressing any button you like.
- Wait for the water to heat up (the lights will stop blinking).
- Lift the top lever and insert a capsule.
- Place your cup on the drip tray.
- Close the lever and press espresso or lungo.
It takes less than a minute from turning it on to sipping your espresso (and probably burning your tongue so sip carefully) which is incredibly fast.
Programming the espresso and lungo buttons for different volumes is as simple as holding down the buttons while it makes the espresso and letting go when you’ve got enough in your cup.
As you can tell, it’s aimed at beginners and offers very little in the way of precision or adjustability. You’re stuck using Nespresso pods, or you can sneakily find reusable pods to fill with your own freshly ground coffee.
You can expect a good, tasty espresso. Just don’t expect miracles.
EN85R Essenza Mini Design
It’s well-designed and attractive to look at, especially in Piano Black color. It’s surprising how small it is when you open the box! 10 out of 10 for the compact size. The cord length is approximately 1 meter (39 inches) so you have some flexibility on where it goes in the kitchen.
Thanks to the minimalist design, there are no tiny buttons or parts that are going to wear off or be snapped off by accident. Even though it’s primarily plastic, it’s sturdy.
It does have a few flaws, however.
The reservoir is right at the back which can be a little annoying to refill, but not a huge issue.
The other problem is that the capsule container is held behind the coffee outlet – it’s handy but having it so close to where the coffee is dispersed is a potential design flaw. First, accessing the container after making an espresso runs the risks of burning hot drips on your hand. Second, it’s balanced on top of the drip tray so when you take that out for cleaning the container will just fall out and spill used capsules everywhere.
- Compact design is sturdy and long-lasting.
- Makes good, true espresso.
- Very fast to heat up.
- Extremely easy to use, clean, descale and program.
- Capsules are costly and not as good as fresh coffee.
- Unsuitable for experienced espresso lovers.
Maintenance & Cleaning
Before you can start using your espresso maker, you need to clean it by running water through. Like making an espresso, this is unbelievably easy. Nespresso have a video ready to show you how with an exceptionally irritating voiceover:
The reservoir, drip tray and capsule container can all be removed and washed by hand. You then need to run over all exposed areas of the machine with a damp cloth to clean them. No dishwasher-safe components, unfortunately.
Descaling it is equally easy using any descaling solution (of course, Nespresso recommend their own). To enter the descaling mode, you press both buttons for 5 seconds. Don’t get this confused with the reset mode, which involves holding down just 1 button for 5 seconds. This is the problem with oversimplified controls – we recommend keeping the manual somewhere safe for when you inevitably forget.
As for maintenance, there doesn’t seem to be much needed. You have 2 years warranty with Nespresso for home use (commercial users only get 3 months warranty) and customer support which can be a bit hit and miss.
The beauty of such a minimalistic machine is that there’s less to go wrong. While other Nespresso models suffer flaws from leaky reservoirs to plastic odors, the Nespresso Essenza Mini seems to be a very reliable, sturdy espresso maker with very few complaints from long-term users.
Of all the Nespresso espresso makers we’ve reviewed, this is one of the simplest and the sturdiest. We highly recommend it if you need quick, decent-quality espresso coffee, from a reliable coffee maker. The portability and compact size are charming and well designed.
You can make a good, true espresso with crema thanks to the 19 bar high-pressure pump inside.
It’s perfect for beginners but more experienced espresso makers will find it too basic. It’s not suitable if you want flexibility with your espresso and the ability to fine-tune the maker into exactly what you need.
We believe it’s worth the cost, thanks to the durability and smooth performance, plus a 2-year warranty. Make sure you factor in the cost of capsules when you’re buying this coffee maker. It arrives with 14 in a box as a gift … but that won’t last long. Nespresso brand capsules are expensive but offer good quality espresso. Fake and grocery store brand capsules will work with the Nespresso Essenza Mini and could save you a little cash. There are also fill-you-own capsules available online, so you can add your own freshly ground coffee for a better flavor.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.