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You would hear a good chunk of the classic, no-nonsense coffee lovers gushing about starting the day with a steaming cup of Espresso. Espresso is the process of brewing coffee in an espresso machine by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee at 7 – 10 atmospheric pressure. Now, as simple as it sounds, the preparation of a shot of Espresso is very nuanced and therefore, not an easily achievable feat. It takes a lot of practice to brew the perfect Espresso. Nespresso, on the other hand, is a capsule-based coffee machine which brews espresso-style drinks by creating high pressure. All you need to do is insert the coffee capsule inside the machine and have your coffee ready-made. Let us now dive into the details and see which one wins the battle, the old school Espresso or the fast and easy to handle, Nespresso.

Brewing and the Machine

Espresso

A traditional, semi-automatic espresso machine requiring a significant amount of manual interventions is the domain of the maestro barista. Assuming you are looking into home-brewing options, espressos still demand attention to minute details. These are:

Grinding – Grinding is the fundamental component of brewing espressos. The finer the grind is, the better the espresso shot will be. If the grinding is coarse, the brewing will fail to produce a well-blended emulsified result.

Tamping – Tamping is the process of packing or compressing the ground coffee by exerting pressure. You would need a portafilter to first, distribute the coffee evenly. After that, you need to press the coffee firmly with a tamper and give it a twist before attaching it to the espresso machine. Again, tamping is quintessential to the taste of the espresso. You can ruin your chances of showing off your espresso-brewing skill, with the crema on top, by making the slightest mistake.

Dose – The coffee dose refers to the ratio of coffee to water. Experts suggest, for a double shot espresso, one needs 18 – 21 gm of ground coffee.

Length of Shot – The duration between starting the pump and turning off the pump is called the Length of the Shot. The timing matters so much so that it can either make or break an espresso shot. Ideally, the length should be between 25 and 40 seconds. However, you will have to pull many Shots before deciding on the ideal duration that produces the best result.

Nespresso

With the Nestle manufactured Nespresso machine, you do not need special skills to prepare a nice cup of espresso-like coffee. Nespresso machines can achieve up to 15 bars of pressure, which is more than enough to give the espresso a favorable consistency. Nespresso comes with a variety of coffee capsules including, espresso, pure origine, lungo, and de-caffeinato.

It is a handy machine. All you need to do is

·       Rinse the machine by filling the tank with water

·       Insert the coffee capsule inside through a little shutter

·       Press any of the three buttons to start the brewing

·      Pull the shutter slightly or press a button when you want to stop the flow

Flexibility

A Nespresso is more flexible than an espresso machine in that it is straight-forward and easy to carry. Nespresso machines also come with a few automatic features like automatic flow stop and automatic pump refilling. Moreover, you can create a good blend using a Nespresso without the learning curve of handling espressos involved.

As far as customization is concerned, an Espresso machine provides you with more options. You can manipulate and adjust the shot duration, temperature or grinding using semi-automatic machines and experiment. Some espresso machines even come with frothing options and allow you to brew lattes, unlike a Nespresso.

However, if you are not an amateur coffee-drinker and maker, a Nespresso could be an ideal companion.

Flavour 

Connoisseurs would always give the highest ratings to espresso-brewed coffees if done right. A Nespresso can produce a good-quality espresso, however, on the lighter side in terms of consistency. You will enjoy it though if you have a penchant for mochas.

Pricing 

Espresso 

You can get an Espresso machine within $500. However, it might be missing in some features such as a grinder, time, or temperature display. The temperature is crucial to the brewing process (195 – 205 degrees in Fahrenheit) and, an ill-adjusted temperature may affect the espresso quality.

For your home, it is best to buy a $1000 espresso machine which comes with almost all the features including, display, electric grinders, and dual boilers.

Nespresso 

You can get a Nespresso machine with all the features included at $200. So, it is more budget-friendly than an average espresso machine.

Final verdict 

If you are an amateur coffee-drinker and maker, a Nespresso could be an ideal companion. Besides being cheap, efficient, and flexible, it can brew an enjoyable cup of espresso.

If you are a coffee aficionado, a Nespresso-made espresso will not disappoint you alright, but let us admit it, probably, you have already given your heart to the old school espresso.

Interested in comparing espresso and the french press? Or espresso and Turkish coffee? Learn more in our detailed guides. We try to publish the best, most researched coffee guides on the internet!