Review: Nespresso Essenza C90 Espresso Machine from Single Serve Coffee
We reviewed the Nespresso Romeo earlier this year and the great coffee and espresso it produced simply amazed us. The price however at $799 did not. We wanted to review a Nespresso system more in line with the Single Serve Coffee price range of $100-$200 for a typical machine. We called up Nespresso and said - send us a cheaper model but it had better make the same quality espresso!
Update:The Nespresso Essenza C90 has been replaced by the improved Nespresso Essenza C100T. We've tried this new model and love the new programmable cup features and auto off.
Nespresso has answered and sent us their new Nespresso C90-Essenza in orange to review. Coming in at $179.99 at Amazon.com and other online merchants, the C90-Essenza hits the mark we were looking for in price. The C90-Essenza is not a fully automatic machine like the Nespresso Romeo, it features a new handle system and is fitted with a backlit button to manually control the amount of coffee needed to make an espresso or a lungo.
It is equipped with the same powerful 19 bar high pressure pump than all other Nespresso models. The functional handle allows for easy coffee preparation. Other features are the thermoblock heating element, manual volume control, collection container for used capsules and more. With the purchase of any Nespresso Essenza C90, you can become a member of the Nespresso club. Through the club, you are able to order your coffee 24 hours a day on the internet, over the phone, by fax or e-mail. Nespresso guarantees that your coffee order will arrive at the address of your choice within two business days.
We have been enjoying the footprint of the Nespresso Essenza C90 and the coffee together. It's really nice to have a machine that's not the size of a toaster or typical coffee machine. It's tiny - maybe a 1/4 of the size of a regular machine and it has 2 buttons - 1 for turning it on and one for starting and stopping your shot of espresso. I love single purpose things that are well designed and do what they do best.
The Nespresso Essenza C90 is also very - well - cute. It looks like a little owl or some type of device from the movie Brazil. It just continues to make me smile in the morning when I see it.
Making a Shot of Espresso or Lungo with the Nespresso Essenza C90
The Nespresso Essenza C90 uses a lever system to make a shot of espresso. You pull the lever up and then put the capsule in the front of the Nespresso Essenza C90 and pull the lever back down. This ejects a previous capsule into the catch tray and gets your new shot ready to go.
After the machine is heated up you can use the brew button to control the amount of water to espresso by pushing on it and stopping it. You'll need to stand by and wait for your espresso and make sure you pull the shot you want. There is nothing automatic here about the water level and if you don't push the button again it will run until the Nespresso Essenza C90 is out of water and you have an overflowing cup. That being said, you have to wait for your cup of espresso in the 10-20 second range.
TIP: The Nespresso Essenza C90 warms up very fast but we also recommend BEFORE putting in a capsule if you want a shot of super hot espresso - ejecting the previous capsule and running a little hot water through the machine and heating up your espresso cup as well.
Our Impressions of the Coffee & Espressos
The coffees are very good from Nespresso. Nespresso machines use a capsule loading system. Essentially, the capsule is a foil packed coffee shot which holds enough to make a shot of espresso (1 oz) or lungo (3-4 ozs). The espresso the machine produces is so consistent it's hard to imagine the little machine can do the job each time.
Twelve Nespresso varieties are available all year-round. The coffees are blended from coffees of different origins to bring out their unique characteristics, with each variety offering a special personality. We really like the Ristretto and the other espressos. Each has a unique taste but the Ristretto is very strong and very rich. We also enjoyed many of the lungos as before. The lungo is like making a small cup of Senseo but here the crema is very rich and very real.
We don't think you'll be unhappy with any of the Nespresso coffees that come with the machine. You'll receive a sampler of 12 coffees with any Nespresso machine you purchase. And after you run out of those you can get a discount on the larger 36 count sampler pack on your first order at the Nespresso club.
We also want to say - as before theNespresso Essenza C90 makes espresso of the same quality as the higher priced Nespresso models we've tried. It's nice to know the basic system of making espresso can be translated to a lower priced model.
Pricing and Availability
Nespresso Coffee Capsules cost $.49 each and can only be purchased online at the Nespresso online store or by calling their toll free line. You can also subscribe to the Nespresso club, and have capsules automatically mailed to you on a monthly basis. It's also nice to note that each pack of Nespresso coffee capsules have fresh by dates.
We will be following up this review with a full review of the Nespresso Club. We talked to Nespresso and told them we wanted the full experience. How was ordering coffee via the web site? If we called to order coffee would the sales person be knowledgeable? We've put in our first order via the web and will have a review of the Nespresso club online with our review of the phone service soon.
We love the Nespresso Essenza C90. It's small and makes a great shot of espresso. We are also genuinely impressed with the coffees from Nespresso. We also like the fact that Nespresso continues to add new seasonal coffees at the Nespresso club and we're anxious to taste the new seasonal coffee called Senang.
We think if you want to venture out into the world of espresso this is a great way to start. The machine is reasonably priced at $179.99 and comes with a selection of espressos to get you started. Also the machine isn't some giant noisy espresso machine. It does lack a milk frother, but the C90 is for making shots of perfect espresso not milk based drinks.
After having the machine for just over 3 weeks, it's going to be hard to pry it out of our hands each morning as we pull a shot and then have a nice cup of single serve coffee to finish out our morning.
We are going to give the Nespresso Essenza C90 a full 4 out of 5.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at October 24, 2005 8:40 AM