U beauty: Nespresso's new U coffee maker reviewed
4.5Overall Score
Price (RRP): $299 with Aeroccino unit; Manufacturer: Nespresso / DeLonghi

We’ve been big fans of Nespresso’s easy to use coffee pod system for years, but the price has never been affordable enough for everyone to jump in. Halfway into 2012, Nespresso is putting the popular CitiZ model on a diet, coming up with a machine that is not only better, but is also better priced, too.

Features

Designed and developed by Nespresso, the Nespresso U takes many of the features seen previously in the Pixie and CitiZ units and throws them into a size that sort of fits in the middle of the two models.

Built from plastic which Nespresso says comes from 30% recycled materials, the machine has very little to it, with a 19 bar pressure pump inside, and a 0.8 litre water tank on the outside on a moveable arm for sitting the machine in tight corners.

Three touch buttons are provided on the top for different sized coffee servings, ranging from the small ristretto (25ml), medium espresso (40ml), and large lungo (110ml). As usual, there’s a small port on the top of the Nespresso to take the coffee pod and a pull latch to close it.

Underneath this is the spent capsule tray, capable of holding up to 12 used coffee pods, and beneath this a drip tray, with up to 120ml of liquid that can be stored. You may want to clean it regularly.

While previous Nespresso units have made the drip tray and cup support foldable, the U uses magnets, with the pieces able to be pulled apart easily if they don’t need to be used.

The Nespresso U comes with an Aeroccino unit free (normally a cost of $129) which allows you to froth milk quite easily whether the milk was originally hot or cold.

Performance

Nespresso’s U has been designed to provide a cup of coffee quickly and painlessly, and that’s pretty much what it does.

Simply select one of the three sizes – small, medium, or large – put your cup under the spout, drop the pod in, and close the port up using the Nespresso latch.

Each of the coffee sizes the Nespresso U will serve up, ranging from ristretto (25ml), espresso (40ml), and lungo (110ml).

From there, the machine goes to work, drawing water in, puncturing the pod, and pushing out coffee within 30 seconds. While the instructions have changed slightly from previous models, the result is still the same, with a beautiful crema in your cup.

The plastic design may not appeal to all, but we really like it, with a minimalist look and a cool way to relocate the water tank off to the side slightly, which helps if your kitchen is particularly cramped.

Pods are thrown out by the machine, too, so that once a coffee pod has been used, it’s dropped in the spent capsule box directly beneath the spout and able to be thrown out immediately after, or stored for recycling later at a Nespresso store. All of this helps to make the machine very easy to clean, as does the magnetic cup holder, which separates from the capsule box and drip tray, which can be easily pulled apart for quick cleaning.