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Nespresso Barista

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A necessity for home-brewing coffee fans

For java lovers all over, the introduction of capsule coffee machines has made it simple to wake up to a morning brew with next-to-no effort. However, while the espresso element of coffee making was made foolproof, more complex recipes, and perfecting milky froth, still required a degree of expertise.

This is where the Nespresso Barista comes in. It takes the same simplified approach to multi-ingredient coffees as the Nespresso did with capsule brewers (such as the Nespresso Vertuo Plus), helping to make all manner of artisanal coffees at home, all without hiring your own personal barista. Warming milk, frothing cappuccinos, or even whisked up iced nitros will be done in mere moments.

Design

The Nespresso Barista is an unassuming, yet attractive item to have placed on your kitchen top. Not unlike a Google Home speaker, it features a curved-barrel shape – unlike a Google Home speaker however, it comes with a removable jug expected to be filled with milk for most of its life.

The Nespresso Barista has four main parts. The matte black base unit holds the electronics and touch-sensitive buttons which in turn light up the LED array, letting you know what operation is selected or currently running. At a height of 20.9cm, and weight of 1.7kg, it’s both heavy enough to stay in place while spinning ingredients, and light enough to move without difficult when not in use.

Inside the base unit you’ll find space to hold the (included) metal jug, which itself holds the plastic spinning whisk attachment that snaps into place with magnets, and is pulled out when you’re ready to pour from the jug. A plastic lid with rubber inner ring provides a tight seal for the jug., preventing liquids from spilling while the Nespresso Barista is in use. All parts are dishwasher friendly, except of course from the base unit which has to be hand-wiped – something you might find doing frequently, as it tends to attract fingerprints.

The display and touch panel are easy to read, and responsive to the touch, and is completed with a dot-matrix-like font which lends it a space age vibe. The whole unit is incredibly easy to set up and clean, despite its modern look, making the high quality resulting drinks that much more impressive.

Features

From a simple latte, a frothy cappuccino, or intricate iced nitro, the Nespresso Barista can make dozens of coffee recipes. It’s as simple as placing the required ingredients in the jug, selecting the beverage on the touch screen, and placing all the components into the base recess. Using an induction in conjunction with the spinning whisk, the base creates your drink. Most drinks are really that simple. For the rare recipes that require additional steps, the recipe book will provide you foolproof instructions to get the desired effect you’re after.

The one thing it doesn’t do however is brew the espresso itself. Here you’ll need your own manual brewing method, or a separate machine. This isn’t necessarily bad though, meaning you’re not tied to the Nespresso ecosystem if you’d prefer to avoid capsule coffee, and the Barista frother is able to operate as a standalone unit for making espresso-less warm drinks. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a complete all-in-one system, you’re best off looking elsewhere.

The Nespresso Barista will also sync up with your Nespresso app. In the end this seems a bit excessive, especially if you’re only using it to start a recipe cycle, as you’ll still have to get up and physically put the ingredients & liquids into the machine.

The feature makes more sense when you consider future-proofing the device. The Nespresso Barista offers no manual controls over the brewing process, being fully reliant on internal presets.  With the app, Nespresso is able to supply the machine with new recipes in the future, as well as perfect current recipes, or update programmed whisk operation. It feels a bit bizarre to have a milk jug tied to an app, but we guess it’s a welcome addition if it helps keep your machine up to date with the latest coffee trends.

Performance

Here, we’re all coffee lovers, but not exactly baristas when it comes to making anything other than instant brew. With the Nespresso Barista though, we were more adventurous in our coffee making, making coffees fancy enough for Twin Peaks’ Agent Cooper.

It’s remarkable how well the Nespresso Barista works. Usually, we wouldn’t attempt an iced nitro, but in moments the machine helps make a light, cool & aerated beverage. It’s also easy to add your own personal twists to the supplied recipes – add a dash of flavored syrup here, or chunks of chocolate to be melted over there.

Frustration with the Nespresso Barista comes in its volume – with the capacity of the jug, and the fill line for the whisk component being quite low, you’re limited to making one drink at a time. Although the machine works quickly enough, making this less of a problem, you’ll be disappointed if you’re after a gigantic mug of mocha.

Verdict

Brewing a great beverage is incredibly simple with the Nespresso Barista. Easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to clean, pals will be impressed with the coffee-shop grade home brews you can make within minutes of opening the box. A little expensive for a system that won’t brew the espresso, however its results speak for themselves, and not being tied to a capsule ecosystem makes for a nice change for all coffee fans.