- Easy insertion and ejection of capsules; Holds 10 used capsules; For use with Nespresso coffee capsules only
- Compact brewing unit technology; Fast preheating time: 25 seconds; Automatic power off after 9 minutes of inactivity
- Automatic and programmable coffee volume quantity (Espresso and Lungo)
- Pivoting cup tray accommodates tall recipe glasses; Removable 34-ounce water tank
- 19 Bar high pressure pump
Nespresso Espresso Machine: Nespresso Citiz C111 Espresso Maker, Chrome Reviews
A solid cup of espresso (By Jessica)
First, I read countless reviews for both the Pixie and the Citiz before I made my decision. Most people seem to favor the Pixie unless they’re in need of the frother, which I was not. I chose the Citiz over the Pixie based on some reports of leaking from the Pixie. For a few bucks more I figured it would be nice to have a machine that did not seem to have reports of leaking.
Nespresso is a frustrating brand to buy because they seem to haphazardly offer features and remove them as you move up in price. The biggest downfall of the Citiz is the lack of a low-water alert. It seems odd to me that this could not be a feature of the Citiz but it is a feature of the Pixie. Whether the tank is larger or not, it is very much out of the way and can easily be forgotten. Running the Nespresso dry seems like a recipe for disaster. That is my only real solid complaint at this point but knowing this beforehand, it did not deter me from the purchase. What also pushed me to the Citiz is there were a couple reviews on Amazon and another site that suggested the removal of the water tank on the Pixie was annoyingly difficult. Where this machine will sit, reaching back and grabbing the tank should be easy. If I become frustrated about how much I have to fiddle, I will simply return the unit. No lie. Call me lazy, but I think things should be easy and I don’t think I should have to muscle my coffee maker.
The machine was just dropped off and immediately I was in love with the footprint. I have a Keurig B70 which is a beast compared to this. In spite of the dimensions not being so far off, the way this machine is designed is classy. I ordered the chrome because of the finish itself and that it wasn’t all plastic.
I wish the Citiz would follow the Pixie’s design and contain more metal than plastic for simple aesthetics. Let’s face is, many of these machines are bought because they are aesthetically pleasing just as much as they’re bought because they’re functional. If I wanted a giant robot looking espresso machine, if I wanted to fiddle with tampers and such, then I would have spent my money elsewhere.
From the box you get 16 cups. Through my reading either I overlooked this point about what is in the box or I simply never saw that it was listed. On the listing for this model, it does not state there was coffee included. I ordered two 10 cup packs the same day; an espresso and a lungo. I was thinking I would spend much more trying to find one I loved but now I am happy to see a nice container showcasing 16 flavors. Very happy.
Some complaints I read as a whole has to do with temperature. If you came from a Keurig or you’ve been to Star-burn-your-coffee-bucks, then the temperature of the espresso seems downright wrong. Initial setup suggests running the lungo setting three times then refilling the water tank. Running that, I measured the water at 140, it was running into a cold coffee mug (that doesn’t help matters). Once I was ready, I placed an espresso pod in (not decaf) and ran it through. 143 was my temperature. It eventually stopped at 140. I stuck my finger in the espresso and it was definitely hot enough. It wasn’t a cup that could sit for 30 minutes and not get cool, like my 195 degree coffee from the Keurig, but it was definitely hot enough. I don’t settle for \”just enough\” normally. I frothed my milk in my Nespresso frother that I have owned for 4 years now and added that to the espresso. 138 was the temp, the espresso sat while the milk frothed. It is winter, so the earth thinks, and it is cooler inside. Finally, I brewed a lungo and the temp on the bottom of the cup was 140, near the top it was 158. My guess, 150 is probably the middle ground. I will heat the cup next time with 150 degree water and see what happens to the temps. I suspected they would all brew at the same temperature, but perhaps I just don’t know that espresso should be one temperature and lungo should be another.
I’m not an espresso expert but the cup I got was pretty incredible. It was smooth and not overly roasty so it could be confused for burnt. I didn’t feel as though it was sharp and bitter, I had the Arpeggio. Together, with my milk and a bit of sweetness, it definitely pleases.
The downside, depending upon how you look at it. It’s loud. When you first use a Keurig you think that the neighbors are going to hear you make coffee each time. In my mind nothing could be louder. I was wrong. Whatever this 19 bar pump hooplah is makes this thing a beast. The fact that it didn’t fall over is remarkable. I am not incredibly bothered by the noise, it sits in a corner that won’t allow for much echoing sound and while it could probably be heard in other areas of my house, it is such a short timeframe that complaints should be minimal. I definitely did not expect this little machine to make that noise. It is the toy poodle of machines, loud and probably obnoxious but kind of cute.
I have only given it 4 stars because I think the lack of a low-water sensor is a downside and the noise. I assume these are valid reasons to not give the machine 5 stars and be obnoxiously enthusiastic about it.
Even espresso snobs like it (By J.S.)
I am an espresso snob. To the point where I roast my own beans to get something fresh enough for a truly good shot. I spent countless hours perfecting my espresso ritual – the roast, the grind, the dose, the tamp, the temp, the pull, the diagnostics. My equipment is a Baratza Virtuoso conical burr grinder and an older (better) Saeco Aroma machine – not top of the line gear, but good enough. I cut out the bottom of my (regular) portafilter so I could physically see the extraction and diagnose the shot. I always need to pull a “calibration shot” to dial in the grind & tamp for a particular day (yes it changes daily as the beans out-gas). >14 days off roast I would relegate the beans to French press or lattes. After all that my success ratio was about 1% “god shots”, 10% “great shots”, 40% “good/drinkable”, 30% “meh”, and the rest “spit it out”. This is a very tedious, time-consuming manual process to produce what was all too often mediocre espresso. Spending another $3k on equipment might improve my success ratio somewhat, or maybe not.
here’s a video of one of my “good/drinkable” shots (for those of you who doubt the capabilities of the Saeco Aroma). Note the extraction time, flow color, coalescing of the flow into a single stream of crema, the final color & pattern of the crema, etc…
this was a double shot using about 16g ground coffee producing roughly 2oz of espresso (including crema), as any true barista knows it is pretty much impossible to pull a decent 7g single shot.
For reference, I have never had anything from a coffee house that even approaches the level of my “god” or “great” shots. In fact, 90% of what I’ve gotten from the “real coffee houses” falls somewhere between “spit it out” and “meh”.
Best I had was a double shot of intelligentsia black cat in Chicago that was \”good\” but not \”great\” – a bit too bitter and acrid for what black cat should be (a smooth, deep, dark bittersweet chocolate with thick body and crema, as it was when I pulled it from my Saeco – after 3 or 4 calibration shots, of course…). Here’s a professional barista struggling to dial in his grind/tamp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1X9Koih19M Do you think they will go through all this hassle for your double shot? and look at how much ground coffee he’s tossing out. this is the reality of manual espresso preparation.
As for espresso itself – this should go without saying, but espresso is NOT simply \”strong coffee\”. Real espresso is an emulsion of oils, insolubles, and solids extracted from the coffee under pressure. This gives it a weight, body, and complexity that simply do not exist in any form of drip or non-pressurized extraction method. Espresso is NOT a roast – it is an extraction method, and it is an entirely unique type of coffee beverage (note: I am intentionally being descriptive here, and ignoring the quantitative Illy definition of espresso). Espresso can’t be made with a Keurig machine, period.
So – that’s my espresso resume. I’m not a professional sommelier with a highly refined palate – but I know good espresso from bad, and I know what I like.
Now – fast forward to a life with 2 babies, a project house, and a bunch of new responsibility. There is simply no time to be messing around with manual espresso preparation, and so my machine sits dormant going on 3 years now.
But did I ever miss a good espresso…..
Time to break down and join \”the dark side\” – not long ago I wouldn’t be caught dead with a Nespresso machine in my house. But not long ago I had something called free time (what is that, again?)…
Cut to the chase.
Is Nespresso really that good? Yes. It consistently produces a smooth, flavorful espresso with good body and crema. Flavor profile and extraction level do depend on the variety you choose, and how you pull it (more on that later).
Is Nespresso \”real espresso\”. That depends on your point of view. If you get caught up in the textbook definition of espresso (which I purposely left out in my description above) then no, it is not. It pulls too fast. It doesn’t use 7g of coffee. The crema (while entirely satisfying in my opinion) is not as stiff and tiger-striped in color as the crema on my great/god shots. Does any of this matter? In my opinion, no. The end result is what matters, and Nespresso delivers.
Is Nespresso as good as \”real espresso\” pulled with a manual or semi-automatic? Yes, in almost all cases, for almost all but the most discerning (real or imagined) espresso snobs.
Is Nespresso as good as my own \”god shots\”. No. But that really is not a fair comparison. Career baristas at Intelligentsia can’t even match my god shots, why should I expect an automatic pod system to.
Is Nespresso as good as \”super automatics\”? In fact Nespresso is better. People think those fancy, overpriced super automatic machines are so great, but fact is they do not produce really good espresso. There are many reasons for this that are related to my opening comments on espresso preparation.
Are Nespresso capsules a scam?/Is Nespresso an evil company? Look, there will always be people who despise the \”establishment\” for whatever reason. I too used to malign the whole concept of Nespresso until I found myself in need of what it offers. The cost is 70 cents a shot. For that you get instant gratification with no work, no fuss, no variability, and no cleanup. My time is NOT cheap, and by comparison Nespresso is a fantastic bargain. Don’t tell them, but I would pay twice as much. Really.
\”But you have to buy capsules from Nespresso \”–yeah, so what. They have obviously put a great deal of effort, research & development and planning into their system – and they have sourced some really really good coffees that produce really really good espressos. They did their homework, and deliver a really good product. Be glad about that. So many companies make [email protected] and then charge you for it.
Are 3rd party capsules as good? — I don’t know, I haven’t tried any and don’t plan to because the cost savings is what, 10 cents a shot? Not worth it unless/until I hear some good things about them.
Quality coffee matters – this is probably the biggest downfall of many of the pod/capsule systems out there (ahem, Tassimo/Keurig/Flavia). No machine produces good espresso from bad coffee. Lavazza and Illy are well known for producing good coffee – but their capsule systems are even more inaccessible than Nespresso. Sourcing, roasting, and packaging a high quality coffee is something Nespresso did right – they understand the importance of this, and I applaud that. Had they not kept a tight lid on aftermarket capsules then the entire Nespresso experience would have been degraded (much like Tassimo) and people looking for a truly good/fast espresso experience would be left without a solution.
\”But Nespresso Capsules waste Aluminum\” – this is way overblown. It’s a fraction of the AL used by soda cans, and a tiny fraction of the plastic wasted by bottled water. If you really care then dump the grounds out and throw the spent capsule into your recycle bin and feel better about yourself.
\”But I heard Nespresso is over-extracted\”. Well, if you try to pull 4oz out of a 5g pod of coffee, then yes you will likely end up with an overextracted watery mess – no matter what machine you use. Nespresso decided to market a number of \”Lungo\” varieties intended to pull 3.7oz \”long\” shots – which in my opinion is a mistake. I don’t like them when pulled as \”lungos\” – too thin & watery, somewhat bitter. However, if they are pulled at 1oz they are quite good. If you really want a Lungo, pull it as an espresso and then add a shot of hot water. It will taste much better.
So this gets me to my one gripe about Nespresso – why only 5.5g of coffee in the capsule? Probably cost control. But with only 5.5g in the pod you can’t really pull more than 1oz before you start to get excessive blonding and overextraction (again, depending on the specific variety). I’ve programmed my \”espresso\” button to pull exactly 0.8oz of WATER – that is, the amount of water pulled with no capsule inserted. When you pull the shot you’ll get another ~0.5oz crema on top of it, for a total of 1.3oz and that seems to work well for most Nespresso varieties. You can fine tune to your tastes. I don’t use the \”Lungo\” button at all – too much water.
So here’s my new espresso routine:
1. Push espresso button once to turn on machine. Wait 20 seconds while it warms up.
2. Pull one shot of pure water to heat the brew head, flush the machine, and heat the cup.
3. Insert capsule.
4. Push espresso button once to pull 1.3oz espresso.
5. Drink & enjoy.
6. Eject spent capsule.
7. Pull one more shot water to flush the machine. (or since it’s so good, pull another shot. At 70 cents you can pull 6 for the price of one Starbucks drink).
So – should you get a Nespresso machine? Well, if you value convenience, don’t have a ton of free time, and want a really good shot without all the fuss, then yes – it’s probably the best espresso system out there.
As for the Citiz machine itself:
– heats in 20 seconds.
– sturdy solid construction, small footprint
– I like how the capsules load & lock. it’s a simple lever with the chamber up front. some of the other machines have more complex locking mechanisms that are too much fuss. the pixie machine feels cheap (and has a dorky name).
– the foldable cup tray is convenient for smaller espresso cups, and can be stowed away for a larger latte cup if desired.
– the buttons are easily programmable.
– the spent capsule tray is easy to empty
– still trying to find one….
After a couple months of use I have a few additional notes/tips/observations/learnings:
1) freshness. the nespresso capsules are hermetically sealed to keep the ground coffee as fresh as possible, however, there is a limit to how effective this is and I’m beginning to detect noticeable degradation in the freshness of the espresso. most of my capsules have an \”expiration date\” of AUG/SEP 2015, but clearly the quicker you use it the better it will be. This should be expected when you consider the typical shelf life of roasted whole bean coffee is 2 weeks. after it’s ground it goes stale within minutes, unless it’s immediately sealed off from O2. I think the takeaway here is don’t stock up on too much at one time or it may go stale on you. Of course I bought 200 capsules to get the free shipping. Next time I’ll just pay the shipping and order more often.
2) My favorite varieties are now Indriya and Ristretto. very consistent performers that can be tweaked with a bit of \”pre-extraction\” (see below).
3) Advanced extraction methods. While the Citiz machine has 2 programmable buttons, and the intended operation is to simply push the button and pull your shot, i’ve found that you can improve quality of most varieties by employing a short pre-infusion followed by a manual stop of the extraction when you reach a desired shot time/volume (as opposed to just letting the machine complete the pull automatically). Pre-infusion involves injecting a small amount of hot water into the capsule to cause the ground coffee to \”bloom\” before you do the full extraction – this slows the extraction and usually improves the flavor profile and body of the shot. here’s how it works:
i) turn machine on, pull one shot clear water to flush machine, heat brew head, and heat cup.
ii) insert capsule
iii) press lungo button to start pre-infusion. press again after 2 seconds to stop.
iv) wait 3-5 sec for coffee to bloom inside capsule
v) press lungo button again to begin full extraction (use lungo button so it doesn’t stop before you reach desired extraction)
vi) press again to stop when you reach either the desired shot time, desired shot volume, or desired level of \”blonding\”. this will vary by variety and you’ll need to do some trial and error to fine tune to your tastes.
here’s a video of me using this technique for a shot of Indriya. I probably could’ve stopped this one a good 4 seconds earlier. if you watch the clock this was a 32 second extraction at 1.5oz which is far slower than typical Nespresso pulls. The shot was good – perhaps a tad over extracted, but satisfying nonetheless.
**This technique does NOT work well for Kazaar or Arpeggio as those coffees are too fine and will choke the machine with any amount of pre-infusion**
Very happy (By mpeson)
I look forward every morning to my cup of cappuccino. I’m no coffee expert. Used a coffeemaker machine all my life. I have gone to Starbucks maybe 5 times in my life. But this January we went to a Disney resort and there they had a nespresso machine. It was bigger of course than the citiz but I was so impressed with the coffee! When we got home I started doing research regarding nespresso machines. For years I was tempted to buy the Keurig machine but it has many bad reviews. So I never bought it. We decided to go with the citiz and we love it. Yeah the coffee pods are expensive but it feels worth it. The coffee is fantastic and so easy to make. I also bought a Kuissential milk frother and it’s very easy to make cappuccinos every morning. My husband likes espressos. When I go to bed I so much look forward to my coffee the next morning!
Much Better Tasting than Keurig! (By Sage Spirit)
Love love love my Nespresso. It blows Keurig away in terms of coffee taste and quality. It’s a beautiful and nicely crafted machine. Yes, the pods are a bit expensive, but who cares (BTW, it’s cheaper to order right from Nespresso rather than 3rd-party Amazon sellers).
Either you want a good cup of java or you don’t. For auto machines, this is a great choice. It’s a little loud, but not a deal breaker. Be careful when putting the plastic trays into your dishwasher, as I melted one of mine when it slipped through the rack.
A must have for coffee lovers (By James E. Moede)
I had my first Nespresso experience at a neighborhood block party, at the dessert home, and really enjoyed the taste. Recently, I stayed at the Casa Marina in Key West, FL – there was a Nespresso in the room – I was hooked. I picked out the Citiz as my Father’s Day gift from my family. I was going back and forth between the Citiz and the Pixie but I liked the look of Citiz and had the room for it (it is taller than the Pixie). The unit heats up quickly and is easy to use.
Pros: Looks good, fast, easy to use, makes great espresso.
Cons: If I drink too many cups in one day, I get a little wired-up. This is not a fault of the unit, however.
NOTE: Some people may find the price of the capsules to be high ($.65 to $1.00). However, if you go out for espresso, the cost is $2.50 and up. I think the Nespresso is a bargain.