If you’ve spent any time among espresso and coffee drink enthusiasts, chances are pretty good that you’ve at least heard of Nespresso, and for good reason. Not only does the Swiss company make some of the best espresso machines in its price range, but it has also created its own line of very high-quality espresso flavors. Many of our readers have asked about the pros and cons of the Nespresso Inissia vs Pixie.
There are several different Nespresso machines that you can choose from, when considering which espresso maker to get. It’s beyond the scope of this post to talk about all of them, so for the purpose of today’s post, I’m going to assume that you want a relatively cheap espresso maker.
Inissia vs Pixie
If that’s the case, the two espresso makers that I recommend are the Nespresso Inissia and the Nespresso Pixie. If you’re prepared to pay more than $200 for your espresso maker, these may not be the best options for you. Both the Inissia and the Pixie typically sell for under $200.
Before we talk about these two great espresso makers, let me answer the question that’s probably on your mind:
Why should I get a Nespresso machine at all?
How Nespresso Works
Nespresso is a bit different from most other companies that manufacture espresso makers, in that their machines only take Nespresso espresso pods.
Nespresso is often compared to Keurig in this regard, and the two companies do have some similarities. Nespresso does for espresso what Keurig does for regular coffee, in that the same company provides you with both your beverage and the machine to properly make it.
However, Nespresso and Keurig are worlds apart when it comes to taste. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the taste of Keurig’s K-cup coffee. But Nespresso makes extremely high-quality espresso drinks.
With a Nespresso machine, you can have a higher quality espresso at home than what you can find in many coffee shops.
Regardless of whether you get the Inissia or the Pixie, the espresso maker that you get will come with 16 free sample espresso pods from Nespresso, so that you can sample their various flavors. After you run out, you can reorder whichever flavors you like best from the company’s website.
At the time of this writing, Nespresso offers 25 flavors of espresso, although they seem to be constantly adding new offerings. I like my espresso strong, so I highly recommend Kazaar, Roma, and Dharkan. My personal favorite is Kazaar, but your mileage may vary.
If you like a more flavorful, less intense espresso, give Cosi and Capriccio a try. You can get a full list of Nespresso flavors on their website.
Anyway, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of the two Nespresso machines that we’ll be talking about today: the Inissia and the Pixie. Read on to find out which machine is right for you.
The Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
The Nespresso Inissia is the more basic of the two espresso makers, but it packs a surprising amount of power for such a small machine. Weighing in at a mere 5.3 pounds and 12.6 x 4.7 x 9.0 inches, this espresso machine won’t take up much space in your kitchen.
If you aren’t familiar with Nespresso, the way their machines work is that you insert your espresso pod into the machine. It then adds the water automatically and makes you a shot of espresso.
This machine has surprisingly high pressure, considering its small size and good energy efficiency. It uses 19 Bars of pressure, which is quite a bit more than other espresso machines in this price range.
The Nespresso Inissia has 2 programmable buttons for either espresso (short) or lungo (long) shots. If you want an espresso that’s twice as strong, you can use 2 capsules at a time.
If you want cappuccinos or lattes, you can get the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother to go with it. It’s a great steamer which I wholeheartedly recommend, but if you’re looking for a standalone machine that can make your espresso shots and steam your milk, the Inissia and Pixie aren’t the best options.
I’d recommend looking at my top 3 reviews to determine the best espresso machine for you, if you want milk-based drinks but don’t want to buy the milk frother as an add-on.
The Nespresso pods can be on the expensive side (about $0.75 to $0.85 each), but that’s nothing compared to what you’d pay at Starbucks or most other coffee houses for a shot of espresso. And in my opinion, Nespresso pods taste better than what most coffee houses can offer anyway.
One of the best features about the Inissia is how convenient it is. It doesn’t need to be descaled very often, and as long as you clean it, it should last you a very long time. One minor downside is that this machine doesn’t let you know when it needs more water, which can be a bit annoying. But I found that once I got in the habit of using this machine regularly, I always remembered to add water anyway.
This machine is great for people who want a good espresso shot without a lot of hassle. The Inissia is also a good choice for people who are new to the world of espresso drinks, who don’t necessarily consider themselves “coffee snobs.” I recommend it for college students, who don’t have a lot of money and might consider the Pixie too expensive.
The Inissia doesn’t have all the whistles and bells of some of the higher-end espresso makers out there, but most people don’t need those features anyway. It will give you a great-tasting, convenient cup of espresso, which is all you really need in a good espresso machine.
Another great machine from Nespresso, the Pixie, is the big sister of the Inissia. The two machines actually have a lot in common, and in some ways the Pixie feels like a scaled-up version of the Inissia.
If durability is an important factor for you, you might prefer the Pixie over the Inissia. The Pixie is made of metal, whereas the Inissia is made of plastic. You should get a nice long life out of both machines, but the Pixie will probably last a bit longer.
The Nespresso Pixie is a small, very sleek machine. I think of it as the iPhone of espresso machines, because the people who designed the Pixie clearly cared a lot about appearance, ergonomics, and user-friendliness.
It has room for 24 ounces of water in its tank. This will get you about 12 shots, depending on how much water you put in your shots. Unlike the Inissia, the Pixie has an indicator that detects the water level, so it’s easy to tell when it’s time to add more.
Like all Nespresso machines, this one only uses Nespresso espresso pods. If you order your espresso capsules online, Nespresso will track them for you so that you’ll know when it’s time to descale your machine. You don’t need to do this very often at all; you’d have to drink a lot of espresso before this becomes necessary.
This is a very high-quality machine. Unlike most espresso makers which are manufactured in China (including the Inissia), the Pixie is made in Switzerland, where the company is headquartered. Nespresso’s Swiss machines seem to have more precision and endurance than most Chinese-made espresso machines.
Like the Inissia, the Pixie doesn’t make cappuccinos or lattes, but you can get the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother to go with it if you want to make those. However, if you’re looking for great espressos and aren’t planning to make a lot of milk-based drinks, the Pixie is a great device on its own.
In my opinion, Nespresso makes better espresso than anyone else in their price range. Both the espresso capsules and the Pixie itself are top-notch. In fact, I put the Nespresso Pixie on my top 3 list of the best espresso machines for 2015.
If I have one gripe with the Pixie, it’s that it can be a bit noisier than other espresso makers, such as the Inissia. However, the noise only lasts for the length of time it takes to make the shot: about 25-30 seconds.
The Pixie is an excellent choice for a single person who likes espresso, or for a family of 2 espresso drinkers. I don’t think you’ll get a better cup of espresso at this price point from any machine.
So should you get the Inissia or the Pixie? If you’re new to espresso and aren’t yet sure if you’ll like it, I’d recommend that you get the Inissia. However, if you’re a seasoned espresso drinker or if you’re sure you’ll want to stick with Nespresso, I’d recommend getting the Pixie, since you’ll probably want to upgrade eventually anyway.
If you can afford to spend a bit more and if you’re looking for a powerful cappuccino maker, I recommend checking out our Breville 800 ESXL review.