Nespresso coffee makers are a popular choice with those wanting a fast and convenient way to make their morning brew. But there are lots of brands that make Nespresso coffee makers, so it can be tricky to figure out which one to choose.
German brand Krups have partnered with Nespresso to make some of the best coffee machines since the beginning of the 1990s. The Pixie by Krups is compatible with Nespresso original capsules and is one of the simplest, cheapest and smallest Nespresso coffee machines you can buy.
This coffee machine offers two coffee options, espresso or lungo (this is larger than an espresso, but still a small strong coffee at just 3.9 fl.oz/ 110ml). It doesn’t feature a milk frother or any other settings, so this won’t be a machine for everyone. That said, with the addition of a separate milk frother, you can create virtually any espresso-based drink you can think of.
There are numerous different coffee pods available from Nespresso that offer different flavor and strength profiles. And you can set up various subscription options to ensure you’re always stocked up. Plus, there’s a free recycling service for pods, but you need to be sufficiently organized to order a recycling bag and arrange to send it back once full.
On test the Pixie proved to be easy to use, offering a hassle-free way of making a morning coffee. But this is a machine for those who value convenience. If you’re looking for the best possible coffee flavor, you’ll need a machine that grinds beans to order. Having said that, this pod machine will give you consistent and perfectly drinkable coffee without any mess, or the need for any barista skills.
Price & availability
- List price: £199
The Nespresso Pixie by Krups is the cheapest Nespresso machine that takes original capsules. In the UK it’s available from Nespresso, John Lewis and Amazon, but it isn’t available in the US or Australia.
It includes a selection of 14 capsules to get you started. A sleeve of 10 capsules starts at £3.60 and they vary in price, with some sleeves of 10 costing up to £10 when buying direct from Nespresso.
- Price & availability score: 4/5
- Removable water tank
- Two drink choices
- 19 bar pressure
This compact coffee maker will fit into even the smallest of kitchens, measuring just 9.25 x 4.4 x 12.8 inches/ 23.5 x 11.1 x 32.6cm (h x w x d). Its hammered metal sides and solid polished steel handle give it a reassuringly robust feel, and you can choose from either the sleek titanium or red finish.
At the front of the coffee maker, below the spout, you’ll find a drip tray, but this allows space for only small cups up to 3.5 inches/ 8.8cm tall. If you want to use a taller cup, the drip tray flips up, leaving space for cups up to 5.7inches/ 14.5cm. Note that it doesn’t stay flipped up unless there’s a cup in place on the counter to keep it in position.
Pulling out the drip tray reveals the integrated bin for used capsules. It holds 10 pods, and is easily removed for emptying and cleaning. The 23.7 fl.oz/ 0.7-liter water tank is also easily removable for cleaning and filling, or simply flip up the lid to fill it from a jug.
Pressing the espresso button wakes up the coffee maker, and it will automatically switch off after nine minutes. When the large handle is pushed into the upright position, the spout moves forward to reveal the area in which you insert the capsule. Then, to make a drink, you pull down the handle and select either espresso or lungo. Espresso dispenses a 1.4 fl.oz/ 40ml shot, while lungo dispenses a longer 3.9 fl.oz/ 110ml coffee.
When the Nespresso Pixie by Krups is first removed from the box, there’s very little set-up required. The manual advises that you rinse the water tank and also dispense hot water without a capsule in place, which you do by hitting the lungo button three times. Then you’re good to go.
- Design score: 5/5
- Produces thick sturdy crema
- Fast to preheat
- Mess free
Happily, the Pixie comes with a starter box of 14 different Nespresso capsules, so you get to try several from the range before committing to buying your favorites. We tried all the capsules and there wasn’t one that we disliked, although they’re noticeably different in strength.
During our tests, the machine took an average of 25 – 30 seconds to preheat. An espresso takes just 15 seconds to pour and a lungo is marginally slower, taking around 30-40 seconds. So no matter your coffee of choice, you’ll be able to prepare it in under a minute and a half, including the preheat time. This is great for those with time-poor morning routines.
The machine consistently produced espresso with a thick crema, with the resulting coffee tasting neither burnt nor overly bitter. As we’ve said above, there are plenty of different capsules to choose from, so you should be able to find the perfect flavor for you. However, note that pod coffee lacks the deeper, rich fruity flavor that comes from freshly ground beans.
Here, coffee was dispensed at between 154-167oF/ 68-75oC, which is a good temperature and around what we’d expect. There’s no option to adjust the temperature though, something to consider if you like your coffee piping hot. Similarly, you can’t adjust the volume of coffee dispensed. And there’s no indicator to tell you when the water has run out, although the clear water tank means you can see the water level at a glance.
At its loudest, the Nespresso Pixie by Krups hit 69dB on our noise meter, which is a similar noise level to some vacuum cleaners. However, since it’s for such a short time, it didn’t prove very intrusive.
Once you’ve brewed your coffee, there isn’t really any cleaning to do. Used capsules are stored in the bin, which will need emptying after every 10 capsules. The bin and drip tray will need an occasional rinse, too, but that’s about it.
As with all coffee machines, descaling will be necessary. But even in areas of hard water, the manual advises doing so only after every 1000 capsules. The descaling process is automated; simply press both buttons for five seconds to activate the descaling mode. You’ll also need a descaling agent, which can be bought from Nespresso.
- Performance score: 4/5/5
|Price & affordability||A good value, basic Nespresso machine, but it’s only available in the UK.||4/5|
|Design||Compact design that’s sturdy and intuitive to use.||5/5|
|Performance||Very intuitive to use and produces consistent results every time.||4.5/5|
Buy it if...
You want a coffee maker that’s fast and simple
Speedy preheat and brewing times mean that you can have a cup of freshly brewed coffee in under a minute and a half from the time the coffee maker is first switched on. Plus, there’s no clean-up required after brewing.
You have a small kitchen
This coffee machine is compact enough to fit in even the tiniest kitchen. Or, if your counters are full, it will slot neatly onto a shelf or even sit on your desk.
You prefer black coffee
With no integrated milk steaming or frothing, this coffee maker is perfect for those who prefer their coffee black. Having said that, you can purchase the Nespresso Aeroccino4 for £99 if you want the option to create milky drinks.
Don't buy it if...
You’re a coffee connoisseur
We found the Nespresso pods produce perfectly drinkable coffee, but pod coffee lacks the well-rounded depth of flavor that you get from freshly ground beans, so it’s unlikely to please true coffee lovers.
You’re trying to limit single-use packaging
Nespresso offers a free recycling service that allows you to post the pods back for recycling. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that buying coffee in this way is very packaging heavy.
You want a menu of coffee choices
This coffee maker only dispenses espresso or lungo coffee, so if you want a machine that can produce drinks such as cappuccino, latte or flat white at the touch of a button, this isn’t the one for you.
- First reviewed: August 2022