Top positive review
Great machine, good value for money!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 February 2019
*** Overview ***
This is a great machine for those who want coffee drinks with real milk, but without a lot of faff.
It is low-maintenance, and seems fairly sophisticated. It makes all the usual milk and non-milk drinks, like espresso, cappucino (foamed milk) and cafe latte (more milk, unfoamed). The selection is straightforward (there are six buttons, one per drink), and if you find your cup is too small you can abort the drink by pressing the button again.
Also, if you want more milk (or just want to make a hot milk drink with no coffee), there is a button for that, press it and it will provide hot milk until you press it again.
*** Highlights ***
For me, the three key highlights are:
* Makes milk and non-milk drinks
* Very small! about the width of a 2-slice toaster
* Easy to clean; no scrubbing!
*** How does it work? ***
The main body of the machine has a removable water container at the back, for tap water but I use volvic. The reservoir holds enough water for perhaps half a dozen drinks.
The coffee cup is placed in front (there is a slideable platform for shorter cups) and you insert the coffee capsule at the top. When you close the lever, it pierces the capsule. Press a button and the water is heated and forced through the capsule, and voila!
For milk drinks like cappucino, then the supplied milk reservoir system is connected to the front body of the machine. When unused, it can be disconnected and placed in the fridge, to keep the milk fresh. More detail on the milk reservoir system mechanics below, under the 'Cleaning' heading.
*** Programming ***
There is no display, just button and alert LEDs, so initial setup stuff (like volumes of drinks, water hardness, and power-off options) is all set up using button combinations and observing the LEDs. It's not as nice as a real display, but thankfully you'll only need to do it once.
*** Performance ***
The machine initializes and heats up rapidly - far quicker than the time it takes me to fetch the cups and put some sugar in them. During operation it makes some noise, but not excessively loud.
Froth level is adjustable. The drinks come out hot, and it does a great job with setting the milk texture automatically for cappucino versus latte. I get fantastic-looking drinks out of this machine - presentation is half of the drink!
And they taste great too - I'm still discovering my favourites.
No-one here refuses a coffee any more - goodbye instant coffee from Tesco.
I deliberately went for this EN560 machine rather than the older similar-ish EN550, so that performance/reliability should not optimized - I don't like going for a revision 1 machine!
*** Cleaning ***
I've had several Nespresso machines in the past, including the ones with a separate milk frother. I always felt those machines were a faff, because it needed the warm milk washing out, and the stirrer inside would get milky and hard to clean too - yuk.
With this De'Longhi machine, it's so much better. The separate milk container system can be unplugged from the main body of the machine, and stored in the fridge! The milk does NOT get heated in the container, so no need to throw away unused milk.. just leave the container in the fridge, and make another coffee whenever you want to.
From what I can tell, the way the milk system works, is that the main body of the machine forces very hot water vapour, under pressure, into the top portion of the detachable milk system through a nozzle. The pressure causes milk to get sucked up through a tube, and it then rapidly gets hot due to the vapour heat, and gets pushed through the egress tube and into the coffee cup. This means that the only components that touch milk, are the milk container system. The main body of the machine doesn't need milk cleaning.
If you have a dishwasher, then the milk container system need cleaning every couple of days. I didn't want to use the dishwasher, so in that case a manual clean is needed every day. The nice thing is, it's really easy. It doesn't take a lot of time, and no scrubbing to remove hot milk either!
All that needs to be done, is to disassemble the milk reservoir components (into the milk container, the tube and nozzle, and knob all separate easily), rinse under tap water briefly, and then chuck into a tank with warm water with a bit of fairy liquid mixed. Leave that for half an hour, and then remove, rinse and dry. Even for a guy, that is not a faff at all.
Annoyingly no tank is supplied for the cleaning. However, this one (small, 102x292x89mm) works great (see the photo) and costs just 5.99:
It is worth getting that tank, because it is also useful for any future descaling.
*** Descaling ***
I've not needed to descale so far. The machine will automatically alert when that is needed. I'm in a hard water area (a hardness test strip is supplied with the machine) however I don't trust Thames Water quality and so I just use Volvic.. that is soft, so descaling will be extremely infrequent. You'll need a descaling kit from nespresso's website (it is silly that Amazon won't allow me to provide a link for that) for that. The descaling should be infrequent, so I won't be buying the descaling kit until I need it.
*** Cups! ***
Not that it's important, any cups will do.. I'm using these double-walled cups..
they don't necessarily keep the drink warm much longer (a lid would be far more effective than a double wall) but at least they keep the hands cool.
*** Summary ***
I'm really happy with this purchase. The machine seems reliable, well-built, I'm expecting many years of good service.
I'm very pleased that this machine is low-maintenance. Everyone loves the drinks it produces.