Review of the Nespresso Lattissima Pro

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For those looking to make excellent espressos, lattes and cappuccinos at home, without the hassle of a manual machine, Nespresso’s top-of-the-line Lattissima Pro is the way to go. I’ve been a Nespresso user for years and have used various models including the original Lattissima, the Pixie and the CitiZ. I’ve been reviewing the Lattissima Pro (manufactured by DeLonghi) for the last few months, and it is by far my favorite for its combination of design, features and performance.

If you’re not already familiar with Nespresso, it’s a pod-based system that uses hermetically sealed coffee pods to brew your espresso. The advantages of the pods over grinding beans are that the coffee is always fresh, there is no measuring or grinding required, and cleanup is simply a matter of emptying the pod container when it fills up. Pods typically cost around $.70 each, and are available in a variety of roasts and both caffeinated and decaf. Nespresso’s strength has always been its espresso (though it has a coffee-focused Virtuo line), as opposed to its competitors Keurig and Tassimo whose focus has been on coffee.

Comparison of Nespresso models

All models of original Nespresso machines (excluding the Virtuo line) use the same pods and work pretty much identically as far as making espresso. Differences are mostly design-based. However, the Lattissima models are the only ones that offer integrated milk handling for lattes and cappuccinos; the other models all rely on separate frothers. Having an integrated frother makes pouring a cappuccino as simple as pushing a button, and the milk unit goes straight back in the fridge, requiring only occasional clean out.

Within the Lattissima line, there are five models: Gran Lattissima, Lattisima One, Lattissima Plus, Lattissima Touch and Lattissima Pro. The Lattissima Pro model I’m reviewing here is the largest of the five, with highest capacity water tank (44 ounces vs 30 – 34 ounces on the other models) and one of the highest capacity milk containers (17 ounces for the Pro and Gran Lattissima versus 4.2 – 11.8 ounces), so you’ll be able to make more drinks before refilling. All but the Lattissima Plus offer a super-fast 25-second heat up time, which is a somewhat slower at 40 seconds.

Beyond its capacity, the Lattissima Pro offers a touch-based display that supports both drink making and various machine settings. All other Nespresso models use a simple push-button method. I’ll get more into the details on that later.

Of course, the additional benefits of the Lattissima Pro come at a price. The Pro and Gran Lattissima retails at a rather hefty $599, the Touch at $479, the Plus at $399 and the One at $379. The Gran Lattissima is the current top of the line model, with more one-touch recipe choices, but it’s been plagued with hardware issues, earning just 2.8 stars on Nespresso versus the Pro’s 4.3 stars. For the others, is it worth the extra $100-$200? I say “yes”, for the conveniences of the larger water and milk capacity, alone. And, Amazon currently has the Lattissima Pro for only $370 through Amazon direct (I would stay away from third-party sellers on this), making the choice of the Pro model a no-brainer.

Design and features of the Lattissima Pro

The Lattissima Pro has an elegant, stainless steel industrial design that will work well in any kitchen or on the counter at your office. It looks solidly built because it is solidly built, with a far higher quality look and feel than your typical plasticky Keurig machine. It also offers numerous convenience features over the other Lattissima models.

A foldable, metal cup rest, unique to the Pro among the Lattissima models, lets you accommodate glasses up to 5.5 inches tall or small espresso cups. You’re not going to fit a giant America-style coffee travel mug in there, but that’s really not what Nespresso is intended for. There’s also an integrated light that helps you see where your cup is placed under the spout without cranking on your kitchen lights (helps when you want to sneak in that late night or early morning espresso shot).

Nespresso Lattissima Pro  cup holder

The removable milk handling unit slides into place when needed, and right back out again into the fridge when done. Unlike first generation Lattissimas, the lid locks in place to prevent spills. Conveniently, the spout for hot water stores behind a sliding door in the side of the Lattissima Pro; a feature not available on other Lattissima models.

Refilling the water reservoir is simple. A pop-up lid on the top of the tank lets you refill the tank without removing it from the machine, or pull the tank off and fill in your sink. The lid is strong enough to serve as a handle to carry the reservoir when full.

Size-wise, the Pro is about an inch wider than the other Lattissimas, at 7.6 inches, 13 inches tall and 10.8 inches deep. The Touch is 12.5 inches deep, so the Pro actually takes up less square footage. My Lattissima Pro sits on the counter of my small New York City kitchen without much sacrifice.

Nespresso Lattissima Pro on the counter

To save energy, the Lattissima will auto shutoff after nine minutes (adjustable through the control panel).

The Lattissima is available in any color combination you want, as long as that combination is stainless and black.

Lattissima Pro control panel

The core operation of the Lattissima Pro is the same as the other Lattissima machines; stick a pod in, close the lever, push a button and out comes espresso, lattes and cappuccinos. Where the Lattissima Pro differs is in its touch-sensitive control pad, rather than the physical buttons of the Plus and Touch, offering seven drink options – ristretto, espresso, lungo, hot milk, cappuccino, latte and hot water.

Nespresso Lattissima Pro control panel

The control pad also provides textual information about the drink being served, as well as reminders for when it’s time to clean the milk unit and descale the machine. While there’s no significant advantage to the touch control pad, it makes customizing the settings of the machine easier, so you can make your espresso a little stronger or add a little more milk to your cappuccinos. One potential risk: the touch-sensitive panel makes it a little easier to accidentally start the machine going if you touch it inadvertently. 

The Nespresso capsule system

Nespresso machines use hermetically sealed capsules containing coffee in a variety of roasts and flavors. Pop the capsule into the machine, close the lever, choose your drink option and a 19-bar pressure pump forces hot water through the coffee capsule and into your waiting cup. Because the pods are self-contained, prep and clean-up is minimal, making Nespresso perfect for a those who are in a rush to get their morning latte or to make a round of cappuccinos for your next dinner party.

Currently, Nespresso offers 34 variations of coffee, from medium to very dark roast, caffeinated and decaf, and even flavored blends, which currently include Vanilla Eclair, Caramel Creme Brulee and cocoa Truffle. As you taste your way through them (which you can do for free at one of the Nespresso boutiques if you’re buying pods), you’ll find your favorites, any of which can be ordered online through the Nespresso club.

The downside to the capsules is their cost. The pods typically run between $.70 and $.75 each so, if you like a double cappuccino in the morning like me, you’ll be putting out $1.40, plus the cost of your milk. That’s more than you would spend if you were buying your own coffee beans (unless you buy very expensive coffee), though it is still considerably less than what you would pay at your local Starbucks and far more convenient.

Performance of the Lattissima Pro

We’ve used the Lattissima Pro multiple times a day for the last few months and performance over the course of hundreds of espressos, cappuccinos and lattes has been excellent. The Lattissima Pro heats up incredibly quickly (25 seconds for espresso and 40 for cappuccino), so there’s practically no wait to get your caffeine kick. And, once hot, the Lattissima Pro will continue to knock out drink after drink with no delay.