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The Nespresso Lattissima builds in frothy milk 

Continuing with our review of up-market coffee machines, today I'm reviewing the Nespresso DeLonghi Lattissima. Having worked my way through the various combination of options on this machine I'm a little worried that sleep may elude me this evening!

Nespresso DeLonghi Lattissima coffee machine

The specific machine I'm reviewing today is the DeLonghi Lattissima EN660, designed for Nespresso by the Italian design house DeLonghi. At a recommended price of £249 this is not a budget product and is aimed squarely at the coffee lover.

Available in two finishes, silver (brushed aluminium) or 'creamy white' with dimensions of approximately 20cm wide by 26cm tall and 34cm deep and a good weight at a full 5Kg.

The design is basically symmetrical split into three roughly equal areas. The central area is where you put your cup or glass and above that is the spout from which your coffee will appear. At the top of this area is a lever that you pull in order to insert a coffee capsule. Press the lever back down and a plunger pushes the capsule forward where it is perforated ready to make your coffee.

What's it do?

The Lattissima can make four basic coffee styles : Espresso (40ml of strong black coffee), Lungo (110ml long black coffee), Cappuccino (110ml coffee with frothy milk topping and finally Latte Macchiato (350ml layered milk, coffee, frothy milk), the latter being my favourite.

Newspresso Lattissima milk jug

Unlike many capsule based coffee machines the Lattissima allows you to use fresh milk to make your cappuccino. A half-litre milk container can be inserted on the left-hand platform. This is easily removed, and stored in the fridge. The container has an extendible nozzle from which frothed milk can add that final touch to your cappuccino or Latte Macchiato. Having tried other machines, I think the option to use fresh milk is a bonus for this product.

Fresh milk is not of course without it's own problems. Although the container can be placed in the fridge, I found that it did not stay fresh for particularly long, not being a sealed unit like a bottle may have something to do with this but I had to clean out rather sour milk on several occasions a couple of days after putting the container in the fridge.

Of course having fresh milk directly in your coffee machine is going to require some cleaning of tubes. The milk container has a 'clean' button on the front. Unfortunately this only appears to work immediately after you've made your coffee - the manual says you should do this after every use. If you forget (as I often did) you can't easily go back and sort it out.

In use

The machine looks fairly simple to use - apart from a mains on-off switch to the rear all controls are to the front of the device. Be warned though - for this product you really need to read the manual before being tempted to launch into your first brew. Our review machine had the manual missing so we were in an ideal position to experiment, and the result left us a little frustrated!

Nespresso Lattissima coffee machine

Luckily I managed to lay my hands on a manual. The missing part is 'programming' the Lattissima to know how much liquid you need to fill your cups. This is particularly true for the Latte Macchiato and Lungo. Once you know you have to do it, programming the quantities isn't too difficult - hold in the delivery button for your choice of drink until you have as much as you want then let go.

Water is added to a large concealed chamber at the bottom of the machine that slides out for refilling. If you're using the milk container then you have to remove that to add water. Being stored within the body, you can't tell how much water left. There is a small mechanical float indicator that should show when water is low, but you have to remember to look. This indicator is not visible with the machine on a standard kitchen worktop without bending down to eye-level to see it. Unfortunately there is no automatic cut-off when water reaches a low, it tries to make your coffee anyway and we managed to waste several expensive capsules with a bit of hissing steam and a few drops of water.

There is no water filter option as we've seen on other some machines. If you live in a hard water area, as we do, this means you're going to have to periodically de-scale the machine - not a pleasant task and unless you're particularly organised you won't get round to it when it's needed. My suggestion would be to use a filter water jug to remove lime scale before adding to the Lattissima.

Power Consumption

In normal operation the machine consumes 1.3KW of power - the documentation suggests this is continuous until it enters a power-saving mode. The first such mode is after 1 hour - at which point it reduces consumption to around 650W. A further four hours after that it enters its minimal state which reduces consumption by 98% of maximum. I calculate that to be around 26W - not particularly low power! To put that into perspective, the power consumed by this unit before it goes into it's lowest state is enough to keep a 100W light bulb working for 39 hours. You should definitely think about switching off at the wall!

I also had problems with waking the machine from a power-save mode. Regardless of what I did it refused to actually wake up, so most times I ended up switching on and off at the wall.

The Lattissima ideally requires you to use 'proper' cups or glasses, especially when using the milk frother. It really isn't suitable for mugs of what ever size. A pull out tray provides a platform suitable for Espresso measures while with the tray pushed away you can fit the tall Latte Macchiato glasses. A typical mug is mid-way between these. While that isn't a problem for black coffee, the milk frother tends to be very messy when the rim of the glass/cup/mug is not very close to the milk spout.

The top of the Lattissima is flat and gets warm - this provides an ideal place to warm cups before making coffee, and can be used as a storage area.

Nespresso capsules

Nespresso System

The Lattissima is part of the Nespresso range of coffee makers, all of which use a standard coffee capsule. The range includes twelve premium blends. Each capsule is colour-coded but apart from the colour look almost identical. The blend name is inscribed in the silver foil top, but you have to get the light just right to read it - and realise it's there. Being colour blind I have to say the colour distinction between Vollutto and Livanto was somewhat lost on me!

There are currently 12 available blends.

Unlike most competitor products the capsules are not available from the local super market. Instead you're generally going to have to order on-line. Nespresso would prefer you to buy from their 'Nespresso Club', although I did find them available on eBay.

The Nespresso club is a members only area of the Nespresso site. You have to register before you're even allowed to look at what's available, which I found somewhat annoying. You're not a full member until you've actually bought something.

The capsules range in price from 23p to 27p, depending on blend. One nice aspect of the shop is that you can buy individual capsules so you can make up your own mix. You can also buy a mixed set of 150 capsules for around £35, which gives you a saving of around £2.

summary

I'm a little disappointed by this machine. At £249 I'd expected a lot, particularly when you can get a Nespresso machine such as the Krups Le Cube is £100 less, and with the range starting with machines at less than £100.

In use I often found myself frustrated that I couldn't get it to come out of power saving mode, or that it only gave me a dribble of coffee because the water container was low and the corresponding bad design of the water indicator. The milk frother - great idea, but messy in use unless you lift your cup to the spout, and even then cleaning wasn't straightforward.

Although it should be easy to use - it isn't. I persevered and got there, although I'm still not quite sure what it's doing at times.

Temperamental springs to mind as a way of describing this machine.

On the plus side it does look very good. The separate real-milk idea is a good first effort, but I'd like to see some improvement. When working the coffee was very good. In short - if price isn't an issue and you like the idea of steam pressurised milk and the convenience of a capsule machine and are willing to work through the teething issues this could be the machine for you.

If the Nespresso system appeals to you (and the coffee is very good) then it's worth considering some of the less expensive units in the range - buy one of those along with a separate milk frother and still have some change.

In the next week or so we'll publish our review of the Le Cube Nespresso machine so you might like to come back and compare the two!

If you'd like to buy this machine, then the price is £240.46, including shipping from Amazon.

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Rating:

Comment by vikki wastell, Feb 2, 2012 13:34

We have this model at our office & it makes probably 8 Lattes a day & I love it. We have had it for about 3 years with no problems.
Its simple to clean, no hassle getting frothy milk & I haven't encountered any of the problems mentioned above. Plerhaps I have been lucky!!!
Rating:

Comment by AngelaC, Dec 18, 2011 0:24

Love the machine for the expresso part but the milk has disappointed me a lot. The temperature is luke warm. If I could do it again, I would not buy this for that reason. Thank god for the microwave. If you look at the machine design, there really is no way for the milk to heat up very hot. Save some money and get the citiz model. The dispenser of the milk is good though.
Rating:

Comment by Matthew, Jul 7, 2011 5:32

I have one of these machines and I use it daily. It WAS a little expensive (AUD 749), but balanced against buying a cafe coffee every morning(at AUD 5), the savings add up relatively quickly.

With respect to needing to program the machine on first use, this isn't necessary. Nespresso sell all the cups you will need for the machine and it is pre-programmed to extract just the right amount of coffee and textured milk to fill the cups perfectly.

the clean function on the milk jug is great for cleaning the internal tubes, but I found I need to use a bottle cleaning brusk (for a baby's milk bottle) to get into the small spaces when it's time to clean the whole container out (every couple of days).

If you're a barista, you may find the quality of the milk froth to be lacking a little, but this machine is great for just about everyone else.
Rating:

Comment by Houda, Jan 13, 2011 7:50

i just uprgraded from a nespresso citiz & milk to a nespresso lattisima premium and i am extremely dissapointed in the froth that it gives me. Its too bubbly and not smooth at all ...I just paid 1000 Australian dollars for this machine ...what a dissapintment
Rating:

Comment by Mike, Nov 20, 2010 12:52

Is it just me or isn't the nespresso system simply the most environmentally unfriendly system ever invented? Compare the packaging for a bag of coffee bean to thimble sized pot for every cup. Don't we have enough landfill already?
Rating:

Comment by Linda, Oct 10, 2010 15:35

Hi, I was just wondering if the machine comes with accessories included in the box?
Rating:

Comment by Boaz Ariely, May 11, 2009 22:16

Beautiful review. There is a lot of branding and marketing that sets your mind on the coffee machine you want to buy. Nespresso are masters of branding that's for sure. You're welcome to my blog to read about different coffee machine systems like Nespresso, Caffitaly, Tassimo etc.
http://www.espresso-club.co.uk

Cheers!
Rating:

Comment by Nilda, Mar 12, 2009 2:12

Hello, I have a Delonghi Lattissima and love it, but the milk frother doesn't work, I purchased a new frother and I cannot remove the front panel to replace the frother, can anyone help?Thank you. Nilda
zara@shaw.ca
Rating:

Comment by Gerry, Mar 26, 2008 15:19

Hi, I am interested to read the review and would feel if the reviewer had been shown how to use the machine he would find that it very user friendly and that it makes great coffee. I would recommend anyone buying this machine to purchase it from a store where they can demostrate it to you first and then suddendly everything becomes very easy.

The only drawback I have found with the machine is that it doesn't appear to wake up from it power saving mode but in reality the best thing to do is to turn the machine off immediately thereby saving you money and the enviroment at the same time.
Rating:

Comment by kim, Dec 27, 2007 1:13

Man, I would love to try this machine..  I just got it for christmas but....  The hotwater thingie/milk side sounds as if it will start than it just starts pulsing and nothing comes out...  Anybody?
Rating:

Comment by petew, Nov 19, 2007 8:04

Hi Stefan,
I have to say I wasn't wonderfully impressed with the milk heater. It was 'OK'. I can't say for sure about the temperature - it was hot. Was it as hot as the machines with a separate steamer? Can't say for sure but subjectively I preferred the steamer on the Kenwood, FrancisFrancis and Krups machines which seemed more effective.

From a safety point of view, the Lattissima has the edge - the heat and pressure of steam can be quite frightening from the others and you really don't want the kids accidentally turning it on!
Rating:

Comment by stefanbeukes, Nov 18, 2007 19:47

Hi - I am very interested in this unit and was therefore very pleased to discover such a detailed and honest review. Would appreciate some help with the following question - how well does it heat the milk? I see it has a seperate thermobloc and pump for the milk but I really like a latte scalding hot - how close does this come?
Rating:

Comment by petew, Oct 8, 2007 10:10

Hi Ronnie, thanks for adding your experience. I know the Lattissima should have been easy to use, and maybe I was just 'unlucky' - but not much went right. At the same time I was reviewing a Krups LaCube, also a Nespresso machine, and that was a delight by comparison. The review of that isn't published yet (check back in the next week of so!).

Unfortunately I can only report on my experience - and for a machine with this price tag nothing should really have gone wrong!
Rating:

Comment by Ronnie, Oct 8, 2007 9:38

Having recently bought a Lattissima I found it very simple to use, I was shown how the machine works at John Lewis before purchasing it. I find it quick and convenient and makes fantastic coffee, definitely one of the better machines coffee out there.

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