Nespresso vs espresso? That is the question for coffee lovers everywhere! I see Nespresso machines in all of my friends’ homes. I even have one. And they are a great efficient way to get a nice shot of espresso.
But if you do the math on the actual cost to own and operate a Nespresso coffee machine (including Nespresso pods) for an entire year, you will be SHOCKED. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are paying more for a sub-par shot of espresso.
My recommendation for an at-home espresso machine is the Breville Barista Express. See my reasons below after being a Nespresso and espresso machine owner.
I purchased an espresso machine for $600 in 2018 – the Breville Barista Express. It's increased to around $700 since then, so I will use the updated price for the cost analysis.
Although there are many different Nespresso models (and bundles), I'm going to use this Nespresso machine and milk frother bundle for my cost analysis at around $150.
Nespresso Machine First-Year Costs
In order to understand the first-year costs of owning a Nespresso machine, I calculate the purchase cost and Nespresso capsule costs.
|Cost in USD|
|Cost Per Shot||$0.80**|
|Shots Per Day||4|
|Days Per Week We Make Coffee||6|
|Weeks Per Year||52|
|Cost in Nespresso Capsules Per Year||$998|
|Total Cost First Year||$1138|
⭐️ ** Cost per shot is calculated by dividing the cost of an average Nespresso sleeve by the number of capsules in the US, assuming the original capsules (not vertuo capsules). ⭐️
Breville Barista Express First-Year Costs
I picked a middle-of-the-line espresso machine that costs considerably higher than a Nespresso machine. Let's see if the Breville Barista Express espresso machine pays for itself with coffee savings alone.
|Cost Per Shot||$0.21**|
|Shots Per Day||4|
|Days Per Week We Make Coffee||6|
|Weeks Per Year||52|
|Cost of Coffee Per Year||$262|
|Total Cost First Year||$962|
⭐️ **Cost per shot is calculated like this: The cost of a 12 oz. whole bean coffee bag is about $8. There are 340 grams in a 12 oz. bag. A single shot consumes about 9 grams on the high side. So, there are around 38 single shots in a 12 oz. bag of coffee, which makes it about $0.21 per single shot. ⭐️
👉🏼 To summarize the first-year Nespresso machine cost is $1138 and the first-year Breville Barista Express cost is $962. It costs $176 CHEAPER to have a quality home espresso maker over the first full year. 👈🏼
After the first year, you will save about $736 per year in coffee costs by purchasing a Breville Barista Express machine 🥳.
Most espresso machines last longer than a year. Let’s say an average espresso machine will last five years. That means you will save $3,680 over the next five years of using the machine.
Not only do you have better-quality espresso shots, but you have some serious cost savings.
Nespresso Vs. Espresso Shot Quality
The biggest difference between a Nespresso vs espresso machine is your level of control with a standard espresso machine. Even with a cheap espresso machine, you can control the grind size and type of coffee. Great espresso requires quality coffee.
Also depending on the type of machine, espresso machines with a grinder can freshly grind the coffee, unlike pre-ground capsules. Literally, the coffee is ground right before pressing the brew button!
When I was doing some research on semi-automatic espresso machines, I went to Sur La Table to find the best espresso machine. They let me sample shots of espresso from different types of espresso machines side by side.
The coffee grinder grinds the coffee beans right before the extraction process. You have complete control over the size of the coffee grind and are able to use different types of coffee. Also, my double shot of espresso had a thicker layer of foam on top called crema.
Drink your espresso shot as an iced vanilla latte, cortado, or cappuccino. Use cow's milk, oat milk, or homemade almond milk. Froth milk using the espresso machine's frothing wand or a standalone milk frother.
The best part of owning an espresso machine is being able to use a variety of beans and roasts. Choose any type of espresso beans: french roast, dark roast, medium roast, or light roast. Personally, I prefer light roast coffee beans or medium roast coffee beans.
Breville Espresso Machine Review
It's been five years since I made the change from a Nespresso machine to a Breville Barista Express, and I could not be happier. Not to be a coffee snob, but I prefer to make my coffee drinks at home rather than go to a coffee shop.
💥 I made at least three double espresso shots per day for over five years with my Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine and saved myself about $3,120 by making the switch from Nespresso pods. 💥
I've never had any mechanical issues with my espresso machine. Maintenance is simple, just function the "clean mode" of the machine (using an espresso machine cleaning tablet) and change out the water filter. I purchased an off-brand espresso machine cleaning tablet and water tank filter from Amazon.
The Breville espresso machine produces single shots, double shots, froths milk, and also provides hot water for Caffè Americanos.
After five years of owning a Breville espresso machine, my opinion is to get one!
Nespresso Coffee Capsules Create Waste
Another consideration when choosing to part ways with your Nespresso machine is the capsule waste. Part of Nespresso's business model is to sell you more capsules.
Well, guess what! Those capsules get thrown away, leading to a lot of waste. Yes, Nespresso offers a recycling program, but how many people recycle their capsules?
Tips for Making The Switch
After using the Breville Barista Express every day, below is a list of my top tips:
- A real espresso machine requires a little bit of a learning curve, so be patient. There are lots of YouTube tutorials on how to use it.
- Use the machine frothing steam wand! I continued to use the Nespresso frother for about two years because the espresso machine frothing wand felt intimidating. However, once I sat down and learned how to use it, I prefer frothing my milk with the frother wand. The wand can get the milk much hotter than a separate milk frother. Also, you can control the amount of foam you create with the frothing wand.
- Try light roast whole bean coffee or medium roast whole bean coffee instead of the traditional espresso dark roasted coffee beans. I LOVE light roast espresso, which isn't normally served in coffee shops. My friends and family joke about me traveling to see them with my espresso machine. For longer trips, I have seriously contemplated bringing my machine with me. Kind of like checking a stroller or car seat- I will be checking my espresso machine, thank you!
- Use filtered water in the water tank. The tank has its filter, but I prefer to use already filtered water. It will reduce the amount of build-up and scaling that occurs naturally with these machines.
I used Nespresso coffee machines every day for three years. I still enjoy Nespresso coffee drinks when I visit my family.
👉🏼 However, when comparing Nespresso vs. espresso machines, my Breville Barista Express has more than paid for itself in the first year and provided me with better-tasting espresso shots. 👈🏼
I am so glad I made the switch. Every day, I enjoy high-quality espresso at a fraction of the price. I hope this post has given you some points to consider. This post is entirely 100% my own opinion.