- Food and Cooking
My Nespresso Pixie espresso machine
A Caffeinated Love Story
Meet my best friend. My reason for getting up in the morning. My pick-me-up when I am feeling down and the one who gives me energy to last through the day. My inspiration, my muse.
No, I am not talking about my fiancÃ©, but our espresso machine - a Nespresso Pixie.
I just love the smell of Ristretto in the morning!
All images are my own, unless specified otherwise.
How we met
Let me tell you a story (it is relevant, I promise) of two exhausted pilgrims who after reaching Santiago de Compostela decided to rent a car, drive to Madrid and spend a few days there before they left Spain.
In the hotel room in Madrid there was a Nespresso Pixie espresso machine (see? Relevant!), all new and shiny, and a selection of colourful capsules lined up in a neat row next to it. Although we (yes, this story is about my fiancÃ© and me) did admire the look of it, we both agreed we did not like the concept. How could it compete with traditional coffee making? How could the quality possibly be the same? We were both so sick of how hard the Nespresso concept was being pushed in the media that we almost refused to try it at all. It had to be just a fad.
But free coffee from the hotel room is always cheaper and easier (hey - we had just walked 780 kilometers across the North of Spain) than walking down to the hotel restaurant. So we caved.
And wow - that coffee was good!
What is a Nespresso Pixie? - And five reasons why you want one
How would you love your Nespresso Pixie espresso machine? Let me count the ways:
#1: It has a very small footprint
#2: It is user friendly
#3: It is very easy to clean
#4: The price is pretty good
#5: The taste - oh, the taste!
All of these reasons will be explained further as soon as I have introduced you properly to the lovely Nespresso Pixie.
A Nespresso Pixie is a single serve coffee maker that makes delicious coffee from little capsules. You lift the bar to open it, drop in the capsule of your choice and push either the espresso button or the lungo button. What could be easier?
This is the Nespresso C60 Pixie Espresso Maker, the exact same one (and colour) that we have. It also comes in red and blue. Actually, if I could choose again I would go for the red one to add a splash of colour to an otherwise all white kitchen.
If you are looking for a sleek, modern style coffee machine - look no further.
#1: It has a very small footprint
The Nespesso Pixie is the smallest of the Nespresso range. It really does not take up a lot of space. We have a pretty big kitchen, but somehow very little horizontal space in which to place anything permanently. There is a little corner near the sink where there is just enough room for the Pixie and a Nespresso milk frother, where they are both out of the way and accessible at the same time.
It is so small (and surprisingly solid) that you can actually pack it up and take it with you when you travel. A friend of mine once brought hers to a meeting (and became very popular for doing so). As long as you have access to power and water you're grand!
If you want to use a bigger mug, just fold the drip tray up like in the photo. As soon as you remove the cup it falls back down into position to catch any extra drops of coffee. A bigger mug is handy for when you want to make yourself a coffee with milk or an extra big coffee.
#2: It is user friendly
Big heavy coffee machines intimidate me (I should know, I once did a short barista course). The Nespresso Pixie only has three buttons, all placed visibly on top of the machine, and they are all pretty self-explanatory. The square button in the back is the power button, the little coffee cup gives you a shot of espresso (a short black) and the big cup gives you a lungo (a long black).
The name of the coffee is printed on top of the capsule, and if the name has the word "lungo" after it you know you should press the lungo button. It really couldn't be much easier.
The capsule only fits if you put it in the right way. And as you lift the bar to let a new capsule in, it automatically drops the used capsule into the storage below. You can't even do that wrong!
When you switch the machine on a subtle blue light starts blinking, and when it stops blinking it means the machine is ready to go. This usually takes no longer than 30 seconds! When you need to fill up the water tank this light turns red. The first time this happened I thought I had broken the machine (see why I need a user friendly coffee maker? I swear I am actually smart!)
How to make espresso with the Nespresso Pixie espresso machine - A video instruction
#3: It is easy to clean
The Nespresso Pixie holds ten empty capsules before you have to throw them out. I have made it a habit to always give it a quick clean when I do so. To remove the capsules all you need to do is pull the drip tray towards you. Lift the capsules holder out and throw out the empty capsules. Empty the drip tray in the sink and wash both pieces with warm, soapy water. Either dry with a tea towel or - if you can wait that long - leave it in the dish tray to dry. I always also make sure I dip a dishcloth in the soapy water, wring it well, and wipe the inside of the espresso machine while I still have the drip tray out.
To clean the water container at the back of the machine you open the lid and lift it straight up. Empty it of old water, and clean and dry the same way as above. Make sure all the soap has been rinsed out before filling up again with cold water and put it back. Remember to hold the lid open as you lower it onto the platform, since this is the only way the latches in the back will lock it to the machine.
Quick and easy, even for a reluctant housewife such as myself!
Let's not forget the Pixie's side kick - The milk frother!
The milk frothers work independently of the espresso machine, so you don't have to worry about whether it works with your machine or not. With a milk frother suddenly you can make your own latte or cappuccino in the morning. Add a spoon of chocolate powder and stir it in with a shot of espresso before adding the warm milk, and you even have a mocha!
These all work very quietly - in fact, they are almost completely silent - and stop automatically when your milk is hot enough. They work best with full fat milk for the best quality froth.
If you (like me) love a mug of hazelnut latte to start your day, for an inspiring "snack" as you sit down at your desk, or because your baby kept you up all night again and the combination caffein, sugar and protein is the only thing that will keep you going - get a bottle of hazelnut syrup and do it yourself! Add preferred amount of syrup to your mug or glass first, then add a shot or two of nespresso espresso, before pouring the milk. And then, drink up and be energised.
This is the one we have. It comes with one stirring device for froth, one for just hot milk. I am very impressed with how quickly this warms the milk up. I usually start it at the same time as the coffee machine, and the milk is ready at the same time (if not before) the coffee. It is available in black, red or white, to match the colour of your machine.
#4: The price is actually pretty good
Once you do the math
Although the price of both the espresso machine and the coffee capsules look a little steep at first sight, it is really not as bad when you think about it. If your habit is to get a takeaway coffee on your way to work, or to pop out of the office to grab a cup at lunch time, you could save a lot of money by investing in a Nespresso Pixie. Each cup is a lot cheaper than if you buy them at a coffee shop, but the taste is just as good (and sometimes better, if you ask me).
And here is another money saving feature for you: after nine minutes of inactivity it switches itself off, which saves you electricity.
How many cups of coffee do you usually drink in a day?
#5: The taste - Oh, the taste!
The Nespresso Pixie heats up quickly to the right temperature, and it pours the coffee at the right speed. The speed ensures a perfect crema every time (the foam that forms on top and is the sign of a really good espresso). Every single cup you make is fresh and hot, unlike old fashioned coffee makers where you make enough for several cups and often leave the pot on the hot plate until it goes stale, bitter and lukewarm (at least, this is my experience with them).
You can choose from a rich and diverse range of coffees, covering the full spectrum of flavours and intensities, including a range of single origin coffees and decaffainated coffees. I do recommend you buying a taster's pack so you can familiarize yourself with all of them and find your own favourites.
I could easily (and happily) list all the coffees available and tell you about them, but I will instead tell you only about my own personal favourites.
This is made from a blend of Columbian Arabicas, and is my absolute favourite. Pack of ten.
I am one of those people who has to switch to decaf after five, so I was very happy to discover the Decaffeinato Intenso, which has the rich intense flavour of the espressos I like, but has no caffein! Pack of 50.
Nespresso espresso capsules storage - The fun part
I love accessories. I go accessory mad. At the moment we only have a glass bowl to keep our capsules in, simply because we cannot agree on a new storage item. There are so many great solutions out there, and here I have selected my favourites from Amazon.
This carousel has received great reviews. It has room for 40 capsules, rotates and takes very little space on the counter. Oh, and it's cute!
Life is like a box of... Nespresso capsules. This container looks like a box of exclusive chocolates. When we placed our first order with the Nespresso Club we got this as a free gift with the welcome package. However, my better half has taken ours to his office, where I have to say it looks pretty good!
How I make my favourite dessert with my Pixie
- You'll be hooked!
This is so simple and so addictive.
1. Grab your favourite mug
2. Scoop one serve of really good vanilla ice cream into the mug
3. Pick a Nespresso capsule with an intense flavour (Ristretto is excellent for this), or whichever you like the most.
4. Pour the espresso directly into the mug with the ice cream
5. Eat right away, with a happy look on your face!
As someone who just did a barista day course (in which I did less than excellent), I feel like I have the right to give you a few pointers.
- First of all, in coffee shops they always make sure the cup is hot even before pouring the coffee. They normally do this by keeping the cups on a heating rack on top of the coffee machine, and the Pixie obviously doesn't have one of these. Instead I pour a shot of hot water into the cup before I insert the coffee capsule (always make sure the chamber is empty of any old capsules before you do this). I pour this water into the sink and then insert the capsule and make my coffee as normal. A hot cup ensures that the coffee keeps its temperature longer rather than start cooling the second it hits the cup.
- Another tip is less about making the coffee and more about buying it. If you are lucky enough to live close to an official Nespresso shop, I really do recommend you go there to buy your coffee capsules. This is where they are cheapest, and you get excellent customer service. As soon as you enter you can get a fresh cup of coffee, and you get to choose your favourite flavor - or you could take the opportunity to try one you haven't tasted before. Occasionally they have limited edition coffees, and if so - try that! The limited editions they have had so far have been great!
- Buy an extra Nespresso Pixie for your office. My fiancÃ© did this for two reasons:
1) He wanted access to his favourite coffee also when he was at work, and
2) He wanted to have a great coffee available to people who came by his office, but without him or his secretary having to spend time making it.
And he says people are so excited about coming to his office for meetings and have a coffee!
Photo: these cups are from Amazon, and you can find the link below.
Last, but not least
I find the whole Nespresso experience even more fun when I can drink my espresso from a cute cup.
Enjoy your coffee!
A set of six quirky espresso cups with saucers. I love how they're all a different colour and can be mixed and matched for different expressions. Play with them according to your mood. Today I would have used a green cup with a purple saucer.
I have to admit I'm in love with this Missoni for Target set. And yes, it has in part something to with the idea of owning something designed by the exclusive Italian fashion house, but also because they are just so. dang. gorgeous! Check out the whole Missoni for Target collection, and prepare to adore!