Nespresso Vertuo Creatista: easy peasy froth master

August 29, 2023
3 mins read
Start
9/10

Summary

Nespresso Vertuo Creatista

Will Nespresso’s new plug drip and froth machine please PAT PILCHER’s sophisticated palette or will it be a resounding flop?

$1249

Making espresso-style coffee is almost an alchemic art that transforms the humble coffee bean into liquid gold. While I’ve always been a strong advocate of buying an espresso machine and a conical burr grinder, the learning curve in producing great coffee can be a little steep for anyone for whom time is precious and just wants a $#@!@!! morning coffee.

 

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Kitchen gear maker Breville has long known this, and their answer comes in the form of the Nespresso Creatista. Having spent a few weeks tinkering and tasting, I can spill the beans (pun intended) on this wee marvel and its ability to open up the art of coffee-making to everyone with next to no learning needed.

The Creatista’s curved and brushed stainless-steel exterior gives it a whiff of sophistication and its design is easy on the eyes. Nespresso’s focus on keeping the dark art of coffee crafting as simple as possible is evident in its minimalistic control panel. While it does come with a manual, anyone can knock out a cup of Joe in less than 10 minutes after unboxing.

I’m a flat white guy, so milk frothing was a biggie. The frothing wand on most traditional espresso machines leaves the whole frothing thing to chance, resulting in inconsistent foam and frustrated coffee addicts. Not so with the Creatista. After pouring milk into the supplied stainless steel milk jug, I chose one of 3 milk textures and temperature settings and lifting up the frothing wand and plonking it into the milk jug, I hit the steam button and stood back. Surprisingly, the Creatista knocked out a velvety micro-foam perfect for a flat white. If foaming milk is your bete noire, this is the machine you’re looking for.

Where traditional Nespresso pod machines use pressurised water and pods, the Creatista uses the Vertuo system, which makes use of a 19-bar pressure pump and centrifuge that reads bar codes on the capsule to tweak the water temperature, pressure, extraction time and so on to deliver flavour appropriate to the beans. The results are a definite step up from standard Nespresso pod coffee, resulting in a more balanced shot with lots of crema.

The beans are pre-ground and packed in an inert gas inside the capsule, which stops (or slows) oxidation, which means that the cups I produced still tasted as if they’d come out of a pod machine. That said, they tasted far better when I crafted a double shot or ristretto, which on earlier capsule machines usually resulted in bitter and watery coffee. The key outtake here was that I could slip a pod into the Creatista, hit a button and get a cup of perfectly passable coffee. I didn’t need to learn anything about grinding or tamping before I could satisfy my caffeine addiction.

After the cup is made, opening up the Creatista’s lid sees the used capsule slipped into a built-in storage bin for later retrieval. As the used capsules are aluminium, they can be returned to Nesspresso and recycled (which explains why nesspresso is now one of the world’s biggest Aluminium recyclers). We did wonder, however, how many users would go to the bother of sending the used capsules back.

Further adding to its already excellent usability is the Nespresso app. While essentially an online coffee capsule ordering tool, there is a “my machine” option that’ll pair an Android or iOS smartphone with the Creatista machine to give you step-by-step instructions for crafting a specific style of coffee, the status of your machine, maintenance tips and so on.

Aside from the steep learning curve that comes with traditional espresso machines, the other big downside is maintenance. If it isn’t done properly, the machine will start to make acrid-tasting coffee as coffee bean oil accumulates and eventually crap out as hard water causes scale build-ups.

Thankfully, the Creatista has a self-cleaning steam wand that purges after use, and the machine has an automatic cleaning cycle. When combined, both of these functions seamlessly keep everything running smoothly with minimal user intervention.

The Creatista coffee machine is ideal for anyone who wants espresso-style coffee with as little farting about as possible. Its sheer simplicity and pleasing design make it a great and almost idiot-proof option.

https://www.nespresso.com/nz/en/

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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