Nespresso Creatista Plus review: Superior cafe-style coffee
- Offers a choice of coffee beverages and milk preferences
- Sleek and stylish design
- Includes a steam wand for frothing milk
- Takes up a fair bit of bench space
- Not cheap
- No physical control over milk frothing
For some time now, pod coffee machines have proved a popular way to create quality coffee at home. There is a wide variety out there on the market, from basic to fancy, with prices ranging anywhere from $150 to around $3,000. The Nespresso Creatista Plus definitely sits at the top end of the scale and was recently included in Finder's top 5 pod and capsule coffee machines in Australia.
The Nespresso Creatista Plus offers a touch of glamour and style to the kitchen and not just because of its shiny, smart facade. With 3 programmable coffee sizes, 8 milk textures and 11 milk temperatures to choose from, it certainly pushes pod coffee-making up a few notches. However, this means it also comes with a hefty price tag so may not suit everyone's home coffee budget.
The Nespresso Creatista Plus has the look and feel of a smart cafe-style coffee machine with a shiny stainless steel finish. It also features a steam wand for frothing milk, instead of the usual separate milk frother, creating an even more professional feel.
With its strong metal finish, the machine feels like a quality and long-lasting product. Even the plastic water tank feels robust and not at all flimsy like other pod coffee machines. Measuring 17cm x 30.9cm x 40.9cm, it does take some bench space, which can be tricky if, like me, you have a fairly small kitchen. However, it's still quite slim and compact compared to other high-end machines.
Plus it only weighs 5.2kg so it's not difficult to move around the kitchen. For this reason unpacking was easy as I could simply lift it out of the box place it on the bench with little effort.
To insert a pod, you simply lift a lever at the top, releasing the used pod into a discarded pod container. Hidden away from view, this container manages to hold up to 13 pods, a worthy feature as it doesn't need emptying as often as with smaller machines. A pop-out drink tray holds your coffee cup in place, while the drip tray below is effective and clicks out easily for cleaning.
Next to the lever on top is a small screen, an on/off button and a dial to choose coffee and milk preferences. The interface is intuitive and user-friendly with choices made by turning the dial and selecting whatever coffee size, milk temperature and milk texture you desire. Other coffee machines feature touch screens; however, this system is equally as straightforward. And since I often make my first coffee in the very early (and dark) morning hours, the screen is readable regardless of surrounding light.
The steam wand is positioned next to the coffee spout and a stainless steel milk jug is included to create cafe-style froth. However, since the measurement marker is on the exterior of the jug, I found it hard, at first, to determine the correct amount of milk.
The overall design of the Nespresso Creatista Plus is attractive and functions well. It took a while to familiarise myself with all the many options. Initially, I felt that perhaps it offered too much, but pretty soon I found this to be a plus rather than a negative.
I found the Nespresso Creatista Plus easy to unpack, while the set-up instructions were straightforward. The large 1.5l water tank smoothly clicks out to fill up and its impressive size means that it doesn't need refilling as often as with smaller pod coffee machines. Pressing the button at the top turns the machine on and lights up the screen.
The pod is easily placed into position. After that, it comes down to personal choice. By turning the dial, you can pick your coffee, choosing from 3 sizes: 25ml, 40ml or 110ml, as well as your coffee style and milk preference.
Once done, you press the button and after a speedy 3-second heat-up time, the coffee-making process begins. The result looks and smells delicious with a beautiful crema.
For me, someone who prefers milk-based coffees, it's then a matter of putting milk in the stainless steel jug and placing it under the steam wand. Again, at the press of a button, the frother springs into action, creating milk froth at the perfect temperature and creamy consistency.
I was a little disappointed that I couldn't manipulate the milk jug and control the frothing. However, I soon realised that the steam wand does a good job on its own. It even auto purges after use, and is easy to wipe clean and keep unblocked.
The screen offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to work the machine and also how to clean it. I particularly like the message that comes up when the water tank needs filling, something I would otherwise forget to do.
In terms of everyday cleaning, you simply wipe down the machine, empty the used pod container and remove and clean the water tank and drip tray. Further instructions are given for looking after the steam wand and descaling the machine.
While Nespresso pods are easy to order online, arriving promptly and freight free, there are alternative pods at the supermarket that are compatible with this machine. Nespresso pods cost around 80-90 cents a cup and they do contain some recyclable materials, but you can shop around and buy alternative pods if you prefer.
Overall, the coffee-making process is simple and produces a delicious tasting and professional looking coffee. If you're someone who only likes a certain style of coffee, then you might not need all the bells and whistles, especially for the price of this machine. I thought I was that person, but after trying out the Nespresso Creatista Plus, I now love the variety and different options.
In fact, my husband, who doesn't usually like change, is now a huge fan of this machine. He loved having the various milk and coffee options to choose from and found the milk frother to be most effective. The coffee even got a nod of approval from our South American coffee-drinking builder. So in our house, the Nespresso Creatista Plus has been an all-round hit. And we're totally prepared to push a few other appliances out of the way to accommodate it on our limited benchtop.
In saying that, I'm not sure we would pay the price of this machine, as you can still achieve a good cup of pod coffee for much less.
Should you buy the Nespresso Creatista Plus?
- Buy it if you want a smart, professional-looking coffee machine that makes your choice of coffee at the press of a button.
- Don't buy it if you're on a tight budget or are a budding barista who takes pride in having ultimate control over your coffee making.
I did feel this machine offered too many choices that I didn't really need. But I have to say the more I used it, the more I enjoyed the range of coffee drinks and the way the steam wand frothed the milk. I also love the size of the water tank and pod container as they save time with less re-filling and emptying.
This machine is quite expensive considering it makes pod coffee and offers little in the way of control over how you make it. Plus pod coffee machines start from around $150 so not everyone will find this one value for money. In saying that, it does produce great coffee, it's easy to use, and gives you the chance to impress family and friends with quality personalised coffee. And all at the push of a button. Expensive, but an absolute treat.
Pricing and availability
How we tested
We used the Nespresso Creatista Plus coffee machine regularly for several months, making a variety of milk and espresso-based coffees.
Images: Susannah Hardy
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