Nespresso Creatista Pro review: Turns out you can put a price on barista-quality milk

Quick verdict: Nespresso’s top of the range coffee machine is excellent and luxurious, despite being $1000 more than the base model that makes the exact same quality coffee.

Pros

  • The milk is so silky I want to wear it as a robe.
  • Easy to create custom drinks.
  • Can prepare coffee and milk at the same time.
  • Heats up much faster than other models.
Cons

  • It’s $1250.
  • When choosing how much water to put in a coffee, it’s just a sliding bar that doesn’t give measurements.
  • It doesn’t automatically clear the pod from the chamber.

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Nespresso Creatista Pro review

The Creatista Pro is Nespresso's latest flagship coffee machine offering more control and customisation options than any Nespresso machine that's gone before it. It's been on the market for about a year, replacing the previous flagship the Creatista Plus, clearly improving on the design and taking in customer feedback.

Capsule coffee machines are understandably extremely popular because they're so simple to use, don't require any level of competency first thing in the morning, and are generally much cheaper than fully automatic coffee machines. Commonly, capsule coffee machines start at $50 and go up to around $2000 but most decent ones sit in the $250–$750 range. And this one clearly is the fanciest of the Nespresso machines at $1249.


Nespresso Creatista Pro review: Design

coffee machine

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

The Creatista Pro is a coffee machine that means business and takes up a surprisingly large amount of bench space. At nearly 20cm wide and 43cm deep, it has the largest footprint of any Nespresso machine. But it uses that width for good, allowing you to make coffee and froth milk at the same time with the 1 button unlike the Creatista Plus that made you do it one at a time.

Aesthetically this looks and feels like a premium machine with all the brushed stainless steel. Stainless steel might have gone out of fashion for kitchen renovations, but it still makes for a classy and easy-to-clean surface for a coffee machine. It certainly stands out on any bench top.

The display is a big step up over that of the Creatista Plus. It's a relatively large, colour touch display. Typing on it is an absolute nightmare but you really only need to do that when you name a new drink, which you're unlikely to do often. After using the Creatista Plus for a couple of years, I found the physical dial became imprecise and frustrating to deal with, so the precision of the Creatista Pro screen is a welcome reprieve. I have no idea how it'll age, but for now it's pretty great.

One annoying thing is the process of customising a drink. For example, if you press the cappuccino picture, it'll extract the equivalent of an espresso and froth the milk. But if you want to switch to a lungo pod, you're presented with a sliding scale of coffee that doesn't say which level is recommended for ristretto, espresso or lungo. Instead you have to go to the Lungo option, see where the scale is on that, and copy it into Cappuccino.

It wouldn't have been difficult to add visual representations of each coffee size on the scale while still allowing for variation. It's great for people who want more control with their coffee, but I want to know if I'm bang on what was expected when the coffee pod was designed, or if I'm going to accidentally end up with a burnt yet watery mess.

The 2 main moving parts of the machine are the lever for opening the capsule chamber (which also clears the capsule) and the milk wand (which lifts up and down to allow placement of the jug). I can't speak to the durability on this model, because I haven't had it long term. But they feel almost identical to that of the Creatista Plus, which I've used almost daily since 2019 with no issues.

Setting it up out of the box is very easy: take the plastic off it, plug it in, fill the water jug, turn it on, let it rinse itself and then Bob's your uncle.


Nespresso Creatista Pro review: Performance

coffee machine

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

Nespresso prides itself on having the same extraction process on each of its official machines. Whether you buy the bottom of the range, or go to the top of the line, you'll get the same cup of coffee every time. What separates the machines is appearance, ease of use, speed to get from start to finished cup and milk quality.

The biggest selling point of this machine is the steam arm. Getting silky barista milk on a manual steam wand requires extreme skill and specialised equipment. It looks simple; just putting a jug under a spout and then moving it up and down a bit. But it's so easy to burn the milk or otherwise ruin it, and near impossible for an amateur to get the perfect, consistent cup. This automatic steam arm doesn't quite touch that produced by a professional, but it's significantly better than any other automatic home system I've tried. Even the picky food critic and trained barista I married thinks it's good, which is high praise.

The milk comes out warm and silky, with the tiny bubbles that are so hard to achieve. There are eight frothiness levels and 11 temperature levels so there's sure to be something to suit most milk fans.

Being a coffee machine, ease of use is key, because I do not have the skill to operate heavy machinery until I've had at least 1 slice of toast in the mornings. It's a simple process: turn it on by pressing the only button on the machine, do a clean shot without a pod to rinse out the machine and empty the cup. Then put a pod in the chamber, put a cup under the spout, place the milk jug under the milk arm, press the large picture of your chosen drink, press the play button to confirm and listen to the machine sing the song of its people while it froths and extracts. Pour milk into the drink, wipe down steam arm and drink coffee. It sounds like a long process, but it's so ridiculously simple you can (and will) do it while half asleep.

Every now and then the machine will remind you to clean certain parts, and take you step by step through the process on the screen, but that doesn't come up too often as long as you make sure to always wipe down the steam arm after using it.

Nespresso Creatista Pro review

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

A lot of coffee machines that allow you to customise drinks have some kind of app you must install and connect to the machine wirelessly. Thankfully, the Creatista Pro scorns connectivity and embraces simplicity by just having you customise 1 of the existing drinks and then save it. This is much better, because not every appliance needs the added complication of an app. The customisation process, aside from the fiddly guess work for the amount of coffee, is perfectly easy on the touch screen.

It's hands down the fastest Nespresso machine I've used in terms of heating up and getting on with making the coffee. It's also got a separate hot water spout, so you can get water for tea or make a long black without dispensing stale coffee water into the tea or burning the grounds in the pod.

Another frustrating thing is that it doesn't automatically clear the pod, so you have to remember to do it each time. It's fine, but I've had Nespresso machines before that automatically cleared the pod and it seems like an odd feature to leave off a machine that otherwise has all the bells and whistles.

As for whether the coffee tastes good, that really depends on whether you enjoy the taste of Nespresso. Some people are vehemently against it, others love it. Personally, I think their decaf coffee pods are among the best decaf options available.

While they do occasionally taste a little burnt or stale, it's still better than most other decaf. If you're unsure whether you like Nespresso pods, or which variety works best for you (because sometimes you need to try a few), the official Nespresso stores generally run free tastings of every flavour, so you can find your new favourite.


Should you buy it?

  • Buy it if you love Nespresso coffee and want the best milk available.
  • Don't buy it if you drink your coffee black.

While I absolutely love this machine, and there's no question that it's the best Nespresso machine ever made, it is difficult to justify the $1000 price bump over the base model, given they all extract the same coffee. At this price it's almost worth considering jumping to a fully automatic coffee machine, like those from Jura or De'Longhi, which allow more choice and control over the beans.

That said, if you love the taste of Nespresso coffee, the ease of making the coffee and milk at the same time, and the impressive quality of the milk makes this a great choice. This is the best quality milk of any automatic coffee machine I've ever used, and that includes $8000 Jura machines. Even when I used the De'Longhi PrimaDonna Soul for my coffee every morning, I still preferred the milk from the Nespresso Creatista Plus, and this milk is even better than that.

If you don't want to cough up $1250 in a single go, you can get it for $300 up front from Nespresso with a 24-month coffee subscription, where you buy $100 of coffee a month. That's a lot of coffee, and costs $2700 over 2 years, but $2400 of that turns into coffee that doesn't expire, so it's not a bad deal.

If it's in the budget, and Nespresso pods with milk are your coffee of choice, then this is the best you can get.


Nespresso Creatista Pro review: Pricing and availability


How we tested

I used the Creatista Pro to make 2–5 coffees a day for a little more than a week, including a blind taste test tests with the Nespresso Creatista Plus, Nespresso Creatista Pro, DeLonghi PrimaDonna Soul, and professional barista-made coffee. I used a variety of milks and pods.

I was sent this machine by Nespresso PR for the purposes of this review.


Specifications

Technical Data

Weight (Kg)
6.65
Water tank capacity (l)
2
Power ratings (W)
2.3
Dimensions (wxdxh) (cm)
19.7x42.9x32.8
Used capsule container capacity
12

Images: Alice Clarke

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