Cup capacity: Espresso, lungo
Size: 12.8 x 9.3 x 4.4 inches
Weight: 6.6 lbs/ 3kg
Pod type: Original Line
Automatic capsule detection: No
Centrifusion brewing: No
Removable water reservoir: Yes
Milk frother: No
Strength settings: No
Iced coffee: No
Nespresso is one of the go-to brands if you’re looking for the effortless simplicity of a capsule coffee maker. Furthermore, with just two beverage sizes to choose from, the compact Nespresso Pixie is about as straightforward as they come.
The Pixie is a small, but mighty coffee maker, with rugged metal features that make it stand out from the sea of plastic capsule coffee makers available. Its basic functionality makes it a great choice for those looking for an entry-level machine. While its compact size is ideal for a crowded countertop.
Read our full Nespresso Pixie review to find out whether it’ll meet your needs and make the list of the best Nespresso machines, or leave you wanting more.
Nespresso Pixie review: Price and availability
The Pixie retails at around $229/ £180 and is available directly from the Nespresso store on Amazon. It’s worth noting that Nespresso licences its technology to several appliance manufacturers, so you may see the Nespresso Pixie under various brand names. However, they’re all essentially identical in design. The only real differences are the exterior colors and finishes on the metal side plates. The price will vary somewhat depending on the brand and finish you choose.
While it’s not the cheapest Nespresso coffee maker you can buy, it does sit at the cheaper end of the scale. But, this is because it doesn’t include any milk steaming technology, which would bump up the price.
It takes Nespresso Original capsules which start at $0.80 for an espresso, or 39p if you’re in the UK. Capsules are readily available online which you can order directly from Nespresso in the UK and through plenty of additional retailers such as Amazon and Walmart in the US.
Nespresso Pixie review: Design
At 12.8 x 9.3 x 4.4 inches, the compact size is a big reason to buy this Nespresso machine. In fact, it’s one of the smallest and lightest available, with only the Nespresso Essenza Mini beating it in the race to be the smallest Nespresso model. The metal side plates and handle give this compact Nespresso machine a reassuringly solid feel and industrial style. And for a small machine, it certainly looks and feels more robust than you’d expect.. Otherwise, the configuration is pretty typical of a standard, capsule coffee machine.
To insert a capsule, lift the large metal lever handle to open the capsule slot, then push it back down to close it, ready for brewing. At this point, you can choose espresso or lungo from the two buttons on the top, which are illustrated with small cup and large cup symbols. Both coffee options have corresponding capsules, so your choice will depend on the capsule you’re using. Typically, espresso pours a 1.3 fl oz/ 40ml shot of coffee, while Lungo pours a longer 3.75fl oz/ 110ml coffee.
Below the spout there’s a cup support with a drip tray that flips up to allow space for taller cups. With the tray down there’s only room for cups up to around 3.4 inches/ 8.5cm. By flipping it up and placing a cup on the counter, you can dispense coffee into extra tall cups up to 5.7 inches/ 14.5cm.
The used capsule container sits at the front of the machine behind the drip tray. And while the clear plastic front has a fluted texture that does somewhat obscure the used capsules, they can still be seen from the exterior of the machine. This is worth bearing in mind if you don’t like the sight of used capsules building up.
At the back, there’s a transparent 24 oz/ 0.7 liter removable water tank, so you can see when the water is running low, but it doesn’t have a max or minimum fill line. Flipping up the lid unclips it from the back of the machine, so you can remove it to refill or clean it.
The only caveat with this design is it doesn’t offer milk steaming, so if that’s something you’re looking for you’ll need a standalone milk frother which will cost upwards of $99 for a Nespresso model. It’s also worth pointing out that it doesn’t dispense hot water for tea either.
Nespresso Pixie review: Performance
The Nespresso Pixie warms up and is ready to dispense coffee in just under 30 seconds. If the lever is down and there’s no capsule inside, water gets ejected from the spout during this process, so it’s best to wait before placing your cup on the drip tray.
Performance-wise, it needs an average of 20 seconds to pour an espresso, while a lungo requires 30 seconds. So no matter which drink you prefer, you can have it ready within one minute of switching on the coffee machine. While the quality of the crema doesn’t match up to what you can achieve from a manual espresso machine, it does vary by capsule. I noticed a better, thicker crema from some capsules, while others produced a slightly weaker, bubblier crema.
The espresso dispenses at around 155°F, while the lungo is slightly warmer at 160°F. Both are acceptable temperatures that are similar to those we’ve seen from other Nespresso machines using Original capsules. Frustratingly, after pouring, coffee continues to drip from the spout for a short time, but leaving your cup below it for an extra 10 seconds or so is long enough to catch all the drips.
It emits 75 decibels according to my noise meter, which again, is pretty normal for a coffee machine. And since both drink options pour quickly, it doesn’t feel overly loud or unpleasant.
Energy use when pouring an espresso is 0.005 kWh, but it increases to 0.013 kWh when you include the initial heat up. This is very similar to its closest competitor, the Nespresso Essenza Mini. In addition, after 9 minutes of not being used, it’ll automatically switch to sleep mode.
Nespresso Pixie review: Ease of use and cleaning
With only two buttons to choose from, this coffee maker is very intuitive to use. Pressing either button wakes up the coffee maker, and both buttons flash while it heats up, staying solidly lit when it’s ready to go. Then it’s just a case of inserting a capsule, choosing either espresso or lungo, and popping your cup below the spout. It’s an effortless way to make your morning coffee, and you’ll get consistent results no matter how sleepy and bleary-eyed you are.
The used capsules automatically drop into the used capsule container when you lift the lever. The container can only hold around 10 capsules, but it’s straightforward to empty by pulling the cup holder forwards. This removes the capsule container, which can then be lifted out for emptying and cleaning.
The capsule container has a hole in the base which prevents liquid from accumulating, allowing it to drip out into the drip tray below. Any liquid that hits the cup holder drip grid also ends up in the same drip tray. One thing to consider is there’s no indicator to alert you when it’s getting full though, so it’s best to empty it frequently.
To remove the water container at the back, its lid has to be flipped up to disengage the clips, allowing you to tilt it away and lift it free. Inserting back into the correct position also requires the lid to be flipped up. It feels a bit fiddly the first few times you do it, but it quickly becomes second nature. There’s no warning light or notification if it does happen to run out of water during brewing. Instead, it simply continues to attempt to brew despite nothing coming out of the spout.
All the removable parts can be easily washed by hand with hot water and dish soap. The exterior of the machine can be wiped over with a damp cloth, making it easy to clean. The inside of the coffee maker is cleaned when you perform the descaling process. Even if you’re adding very hard water, it only needs descaling after every 1000 espressos or every three months. However, there’s no reminder or alert on the coffee machine, so you’ll have to remember to do this. Descaling is an automated process — all you have to do is add water and descaling solution and follow the steps in the manual, but the machine does most of the work.
Nespresso Pixie review: Verdict
Thanks to its robust metal lever and side plates, this Nespresso Pixie coffee maker has a sense of sturdiness that belies its compact size. With just two drink choices and no integrated milk heater, it offers simple and uncomplicated espresso or lungo coffee options at the touch of a button. Although, if you’re after a machine with a milk frother, we recommend the Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus — this achieved a great texture as it frothed milk.
Bear in mind that coffee connoisseurs may be disappointed, as the Pixie can’t produce the kind of rich, full-bodied espresso that you’ll get from some of the best espresso machines. However, if you want drinkable and consistent coffee delivered to your cup in under a minute, it’s got you covered. Overall, it’s a worthwhile purchase for the price — especially if your kitchen is tight for space.