Unfortunately, not all of us have the time to grind our own beans and generally customize and experiment with our at home coffee experience. But springing for a full-blown super automatic espresso machine isn’t exactly within everyone’s budget; that’s where portioned or capsule coffee brewers come into play.
Recently, we were sent the Creatista Plus to review and bring our thoughts to you. So, we had the unique opportunity to test run a machine that tries to address that dilemma. By combining capsule brewing with superior milk steaming technology, this machine has upped the ante on the portioned brewing market.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the Creatista Plus, here’s a brief rundown of the two companies that came together to create it: Breville and Nespresso.
Briefing on Breville
If you’re on the market for an at-home barista dream-machine, Breville has probably made it onto your wish list. Known for their innovative and customer-centered designs, Breville was founded in 1932. They’ve since become well known both in their home-country, Australia, and around the world.
By putting customer feedback first, Breville has been a formidable force on the espresso machine scene since the early 2000s. Since then, they’ve developed an impressively diverse line-up of user-friendly products.
Get to Know Nespresso
If you’re looking for convenience and simplicity, Nespresso just became your new best friend. This branch of the Nestlé Group is known for its companion ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) capsules which are both completely airtight and fully recyclable. Thus, they are both superior in flavor and sustainability than some of their capsule competitors.
People generally opt for Nespresso machines over full-blown espresso machines to see space and money. They’re great for beginners and for seasoned coffee fans alike.
In the past, they’ve partnered with other notable companies including De’Longhi.
Honestly, the combination of these two powerhouses sounds like a match made in heaven. This machine is their first brain-child together. And it might be an understatement to say we were excited to try it out.
One place that Nespresso machines tend to fall short is when it comes to milk frothing. Though their external milk frothers might get you a foam to top your cappuccino, you won’t be getting an excellent microfoam to satisfy your more intricate coffee needs.
Creatista Plus Features
This machine measures (L) 6.7″ x (D) 16.1″ x (H) 12.2″ and weighs in at 11.4 lbs. It has 19 bar pump pressure and a sizable 50oz Removable water tank.
Additionally, the Creatista Plus has a stainless steel body, that looks sleek on any counter. Though, you can order it in 3 other color options: smoked hickory (grey), sea salt (white), and black truffle (black).
The heat up time on this machine is only 3 seconds, thanks to its ThermoJet heating element. So if you’re worried about your coffee machine not being able to keep up with your morning routine, lay your fears to rest with this one.
There is also an auto-off feature that activates after 9 minutes of inactivity. That was, you stay safe and save energy.
This machine can handle a pretty impressive range of brewing. It has 3 programmable cup sizes (0.84, 1.35, 3.72 oz), 8 texture levels, and 11 milk temps. With those options, you can make a ristretto, espresso, lungo, caffe latte, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and more with just a few button presses.
If you’re in the mood for milk, there’s an automatic steam wand with auto-purge. Combined with a 12 capsule container capacity, all your brewing needs will be taken care of for you with pretty minimal assistance from you. All of these options are accessible from the digital color display screen.
What about the latte art?
So part of the hype around this machine is the potential for latte art, give the user is willing to manually intervene during the brewing process to produce it. After toying around with the machine for a little while, we came to the conclusion that it is possible to do some latte art with this machine. However, if you’re hoping to hone your skills to become the next latte Van Gogh, don’t hold your breath.
I’m personally incapable of making anything artistic, especially not with steamed milk, so I just kinda pour it in there and start sipping…
Basically, you can make pretty simple leaf and heart designs, you probably won’t get much further than that with this machine. So, if you are hoping to create your next masterpiece, you’ll need to invest in something that’s intended for full-blown espresso craftsmanship.
Accessories and Miscellaneous
Should you try it?
Milk Frothing AND Capsules
One of the biggest drawbacks of previous Nespresso products is the lackluster frothing options. However, by pairing up with Breville, Nespresso gets to bring their partner’s top-notch technology to the table.
The addition of *good* milk steaming/frothing to a portioned coffee machine is possibly one of the most exciting things we’ve seen on the coffee machine scene in awhile. It makes this machine perfect for those who want a coffee shop experience on a time crunch without having to shell out $1000+ to get a super automatic espresso machine.
Like we’ve mentioned before, this machine is for those who are seeking a machine that can be efficient and easy to maintain. The Creatista Plus has a sizable water tank, 12 capsule capacity, and easy to understand interface, so you get just that: convenience and quality.
Even with their two year warranty, Breville and Nespresso have ensured that this is one durable machine. The stainless steel body is a step up from the original Creatista’s plastic components. Plus, the cleaning assistance with the steaming wand a auto-purge also helps to keep your machine running at tip-top shape for years.
While automation and simplicity may sound like a pros for some, for us total automation can be a bit of a let down. So, those of you who like the idea of semi-automatic espresso machine that lets you adjust temperature and manually operate the steaming wand, this probably isn’t the machine for you.
That said, if you’re not interested in the art behind the coffee and you’d be much more jazzed to skip the learning curve and still get the coffee, this one’s for you. Personally, I love the automatic steam wand that prevents me from screwing it up.
Overall this machine is a super exciting addition to the world of portioned coffee brewing. The partnership between Nespresso and Breville means you can have both convenient, quick portioned drinks with more than just some underwhelming foam or creamer thrown in. Breville added technology allows you to create cafe-style drinks without the lines.
So the bottom line is if you’re looking for something quick and easy with quality craftsmanship, the Creatista Plus is a great investment. However, if you’re looking for something that really allows you to experiment and customize your coffee experience, you might want to look elsewhere.