Tired of spending an arm and a leg at pricey coffee shops just to get a decent cup of espresso? Nespresso’s Pixie Espresso Machine might be the answer for your next caffeine craving. It’s small enough to fit on your work desk, but don’t let the size fool you, this machine can make one strong cup of espresso.
When you are considering what kind of espresso maker to purchase, think what your specific needs are rather than what machine looks the fanciest or has the most functions. If you’re new to making your own espresso, a simple single-serve espresso machine may be all you need. The Nespresso Pixie is a beginner-friendly single-serve model without a lot of extras.
If you’re just looking for a decent cup of espresso fast without having to pay a barista to make it for you than this machine may be just the ticket. However, a serious, seasoned espresso connoisseur, we’ll probably find the Pixie lacking a lot of the features they are looking for in an espresso machine.
While our focus will be the Nespresso Pixie for this review, feel free to check out some additional espresso machine options for both novice and experienced espresso lovers with our Top 10 Picks here.
The aptly named Nespresso Pixie is one of the most compact single-serve espresso makers on the market. The Pixie heats up in 25 to 30 seconds and brews quality espresso in another 30 seconds, making it one of the fastest machines on the market. Pixie is part of Nespresso’s Original Espresso Maker Line.
Nespresso is one of the leading brands when it comes to single-serve espresso machines. When it comes to single-serve machines, you’re generally going to find the two primary producers are Nespresso and Keurig. If you’re interested in learning how these two competitors compare, you can read our article that compares the two brands here.
The Pixie isn’t a new model, but the current line is much quieter than previous versions of the machine. This machine allows you to make both espresso and lungo size drinks depending on if you just want an espresso or you prefer espresso-based beverages such as cappuccinos or lattes.
Things We Like About the Pixie
- It heats up fast and brews espresso quickly
- The small size makes it convenient for use in an office or apartment
- It’s eco-friendly, pods are recyclable, and the machine is energy efficient
Room For Improvement
- Only works with Nespresso capsules
- Can only make espresso not coffee in the machine
- Have to buy Milk Frother separately or in a bundle at additional cost
The Pixie design enables espresso enthusiasts to enjoy an espresso in the comfort of their own home instead of going out to a coffee shop and paying someone else to make it for them. It’s also less messy than other at-home espresso units.
This machine is a convenient option for those who either live alone or are the only ones in the household who drink espresso. Below is a breakdown of the Nespresso Pixie’s main features to help you decide if this machine is right for you.
According to the Nespresso company, the Pixie only stands about 8 Nespresso capsules high, or about 9 inches. It has roughly a 4-inch width, and if you put it against a wall, it comes out about a foot in length. The small size means it can easily fit under a kitchen cabinet, on your desk at work, or even in a dorm room.
It’s also lightweight, weighing in at about 7 1/2 pounds so you can easily transport it for an event or even take it with you on vacation. The size and weight are a great factor in terms of convenience because you can bring it with you most places and enjoy a hot espresso in a few seconds wherever you are.
The Pixie takes far less energy to run than other coffee/ espresso making machines, making it easier on the environment and your wallet when the electric bill comes in. It has an automatic shutoff that turns off the machine if it’s inactive for nine minutes. This feature cuts down on the energy use significantly and saves you the trouble of trying to remember to shut it off when you’re in a hurry.
The lighting elements on the Pixie are all LED lighting, which also reduces the machine’s energy use. If you want to be even more eco-friendly, you can unplug the machine completely when not in use. The heating element uses Thermablock technology so that the machine heats up and is ready for use in just 30 seconds from when you plug it in.
The Pixie comes with a 24-ounce capacity water tank, which saves you from always having to refill the tank after every use. If you fill the water tank to its full capacity, you can make around 20 espresso shots or about nine lungo shots without having to refill the machine.
Nespresso recommends using filtered water in the machine for the best tasting espresso; however, tap water will work. If you use tap water regularly, you may need to descale the Pixie more often. Even if you use filtered water Nespresso still recommends you descale your Pixie every six months to keep the espresso quality consistent and the machine running efficiently.
The Nespresso Pixie keeps messes contained with its removable drip tray and used capsule container. When the drip tray is down, it accommodates a small espresso cup. You can also flip the drip tray up if you have a larger cup you are using, so it’s easy to make espresso-based drinks as well. The drip tray slides in and out so you can easily empty it and clean it.
The used capsule container also slides out. When you finish brewing your espresso shot, all you need to do is pull the handle up to open the brew chamber, and the used capsule automatically gets dropped into the used capsule container. The container will hold up to ten used capsules before you have to empty it, reducing the number of trips you take to the garbage can.
The Nespresso Pixie features a 19-bar pressure water pump, which exceeds the standard 9-bar pressure pump required for making a proper espresso shot. If you’re not familiar with why pressure is so important, the higher the pressure, the more flavors, and aromas will be extracted from the coffee. To learn more about the science behind pressure and the effects it has on the taste of the espresso, check out this article.
One of the biggest problems with single-serve coffee/espresso machines is that the coffee it makes often tends to taste watered down. The 19-bar pressure pump of the Pixie, however, means you’ll get all the aromas and flavors of the espresso you would with a coffee shop espresso.
One of the features that make the Pixie so beginner-friendly is that it does the work for you. The Pixie is pre-programmed to brew at the perfect temperature, another critical factor in brewing the best tasting espresso at home. Each Nespresso capsule also has a barcode on it that the machine reads, so it knows how to adjust to get the best flavor out of whatever capsule blend you choose.
Nespresso Pixie’s minimalist design makes it very easy to learn how to use. For a tutorial on how to brew espresso with the Pixie, check out this video published by the Nespresso company. The Pixie only features three buttons, the power button and two buttons to select either small or lungo size brewing options. However, if you don’t need to stick with the two pre-programmed sizes.
If you need to accommodate a cup that is a slightly different size, you simply need to hold down the button while the espresso brews until you reach your desired water level and then release the button. The machine will remember your custom setting for future uses, but if you need to readjust it at a later time, all you need to do is program it again the same way.
The ability to adjust the water level means that you have some control over how strong you want your espresso to be. Also, there are 16 different varieties of espresso currently available for the machine, so you can choose the flavor that best suits your espresso tastes.
The Nespresso Pixie also features a built-in water level alert system, so you always know whether or not you have enough water to make a cup of espresso without trying to guess how much water remains in the tank just by looking at it. When the water level is too low, the indicator light will turn red, so you know it is time to refill the tank.
The Pixie is a very low maintenance machine. It does not require any tune-ups or adjustments. All that you need to do to keep the machine functioning well is to descale it every six months.
Descaling the machine gets rid of calcium deposits that can affect the taste of your coffee as well as its functionality. The descaling process only takes about 20 minutes. You can watch a video here to see how the descaling process works.
All told the Nespresso Pixie makes a decent cup of espresso with a lot less mess than your typical espresso making machine. Its simple design makes it easy for even novice espresso drinkers to brew a quality drink. It brews a shot of espresso fast so you can get the caffeine hit you need and get back to whatever you need to do.
There is no one size fits all for people’s preference for espresso makers, and if you’re a more serious espresso connoisseur, you’ll probably find the quality of the Pixie brew is not up to your standards. If you value quality over convenience, a standard espresso maker may be more suitable for your needs.
Take a look at a previous article we wrote about The Best Espresso Machines for Your Kitchen as a starting point to help you find the espresso machine that seems the best fit for you. If you don’t have time to read the article, here are a few additional options you may want to consider if you are in the market for an espresso maker.
The Keurig K-Café Single Serve Coffee, Latte, and Cappuccino Maker if you like the convenience of a single-serve machine with an option for making regular coffee as well. It’s a good choice if you’re not that concerned with having a real espresso experience as much as the flavor of an espresso-based drink. You can read about this machine and other Keurig offerings here.
If you like the Pixie’s small size but are looking for something a little more serious in terms of espresso strength and quality, the Breville Bambino Plus may be more your speed. It features a built-in steam wand. Like the Pixie, it has the option of choosing the size shot you want but also features additional controls for steaming, milk temperature, and texture level. Read all about the Bambino Plus here.
Another Breville offering for hardcore espresso drinkers is the Breville BES880XL Barista Touch. While definitely on the higher end of the price range, it is highly customizable and features a built-in steam wand and even a burr grinder to get a very intense and high-quality brew. You can learn all about it on the company’s website.
The Nespresso Pixie is a quality machine, but it has its limits, thankfully there are plenty of options out there to warm the hearts and caffeinate the bodies of espresso drinkers everywhere.