A takeout latte (or two) is a delicious daily habit that adds up quickly. It’s one reason why I’ve come to rely on the convenience of a pod-based Nespresso machine ($150 and up; $0.70 to $1.20/pod) to get my coffee kick—and save some cash. The Nespresso makes uh, espresso, as its name suggests, but different models (original and vertuo) have different capabilities (think shots of espresso vs. full cups of coffee) and use different types of pods. Because I love a homemade cashew milk latte, I’ve paired my machine with an Aeroccino (the brand’s milk frother, $99) to make espresso-based beverages at home. The Aeroccino comes with a set of two whisks that deliver warm milk with froth or no froth—pretty basic, but great. So, when Nespresso launched its Barista frothing device ($300) that promised to deliver everything from flat whites with the perfect micro foam to mochas with freshly melted chocolate, I had to try it out.
How does the Nespresso Barista work?
This next gen, Bluetooth-enabled, milk frother consists of four pieces—the power base, jug, whisk and lid. Once assembled, all you have to do is pour in your milk of choice, select your beverage—in the app or on the device itself—and hit the start button. The app—which is connected to the Barista via Bluetooth—can also be used to select which beverage you’d like to prepare. Depending on the beverage you choose, the Barista foams milk to a variety of specifications and temperatures (i.e., more foam for a cappuccino, less foam for a latte and cold milk for iced beverages).
Armed with the office Nespresso machine and the Barista we prepared a number of our favourite beverages using both dairy and plant-based milks. Then, ranked them from most to least favourite.
Without a doubt, this was the best of the bunch. All you have to do is add your milk of choice and a few squares of chocolate to the jug, select the mocha setting and hit start. The Barista whirrs to life and the result was thick, rich and delicious hot chocolate. Add a shot of espresso and you’ve got a mocha. Of all the beverages we prepared, the mocha had the most foam and was a staff favourite.
The lattes that we prepared had a slightly burnt flavour and the amount of foam that we typically expect from a drink like a flat white (a beverage similar to a latte, but with less foam). We prepared multiple lattes on different days, using different types of milk and the result was consistently lacklustre.
Espresso Con Panna
A shot of hot espresso topped with cold whipped cream—what’s not to love? While the Barista didn’t deliver the best Chantilly cream we’ve ever had (yes, the Barista makes whipped cream), it was hard to be mad at heavy cream and espresso. Plus, we appreciated that the machine could deliver cold beverages too.
The flat whites we prepared with the Nespresso Barista were…flat. Typically, a flat white should have rich mouth feel with a thin layer of micro foam. Like the latte, we prepared multiple flat whites on different days, using different types of milk. The result was consistently a burnt milk flavour.
While we loved this machine in theory, in practice, it didn’t quite deliver on its $300 price tag. If you’re looking to make thick, foamy lattes and cappuccinos at home, we definitely recommend that you stick with the classic Nespresso Aeroccino—which retails for $99.