/ Food & Drink

Why I ditched my Nespresso machine

coffee machine

Have you been left unimpressed by your Nespresso machine? Well you wouldn’t be the only one. Ben Preston, Editor of Radio Times, is here to tell why he’s ditched his Nespresso in favour of a bean-to-cup coffee machine…

If you love great coffee, is there anything more seductive – and addictive – than Nespresso?

Quick and easy, once you’ve found the right colour pod. Nespresso is guaranteed to kick-start your day the right way, every day.

But, there is a big but. The initial machine might be cheap, but the costs soon begin to mount up in a household that runs on caffeine. Four people drinking just one Nespresso a day each equals 120 pods a month.

Soon the large green branded recycling bag under the sink groans heavy with Nespresso’s expensive trail of aluminium corpses, and the monthly cost resembles an overpriced phone contract.

I’m no tree-hugger, but somehow Nespresso’s ludicrous promise to send a courier to pick up and recycle this detritus didn’t salve my environmental conscience. It made my guilt worse.

So I turned instead to a bean-to-cup machine. It’s a hulking, gurgling beast, at least three times the size of a sleek Nespresso. It takes a while to get the hang of it. There are dials to adjust the quantity of beans and water for each cup – and a bewildering array of warning lights when either’s running short.

But I persevered and soon got the amateur barista bug. There’s a simple pleasure in trying different beans, recalibrating my machine and listening to the chuntering, wheezing process of making a damn fine cup of coffee.

Of course, after the initial outlay for the machine, my daily fix is now much cheaper. But best of all, my bean-to-cup self-cleans like a cat and excretes neat cowpats of grinds.

There’s a pleasing alchemy to the process – like putting grass in a cow and getting milk – and I only wish I’d banished my soulless Nespresso sooner.

This is guest post by Ben Preston, Editor of Radio Times. All views expressed here are Ben’s own and not necessarily those shared by Which?.

So, what coffee makers have your trialed in search of that all-important cup of hot java?


Thanks for an entertaining introduction, Ben. I like proper coffee and have had a fair amount of experience with bean-to-cup machines when staying with family and friends. They don’t seem very reliable, which is the main reason I don’t have one. The pod machines are cheap but the running costs are high, similar to cheap printers but costly ink.


I’m quite happy with the coffee I brew from a bean to cup cafetiere system – £20 grinder, £10 cafetiere (or even a bag of pre-ground to cup). I’d rather spend the money on decent coffee than an expensive machine. But I don’t drink espresso.


My mum’s got a Nespresso machine, a Magimix I think, and I get a good expresso everytime. Trying out different flavours and strengths has been fun. I’ve even thought of buying one for work, to help me not fall asleep early afternoon after lunch. But yes, mmh, the environmental costs of capsules…

The only other way I have liked espresso at home is when I’ve made it with a stove top espresso coffee pot. You can experiment with that too: flavour, mix, dosage, pre-ground, home ground. If you can be bothered. A passion for some.


I read that refillable capsules are available, allowing you to use the coffee you prefer. One of the benefits of the Nespresso machines is that they are compact. It’s obviously not quite as easy as popping in a capsule and pressing a button.

Has anyone got any experience of refillable capsules?


I have used the refillable capsules. It certainly saves on cost, but it is difficult to get a decent crema on your coffee. The issue is getting the correct grind, amount in the pod and then tapping it down correctly! Too much or too little of any of these factors and you just get brown water!


Thanks Andy. I think I will stick to my conventional machine, though it’s time consuming.


I bought a Nespresso Inissia after testing umpteen brands over several years. The decider was what I know about myself. First thing in the morning I would not be interested in faffing about with beans, grinding, or such stuff. With my Nespresso I will be drinking an excellent coffee in less than two minutes from deciding I want a cuppa.

Refillable Nespresso capsules are another faff. They are messy to fill and the coffee starts to lose flavor and aroma from the moment they are filled so you cannot easily make a batch and store them.


Thanks Banjo. Convenience also makes instant coffee a popular choice.


Years ago a colleague of mine described instant coffee as producing a “coffee flavoured drink”. I rarely drink instant, unless there is no choice. Brewing ground coffee in a cafetiere takes very little longer than making instant – you still have to heat the water and the brew only takes 3 minutes. I’d choose it anytime for taste.


I have never liked cafetiere coffee and my holiday list includes a small cone and papers – but each to their own. I drink coffee once a day (well two cups) and coffee flavoured drink the rest of the time, which helps me appreciate the real stuff. I do have a pressure machine that produces proper coffee but it is troublesome and tedious to use. A Nespresso machine would take up less space and might be used more.

I well remember the coffee shortage of the 70s, when some evil blends purporting to be instant coffee were on sale.

thomas says:
23 October 2016

I binned my capsule machine simply because of the overpriced capsules, I have always preferred drip filter machines I used a burr grinder and bought my beans online It is definitely cheaper and with superior results. Just recently I purchased a bean to cup machine expensive I know but definitely worth the outlay what I have ended up with is barista quality coffee at a very reasonable cost the machine was £700 even now I wince when I think about it but like I said it is well worth the money.

Charlotte says:
23 October 2016

I love my nespresso machine ! Yes the pods are expensive but a lot cheaper than buying a coffee from a shop! Ok so there is a lot of waste but hey I need my coffee…. and quick! I’ve tried other brand of capsules that are cheaper and work fine

Terry Page says:
27 October 2016

If you want easy coffee without the environmental impact of Nesspresso pods go for a machine that takes ESE pods. No more waste than a tea bag, about half the price if a Nesspresso pod and excellent coffee. You can also switch to ground coffee if you want.