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Nespresso Pixie Review

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Nespresso has won hearts and minds by offering the same level of ease as instant coffee but with a far higher coffee quality. They’re also ideal machines for anyone trying to cut down on their expensive daily coffee shop habit. So we decided to do a Nespresso Pixie review as its price and size make it ideal for many people who are looking for their first home espresso machine.

The Nespresso Pixie offers a single espresso or lungo at the touch of a button with almost no mess. It isn’t as cheap as the most budget espresso makers. But it’s easier to use and a lot easier to clean. The milky coffee crowd will need to buy a separate milk frother to make their latte or cappuccino though.

Whether the Nespresso Pixie is the right espresso maker for you depends a lot on your coffee preferences. Having put it through its paces, we’ll break down all its pros and cons, whether this machine offers good value, and who its best suited for.

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At a Glance: Nespresso Pixie Review

nespresso pixie espresso machine

Its small, its easy to use, and it works well. Using Original Line Nespresso pods means there’s lots of choice too.

If you want an espresso or lungo then it does these things well. You can tweak the length too, though this causes flavor issues if you change it too much.

If you’re after a milky coffee then you have to shell out extra for the Aeroccino or similar, which makes the whole set up well over $200. Not extremely expensive, but a lot more than entry-level machines with milk frothers.

If ease of use and minimal clean up is your primary concern, the Nespresso Pixie is a really nice, simple choice.


  • Good tasting coffee
  • Quick brewing time
  • Simple to operate
  • Small and compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Well-made
  • Wide range of available capsules


  • Only works with Nespresso capsules
  • No milk frother

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 7.5/10
  • Ease of Use: 10/10
  • Value for Money: 8.5/10
  • Overall Rating: 8/10
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Key Features Review

1. 19 BAR Pressure Pump

The Nespresso Pixie features a 19 bar pressure pump. These high-pressure pumps are more likely to be able to consistently deliver the 7-9 bars needed for espresso extraction. Stable, consistent pressure is key for getting great flavor in your espresso.

2. Energy Efficient

The Pixie is not a power-hungry espresso machine when compared to its competition. Which is great for both the environment and your bank balance:

All of the lights are LED. And, if you leave the machine inactive for just 9 minutes, it has an automatic shutoff. With the high price of energy these days, little things like this matter.

3. Compact Espresso Maker

Sizing up at just 9″ high, 4″ wide, and 11″ deep, this machine is great for small kitchens. It can fit on almost any kitchen counter, desk, or even a dorm room.

4. Original Line Compatible

Nespresso Original Line capsules are cheaper than the Vertuo line and have a lot more choice too. So you can enjoy the vast array of coffee options, mix it up, or stock up on your favorites.

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Is the Nespresso Pixie Easy to Use?

The Nespresso Pixie is very easy to use. These single serve machines are designed to take all of the guesswork out of coffee making, ensuring a consistently excellent brew. Just put the capsule in and press a button then machine does the rest.

To make an espresso, you simply lift the handle to reveal the recess where you insert your chosen capsule. Then, just move the handle back to its original position and push the button for either a single espresso (1.35oz) or a lungo (3.7 oz) as shown here:

Close up of how to use the Nespresso Pixie single serve pod machine
Left: Pixie with opening to drop in capsules. Right: Espresso and Lungo buttons.

Lifting the handle again after brewing drops the used capsule into the container. It holds 9 used capsules so it doesn’t even need to be emptied every day (unless you’re a caffeinated fiend!)

Being so simple does mean there is very little you can change to suit your tastes. That said, you can adjust the length of the espresso or lungo by pressing and holding the relevant button. Simply release once you’ve got the desired amount in your cup and it will save that setting for next time.

Nespresso capsules contain 0.2oz (5g) of coffee. On the factory settings, the Pixie will make 1.35oz (40ml) of espresso which is relatively weak, and quite bitter. (Most baristas would use 4 times this amount of ground coffee to make this amount of espresso.)

So, we started off by setting the Pixie to get a 1:2 ratio which is standard for espresso. But the results were still weak and acidic.

After (a lot of) playing around, I found that making 1oz (30ml) was the best flavor balance for the espresso from the Nespresso capsules.

Just don’t stray too far from the factory settings as Nespresso “dials in” their machines to work with the capsules’ grind size.

It is a similar story for lungo:

I preferred the taste at 3oz, rather than the standard 3.7oz. It was more balanced with a nice punch. These are personal preferences of course, but if you’re going to experiment, then I’d recommend going shorter rather than longer.

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Which Nespresso Pods Does the Pixie Use?

The Pixie uses the Original Line Nespresso pods.

There is a huge amount of choice from seasonal flavored coffees, to single origins, to barista-inspired creations. While there isn’t as much choice as with regular coffee beans, it’s hardly restrictive.

And there are a lot more options than you get from the Vertuo line too (like for the Vertuo Plus which we also tested.)

To get the best flavor, the capsules contain different grind sizes depending on whether they’re for ristretto, lungo, or espresso. So I’d recommend buying the ones that suit your favorite drink. I tried to use a ristretto pod to make a lungo, and definitely wouldn’t recommend it!

Each capsule is between $0.80-0.90, depending on which you buy and how many you get at a time.

If we’re comparing this to a $3 Americano, even using 2 pods per coffee, you’re saving over $1 per drink. 1 per day, 5 days per week, is over $300 a year saved.

Nespresso has gone to great lengths to make sure the capsules are much easier to recycle than they used to be. You can bring them into your local Nespresso store or you can give them to the delivery driver who drops off your new ones.

We still question the transparency of the Nespresso supply chain and the environmental impact of how they source their coffee. But they are at least moving in the right direction.

Open box of Nespresso Original line pods
Selection of Nespresso Original capsules
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Design and Build Quality

Nespresso machines are generally very well made. The Pixie is no exception and will be manufactured by either Breville or DeLonghi, but it makes no functional or price difference which factory it comes from.

The main selling point of the Nespresso Pixie, as you can probably tell from the name, is that it is extremely compact.

At only 4″ wide and 11″ deep, it has a very small footprint. So, you don’t need much space to squeeze in this espresso machine. Fold a sheet of A4 paper in half lengthwise and you have the footprint of the Pixie.

The Pixie has a nice little shelf that flips out under the spout for espresso cups. If you’re using a big (normal-sized) cup then you simply flip this up to fit it under the spout. No splashing though, which is ideal.

You can get the Pixie in either gray or lighter gray (titanium or aluminum). Ultimately this means it won’t clash with anything, but it’s not the most exciting-looking machine either.

A 24 oz water reservoir seems small, but that’s the Pixie’s thing. Given that espresso and lungo don’t use that much water, you can make a lot of coffee before needing to refill. And refilling isn’t difficult as it’s small and easy to remove and carry.

The pieces are mostly plastic. But they always will be on a coffee machine at this price and nothing feels cheaply made.

But the water tank will break if you drop it full of water. Or if you try to move the machine with the water tank still attached. I found this out firsthand… oops!

Side view of the Nespresso Pixie
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Does the Nespresso Pixie Make Good Espresso?

The Nespresso Pixie makes a good espresso for a machine at this price.

It won’t blow away the serious espresso drinkers. But it’s not designed to. It makes a good tasting espresso and lungo for those who want a decent coffee with minimum fuss.

I have heard all the stories about being able to taste the aluminum from the capsules or that the coffee is stale and uninteresting. However, I worked at a high-end restaurant that used a Nespresso machine for all their coffee. And we had zero complaints about the coffee quality unless someone knew it was a Nespresso machine. Take from that what you will.

Nespresso Pixie in the process of making a coffee
Making a lungo with the Nespresso Pixie
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Pixie Accessories

Straight out the box, the Nespresso Pixie will work great as long as you want to drink espresso or lungo.

However, if you prefer to drink milky drinks like cappuccino or flat white, you’re obviously going to need something to froth milk.

Enter the Aeroccino: an excellent automatic milk foamer made by Nespresso and conveniently often sold as a bundle with the Pixie.

The most recent version – the Aeroccino 3 – makes 3 styles of milk. Cappuccino/latte, cafe au lait, and iced latte/cappuccino. So it’s a great all-rounder.

On its own, it varies between around $60-$100 but sales events such as Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday/ Cyber Monday often have deals with it bundled with a Nespresso coffee machine. If you can wait for one of the big sales events, you can often pick up a combo deal for less than $200.

Aeroccino3 and Nespresso Pixie
Aeroccino3 with Nespresso Pixie
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Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning the Nespresso Pixie is very easy. With the messiest part of coffee making contained in the capsule, clean up is a breeze.

After using 9 capsules, you will need to empty the used capsule container. This is simple to remove and empty into a container for recycling.

I recommend cleaning your water tank every couple of days. If water sits, it can go nasty faster than you’d expect.

Other than this, all you really need to do is descale the espresso maker every 6 months. This needs to be done because calcium from the water builds up in the narrow channels of the thermoblock boiler and the machine can jam if it isn’t cleared.

Of course, Nespresso provides its own branded descaling fluid and the process is simple enough. You simply fill the water tank with it and let the machine do the rest. It should only take around 20 minutes.

By coffee maker standards, this is extremely low maintenance. One of the big pluses of owning a Nespresso machine.

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Nespresso Pixie vs CitiZ

If you’re looking for a compact Nespresso machine then your 2 options are the Nespresso Pixie or the Nespresso CitiZ. With around a $50 price difference, you’ll want to know if it’s worth spending the extra money for the CitiZ, and what exactly you get for your money.

Nespresso CitiZ Benefits

The CitiZ is nearly identical in all the ways that matter to the Pixie. There are only a couple of things that you could point to as “better”.

First, the water reservoir is bigger – 34 oz to the Pixie’s 24 oz. So it will need to be refilled less frequently. Realistically though, you’re getting 5 more espressos before refilling, not exactly life-changing stuff.

While we’re on minute differences, the CitiZ’s capsule container can hold one extra capsule before needing to be emptied. One. Maybe you think this is worth it, we’re not here to judge, but only the most generous person would call this a plus for the CitiZ.

Something we almost never talk about but actually is a big plus is that the power cord is a foot longer. This means you’ll have more choices on where to position your Nespresso machine. As someone whose kitchen counter only works in one configuration due to outlets and power cord lengths, this is genuinely a good thing.

CitiZ Drawbacks

The price is the biggest drawback of the CitiZ. It’s around $50 more expensive than the Pixie for a bigger water tank and a longer power cord. I also think it looks cheaper, though it is available in more colors so it can look cheaper, but in red or white too.

Nespresso Pixie vs CitiZ Conclusion

The Nespresso Pixie is clearly the better choice for us. It simply is not worth the extra money to refill the water reservoir less often. The fact that it looks much better is a bonus, and the coffee quality is just as good as the CitiZ. Save your money for more capsules and get yourself the Pixie.

Choose Your Winner

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Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for decent espresso, with no effort and minimal cleaning or maintenance, the Nespresso Pixie is the right espresso machine for you. It is especially great for those low on space though it does have some limitations. Although you will come across these on all single-serve coffee machines, to some degree or another.

These limitations include only being able to pour espresso or lungo. And not having a milk frother. However, you’ll have to spend a lot more for a Nespresso machine that overcomes these issues.

If having foamed milk is a deal-breaker for you as you love a cappuccino or latte, then the Pixie bundle with the Aeroccino is a good option.

Even buying these two items combined will almost certainly be cheaper than single-serve espresso makers that include this option. And those expensive machines won’t have excellent space-saving abilities like this one.

After extensive testing (and coffee drinking) for our Nespresso Pixie review, we feel that it’s best suited to someone short on space and time. It’s ideal for shared accommodation, apartments, or dorm rooms.

All that’s left to do is work out what Nespresso capsules you love the most. And it’s also good to consider how you’ll recycle your capsules before you buy the Nespresso Pixie.

Don’t forget to Buy the Nespresso Pixie today


Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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