One cost $349 and the other $599. James Smith puts two capsule coffee machines to the test.
There can be few places in the world where manufacturers of coffee machines are going to be judged as harshly as Melbourne; at the same time, there can be few where there’s as much demand. With George Clooney as their suave Pied Piper of Java, Nespresso has led the way in the field of capsule machines, hoping to persuade drinkers that they can find caffeine satisfaction within foil casing. The Lattissima+ sees them unite espresso maker and milk steamer in a unit that sacrifices the looks of some of its predecessors for this added functionality. The principle remains the same: pop in capsule, flip lid to pierce it, choose length of coffee. A clear container to one side supplies the milk, with a dial that gives surprisingly good control over froth.
rrp $349, including milk frother
The Bella from South Melbourne-based Map is getting a facelift. Well, several actually, with a bold and bright range of interchangeable facades on their way; enough, in fact, to have one for every day of the week. It’s what’s inside that matters — in this case, what’s inside the capsules, with each one packing eight grams of coffee to the Nespresso’s five. There’s also the "Caffitaly System", a pair of filters like mini shower heads inside each capsule that spread water evenly over the coffee. It infuses the coffee before pouring, too. The result is a cascading espresso with a thick crema. Like the Nespresso, it’s simple, with just three buttons doing the lot; unlike the Nespresso, you have to prepare your milk in a separate (but included) frother.
And the winner is ... both deliver impressive coffee with a mere button press. Nespresso offers drinkers more flavours, but Map’s capsules are more readily available. At $250 less, it makes sense to back the local.