Home barista realized

Nespresso Creatista Plus.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Nespresso Creatista Plus,

My Reading Room

I’m a Nespresso drinker. I have a CitiZ machine at home with an Aeroccino milk frother, and at about $0.80 a shot, I convince myself I’m getting the cheapest hipster coffee anywhere with the press of a button. This is probably the idea that Nespresso wants to sell you on too. Thing is, after a while, you forget about the glamorous world of homebrewed premium grinds, and a cup of Nespresso in the morning just becomes a regular cup of coffee. I’ve never seen the value of higher-end machines since they technically brew the same cup from the same capsules, and I rarely use my Aeroccino anymore because it froths milks in clumps and more often than not, overheats when I’m not paying attention.

When I reviewed the app-connected Prodigio last year (HWM August 2016), the prospect of a smart Nespresso machine was exciting, but it turned out that the smart functionality was limited to basically having a big remote “brew” button on your phone. My wish list of an auto capsule loader and brew customizer wasn’t realized. So, when Nespresso wanted me to try out the new Creatista Plus machine—which isn’t connected and has no real smarts—I was rightfully nonplussed.

Well, consider me “Plussed” now.

It turns out the Creatista Plus may not be connected or app enabled, but it’s the smartest machine Nespresso has created so far, and a joy to use. As one of the top-end machines in Nespresso’s line-up, the Creatista Plus comes with an LCD display and brew customization. Using the menu is a little clunky at first; it’s not a touch screen and navigation is a mix of using the Start button and Select knob. However, the menu itself is thankfully simple and not too deeply layered. What you can do here is choose from a preset list of espresso and milk based drinks. You can then make minor customizations to each drink from changing the size of the brew, to the temperature and amount of frothing for the milk.

Of course, since I did review the Prodigio, I couldn’t help but notice that customizable brew recipes would have made perfect sense as a feature for an app-enabled machine.

But back to the main topic, the biggest highlight of the Creatista Plus is the inclusion of an automatic steam wand. Unlike the Lattissima series with their built-in milk tank and frother that does everything for you, the Creatista Plus technically allows you to froth your milk and then make latter art like a real barista. And that’s exactly what you can do if you knew how to make latte art in the first place. Nespresso’s in-store “coffee specialist” proved that to me, so I’ve got no one to blame for my own unrecognizable latte “blobs” but myself.

The tech for the steam wand comes from Breville and it features four steam holes. This means it is capable of heating and expanding milk very fast, so you should actually use cold milk right out of the fridge for better consistency. There is a temperature sensor at the bottom plate and Nespresso’s claims of a smooth texture with tiny micro foam beads mostly hold true. The wand has an automatic cleaning cycle too, though you can trigger it manually, which is really handy after each brew. If the holes do get stuck, the machine even comes with a little pin tucked away under the water tank for easy selfmaintenance.

And here’s where the Creatista Plus really shines. Once I started using the machine, I noticed all these simple, thoughtful qualityof- life inclusions. Having ring handles on the water tank and steam wand, level markings both inside and outside of the milk jug, a floating water level indicator in the water residue trap, and easy click-to-open trays really do make a difference on a day-to-day use. Having an LCD panel also means being able to display proper warnings and notices, including step-by-step maintenance instructions without the user having to rummage through the manual to figure out what each series of blinking lights mean.

The Creatista Plus looks impressively professional with its stainless steel body, is highly intuitive to use and that element of fun as you try (or miserably fail in my case) to self-teach latte art making through YouTube tutorials is well worth its $748 asking price. As a comparison, even an entrylevel espresso machine such as the Breville 840 Infuser already costs $998.


FEATURES Steam wand, programmable beverages.

WATER TANK 1.5 liters.

PRESSURE 19 bars.

DIMENSIONS (WXDXH) 39.3 x 30.8 x 17.1cm.

PRICE $748.

My Reading Room
You can now configure your drinks,
brew sizes, milk temp and level of
frothing desired.
You can now configure your drinks, brew sizes, milk temp and level of frothing desired.
Simple, features such as click trays
and ring handles make for great
quality-of-life improvements.
Simple, features such as click trays and ring handles make for great quality-of-life improvements.
My Reading Room