The Nespresso D290 espresso machine eliminates both the guesswork and the messy work that normally accompanies making a cup of espresso at home. It requires no priming, measuring, grinding, tamping, or even cleaning. It’s about as convenient as you can get, and amazingly, it also brews a fantastic cup of espresso. It’s just one example of a new genre of espresso makers that use capsules or pods of measured, ground coffee to simplify the whole routine. The Nespresso line offers capsules in more than a dozen blends (including decaffeinated). To make an espresso, you just lift the head, drop in a capsule, close the handle, and press a button. In about 30 seconds, you get a cup of superb espresso with a luxuriously thick crema.
On the downside, the coffee doesn’t always get piping hot, and the milk frother on our machine was fussy and mostly ineffective. Also, you have to order the capsules by mail.
Nespresso D290, $499 at Nespresso.com.