Nobody expected capsule coffee to come this far. At first, most coffee connoisseurs scoffed at the mention of this kind of coffee, and it was widely regarded as having the same quality as instant coffee.
This decade has seen a boom in the quality of capsule coffee, with Nespresso at the helm of innovation, and most professional roasters and Baristas have embraced the technology and accepted the capsuled coffee method as another valid way to make coffee.
Let’s have a friendly match between the top two competitors in the capsule coffee league, starting by the unlikely newcomer: Lavazza.
Lavazza’s very well regarded in the coffee business. Baristas all around the world recognize Lavazza coffee quality as one of the highest, even among other Italian coffees.
So, it was not that much of a surprise that they would be making their capsule coffee, but that wasn’t all: They also decided to do something they’d never done before—they started making coffee machines.
Lavazza Compatible Capsules
Rather than just making machines that would work with someone else’s coffee, and since Lavazza’s strong point is their coffee, they’re bringing their capsules to the game. And not only are they compatible with Nespresso machines of the OriginalLine, but they’re also on a level on their own, with capsules such as:
- Leggero: This capsule offers a light roast, characterized by fruity notes and a rich aroma. They use mostly South American beans for this blend.
- Avvolgente: Using an African Arabica variation of the coffee bean, these beans grown in Central and South America are roasted until dark. It has a characteristic of cocoa and cinnamon-like aroma, as well as a robust taste.
…And many more which we’ll talk about later. As you can see, Lavazza brings out unique coffee of the highest quality possible.
Lavazza vs Nespresso Comparison
Lavazza specializes in growing and roasting coffee. On the other hand, Nespresso’s coffee is of high quality and blends different coffees that grow in places such as South America and South-east Asia. Also, they shine when it comes to variety.
As of this writing, Lavazza counts with the main capsule line made up of five different capsules, ranked primarily by intensity (4 being the lightest, ten being the strongest). A few other options are available, although we’re pretty sure that they’re just getting started and will continue expanding their range.
Nespresso, on the other hand, can boast of having more than 40 different capsule varieties, and that’s only taking into account the OriginalLine capsules. With capsules focusing on milk-based drinks or capsules that come with several options of decaffeinated coffee.
Moreover, Nespresso has recently released to the market a new type of capsule coffee. This marks a higher class of capsule coffee, which has been labeled “vertuo” coffee.
The coffee in these capsules is brewed uniquely and patented by Nespresso as “Centrifusion.” This means that the capsule is not simply pierced and exposed to hot water: A special machine spins the capsule as fast as 7,000 RPM. This method has proven to provide a better coffee extraction: The same capsule, brewed differently, would not taste as good.
A downside to these new and exciting capsules is that they cannot be brewed by any capsule coffee machine, not even any Nespresso machine. They can only be brewed by the VertuoLine machines, which are all exclusive to Nespresso. This is because of the extraction method, which requires much more sophisticated engineering than regular capsule coffee machines.
So let’s get right to the point. We’re going to look at three different sets of machines. Each set will be made up of one Lavazza machine and one Nespresso machine; this is how we’ll get a sense of what each one of them is bringing to the table and, more importantly, it’s how you can compare and see which one suits you best.
Award-winning machines: The showdown
Nespresso’s Pixie and Lavazza’s Classy Mini. Both of them are seriously good medium-range machines that have won the Red Dot Design Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of design.
To get a sense of how we should be looking at these machines, first, you have to know that they are both engineered to be ergonomic. That is to say that both machines have been designed to be small and compact.
Both the Pixie and the Classy Mini are machines for people who want potent but small machines. You won’t get a lot of functions and features, but you’ll get amazing practicality and portability without sacrificing the quality of your coffee.
The Pixie’s features:
- Water tank capacity of 24 ounces
- Cable storage
- Heat-up time: 25 seconds
- Used capsule capacity: up to 11
- Pressure power: 19 bars
The LB Classy Mini:
- Water tank capacity virtually the same at 23.6 ounces
- Heat-up time: 28 seconds
- Used capsule capacity: up to 5. Semi-automatic ejection of used capsules
- Pressure power: 18 bars
Regarding size, the Pixie comes in first at 4.4 inches wide, 12.8 inches long, and 9.4 inches tall. The Classy Mini is at 5.3 inches wide, 13.3 inches long and 10.2 inches tall. As you can see, the differences are minimal, yet when you’re comparing two machines referring to their smallness in size, even these small differences count.
Our clear winner here is Nespresso’s Pixie machine for their visionary design, which triumphs over the older, much more modern design of Lavazza’s Classy Mini.
As a final (but important) consideration, we must take the price range into account. While the Pixie is a better machine, it sells at approximately double the price of the Classy Mini, while the difference between the two machines is not that big.
Round two: Fight!
For our main dish, we’re going to be looking at each brand’s best-equipped machine. In Nespresso’s case, it would be the Creatista Plus, an upgraded version of their Creatista model, Nespresso’s most impressive machine to date, from their OriginalLine.
In Lavazza’s case, they have gone straight from low-medium range to a coffee shop, professional-quality machine: The Lavazza Blue 2317. The design of this machine puts Lavazza right up there with names like Breville or De’Longhi. Let’s take a look at each machine’s features:
The LB 2317:
- Water tank capacity up to 1 gallon
- Touch display with one-touch recipes such as cappuccino
- Used capsule capacity: up to 25
- Smart USB for data download and machine maintenance
- Exclusive hot water spout, making it tea-friendly
- Removable milk frothing device: Insert only when you need it, throw it in the dishwasher once used
The Creatista Plus:
- Water tank capacity: 60 ounces
- Digital display which operates with a dial/button
- Used capsule capacity: up to 12
In terms of display, Lavazza’s does a much better job. The display is tactile and has the right position at the front of the machine while the Creatista’s display is situated at the top of the machine. This can make it awkward to operate depending on where you’ve put the machine.
The steam pipe is a delightful feature for Nespresso’s Creatista. However, the fact that one can remove Lavazza’s frother at any time makes it infinitely better and much more convenient to use whenever you need to.
Creatista’s size is significantly smaller, which makes it more appropriate for home use. The LB 2317 is a considerably big machine, and you will need to make room for it, though it compensates by being spacious enough for you to brew two coffees at the same time with its dual espresso function while frothing milk simultaneously.
Although we favor Creatista’s highly customizable features, the LB 2317 comes out on top this time, with an incredible amount of firepower, being able to brew up to 20 coffees in a row, double thermoblock, and a superior display.
Again, lastly, let’s talk about money. In this case, the difference is very much worth it: Lavazza’s LB 2317 capacity and power is several times that of the Creatista Plus, and it sells at less than double the price of the latter, which can be found at approximately 400 dollars, and the current price of the Lavazza is around 700.
The winner: The Lavazza Blue 2317!
Although the Lavazza machine is superior (technically), the issue of what kind of use you’re going to give the machine remains. Though the LB 2317 is an exceptional coffee maker, it is not nearly as home-friendly as the Creatista.
The Creatista is a much more appropriate machine to have at home, as it is relatively small, and it is compact to avoid making too much mess. In contrast, the LB 2317 has an enormous output capacity, easily being able to handle the workload of a small coffee house on its own.
Sudden death round: The Essenza Plus vs The LB Compact
With both machines having virtually the same dimensions and weight, we have chosen these two to break the current tie we have between Lavazza vs Nespresso for their closeness in the price range and quality.
Both machines are for home use as they are quite small. The LB Compact is a machine that advertises great coffee as long as you use only Lavazza’s capsule coffee. They are so fixated on this point that the 1-year warranty becomes nullified if one uses just one capsule by another manufacturer.
Now, let’s look at each machine individually.
The Essenza Plus:
- Water tank’s capacity: 33.8 ounces
- Pressure power: 19 bars
- One-touch order: A programmable button to order coffee whenever you’re low. After you’ve programmed the order, just one push of the button will make the order for you.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Descaling alarm
- Used capsule capacity: 11.
The LB Compact:
- Water tank’s capacity 40 ounces
- Heat-up time: 25 seconds
- Alarm to let you know when you’re running low on water.
- Adjustable cup-support rack for use with cups of any size or shape.
- Used capsule capacity: up to 8 pods.
As far as coffee options go, the Essenza has four different options, while the LB compact has only two (though buttons are programmable).
All in all, both machines are excellent choices for home use, but we’re going to give the win to Nespresso’s Essenza. Nespresso won us over with the One-Touch Order function, plus, the design is slicker vs that of Lavazza.
The victory goes to the Essenza Plus!
Even if we’ve declared Nespresso the victor, it all comes down to your personal choice. In the end, the difference between Nespresso vs Lavazza is not important as both offer excellent coffee quality. We’re only here to help you discern which of the two might suit your lifestyle and coffee style the best.
Considerations when choosing between a Nespresso machine vs a Lavazza machine:
1. Capsule coffee – Variety
When it comes to capsule coffee, one of its defining characteristics is how easy it is to change from one type of coffee to another. Usually, you’d have to pick a completely different batch of beans, replace the ones in the grinder with those beans, grind them—- you get the picture. And, if by the time you want another coffee you decide you want another roast, it would be a tedious process. It could even mean having to use another brewing method.
With capsule coffee, changing from one type of coffee to another is ridiculously easy. And that’s the charm. Nespresso, for example, offers four basic espresso capsules:
- Cosi A blend of East African with central and south American coffee beans which have been roasted “lightly,” which suggests blonde roast.
- Volluto A mix of Brazilian and Colombian coffee, this espresso is defined by light fruity notes and sweetness. Light roast.
- Capriccio Offers a balanced cup, with a rich cereal-like flavor. It is comprised of South American Arabica with a touch of lightly roasted Robusta.
- Livanto This mix of Central and South American beans comes for lovers of darker roasts, yet it has a pleasant caramel taste that lingers, making for a bittersweet drink.
That’s quite impressive, but now let’s see some of the espresso capsules that Lavazza has to offer:
- Espresso Deciso It is made with a combination of Brazilian and Southeast Asian beans. This coffee boasts of a strong flavor complimented by rich cocoa and wood notes. Very dark roast.
- Espresso Decaffeinato Soave The antithesis of the Deciso, this espresso is much gentler, has a velvety cream and hints of chocolate. Very light roast.
- Espresso Ricco Literally “tasty espresso,” this blend of Arabica and Robusta creates a very dense espresso which offers a rich taste combining chocolate and liqueur. Medium roast.
- Espresso Dolce This blend is made to bring out an enchanting sweet aroma and taste in coffee and also producing a thick and long-lasting crema.
Lavazza makes a great emphasis on their coffee. Although it grows in several different locations worldwide, processing takes place exclusively in Italy. And make no mistake, this matters a lot. Much of a coffee beans flavor and aromatic properties come out during processing, and Lavazza’s coffee has been famously top-quality for decades.
2. Capsule coffee – Availability
Nespresso can be hard to find due to restrictions of sales to exclusive stores. However, Nespresso has gone above and beyond to make up for this by establishing an ordering service that lets you order your capsule coffee whenever you feel like it.
The number of stores where you can find Nespresso keep expanding combined with the fact that you can order online or via telephone 24/7, set up an auto-delivery, or even use the One-Touch Order function.
Lavazza capsule coffee is a different story. There are availability restrictions depending on where you live. This makes online ordering the only viable choice if you have a Lavazza machine. Even then, the ordering experience and delivery service of Lavazza are quite lacking in vs Nespresso’s outstanding customer service and experience.
Lavazza vs Nespresso: So who’s the real winner?
The answer is we don’t know. We certainly would prefer between Nespresso vs Lavazza, but there are times when that opinion changes. To sum it up, Nespresso has a wider range of choices. There is capsule coffee, which has many different varieties and offers two types of capsules: the traditional capsules and the vertuoline capsules, which are better in quality but require a special machine to brew them.
Lavazza, however, offers a coffee that deserves a label of the specialty coffee of the capsule coffee world, with very exclusive blends processed with the most traditional Italian methods, right in Italy.
When we talk machines, the lead that Nespresso has is overwhelming. They have machines that accommodate any preference, lifestyle, and space— Lavazza so far has only three machines out. In the long run, this difference is bound to become more pronounced. Though as long as Lavazza keeps putting out extraordinary machines such as their LB 2317, “quality over quantity.”
Thanks for learning with us today! Drop a comment down below on what your favorite capsule-coffee contender is!
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