Aldi has launched a cheap coffee machine that offers Nespresso-style coffee fans a budget alternative to the official machines. The Ambiano Coffee Capsule machine costs just £50 and can be used with Nespresso or compatible capsules.
Nespresso machines are usually made by a handful of approved manufacturers, including Magimix, Krups, DeLonghi and KitchenAid. Prices start from around £80 for the cheapest model in the range, and go up to around £400.
While Nespresso-compatible capsules are widely available these days, Aldi’s coffee machine is one of few Nespresso-compatible machines we’ve seen.
The Ambiano coffee machine is in Aldi stores and on its website from today, and is available while stocks last. Is it worth snapping up? Get our verdict in the Aldi Ambiano coffee machine first look review.
How Nespresso and other capsule machines work
Capsule or pod machines make coffee by pumping hot, pressurised water through a small hole in the capsule and into your cup. Unlike traditional coffee machines, where you need to prepare and measure the coffee manually, capsule machines tend to be quick, clean and convenient to use.
Most capsule coffee machines only take a particular brand of capsule, although they usually have a range of different coffee flavours to choose from. The three most popular brands are Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Nespresso and Tassimo. While Nespresso focuses on coffee, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto offer a wider range of drinks including hot chocolate and tea.
If you like trying out coffee styles and roasts, the rise of compatible capsules means that a Nespresso machine could offer the most potential for variety. To find out more about different coffee capsule brands, see our coffee capsule comparison guide.
The ongoing cost of capsule coffee machines
Buying a capsule coffee machine can be cheaper in the short term, as there’s plenty of choice under the £100 mark. But they are the most expensive way to make coffee once you get them home.
Nespresso capsules usually cost around 28-31p per pod, and some other coffee pod brands can cost up to 50p a pop. You can only buy Nespresso’s official capsules from its website or a dedicated Nespresso store. However, compatible pods are available from a variety of supermarkets and online retailers. The cheapest we’ve seen is Aldi’s own-brand pods, which are 18p each.
We taste-tested a number of Nespresso-compatible capsules in 2016 – see which ones impressed our coffee experts in our round-up of the best Nespresso-compatible capsules.
Which Nespresso machine is right for you?
There is a wide range of Nespresso machines to choose from. Generally, the cheaper models have smaller water tanks and capsule bins, and less in the way of features. Pricier models will have a larger capacity, and extras such as milk-frothing and the ability to customise your drinks.
Their larger capacities may mean you spend less time emptying and filling the machine, but this needs to be balanced with the additional space they will take up on your countertop.
See how the different machines compare in our independent Nespresso coffee machine reviews.