Fairly expensive and easiest to use with Nespresso’s own glasses, the Nespresso Atelier is a good coffee machine. The inclusion of a whisk means this machine can froth both hot and cold milk in a cup, presenting a wide choice of drinks that can be made with minimum mess.
- Automatic milk frothing
- Can make hot and cold drinks
- Great range of coffee
- Fiddly to use with your own mugs
- TypeAn original Nespresso pod machine, this model features automatic in-cup milk frothing
- DrinksYou can make ristretto, espresso and lungo coffees, plus mix hot and cold milk
If you’re a fan of the way the Nespresso Aeroccino froths milk, but you’d rather the job could be done automatically and clean up was easier, then the Nespresso Atelier could well be for you. This original Nespresso pod coffee machine steams and whisks milk directly in the mug, adding coffee thereafter. Capable of making hot and cold beverages, it can create some great recipes – but it’s best used with the bundled View glass to achieve the right mix of milk and coffee.
Design and features
- Wide range of recipes
- Clever storage
- Simple to use and maintain
Deep but not particularly wide, the Nespresso Atelier looks much like the company’s other pod machines, but there are a couple of telltale signs that this is different. Look on top and instead of a couple of buttons for dealing with espresso, there are nine recipe buttons.
Overall, this machine can make regular Nespresso coffee: lungo, espresso and ristretto. Hot drinks: hot foam, latte macchiato, cappuccino and mocha. It can even make cold drinks: cold foam and iced frappe.
This is possible because of the milk frother, which combines hot steam with the magnetically attached whisk, which can be hidden out of the way in the storage compartment behind the water tank.
You attach the whisk to the slot in the spout when you want to use it. You can slide the spout up and down, with the whisk positioned inside your mug so that it can froth milk in-situ, rather than in a separate container.
The advantage of using a whisk is that it can be used to froth cold milk, just as the regular Nespresso Aeroccino and the Aerolatte whisk. When the Atelier needs hot milk, it injects steam into the milk and then whisks it.
The result should be milk that’s similar to that produced in the Aerolatte or Barista, only it’s easier to clean up at the end, since most of ‘mess’ is in the cup from which you’ll drink.
Your main issue is trying to get the right amount of milk to make coffee. You get a Nespresso View glass in the box (it’s £19 per pair if you want to buy more), and a handy recipe card that shows you where on the cup you should fill milk for each recipe. As such, the process is simple enough if you have the right glasses.
Not that you can’t use your own mugs. You just need to ensure that they’re the right size: the opening has to be 7cm wide, you need to be able to fit in a minimum of 80ml of milk, and this amount shouldn’t exceed the halfway point of your mug. Using your own glasses and cups may require some experimentation to get right at first; it didn’t take me too long to work out how best to use my own cups with milk.
As with a regular Nespresso machine, using the Atelier is easy. Just pop the capsule into the holder at the top, stick your chosen cup or glass beneath and hit the correct recipe button.
There’s a 1-litre water tank at the back, which simply lifts out for easy filling. Given that Nespresso machines don’t use a huge amount of water, this tank will last for multiple drinks.
- Excellent range of capsules
- High-quality coffee
- Good temperatures
The main benefit of Nespresso machines is the wide range of pods available, both in traditional espresso volumes and the Lungo longer-drink variety. It’s the quality of the brew that counts and a Nespresso machine is capable of producing a quality shot of espresso, one that can rival what you you’d get with actual coffee beans and a manual machine.
Here, the quality is excellent. Delivering my shot of espresso at 67.9ºC, my drink was towards the hotter end of what I’d expect – although it’s hot enough to extract the maximum flavour from the capsules, but cool enough that you can drink it quickly.
Shot after shot, the Nespresso Atelier delivered the same volume of coffee from multiple pods. The only thing that’s missing is the ability to make a larger cup of coffee. For that, you’ll either need a Nespresso Vertuo Next with its larger pods, or you’ll have to top up the coffee with water from one of my top choice kettles.
- Excellent froth and microbubbles
- Velvety drinks
Steaming milk the traditional way is quite the artform and difficult to get right. Conversely, machines that froth automatically can struggle to get good results. Here, the combination of steam and whisking produced excellent results every time.
Making cappuccino, I first filled my View cup with milk to the right line, then pushed the whisk into the cup. Inserting a capsule of coffee. I hit the Cappuccino button and let the Atelier do the rest.
It whisked and heated the milk to a fine frothy consistency: the milk was a lovely velvety texture.
Next, the shot of espresso is added into the milk. It takes a little while for the drink to settle, and the foam on top is slightly tinged by the espresso, but the overall effect is pleasing.
The resulting cappuccino was excellent. The temperature was spot on, and the frothy head maintained its foam. I found the drink to be rich and smooth, with perfectly blended milk.
Of course, what you can’t do with automatic recipes is pour the milk in the way you want – say, for latte art. However, you could steam the milk in a jug first and free-pour into your coffee later if you wanted to do that.
- Largely takes care of itself
- Warns you when it’s time to descale
Used capsules drop out into the bin, which comes out when you pull out the drip tray. Regular Nespresso capsules tend to be a little bit wet, so every time you empty the bin (use the recycling service, since it’s free and guarantees everything is reused) you should also clean out the bin and drip tray.
Other than descaling the machine when the light comes on (you set water hardness using the provided testing strip in the box to adjust how often this is), there really isn’t much more that you have to do to maintain this coffee machine.
You can put the whisk in the dishwasher to clean it, but you should run the clean mode, too: you put a cup of water under the spout, dip the whisk into it and hit the clean button.
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Should you buy it?
If you’re after a Nespresso machine that can make milk drinks (hot and cold) with minimum, you’ll love this coffee machine.
It’s quite expensive and is easier to use if you have Nespresso’s glasses, so you may want something else if you want a bit more flexibility.
It’s quite expensive as far as Nespresso machines go, and given the milk texture you achieve here is similar to what you’d get from an Aeroccino machine, those on tighter budgets may be better off with a Nespresso machine and separate frother. However, the Atelier delivers the convenience of frothing and coffee pouring together in a package that’s easier to clean.
The main competition is from the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno, which automatically froths milk into a jug for free pouring. The advantage of the Creatista Uno is that it’s easier to use with your own mugs, but it does require a bit of skill to get things right, plus it can’t work with cold milk.
If you’re prepared to either use the Nespresso View glasses or experiment a little with your own mugs, the Atelier can produce excellent results with both hot and cold milk. If you’re after something different, check out my guide to the best coffee machines.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every coffee machine we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main coffee machine for the review period
Tested for at least a week
We roast our own beans for regular coffee machines, so we can fairly compare each machine; pod machines are tested with a variety of compatible capsules
Depending on capabilities, we test each machine’s ability to make espresso and cappuccino
This coffee machine works with the original Nespresso pods.
It can make espresso and drinks that use frothed milk (hot and cold).