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Nespresso is best known for its single serve coffee makers, but over the past few years the company has stepped up its game and moved into the luxury coffee market.
The Nespresso Gran Maestria C520 espresso maker pairs the single serve concept with a 19-bar pump to create espresso and espresso-based drinks in the comfort of your own kitchen. Nespresso has coupled the Gran Maestria with its Grand Cru coffee capsules to deliver a coffee experience that approaches the level of coffee you find made by skilled baristas in the best coffee shops.
Nespresso Gran Maestria Specs
Dimensions: 15.2 x 12.6 x 11.9 inches
Weight: 15 pounds
Materials: Fully aluminum body, silver finish
Pump: 19 bars
Heating: Thermo-block element
Tank Capacity: 47 oz, removable
Nespresso Gran Maestria C520 Features:
The literature for the Nepresso Gran Maestria makes a number of claims and points out some of its most attractive features. They include:
If you want excellent espresso with little fuss, the Nespresso Gran Maestria espresso maker is the machine for you. There’s no need to fiddle with measurements, no fussing with tamping pressure and no temperature surfing involved. You just turn on the Gran Maestria, drop in a capsule, turn a dial to set the size of your coffee and in less than two minutes, you have a great espresso, doppio or latte ready to drink. When you combine the convenience and ease of the Maestrio with the variety of Nespresso Grand Crus coffee capsules, you get a total coffee shop experience on your kitchen counter.
In the Box
The Nespresso Gran Maestria includes an integrated Aericcino 4 milk frother that fits right onto the base of the machine. It also ships with an introductory sleeve of 16 Nespresso capsules so that you can try out the full variety of Nespresso Grand Crus coffee selections.
With rounded corners and domed tops, the Gran Maestria has a lovely retro-50s feel that manages to maintain a contemporary edge. The solid aluminum construction and stainless steel boiler give the machine a solidity and heft that make it feel sturdy and well-made. The true style-setter for the Maestria, though, is the Aeroccino milk frother, with its corrugated silo-like shape sitting to the right of the espresso maker. A cup warmer, which almost seems like a throwaway feature – until the first time you use it – balances the milk frother on the left side of the machine. Overall, its style and shape will bring a little luxury cachet to any kitchen setting.
Unlike many other espresso machines in its class, the Nespresso Gran Maestria doesn’t come with a quick-start guide, so you have to muddle your way through the instruction manual. That’s not as bad as it sounds – the instructions are quick and easy to follow, and everything is clearly labeled for ease of use. The water reservoir is easy to remove, fill and replace, which can be a problem in machines of this type but isn’t with the Gran Meastria. Once you’ve set up the machine and filled the water reservoir, it only takes about a minute to cycle water through the machine and heat it up to prepare for your first shot of espresso. You’ll know that it’s ready when the light on the front of the machine turns on.
Pulling a Shot
The phrase “pulling a shot” is a bit of a misnomer, since really, you’re turning a knob and pushing a button. You simply select the volume setting you want from the five available settings, from 25ml for an espresso to 150ml for a lungo, drop a capsule into the top of the machine, place a cup under the spout and press the button.
The signature feature of the Gran Maestria – and what distinguishes it from the Nespresso Maestria C520 – is the Aeroccino milk frother. The Aeroccino froths up to 12 ounces of milk at four different settings so that you can steam milk for lattes, froth it for a macchiato, cold milk froth and hot milk froth. It’s a major step up from wrestling with a steam wand.
A second feature that really makes the Nespresso Gran Maestria a standout is the cup warmer. Unlike the passive “cup warmers” found on many espresso machines, the integrated cup warmer on the Gran Maestria warms your cup on demand with a stream of steaming water immediately before you draw your shot.
The Nespresso Gran Maestria delivers a consistently good shoot of espresso, thanks to the pre-measured capsules of high-quality coffee. Your selection is limited to the varieties offered by Nespresso, but the selection is pretty comprehensive. As long you’re happy with the selection offered by Nespresso – including a number of special limited edition Grand Crus that you can enjoy throughout the year.
The Bottom Line:
The Gran Maestria’s $699 price tag puts it in line with the typical mid-range espresso machine, but it delivers on features that most mid-range machines don’t provide. If you like the Nespresso range of coffee and prefer a no-muss, no-fuss coffee experience, the Nespresso Gran Maestria might be the perfect machine for you.