Ultimate coffee machine usability

By Laurence Veale | 9 Comments

There are quite a few coffee connoisseurs here in the office so we decided to put some real research into the purchase of a coffee machine. We decided on the Krups Nespresso coffee machine and below we’ll explain why.

Our “usability” requirements

1. Superior coffee requirement

First and foremost, we wanted superior coffee. No instant stuff for our delicate palates. Our existing coffee filter just wasn’t cutting it in the flavour department.

2. Low maintenance

The coffee was mediocre at best. Cleaning the old filter machine was a tiresome task, leaving coffee powder all over the sink.

We were drinking mediocre coffee for a lot of effort.

Coffee machine peer analysis

So our requirements for a new coffee machine were fairly clear:

  • good coffee
  • low maintenance

Brian Donohue, our Senior Coffee Machine Usability Analyst had previously worked as a barista in Melbourne, Australia. Armed with the above requirements, Brian took on the task of putting different coffee machines through their paces by spending a couple of hours examining, disassembling various coffee machines and hassling staff in Brown Thomas.

The clear winner: the Krups Nespresso

The Krups Nespresso (XN2009) was the one we went for and here are some of the reasons why:

  • It uses coffee which comes in small single serve capsules: no wastage.
  • It has only two buttons, on/off and pour.
  • On lifting the handle to insert a new capsule of coffee, it ejects the previously used capsule in the same action.
  • All the old capsules are collected in container, no coffee granules all over the sink.

Krups Nespresso machine

We’re not limited to one type of coffee either. When we buy them online at nespresso.com, we have a choice of 13 types of coffee, including decaf.

Photo of some of the Nespresso coffee capsules

Need help choosing your Nespresso coffee capsules?

Screenshot of nespresso website showing the coffee picker widget

The main compromise: vendor lock-in

If there is one downside it could be vendor lock-in, a concession one must sometimes be prepared to accept.

In fact, Nespresso actively encourage this by providing an online community called the Nespresso Club.

Screenshot of nespresso club website

The benefits of joining are:

To ensure you can always enjoy a perfect espresso, everyday, sign up for an e-mail alert to avoid running out of capsules – based on your consumption habits, we can send you an e-mail alert to notify you when your capsule stock is coming to an end.

The customer experience doesn’t end with you buying the machine, but continues with you engaging with the Nespresso brand as you continue to drink your coffee.

“Blending” the physical coffee machine with a really great online user experience is a very clever marketing strategy for Nespresso, and something that has got us hooked.

Prefer to have your coffee served to you?

Try Dublin Web Designer Eoghan McCabe’s OpenCoffee every two weeks in the Morrisson Hotel, Dublin.


9 responses to “Ultimate coffee machine usability

  1. User Test #1 – I’ve been a Nespresso fan since I lived in france where these machines are everywhere. They are the way forward in quality coffee preparation in the home. They are virtually maintenance free and produce perfect coffee every time. Unlike other espresso machines they use a Thermoblock to heat the water instantly so there is no heating up time. For me there is no worthy competition out there at the moment. Their Boutique in Brown Thomas in Dublin is well worth a visit where one can sample one (or all for that matter!)of the 12 blends which Nespresso offer.

  2. I have one at home. It has three buttons but the usability is not overly affected. A great machine…the ipod of the coffee-making world.

  3. Not sure I like the vendor lock-in. Sounds a bit like convenience over access to a full world of coffee options. And the capsules have got to work out more expensive per cup than buying the beans yourself. But for an office it makes sense. I’m saving my pennies for a Rancilio Silva, but then you need an expensive burr grinder to go with it too. It’s a slippery slope, this high-end coffee stuff.

  4. I love these machines as well. First I thought as well that it would turn out more expensive but if you consider that the machine is only 149 euros and a capsule is only 33 cents, it’s well worth it for a great cup of coffee.

  5. David, vendor lock-in isn’t so bad when the quality of the coffee is actually great. Plus, for those of us not too interested in exploring the wider world of coffee, the constraints don’t feel like constraints.

  6. But what about all those empty capsules going into landfill? Very un-green of you. Tut tut.

  7. Absolutely no hassle! Great quality! Superb variety of coffee! The green make awesome cappuccinos. The gold are my favorite (very popular with everyone), just fantastic…and they are sustainable to boot – part of their AAA Program thingy…forget the landfills…we’re saving rainforests ;)

  8. Java Guy,

    the capsules are Alumimium and so can be recycled. Simply open the capsule,scoop the used coffee into your compost bin and dispose the capsules in with your cans and bottles!

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