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Inside the Nespresso Essenza Mini with CT scans

Edited by
December 12, 2022

Nespresso’s mission has always been to allow anyone to make great coffee without the skills of a barista. But first, they had to figure out the secret to the perfect shot of espresso. Back in 1975, its founder Éric Favre interrogated a barista at Rome’s famous Caffè Sant’Eustachio, asking what they were doing differently to make Italians and tourists alike line up around the block for their coffee. The key turned out to be aeration; the baristas would pump the piston several times in quick succession instead of just the usual once. This brought out the flavors and aromas of the ground coffee beans and ensured a frothy crema on top. Favre’s initial prototype aimed to maximize the air in both the capsule and the water that would pass through it.

Nespresso’s best selling machine of all time is the top-loading Essenza, released in 2004. This holiday season, everyone has the sleek new Essenza Mini on their wishlists. Favre’s original design lives on in this model, and our CT scans illuminate the components of the all-important vibratory pump that injects pressurized hot water into the pod. An electromagnet switches poles 60 times per second, pushing a spring-loaded piston back and forth.

After you load the pod and bring the metal lever down, a sharply pointed spout pierces one end of it, while a waffle-shaped stamp cuts a cross hatch into the foil seal. This extraction chamber is where the magic happens and the espresso develops its character.

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

We featured the Nespresso Essenza Mini in our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide. Check out CT scans of the other gifts here!

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