If you don't like the waste of Nespresso-compatible pods, nor the price of the official recyclable units, the Capsulier Lite will pique your interest. This machine can fill its special CAPSI pods with normal ground coffee. When you get it right it works, but this machine is fiddly to use. It's also frustrating that only a single CAPSI pod is included in the box, with additional pods super-expensive to buy.
- Simple operation
- Cuts down on waste
- Needs the right grind
- Only a single pod provided
- Nespresso capsules tasted better to us
- Review Price: £99
- 93 x 210 x 145mm
- 1 x CAPSI capsule (Nespresso compatible)
- Requires ground coffee
If you don’t like the prices of original Nespresso capsules, nor the waste of the plastic compatibles, the Capsulier Lite could be of interest. This small machine lets you fill your own reusable Nespresso-compatible pods, letting you save money by using coffee beans and putting a halt to waste.
On the surface this seems like a great idea. However, the slightly cheap build quality, only a single capsule in the box, and slightly fiddly configuration leads to uneven results – and means that you’re either better off buying the real thing, or getting a proper espresso machine.
Capsulier Lite design and features – Simple to use but cheaply made
The Capsulier Lite is an entirely mechanical machine, so you don’t need to plug it in. It’s exceptionally light thanks to its thin plastic body. But this also means it doesn’t feel particularly robust: carrying the machine around, the handle on the side popped out and I had to clip it back into place.
Inside the box, you get a single CAPSI cup, which is a metal Nespresso-compatible pod that comes predrilled with holes to let water flow through the coffee. Traditional Nespresso pods are punctured by a series of needles, which provides the advantage of the coffee being sealed in for freshness. Even if you had more CAPSI pods, which cost £27 for two, you couldn’t store them for very long as the coffee will go off.
Instead, the Capsulier Lite is designed to be used just before you make a coffee. In this regard, it’s simple enough to use – although a bit fiddly. You pour ground coffee into the container at the top, then slide the CAPSI (minus lid) into the holder at the front. Pulling the handle up and down slides the capsule back and fills it with just the right amount of coffee (around 5g), then tamps it at the end. I say “tamp”, but I’d advise against using a lot of pressure since the handle feels weak.
With this job done, you have to remove the pod from the machine. This can be fiddly, since the opening is so small that it’s hard to get your hand in. Once out, the lid goes on and you’re ready to go.
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Capsulier Lite performance – Fiddly to get the right grind and flavour lags behind proper pods
It’s crucial that you use the right grind for the Capsulier Lite. If you go with a traditional espresso grind for a manual espresso machine, you’ll find that a Nespresso machine can’t cope. My old Pixie managed to squeeze out some coffee and grounds, but then halted as it couldn’t muster enough pressure.
A coarser grind does a better job, with the Nespresso pouring properly this time. However, the resulting drink was on the watery side, lacking the full flavour I’d have achieved with a manual espresso machine.
Trying to get the balance between a fine enough grind for decent espresso yet coarse enough for a Nespresso machine is fiddly then. Typically, manual espresso machines are more forgiving of variations in grind, as you can compensate by how you tamp.
One of the benefits of buying proper Nespresso capsules is that they’ve used the perfect grind and tamp for the blend, with the machines designed to extract a 25ml espresso from 5.5g of coffee.
Once you’ve made a coffee, the CAPSI drops into the Nespresso machine’s bin, from where you have to fish it out to reuse it. Be careful if you want to reuse it immediately, since used capsules are very hot: another reason that the Capsulier Lite should ship with at least two CAPSI pods.
Should I buy the Capsulier Lite?
What sounds like a great idea is marred by fiddly operation, the provision of only a single pod, and the difficulty of getting the right grind (or buying the right type of coffee in a shop). Then, there’s the matter of space: to use the system to its maximum ability you need a Nespresso machine, a coffee grinder and the Capsulier Lite. If you buy a manual espresso machine then you just need a grinder and the coffee machine – and you’ll get better results.
If you’re going to buy a Nespresso machine, then accept that you’ll have to pay a bit more for the pods, and make sure that you use the recycling options: with free collection, in-store drop-off and pre-paid postage options, there’s no excuse.