So you’ve decided to buy a single serve coffee maker. You like the speed and convenience, and they don’t take up much space.
You’ve even chosen the brand – you’ve heard great things about the quality of Nespresso machines. And you’ve narrowed it down to two final models…
It’s the Nespresso Citiz vs the Pixie. Which one do you pick?
We’ll walk you through the similarities and differences. And when we’ve finished, you’ll have everything you need to make your final choice.
Nespresso Citiz Vs Pixie - The basics
Let’s start by looking at how you use these machines.
They’re both single serve coffee machines that use pods to make your brew. That makes them really quick and easy to use.
All you have to do is choose your pod, drop it in the machine and push a button. It takes only seconds and it is literally impossible to make a bad cup of coffee.
If you prize speed and convenience, that makes both models good options. But if you’re the kind of person who enjoys making graphs of brew ratios and extraction times, look elsewhere.
You won’t be able to customize your coffee, and there’s no scope for experimentation.
Choice of pods
Both the Citiz and the Pixie are part of the original line of Nespresso models. That means you’ll have more flexibility with your choice of the coffee pod than with Nespresso’s Vertuo machines.
The Vertuo line was launched in 2017 and introduced barcode reading technology. The machines take special pods with barcodes on the lids that tell the machine how to use them.
By that we mean, how much water to add, how hot it should be, and how long to infuse the coffee.
That all sounds great, until you realize it also means you can only use pods manufactured by Nespresso.
With the original line, on the other hand, you can take your choice from a whole host of compatible pods. And many of them are much less expensive than the Nespresso versions.
Yes, you’ll have to press the right button to go with your espresso or lungo pod. But that feels like a small price to pay for greater choice.
And unlike Vertuo machines, the brewing process doesn’t feature any spinning pods. Hot water is simply forced through the coffee grounds.
The pressure used is about 19 bars – more than enough to satisfy the definition of espresso.
As a result, the crema from both machines is similar to the dense, smooth consistency of traditional espresso. With a Vertuo model, you’ll have a frothier effect.
Both the Citiz and the Pixie are stylish machines. The Citiz was apparently modeled on the architecture of Chicago in the 1930s and has more than a touch of art deco glamour.
You can easily imagine it on the kitchen counter of some bright young thing in a flapper dress.
The Pixie has similarly curved toplines, but is more squat in appearance. That 1930s Chicago feel has given way to more of a 1950s diner vibe.
If color is important to you, both machines have plenty of options. The Citiz is available in glossy black, white, silver, chrome and cherry red.
The Pixie comes in titanium and electric red (with ridged side panels), and electric aluminum and carmine (with smooth sides).
Either way, there’s plenty of choices to fit with your kitchen décor.
Neither machine will demand much space. The Citiz is, though, slightly larger. The difference in height may be most important, with the Citiz almost 14cm taller.
If you’ve got restricted space beneath wall cupboards, the Pixie may be the better bet.
Take a look at this YouTube video to see the two machines next to each other.
The reservoirs for both machines are made of clear plastic and sit behind the brewer. The Pixie’s reservoir is the smaller of the two, holding 24 ounces of water. The Citiz holds 34 ounces.
The Pixie compensates with an alert when the tank is nearly empty. Funky red backlights light up along the sides of the machine. You don’t get those with the Citiz.
Both machines allow you to programme the two serving sizes they offer. Adjusting the volumes can allow you to use up all the water in a set number of cups.
Of course, for some people, the strength of the coffee will determine how much water you add for each serving.
But for the OCD amongst us, avoiding the need to refill the reservoir when there’s still water in the bottom can be very satisfying!
Like everything else about operating these machines, programming them is simple. Just keep your finger on the button while the water is dispensed.
When it reaches your desired level, release the button and the machine will remember for next time.
The cup stands of both models will fold flat against the machine to accommodate a larger cup.
That does mean you’ll be putting your cup on the countertop – and that’s where any drips will go too.
If you’ve got a wooden worktop, it’s not ideal. On the other hand, it keeps both machines very compact.
Neither of these is heavy coffee makers. You won’t have to worry about reinforced countertops as with some espresso machines!
The Pixie is the lighter of the two, coming in at just a smidge over six pounds. The Citiz weighs in at seven and a half.
They also have different lengths of the power cord. There’s an extra foot of cable with the Citiz.
These are both simple machines that only heat up as much water as you need for a single cup. There’s no need to worry about a hot plate to keep anything warm.
And there’s no flash LCD display that’s always on. All of these things mean they’re pretty energy efficient.
They also have an auto shut-off feature to save power when they’re not in use. They’ll switch themselves off after nine minutes to save energy and money.
And if that’s too fast for you, you can extend the time to up to half an hour.
There’s really no need to do that, however. It takes a mere 25 seconds after powering up for the machine to heat up and be ready to go.
And the energy saving mode means you’ll be using 40 percent less power than an A-rated appliance.
One thing that puts some consumers off single serve coffee machines is the environmental impact. Yes, they’re energy efficient – but they generate lots of waste from those little pods.
Nespresso fares slightly better than some other models in this respect. The pods here are made of aluminum rather than plastic, and they can be recycled.
Unfortunately, though, not all recycling plants can deal with them. There are various postal services that allow you to send off your empties for a cost.
The reality, though, is that this is sufficiently inconvenient that many customers won’t bother.
And if you’re concerned about ethical business, look into Nestlé’s track record when it comes to their baby milk formula.
Their tactics in promoting this in developing countries have attracted severe criticism.
It’s an issue that’s dogged the company since the 1970s, and continues to this day.
Cleaning and maintenance
Both machines are pretty easy to keep clean. The Pixie has a descaling alarm, while the Citiz doesn’t.
But in both cases, you should expect to descale every six months or so. If you live in a hard water area, it will be more like once a quarter.
Take a look at this YouTube video to see how to do it.
Some other single serve coffee machines seem to have problems with the needle that pierces the pod becoming clogged with coffee grounds. It’s a pain and requires cleaning with a straightened out paperclip.
Happily, we haven’t heard of any of these issues with Nespresso. So if you invest in either a Pixie or a Citiz, your cleaning programme shouldn’t require much effort.
For machines that use pods, a convenient way of storing empties is a must. As you might expect with coffee makers of this size, their containers aren’t the largest.
You’ll still be able to make a fair number of cups, though, before having to empty them.
The Pixie will hold 10 empty pods, while the Citiz will hold 11.
Extra Differences between Nespresso Citiz and Pixie
Neither of these machines will handle milk, but if you enjoy a latte or a cappuccino consider a separate frother.
The Nespresso Aeroccino is easy to use and the latest versions allow you to select different levels of foam.
There are a number of packages incorporating both the coffee maker and the Aeroccino. So if you enjoy white coffee, it’s worth spending some time browsing to get a good deal.
Ready to choose?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our comparison of the Nespresso Citiz and Pixie.
These are two machines with a lot in common, but there are a number of small differences too.
- If you’re looking for the ultimate space saver, go for the Pixie.
- If you’re looking for art deco style, the Citiz is for you.
Whatever option you choose, you’ll be getting a fast, convenient and stylish coffee maker. We hope you enjoy using it!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Ag Ferrari, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.