Nespresso® Machines and Nespresso® capsules fit together like very loose jigsaw puzzle pieces. The pyramidal shape, and matching slot in Nespresso® machines, along with the capsules’ extruded Aluminium construction, are patented by Nespresso®. Most Nespresso®-compatible polypropylene or plastic capsules are therefore made with a flat rather than pyramidal top.
The practical result of this small design difference is that Nespresso®-compatible capsules fit a Nespresso® machine capsule slot to about 90% accuracy rather than 95% accuracy with Nespresso® capsules (YES, Nespresso® capsules drop through too !), which can occasionally create a tendency for misalignment as compatible capsules are dropped into the machine. This is EASILY overcome by paying a little attention to capsule insertion technique.
Compatible capsule pushed into machine slot, drops straight through into capsule disposal container, where Nespresso® capsule stays in place.
Solution: Don’t push the Nespresso®-Compatible capsule into place in the machine. Let it settle into place, otherwise it will drop straight through. Ensure capsule is aligned with compression head before closing the lever. If necessary, press the wide end of the capsule towards the front of the machine with your finger after you drop it in, before closing the lever, to ensure proper alignment as the lever is closed. Obviously, remove your finger before closing the lever !
Compatible capsule dropped into Nespresso® capsule slot tilts down or sideways and thus becomes out of alignment with compression chamber, where Nespresso® capsule stays aligned. Then when lever is being closed, it feels like its being forced to close.
Solution: open lever again and reposition Nespresso®-Compatible capsule. If necessary, press the wide end of the capsule towards the front of the machine with your finger after you drop it in, before closing the lever, to ensure proper alignment as the lever is closed. Close and lock lever and proceed as normal.
Lever closure feels forced: Caffesso makes its capsules of polypropylene rather than Aluminium, although the bottom foil of the compatible capsule is made of the same aluminium foil which is easily pierced by the Nespresso® machine. However, capsules may feel different in the machine lever-closure action.
When the lever on top of the Nespresso® machine is pressed down you align with the extraction unit, at the same time as puncturing the bottom of the capsule ready for coffee extraction. With Caffesso capsules, you don’t need to puncture the top of the capsule as precision perforations which maximise extraction flow through the coffee are already in the top of the capsule. So if the lever feels like its being forced with Nespresso®-Compatible capsules, its not ! This is the difference between capsule alignment mechanisms grasping the plastic ‘hips’ of the capsule rather than soft aluminium.
Solution: As long as you have your capsule properly aligned (see above), press the lever down until it locks. You will feel the pins ‘pop’ through the base foil as the capsule is simultaneously positioned correctly within the extraction unit. And proceed to make your Caffesso™ espresso as normal !
Bear in mind, Nespresso® compatible capsules will not damage a Nespresso® machine just because they’re plastic. In any contest between the strength of steel vs. plastic, steel always wins !