Nespresso – The Best Coffee Machine – you never knew you needed.
I think over the years I have tried every style of coffee production available, machines and methods such as French Press, Gaggia, Pour & Serve, Cona, Drip Feed, Macchinetta, Turkish and the good old standby the Percolator, to name but a few.
I settled on the “Drip Feed” method because of cost and convenience for many years, but whilst all the methods had their individual drawbacks, from coffee grains leaching past the filter in the French Press, to the labor intensive Gaggia style operation, the biggest fault of all I tried was “Inconsistency”.
Take the drip feed for instance, first of all the selection of the coffee grade. I bought the whole beans and ground them at the market in the ratio one scoop Blue Mountain to two scoops Ristretto. This method relies on my scoops being the same size each time and the grinder operating correctly and at the right setting. I know, I could have bought a packet already ground but as you will see later freshness is one of the keys to a great coffee. Then the water to coffee content comes into play, how many measures of coffee to how many measures of water? After trial and error, you think you have got it right only to find the machine has retained more of the water than it usually does, result Mud! Also I have lost count of the number of glass jugs I have broken. I think you get the picture.
So when the Nespresso brand first hit the USA market I stayed far away thinking it was another fad of coffee production and not worth my attention. That was until I entered one of their “brand emporiums”.
These “Emporiums” are vast spaces totally dedicated to Nespresso in every aspect, from a café coffee shop to machine sales to accessories and coffee supplies. I first tried a Nespresso coffee in the café and was impressed with the amount of “Crema” (the layer of concentrated foam on the top of the coffee), previously this could only be produced by a Gaggia style machine after a lot of pressurizing the boiler, tamping the coffee and waiting patiently whilst the coffee drips through the outlet.
My coffee the next morning from the” Old Faithful” drip feed seemed to pale against the Nespresso of the previous day, so I did my homework. There are a lot of pod coffee machines out there but most are just simply a measure of coffee sealed in a pod and then the technology reverts to basically drip feed. The only positive factors are the consistency of the measure and freshness of a sealed coffee pod. You can of course have the benefit of variety, without having to buy in bulk and waste or risk the rest spoiling but most coffee lovers have their favorite and stick to it.
After research and a demonstration, I decided to buy the Nespresso VertuoLine and here’s why.
A Barista of long standing once told me the key facts to great coffee production are namely:
Freshly ground beans, ground to the correct consistency
Correct amount and temperature of the water (too hot will scald the coffee)
Cleanliness of all utensils and receptacles (Oils from previous coffee production can ruin your beverage).
So how does the VertuoLine measure up? Well the ground coffee is pressure sealed so is as fresh as possible, Nespresso pods can be purchased in Nespresso Boutiques and also on line, Nespresso boast a two business day shipping (Continental USA) so no need to stock pile pods and risk over age product.
There is a computer code under the lip of the pod that denotes the grade of coffee and the exact amount of water and temp required for each blend, no guess work.
Minimal cleaning required, no coffee jug just a clean mug or glass. Descaling is a breeze there is descaling mode on the machine, simply fill with the required liquid and the machine does the rest. Rinse through and you are good to go.
Speed, a great cup of coffee in seconds including time to warm up.
The VertuoLine was specially commissioned for the USA market and designed to produce a larger cup of coffee as opposed to the Espresso size that is usually associated with pod machines.
Lastly and in my mind most importantly, the Nespresso machine uses a centrifugal spinning force to extract the most from the coffee pod and this extrusion process creates the most “Crema” I have ever seen on a machine produced cup of coffee, and as it should be you drink the coffee through the foam.
So what about the cost of the pods versus the cost of loose ground coffee I hear you ask? Well, there is no doubt the pods cost more than loose coffee pound for pound, but when you factor in the amount wasted with the loose product through either over production or spoilage, burnt taste after being left on the hot plate for too long, or the disappointment caused through an inconsistent and poor cup of coffee, things start to balance out. Add the cost of broken glass jugs in my case, and the picture not only measures up but looks decidedly rosy.
Whatever your decision in regard to making that most American of beverage, coffee, the convenience and quality of the Nespresso product cannot be underestimated.
I never knew I wanted one or indeed needed one, and now cannot think of doing without one. I just wish I had thought of the idea before Nespresso. Oh well!