Photos Courtesy of NespressoMost people are pretty picky about their coffee. Whether you take it with cream, half ‘n’ half, sugar, Splenda, decaf, soy, a squirt of caramel syrup or a dash of cinnamon, there is an 83% chance that you drink the stuff if you live in the United States. No matter your preference, there is one thing we can all agree on: there is no one-pot-fits all. The scenario leaves regular consumers with essentially three choices: put up with cheap coffee that is not quite right; spend a ton on prepared or to-go varieties; or step into the 21st century and purchase a one-cup coffee maker.
As one of the one-cuppers myself, I am here to tell you that the 13% of us tapped into the future of coffee are enjoying every last drop. Personally, I own the Nespresso U (pictured below): a slick machine with smart design that fits well into a corner — or even a nightstand should you be so inclined. Yeah, that’s a thing actually, along with bathroom counters, closets and dressing areas. Why go all the way to the kitchen when you can have your coffee on the go while getting ready?
A Nespresso machine bears little resemblance to a typical coffee maker. And as you might guess they both produce vastly different results. Unless you have had the pleasure of indulging in a freshly brewed cup, it’s almost difficult to convey how nice a Nespresso coffee is, especially when you throw in a thick layer of milk froth.
Eight models are currently on offer ranging from the tiny Pixie to the more robust (and more barista-feeling) Latissima. The latter of the two is larger mainly because it has an attached Aeroccino Plus to froth milk, while for smaller models like Pixie there is one available separately, saving on counter space. All of the models are super easy to use: fill the water basin (assuming you need to, they hold enough for several cups), drop in a coffee capsule, place your cup below the drip and turn on the machine. It takes about 30 seconds to heat the water and a few more to fill the cup, so all in all you have a steaming cup of delicious Nespresso coffee in under a minute.
In terms of taste, a fresh cup of Nespresso makes what the best average coffee maker produces look like bitter black water. I was surprised by how beautiful the crema was and what an amazing difference it makes when you take a second to froth some milk. Crema, for anyone who is not wholly familiar with the world of good coffee, is that light froth that you only see on a cup made well (and most likely at some cute café). For the milk froth, Nespresso keeps the Aeroccinos super simple, with a one-button design for either hot or cold (press for hot, hold for cold). Plus you can throw anything you want in it, from soy or almond milk to half ‘n' half or skim. On a side note, if you want to learn how to make those cool designs like the baristas do, an Aeroccino is an integral part to the process, so make sure to snag a machine that has one attached or offers it in a bundle.
There are 19 different roasts, known as Grand Cru, to choose from. Naturally they each vary in strength, with notes from chocolate or nuttiness to orange and bourbon. Despite the number of choices in flavor, Nespresso only uses coffee beans from the top one percent available in the world and the production process is riddled with quality testing. For the majority the beans come out of South America, namely Brazil and Colombia, but they can also be sourced from places like India and Africa depending on the blend. On occasion, the brand releases limited edition capsules like 2012’s Kona Blends, hailing of course from Hawaii.
According to the National Coffee Association, of the 83% of Americans that consume coffee, just over 10% are using one-cup coffee makers, leaving the majority spending a ton on prepared and to-go coffee or going the less expensive (and less tasty) route by brewing a typical pot at home or work. That number has grown by 2% in the last year and it's really no surprise. Once you try it you will never want to go back, so as the word gets out I expect that number will continue to rise.
Nespresso machines are priced between $99-$699 and there are all sorts of fun accessories available from cups to capsule holders. Shortly we will also be giving away a Pixie machine and Aeroccino Plus paired with a sampling of capsules, so stay tuned to enter!
Full disclosure: For 2013, I have been invited to be a Nespresso Club Blogger and will be bringing you news, reviews and all sorts of fun coverage in relation to the brand. My commitment is to bring you that coverage from a totally unbiased perspective; you will only ever read my true opinions.