Once you’ve had Nespresso, there’s no drinking regular joe.
BEST FOR LESS | A couple of years ago when the world fell apart and everyone began scrambling for ways to economize, personal finance journalists everywhere put No More $4 Lattes at the top of their Things to Axe list.
I don’t drink lattes, but I do love espresso and could drink professionally made Americanos all day long if it weren’t a stupid waste of money. Still, I didn’t need pundits to tell me to revert to home brew because I’d already found a less expensive, dead simple way to get a high-octane espresso fix.
A lot of coffee purists consider the $30 aluminum Bialetti the cheapest and best way to make great espresso at home. I possess one of these iconic stovetop contraptions but clearly not the skill required to make the most of it. Happily, my lack of technique has not been an issue since the summer of 2007, when, on a holiday in Manhattan, I wandered into the Nespresso Boutique Bar on Madison Avenue and tasted my first ever Nespresso espresso. It was love at first sip. Abandoning the Bialetti and all other modes of espresso delivery, I now make and drink Nespresso espresso exclusively at home.
So what is Nespresso espresso? For the uninitiated, Nespresso is a two-part coffee system comprising a cute little machine (say goodbye to your counter-hogging boiler-driven behemoth) and the hermetically sealed single-portion coffee-filled capsules that go in it. The preground coffee portions come in 16 “Grand Crus” (Nespresso-speak for coffee bean and roast mixtures) that are graded by flavour and intensity.
The Nespresso Advantage
Besides delivering an espresso that tastes indescribably fresh and comes with stunning crema on every shot, Nespresso offers two other advantages over traditional espresso machines: absolutely no cleanup and the opportunity to provide guests the exact type of coffee they want quick, including the best decaf espresso I’ve tasted.
Although automatic Nespresso machines that sell for $250 and up (I have the entry-level model and love it) are available at high-end kitchen retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, the coffee is not. To get the capsules, which sell for .63 cents each in Canada and .55 cents in the U.S. (not dirt cheap but less expensive than ordering an espresso or Americano at Starbucks), you must join the Nespresso mail order club (this service is efficient and quick) or purchase them at a Nespresso boutique. In downtown Vancouver, there is a Nespresso boutique in the basement at the Bay, where an enthusiastic staff sells capsules, demos the machines and will let you taste the coffee. —Annabel Lee
To learn more about Nespresso, visit www.nespresso.com. To contact the Bay’s Nespresso Bar, call the store and have the switchboard connect you: 604-681-6211.
Photo: C. Phaisalakani