January 25, 2010

Nespresso Easy to Use Espresso Machines - about $100

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I really enjoy my espresso, and love the push button ease of the Nespresso system; pop in a capsule, out comes great espresso every time. My Back-up Essenza is out on loan right now to a friend who is playing with it for a while to decide if they are going to buy one. I think that they will given that after a few days their reaction was that the "Thing is amazing."

Well, cost can be an issue, and I have pointed out to a few readers that Nespresso runs an eBay store where they sell certified refurbs on a few of the popular machines, including Le Cube, the Essenza and D290's.

So, this Essenza is priced at $66 right now, ending sometime tomorrow, while a few others that I was watching ended up selling for right around $100 - a Le Cube and another Essenza.

Nespresso is trying a few things differently after the holidays on the eBay site, as they experiment with some Buy it Now or Best Offer type sale tools; well beyond the typical auction style.

Nespresso Certified Auctions has sold over 3,000 items with a 99+% satisfaction rate, according to their eBay rating. You might want to check them out for a good bargain on a nearly new Nespresso Machine.

More at Nespresso on eBay

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January 24, 2010

Nespresso Variations 2009 Espresso Capsules Review


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UPDATE: 2012 Variations are out; See My Nespresso Variations 2012 Full Review
Every year, Nespresso comes out with a new set of Variations, flavored espresso capsules, that while not for everyone, they are an appealing and fun way to play with your Nespresso machine and enjoy espresso with others who maybe aren't as into espresso as you are. This year, three Nespresso Variations showed up in early December at the Nespresso Club store and at their boutiques across the country.


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Chestnut Cream - "Reminiscent of very sweet and concentrated jarred chestnut cream, recalls the traditional "marron glace," or "candied chestnut." - says Nespresso. For me, I tried it as a straight espresso, and in a latte. The latte was a great way to enjoy the subtle flavors that do admittedly get a bit muted, but complement the cream flavor well. Americans might think of this a bit as a hazelnut cream type flavor, but it is a bit different. Straight, the flavor is intense, and sits on a nice medium dark roast that offers a bit of acidity for the flavors to play off of. I preferred it with a bit of sugar. I do have to call out that the aroma coming off this when it brewed was intoxicating.

Apricot - "Reminiscent of a very fresh, ripe and juicy apricot; unlike the more intense dried apricot flavor." - Says Nespresso. They should have added "It will blow you away with the authentic flavor". This was my least favorite in concept and most favored in tasting. Total surprise. Again, I tried it straight and in a latte, and favored this one as a straight espresso with a bit of sugar. Again the sugar just lengthens the flavor profile enough to enjoy it. No need for over sweetness here, just a touch to bring it out. The flavor truly is like a fresh apricot, which is a great treat. The aroma is not as overwhelming when it brews as the Chestnut Cream, but the nose when drinking is just great. Don't let it sit around long, the aroma is great sooner than later.

Pain d'Espice/Gingerbread - "Reminiscent of crystalized orange zest or peel, honey, cinnamon and ginger in a brown sugar base." - Says Nespresso. I think that it comes across with a strong ginger flavor, reminiscent of my big surprising favorite from last year the Crystalized Ginger Variation. Again, great with a hint of sugar to lengthen the profile, and has some nice subtle spice flavors. It is not over the top gingerbread flavor that you may be use to from store bought gingerbread men. I enjoyed it quite a bit straight, but the flavor also blended nicely with milk based drinks too.
With each of these capsules rated a "6" on a scale of 1 to 10 for strength, Nespresso is appealing to most espresso fans. The base coffee is a clean blend with some acidity to make the flavors pop a bit without being overly sour. At Nespresso.com, they refer to the base blend of the Chestnut and Apricot as the Livanto blend and roast which happens to be one of may favorites along with the Rosabaya Single Origin. So not a surprise that I like the Variations flavors on top of one of my favorite blends.

I liked the brews overall, with the Apricot being my hands down favorite for surprising quality and experience of a flavored brew. not for everyone though, but well worth a try in everybody's next order. I liked the Gingerbread flavor for its wide appeal - a lot of visitors tried these this past month or so and liked this one the best. I happen to think the trio is well worth the try in your next order if you are open to the flavored coffee idea. I am usually not when I go to a coffee shop, but still look forward to these every December.

A quick check today has all of these capsules in stock but sadly not the matching espresso cups. A quick thanks to Nespresso for sending a set of these for this review, which only added to the stockpile that I bought on my own.


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Brewing into a 12-ounce Double Wall Bodum Pavina Glass


Above you can see a drink being made that was a hit this year with friends and family. I was brewing with my Nespresso Citiz into a Bodum Pavina 12-ounce Double-Wall Glass that already had frothed milk in it from a Nespresso Aeroccino - less than a minute from milk to frothed heated milk. I tended to mix some sugar into the heated milk before brewing the Nespresso capsule. I set the glass on the bottom tray with the mid-level shot glass stand folded up (behind the glass against the Citiz). The espresso brews down the side of the glass to make the layered effect.   

More at Nespresso's Website
Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 13, 2010

Good Espresso from Cheap Machines

Interesting article in the Boston Globe today that is worth a read - the findings are debatable, but they should certainly provide a bit of insight that makes people either cringe or nod their heads.

The premise is to find cheap machines on Craigslist, try out a whole bunch of coffees and then report back on how to get a good espresso out of the machines. Net, the finding that canned coffee from Italy is at least as good as any local coffee shop freshly ground ignores the fact that taste is subjective. I don't buy it. Find a better coffee shop. While I love some of the espresso coffees from Italy, and even use Cafe Bustello in a stovetop Moka Pot for Cafe con Leche, I don't think that they compare well to a freshly ground, well blended and roasted local blend that delivers layer upon layer of flavor and texture.

Another sad miss is the omission of steam vs. pump espressos. The extraction of even a low end pump machine is a lot better than steam based extraction.

What I do like about the article is that the author investigates about a dozen lesser known Italian Espresso roasts, and dives into the subject to examine a great subject - espresso on the cheap!

at The Boston Globe

Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 4, 2010

Battery Powered Portable Espresso Machine

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Always a good thing to have espresso where you want or need it, and while the Handpresso and the My Pressi have been in the news lately for their portable nature, this Espresso machine from Stelton looks pretty interesting.


The unit is battery powered, and runs on ESE pods to deliver a cup of espresso wherever and whenever you need it during your day. At a little under 180 GBP, or about $290US, the unit doesn't come cheap. Then again, what high quality espresso device does?


More at Stelton

Via Coolest Gadgets

Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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