We’re pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to coffee aficionado-ness: too fancy for in-stant; not extra enough to faff about with specialty beans, thermometers and conical flasks; too neat-freaky for real coffee grounds. In other words, we’re Nespresso fans.
For the past couple of years, though, we put our machine in the cupboard because the recycling was too much of a hassle (you had to either take it to a store or mail the used capsules back to the brand so the grounds could be composted and the aluminum, recycled). Happily, this year and last have seen a whole load of newness from Nespresso, including a scheme that allows customers in selected areas of Canada to return capsules in regular recy-cling bins, and a new device, the Barista, which creates all manner of frothy milk. So we blew the dust off the old machine like kids in an ’80s movie who’ve found a treasure chest, and got creative.
We’ve had milk frothers before and they’re usually a simple affair—pour milk in, press button, wait a minute and, voilà, frothy milk. This one has more bells and whistles, including 20 pre-programmed recipes like latte, cappuccino and even hot chocolate that you can make inside the machine. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity so you can add yet more recipes, and an induction system that ensures the milk is evenly heated. The Bluetooth is a non-starter—thanks to our rickety old phone, it simply refuses to work (our bad). Even so, 20 pre-set recipes are plenty to try. They’re all delicious. Hot chocolate, made with a couple of squares of real chocolate, gets two thumbs up from a sickly five-year-old, while we’re all about the dense foam from the latte macchiato setting. To the non-coffee-nerd, there isn’t a vast difference between most of the recipes aside from the fact some are cold and others hot. The recipes also take a longer time than expected—a good two-and-a-half minutes on average. But the device is sleek and doesn’t take up much counter space, and the milk-frothing jug and lid can go into the dishwasher, which is a definite plus for us.
Now, the Nespresso machine will be staying on our countertop for good. We’re still mulling whether the Barista will join our family of kitchen gadgets (at $299, it’s an investment), but at least we’re enjoying a good cup of coffee while we think. —Aileen Lalor
Win! A $500 Nespresso Prize Pack!
We have a winner! Congratulations Roberto S. of Vancouver, who won a $500 Nespresso prize pack including a Vertuo or Original machine, aeroccino and some of the brand's new Master Origin capsules!