Tuesday, January 13, 2009

KITCHEN GEAR: Nespresso Essenza

There's been a lot of North American press recently about the Nespresso single serve coffee system both positive and negative. Yes! negatively Nestle is a big multinational corporation with all those "evil" overtures; but from a mechanical , lifestyle, aesthetic, and taste point of view the machine is a wonder. I was getting fed up with the dismal quality of flavour and crema on my home espresso machine, the work involved in set up and clean up, and my machine's large footprint on our small kitchen counter top . I opted for buying the Essenza Nespresso machine $249.99 CDN after a delicious coffee at Marrakesh Restaurant in Gastown that has a commercial version of the machine for its bar. I picked up my machine at the Swica Importers showroom, 1764 Renfrew Street in Vancouver , run by Marco Herrmann http://www.swica.ca/ Give him a call at 604 461 9881 and drop by for a demo and an espresso. A bit of research found the machine to be extremely user friendly, highly rated, and it's wide spread use in a number of boutique hotels, first class airline lounges, and top end restaurants around the globe including Heston Bluementhal's Fat Duck http://www.fatduck.co.uk/ in the UK made me a buyer and convert. Luckily in Vancouver we have access to the Nespresso boutique (lounge), one of about 30 globally, located in the basement of the Hudson Bay Company on Granville Street .http://www.nespresso.com/precom/contact/index_boutique_ca_en.html?ref=Vancouver Once you're a member of the coffee club you can order coffee capsules on-line or better yet purchase in person at the lounge. Drop by, have a complimentary coffee, and pick up your coffee capsules (boxes of ten for 53 cents per capsule). You're given a leather key fob to register and track your sales and you'll feel "pretty clubby" with the "yes sir, and thank you Mr. Bonner" compliments thrown in by the staff as you make your purchases. The machine itself is a "lifestyle" tool with its small footprint, ease of use, speed, and very little clean up. I used ours at a fundraising party for a friend and made 26 espressso's in less than 14 minutes - all with perfect crema and temperature.
From a techies view the Essenza has a high-pressure pump (19 bars) with an instant (30-40 second initial start time) thermoblock heating element and programmable/automatic controls for single and double shots and most importantly an automatic ejection system of the used capsules and collection after each coffee. The unit has a water storage capacity of 1 litre (20 espresso shots) and has a sexy smooth feel. For coffee purchasing you're locked into buying the capsules from Nestles. The selection is broad enough to satisfy most coffee drinkers. There are 12 selections available including a couple of decaf options and seasonal blends currently mandarin orange, crystallised ginger, and caramel. I dislike flavoured coffees in gneral and the mandarin was plain artificial in flavour; the ginger and caramel however are worth buying and I could see them making great coffees paired up with some aperitifs or spirits at meals end. The lifespan of this machine should be a long time. The Shangri-La and Opus hotel have machines in all guest rooms and many of the new condo developments in the high end market have installed the $2800 Miele Nespresso Coffee System in their kitchens which use the same capsules. I have no hesitation recommending this machine and living in Vancouver you can avoid ordering on-line; shop in person, and get complimentary coffee drink and a piece of Swiss chocolate to help with the retail therapy next time you are in Pacific Centre. With a choice of twelve 10 pack espresso capsules and three seasonal blends for less than $6; this machine used daily will easily ween you off the Starbucks habit and pay for itself in less than six months. It's a sexy conversation piece at your dinner parties and more than likely your friends will envy your Nespresso.

1 comment:

  1. I can't live without my nespresso. Got a free Tassimo coffee system and gave it away. What a joke :)