Bialetti - 1,3 & 6 cup, Bodum Chambord - every size they make
No muss, no fuss, great espresso - is this a great country or what!
Positive Product Points
Great Expresso. Easy to use (no more grinding, tamping, ec.) Easy clean-up (just empty the capsule catcher once and a while). Looks great (mine is Piano Black). Good espresso capsule choices.
Negative Product Points
Perhaps not the "perfect" shot (although I wouldn't know the difference between a "perfect" shot from a "great" shot). Only one source of espresso - Nespresso (but service is great).
I finally gave up in my Starbucks Barista. It made great espresso; however, my palette is too jaded to appreciate the nuances of the "perfect shot" and I tired of grinding, cleaning up, worrying about fresh beans, etc. A friend of mine from Russia introduced me to Nespresso at his home and I was "sold". I purchased a set at Williams-Sonoma that consisted of a C100 in Piano Black and a Nespresso Aeroccino Automatic Milk Frother. I have to admit, I love it! I can now turn out great (but perhaps mot perfect) shots anytime I want with no muss, fuss, or clean-up. It’s also easy to serve a number of guests their choice of drinks quickly without worrying about timing, consistency, frothing “under pressure” (of being watched), etc.
I have seen others mention that the Nespresso capsules are a bit expensive. I think they are a value for the convenience. I have tried the 10 standard varieties (haven’t sampled the special flavors yet) and stock the Ristretto (the strongest and my favorite), the Roma (a bit milder for company), Vivalto (a Lungo, or double shot), and the Intenso (Decaf for my wife).
The Nespresso Aeroccino Automatic Milk Frother is great, by the way. I already owned three different Bodum manual frothers and a Bialetti manual frother that came in a set with a 6 cup pot. I really don’t understand why anyone bothers with the steam frother on an espresso machine when you can make such great froth with so many alternatives. I recommend both the Nespresso Frother and any of the other frothers that I mentioned above. (I found a very large Bodum frother in Europe that I don’t think they sell in the states. I can make enough froth at one time for six Cappuccinos… nice).
I really love my Nespresso. I can quickly produce a great shot with no muss or fuss. I have three Bialetti pots (1, 3 & 6 cup) which I use when I want to try something more exotic (such as a Starbuck’s Black Label blend) and every size French Press that Bodum makes (for regular coffee); however, my Nespresso machine is my main source of pleasure these days.
I sold my Starbucks Barista on eBay... hopefully to someone with a more sophisticated palette who will appreciate its potential.
Excellent! Williams-Sonoma let me stop by a number of times while considering my purchase to try different Nespresso blends.
Three Month Followup
Still love it! After sampling all of the coffee choices, I prefer the Ristretto (the strongest choice). I also keep the Intensl (decaf) on hand. I also so an occasional "lungo" (larger cup) using vivalto (Decef Lungo for guests). I've also tried their latest specialty coffee (Groka), very nice. I also have the Aeroccino frother. I had tried for "years" and several espresso machines to get the froth right. Now, I enjoy a really great Cappuchino every morning with no fuss.
I'm hooked! It's really easy to serve guests, no clean-up (compared to my old Starbucks Barista), and GREAT espresso. I have friends from Europe... they approve (most of them have Nespresso machines at home.)
I was worried if the fact that I had to join the Nespresso Club would be a problem; however, it turned out to be very convenient. I pay a bit more per shot; however, the convenience is worth it. Stop by Williams-Sonoma for a sample... they offer all of the Nespresso coffee choices for folks to try. I think they still offer the kit that includes a C100 and an Aeroccino at a pretty good price.
One Year Followup
It's been a year already? While I occasionally miss the "fiddling" required by my old Espresso machine, the ease of use of my Nespresso quickly dispels any desire to go back to tamping, surfing, cleaning, grinding, the “puck”, etc. I have fully integrated Nespresso into my daily routine because it's so easy to use. In the past, I might have skipped a cup because of the effort required with my Barista; however, now I just pop in a capsule; hit a button, and viola! …I have a very nice cup of Espresso.
I have settled on Nespresso’s Ristretto (their strongest blend) with an occasional Vivalto (their Lungo or large cup blend). I occasionally experiment with their seasonal offerings for fun.
As for the machine itself, I have used it two to three times a day and experienced no problems. I always run a shot of water after making a cup (or cups) of espresso as the instructions advise. I’ve cleaned it twice (Nespresso sent me a free cleaning kit) and have had no problems.
I’ve grown quite fond of the process for ordering capsules. I just place my order on line and a couple of days later it arrives. I’ve called in for service a couple of times and was very pleased with the response.
I’m delighted with the taste. Good crema, bold espresso experience. My guests also appear pleased (and ask for it when I give them a choice between French Press, Bialotti, or Nespresso). I also have the Aeroccino frother and use it when folks ask for a cappuccino or a latte. It is much easier than attempting to micro foam milk the traditional way with steam.
I continue to recommend this machine for people who really like espresso but perhaps are put off by the work of making a traditional shot. If the romance of grinding and tamping is your “thing”, don’t bother with a Nespresso machine. If you really just want a great shot, buy one!