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Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, Lavazza, and others.

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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby mkadilla » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:05 pm

Bekka,

Yes, they mainly sell bricks of ground and bean coffee.

Here is the link to the capsules:

http://www.meinl.com/store/merchant.mv? ... _Code=CCAC

Good luck.
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Davi8r » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:11 pm

I followed mkadilla's lead and ordered from Meinl on Oct 31st. My order was shipped on Nov 2nd and FedEx says it'll arrive next week. It's neat to look at FedEx tracking information from California, which reports that my shipment has been received in Vienna, Austria.

Things get better, though. Thomas Meinl emailed today saying that he had been trying to call me. He's curious about which capsule system I have. He points out that many people use Nespresso, but that I've ordered capsules which are only compatible with Caffitaly.

I appreciate his interest in the U.S. market, and his concern that I might be ordering incompatible capsules. His follow-up reminds me of how we used to call customers ordering law books from us. If we felt an order was a little off, we'd chat with the customer to make sure they were ordering what they needed.

I'll write back to Mr. Meinl to reassure him that we in the U.S. have discovered Caffitaly-compatible systems, helped along by CBTL's joining Keurig and Tassimo on retail shelves at Bed Bath and Beyond. He may be interested to know that the U.S. market for these capsules is growing. (The good people at Coffee.org also might want to consider selling Caffitaly capsules, now that the not-so-nice people at Green Mountain have terminated coffee.org and their 30,000 K-Cup customers). I'll pass the link to this discussion along to Mr. Meinl, so he can see the interest of our group.

Best,
-- Dave
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Davi8r » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:41 am

The sleeves from Meinl arrived via FedEx yesterday. Took about a week, just as mkadilla said it would. The order was thoughtfully packed, with proper paperwork for the international shipment which progressed from Vienna to Paris, to Newark, then Memphis and finally Sacramento.

My only gaffe was trying to brew Melange as coffee. This caused the machine to lock up and start beeping, throwing me into a panic at 4 in the morning, thinking I had "killed" my Contata. Comparing the Meinl capsule with a CBTL coffee capsule, I saw that Meinl Melange has a hard plastic bottom. There is no foil. Oops - I was trying to brew an espresso capsule as coffee. I guess the 3 bars used for brewing coffee isn't strong enough to break the espresso capsule. CBTL makes it idiot-proof, by printing "Brew" or "Espresso" in big letters on the box. Guess I need that feature. :oops:

-- Dave
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby jbviau » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:06 am

Hey, you must wake up earlier than I do! Or work harder. My eyes (and the kids') are typically closed at 4 a.m. 8)
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby jar » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:33 am

Davi8r wrote:The sleeves from Meinl arrived via FedEx yesterday. Took about a week, just as mkadilla said it would. The order was thoughtfully packed, with proper paperwork for the international shipment which progressed from Vienna to Paris, to Newark, then Memphis and finally Sacramento.

My only gaffe was trying to brew Melange as coffee. This caused the machine to lock up and start beeping, throwing me into a panic at 4 in the morning, thinking I had "killed" my Contata. Comparing the Meinl capsule with a CBTL coffee capsule, I saw that Meinl Melange has a hard plastic bottom. There is no foil. Oops - I was trying to brew an espresso capsule as coffee. I guess the 3 bars used for brewing coffee isn't strong enough to break the espresso capsule. CBTL makes it idiot-proof, by printing "Brew" or "Espresso" in big letters on the box. Guess I need that feature. :oops:

-- Dave


Traditionally a Vienesse Melange is made with a mild coffee blend (usually no Robusta) that is a medium dark roast so just into caramelization and served with some steamed milk.

How close is the capsule to the traditional beverage?
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Amr » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:35 pm

I fell upon this website while researching the illy iperespresso machines. I'm new here, obviously, and find this site to be a great source of information! And, really like that everyone is so helpful and cordial with each other - very refreshing for an internet forum!

jar, your review of the machines is spectacular! I don't think you can imagine how much help and information you've provided to me, and I'm sure others. Thanks for your time and effort, and for the continuing of such, as I see you replying to additional questions/comments.

So, at first I was set on an illy iperespresso machine. However, I now learn about the Lavazza Blue, and am torn between the two. Unfortunately, I'm too much of an analyzer and tend to dwell over the details.

From what I've learned:
illy - Has less of a footprint, but louder and cups are less stable. It seems to have less mess, because of its pod system. It does have less variety of pods, but they can be purchased in smaller batches and at more places. Less expensive machine. Single boiler and panarello wand.

Lavazza - Large machine, but much quieter and stable cups. Slightly more mess to clean-up. A few more choices in pods, but not many retailers and must be purchased in large batches. Machine is a bit more expensive. Double boiler and steel wand.

For me, the cost difference is not a big deal. I do like the smaller footprint of the illy, but like the quietness of the Lavazza. I definitely prefer the ability to purchase pods in more places, yet I like having a bit of variety. And, the double boiler is very nice, considering that I'd be using the steam wand.

As you can see, I'm very torn between the two. And, I'm asking for a little bit of help/advice.
jar, you chose the illy, slightly, over the Lavazza. Was that based solely on your fondness of illy coffee, from your past?
Do you see any other advantages/disadvantages (of the machines) when comparing the illy and Lavazza that I may have missed?
Does the steam wand on the Lavazza work better/quicker because it has a dedicated boiler?

I guess that's all for now. Thanks again!
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby jar » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:05 pm

Amr wrote:jar, you chose the illy, slightly, over the Lavazza. Was that based solely on your fondness of illy coffee, from your past?
Do you see any other advantages/disadvantages (of the machines) when comparing the illy and Lavazza that I may have missed?
Does the steam wand on the Lavazza work better/quicker because it has a dedicated boiler?

I guess that's all for now. Thanks again!


First, welcome home. Pull up a stump and set a spell.

I enjoy the Illy more than the Lavazza simply because I really like the Illy coffee better than any of the Lavazza coffees, but I also understand that is personal taste and not everyone has the same likes as me no matter how often I tell them I'm right.

The steam wand/double boiler system on the Lavazza is far superior to the one on the Illy machines, but it is also a straight forward steam wand without the plastic panarello wand. It requires greater skill to get comparable frothed milk but can also give better results with practice.

The Illy system is certainly less expensive but it is also definitely a "home" system while the Lavazza comes across as a serious commercial unit.

Honestly, I cannot see how anyone could go wrong with either.
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Amr » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:22 pm

jar, Thanks for the quick reply!

I agree, it doesn't seem like I could go wrong with either machine. I'm sure I'll be happy with either - just need to get over my analyzing.

Thanks again.
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby MiguelATF » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:58 pm

Hey amr, just checking in to give you my .02 / two cents

I bought the Illy - the Francis!Francis! X8 - largely based on two things - one jar's hyper recommendations - and second my previous personal experience with drinking different Illy espressos....and thinking, like jar, that they make outstandingly great espresso coffee.

So far, the machine has proved brilliant.

It does have a smaller footprint than the Lavazza - I too was briefly considering the Lavazza but just didn't have enough room for it in my writing office (where my Illy/FrancisFrancis now lives). I also personally like the design. But where it really shines is in making superb and brilliant espressos. I've used two of the Illy iperEspresso capsules so far - both their regular espresso and their slight more intense dark roasted espresso capsules - both make truly fine espressos. The steaming wand, which has that little plastic thingie on it - supposedly designed to make frothing easier for espresso Newbs - actually works quite well. Obviously with its relatively smaller boiler capacity, it can froth as much - or as quickly - as the larger Lavazza.....but who cares? And, yes, the selection of espresso capsules is one the limited side to say least. But they are so damn good....again, I don't mind.

My previous old faithful espresso machine was a fully manual Saeco Barista - made for Starbucks - which is a fine home espresso machine. Not quite on the level of the classic Rancilio's - but all things considered, a truly excellent home espresso machine which - if you don't mind grinding and tamping and cleaning up - makes very very good espresso's. But guess what? Though it may seem like heresy to say this, my new Francis Francis X8/Illy - makes espresso which is just as good - and possibly better - than my old Barista. And btw it's all personal but, on my own personal taste scale - I don't really like Nespresso machines. They will do "in a pinch" - but the Nespresso's I've had over the years have consistently been either slightly bitter - or slilghtly weird in some subtle ways. And I'm not the kind of person who whines and complains about espresso being 'bitter' - truly fine espresso's should be complex and rich and have multiple taste charcaristics. And while the Illy/Francis Francis may not approach the perfection of shots pulled in San Francisco's different Blue Bottle espresso temples - or Intelligentsia - or even the neighboring Noble coffee (a fine local roaster in nearby Ashland Oregon) - Illy iperEspresso is truly fine home espresso.

So there. That's my lonnnnnggggg two cents.

Good luck with your choice. I'll echo what you and jar said - I think probably with either you can't go wrong.

Miguel
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Amr » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:59 pm

Miguel,

Thanks so much for the information you provided. I'm one of those people that feels you can never have too much information - which can be good and bad. :wink:

While I don't have previous experience with a true espresso machine, I know that I don't want to go through the mess of grinding, tamping, etc. I want something quick, reliable and most important, good. I don't expect to get great espresso from these machines, but happy with a good espresso. Furthermore, I tend to like americanos, caps and lattes, but will occasionally drink an espresso. I'm just wondering how that factors into this, considering the Lavazza has a few more options than Illy.

It seems that everday - no, every hour - I go back and forth between the two machines. I wish I could taste-test them, which I could if I drive down to Wash, DC, but not sure it's worth the effort; I'm about 45-50 mins from there.

Right now, I'm leaning towards the FrancisFrancis X8. I feel that Illy is more prominent, and I could purchase the capsules locally and not be confined to internet-only purchases. And, your post is having me lean towards it as well, considering that you were on the fence, and can vouch for the performance of the X8. I do plan on using the steam wand, so that's another factor. But, I'm sure the X8 would do an adequate job of frothing.

I'm giving myself a deadline for deciding of today. That's the only way I'll get one. Otherwise, I'll keep going back and forth forever.

Thanks again!

Amr
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby jar » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:07 pm

Amr wrote:Miguel,

Thanks so much for the information you provided. I'm one of those people that feels you can never have too much information - which can be good and bad. :wink:

While I don't have previous experience with a true espresso machine, I know that I don't want to go through the mess of grinding, tamping, etc. I want something quick, reliable and most important, good. I don't expect to get great espresso from these machines, but happy with a good espresso. Furthermore, I tend to like americanos, caps and lattes, but will occasionally drink an espresso. I'm just wondering how that factors into this, considering the Lavazza has a few more options than Illy.

It seems that everday - no, every hour - I go back and forth between the two machines. I wish I could taste-test them, which I could if I drive down to Wash, DC, but not sure it's worth the effort; I'm about 45-50 mins from there.

Right now, I'm leaning towards the FrancisFrancis X8. I feel that Illy is more prominent, and I could purchase the capsules locally and not be confined to internet-only purchases. And, your post is having me lean towards it as well, considering that you were on the fence, and can vouch for the performance of the X8. I do plan on using the steam wand, so that's another factor. But, I'm sure the X8 would do an adequate job of frothing.

I'm giving myself a deadline for deciding of today. That's the only way I'll get one. Otherwise, I'll keep going back and forth forever.

Thanks again!

Amr



Well, today Illy announced three more single origin espresso capsules, from Brazil, Ethiopia and Guatemala, so the variety you want is now available in the Illy as well.
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Amr » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:44 pm

jar wrote:Well, today Illy announced three more single origin espresso capsules, from Brazil, Ethiopia and Guatemala, so the variety you want is now available in the Illy as well.

Hilarious! I just logged back in here to make the same announcement! And, happy to say, this will push me to get the Illy FrancisFrancis X8! I'm so glad I went to the Illy site, for the hundredth time, to browse again.

jar, another question for you - Do you know if it's better to use the steam wand attached to the X8 vs a dedicated frother? Thanks again for your help.
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Wands and Dedicated frothers

Postby MiguelATF » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:05 pm

Just to answer your previous questions...

For my money, the steaming wand/frother of the Francis Francis/Illy is more than good enough. You don't really "need" an extra frother.

What does that actually mean?

It means it froths milk (or even soy milk) in the requisite small metal pitcher - into a beautiful thick cappuccino foam

How fast does it do this?

Ahhh....that's the question.

It does it acceptably fast.
Not QUITE as fast as the dedicated frothing metal wand on my old Saeco/Starbucks 'Barista' machine - which btw was a home machine that was known for having quite good frothing power.
But definitely fast enough for one or two people

If you're trying to do 5 or 6 cappuccinos for all your dinner guests....well in that case it might take a little longer. In that case....you might be happy to have your dedicated frother. And, hey, for all I know, you might be the kind of person who would just be happy in general having a dedicated frother.

But so far in 95 % of my daily use, the frother is just fine.

And I'll echo what jar said originally: illy makes KILLER espresso....which leaves Nespresso in the dust.

Good luck with your decisions and purchases
cheers!
Miguel
Bright fire-engine Red $15 Senseo (the videogame machine of coffeemaking)
AeroPress (damn it's cool)
Estro Espresso Machine (made by Saeco, sold by Starbucks and a fine espresso/cappuccino maker)
An older French Press Pot
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby Amr » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Miguel,

Thanks again for the great information. Based upon the answer you provided, it may be a good idea to purchase a dedicated frother for those times when I do have guests.

I'm definitely going with Illy, and about to order. However, I really like the design of the Y1 machine, but it doesn't come with a steam wand. Furthermore, I'm trying to decipher the differences among the machines, specifically Y1, Gaggia and X8. I believe that they would all brew the espresso the same, and differences are water tank size, steam wand, maybe cup-accepting size and aesthetics. But, of course, I could be very wrong.
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Re: Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy, and CBTL Shootout

Postby MiguelATF » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:28 pm

Amr wrote:I'm definitely going with Illy, and about to order. However, I really like the design of the Y1 machine, but it doesn't come with a steam wand. Furthermore, I'm trying to decipher the differences among the machines, specifically Y1, Gaggia and X8. I believe that they would all brew the espresso the same, and differences are water tank size, steam wand, maybe cup-accepting size and aesthetics. But, of course, I could be very wrong.


Well, actually, that raises an interesting question. There are several factors in frothing. How quickly the machine heats up. How long it maintains the steam pressure over more than one pitcher or cup. And finally....the size of the machine's water reservoir.

In the case of the Francis Francis X8, one of its few theoretical defects is the last one of these - the SIZE of the water reservoir. It's not huge. But on the other hand, it doesn't need or use a lot of water to either make one or two espresso's or cappucini - or to foam up a pitcher of milk. BUT - you do - and will - run out of water faster.

I can't remember the specs on either the Gaggia machine or the Y1 - neither of which I have any personal knowledge of. But I'm guessing that one or probably both of them have LARGER water reservoirs than the X8. Since the Y1 doesn't have a steam wand, that wouldn't affect its ability to make more foam or steamed milk - but it *might* affect its ability to churn out multiple cups of espresso quickly. No idea, really. And the Gaggia machines....well, in my experience, they are hit and miss. Some are great. Some are....just okay. Of course the same could be said for any brand.

So....good luck again.

Cheers!
Miguel
Bright fire-engine Red $15 Senseo (the videogame machine of coffeemaking)
AeroPress (damn it's cool)
Estro Espresso Machine (made by Saeco, sold by Starbucks and a fine espresso/cappuccino maker)
An older French Press Pot
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