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Three Years On Now

Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, Lavazza, and others.

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Three Years On Now

Postby bogiesan » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:29 pm


Bona fides:
I have owned two professional-grade espresso systems ( ... full-size/), attended several Specialty Coffee Association conventions, was a card-carrying graduate of David Schomer's instruction series for espresso and milk texturing (, and, way back in the early days of Usenet, I maintained “FAQ: Home Espresso Machines” for several years. I gave all that up for Nespresso and never looked back. I’m quite happy.

I have four five six Nespresso machines:
Two Essenza C91 units (Costco USA, $70 each. May, 2014) ... o-machine/
Pixie Bundle D60 (department store clearance, $95, May 2015) ... ccino-plus
Citiz&Milk C122 (online liquidation site, $125, April 2017) ... ed-refresh
D. VertuoPlus Deluxe ENV155S (Williams Sonoma, $140, May, 2017) ... e-silver-d
E. Mini Essenza C30 (Direct from Nespresso using a friend’s promo code, $110, July, 2017) ... pure-white

Disposition of current inventory:
A. I gave one of my manual Essenza units to a friend and took the other to the office, where I use it sometimes twice a day, which means four shots.
B. The Pixie bundle is in a sturdy transport case, along with some essential accessories, and it travels with me. (Update: The Pixie developed a leak and is at Nespresso’s repair facility in Sparks NV. Likely to replace the Pixie with the Mini, below, and give the Pixie to same friend.)
C. The Citiz&Milk is on the kitchen counter and pulls 6 to 15 capsules every day. The Aeroccino 3 is an improvement over the ‘ccino+ but it’s narrower and deeper and only comes with a single, multi-purpose whip.
D. The Vertuo is my darling wife’s replacement for the stupid ol’ Keurig. It rests atop a drawer that holds 40 capsules. ... -drawer-2/
E. The diminuitive Mini will probably replace the much larger Pixie as my traveling machine. The mini seems to have a new generation of internals. The first thing you will notice is the pump now uses a “soft start” program that ramps it up from zero to full pressure in two or three seconds. And it is very quiet. Same buttons and user interface, though.

I like the Nespresso capsules. I don't mind paying the premium price because they are consistently excellent and I recycle them, a process that is easy and free. We receive a standing order every 90 days.

Third Party Alternatives:
My search for less expensive third party alternatives has been expensive and frustrating. Fully 95% of the capsules I tested and tasted were horrible and undrinkable. I eventually settled on Artizan's products ( with whom I have a commercial subscription so I pay the lowest possible price. I also like products from Cafe Liegeois ( ... e-capsules), Gourmesso ( and a few others. There is one premium roaster in the UK who has accepted the challenge of creating exceptional espresso in a capsule, Colonna ( Maxwell's capsules will absolutely delight you. You will pay dearly for the experience. I get a nice selection every eight weeks.
There are no sources for third party Vertuo capsules and won’t be for a long time. Nespresso carefully controls and defends those patents.

Living with the Nespresso Club:
When I bought my first machine, I thought the resources Nespresso squandered on branding and promotion was silly, wasteful, and pretentious. However, I enjoyed the official videos, Mr Clooney’s presence, and the Nespresso Magazine. Nespresso is not so much a coffee company as a marketing and public relations monster that just happens to sell coffee. The company supports a long list of great coffee-related social engineering projects and appears to be actively trying to improve the lives of small coffee producers all over the world. Yes, the products, promotions, and packaging are excessive and we consumers pay for it all. On a side note, my first three machines came packaged with a set of slick promotional materials in a black folder that had a magnetic catch. I also got fridge magnets for my club numbers. Not any longer. You get the owner’s manual. Period.

My inventory of Nespresso-branded toys and accoutrements has grown in three years. None of these items is necessary to enjoy the coffee. But I like things and these are, for the mast part, well-made and fun to play with.
Aeroccino x2 (chrome+, black 3)
Pixie cups (purple Arpeggio, orange Linisio, green Fortisio)
Reveal intense tasting glasses
Recycle container
Assorted spoons and doodads

The 'ccinos were included with otherwise excellent bargains. I don't think I'd buy them at list price since there are many alternative frothing devices on the market. However, I want the red 'ccino 3; it would look great next to the red Citiz.
I have many demitasse and cappuccino cups of fine porcelain. I do not need any more cups. Still, the anodized stainless steel Pixie cups are cool. I lust for the original Pixie Decaffienato espresso cup, in its silky iPhone-ish red, but they sold out years ago.
The Reveal glasses are, admittedly, a complete affectation. I have been trained to cup coffee but I never enjoyed it so I have not maintained the limited skills I once possessed. This stemware allows the Nespresso enthusiast to aspire to the formality and display the illusion of internalized coffee knowledge. What could be more pretentious? Still, like the steel cups, these glasses add a bit of fun to sipping the output from your favorite capsules.
The recycle container is another affectation. I could put my spent capsules into anything. Anything.

I hope you enjoy your machine and your capsules of choice and that you will join our conversations on reddit/nespresso and
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