Last February I shared a three-part series detailing my experiments with at-home coffee making… without using a standard Mr. Coffee. If you missed them, make sure to check out my tips and tricks for a French Press, Mokapot, and Pour-Over!
Have you heard of Nespresso? It’s a capsule-based espresso system. Their commercials here in the US feature Penelope Cruz, but internationally George Clooney is their spokesman.
(Bonus points if you recognized “Nora” from How I Met Your Mother)
I have a quick epilogue to add to my coffee conversation! My kitchen has a new little addition to it. I sell Nespresso machines at work and well… you can see, I’ve sold myself on it!
My machine is the budget-priced Essenza, but my favorite machine is the cute and user-friendly Pixie.
Espresso is a different animal than coffee is: its flavor comes from water forced through a tightly packed shot at a high temperature and high pressure. That’s why the flavor is so intense and most espresso shots are only 1 to 2 ounces. When you order a latte at Starbucks, it’s normally two small shots added to steamed milk. Think–you’re really paying $3+ for four ounces of coffee!
Nothing against grabbing a latte out with friends–I love meeting up at a coffee shop with people. It’s grabbing a quick latte every day before work that becomes a big-time money suck. Enter Nespresso: the machines heat up in no time and the flavor options they have available are really delicious… and for 60 cents a shot–it’s much faster and cheaper than going through the Starbucks drive through on the daily.
When I have a lot of time in the morning, or a lot of writing to do and want a massive carafe of coffee that will last for hours, I still default to “normal” style coffee made in my French Press (which I’m getting better and better at making!) When time is of the essence and I want a yummy caffeine fix, my routine is this: prepare my cup with a small spoonful of sugar. I run the capsule through my Nespresso and then finish the cup off with milk. This process takes roughy two minutes–120 seconds!
I’m not getting paid or perked by Nespresso to write this post–Just sharing the technology that’s out there with you all in case you hadn’t heard of these machines and were suffering from paying too much for specialty coffee drinks every day.
There’s a growing trend among craft coffee lovers… the pour-over brew. This small-batch method is great for tastings (or “cuppings”), since it makes a small amount of coffee at a time. Additionally, it lets the drinker tweak and adjust variables like amount of coffee grounds, temperature of water, fineness (or coarseness) of grounds, among others. Great for somebody who is really on the quest for the perfect cup.
Using a simple cone funnel and a cone filter, I scooped two tablespoons of coffee into the filter. Below, I’m just pouring water right in, but from what I’ve read now… you are supposed to get the filter wet first to prime it (Do as I say; not as I do). Then, pour hot water (I boiled mine then let it “rest” for a minute or so to cool off a bit) into the grounds. Apparently the velocity and speed of water can even affect the final taste. This is why pour-over enthusiasts prefer the control and precision offered by a goose-neck kettle. I keep things simple around here and just used my normal red kettle. :)
The method I used is for a single cup. For groups, the pretty glass Chemex is a great (and visually appealing) option. Coffee made in the chemex can also be reheated!
This post wraps up my Coffee Talk trilogy! I hope you learned something or it has encouraged you to try a new coffee-making method. I certainly had (highly caffeinated) fun researching, experimenting, and writing these posts.
As always, if you have any tips or tricks in relation to pour-overs, or coffee in general, feel free to let me know in the comments!
All weekend I had coffee on the brain. I was playing around with a French press (or cafetiere, as friends abroad call it, according to comments) and a pour over (post coming on Wednesday), but I would be remiss if I didn’t include this little guy in my “Coffee Talk” roundup.
My Bialetti is a trusty little espresso maker. Supposedly, nine out of ten homes in Italy have one of these handy little devices. Sounds like a lofty claim, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be true! Compact and easy to store, it’s a easy way to make espresso. Now, being educated on true espresso as I am (I have to know so I can sell espresso machines at work) I wouldn’t call this a true espresso maker… the water is not forced through the grounds at quite a high enough pressure to get the rich, light-brown “crema” of a real espresso shot. However, it is much richer and stronger than a regular cup of coffee. Served in small portions, it goes well with a scoop of sugar or dab of milk.
To use the aluminum Bialetti is simple–fill the bottom chamber with water, the center funnel with grounds, and screw the pieces together. Sit on a burner–electric and gas will both work… you could even take it camping and set it above a fire. The water will boil in the bottom half forcing water and vapor up through the grounds and into the upper chamber.
I used a little battery-powered frother to whip up some warm milk and poured my epsresso into it for a yummy latte. You could even sprinkle the foam with cinnamon and brown sugar!
Oh yes, and red is my accent color of the week, thanks to upcoming Valentine’s Day! Is anyone else’s head spinning with Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s Day so close together??