Category Archives: Nespresso

Crew Review: Nespresso Gran Maestria

The counterpart to the recently reviewed Nespresso Maestria, the Gran Maestria features a new variation of their Aeroccino milk frother (the Aero 4, which offers you the ability to control different types of milk froth and temperatures) and a demitasse cup steamer. Also, it’s built like a B52 bomber!

Watch Gail introduce us to the machine, from box to cup. She talks about its features, how capsule espresso works and then demonstrates making a cappuccino.

 

Crew Review: Nespresso Maestria

For ease, convenience and cleanliness, there’s really no beating a capsule espresso machine. Sure, you’re not going to achieve the God Shot, but if you’re looking for a great cup of coffee that you can easily make at home — one cup at a time — Nespresso‘s series of machines are definitely worth your consideration.

One of their newer machines, the Maestria, combines their typical espresso extraction technology with one great new feature: A steam wand! We really dig this because, historically speaking, milk frothing on a Nespresso machine was handled either by a stand alone frother (different variations of the Aeroccino) or via a cappuccinatore type system — neither of which gave you much control over the milk foam quality nor temperature.

Watch Gail take us from box to cup — showing us how to set up the Maestria and then making a latte using its steam wand.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Iced Latte a la Nespresso

We kept her on pins and needles long enough, so when we had the opportunity to pair up a non-sweetened coffee drink with a batch of Kaylie’s Espresso Meringue cookies, we let Brandi break out the Nespresso! She chose to produce an iced latte, featuring the Aeroccino‘s cold frothing functionality.

While the recipe isn’t rocket science (a couple shots of espresso and a batch of cold-frothed milk), it’s always fun to watch Brandi whip something up, isn’t it?

Crew Review: Outpresso

Nespresso’s proprietary capsules are made out of aluminum, and we have been often asked if they are recyclable. Well, yes, once you get the coffee out of them. Instead of struggling with cutting them open, you can pick up this gadget which easily separates the coffee from the aluminum — send one half to the recycle bin and the other to the compost pile!

Watch as Gail demonstrates how easily — and strangely satisfying — it is to use the Outpresso.

Nespresso Testing

When we started carrying Nespresso machines, we didn’t realize they would be some of the most hotly debated machines in our store. Folks are not sure if they perform well — can they really make good espresso with a capsule? What is their brew temperature? Do their milk frothing options function well?

You know that we firmly believe that there is a market for every machine, and while these guys are definitely not going to please an ardent purist, they have a well-loved place in many homes throughout the world for a reason: They’re easy to use, no-mess and make espresso similar to what you find on a standard superautomatic espresso machine. Arguably their one drawback is their proprietary capsules, and some folks don’t dig having to purchase them only through Nespresso’s coffee club. But if you can get around that and you’re looking for a simple solution to get your morning java fix, this definitely could be the choice for you.

Since we get all kinds of questions about how the Nespresso functions, we did a few tests to show temperature, water volume and milk frothing temp so that folks would know if the basic function would meet their specs. Watch Gail run them through the gamut!

Keeping You and Your Machine Healthy

We’ve heard concerns from customers on whether or not they should worry about trace amounts of lead or metal poisoning within their machines’ boilers and parts. So we’re going to  break down the makeup of particular metals that are housed within your unit to ease your mind — and your fears of  caffeine withdrawal.

Water corrosion is where it all begins and understanding your machine and what conditions cause corrosion — oxygen, water, metal and a catalyst — will help you manage and maintain your espresso machine.

Aluminum

Used for some espresso machine boilers and stovetop espresso makers as it heats up the fastest, ‘aluminum is protected from corrosion by increasing the amount of naturally occurring aluminum oxide (Aluminum + Oxygen) on its surface.’

As a mixture of  metals, also referred to as an alloy, and under ideal circumstances, Sergio Louissant of LatteMaestro.com explains that this combination protects the aluminum but also has a quicker turn around time in breaking down the aluminum oxide causing the aluminum to corrode.

Chloride in tap water wears down the catalyst that breaks the shield that is the oxide layer between the metal and boiler water, as stated in a piece in the JL Hufford Coffee Tea Supporter Forum. This causes damage to aluminum parts over time so it is best to use filtered water or to regularly clean and descale your machine to slow down the deterioration process.

However, even though machines with aluminum parts are less expensive, that doesn’t mean they’re frowned upon. With its ability to maintain good resistance against corrosion, it just may take more of a closer eye and knowledge to understand the chemistry of it’s maintenance and when its time to switch out parts to prevent the quick deterioration of this material. Because the connection between aluminum and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s is still unclear, many folks try to avoid aluminum as a precaution.

Stainless Steel

Very resistant  to corrosion, stainless steel can be found in Saeco, Nespresso and Capresso machines. But its downfall is being the life of the party when it comes to hosting bacteria for a longer period of time on its surface compared to any other metal.

However, bacteria aside, since you won’t be cutting, dicing or chopping any raw meat on or with stainless steel espresso machine boilers and parts, as long as you keep the stainless steel within your machine clean, this material is ideal for espresso machines as it provides excellent heat retention and assures rapid steam function.

Brass/Copper

Unlike stainless steel and aluminum, espresso machines that use copper/brass boilers and parts, such as Rocket, Rancilio, Quick Mill, Pasquini, LaPavoni and Francis Francis, not only act like a repellent to those grimy germs and retain heat longer, but they also are the most resistant to corrosion than any other metal.

However, even with it’s popularity in higher end machines, some users are still left worried about the lead content in brass boilers.

While lead is added to some brasses, most manufacturers plate brass with nickel, such as Rocket Espresso, preventing any lead from leaching into water, reducing corrosion and acting as a barrier between brass and water.

But taking extra care when it comes to lead in products, it was in October of 1999 that the California State Attorney General sued 13 key manufacturers and distributors over lead content, leading to the reduction of lead content to 1.5 percent from it’s original 2 to 3 percent in products sold within that state. Following this action manufacturers were asked to reduce lead or to follow the requirement to warn consumers about lead content even if it didn’t have the ability to leach into materials such as water.

Hopefully this trend will catch up to the rest of the 49 states in the U.S. but for now, whether you choose a machine with aluminum, stainless steel or brass, taking precaution is key but knowing how your machine works and what it reacts well with will also keep you happy, healthy and caffeinated.

New! Aero3 Milk Frother

When Nespresso released their Citiz + Aeroccino series, they changed the design to be a little sleeker and a whole lot swankier — a change for the better, in our opinion! And now they’ve released this version, referred to as the Aero3, as a stand-alone model for those of you who want something that works well but is a bit more fetching on the counter top.

Select from three colors — black, red and white — and you’ll receive the same automatic frothing function, just in a prettier package. We did note that this version is a little more narrow and deeper than its counterparts, but it is the same overall volume.