I have an addiction to coffee, but not one that makes me buy espressos. I don’t want a tiny cup of black syrup that gives me a hit. I want to enjoy the experience and thus I will usually buy a Cappuccino or an Americano. At £2.65 a time, this all adds up and at the current rate I am spending just under £1,000 per year for one coffee a day. And that is on top of the instant coffees I drink at work, which can number between three and five per day.
It is a harmless treat for me to buy a cappuccino once a day and something that I have grown accustomed to. Yes, it likely is harmless according to most medical people with many discussing the beneficial nature of coffee to give an overall net positive in terms of health effects. Indeed, I have grown so accustomed to Costa Coffee that I will drink nothing else. Starbucks coffee is appalling to my taste buds, a watered-down brown liquid for people who do not like real coffee, and cafes are so inconsistent in the coffee they produce that it is a lottery knowing which door to walk through. And so I have settled on Costa Coffee; a chain of coffee shops who offer brilliant service, subtle accommodation, great coffee (in my opinion) and decent prices.
This has led me to try alternatives and to fail time and time again. I tried a Tassimo which made coffee that tasted like metal in liquid form. I tried an AeroPress which is quite brilliant, but which is such a hassle to use and clean each time, particularly if you want Cappuccino. And of course I have tried Cafetière and the like, but not one of them came close to the Costa experience.
A quick chat at work during which a colleague told me that his new Nespresso machine ‘is brilliant’ then led me to buy the Inissia model. £99 for a coffee machine, a milk frother and 16 caps to test is a decent price and so I thought I would take one final punt before giving up my coffee drinking habits to Costa forever more.
The first thing that surprised me was the packaging which is very clean, very professional and considered throughout. There is a sense of genuine craft here without pretension although some of the names for each coffee flavour are a bit silly. Everything made sense from the start and I was soon brewing my first Cappuccino which proved to be a revalation. The Aeroccino, milk frother to you and me, is wonderfully designed. It is a separate unit, but one which is heavy and carefully built. The actual frother is magnetic and sits on a little stub which has no sticky out parts. This means that you can clean it in seconds and that there is never anything getting in the way of the frothing or cleaning experience. The actual frothing takes things one step further because you simply press the single button once for a hot froth (long press for cold froth) and leave it. Your coffee will be brewing in the Inissia and you can walk away and leave both until they complete and turn themselves off.
I followed the instructions, OK I didn’t because I am a man, and when I poured the froth I was giddy at the consistency and the way it looked. Giddy sounds extreme, but if you are a proper coffee drinker you will understand. Seriously, this Cappuccino tasted like a Costa to me and ‘felt’ the same. The consistency of the milk, the way the coffee added a taint of brown to the milk and the overall experience was superb.
Some proper coffee drinkers will advise that you should only ever drink black coffee and follow-up pours without the milk were just as impressive. In literally seconds you are left with a genuine coffee experience which feels creamy, bitter and rich all at the same time. It feels like it has been in a percolator for a long time, but it has only spend seconds being extracted from a pod.
At approx. 30p per coffee, I feel that this is good value. Some will say that is too high, but if you like you coffee, buying 10 for the price of 1 in a coffee shop can never really be extreme in a financial sense.
None of us really know what makes the perfect coffee and some of us go to extremes to find that special drink, but if you are like me and can be fairly easily satisfied with a Costa, or even a Starbucks (how is that possible?), then the Nespresso will likely offer everything you need. It has been a week now and I have not visited Costa once, and I feel like I am missing nothing.
I didn’t really expect it, but I am so impressed by the Nespresso.