good coffee, bad coffee…

Today, I happened by the Williams Sonoma and stopped in to covet the shiny Jura twin- turbo-deluxe-mega-enhanced-all-the-bells-and-whistles espresso machines.  The ones with only six buttons, a shiney electronic display screen and an exterior milk canister that can keep milk fresh for 8 hours especially taunted me.  So did the $3,000+ price-tag.  

I managed to tear myself away long enough to notice their display of Nespresso machines.  For those of you who are not familiar with Nespresso, they are a line of espresso machines that use pods made exclusively by that company.  The friendly salesman was eager to demonstrate the machine – only two buttons: one shot, or two.  He introduced me to a cannister filled with small multi-colored “pods” full of pre-ground espresso and gave me a color-coded guide to the different kinds of coffee. 

Avoiding the jitters, I decided on the “Decaffenato Intenso” (they’re all just as “Italian”-sounding).  Level “7” on the darkness scale – 10 being the darkest.  He popped in the pod, pressed the button and presto!  Frothy dark luscious hot espresso instantly filtered through the spout into my little cup.  It really tasted wonderful – rich, dark, and very complex and buttery.  I fell in love.  This machine cost nearly $2800 less than the Jura – and it’s totally fool-proof.  Me = fool.  Me ¹ $3,000+. 

But, here’s the catch – you must buy the pods from Nespresso.  Nespresso has no “stores.”  You cannot buy their pods in any grocery or other “stores.”  You can only buy Nespresso pods from Nespresso online.  They cost $.49 per pod.  You must pay for shipping and handling.  Do not past Go, do not collect $200. 

What if they raise their prices?   How much will they raise their prices?  Will I be paying more for coffee in the future than I would at Starbucks?  What if shipping and handling gets astronomically expensive?  What happens when shipping becomes prohibitively expensive?  No, The skeptic in me put down down that demi of Nespresso Decaffenato Intenso, after finishing the last drop, of course, and walked out, resolved to not to succumb to consumer entrapment.  Bad coffee!! 

And yet, all afternoon, all I could think about was that demi of Nespresso.  It was very good coffee – even if it were pre-ground and packaged in a completely automated packaging plant in Switzerland where no humans work (I’m not kidding).  And, that tight little cube of a machine would fit so well in my office…  *sigh

I guess it’s back to coveting the Jura. 

Meanwhile, I’m writing this post while sipping a cup of dark rich coffee that I French-pressed with $50 Bodum job.  Sure it’s manual, sure it doesn’t talk to me (except an occasional gurgle) and sure it’s a pain in the arse to clean … but it’s how my grandmother made tea and coffee, so I guess it’s good enough for me.  $.49 per pod plus shipping and handling, indeed!!  The nerve… 

~ by ulterior epicure on October 3, 2006.

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