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March 4, 2011: We moved upstairs this week at work, and because the new kitchen area isn’t plumbed in there’s no running water or sink so management provisioned the kitchen area with a Nespresso ES-100 Pro pod monster to fulfill our coffee needs. This is, no doubt, an upgrade from the coffee setup downstairs, but not exactly my idea of a good solution for personal coffee.
When I went downstairs to pull a couple of espresso shots on my mypressi TWIST a co-worker asked me if I’d tried the new machine yet. I had to admit that I hadn’t had a chance yet but let him know that I’m not a fan of pod machines. Since I’d ground and prepared two baskets for a double-tap, I let him take on of the shots.
His feedback was illuminating, he mentioned that he could pull out orange and other strong flavors. He was really impressed and after trying a shot told me not to bother trying the Nespresso. We talked about coffee versus espresso and a few other topics, but it’s really getting someone to take that first drink of good espresso that seems to make a difference. The coffee was Stumptown’s Hairbender I picked up at Mavelous in San Francisco and pulled out of the freezer this morning.
The real question that I don’t have a good answer for is how can you offer great coffee or espresso service within a company without a dedicated barista, a good grinder, and a supply of fresh beans? I’m not sure that whoever picked the Nespresso made the wrong choice based on these factors, but I’ll continue to drink different.
March 25, 2011: Update:
I ordered a cleaning brush for the Nespresso to try and keep things somewhat clean. This morning, as I brought in some donuts, I decided to have a shot, and went through about six or seven blank shots trying to get reasonably clean water out first and pre-heat the demitasse. The first shots looked like very weak coffee and there were grounds in the cup, but eventually I reached a level of comfort with the water that came out and pulled the shot. This was about the third I’ve tried from this machine and it’s got the typical Italian espresso profile of dark hazelnut, chocolate, caramel flavors but very little acidity or liveliness. It was also a little bitter, but it wasn’t bad for office coffee. I think I’ll pick up a lab wash squeeze bottle like the one I use at home shown below to help with the cleaning but I think that the best use for this machine for me may be using the steam wand to heat up the water reservoir in my Twist to the perfect temp.