Baristas beware: this machine makes consistent espresso every time

WHEN we trooped off to the SMX Convention Center last week, we thought the Nespresso Iced Coffees Masterclass would take hours. But thanks to the new Nespresso machines, the whole thing wrapped up in 15 minutes.

Nespresso Philippines in-house Coffee Ambassador JR Abril said that he would be teaching us how to make Iced Hazelnut Lattes and Cold Caramel Cappuccinos. He placed ice in each glass, and into the Nespresso Momento Coffee and Milk machine, he added a flat capsule of Nespresso’s Ristretto Intenso. The espresso came out in mere seconds.

The Momento is the Nespresso professional line, which had been in the Philippines prior to the entry of their home use machines.

“What we can expect are dark, deep components,” said Mr. Abril about the coffee pods that he used, which are flattened and are used for the professional machines (the ones for home use are cylindrical). “We don’t want the milk and the other sweeteners to overpower the coffee.” The syrups were added first for the latte, then the milk, then poured over and stirred with the espresso shot. The cappuccino saw syrup first, then the coffee, then topped off with milk foam (Nespresso also offers the milk machines).

That literally looked like Steps 1, 2, and 3, and we wondered how Nespresso machines might affect a barista’s job. Mr. Abril said, “You still have to study the coffee, of course. But as far as the machine goes, it pretty much takes care of itself. You don’t need to put your time into that, but put your time into coffee.”

Asked about the things that can go wrong with using a traditional espresso machine which the Nespresso machine avoids, he answered: “With Nespresso, you don’t have to worry about the right grind size, the right tamp, the right pressure, the right temperature for your water — and also water hardness.” Mineral-rich water can affect the taste of your coffee, and leave mineral deposits behind that can clog up the machine. He said that getting one of those factors wrong when making a coffee can alter the taste, or the look. “Basically, it’s called a bad shot of espresso. When you use a Nespresso machine, it’s super-consistent.”

So, is there a chance of getting a bad shot from a Nespresso machine, ever? “None. There’s a bigger chance of this machine having a capsule lock (that is, the coffee pod discard clogging up the machine) than giving you a bad shot.” — JLG