I’m not sure about you, but a great cup of coffee is something I can’t live without. Like a moth to a flame, I am lured into coffee shops and espresso bars by the mere scent of that pungent, luscious roasted coffee bean and am a prisoner to its euphoria it gives me from that first sip.
I have always loved coffee, and I blame it on my parents you could say. I remember our family trips to Buffalo for the holidays when Dad would stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Batavia just to get his caffeine fix half way home to keep him awake on the thruway in the blizzardy weather. Or blame it on the late night excursions to Perkins or Gitsis Diner with my best friends in high school when the weekend Friday night ritual was to drink coffee all night with a brownie sundae and diner food after a night out. Then, Starbucks came along and my caffeine addiction became to rule my life (and my wallet!)
It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2004 for grad school that I discovered what REAL coffee is all about. Starbucks? Dunkin’ Donuts? Not. You’re lucky to even find one in Melbourne or Sydney – and if you do, there’s no lines down the street and out the door – something that’s unheard of in New York City at 8 am on a Monday morning.
Because of the heavy European population in Australia (Melbourne in particular), a rich aromatic espresso or creamy flat white are an everyday ritual for Aussies – they actually turn their noses up to regular brewed coffee and coffee chains and wouldn’t think of drinking anything but a freshly brewed cup of joe from their friendly neighborhood barista. Head down some of the cool side streets and neighborhoods in Melbourne or Sydney, and you’ll find an espresso bar on every corner (kinda like Starbucks is here in the US), with people hanging out at tables on the sidewalk like they do in Rome or Paris. At first, it took me a while to become familiar on what the difference was between a flat white and a macchiato, but after living there for 2 years, I became a coffee aficionado, and never looked back.
Enter my new Nespresso Pixie machine – the new love of my life. It’s a compact, lightweight espresso machine that is easy to use, and makes a perfect cup of espresso in 30 seconds flat. Just fill it with water, turn it on, and pop in one of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules and choose your poison – short or long. Voila – you’ve got a perfect cup o’ joe.
I love the rich intense flavor of espresso, but I prefer a little hot milk or froth in mine so I got the Aeroccino Plus frother machine for when I’m craving a tall, creamy cappuccino or latte. There’s no messy steaming pipe to deal with either, simply pour your milk in the steel container, choose the frother or milk warmer attachment, cover it with the lid and push the button. Perfectly steamed, frothy milk in about a minute. LOVELY.
Nespresso has a full line of espresso and lungo (tall espressos) Grand Crus in 16 different coffee flavors – from sweet and smooth Dulsao do Brasil to bold and intense Ristretto. The capsules come in bundles of 10 at around .65 a piece, and the minimum order is 50 if you order them online – with shipping you’re looking at approx $35 for 50 capsules, delivered straight to your door after you sign up as a member online to their Nespresso Club. If you don’t want to order online, visit one of their Nespresso Boutiques and enjoy a cup in the cafe while you’re there – a mecca full of all their coffee machines, coffee blends and accessories.
I may not be in Australia anymore, but my perfect cup of joe has arrived, right at my fingertips.
1 Grand Cru capsule of Volluto (makes 1.5 fl oz of espresso)
1 tsp of hot milk
2 tbsp of hot milk froth
3 tsp of chestnut puree
1 tsp of small pieces of candied chestnut
Prepare the milk froth using the steam nozzle of your machine or the Aeroccino and set aside. Mix the chestnut puree with the hot milk, pour into the Espresso cup and prepare your coffee directly into the mixture. Stir, then top coffee with the milk froth and sprinkle with candied chestnut.