those of you who have read my postings about coffee will already know that it ranks as my all time top beverage and that i devote an unusually great proportion of my time to making it, drinking it, and thinking about it.there is something that coffee, tea, and perhaps wine have in common: even with the same exact ingredients and equipment, they do not taste the same in different locations! my husband noticed this with tea when he first came from toronto to ny. when i was revising the cake bible for the UK edition i adored the tea in london so much i stopped drinking coffee . i brought the tea back to ny and it just wasn’t the same. my husband even had brought back the water from toronto so though that seems like the obvious common denominator of tea quality failure—it wasn’t. when it comes to my beloved coffee, i’ve tried many machines plus ny water, and my favorite brands of coffee and it was never the same (i.e. as good) as drinking it in ny. so the question remains—is it something in the air? can it be that i require a deep inhalation of ny pollution to achieve coffee nirvana?
but i have now come satisfyingly close to the ideal expression of coffee using a new coffee/espresso maker: the nespresso “le cube.” http://www.nespresso.comi still bring water from ny mainly because this way i can avoid descaling the machine from inevitable build-up of minerals in the hard water and i suspect i prefer the flavor offered by my birthplace’s water supplies. i chose the titanium model of “le cube” and the capsules i favor are the ristretto but the machine comes with a full selection of all 12 of the available blends so you can determine your own preference. thanks to this array i also discovered that i love the arpeggio blend. i am also delighted by the elegant design of the machine itself. it is attractive but unobtrusive, and the footprint is small. the absence of a steamer makes the design more sleek and compact. i never use steamers as i prefer the nespresso aeroccino or the hand held battery operated aerolatte to foam the milk without interjecting any steam into it. another great and rare design feature is that the height between the tray that holds the cup and the spout is great enough to allow for a tall cappuccino cup so i no longer need to make the espresso in a small cup and then transfer it to the larger cup. i love that i can set the amount of water i want to use and it keeps the setting so i can walk away from it and foam the milk while the coffee is ‘brewing.’ it uses the nespresso individual metal capsules which provide a fresh coffee flavor with each cup and when the lever is raised, the capsule ejects into the body of the machine which holds so many i often forget that the capsules aren’t just flying out to space and on occasion the capsule holder does need emptying! my coffee making is now so satisfying and stream-lined i’m drinking double the amount i did prior to the existence of “le cube” in my life. maybe it’s also because it heats up so quickly it is ready almost immediately for impulse espresso/cappuccino, and when i pass it in the kitchen i find myself smiling with pleasure and anticipation of the next cup!