Few companies have made such an impact on America’s drinking habits as Starbucks. I love Starbucks, but then, I love coffee. You might argue that coffee is too expensive there, but Starbucks completely turned the way America handles this precious drink around. A company that made an impact on Europe’s culture comes from Switzerland - and I am not happy with that.
Coffee rules. I like my coffee black. With cream. With cream and with sugar. Oddly, I do not like it black with only sugar. Anyway, a day at the office without coffee is unthinkable. Next to my desk is a DeLonghi coffee machine that makes coffee with a cream collar, espresso, cappuccino if desired, and takes any grain coffee you like, or beans if you prefer. I wish I had one at home. But at the office it is a tax deductible luxury, at home it would drain my wallet. So what about Nespresso then? Nespresso is a hype, and I do not follow hypes. I do not jump on the trend bandwagons just because I want to conform to certain social circles and while doing so, discarding my own individual tastes. For those of you who do not know Nespresso: Swiss company Nestlé, of Nescafé instant coffee fame, developed a system where you order online – only at Nespresso of course – expensive cups, that you just drop in your machine to get a predefined thin tasting coffee.
One of the kindest qualifications I read came from a magazine that compared Nespresso with several ways of making coffee, concluding that “at least it looks like it”. As I understand the way the coffee is produced does not allow for the best beans you can have, resulting in a shallow taste. For me, used to the full bodied coffee the DeLonghi machine gives, it is a big disappointment.
However, countless people follow Nestlés modern day Pied Piper of Hamelin disguised as George Clooney. Nestlé contracted the greying actor to persuade European consumers to buy the system. Now. Mr. Clooney has more paying customers than a hooker on the corner of Times Square. He drives a Fiat Punto, checks the time on his Omega watch and persuades women with Nespresso coffee. Frankly, that’s quite worrying. If Mr. Clooney has to rely on coffee to be successful with the ladies, than surely there is no hope left for the rest of us.
Of course, we can’t all buy an expensive coffee machine like the DeLonghi for use at home, or even better, chrome barista style coffee makers with impressive gauges and idiot lights that I love to look at, no drool over, in speciality shops and that will easily cost you 1,200 euros. If only… But there are very satisfying options. Old fashioned coffee, where you poor the water yourself in the filter. Like grandma did. Ah, the great aroma of coffee you will smell! And according to a connoisseur, as I recently read, the best coffee you make comes from a simple coffee press, or cafetiere, as it is called in Europe. Add coffee, pour hot water, stir, and after four minutes press down. Indeed, great tasting coffee. Full bodied and mellow at the same time. Can you ask for more?