(San Francisco, California)
The name of my favorite espresso maker is quite a mouthful: it's the Nespresso C100-US-AERO Essenza Automatic Single-Serve Espresso Machine with Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother. This is an amazing little single serve machine with a one-button milk frother. It has so many things going for it, that I'm not sure where to start.
I first used one in a hotel room in Paris a couple of years ago. It may not have been this exact model, but it was close. Let me make it clear up front: I am not a "morning person" and I'm unable to function properly without caffeine. Espresso is by far my favorite vehicle for caffeine. This machine uses little single serve "pods" and requires you to push one button to get espresso. In other words, it's perfect for the morning-impaired coffee lovers like me.
I like the fact that it's tiny and doesn't hog counter space, and I was thrilled to find out later that Consumer Reports rates it as one of the best espresso machines out there. Here is my one complaint about this machine, and it's a fairly minor one to me: the frother makes frothy froth, but it isn't hot enough. You'll have to decide if that's a deal breaker for you. It wasn't for me.
Some people might chafe at the idea of only using Nespresso coffee capsules with this machine. But they come in a bunch of different varieties, and each cup of espresso costs around 65 cents, which is nothing compared to the morning fix you pick up from your local "Four-bucks." You can also get larger pods that make 5 ounces, and these are great for lattes. The bottom line is that this is a wonderful addition to the lifestyle of a coffee lover. It couldn't be simpler, and the espresso and lattes are gourmet quality.Editor's note
While Nespresso Essenza may not be for espresso purists, it is an excellent little machine for those who want predictability and convenience. The user reviews are outstanding. In fact it is difficult to find another espresso machine with such glowing reviews.
The espresso is surprisingly good although the variety is limited by what is available in Nespresso capsules. These capsules are the main drawback of this machine as they are quite expensive.
If you want latte or cappuccino, you will need a way to steam and froth milk. The obvious choice is Aeroccino which is often bundled together with Essenza. However, there are also many other ways to steam and froth milk.
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