Between sips: For the love of coffee and coffee machines

By: |
October 18, 2020 1:30 AM

There’s something to be said about the convenience of those nifty machines, which spew out coffee and don’t leave any residue that needs special cleaning

By all means. I haven't tried other local brands, so can't comment on them.By all means. I haven't tried other local brands, so can't comment on them.

So this is the second in my series on coffee and I think I will take a break from the brew after this because I risk becoming one of those people who are utterly incapable of social propriety before their morning drip has been intravenously fed. But I must say that the last month has been particularly—ugh, I hate to use the word—immersive, with coffee in all its forms. Last time, I had spoken about a new blend that Starbucks launched virtually and an instant coffee that has, since lockdown, become all the “Rage”, pun intended.

But I missed my espresso shot, the kind that is steaming hot and creamy smooth, textured and flavoured, bitter with a bite. I never shy away from the convenience of having one of those nifty machines, which spew out coffee on command and don’t leave any residue that needs special cleaning. And that’s when the Coffeeza machine turned up at my doorstep.

Now, I do have a Nespresso and it works fine, but it is very finicky when it comes to a change of capsules. It will stand no other and even Davidoff coffee capsules ended up not sitting right. Coffeeza’s Finero, a very similar device, is less finicky and definitely gets my vote on that front. It has its own capsules, but happily feeds off other brands too. A quick side note: with capsule coffees, it’s never about the cost of the machine. That’s a one-time hit. The real money (for the brand, that is) is in the repeated and constant sales of coffee capsules. And these capsules aren’t exactly cheap.

Coffeeza, while certainly not here for charity, has been smart about its capsule pricing, coming in at Rs 550 for a set of 10. Now, Rs 55 for a two-second shot of espresso might seem excessive, but to me, it does two things—I get to enjoy absolutely exquisite coffee at home at a fraction of what it would cost me in a fancy hipster shop (Coffeeza’s native capsules pack some great Italian blends) and, secondly, the cost ensures I can never (afford to) get addicted to it! These espressos remain a once-a-day treat rather than an all-day mug-filler.

So, should you get one of these machines? By all means. I haven’t tried other local brands, so can’t comment on them. Nespresso is great if you have an endless supply of foreign-returning uncles and cousins who can bring the capsules for you, else they are frightfully expensive here. In which case, this option, Coffeeza, works well.

Now, to be the perennial complainer that I am, these are still not in the same league as a freshly-ground espresso made in one of those fancy Italian machines. I had one of those, too, but it is like parking a small sports car on your kitchen counter. Everything about those machines is impractical—the price, of course, but also the grinder you need to invest in, the various coffees beans you will need to buy and keep hermetically sealed, the cleanup after each cup, the routine machine cleanup… it goes on. Sure, there is an unparalleled charm to them—like polishing your shoes or repairing a vintage cycle—but it’s fun as long as it doesn’t eat into your productive hours. I would love to have one of those machines again, if only to show them off, but I know that when I need to pull myself a quick cuppa, I’ll instinctively reach out for a Coffeeza capsule.

That said, next time, I may try and explore tea, kombucha or some other beverage. And if perchance by then, all this coffee trying has worked itself into a caffeine-dependency, a dirty habit that I am then in the process of trying to kick, you will know because I will sound unreasonably snide and temperamental here. If so, please bear with me, like you have all these years.

The writer is a sommelier

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