Coffee is my first and greatest love (sorry Burt Reynolds).
It’s my favorite things when I get up in the morning: from coffee in my automatic coffee maker waiting for me on early morning work days, to carefully hand crated pour-over on the weekend, and even a french press next to a camp fire while camping (that’s one of my favorite camping traditions actually). Lately though I’ve added a new addition to my at-home coffee routine—Nespresso.
I’m going to be honest, I never thought I’d be into Nespresso. As someone who tries to cut down on the amount of waste I generate and live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, the idea of a pod coffee maker seemed terribly wasteful (and it can be). I’d used similar coffee makers at other people’s homes before but never even considered the idea of getting one for my own kitchen until two things happened this summer: 1) I started dating a fellow coffee drinker and found after we polish off a pot or a pour-over, I still felt like having maybe just one more cup. 2) A couple of fellow bloggers I follow toured the Nespresso facility in Switzerland—with it’s recycle center! Wait… those little metal coffee pods are recyclable? (Mind blown emoji).
Since getting my Nespresso a month ago, I’ve pretty much fallen in love. Not only does my machine look very pretty sitting on my kitchen counter (I opted for a white one to match my Kitchen Aid stand mixer), but the coffee is actually quite good. As a bit of a “coffee snob,” I had always assumed that pod coffee wouldn’t taste as good because it’s not freshly-ground local coffee or—pause for dramatic music—it would be flavored or have that powdered cream stuff mixed in with it. Flavored coffee is my nightmare. Coffee already has a flavor…it’s coffee flavor. Hazelnut can stick to being added to a chocolaty topping for my toast (in my “humble” opinion). I was really excited when I started looking into the Nespresso and saw that most of the options don’t include extra flavorings or really any additives I wouldn’t want to be consuming*. When I made my first cup after my machine arrived, I was a little nervous. What if I’d just invested in a whole set up and didn’t like the coffee? I was relieved and super excited that it was as good as people had told me. Burt Reynolds even likes it. Why did I ever doubt the Swiss???
It really is perfect for when I want to drink a little less coffee than my normal Gilmore Girls amount of coffee. I have a 10 cup pot that brew most workday mornings (it has an automatic timer so my coffee is ready when I get up). The full 10 cups comes out about perfect for me to fill my Hydro Flask for work (24 ounces) and for both me and a roommate to have a cup or two while getting ready in the morning. But on the weekends I like do something a bit more special. Normally this is either brewing coffee in my 8-cup Chemex or using my beautiful pour-over set—I’ll have a future blog post on all my beloved home-brew equipment sometime soon. But what if I want two-cup instead of an entire 8-cup carafe? Or what if I’m heading out to Sunday brunch and need a single cup while getting reading to go out for more coffee? These are the moments that I kept thinking a Nespresso would be perfect. I could make a single cup when that’s really all I’m looking for. (I’ve grown so in love with my Nespresso I also use it as a pick-me-up after a long day of work or to make a decaf cup at night… decaf isn’t normally my thing but some people keep telling me I shouldn’t drink as much caffeine at night?!)
If you’ve ever looked into getting a Nespresso before (or any other coffee maker for that matter), you’ll understand how overwhelming it can be settling on what machine you want. I read loads of reviews from blogs, on Amazon, and even on William Sonoma (I find the people who write product reviews on there hold their products up to a higher standard than on other retailers’ websites). I ended up settling on the DeLonghi Nespresso Machine for a couple reasons:
So far I’ve been very happy with the machine I picked. It’s pretty easy to clean and set up was an absolute breeze.
Because I’m a dork who is prepared for any situation, I keep a container of filtered water in my fridge and one on my kitchen counter, which I mostly use for filling my coffee makers and for any guest who prefer room temp water over chilled. I personally recommend using filtered water in your coffeemaker, even if you live somewhere with tap water that taste great (Portland tap water is really pretty good, but it’s hard for me to break the habit of drinking only filtered water from when I lived in China). It can help extend the life of your machine. Using my Nespresso literally could not be easier. I fill the basin with water, wait for the machine to come up to temp (which takes no time at all), plop in a coffee pod, push a button and voila! Coffee. It’s like magic. It’s also pretty fast, so when I wanted a single cup of coffee before heading out to the airport at 4 am, I used my Nespresso.
But wait…. what about the waste it generates? What ultimately brought me over to the Nespresso side of coffee brewing was the recycling centers the company set up. Specialized machines separate the used grinds from the old pods so it can be used in compost. The old pods are then crushed down and aluminum reused to make other products. Recycling has been super easy. I add pre-labeled recycle bags to my Nespresso order (they are free) and drop it off at a UPS store to be shipped back to a recycle center once I’ve filled it. In the end, the biggest factor that swayed me into trying Nespresso was the recycling aspect. More curious than if the coffee tasted good, I wanted to know more about it and see how it actually worked once I owned a machine.
I came to recycle, I stayed for the coffee.
GRETCHEN IS A WRITER-BASED IN PORTLAND, ORE. SHE GOT HER START AS A JOURNALIST WORKING ON THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND RESTAURANT BEAT BEFORE MOVING INTO COPYWRITING AND ADVERTISING WORK. SHE CURRENTLY BLOGS AND WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER.