Product Type: Krups Philips Saeco
Newest Review: ... while it is going (reminiscent of a elderly moped) but this only lasts for 30-60 seconds. Meanwhile you stick some milk in the milk frothi... more
Brewing up (with no) trouble
Krups XN710640 Citiz Nespresso
Member Name: Danscomp
Krups XN710640 Citiz Nespresso
Advantages: Great coffee
Disadvantages: main unit is not cheap
Wide awake in dreamland
I hate instant coffee. I don't care if its called millicules or is endorsed by tennis players. Coffee for me is ground coffee. The rate at which Costas and Starbucks (boo!) have been cropping up all over the UK suggests that I'm certainly not alone in my feeling.
But when it costs so much to get a decent cup of coffee, you have to ask yourself if there's a better way. A cost-effective way in which you can get the same quality coffee at home, in the morning without mess, without fuss, and quickly.
The answer is; yes.
Out with the old
We had our old machine for six years. It looks monolithic and takes up loads of space on the counter. It is messy to use and the amount of coffee used to make a decent cup of java is wasteful. The milk takes forever to heat and the frothing device sounded like a cement mixer.
Having looked around, we settled on a Krups Nespresso Citiz machine in fire engine red. It comes on a sturdy stand with its own milk heater/frother and looks the absolute business. By this, I mean not only is it much smaller than it's predecessor, it looks very expensive.
Was it? Some may think so. It cost us £156. But that gets you a device that is a proper 19-bar coffee machine. This represents the pressure used to force the water through the coffee grounds. The result is an expresso or lungo (standard size coffee to the rest of us) that is dark as sin with distinct crema on top. This is the measure of a damn good coffee.
In with the new
The design of this device is excellent. There's a lever at the top that when opened, allows you to drop a pod in. These pods will only fit one way. Closing the lever punctures the foil in a cross-hatched pattern. When you're finished brewing, operating the lever again ejects the used pod into a container below for swift removal.
At the back is an easily removable water reservoir, large enough so that you can fill it up and leave for repeated uses. On top of the main unit are two rubber-like buttons. One for an Espresso, one for a Lungo. The unit automatically switches itself off, so no worrying any longer about "Have I turned the coffee machine off, and will the house burn down while I'm at work?"
When activated, both lights flash for around 8 seconds while the device prepares itself. Pressing either button will result in a rumble as the water is heated, pressurised and forced through the pod. In front there is a drip tray and a drop down cup holder for smaller cups that is easily folded out of the way for larger ones.
What about the milk? Well, the frother sits on a base plate. It is solid and feels as if it will last forever. There is a transparent lid and a magnetised bottom that one of two frothing devices sits on. (One does more froth than the other)
The space inside runs only half the height of the unit, the remainder reserved for the power and heating elements. There is a minimum and maximum level clearly distinct within. Do not overfill the unit, or it will spill. I speak from experience. The milk takes about a minute to complete its cycle, powering off when done. The coffee only takes about half this time.
The resultant fluff at its fluffiest represents the consistency of mousse. Pour on top of a Lungo for a latte to remember. You can use less to seal in an Americano or add a little suaveness to an expresso. The first time you do this is when your doubts at spending a not inconsiderable amount of money vanishes. This is as close as you will get to a Costa coffee without spending two to three times the money on a machine that will grind the beans for you.
All the Nespresso range is operated by coffee pods. The machine came with 12 assorted ones. You are always best off buying from Nespresso themselves. It is far cheaper than other sources such as Amazon. You will have to buy 50 pods per order which with postage costs £20. That breaks down to 40p per pod. A minimum of 50 cups of coffee. More, if you go Lungo and share.
Nespresso offer 12 "grand crus". That's a pretentious way of saying blends. I will list them below. The higher intensity, the stronger the coffee (d'uh)
Dulsão do Brasil (intensity:4)
Indriya from India (intensity:10)
Rosabaya de Colombia (intensity:6)
Decaffeinato Intenso (intensity:7)
Fortissio Lungo (intensity:7)
Vivalto Lungo (intensity:4)
Linzio Lungo (intensity:3)
Decaffeinato Lungo (intensity:3)
Linizio Lungo(intensity: 4)
Each pod is colour coded. They do have their own little nuances, but you will quickly develop favourites. Roma and Ristretto are mine. You do get a nicely bound booklet with the machine containing plenty of information including a quick reference guide.
In summary, this is a little luxury. And like all such, there is an initial investment. But the machine is well designed, sturdy and easy to clean. Your wife's friends will be green with envy, as mine was, unless they have one themselves. It draws the eye as you enter the kitchen, looking every inch as though it was designed to be used by Prince Baron on Mongo.
Recommended for all coffee lovers. You could buy the main unit and milk frother separately, but you wouldn't save any appreciable amount of money and you don't get the baseplate that seats both. Nespresso also do a range of accessories. We got the cappuccino cups (£7 each) that looked better in the brochure than they do in person.
The only obvious room for improvement is recyclability. Nespresso offer a few places in London (and elsewhere) where you can go to recycle the pods, rather than chuck them. They need to improve this, or provide pre-paid envelopes or boxes to allow you to return them once you reach a certain number.
Summary: Costa quality at home, and quickly!
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