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Old 02-11-2014, 05:15   #1
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Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

The Nespresso machine is one of the most treasured items in my galley, and I bet it is on many other boats, as well. A superb espresso or long coffee can be made in a second without faffing around with grounds, washing complicated machinery, and indeed without bulky or expensive espresso machines -- the Nespresso machine is svelte enough to fit in any galley, is inexpensive, dead simple, and reliable.

It would be the perfect boat coffee machine, except for one thing -- Nespresso is a business case studied on all business schools around the world about how to create a premium brand demanding premium prices with a combination of (a) strong patent protection to prevent direct competition; (b) an enormously expensive marketing campaign (which has added millions to George Clooney's net worth); (c) tightly restricted distribution chains; (d) creating a "club" mystique.

As a result, the damned capsules are ridiculously overpriced, representing about 1 cent worth of (excellent) coffee, 5 cents worth of (really excellent) packaging, and 44 cents worth of (unneeded) hype. And furthermore, if you run out of them, you're stuffed unless you're near a "Nespresso Boutique" (gag!), or can receive a mail order package.

The patents ran out a couple of years ago, and substitute capsules started to appear back then. But the early ones, in my experience, have not been satisfactory. Mainly, the packaging doesn't work very well with the machines, and/or the coffee is not as good. The packaging is always some kind of cheap plastic capsule which doesn't quite work like the original aluminum Nespresso capsules, leaks, jams in the machine, etc. Furthermore, the copycat capsules have not been that cheap compared to the real thing. So I keep spending hundreds of dollars a year on Nespresso capsules for the boat.

However, I was always sure that the day would come when someone would produce a decent substitute, and now finally (!!!) it seems to have happened.

I bought these at the Coop in Cowes yesterday:

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As part of my regular testing. And was surprised that they are excellent! Pretty much like the real thing.

They are not that cheap -- 3 pounds for 10 capsules, so 30 p or about 50 cents per shot. Which means that they are very close in cost to the real thing . Therefore, I have just ordered another load of genuine Nespresso capsules . But surely now that there is real competition, this will change!
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:39   #2
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

What don't you like about a more typical espresso machine? Mine grids and brews on demand. I just pour whole beans in the top and occasionally rise out the parts.

It's one of my favorite parts of every morning and I'm not tied to any brand. What's not to love?


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Old 02-11-2014, 08:02   #3
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

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Originally Posted by DanDanDan View Post
What don't you like about a more typical espresso machine? Mine grids and brews on demand. I just pour whole beans in the top and occasionally rise out the parts.

It's one of my favorite parts of every morning and I'm not tied to any brand. What's not to love?


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I have one of those at home (in one of my homes). It's a great thing, but it costs 10x as much as a Nespresso machine, and is about 5x the bulk. And there is a lot of cleaning it, washing parts, getting rid of grounds, etc.

For a boat, especially for underway, the Nespresso is just a much better solution, but for its running costs.

Although, I guess to put that into perspective, I reckon a bean-to-cup machine at $1500 or so would not have paid for itself even in five years. So maybe I shouldn't be complaining so much about the cost of the Nespresso pods -- you do make up for it to a large extent in the cost of the machine.

At least, comparing to a bean-to-cup machines like you're talking about. You can also grind the coffee yourself and use a regular espresso machine, but then you really have a lot of faffing around -- not much good for underway.

By that time, you might as well just be brewing normal coffee in a cafeteria (French press). Which I also do -- especially with a lot of people on board and a lot of cups being consumed. And a cafeteria also makes a decent cup, if you use decent coffee.

But you still have grounds and washing the cafeteria.

All in all, other than running costs, the Nespresso is the absolute best coffee solution, in my opinion.
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Old 02-11-2014, 14:41   #4
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

Love my Nespresso, best coffee in your hand 60 seconds after the thought occurs in any weather. Yes it's a pain to be tied to a certain brand but It's hard to find a better taste and perfect crema every time. The older not electronic models played better with inverters, I use a transformer to step my vessels 240 volts down so I can take my us 120 volt model from the house.


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Old 02-11-2014, 17:20   #5
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

One word.. Aeropress..... Yes you have to mess with grounds but I can have a cup of awesome coffee ready in about a minute and a half.

You can use any coffee, it uses no electricity and cleanup is a cinch. The grounds a filters (just paper) can go overboard.

I used to be a Tassimo person but the Aeropress is almost as fast and tastes way better..

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Old 02-11-2014, 19:18   #6
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

The aeropress is a great option. I've thought about getting one to use in case the espresso machine went down.

At $0.50 per cup the nespresso machine represents a pretty bad value in my mind. That's before considering the necessary inventory and trash created.

To each their own, but I wouldn't want to be so tied to a particular company. Like continually buying blades for your mach17 razor. Would make me feel like too much of a cog in the machine.


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Old 02-11-2014, 19:26   #7
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

No tea?
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Old 02-11-2014, 20:37   #8
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

Brace yourselves..... I drink instant cappuccino.
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Old 02-11-2014, 20:58   #9
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

Boil water and coffee in a tin can, sprinkle a little cold on top to settle the grounds. If you take it black in a minute you can drink direct from the can. Hobo-style!
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Old 02-11-2014, 22:35   #10
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

I have been drinking a lot of instant coffee lately. That might be the ultimate in coffee-laziness. It's decaf too.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:22   #11
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

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about 1 cent worth of (excellent) coffee, 5 cents worth of (really excellent) packaging
I would call this 5 cents worth of first grade garbage. Please don't support these machines, even when the capsules come from independent fair trade farms.

Thanks for pointing out the ugly business side of things, though.

We use these stove top Mocca things - they are simple (not as simple as a french press or cowboy style coffee, though), need no electricity, are small, independent of bean producers, and nothing except a 9 bar coffee shop machine beats their taste. We also have a manual grinder for the beans and a milk frothing thing. It's true, more hassle than pushing a button, but as someone else mentioned, I love the ritual, especially fun in waves.

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Old 03-11-2014, 02:34   #12
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

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<snip>


As a result, the damned capsules are ridiculously overpriced, representing about 1 cent worth of (excellent) coffee, 5 cents worth of (really excellent) packaging, and 44 cents worth of (unneeded) hype. And furthermore, if you run out of them, you're stuffed unless you're near a "Nespresso Boutique" (gag!), or can receive a mail order package.

<snip>
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have one of those at home (in one of my homes). It's a great thing, but it costs 10x as much as a Nespresso machine, and is about 5x the bulk. And there is a lot of cleaning it, washing parts, getting rid of grounds, etc.

For a boat, especially for underway, the Nespresso is just a much better solution, but for its running costs.

<snip>
What you are inadvertently saying is there is 44 cents worth of convenience.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:48   #13
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

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No tea?
With my boat constantly full of various Brits and Russians, I have an entire tea locker (and I'm not joking!). Thank God -- saves the Nespresso pods Just don't give a Russian a tea with milk by mistake
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:52   #14
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

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What you are inadvertently saying is there is 44 cents worth of convenience.
Yes, I suppose you could say that.

But I'm not even so sure it's such a bad economic proposition -- compared to expensive bean-to-cup machines like what I have at home.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:02   #15
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Re: Finally a Decent Nespresso Substitute

another source on the island:
Store Finder and Opening Hours - Lidl UK

some notes to Lidl Coffee Bellarom Kaffeekapseln im Test - kompatibel mit Nespresso-Maschinen - Kapsel-Kaffee.net
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