Monday, 24 January 2011

Taste the Difference

Pod coffee. Some is good. Some is bad. Luckily, I'm not an idiot, so I have a coffee machine that makes the good kind. Nespresso, I had my machine before George Clooney, so I think that makes me cool, right?

One of the strange things about Nespresso, is that they really try hard to promote their brand as not for the common folk. Only recently are there physical stores, and they are staffed by people in suits looking down at you (or, if you're my friend Tom, by gay gentleman offering cappuccinos for phone numbers). Keeps the riff-raff out. Aside from these stores, if you want to buy some pods, so you can, you know, actually drink coffee, then you have to do it through a website.

Your pods are then despatched by the best delivery service I've ever encountered. So good, that I actually feel comfortable giving them my home address. The next day, or perhaps the one after if something terrible happens and BAM, you have your coffee. Not a card, saying that they got all the way to your door and just gave up, but you have your coffee. Perhaps receipt of goods should be the standard for delivery services?

There's a downside here, you have to plan ahead and you have to buy a fair amount of the stuff at once (once you order over something like 250capsules, they give you half price shipping). So, there is actually a gap in the market for a company to step in and start selling their own knock-offs.

And somebody has. That is a knock-off there on the right. Maison Du Cafe's "L'or espresso". In fact, that there is their excellently titled Splendente range. What is not excellent, is that each is individually wrapped. Pod coffee's critical problem is that it generates a lot more waste than having a proper espresso machine (which just produces soil). Nespresso have recently started some kind of recycling scheme that I need to look into. Regardless, one black mark for extra wrapping.

Second, is price. I would've thought that selling an alternative type of pod, you'd gun for value. Maison Du Cafe simply do not roll that way. 3.05 for ten caps. which at today's exchange rate is around £2.60, which is the same as what Nespresso charge (minus shipping, which is a flat £2). So, approximately the same price.

Quality? You can see in the photo that the MdC cap is actually smaller. It's not a perfect fit, and this, I feel, is reflected in the coffee itself, but I'll need to have a blind taste test.

And yes, this is much more fun than writing my thesis. Much more.

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