No Nespresso, by George

A friend recently asked me what I think of Nespresso. It
was a great idea, asking me, an opinionated coffee addict with an
interest in marketing and happy to turn my steam wand on any
conniving multinational!

It's all so simple. It's also landfill.

said, no, I do not like Nespresso. And here’s why. The concept of
Nespresso, Nestle’s foray into the domestic coffee machine market,
is to give people a perfect cup every time by pre-determining your
entire experience. For a brand to go to this level of sanitising is
absurd and seeks to create a kind of culture akin to the Soda
Stream (you always knew who had one and if you were, as Ii was, a
have-not). Now, I’m no slow-foodie but when I buy coffee it’s whole
beans, by the kilo, and I like being able to meet the roaster or
check the roasting date. If I became more educated I might also
notice the country of origin. At the same time, while cafes in
Sydney are all posting hessian coffee bean bags on their walls to
show they’re connected to the source, Nestle is taking the farmer,
the wholesaler, the grinder totally out of the equation and
vacuum-packing your daily hit without even a hint of personal
interference. Simplicity replaces engagement. It’s the MAC of
coffee, and nearly everyone else is a PC. For my money, this is absurd
and a brilliant exploitation of the consumer desire to have it all
with minimum effort and with the least time taken. It’s cynical. An
end-to-end controlled coffee experience aimed at the well-off and
by a company who have nearly managed, with all their Hollywood
firepower (see ad below) to dissociate themselves from Blend 37, no, I mean Blend 43.
Three possible
reasons you would buy this insipid device:

  1. You
    really like George Clooney,
  2. You have more
    money than time,
  3. You don’t want to get your
    hands dirty (by grinding your own beans, emptying out the grinds,
    having to choose what coffee you buy etc)

The worst of it is that once you buy the (rather pricey) machine
you are tied into buying their coffee
only at their prices, meaning they can
charge whatever they want and you have to cough it up. A guy I work
with – who falls easily into category 2 above – has bought a
Nespresso machine and tried to defend their cosy pricing regime.
“I just go in and get five
boxes (of capsules) and I have enough to last me ages!” It’s all
pre-ground, pre-roasted, pre-fabricated. And there are different
beans and blends, but guess what that means; with a Nespresso
machine, your separation from the coffee production process is now
so complete that Nestle’s system now controls not where and when
and how you buy your coffee. It’s all very clever. When you buy
more expensive capsules you feel you are getting their best
beans… but are you? You can’t check anything. It could have been
roasted months ago. But, like most purchasers, my friend now buys a
cheaper type of pod because what seemed reasonable at first is soon
dropped in favour of a more affordable cost-per-cup. The problem
is, “the cheapest pods taste like sh-t!’, he tells me. So, he is
forced into buying a higher cost pod to get a reasonable flavour
coffee. The store sells the machine telling buyers they can enjoy
coffee for as low as $0.50 per cup. But my friend says to drink
something bearable it’s now it’s closer to $1 a cup. And he has no
control over any part of the process. According to a Wikipedia
, Nespresso’s cost per serving is up to three
times higher than that of alternative brewing methods. What a
treat. Sign me up, George!

4 responses to “No Nespresso, by George

  1. Chris

    I for one, welcome the revolution in Coffee Making and would like to spread its time saving goodness to all of those time-poor, ass-faced, socio-pretending, hip gangster wanabees.

    When it gets down to cost per cup or grinding your own or just enjoying that morning cup of joe….just remember the one thing that will make more people buy Nespresso than any other, it is all about the advertising!

    It has nothing to do with George Clooney and the fact that he is now almost at an age that if anyone cast under 25 was opposite him, it looks like Hugh Hefner on a great date, but you have to look closer at the the advertisement is really selling.

    It isn’t the sleek lines and revolutionary design of the new machine, nor the revolutionary Pod coffee that delivers exactly what you are after every time, it also isn’t the clearly over hot woman swooning at the fact the George has touched the same machine she is using, it is all about John Malkovich.

    I have to bow to the great overlords of coffee making when you can get one of the most right-winged, self declared atheists in the world to not only sell his soul for a cuppa, but hand him the role of playing GOD…….

    For sure, he might be a saint in the ad, but only in twisted media land and the overlords of the pre prepared cup of Pod originated joe could they find one man so willing to put it all on a pedestal to see, only an ATHEIST would sell his soul for a cup of Nespresso Goodness!

    I have just ordered 10 machines and a shipping container of pods, on-line of course, as they are 70% cheaper from overseas and I didn’t have to pay the 10% GST, sucked in Gerry Harvey!

  2. Sash

    Luke, I am with you on this one. I’m no coffee connoisseur but I AM a coffee snob. We stcok the Nescafe 3-in-1 coffee sticks at work for convenience and cost. But at home, I buy the beans ( and I love trying different blends and brands), keep them in the freezer and only grind as much as I need for that morning, then while the cafetiere is burbling, I make oatmeal, It’s become part of the ritual of waking up and getting ready in a more leisurely fashion. My friends have been experimenting with roasting beans – they buy the coffee direct from the grower up in the mountains, and then have great fun roasting it and trying different techniques. And we have great enjoyment drinking it, having been part of the process. So boo to the Nespresso!

    • Absolutely! Ditching flavor options and experimentation for a sanitised, clinical experience is so 1950s and just creates new ways for Nestle to make money, partly from people’s laziness.

  3. love it. Perspective. There’s something richly rewarding
    about everything not being as easy as possible.

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