When I received an invitation from the lovely folks at Joeblogsnetwork.com to spend several hours with Curry’s PC World and Nespresso talking about, playing with and tasting quality coffee made from one of those clever little Nespresso machines I’ve added to my Christmas list, I accepted with alacrity.
The event, with a certain degree of irony, was held at Waterloo Tea in Cardiff’s Wyndham Arcade but being a caffeine fiend this was in no way off-putting.
|Cardiff’s Quaint, Christmassy Wyndham Arcade|
After a delicious lunch featuring flavoursome salads, canapes and wonderful chocolate ‘bites’, our first challenge was to become baristas for the day and create a latte lovingly adorned with a heart.
It is not as easy as it looks and the coffee making equipment is more sophisticated than I had expected.
The water pressure must be just so as must the size of the ground coffee grains – the latter affecting the taste of the espresso if the grains are too big or too small.
My fellow bloggers and I had been divided into four groups undertaking each activity in turn.
My group and I surveyed the hissing piece of equipment in front of us with something approaching terror. Needless to say, our tutor produced a latte with a perfect heart.
I’m afraid I managed to produce what can best be described as a blob or possibly a runner bean, neither being required in someone’s latte anytime soon.
Our next activity was cupping.
No, not the weirdness espoused by Gwyneth Paltrow but a lesson in the art of coffee tasting.
Using one of the natty little Nespresso wizards a range of coffees was placed before us and we were asked to taste each one by slurping some off a spoon.
Noisy slurping is apparently required, if somewhat unladylike.
We were surprised by how much coffee is packed into each of the little coffee pods and also at the variety of flavours available.
There are 22 varieties of coffee to choose from.
The coffees are ranked according to intensity and flavour so Livanto, a blend of Central and South American Arabicas is a medium roast with an intensity of 6, whilst aromatic Volluto has sweet biscuit and light fruity notes and an intensity of 4.
There is a flavour and intensity to match every taste and moment of the day.
|Cupping in action|
Things were now getting serious and it was time to learn how to combine coffee with alcohol.
I have to say I have been doing this reasonably successfully for years just not in cocktail format.
We learned how to make an Orange Coffee Martini which so entranced me I completely forgot the name of the second – although I do recall it featured espresso and Baileys which is enough information to work with in my book.
We were also shown how to make coffee ‘mocktails’ but again, I’m afraid my attention wandered back to the martini at this point.
|Coffee Cocktail Time|
|A Raspberry Coffee Mocktail – Sadly Not One Of Your 5-A-Day|
Lastly we were given a demonstration of a range of Nespresso machines ranging from a basic model, retailing around the £70 mark such as the Krups Nespresso Inissia to a more sophisticated version such as the Nespresso Lattissima & Espresso Machine at around the £179 mark which also has a milk frother and jug.
|Be gentle with me ladies!|
We learned that when you buy a Nespresso machine you automatically become a member of the Nespresso Club.
The Club offers numerous privileges including personalised contacts with Nespresso and its coffee specialists.
You can order your coffee fix online, by phone or fax, day or night to the delivery address of your choice or to one of the Nespresso Boutiques.
And, should your Nespresso machine need repairing during its guarantee period, Nespresso will collect it and provide you with a loan machine, subject to availability.
Repairs out of warranty are carried out at a flat fee.
I was impressed by the ease of use (pop a pod in, press a button and hey presto!) but the team at #CoffeeWithCurrys really showed us that there is more to these little machines than just a quick coffee break.
For those who are interested in gourmet coffee and expanding their knowledge of what I think Blackadder once referred to as ‘that naughty bean’, this is an excellent and cost effective way of doing so.
Yes, the cost per cup using the pods may be slightly higher than a jar of instant and a spoon but in terms of taste, the coffees I sampled were certainly excellent quality.
A Nespresso machine is now definitely at the top of my Christmas list.
More information about #CoffeeWithCurrys is available HERE.