I don’t think I’m alone when I say my Starbuck’s habit has at times been a little out of control.  Like a lot of people these days, I need to tighten expenses.  I don’t ever want Starbucks to go out of business but it’s a matter of reality, I need to temper my spendy habit.

I have been on a quest for over a year to find the perfect automatic espresso machine.  “Automatic” is an important criteria in this search. There are tons of espresso machines out there. I’ve owned several standard manual ones in my past.  They make great espresso but I use it for a short while and then it ends up collecting dust because it’s just so much easier when a barista makes it for you.  Manual machines can be a hassle to use; grinding up the beans, scooping the grounds into a small metal basket and usually spilling some so wipe that up, filling up a tiny water reservoir, steaming the milk, then taking out all the little bitty parts out, throwing out the grinds without making a mess, and washing and drying them, so it’s ready for the next go around.  whew! What if I want a macchiato later that day?!  Do I really have the time and patience to do all that over again in the same day, and every day? NO.  So a few bucks spent at Starbucks for on-demand espresso is worth it for me; and the barista deserves a tip for giving me that convenience.  So if I want to spend a few hundred bucks on an espresso maker, it needs to make me silly happy every time I use it, like a kid’s favorite toy.

Sometimes You Gotta Spend Money to Save Money but Nespresso Automatic Espresso Machine is Reasonably Priced
A good coffee machine will run you around $100 but an automatic espresso machine could run into several hundred or even over a thousand dollars.  So when we stumbled on the Nespresso automatic espresso machines at the Homesteader store in town, after a personal demonstration and sample, we knew it was the one for us.  Joel got the Essenza for his office and we have the CitiZ at home.  The automatic Essenza is under $200 and the CitiZ is about $280 on Amazon.   I’ll have to admit, when I started researching machines last year, I immediately ruled out the ones that used pods.  Mostly because pods would be more expensive and I thought it would be inconvenient to have to purchase them. The Nespresso machines use capsules and I love it!  They’re so easy and no mess.  (We have a Keurig machine for regular coffee and love having a fresh cup every time, and don’t have to dump out extra coffee now; so I’m much more open to the capsules now.)  The machines are reasonably priced, but you do pay a little more for the capsules and convenience.  Online ordering is simple; capsules arrive in 2 business days.  One capsule is 55 or 62 cents; and come in packages of 10.  A double shot will run you a buck and some change.  When you buy a doppio at the cafe, the price difference is not huge, it’s the margins on the milk and syrups in all those espresso drinks that hit your wallet.  But I’m not going into that here, it’s a whole different conversation.

When you buy a Nespresso machine, they give you a complete sampler of all 16 profiles to try.  Joel likes it strong and these days the Arpeggio is his favorite.  I like Roma and Cosi.  However, if you’re like me and happen to like cream with your coffee and steamed milk even better, you absolutely have to get the Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother.  It was the frother that really sealed the deal for me.  The foam is creamy and it has both hot and cold settings.  Lattes and cappuccinos are a cinch! The Aeroccino will run you another hundred bucks but it is worth it, and I would say essential.  Amazon offers both the Essenza and CitiZ bundled with the Aeroccino and you save $40-$50.  If you live in Steamboat, buy locally and get it at the Homesteader on Lincoln.

CitiZ & Aeroccino

CitiZ Espresso Maker & Aeroccino Milk Frother

Like I said, I do not want Starbucks to go out of business, so I usually drive-thru once a week to get my fix.

There are lots of espresso machines out there.  They’re like cars, you have to find the one you want, but if you ask me for a recommendation, this is the one I would suggest because every time I press the lever, push the button and sip on my freshly made cappuccino I get a great satisfaction from having this little luxury while saving some precious time, a few pennies and even some calories.

p.s.  Unfortunately, there is one objection for some, the capsules are not recyclable at this time in the USA.  They are made of aluminum, so the capsules are made of recyclable material, and Nespresso is currently working on a recycling solution and testing it out in some other countries, but the U.S. is not currently in the trial.  I hope they’ll be introducing the program to the U.S. soon.  Check out their Ecolaboration website for more information.