Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Nespresso U Milk

Nespresso U Milk

Let me be clear: Nespresso capsules are an expensive way to drink coffee, but have multiple advantages over other Ground (non instant) coffee machines.

About Coffee Machines
The hierarchy of coffee machines is like this

- Coffee Powder and a Kettle

- Ground Coffee and a Cafetiere

- Machine taking beans, grinding them and making Coffee
ties with
- Nespresso or other Capsule based machine

Actually this is a gross over-simplification.  Machines that take whole coffee beans and grind them are arguably the most sophisticated, or so their manufacturers will argue, whilst Nespresso  (a subdivision of Nestle) argues their capsule machines are better.

Also bear in mind there is a hierarchy of Capsule technologies with the original Nespresso machine still being perceived as the top tier and no-name or Supermarket branded machines at the bottom of the capsule market.

The Capsule Concept
Invented and popularised by Nespresso (Nestle) these machines have

+ 30 second or less startup time
+ Power saving sleep features
+ Very hygienic, coffee is dispensed from an aluminium capsule that is punctured leaving no chance of coffee granules getting anywhere.  Just no mess.   This convenience is perhaps the biggest selling point
+ You can select the capsule flavour, strength from a list of over 20 options, additional parameters like decaffeinated or flavouring also add to your choices.
+ Small machine size cf regular Coffee machines that grinds.
-- Environmentally wasteful as the aluminium capsules are at best recycled, but many times not, and the expense of providing an alu capsule to cover a single serving of coffee is well, high
-- Over time the cost of capsules is considerable compared to raw beans or ground coffee in a cafetiere

Overall then Nespresso capsules give you supreme flexibility of choice,  fast almost hygienic coffee dispensing but at a cost.

Note that capsule designs vary, with many cheaper Supermarket Brands having their own completely incompatible capsule design.

Nespresso U Milk

As generous people Marcus and Agata were giving their existing machine away and now need a new machine for their new house.  When a bargain offer at Coop came up, enabling us to buy the whole machine for less than 70 GBP, we just could not resist it.

Notes on U

The U and the connected machines are rather unique in that there is no physical lever that you turn in order to puncture the capsule and physically place it ready for brewing.   The U machine has a slot that you close, and then a solenoid pushes the capsule into place, and after brewing the capsule is automatically ejected.

This actually saves you precious seconds and to us makes coffee production even simpler.  So, despite the additional extra internal complication we recommend these solenoid machines, which because they have no handle are actually sleeker too.

Never Milk Never!

Marcus had promised never to buy a coffee machine with an integrated Milk frother because of the total faff of cleaning it. But after almost 2 months of operation:

I was totally wrong.   The U Milk really works beautifully

It is like this:

- You create the Milk froth in a separate heated unit to the side of the Coffee machine
- You just put milk into it, even semi skimmed milk works  (full fat is of course easier to froth)
- Press the button
- < 60 seconds froth is made
- Pour it out
- You can then easily clean the frother since the inside is Teflon coated.  The cleaning takes < 30 seconds.
- So from start to finish you can have a Cappuccino coffee, including cleaning in less than 180 seconds, with really the minimum of fuss

I am totally converted,  and eat humble pie that after at least 5 years of saying "that frother will be nothing but trouble",   well it is not.

U User Manual