There are so many ways to prepare a drink with just a simple ingredient or two.
Often these have made the most popular drinks in the world. It’s likely a trend that leas all the way back to the Amazon, when tribes combined juice from a vine with grinds from a root.
Okay, so maybe that doesn’t sound like the best tasting drink on earth, but it’s not too far off from the great (and simple) beverages we enjoy today. Tea, coffee, even beer are all relatively simple drinks but make up the majority of consumed liquids on the planet. Oh yes, and water!
The ways we prepare those drinks can vary a lot though. So when Nespresso invented their style of coffee on the spot and to some incredibly exact specification, the world became curious. Now Nespresso is a household name, and it’s for good reason.
For the age-old French Press, it met it’s natural-born predator the AeroPress when the inventor of the Aerobie Frisbee was finished making his mark in sporting goods.
Today, we want to take those top of the food-chain dominators and compare and contrast them, in all their glory.
The Aeropress Brew
Named as a conjunction of Aerobie and French Press, the Aeropress brew has an intense aroma with hints of oils and dark concentration. The process fully supports the coffees rich backbone to give righteous character to the final product.
The French Press style was a particularly impressive development for its time. However, one single cup coffee lover deciding it was time to up the ante. Today, many people enjoy the AeroPress, not only for its wonderful coffee product but also because it has a sleek design which makes it camping friendly, but basically mobile for coffee anywhere one can find a heat source and potable water.
The Aeropress works with a plunger style topper and a mesh filter, which means you’re going to be enjoying a lot of the natural oils and flavors from the beans, without sacrificing them in a paper filter, like one would with drip coffee. The Nespresso also has it’s competition with drip coffee as well.
The Nespresso brewing system differs immensely in regards to the brewing process.
Nespresso Coffee Brewing
The Swiss have had a long time love affair with coffee, so much so that the simple drink we were discussing has been locked down to an exact science. The creation of the Nespresso system, a portmanteau of Nestle and espresso, set a new standard in home coffee automation. However, it wasn’t until many years after its inception, that the system truly became the iconic beverage creator that it is today.
When Eric Favre was studying the popularity of espresso shops in the 1970s, he decided to make an automated version of the drink, perhaps to earn the business of the espresso-crazed which lined up day after day for the dense black drink.
How The Nespresso Machine Works
Over the years, the brewing system was changed and evolved into the high-caliber piece of machinery it is today. Coffee aficionados took note.
Nespresso’s hermetically sealed capsules are made of aluminum. Depending on the Nespresso system being used, the flat top or the pointy end of the capsule is pierced when inserted into the machine and the compartment lever is lowered.
This isn’t much different of a process then the Keurig we all know, so far…
When the machine gets to brewing it pumps hot water under very high pressure into the capsule upon. The flat bottom of the capsule is caused to rupture, as this is made of thinner foil than the rest of the capsule. This is likely engineered to mimic the pressure of the espresso machine.
The base of the capsule holder (on which the capsule sits) has a number of raised indentation which causes the foil to rupture. Delicious, rich coffee then dispenses to your cup and a fresh brew is ready.
There’s not much scrutiny of this process, other than the fact the pods can be on the expensive side and cause excess waste, but they do seal the pods to make sure the coffee stays fresh.
The Nespresso company has developed the pods to vary a bit and turn out enough styles of beverage to satisfy the worldwide market:
- Espresso capsules: These capsules are determined to mimic the ‘short’ espresso coffee we all know and love. Nespresso has an array of six different Espresso-style capsules, they range from light to dark. If you came to the Nespresso machine looking for a quick fix for a home espresso, then these are your go-to capsules.
- Intenso capsules: Searching for something stronger and blended origin espresso capsules that are perfect for people who prefer strong, full-bodied coffee. This is going to be thick and oily coffee that taste of Guatemalan Robusta and Central and South American Arabicas.
- Lungo capsules: These are Nespresso capsules for a ‘long’ coffee, such as an Americano or a traditional Italian hot coffee. These are going to be mimicking the longer pulls of espresso that incorporates more water and more extraction from the espresso grounds themselves. These range from a Mexican style coffee to the traditional Arabica blends.
- Decaffeinato capsules: These are the line of decaffeinated coffee. Nespresso sells three different decaffeinated capsules, which range in strength and taste. You’re still able to get the flavors you want in the Nespresso style coffee, but if decaffeinated is your thing, then these will surely help you get the kind of coffee you want fast.
- Pure Origin capsules are Nespresso’s version of specialist coffee. These capsules contain espresso coffee sourced from a specific coffee growing region and are aimed specifically at coffee enthusiasts. If you’re interested in tasting coffee from specific areas, even farm plots on occasion, then this is an investment you’ll likely want to make.
- Variation capsules: These beauties contain Livanto espresso, but with a variety of extra flavors added for people who prefer a little extra taste to their coffee.
Nespresso UK’s managing director, Brema Drohan has been quoted stating this sort of mission statement for the company,”If we go back 15 years, people thought a cappuccino was a luxury thing, and many would not know what they were,” This is an interesting outlook for the company and gives way to explaining how the Nespresso is perceived. “Nowadays nine out of 10 people will know. As a culture, we have gradually moved more and more to the coffee-drinking habits of people in Europe.”
With a proper Nespresso education under our collective belts, it’s time to compare the brewing methods we’re discussing and make a proper choice for your purchasing.
The Brewing Method Comparison
Access to fresh beans? Check.
Access to a grinder for proper fresh grinding? Check.
The Aeropress might just be the winner of this round. While the Nespresso pods are sealed to preserve freshness, the Nespresso is not designed to take advantage of fresh ground beans. The Aeropress also allows you to hone the brew parameters to your liking. This means you’re likely to get the best cup you can out of your beans.
In terms of quality: if you’re using pre-ground store-bought beans, it probably doesn’t make a much better cup of coffee than the Nespresso will.
Both of these brewing methods will make you a strong coffee, although the AeroPress can be dosed up for a bigger stronger drink, with the Nespresso, the dosing in the pre-bought pods, which range a bit for providing a few different strengths of brews.
Cost wise, the Nespresso pods may set you back a bit, if you’re drinking a lot of coffee, although the Aeropress was invented by a one-cup-a-day drinker. An AeroPress is much cheaper still if you’re pursuing a few more cups of coffee a day. Once you’ve got the gear and the beans, one is set for making coffee until the AeroPress breaks. However, you’ve seen how long those frisbees can last, even under the destructive tendencies of the house dog.
The biggest difference between these two brewing methods is the impact of the beloved crema. The Nespresso essentially uses immense amounts of crema to allure the drinker, and convince them that this is top of the line coffee.
So which really provides the best user experience and convenience?
Matters of Convenience
Nespresso might seem shockingly expensive, but so is a morning espresso pulled at home if you consider what domestic grinders and espresso machines will cost in setup. There’s nothing better than a home espresso made with all the right gadgets and ingredients. However, that just may not be so realistic for everyone.
With the Nespresso machine, one can make a drink in under a minute, once you’ve made the investment in the machine and the pods. While the AeroPress isn’t a particularly difficult brewing method either, you won’t be getting the same product. Aeropress coffee isn’t espresso. It’s dark and bold, sure, but the atmospheric pressure used to achieve an espresso pull simply isn’t possible with the press-style brewer.
The customizability that comes with the Aeropress is what has won over many coffee brewers overall, it’s arguably more efficient than the Nespresso in terms of adjusting water temperatures, amount of water, it’s all very easy. The Aeropress certainly excels at being a portable unit, whereas the Nespresso machine will not only take up space but be difficult to move easily.
Keep in mind, that Nespresso has made many different version of their appliance, so if you’re looking for an appliance with a smaller footprint for your kitchen countertop then maybe you’d like to compare the Nespresso Pixie for a purchase.
Although the issues don’t seem as rampant with the Nespresso as they do with the Keurig unit, (although the comparison of the Keurig and Nespresso is worth investigating as well). We’re just proposing that there could be similar issues between the automatic coffee makers. mineral water is readily available from most taps regardless of where you live, and this can pose a serious threat to you coffee makers when the lines become clogged the only thing one can do is find some descaling solutions and clean the machine. Unfortunately, this can happen at the most inconvenient times. Descaling solutions are readily available, however, at a variety of price ranges and styles.
Cost Vs. Benefit
The two are at wildly different price points. However, you’re getting very different coffee products and very different brewing experiences. Still, you’re likely to find an AeroPress to be a quick buy-in and you’ll have great coffee quickly. The Nespresso machine will be on a higher scale and investment, but deliver what some would say is a better cup of coffee. Ultimately it’s worth analyzing what kind of coffee you want and how/where you’re going to drink it.
Want to make coffee at the office, then say no more, you’ll find yourself in your cubicle with an Aeropress. However, if you’re finding that home is where your work or time is spent mostly then a Nespresso machine will entertain guests and make for a quick convenient beverage.
Short VS Long
If we’re going to really hammer down on what style of coffee these two brewing processes are capable of then it’s likely very important to understand the extraction times. First, let’s double down on the AeroPress and decide once and for all what it’s capable of extracting.
We know the AeroPress isn’t a proper espresso maker, but it does have the ability to sit with temperate water in contact with grounds for an extended period. In fact, it’s been long debated the merits of Aeropress Coffee Vs. Espresso.
The Nespresso does offer varying short, long and everything in between when it comes to extracting their pods. Extracting each coffee using the appropriate setting on your Nespresso machine will ensure that you keep each pods designed taste and sensory profile. While Nespresso says its capsules are designed for a specific type of coffee, you’re still fine to use them however you dial in the controls.
Regardless of which you choose, but definitely have their pros and cons. It’s likely that both will satisfy the majority of your coffee needs though. There are many fans of great black coffee out there, and they might prefer the AeroPress, however, there’s’ also many that like adding milk and/or cream to their coffee. The Nespresso is great as a base, and their Grand Cru coffee capsules make a fantastic black coffee too.
If you’re looking for more information and reviews on other coffee gear then check out our lists here.