I usually find most restaurant coffee to be at least drinkable. I am surprised, however, to find out that 30% of the world’s Michelin starred restaurants use Nespresso coffee pods. Is this a travesty? Most “true” coffee aficionados would say yes. But, before I get into why it’s not necessarily a bad thing let me share a few thoughts about restaurant coffee in general.
I have been to several restaurants over the past year that seemed to take their coffee more serious than other restaurants. One served French Press table side and another had their v60’s proudly on display. Restaurants are definitely stepping up their coffee game but many find it a difficult thing to accomplish. The reality is unless a restaurant has a professionally trained barista on hand then it will usually always be a step below a great coffee shop.
Still, there is no excuse for restaurants to not serve a really good cup of coffee. The excuses are more valid, however, for espresso. I have had some bad espresso at restaurants. It was probably a combination of the coffee used and the inexperience of whoever was pulling the shot. A great espresso machine is very expensive and I don’t think restaurants are going to start hiring baristas anytime soon. Nice restaurants can afford to have sommeliers on staff because of the profit made from wine sales. The same just won’t happen with coffee.
So, back to the Nespresso. First of all, I have never tried one. Of course, espresso purists are going to hate it just like coffee purists hate the Keurig. But, here is the important factor with both of these. Is the difference between the Nespresso and a $2,0001 espresso machine so large as to make up the difference of the cost and convenience? The answer depends on who is serving it.
A true coffee shop can’t work off of the Nespresso model. Of course, I could be wrong. A restaurant, however, can certainly get away with it. No one chooses to eat at a high end restaurant because of their coffee. For the home entertainer I think it is probably a no-brainer as well. So who would spend a lot of money on an espresso machine at home? Probably the coffee hobbyist and coffee professionals.
I would consider my palate to be a little above average when it comes to coffee. I am certainly no professional. I plan on trying a Nespresso soon…or maybe I already have and didn’t know it. Could one of the good espressos I have had at restaurants be a Nespresso? Or maybe one of the bad ones?Lastly, would George Clooney ever steer us wrong?
That is just the starting price for a really great machine. Many are much more than 2k. ↩