New Thing #313: Nespresso

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Nespresso_espressoNespresso_cafeNespresso_machine

I’ve been pretty skeptical of the whole pod-based espresso craze, but more and more of my discerning friends have been telling me that I had to try Nespresso. Italians even.

So, I did. And damn if I didn’t almost walk out of there with one under my arm. Thankfully Shauna talked me off the ledge…or more told me off the ledge…so I came home empty handed. For now.

The coffee was good, very good. Sure, it’s not as exceptional as what you’re going to get out of a Sam James or Mercury shot, but it was better than anything I’ve had from a home machine that cost less $1000. The crema alone was richer than most restaurants will give you.

The other point my friends have all made to me is this: their manual machines continue to just sit and gather dust. Not because they’re particularly hard to use, but because they’re just too much fiddling to get a couple of cappuccinos going in the morning. And with a kid who never makes things easy before daycare it’s basically an impossiblity.

I’ve also been hesitant to even consider pods since they seem to amount to whole lot of waste ending up in a landfill. But they have that covered too. Just bring in your old pods to the store and they’ll recycle them for you. No fuss

And that store is a very nice piece of retail experience. They have a full blown free espresso bar for anybody to sidle up to at The Bay at the Eaton Centre. 

One of those anybodies was a rather pleasant retiree who spent 15 minutes giving me the most heart felt sales pitch I’ve ever gotten for any product in my life. The actual sales clerks had nothing on this guy. It was as if someone were looking at an iPhone for the first time and they happened to be standing next to to me. 

When you have customers that are that passionate about a product, you know they’re doing something right.

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New Thing #264: Mountain View Coffee Factory Caf??

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Mountain_view_meMountain_view_capMountain_view_signMountain_view_tableMountain_view_bar

Mountain View Coffee is a coffee wholesaler down off the Lakeshore in the east end. My friend Lynn told me about it a while back, but as I found the hard way, they’re not open on the weekend. So with a day off to fill I trotted on down around lunch time.

What I was interested in was that they proport to change up the beans regularly so that coffee people can try new things. But that isn’t really apparent when you walk in, and I didn’t see anything espousing the virtues of whatever they were using behind the counter today. I figured this would be a place where they’d give you a little spiel about what you’d be drinking that day. But I guess not. 

The space is big and open, which you’d expect in a warehouse facility, but they’ve managed to add enough warth with some tables and furniture to make it inviting to stay and enjoy your beverage. Plus they have free wifi which is always a plus. 

I had a cappuccino that wasn’t, well, terrible. It wasn’t great either. But it was good enough to accompany the latest issue of The Walking Dead in a nice quiet environement.

I think the biggest problem they’ll have is that Mercury Espresso Bar is literrally just up the street from them and their product is vastly superior.

New Thing #260: Dry Cucumber Soda

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Dry_soda_labelDry_soda_bottle

I’d never heard of Dry brand soda before today, but when I saw the bottle sitting next to the register at Mercury Espresso Bar I couldn’t resist. The design is just plain beautiful and I love the idea of sodas that are based on more obscure, natural flavours.

I had a tough choice to make though, but eventually I left the rhubarb and vanilla bean varieties on the counter and picked up a the cucumber. 

The soda boils down to a subtle flavour addition to a good bottle of soda water. The cucumber certainly comes through, but doesn’t overpower the drink. There’s also a bit of a floral aftertaste, almost gin-like. 

When I checked out their website I found out that their sodas are all natural and use simply four ingredients across the board. I absolutely love this product and can’t wait to try out the rest of their offerings. 

As an added bonus, the website offers up spirit pairings for all of their sodas. It’s like they knew I was coming. 

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