Espresso aficionados should be delighted with a Swiss machine
that uses premeasured coffee capsules to ensure the beans are properly ground,
measured and tamped. The Nespresso Essenza semi-automatic espresso machine's
thermoblock heating system and high-pressure pump are designed to guarantee
brewing temperature and extraction are always just right, and a pull-down
coffee lever allows you to manually control the intensity of the brew. The
unit comes with a removable 34-oz. water tank and a dozen coffee capsules,
$179.95, from Williams-Sonoma (333 Canal St., The Shops at Canal
Place, 523-3993; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Lakeside Shopping Center,
Metairie, 828-3769; www.williams-sonomainc.com).
(Brookstone) Photo courtesy Tassimo
You no longer need to go to a coffee house to get a perfectly brewed drink,
even if you want the dense foam or frothy milk for cappuccino or latte.
The new technology of the Tassimo Hot Beverage System, developed by Kraft
Foods, allows you to prepare coffee, tea, cappuccino, espresso, latte, hot
chocolate and more right at home without having to clean up a big mess.
Each drink takes only about a minute to brew and an inverse flow of filtered
waters ensures optimal flavor with little or no cleanup or residue. The
unit, distributed by Braun, retails for about $170, and is available at
Brookstone (1 Poydras St., Riverwalk Marketplace, 561-6012; 3301
Veterans Memorial Blvd., 828-5944; www.brookstone.com).
The Flavia Fusion Drinks Station not only is cool looking -- it comes
in turquoise, red or black with a stainless-steel front -- but with the
touch of a button gives you a café-quality freshly brewed cup of
gourmet coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, fresh-leaf tea or other hot
beverage. When you use the Flavia Fusion system, you don't need other accessories
such as a grinder, kettle, pot, strainer or filters, and the unit even comes
with a travel mug -- and 34 filter packs in a variety of flavors. Cleanup
is easy, there's a removable water tank for easy refilling, a special water
filter makes sure your hot water is pure and the unit accommodates different
sizes of cups and mugs, $119.95, from Sharper Image (1 Poydras St.,
Riverwalk Marketplace, 344-4444; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Lakeside
Shopping Center, Metairie, 838-4458) or Flavia Fusion (333-556-9005;