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Personal Tastes 

ingle-serving hot drink machines make it easy to accommodate a range of tastes — one cup at a time.

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; (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;
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;


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