A few years ago my husband and I stayed in a sweet little Airbnb in the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood of Paris. And every morning, we would make a beeline for the teeny kitchen to start making cups of coffee in the lime-green coffee maker. The machine would make perfect French-sized (read: petite) coffees, and we’d swirl in a sugar cube and cream and indulge in the delicious pastime that is deciding what to do in Paris that day. We stayed nine nights, which isn’t nearly enough for Paris, and once back home, fiercely homesick for the city I adore beyond all reason, I decided we would put a little coffee maker like that in our own kitchen.
Keurigs were starting to come on strong back then, but I knew that’s not what I wanted. I couldn’t find that machine I had fallen for so hard and I was frustrated. (I’m not gonna pretend like I DIDN’T consider buying one from France and trying to get a voltage converter!) Sadly, I gave up.
Last winter we headed back to France, bopping around the country — staying at an interior designer’s Airbnb in south Pigalle in Paris, a medieval former abbey in the Dordogne, an apartment that belonged on the cover of Elle Decor in Bordeaux, and the castle in Champagne that the original Airbnb host had purchased when she sold her Paris apartment. And guess what she had brought with her! Yep, that little green coffee maker.
Reunited, we were reminded: It was Nespresso! By now we were firm fans of Nespresso machines and the like, because our hosts along the way had them. Every morning we cleared the cobwebs of jet lag and travel exhaustion with hot cups of coffee — strong and creamy, thanks to the crema these machines form. We got to feel like locals, going out to replenish the capsules when we burned through more than seemed entirely reasonable.
And this time, when we came home, there was no wild goose chase looking for our own version of the French coffeemaker. Even though we had vowed no Christmas presents for each other this year because France had been our present to one another, we found ourselves in Target eyeing the Nespresso display. This being right before Christmas, they were on sale. We bought this sleek black number, which would make coffee or espresso and came with a milk frother, and headed straight home to try it out.
Buy: Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker
At home, we used to just drink regular drip coffee. Not bottom-shelf stuff, but it’s not like we were doing single-origin pour overs either. That was just for caffeine, though. Purely a function of how to get up and going when Paris does not beckon outside the door. From that first creamy, bracing cup of Nespresso, though? We were back in France, our home if things were fair in the world.
I studied the Nespresso site, cataloging the various brews, anticipating deliveries like mini Christmas mornings. And I waited for the enthusiasm to wear off as it invariably has at one speed or another with every other kitchen gadget we’ve ever bought.
But more than six months later, we both still look forward to that cup in the morning, to the ritual of picking out the shiny pod from the vintage apothecary jars we keep them in, to pressing the button and watching as our morning brew quickly builds. I’ve switched to iced coffee for the summer with a special formulation designed to go over ice and often indulge in an afternoon iced coffee, too. It’s a small treat that costs a dollar and yes, it adds up, but is a fraction of what I’d pay at a coffee shop. And I send back my used capsules every month for recycling with the pre-paid shipping bags that come with each order.
Now that we’re planning a return to Paris this fall (I really can never get enough!), I’m scouring hotel and Airbnb listings with a wishlist of features (a terrace or view of Paris rooflines would be nice; bathtub also a plus).But one non-negotiable criteria? It has to have a Nespresso.
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