May 22, 2007 Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity, behind only oil. The short “blast” afforded by a concentrated caffeine hit has become part of the daily ritual of hundreds of millions of people, yet, as any coffee connoisseur will tell you, producing a good coffee is something that is beyond most commercial food establishments on the planet. In recent times, a range of companies have attempted to replicate the perfect coffee by producing machinery that uses standardised pods and sophisticated circuitry to get the temperaures just right every time. The leader in this single-serve coffee segment is Nestle’s Nespresso, with a range of machines we’ve written about many times (Miele's built-in Nespresso machine, Nespresso's InCar coffee machine, Nespresso's Romeo, the Nespresso Essenza, and our original assessment of the Nespresso system back in 2003) and the company’s latest innovation has been done in concert with De’Longhi, the Italian household appliance designers. The Nespresso Lattissima machine is the manifestation of the companies’ mutual vision to create a machine that would enable connoisseurs to easily prepare a latte or cappuccino of the highest quality with a one-touch milk froth function.
While this new technology is to be lauded, because frothing milk is not an easy task to get right, we’re a trifle concerned about just how well it will perform in the real world. Our esteemed colleagues at Single Serve Coffee report that the Lattissima works as claimed, but anybody who makes multiple coffees per day will vouch that milk changes daily in its ability to froth.
Seriously, despite all the checks and measures in place to ensure our population gets a consistent supply of milk, there are days when no amount of effort will make the milk froth. It’ll be interesting to see how Nespresso overcomes that problem.
The company claims the one-touch cappuccino system “provides the optimal combination of steam, milk and air to create milk froth with perfect consistency”.
The other likely problem, that of hot-milk-gunky-stuff gumming up the works, has also been part of the design process, and the one-touch option also features an auto-rinsing function, which enables users to easily clean the tubes used for milk foam preparation, thereby preventing milk particles from remaining inside the system. The removable 17-ounce milk container is a new feature that can be conveniently stored in the refrigerator.
The adjustable cup platform houses another innovative touch: its middle section can be pushed back to fill a latte glass
The Nespresso Lattissima features twin pump and heating systems, one for producing coffee and the other for frothing milk, which may be used at the same time. A feature of all Nespresso machines, the 19-bar high-pressure pump and thermoblock system ensures optimal coffee extraction from the patented Nespresso capsule, releasing all the aromas and rich crema that are characteristic of the highest quality espresso and coffees. Its integrated flow-stop system allows for programming the desired water level for a coffee or espresso. Using the auto cappuccino function at the same time delivers a cappuccino in less than one minute and a latte macchiato in approximately one minute and twenty seconds.
Renowned designer Antoine Cahen from Ateliers du Nord in Lausanne, who has given most Nespresso machines their unique look, created the Lattissima's image. "The Lattissima displays a one-of-a-kind functionality and user-friendliness, mirrored by its classic, modern design," said Cahen. "It has structured features comprised of clean lines, which are sure to make it stand out in any kitchen." The name "Lattissima" has its roots in the Italian language: "latte" for "milk" and the ending "issima" as the superlative for "the best."
The Nespresso Lattissima from De’Longhi will be available in Q3, 2007. The Satin Chrome Lattissima will retail for US$799 while the red and black models will retail for US$699.