Gadgets

Kitchen gadgets, gear, and appliances to help you get things done.

Gadgets: Nespresso CitiZ

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[Photo: Williams Sonoma]

Until I joined the ranks of the working world, I really believed that a good cup of coffee isn't something that you have on the go. Instead, it should be a relaxing part of the day and ideally be kept as something special to be savored as a treat. It's not always that easy though, and in those moments, coffee should be an effortless (and still wholly delicious) pick-me-up. Unexpectedly, I found that the new Nespresso CitiZ was just what I needed to live out my modern-day coffee philosophy.

Yes, there are certain drawbacks to Nespresso's newest machine, though they generally extend to capsule coffee in general. Arguably, the individual packaging makes it a bit more wasteful than other espresso machines, and you don't get the ability to fine tune your brew. But if you ask me, a Nespresso a day is far less wasteful than a regular helping of Starbucks, where cup, cap, and sleeve wind up in the dumpster. As for taste, I'll admit that I'm no expert, but I do come from a Colombian family with high standards for fresh coffee, and frankly, there were few Nespresso blends that I wasn't impressed by.

Back to the coffee philosophy. There's little more satisfying than brewing a good cup of espresso (short or tall) in less than a minute flat with nothing more than the touch of a single button. The capsules are designed to maximize freshness, which means each brew makes the whole room smell fantastic, and the machine does a great job of creating that perfect layer of crema. Knowing that cleanup is pretty much non-existent is just icing on the cake. When you lift the CitiZ's top flap, your used cartridge is dropped into a mini-trash receptacle inside the already slim machine. Effortless? I think so. Tasty? You bet.

Since I've already justified its other flaws, I'll admit to some that did get in my way: Leave the machine on between brews, and it takes a minute or two to warm up again. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal, but when you're already spoiled enough to expect thirty-second caffeine, it makes a difference.

Though one is sold as a companion for an additional cost, I wished a milk frother could be integrated into the super-sleek design—it's really the only feature missing, and the obvious key to unlocking the perfect cappuccino. It's the only real caveat, and one I'll deal with gladly.

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