Making Great Coffee at Home

This is a followup blog post to a post from our 2007 trip to Switzerland – The Coffee in Switzerland is Great!

Steve and I love coffee. I drink 2 – 3 cups a day and I want them to be perfect. At home we have Jura Capresso Impressa E8, an older model similar to the Jura Capresso F50, and we love it. It was expensive, around $800.

Jura Capresso Coffee Maker
Jura Capresso Coffee Maker

You put water into one side of the machine, whole coffee beans into the other and you are ready to go. Select the strength and the amount of water, then press the button. The beans are ground and it makes an excellent cup of coffee, topped with a foamy layer called the “crema”.

We use Starbucks Organic Yukon Blend, $11.95 for one pound. It probably last 2 weeks, so that would be about 70 cups (5 cups a day) – $0.17 per cup.

Another option for great coffee at home is the Nespresso. We used one in July 2007 when we rented a chalet apartment in Leysin, Switzerland – Chalet Chimere.

You purchase coffee “capsules” (pre-packaged one serving ground coffee), put one in the machine, set the water level, press the button and you get a coffee. The photo shows Steve putting one of the coffee capsules into the machine.

And the capsules are both the upside and downside of these coffee makers. The capsules are great, but they are expensive. You can only buy them from Nespresso (you join the “Nespresso Club”) and they are about $0.55 each. So, 55 cents for a cup of good coffee – compared to about 17 cents for the Capresso. But the price of the Capresso is $800, while the Nespresso is less than $249.

Purchase from Amazon (list price $249) – Nespresso C100/T1 Essenza Automatic Machine, Titan Gray

Read more about the Nespresso from Girasoli – Shave Ice and Gelato – My Christmas Present to Myself.

My serious coffee drinking friends have real espresso machines, where you grind the coffee, put it in the holder, tamp it down, put it in the machine, put in the water, pull some mysterious lever, and produce a perfect espresso – but that always seemed like too much work for me. Plus it looks like those machines are about to blow up.

Coffee by Country

  • Coffee in Boulder (where we live) is fantastic. There are many independently owned coffee shops all over town – The Cup, Laughing Goat, Logan’s (in my North Boulder neighborhood), Vic’s (a local chain), Trident – plus a Peet’s and several Starbucks.
  • Coffee in the US in general is better than it was a decade ago. Starbucks has spread through the country. Even the chain restaurants like Wendy’s and MacDonalds, have good coffee now.
  • Coffee in England is good. Those Tea Rooms don’t just do tea, they usually make a good cup of coffee too. You will find Costa Coffee shops all over England and there are Starbucks too.
  • Coffee in France, Switzerland and Italy is great.


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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

8 thoughts on “Making Great Coffee at Home”

  1. Even Bryan liked that coffee in England – was that a Costa? He swears by his Gaggia, but you know what a purist/control freak he is when it comes to his espresso…has to do the grinding and tamping thing!

  2. Better then Costa or Starbucks in England is the Caffè Nero chain. There isn’t one in Stroud, unfortunately, only a Costa, though Mills Cafe makes the Costa superfluous. And in Nailsworth, Hobbs makes damn good coffee.

  3. We went to the Caffe Nero in Bath and it was good. We haven’t been to the Costa in Stroud, but have been to one somewhere else. I agree about Hobbs – everything they do is good. I am looking forward to walking to Hobbs for lunch!

    Valerie, that was an independent coffee shop in Stow-on-the-Wold that Bryan liked. When we were there last summer, I looked for it – but I think it was gone!

  4. If I had the time in the morning, I would invest in a fancy espresso machine. Maybe when I retire if I can afford one then. I am still enjoying my Nespresso machine 🙂 Interesting where the capsules go in the Nespresso machine you used. I drop mine right in the top. I looked at the Jura Capresso but it was too big for my tiny kitchen. Since I only drink one cup a day, I figure I am not doing too bad with the price per day.

  5. mmm Coffee! mmm George Clooney! 😀 I’ve been using a Keurig coffee maker since summertime, and still love it. I found a good strong roast (“Emeril’s Big Easy Bold” if you can believe it) and one cup in the morning is usually enough to satisfy me. The k-cups cost about .45 each. I used to make half a pot of coffee, drink one cup and dump the rest, so I think I’m coming out ahead cost-wise!

  6. Oh, I have not seen that spot w/George for a yr. Thanks for the memory.
    I am a little surprised you get that many cups from a pound. 8oz cups? I’da thought about 40

  7. We have a Briel MultiPro coffee machine (Portuguese) and we love it! You can use either ground coffee or ESE pods in it, and it will make 1 or 2 cups of strong espresso with plenty of crema — there’s a dial to adjust the strength. It makes fantastic steamed milk for cappuccinos too. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s not expensive for the quality either; we paid under 300 euros for it, which I think compares pretty well with a Nespresso, especially as it looks a lot prettier 🙂

  8. PS I forgot, you didn’t mention Spain in your coffee by country. Spanish coffee is generally excellent, certainly better than in the majority of cafés in France (cheaper too). At its best I think it’s as good as Italian.

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