How to better manage your espresso coffee strength

Machine Settings
You should restrict the pour volume (the amount of water flowing through your capsule during the extraction process) in order to get the optimum strength of coffee that each specially blended capsule is designed to deliver.

Most Nespresso® or Nespresso®-compatible machines have a programmable pour volume setting (check manufacturers instructions for your machine to learn how to adjust pour volume settings) which may have been deliberately or inadvertently adjusted during use.

This most often results in longer-pour programming for your machine rather than a shorter pour.

Coffee Volume
Espresso capsules, just like commercial espresso machine porta-filters or ‘handles’ used by a professional barista, are designed to create the optimum individual espresso with between 5-7grams of finely ground coffee for each individual espresso.

Drink volume
A text book single espresso should be just 1.25 fl.oz of liquid. If you prefer a double or ‘doppio’ espresso you should really use 2 capsules to pour a 2.5 fl.oz drink (just as a professional barista would use a double-shot of ground coffee in a double porta-filter) rather than to infuse twice as much water through one capsule, as this will only dilute and weaken your premium quality coffee taste.

In fact the coffee connoisseurs’ choice is to order their espresso ‘ristretto’ (restricted) poured, at just 0.75 fl.oz to truly experience the finest and purest taste attributes and characteristics of each blend, and eliminate any of the bitterness that is experienced in coffee which is extracted for longer.

Blend Selection
Select the coffee blend that best suits your taste preference according to the strength or intensity rating on the package – Caffesso blends range in intensity from 3 to 12 – and there’s a reason there is a choice: because everyone’s palate is different.

Future Blends
Caffesso will launch new espresso and coffee blends in 2013/14 featuring aadditional character and strength choices.

My Capsule doesn’t fit my Nespresso® ROMEO machine very well

This is an old machine no longer sold by Nespresso®. It was manufactured between 2004/2006, and in fact there have been myriad complaints about the machine breaking down: too many electrical problems and product jamming. It was a bit overcomplicated in its manufacture, hence its discontinuation.

CI points / suggestions as follows:

  1. It is more than likely that the machine will not have been broken by Nespresso® compatible capsules, for 2 reasons
    1. The capsule is loaded on the Romeo machine face down, coffee then extracted through the capsule vertically rather than the horizontal barrel configuration on Nespresso’s modern machines. This has the least potential of any Nespresso® machine configuration for jamming.
    2. Any ROMEO machine would be between 6 and 8 years old as of this writing. These machines, like most small household appliances and ‘white goods’, are designed with a built in obsolescence of about 4 years. Old age and long term wear and tear are more likely to blame than any Nespresso® compatible capsule, and in all likelihood the machine would have broken down using Nespresso® capsules at about the same time.

It would be entirely coincidental that a ROMEO machine would break down after 6+ years of use, when using a Nespresso®-compatible capsule !

  1. If the ROMEO problem is not a major breakdown, in most instances the machine can be shut down and turned back on again after a few minutes, so that it resets itself.
  2. There are a number of ‘fix-it’ solutions for older Nespresso® machines on line (sites like ‘Fixya – Solutions for everything’, for example) within which one may find a solution for whatever ails a machine
  3. The capsules will never fall straight through the Romeo machine because of the way the capsule is placed on the machine and then extracted vertically.

Nespresso® Compatible Capsule Alignment

Nespresso® Machines and Nespresso® capsules fit together like very loose jigsaw puzzle pieces. The pyramidal shape, and matching slot in Nespresso® machines, along with the capsules’ extruded Aluminium construction, are patented by Nespresso®. Most Nespresso®-compatible polypropylene or plastic capsules are therefore made with a flat rather than pyramidal top.

The practical result of this small design difference is that Nespresso®-compatible capsules fit a Nespresso® machine capsule slot to about 90% accuracy rather than 95% accuracy with Nespresso® capsules (YES, Nespresso® capsules drop through too !), which can occasionally create a tendency for misalignment as compatible capsules are dropped into the machine. This is EASILY overcome by paying a little attention to capsule insertion technique.

Potential issues:
Compatible capsule pushed into machine slot, drops straight through into capsule disposal container, where Nespresso® capsule stays in place.
Solution: Don’t push the Nespresso®-Compatible capsule into place in the machine. Let it settle into place, otherwise it will drop straight through. Ensure capsule is aligned with compression head before closing the lever. If necessary, press the wide end of the capsule towards the front of the machine with your finger after you drop it in, before closing the lever, to ensure proper alignment as the lever is closed. Obviously, remove your finger before closing the lever !

Compatible capsule dropped into Nespresso® capsule slot tilts down or sideways and thus becomes out of alignment with compression chamber, where Nespresso® capsule stays aligned. Then when lever is being closed, it feels like its being forced to close.
Solution: open lever again and reposition Nespresso®-Compatible capsule. If necessary, press the wide end of the capsule towards the front of the machine with your finger after you drop it in, before closing the lever, to ensure proper alignment as the lever is closed. Close and lock lever and proceed as normal.

Lever closure feels forced: Caffesso makes its capsules of polypropylene rather than Aluminium, although the bottom foil of the compatible capsule is made of the same aluminium foil which is easily pierced by the Nespresso® machine. However, capsules may feel different in the machine lever-closure action.

When the lever on top of the Nespresso® machine is pressed down you align with the extraction unit, at the same time as puncturing the bottom of the capsule ready for coffee extraction. With Caffesso capsules, you don’t need to puncture the top of the capsule as precision perforations which maximise extraction flow through the coffee are already in the top of the capsule. So if the lever feels like its being forced with Nespresso®-Compatible capsules, its not ! This is the difference between capsule alignment mechanisms grasping the plastic ‘hips’ of the capsule rather than soft aluminium.
Solution: As long as you have your capsule properly aligned (see above), press the lever down until it locks. You will feel the pins ‘pop’ through the base foil as the capsule is simultaneously positioned correctly within the extraction unit. And proceed to make your Caffesso™ espresso as normal !

Bear in mind, Nespresso® compatible capsules will not damage a Nespresso® machine just because they’re plastic. In any contest between the strength of steel vs. plastic, steel always wins !