I took one for the team today, guys.

While browsing at Williams-Sonoma for an engagement gift for a pair of good friends, I was beckoned over to some little boxy metal thing by a seemingly nice lady in one of those fancy green W-S aprons.

"Would you like to try an espresso?" she asked.

"Always!" I said.


"Oh…wow!" I replied when she handed me the above cup. "Thank…you."

"It's Nespresso!" she replied perkily. "They're owned by Nestlé! The machine always works at 19 bars of pressure!"

"Really?" I asked. "Always at 19 bars?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed. "It's the most powerful home espresso machine you can buy! It's owned by Nestlé!"

Then she showed me the pods. Apparently they last for 12 months and are hawked by women who are fond of describing things as "hermetically sealed." And you can get them through Nestlé. Ok!

In this pod is your "ristretto":

"Ristretto is the typical Italian espresso. It is a short, strong, full-bodied espresso with a touch of acidity. It has a pleasantly lingering taste."

And here is your "decaffinato intenso" (are those fake words? they sound fake!):

"A harmonious blended mixture of Arabica coffees from Latin America with an added touch of Robusta to give it body and character."

The machine itself is unobtrusive and unremarkable looking, and I suppose that's the point. Williams-Sonoma sure does also sell giant, expensive automatic machines that are done up to look extry fancy, but they are plugging this little Nespresso thing hard.

A fellow after me decided to make his own, and I asked if I could snap a photo or two. He agreed, popped the pod in its cockpit and fired away.

Six seconds later:

Nineteen seconds later:

It's not the worst coffee in the world by any means, and I know they're wildly popular—more so in Europe than here, although they're picking up speed in the states as well. But I guess I can't help my skepticism. Any time a company decides a machine can make a comestible better than a really well-trained human can, my eyes narrow and at least one eyebrow raises. It's a condition I have.

I drank my "shot" and it was fine. It tasted like brown and gave me agita so it must be "coffee." I guess I'm just more of a hands-on type of person.

Unless we're at a Quick Check and I have the option of getting a "French Vanilla Cappuccino." Those are genius.

Just kidding, jeez!