Spike Mendelsohn: Nespresso’s Virtuoline

Spike Mendelsohn quaffs Nespresso Virtualine espresso

What’s missing on your kitchen counter?

If there is already plenty of clutter – machines, knives, bottles of olive oil and vinegar – consider streamlining your daily coffee. Instead of two machines, one for espresso and another for American style coffee, Super Chef is impressed with Nespresso’s new Vertuoline system. Launched last week, the new sleek machine makes either an excellent small espresso or a large-cup coffee, both with beautiful, rich crema on top.

Super Chef attend the Washington DC launch at Union Station’s grand hall. It is part of a 108-day tour of America. Chef Spike Mendelsohn was on hand, suitably buzzed with caffeine, to show off the machines and present breakfast hors d’oeuvres. A Pop-Up served anyone at the station who happened by. First stop, a giant computer screen where you input your preferences and choose among the different capsules of coffee. Eight different color-coded larger capsules make a full cup of American-style coffee, while four smaller capsules make espresso. The capsules pop into the machine, and with one touch of a button, coffee is released – amazingly fast. The machine reads the bar code on the capsule – brewing each different type of coffee at the right temperature. The coffee capsules spin at 7,000 rotations a minute inside the machine – Nespresso calls it “Centrifusion“: “Barcode reading technology allows for precise extraction. The system reads 5 different parameters: cup size, temperature, rotation speed, flow rate, and time the water is in contact with the coffee.” That’s plenty of information you don’t have to figure out – let the machine turn out excellent coffee for you.

Super Chef asked Spike why he was involved.

As a chef I am particularly excited about coffee. I live and breathe coffee everyday of my life, even on my day off. It is how I re-energize midday. So, it is not that far off the beaten path.

What I really love about Nespresso is that as a chef I am always looking to work with the best ingredients, you use them in the best way possible, and the other side is that you lay out your kitchen with the best ergonomics. This relationship really makes sense to me, because Nespresso looks for the best beans all around the world – South America, Guatemala, Brazil. They have this technology where you can brew a certain type of bean, or a certain blend at the right temperature, with the touch of a button. They have this new Centrifusion technology that reads the capsule with a laser and tells the machine what to do with the type of coffee that you are using. I also love that they have come out with eight different new full coffee cups and four espressos. It’s a sleek machine. I am putting mine in my restaurants – its just a personal one, it says do not touch, it’s the chefs coffee! Anytime that I can relate to a brand that is trying to innovate, using technology, always makes sense. It’s the hospitality; it’s the food and beverage business.

I just opened a brand new restaurant, Béarnaise. It’s my brasserie on Capitol Hill. That is where the coffee maker is, where it will live.

Catch the Nespresso VertuoLineTM Pop-Up in one of the 17 different cities the next 100 days or so – or just move that old Nespresso machine to the attic and unclutter your counter.

Click here for more information.

About Juliette Rossant

Juliette Rossant is an American author, journalist, and poet. Following publication of her book Super Chef (2004), she began an online magazine... (more)