COFFEE is the tax the world pays us to get up in the morning and function like normal human beings. Nespresso, a subsidiary of Nestle, makes the deal a little bit sweeter with the introduction of its single-serve coffee capsule machines for home use.

While the machines have been in the Philippines since the 2000s, present in hotels and restaurants, the home use versions were only introduced last week in a launch at The Peninsula Manila.

Representatives of Novateur Coffee Concepts, Inc., which brings the machines and the coffee capsules to the Philippines, were on hand to explain the showcase of the machines. While Nespresso is a subsidiary of Nestle globally, Nespresso in the Philippines operates independently from Nestle.

With 24 flavor choices, it can really be quite a puzzle to find one’s flavor profile. This writer finally settled on a blend from India, which tasted quite spicy and peppery, and had a metallic opening note.

Machines in the line include the basic Essenza Mini (about P8,000), the Pixie and the Latissima, as well as more expensive lines (costing from P14,000 to P26,000); the main difference being the size (the Essenza is a lot smaller). The more expensive machines come with a built-in milk frother.

The machines work just like any coffee-capsule machine: a blast of hot water from a reservoir goes through the capsule and comes out as steaming coffee. While other such coffee systems are already available in the market, Melissa Valdez, Marketing head for Nespresso, says: “What really sets Nespresso apart from other brands using the same system is the coffee itself.” According to her, Nespresso uses 1-2% of the world’s top coffee supply.

“For Nespresso, it’s a lifestyle,” she added, emphasizing that the Nespresso brand has a Web site ( and a call center tailored to service customers, such as the service for streamlining a customer’s preferred flavor profile, as well as home delivery.

A problem with the coffee capsule system is the inevitable trash it creates from the plastic capsules that contain the coffee, a problem that Nespresso addresses by sealing their coffee in aluminum capsules. “It’s 100% recyclable,” said Ms. Valdez.

Right now, they’re working towards a system that could collect and recycle the coffee pods, “Or at least send them to the proper recycling facility,” she said.

The machines will be available in Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza, and Abenson BGC, and a Nespresso boutique is slated to open within the year. – J.L. Garcia