For coffee lovers of the world, these are heady days. There are so many options for brewing a cup of joe these days that you’re really forced to think not only about the end product but also about how it gets made. While I’m a lover of super manual techniques there is no arguing with the fact that not everyone has the time, energy, or patience to go that route. Enter the “super automatic.”
The Impressa S9 is a quintessential example of push button convenience. Fill with water, add whole or ground beans, select the type of brew you want and sit back. The machine grinds, doses, compacts, brews, discards, and cleans all on its own and produces a pretty decent espresso. Coupled with the fact that you choose the kind of beans that you brew, you’ve got a recipe for fairly consistent and tasty coffees.
The challenge with a machine like this arises when you try to do anything other than a brew and espresso or americano. Milk based drinks involve connecting a thermos/tube contraption and generally produces pretty lackluster beverages. Additionally, for the space challenged kitchen the size of the unit will be an issue.
Calling the Impressa S9 a coffee machine for the lazy person isn’t quite fair, but this is definitely a machine designed for a person that demands convenience and simplicity. For me it’s a great machine for an office environment but not what I would choose for home use. Given the quality of the machines and coffee from the likes of Nespresso there are a few great automatic machine choices for the discerning coffee lover.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a coffee fanatic. I’ve spent countless hours on the CoffeeGeek.com forums and invested in a bunch of home equipment, all with the goal of making the perfect cup of coffee. The more time you spend in the world of coffee, the more you realize that the perfect cup is an elusive thing. The beans, the water, the grind, the temperature, the machine, the pressure, the tamp … they all make a difference. I'd say my one greatest learning is that the true coffee fanatic is really seeking consistency which leads to good coffee.
When I was asked to test out a Nespresso machine I was inherently skeptical. All of the manual factors I just talked about disappeared and I was convinced that something so easy couldn't produce a cup of coffee worth drinking. I've had previous experiences with systems from Keurig, Flavia, and Senseo, all of which were fairly lackluster. Why should Nespresso be any different?
Frequent JoshSpear.com readers know that we’re big fans of the Jawbone since way back in ’04. It’s hard to imagine how Aliph could improve on an already solid product, but the Jawbone 2 sports a new design, a footprint about half the size of its predecessor, and improved noise-canceling technology (dubbed “Noise Assassin”) … RED TEAM GO, RED TEAM GO!
Looking back at the first generation product we only had a few criticisms. First, the package was huge for the size of the headset. Hats off to Aliph for trimming down the sexy lucite packaging to something a little more proportional and eco-friendly. Our second gripe was the beautiful but difficult to use ear loop. The second generation Aliph opted for a simpler leather-wrapped design that not only feels good on the ear, but makes putting on the headset a snap. Lastly, was the charger and USB cord. To be honest, the first generation version of these accessories felt like an afterthought. The wall plug was pretty ugly and the USB cord was difficult to detach from the headset. These issues no longer exist with the introduction of a updated charger and much easier magnetic USB cord.
Beyond that, you can really tell that Aliph took some time to analyze the old version and challenge themselves to make the new one even better. Pairing is enabled the first time the headset is powered up. Standby time has increased to a whopping eight days — though talk time has decreased to four hours from six. But, best of all, the sound quality is as crisp and noiseless as we’ve come to expect from Jawbone.