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Reluctant Compromise

Much like a sommelier enjoys a fine glass of wine, I very much enjoy a nice coffee.  To be specific, I find there is little I savor more than a well-pulled extraction of espresso.  I love it actually.

What I believe to be connoisseur-like affection for coffee, many of my friends and family tell me is simple snobbery.


My incessant whining for decent coffee reached climax a few years ago.  So much so, that my beloved wife bought me a fabulous home set-up as a birthday gift.  I’m still not sure if she was looking to further my addiction, or simple wanted me to stop complaining.  No matter, the gift was perfect.


My previous espresso set-up

Like any devoted barista, I learned to appreciate the variables involved in pulling a quality shot:

  • freshly roasted espresso beans
  • good water and specific control to brew temperature
  • meticulous attention to the grind
  • mastering a manual tamp of the port-filter

Over time, I got good at this process.  Really good.  In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say my shots were better than the pulls you’d find at most coffee houses.

Yes, there is no denying I was a full-fledged snob.

You’ll appreciate then, my concern moving into the Airstream.  The lack of counter-space posing a huge dilemma for me — attempt to justify keeping the espresso machinery despite our very limited counter-space, or acquiesce to the cruel reality of surrendering my beloved equipment to the storage locker.

I caved.  Doing so was painful, but necessary.

Consequently, over the past few months I’ve been drinking mostly coffee, brewed via a press pot.  While this simple brew method is stellar, I continue to find myself yearning for a morning espresso … a long-standing, two-sip ritual.

Yesterday, in what can only be described as an impulse purchase, I bought myself a Nespresso Pixi, something many of my fellow tiny house peers describe as being a ‘must have’ espresso maker.  Skeptical, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked at these machines, only to walk away – the connoisseur snob in me unconvinced such a tiny, super-automatic device would meet my expectations.

Wandering throughout a Williams-Sonoma in search of a chocolate bar, I unexpectedly found myself with the opportunity to sample what so many others describe as great coffee.  Obviously, I had no choice but to accept the offer and take the sample.

With a bit of egg on my face, I must confess that the shot was pretty good.  Not great, but certainly exceeding my expectations, and absolutely better than the swill most chain coffee shops will recklessly refer to as espresso.

It seems I’ve found a good compromise given the circumstances.  The Pixie consumes very little of our precious counter-space and provides a decent pull.  Most certainly, I’d prefer my previous set-up, but I simply don’t have the space required.



Nespresso offers a huge variety of coffee selections and I’ll need to sample many before I land upon any preference.  I’m a single origin guy, and as most of the options are — gasp — blends (how blasphemous), I suspect I’ll quickly find something fit for purpose.

And so it is, I will go forth doing my best to make the most of my new Pixie.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #


    Anxious to see you with your new “Pixie”! How long did you have to let your hair grow in order to accomplish this?


    December 17, 2012
  2. Anonymous #

    Burns!! I’ve had a nespresso machine for years and years and it recently gave out. Maybe you’ve solved my problem. I don’t have a ton of counter space either. I think I’ll check out the Pixie! Although, I have become accustomed to walking to the local mom & pop shop and getting my coffee every morning, AND having my daily conversation with Robert (the owner). In true Maine form, it goes like this: me: “Morning Robert”, to which he replies: Mornin’ Ann”. That’s it. No wasted words here in the Pine Tree State. Best, Anno

    December 17, 2012
  3. Welcome to the Pixie club! We went through a similar transition…then we got so addicted to the ease (and lack of mess on the counter) that we now have a Nespresso machine at home too.

    December 17, 2012

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