Nivona makes damn good coffee

It’s hard to get good coffee in New York City if you don’t know where to look. Well, I don’t know where to look. All of my regular places serve coffee that’s either ‘just decent’ or ‘outright disgusting’. And even if somebody tells you where to get good coffee, you’re still not guaranteed to get good coffee. How can that person know what you like?

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This does not apply to all the so-called coffee experts who know better than you which coffee you should enjoy and can spend hours discussing the perfect coffee. For me, the perfect coffee is the one I drink at home, because it’s always made just how I like it.

I’m writing this from my favorite breakfast spot. It’s always full of people grabbing a cup of joe on their way to work. Their coffee is said to be excellent. For me, it tastes like any regular coffee. Fortunately, they make up for it with their delicious pastries with chocolate and nuts.
And their view of Broadway Street.

A friend of mine working at a PR agency asked me recently if I tend to drink cappuccinos at home. He already knew all about my espresso habit.
‘I do, but not often as I’d like, because I’m lazy. Even if I manage to go out to get milk, I get irritated that I have to pour it into a container, froth it and then throw out the remaining milk or put it in the fridge, where it’ll probably stay way past its expiration date.’
My ideal set-up would consist of a pet cow connected directly to the coffee maker:

‘The cow part might be tricky, but I do have something that could solve your other problems.’

The coffee maker arrived two weeks ago. During that time, I managed to test it thoroughly, including the function that was implemented in lieu of my patented cow solution.

Nivona CafeRomatica 855

Miss Nivona’s is very well-built. It’s very shapely and round, which puts all of my other kitchen appliances to shame.

Miss Nivona’s is very well-built. It’s very shapely and round, which puts all of my other kitchen appliances to shame.

You can put beans into it or you can put ground coffee into it and adjust the grinding size. That’s a good solution for people who enjoy drinking decaf.

You can put beans into it or you can put ground coffee into it and adjust the grinding size. That’s a good solution for people who enjoy drinking decaf.

My friend from the agency tried to send an instructor to my house to teach me how to use the coffee maker. I told him that if this coffee maker even needs a manual, never mind a dedicated instructor, that means it’s a poorly designed device. So he told me that even the dumbest person in the world could use it, but he’d rather be safe than sorry and he doesn’t want to deal with a whiny blogger who can’t locate the ‘on’ switch. These words inspired me to see how well and how thoroughly I could operate the thing without peeking into the manual. How simple is it to use?

The system heated up. I put my cup under the nozzle, pressed the ‘espresso’ button and patiently awaited the result. Around 15 seconds.

The system heated up. I put my cup under the nozzle, pressed the ‘espresso’ button and patiently awaited the result. Around 15 seconds.

It passed the espresso test, but every coffee maker passes that one. I invited my buddy Cletus for further tests. He’s going to serve me as a hand model. Let’s give it up for Cletus.

It passed the espresso test, but every coffee maker passes that one. I invited my buddy Cletus for further tests. He’s going to serve me as a hand model. Let’s give it up for Cletus.

Cletus quickly realized that the dial in the middle controls the entire machine. Turn it right to light up the next icon in the row. Cletus said he wanted a Cafe Creme.

Cletus quickly realized that the dial in the middle controls the entire machine. Turn it right to light up the next icon in the row. Cletus said he wanted a Cafe Creme.

It may just be a detail, but how cool is that? The cup becomes illuminated during the coffee-making process. I love little details like that.

It may just be a detail, but how cool is that? The cup becomes illuminated during the coffee-making process. I love little details like that.

Congrats, Cletus! That’s a hell of a Cafe Creme. You turned the dial, pressed it and the coffee just appeared out of nowhere! The independent Coffee Quality Committee, which I am the president and sole member of, has determined that this coffee is beautiful!

Congrats, Cletus! That’s a hell of a Cafe Creme. You turned the dial, pressed it and the coffee just appeared out of nowhere! The independent Coffee Quality Committee, which I am the president and sole member of, has determined that this coffee is beautiful!

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Cletus, make us a cappuccino. Give that dial a good ol’ twist.

Cletus, make us a cappuccino. Give that dial a good ol’ twist.

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Cletus decided to improvise. He adjusted the coffee strength (the highest one), its size (300 ml) and quantity (1x). All of it can be adjusted with this single dial.

Cletus decided to improvise. He adjusted the coffee strength (the highest one), its size (300 ml) and quantity (1x). All of it can be adjusted with this single dial.

And now for the best part. This coffee maker comes with a straw that makes cappuccinos, lattes and so forth. The best thing about it is that it self-cleaning.

And now for the best part. This coffee maker comes with a straw that makes cappuccinos, lattes and so forth. The best thing about it is that it self-cleaning.

You don’t need to remove it and twist it under the sink, trying to fill it with water. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to do anything with it. The coffee maker knows that the straw must stay clean. Alright, so this is the straw, but where’s the milk container (or the cow?)

You don’t need to remove it and twist it under the sink, trying to fill it with water. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to do anything with it. The coffee maker knows that the straw must stay clean. Alright, so this is the straw, but where’s the milk container (or the cow?)

There is no container. And there’s no cow. One simply inserts the straw into a milk bottle. The milk is sucked into the machine which subsequently pours out beautiful frothy milk right into your cup. After we’re done, we simply put the bottle back in the fridge. As I mentioned earlier, the straw cleans itself.

A sample cappuccino. I stole that food from my doggy. She’ll have to go to bed hungry today.

A sample cappuccino. I stole that food from my doggy. She’ll have to go to bed hungry today.

She was kind of disappointed.

She was kind of disappointed.

Boy, there’s a lot of milk left. How about a latte?

Cletus started experimenting with the foam option. Is the amount of foam really that crucial for latte-making?

Cletus started experimenting with the foam option. Is the amount of foam really that crucial for latte-making? The first latte. He overdid it with the foam.

After we were done, we started digging through the settings to figure out the machine’s cleaning system. Fortunately, the manufacturer anticipated our low IQs and made it very simple. There’s four different maintenance methods. Switch the dial to the one you want and that’s it.

The Nivona CafeRomatica 855 makes a great first impression.

It’s one of the best-designed coffee makers I’ve ever used. It’s ready to use right after you switch it on and you can navigate the whole thing with a single dial. Though this is not that unique, as most coffee makers are quite easy to use nowadays. What is a big advantage, though, is its cleanliness. Granted, some splashback does occur during the pouring process, but it mostly just splashes on itself. It’s very easy to remove all of its parts and clean them in the kitchen sink. However, after two weeks of using it I didn’t feel the need of doing it even once, because it was still completely clean. The only thing you need to do is empty the waste container once it tells you it’s full.

This coffee maker does not have a single flaw that would render it unusable. However, nothing is perfect and there’s always some nitpicking to be done, so let’s do it. The dial is pretty comfortable, true, but it’s still just a dial. Buttons would be a better solution, not to mention a touch screen panel. The screen is so big and clear that you just feel like you should be touching it. On a few of the pictures you may notice that this coffee maker likes to gather dust. I tried fighting it, but I decided to leave the dust to make this review more reliable. There wasn’t a lot of it, anyway, and most of it was only visible after taking pictures with flash.

I didn’t mention it in the review, because I forgot to take birdseye view pictures of it, but the coffee maker has one very useful thing – a heated tray for your cups. And when I say ‘heated’, I mean it. If you enjoy pain, you can really burn yourself on that thing. After a few days I developed a habit of placing my newly-washed cups on that tray to dry them up and bring them to the right temperature.

I don’t know if I should consider this a disadvantage, maybe there’s a reason these things are so big, but this coffee maker is a rather large machine. Why do these things have to take up so much room? It it just a trend? Is it tradition? Maybe the clients are so used to these sizes they’re only willing to buy coffee makers that really look like coffee makers?

You can read more about the brand online. There’s a few other models to choose from. Buy yourself a few of them for your house. One coffee maker per room works best.

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