Kopi is no longer cool enough for Singaporeans. Ever since hipster cafes started springing up everywhere like mushrooms after the rain, there’s been a surge of interest in coffee. All of a sudden, everyone aspires to become a barista.
If you’re thinking of making your own coffee at home (NOT Nescafe for chrissakes), you’ve probably heard of Nespresso, which brews high quality coffee in a ridiculously easy manner. While a single capsule costs just a fraction of the price of a cup of Starbucks, the machines are not cheap. So is a Nespresso machine really the answer for the budget-conscious coffee connoisseur?
What is it?
A Nespresso machine brews espresso through the use of single-use capsules. This means you get something that’s very close to “real” espresso (many experts say they can’t tell the difference) rather than gross coffee-flavoured liquid, which is what instant coffee basically is. While making espresso by hand takes time and skill, Nespresso lets regular people do it in minutes without a second thought—just add water and stick in the pod.
There’s a full range of Nespresso machines, from budget to high end models. But guess what, the coffee tastes the same no matter which machine you use. The only difference lies in whether you have to froth the milk yourself. The cheapest model, the Inissia, retails for $238 in Singapore while the most expensive model will set you back more than $1,000. For the budget-conscious, the choice is a no brainer.
The sad fact is that Nespresso machines cost WAY less in Europe… like 40% less. For this reason, many Singaporeans organise sprees on local forums (see this thread).
If you’re not headed to Europe, another option is to buy the machines on Amazon. The USD price still knocks at least $50 off the local sticker price. Make sure the product qualifies for Amazon GlobalSaver shipping, which is free. It’s important to make sure shipping is free as this is a large item that could cost a lot to ship, even with a shipping service.
To save even more money, use a credit card that gives you rebates for shopping online. OCBC Frank is the most obvious choice will its 6% rebate offer, but you’ll need to make sure you spend at least $500 in that calendar month. Another good option is the American Express True Cashback card, which gives you a 5% cashback in the first 3 months of use and 1.5% after that.
Buying capsules is a whole other game, as there are many different types with different tastes: Roma, Vivalto, Arpeggio, Dulsao, Indriya and so on. Again, these are cheaper in Europe, so if you know someone who’s going on holiday there get them to bring back a few hundred. For sleeves of standard flavours, you can expect to pay about $18 for 7 capsules in Singapore.
You can also order online through the Nespresso website or by using their mobile app. Capsules range in price from $0.91 to $1.15 per capsule. If you order in bulk (more than 150 capsules), you get free shipping.
- If you’re the kind of person with a daily coffee habit, not considering the price of the machine, the cost of a single cup of Nespresso-brewed coffee will be comparable to, or even cheaper than, kopi at a kopitiam, depending on where you get your capsules.
- If you tend to have people over at your place now and then, a Nespresso machine is a great conversation piece and of course good for making your friends coffee at the same time.
- Nespresso machines are easy to use and fast.
- Brewing your own coffee the Nespresso way may be cheaper than having a coffee at a cafe, but don’t be surprised if your actual spending on coffee does not decrease. Going out for a coffee is a social thing, and a Nespresso machine isn’t going to change that.
- The pods are cheaper than buying a coffee at a cafe, but they’re still more expensive than other types of DIY coffee (eg. using a moka pot).
- You’re limited to Nespresso pods, so if they don’t make the flavours you want you’re out of luck.
Do you have a Nespresso machine? Tell us whether it was a good buy in the comments!