Until recently, making espresso at home required a big, noisy, expensive, kind of scary machine. I know because I had one. Then came the Nespresso, which made homemade espresso a simple, Keurig-like pod experience. I know because I have one.
But that machine is pricey, and so are the pods that go with it. Enter Espressotoria, a similar machine and newcomer to the pod-brew space. It's a relative bargain at $100, but here's an even better deal: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Walmart will give you the Espressotoria Caprista machine free when you purchase six 12-pod Espressotoria coffee packs. Those packs will cost you $53.34 plus tax.
First you choose the color you want: black or white. Then you choose your six packs of pods. Unfortunately, although there are about half a dozen varieties available, your options here are limited to Italian Dark Roast and Decaf. Update: Some readers are reporting that their only option is decaf. Curiously, the only option I see now is the Italian Dark Roast, though I definitely saw both earlier. I'm investigating with Walmart and will update the post if/when I get a response. Update No. 2: It appears the full selection of coffees is now available.
For future reference, each 12-pack normally sells for $8.89 -- which works out to about 74 cents per cup. Nespresso Vertuo espresso pods cost about 85 cents each.
The machine itself is as simple as they come. Full the rear reservoir with water, pop in a pod, then push a button to choose between the two different brew sizes. Sixty seconds later: bam. Espresso. When you lift the handle, the used pod drops into a little container, which stays out of sight until it gets full and needs emptying.
I just recently had the chance to try an Espressotoria -- which, let's face it, has a terrible name. Why not "Espression" or "Espressoh!" or "Quick-spresso"? Well, yeah, those are nearly as terrible.
Anyway, I tried the Brazilian Breakfast, and made myself a "big" brew (a whopping 3.4 ounces). As it happens, I recently switched to drinking my coffee black, so my taste-test wasn't influenced by the presence of milk, cream or sugar.
Verdict: I liked it! Very smooth, not overwhelmingly strong. It definitely had that slightly-burnt look of espresso, though it lacked the magic crema top that the Nespresso machine somehow adds to each cup.
Of course, coffee is like music: subjective. But let's do the math: For about $57 you're getting 72 cups of espresso (and the machine that makes it). At a bare minimum, a single coffee-shop espresso would cost you probably $3. So that same $57 would buy you just 19 cups out in the world.
If you know someone who loves coffee, this might make a terrific gift. If you're someone who loves coffee, this might be the at-home solution you've dreamed of -- for a price that's downright impossible to beat. It's the old razor-blade deal: You buy the coffee, we'll give you the coffee maker for free.
The app employs phonics in three different games that help youngsters develop and improve their reading skills. Of course, that's no substitute for actually sitting and reading to your tykes, something I just realized I haven't done in a long while (because my kids are old now) and truly miss.
Bonus deal No. 2: If you thought an Amazon Echo Dot couldn't get much cheaper than $30, think again: .
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