For any of my readers who are not inhabitants of The Far North (excluding my American readers who live in the mid-west, I know it can get pretty cold out there), you need to understand just how miserable winters in Montreal can be.
First, there’s the annual 23938503240934 feet of snow:
So of course after this you have to dig your car out with a freaking shovel:
And if you think it looks pretty now, wait until tomorrow, when the snow removal trucks have gone by and you’re left with 4 inches of disgusting looking, watery-brown slush on the street:
Not to mention we survive these 7th-circle-of-hellish conditions for 5 months (if we’re lucky) of every.single.year. So if there’s anything Montreal has gotten good at, it’s finding ways to take your mind off the fact that we’re basically living breathing permafrost:
Sure, Montreal’s Snow Village extravaganza is a nice reminder that snow and ice can be a pretty and cheap substitute for most building materials, but the fact remains that we are surrounded by this miserable wasteland 24/7 for almost half a year EVERY YEAR.
So where does that leave us? Deprived of the sun, our most important source of vitamin D, prone to winter blues, and in dire need to turn to more artificial sources of happiness.
You all know what I’m talking about.
It’s basically edible food-porn and Montreal does it pretty damn well.
When it comes down to it, hot chocolate is very hard to mess up. It’s all there in the name. It’s chocolate and it’s hot. You could serve me melted chocolate for all I care and I would be happy. Sure, the process varies depending where you go; Cacao 70, Juliette et Chocolat, and Cafe Vasco da Gama use a melted chocolate base; Cafe Creme and Brioche Doree use Italian powdered chocolate and 3.25% milk; and busy franchises who don’t have the time of day make do with decent syrups. Of course, there will always be the demon who uses hot water and Carnation chocolate mix but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Montreal has to be good at something so it might as well be hot chocolate. It’s very hard to go to a cafe and order a bad hot chocolate. We’re well known for our low-key atmospheres and delicious coffee beverages.
Or so I thought.
Welcome, readers, to the Nespresso Cafe.
Looks classy, doesn’t it? Conveniently located on busy Crescent St in Downtown Montreal, treat yourself to a coffee indulgence as you are served by handsome young Belgian men wearing pants that are just too tight in all the right places.
The Nespresso concept was simple; cut out the time-consuming middleman that was the Espresso Machine and maximize your caffeinating while minimizing your time spent waiting in line at the nearest Second Cup (though there are infinitely more Starbucks’ so you’d probably wind up there anyway). You can purchase your own Nespresso machine and, at the touch of a button, get professional-grade coffee beverages.
That’s my sales pitch for them anyway.
The reality is that the Nespresso cafe is simply an over-the-top, obnoxious enterprise that serves mediocre, over-priced coffee.
It was a cold day and my sisters and I were meeting up for hot chocolate. I had passed by the Nespresso Cafe many times but had never actually been inside. Having just come from spending the weekend at The Boyfriend’s house, I hadn’t exactly thought that far ahead in advance and neglected to bring my Louboutins and pencil skirt/blazer-combination-power-suit to this ridiculous establishment.
While I was busy feeling more than a little out place, my sisters ordered semi-sweet hot chocolate and hazelnut lattes. i glanced at the menu and promptly closed it again; $7.50 for a damn latte? They had to be kidding. This stuff had better be good…
Now, here’s the thing; I’ve had Keurig-machine coffee before and, while not terrible, it’s not great either. On the other hand, it’s fairly cheap and it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. Nespresso coffee, however, refuses to admit that it’s merely the older, wannabe-posh sibling of Keurig and Tassimo. It’s determined to be a fancy-ass goddamn DIVA and with over TWENTY VARIETIES of coffee capsules to choose from to create beautiful, watery, tasteless, overly-foamy lattes, there’s no arguing with it. The coffee comes in one-use-only multi-colored capsules that look like they just arrived off a shipment from the latest UFO. They’re like these little alien-pods that are supposed to magically turn into something edible and elegant and elitist and it’s just so stupid and so obviously not geared towards me.
As a coffee snob, I can safely say the only thing to do with their coffee is to defenestrate the lot of it.
It’s ridiculously expensive.
I’m never going back.
Seriously, who drinks this stuff??