The Nespresso experience

Posted on December 29, 2011

A month and a half ago I had the privilege of visiting Valencia, Spain. During the time there we drank a lot of coffee, and everywhere we went, including the hotel breakfast area, the places served Nespresso. The coffee had a nice frothy head and was consistently enjoyable. Some places had self-service and the machine was quick and easy to use. I decided I would get one. Conveniently there was a Nespresso shop located just behind the hotel so I popped over and bought some of the required coffee capsules. At this point I discovered that the “home use” capsules were little cup-shaped ones and different from the flat industrial ones. The sales person assured me the taste would be the same as all Nespresso machines used the same high pressure 19-bar pressure pump to produce the required high quality coffee experience. I purchased my first 6 strips (of 10 capsules each) of Nespresso coffee – having now bought into the programme.

When I got back to SA I went to my local shopping centre (Pavilion) and checked out all the options. I found the same pricing across all the stores, and although I could have saved a few hundred rand having it shipped from Amazon (UK )I was too impatient to wait. After trawling the mall between the various stores trying to figure out which was the right one for me, I finally bought the CitiZ (with Milk) from a very helpful sales lady at Boardmans (the only shop with someone who knew their product).

With the machine came a R350 voucher to be used for the purchase of coffee pods. Marvelous, well, except that they had no vouchers, but confirmed a few days later per telephone that I just needed to take my till slip down to Springfield (no address provided) and they would give me the voucher and let me buy some coffee.

Since I had the coffee I bought in Spain and the machine came with a starter pack (one capsule each of the 16 flavours in the range) it wasn’t too much of a problem.

Early last week I was finally in Durban on a “working day” so I decided to try to find the Durban supplier. It wasn’t listed on the website at all, only addresses for Cape Town (at the Waterfront) and Johannesburg were supplied.

I tried calling them a few times (found the number on Google), only to get a recorded message suggesting I call Jhb. So I took a chance and headed down to what I thought was the address (Google again) :

7 Springfield Ind Pk, 7 Willowfield Cres, Springfield Park, Durban (wrong)

I got there, no luck and no sign of the place. The security guard at the gate didn’t have a clue who or what Nespresso was. I sat in the car in the visitors parking and googled again. A few more addresses came up but none turned out to be correct :

Unit 28 Springfield Ind Pk 7 Willowfield Cres Springfield Park Durban (wrong)
13 Springfield Industrial Park, 9 Mahoganyfield , Springfield Park, Durban (wrong)

Taking a chance I put Nespresso into the TomTom. Big thumbs up to TomTom, they got me to the place.

Real Address : Unit 28 Springfield Industrial Park, 9 Mahogany Way, Springfield Park, Durban

Update : They have moved again. Current address : 254 Lilian Ngoyi Road (Formerly Windermere Road). Phone : 031 303 3374 (link here)

When I eventually got there, the staff were friendly and helpful. I filled in two sets of forms, they then produced the magical voucher, took my order, which ended up being 10 strips at a total of R576 (Average of R5.76 per cup), less the R350 voucher for a pay in of R226. I was happy with my haul and we have been enjoying the coffee ever since.

By way of comparison, I bought my first 6 strips of capsules in Valencia, Spain, at 3.55 euros each. At an exchange rate of R11/Euro that works out at R39 a strip (R3.90 a cup), so we are paying a premium of 36% here in South Africa. Could be worse I guess, but makes me wish I had bought more over there.


The machine itself, I bought the CitiZ&Milk (the left one in the pictures above) which according to the detail on the European site seems to be made by DeLonghi (it has the pipe-like spout rather than the tear drop one). It works really well, the milk frother is great, though a bit of a pain to clean.

I am delighted with this coffee machine, the simplicity and consistency is just great, and each time I have a cup I am reminded of my time in Spain.

I know a lot of people have said that Nespresso is over priced, and that I could have bought a machine, which freshly grinds the coffee from the bean for each cup, for only a little more than the price of the Nespresso machine. Such a machine uses coffee beans which work out lass than half the price per cup. I looked (briefly) at that option. The machines had too many settings, buttons, nozzles etc (for me). The R5,70 odd per cup of Nespresso isn’t cheap but is a whole lot less than having coffee out at the local coffee shops, is just as nice, and I get to have it while waking up.

The Nespresso machine is great because it simply just works. You can’t really get it wrong and you consistently get that great cup of coffee. I am very happy with it and my guests have been too. It is really quick to make a cup of coffee, taking a minute or less to warm up from a cold start, and each cup you make thereafter takes only a few seconds. No mess, no fuss and easy to keep clean.

I am sold on the Nespresso experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Table of comparative pricing information (Europe to SA) below :

Skyrim install, Steam making you Steam?

Posted on December 28, 2011

I bought a copy of Skyrim after reading about how great it was, man, what a mission to install it. It wants an internet connection, no problem. Insert the DVD, it wants the unique code, sure. Type it in, steam isn’t available, sorry you can’t install. WTF?

Try again, now, it tells me that this title is already installed against my steam account. WTF? Log into steam, and sure enough, there is Skyrim. Ok, try install again. Now, it won’t install from the DVD, and wants to download all 4+ Gig of the install. That really sucks.

Google it, there is a solution, and here it is

  • Log in to Steam and click on Library.
  • Right-click on the game, select Delete local content, and confirm.
  • Insert the DVD into your computer.
  • Close Steam (Steam > Exit).
  • Go the command line (Press Windows Key + enter cmd.exe)
  • In the command window type: “C:\Program Files\Steam\Steam.exe” -install E:

With that last command, make sure you use the correct path to your steam install, and that you replace E: with whatever your DVD drive letter is. Works a charm and saves a massive download. Enjoy the game.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Posted on December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas all. Hope you all had a great year and will have an even better one next year.


Thanks for supporting my blog and helping to get it the regular readership we have now.


Life in the traffic (with TomTom)

Posted on December 10, 2011

I travel frequently, so drive a lot in the major Metro areas, primarily in and around Durban, Johannesburg/Midrand/Pretoria and Cape Town. The last few months I have spent in Johannesburg, and have had the privilege of using a TomTom with GoLive HD traffic enabled.

The GoLive HD traffic service isn’t perfect. In fact, it has many flaws and I lose count of the number of times that  I find myself crawling along while the device shows no traffic on my route. Regularly I would climb into the car, program in my route and find it clear, then be stuck in some kind of snarlup with no warning, making a mockery of the “estimated time of arrival”.

That said, there were a number of times when it did warn me well in advance of traffic  problems, sometimes asking to re-route me around the problem, others giving me details of the estimated delay but indicating that alternate routes would be no quicker. At the time of some of the (in)famous Julius march from Johannesburg (halfway) to Pretoria I was in Bryanston needing to travel to the Carlton Centre. The TomTom warned me of road closures and routed me right around them. I was very grateful not to be caught up in all the activities.

Somehow, over the 5 or so months of using this service, the accuracy seemed to improve.  Estimated arrival times seemed to get more accurate, and multiple problems en-route were detected.


I am using the TomTom GoLive 1000. This device is slimmer and lighter than the first device I had borrowed (Go Live 650), and the touch screen seemed a bit more sensitive. This isn’t a review of either though, but none the less, just to say the traffic service of both seemed the same and worked well.

The only catch is that you always need to let the device know where you are going so it knows the route. Once you are travelling between common places (work, home, OR Tambo, hotels etc) you can save them all as favourites and then on startup just select your destination. Quick, easy and well designed.

I read recently that TomTom is struggling, laying off a lot of people, and moving out of the personal navigation device market. This is really unfortunate, and I hope it doesn’t stop the development of the Traffic HD service.

The service comes for 1 year free when you buy an enabled device and then costs around R400/year thereafter. For just over R1/day I think once you start using it, it pays for itself in reduced frustration levels and time savings. TomTom have a winner here.

In conclusion, the fact that, despite knowing where I am going and not needing directions, every morning I diligently plug in the device  and select a destination just to get the traffic information and route redirections, speaks volumes for how dependent I have become on a somewhat imperfect service, but one that is oh so much better than the alternates.  Thinking of getting a GPS, choose one with traffic, you won’t regret it. The Go Live 1000 is around R3000 at Cape Union Mart and R2800 at  I got mine from Cape Union as I wanted it on the day and they gave great service in store (Canal Walk).

P.S. I had a Garmin for a while, the traffic options works, but it isn’t as good as the TomTom, particularly in SA. The top end Garmin device seems better specc’ed and all around nicer than the TomTom, but for the traffic alone I went with TomTom. Some bad experiences with Garmin SA support in getting the traffic service activated also turned me off them a bit.


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