Nespresso Emporium Launch & Vue de Monde Brunch

May 6, 2014

Nespresso Boutique, Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Vue de Monde, Level 55/Rialto 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Last week I was invited to the new Nespresso Boutique media launch at Emporium Melbourne. I was very excited to be invited, since I’m a lover of good coffee and Nespresso is a coffee brand I knew only a little about (Hello, George Clooney!) but was keen to learn more.

First things first, the store is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. Coming in at 230 square metres, with a tasting bar, a self-selection area, a machine gallery and a grand crus library behind three registers, it’s something to behold.

We began our morning with a taste of two of their new Columbian single origin grand crus at the tasting bar (the largest in the southern hemisphere with 10 machines). The Cauca (in the green capsule) was a fruity and floral coffee while the Santander (red capsule) had a much more savoury and almost bready aroma.

The tasting bar is an integral part of the customer experience for Nespresso club members, where they can come and sample a couple of coffees before making their purchase. It’s just the first step in a cleverly integrated and sophisticated consumer model that Nespresso has championed.

Nespresso takes great effort in sourcing their coffee from the right producers, so the coffee is of a particularly high quality. We heard from a couple of people from Nespresso who have been instrumental in designing this new store, and their passion for coffee is clear. They recommended some of their favourites: the Rosabaya, a single origin with grape notes and an intensity of 6, came up twice. The most popular flavour globally? The high-intensity Arpeggio wins by a mile.

The store also includes a great piece of capsule artwork by the indigenous art group, Balarinji Studio. Proceeds from the art work will go towards Indi Kini, a group that helps improve literacy and numeracy among young indigenous childen.

The store has been designed with one thing in mind: enhancement of the customer experience. Citing long queues at their old Collins Street store as the impetus behind the new design, the team have installed a self selection area where members can fill a bag with their choice of coffees from the automatic dispensers along the wall. At any one time, the store holds an incredible 500,000 capsules on the floor!

Bag full, you place it on one of the self-serve registers, swipe your Nespresso club member card, a scanner scans through the bag to read the microchips on each box, confirms your order, and you pay by credit card. The process takes under two minutes and is a brilliant way to avoid queuing if you know which coffee you want.

The store also boasts an impressive range of accessories and machines so you can be fully stocked with all your coffee needs. As I said earlier, it’s the full consumer experience!

I really enjoyed my visit to the Nespresso Emporium store, it’s well worth a look if you haven’t been already. From not knowing a whole lot about the brand, I’ve come away very impressed with their dedication to quality and to the customer experience. They’ve really revolutionised the way we think about coffee at home to something that is effortless but doesn’t compromise on taste. Simple sophistication.

I’ve also learnt quite a bit about different coffees – their Manager, Nicole, was telling us about a limited edition late harvest coffee they had on offer last year. Much like a late harvest wine, this coffee was sweeter than normal and had a blueberry aroma to it. It’s interesting when we think of coffee as similar to wine in that it has distinct nuances that can be learned and picked out to enhance your coffee experience. It reminds me of the beer degustation at Circa.

Most importantly, I think, they make high quality and interesting coffee accessible. I felt encouraged to ask questions, some of them silly, about the process and how the machines work and what kinds of flavours come from different regions. Apart from a small selection of cafes where I know the staff are friendly about that sort of thing, I wouldn’t dare ask those questions while getting a coffee out. The staff here are friendly and welcoming, which is a lovely thing to see.

“Oh what’s that? You’d like to get coffee with me? Well, I’m a busy woman but I’m sure I can fit you in…”

After our store tour, we were whisked away in cars to the Rialto building and up the lift to level 55: Vue de Monde. Oh yes, this Tuesday morning was turning out to be the best Tuesday morning I’d ever had! Brunch hosted by Shannon Bennett and team, not much that can beat it!

Upstairs, the private room set up with beautiful arrangements of autumnal blooms, we were greeted with a glass of champagne and some of Vue de Monde’s famous canapés which they serve as part of their fourteen course degustation.

The widely-renowned truffle marshmallows were out of this world, let me tell you.

The earthy marshmallows were followed by macadamia cream encased in a smooth, clear apple gel.

Finally, one of my personal favourites from when I was lucky enough to have the degustation, smoked eel encased in toffeed white chocolate with black caviar.

Mouths watering in anticipation, we chatted a bit further about the new Nespresso store, and how excited the team was to expand their 11 store empire in Australia.

Being carb-free at Vue de Monde simply isn’t an option when there’s butter this good to be had. French butter, my god, is there nothing better?

The first course was an elegant plate of slow cooked duck egg, pear, saltbush and truffle. The duck egg stars among such delicate flavours, and there was a wonderful contrast of textures. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

Naturally, everyone scraped their plates clean.

The second course was a pretty little plate of Spanish mackerel, potato and coffee (featuring a Nespresso Grand Cru!) The potato had been blanched and then rolled into little batons with a chicken emulsion in the middle. A very gourmet version of fish and chips!

I was full by this stage, but who doesn’t have an extra little space in their tummy for some warm, freshly made doughnuts filled with 70% couverture chocolate? Divine.

And then, just to really push home that fact that we were being spoiled, a board of chocolate mousse lamingtons with raspberry jam and some musk flavoured gum leaves. What a treat!

These chocolate mousse lamingtons and musk leaves also feature as petit fours in the degustation menu.

Shannon Bennett dropped by briefly after brunch to say ‘Hi’ and ask how we’d enjoyed the morning. He has long been an ambassador of Nespresso, so was particularly happy to have incorporated their coffee into our menu.

This was an fantastic event – both highly educational and delicious (the best kinds of event, in my opinion)! Indulge in the boutique experience at Nespresso Emporium while hunting for your favourite blend, or perhaps one of their gorgeous coffee accessories for home. Vue de Monde obviously needs no further introduction, although I suppose one more shot of those doughnuts couldn’t do any harm…

Note: I dined as a guest of Nespresso, Torstar Communications and Vue de Monde.

A week later, I was back again for Nespresso’s fabulous launch party! Below are some photos courtesy of Torstar Communications. I took my mum as my guest and we had a brilliant time wandering around the store, star-spotting, and enjoying the beautiful food and cocktails on offer.

The menu was created by the masterly Guillame Brahimi, who put together a beautiful set of dishes. Some of my favourites included the smoked salmon cigar with black caviar, the duck foie gras parfait on a round of gingerbread, and some sensational gougeres with truffle cream. Outstanding, all of it!

Drinks were also plentiful, and cocktails came by way of Bruce and Chyka Keebaugh aka The Big Group. Mum’s salted caramel martini using Nespresso Livanto Grand Cru (which incidentally mum drinks at home) was an instant hit, while I enjoyed the pants off a Nespresso Hazelnut Martini, shaken with vanilla vodka, frangelico and chocolate bitters.

Squee! I love these two, thought they were brilliant on Real Housewives of Melbourne. I even got a bit silly towards the end and asked for a photo with Chyka, who was so lovely and was more than happy to pose with me. Such a thrill to meet them!

As for entertainment, we were treated to a trio of opera singers, whose performance culminated in a fantastic version of ‘I did it my (Nespresso) way!’, and a private concert by X Factor winner Dami Im, who sang her hit ‘Alive’ as well as her new single ‘Super Love’ which was released last week. Man, does the girl have a set of lungs on her! Brilliant voice.

Thanks again to Torstar and Nespresso for putting on such a brilliant launch party – again I recommend you pay a visit to the new Emporium store, it’s quite the experience!

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Filed under: Coffee, Melbourne CBD