Thursday, May 8, 2008

Coffee Goes Way Uptown

George Clooney seems to be everywhere lately, including on the cover of the Wednesday entertainment section of Le Figaro and an overly long profile in one of the April issues of The New Yorker. I take it he has a movie out that he's plugging. In France, his face has become almost synonymous with Nespresso, the company that's taken the pod coffee maker into the realm of luxury goods. I've heard the coffee's pretty good (what do I know...I'm still dripping water from the tea kettle through a Melitta filter) but what's really selling this stuff is the image of affluence and savoir faire, well suited to Clooney's own brand of slick, smart sex appeal.

You've got to hand it to their marketing people. The whole experience is a far cry from picking up a bag of 8 O'Clock coffee at the A&P or even buying fair trade beans at Starbucks. Actually, I'd have to say that the closest thing to going into the Nespresso store is shopping for fine jewelry. When you walk in, the atmosphere is hushed; the spit and polished staff waits to serve you. The pods are wrapped in jewel colored foils and displayed in glass-topped cases. Thirty-one centimes a pop seems a small price to pay for the glamour, not to mention the caffeine buzz.

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