As you're reading this, I am once again sitting in Milan. This time it's for Milan Fashion Week, but a few months ago I was sitting in this same exact cafe enjoying a coffee and learning everything I needed to know about this hot drink, in preparation for an experience that would change my life and my tastebuds forever.
At that time, I was introduced to the coffee experts from Nespresso – Karsten Ranitzsch, Head of Coffee and Alexis Rodriguez, Head of Coffee Development – these are the people who create the coffee experience that each and every Nespresso devotee enjoys on a daily basis. They travel around the world looking for the planet's best coffee beans, seek out inspiration for flavors in some of the most dynamic cities and, at the end of the day, have hundreds of thousands of customers to please with their creations. It's not an easy job, but it's one they take on with elegance and grace, not to mention a serious helping of charisma. With this passion behind them, and the emotions of one of the world's most beautiful cities in the forefront of their minds, the latest Limited Edition coffee from Nespressocalled Tribute to Milano.
While I was in Milan, Nespresso challenged me to experience and take in the coffee culture in order to truly understand what inspires the creation of coffee for the brand. Our very first stop was in a place that was totally unexpected and wonderfully surprising. Did you know that Wes Anderson has designed a coffee shop with Prada in Milan? It's called Bar Luce and it's at the Fondazione Prada. It's a place that is truly magical, and a wonderful location to start conversations about the creation of coffee - and, in particular, the fruity aromas associated with the Nespresso Tribute to Milano coffee. The colours, sounds, smells and conversation all set the journey of discovery off on just the right foot. I was instantly eager to learn more.
Our next stop was at 10 Corso Como, which is located in a very important part of the city, where one can clearly see a new Milan meeting a city of old. There is a change happening in this place, where old and new are working to meet in the middle to keep the landscape both traditional but also contemporary. The battle is played out in real time in this area of Milan, right on the doorstep of 10 Corso Como, where even the store itself is a part of the mix. 10 Corso Como is a beautiful old building, overflowing inside with modern concepts from the world's most beautiful designers. This sort of change is clearly what motivated the coffee creators in attempting to give the Tribute to Milano capsule a real dynamic flavour - something that could reflect a city that is always reinventing itself, but is still steeped in tradition.
While both Bar Luce and 10 Corso Como were landmark visits in explaining the complexity of the coffee I would learn to love and adore, it was truly the general atmosphere of Milan that sold me on the identity of a taste creation. Walking the streets of Milan, one truly never knows what will be discovered. And this is what I spent most of my time in Milan doing - simply walking and taking it all in. There is emotion in every individual you encounter here, and you're never really sure which emotion you'll be met with. I imagine this inspired the fruity and sweet cereal notes in the Tribute to Milano coffee - unexpected notes, but something that works in perfect harmony for daily consumption.
But the real emotion of the city, while greatly prevalent in the people, is found up, down and all around you, from a complicated newsstand to a beautiful sunset. In fact, I had captured both of these on camera to show the beauty, and complexity, of this metropolitan city.
How exactly Nespresso managed to capture the city of Milan in a cup of coffee will always truly be a mystery to me. Sure, they managed to explain the technical bits, but in reality it was a creation that came from heart, soul and the knowledge of a complex and beautiful place on earth - one which I am admiring now as I sit and watch the busy streets fill with even more people, looking for a space at a coffee bar to share an espresso with friends at noontime.
When I leave, I'll return home to London and I will, as cheesy at it sounds, once again fill my Nespresso machine with the Tribute to Milano capsule and sip from a cup which reminds me, from start to finish, of a place that is truly one of a kind - just like the coffee created in its name. The saddest thing of all for me is the fact that this is a limited edition coffee. Nespresso - if I may - can I suggest this gets added to the lineup of regular coffees? It's too good to ever say goodbye.
Written in collaboration with Nespresso.