The Nespresso boutique is now open in Helsinki.

Do you remember what shop was in Keskuskatu, in the middle of the street in front of Stockmann? You know, where you can go down the stairs and reach Akateeminen Kirjakauppa from below? We don’t remember the shop either, which means we’re not going to miss it much. But that space has just been claimed by a beautifully designed shop, tended by capable, motivated (and attractive, yes) salespeople: the Nespresso boutique is now open in Helsinki!

Hello, who are you? What is your job here?
My name is Ida Väänänen, and I’m the Boutique Manager here at the first Nespresso Boutique in Finland. I’m responsible for supervising operations, that everything goes according to plan. I also make sure everybody gets the resources they need to fulfill their own tasks.

Can you briefly explain the concept of Nespresso?
Nespresso essentially offers excellent coffee, machines, and accessories. First off, customers need to purchase a machine that suits their lifestyle and tastes. Then they would get the coffee, which comes in capsules that can be purchased either on our web-shop or here at the boutique. Using the capsules, the machine makes the most delicious espresso (in its many forms) in a quick, clean, and inexpensive way.

When did this shop open?
Officially the boutique opened on the 3rd of May, but the day before we had a VIP evening with famous people and guests; it was lots of fun. I should also mention that Nespresso has been operating in Finland since 2012 through a web-shop.

What is the role of the boutique?
Here you can be advised both about what machine and accessories would be right for you, and then, at the Tasting Area, you can sample all the different flavors and varieties available (the selection is always evolving, and there are special editions from time to time). We also launched, a few days ago, a new service for our customers: they can place the order online and in one hour it’ll be ready for pick-up here at the boutique.

How expensive are the machines? And how much does an individual cup cost in the end?
The price range of the machines goes from 99 to 699 euros. The coffee packages contain ten capsules, and they vary in price (whether it’s espresso, lungo, decaf, limited edition, etc) from 4,20 to 4,70 euros. So one cup would cost between 42 to 47 cents (around 50 cents with added milk or so). Considering that some Italian-style coffee houses in Helsinki charge between 2,50 to 7 euros per cup, then suddenly 50 cents for the best coffee in the world, at home, sounds like a very good deal.

What’s different in the machines as the prices go up?
Well, there are three different categories: the so-called simple machines which make espressos and lungos, then those with an integrated accessory that can make froths (for cappuccinos and lattes) and then, at the top of the range, machines that will make any type of coffee at the touch of a button. Also the size of the containers for coffee, water and milk vary, and better materials are used in the most expensive ones. But it’s important to keep in mind that every single one of them, no matter the price, generates exactly the same constant nineteen bars of pressure that produces the same perfect espresso.

What happens if you wake up in the morning and the machine won’t work?
In Finland all the machines have a five-year warranty. Also, when you become a member of the Nespresso club, you can call for free to a special number where they’ll try to help you fix the problem over the phone (often it’s just a silly little thing). If it’s not possible to solve the issue customers are sent a box by which they can mail the machine to be repaired. During that time they are offered a temporary machine as well. And If the problem was not the customer’s fault, all expenses are covered by us (during warranty time).

Can you describe the coffee selection process?
On a global scale, about 10% of the total production of coffee is the “premium” coffee. Out of this selection Nespresso picks 20%, which means all of our coffee is the best in the world.

What about ecological considerations?
The coffee itself is certified by Rainforest Alliance. And the machines are made under green standards —part of the e-collaboration program (new models switch off automatically after nine minutes if they are not being used, for example). And then there’s of course the coffee capsules. They are made of aluminum, which means they are completely recyclable, forever, without losing any quality.

How does the recycling work?
In Finland we have a particularly good situation, because there are about 10.000 small-metal recycling points to drop the used capsules (there’s even no need to clean them, because the coffee burns out during the recycling process). Otherwise customers can just drop them here at the boutique and we take care of the rest. As an example of recycling, in one of the machines we sell (the “Pixie” model) the metal side panel is 98% made out of recycled capsules.

Can people use non-Nespresso capsules?
We do not recommend it, though of course customers can do as they wish. But considering that the price difference is so small why would you use less than the best coffee in the world, and perhaps damage your machine?

What does it take to be an employee at the boutique?
There’s certainly not a stereotype of person sought after; they need to be highly professional in their work, and bring in their own particular strengths. Here we have people who’ve been working at airlines, retail shops, restaurants, Stockmann…

Do you get any sort of training before you begin?
Yes, everybody goes through the same initial training about coffee and procedures (the program is called “science of coffee” and it lasts one full month). Some of us are also sent around Europe to other boutiques, to be trained by more experienced people. And of course you learn more and more everyday.

How has reception been so far?
We’ve been having great positive feedback. Some customers had been waiting for the opening of the boutique since the launch of the online shop, in 2012. They were eager to come and taste all the flavors, choose personally their coffee capsules, and enjoy the overall experience of the new Helsinki boutique.