Does all Nespresso coffee taste the same?

Some call me crazy while some call me a connoisseur but I have a thing for coffee. I personally own something close to 10 different coffee makers including a Rancilio Epoca S2 a $7000 machine that I keep at the office and at home I have a Vetrano with a Mazzer grinder. I take my coffee very seriously.

When I find the time I dabble with home roasting although I’m still not very good at it :)

I do travel quite a bit and when I do try to find good coffee shops to fulfill my needs and to bring home something new and exciting. I’m not referring to Starbucks or the like but these small hipster places that roast their own beans and put that little extra into feeding my caffeine addiction.

Excellent coffee from Taylor St. Baristas, one of my favourite roasters in the UK.

One thing my home country of Iceland doesn’t have is a Nespresso store, although we do have some great coffee. Funny thing is that Nespresso machines are actually quite popular in Iceland and while some people make due with 2nd class knockoffs many people purchase authentic Nespresso online or have friends and family buy it while travelling.

Kings of UX in coffee

I have to admit that I do admire Nespresso. From a business, branding and user experience standpoint they are amazing. When you walk into the store you feel special, like you are a honoured member of an exclusive club. They treat you like are travelling on business class, everything is so thought through from the names of different coffees, design of the interior and production of different machines to the clothing of their expert staff.

When I entered their Piccadilly signature store in London I was drawn to their latest limited edition package of coffee from Mexico and Rwanda. Beautiful boxes with great copy and brochures that really talented people must have spent months on making just perfect.

Nothing makes me more eager to buy than a label with “limited edition”

Once you’ve spent close to $100 on a few capsules of coffee you are welcomed to the tasting bar where you can indulge for free in their exquisite produce served by a coffee specialist.

I’ve never considered myself as an expert in coffee although I do know what I like and I think I have a half decent palate that can tell apart coffee and wine from different countries let alone different continents. I can’t say no to great coffee and an interesting experience so after I purchased some Nespresso coffee for my father in law I ventured off to the tasting bar and received a cup from each country of their limited edition selection.

And I couldn’t taste any difference…

I knew this already as I’ve had quite a few Nespresso‘s in the past few years. I will admit that they aren’t bad and it certainly is convenient. But why go through all this trouble of creating a beautiful brand and a delightful experience that people actually love and still fool them by serving them the same stuff in different coloured boxes? Every single coffee you make tastes exactly the same, the range of flavour seems to range from very burnt to over burnt. There is no citrus or toffee or nuts, just ashes.

On the left is regular espresso from Reykjavik Roasters but to the right is the contents of a “light” roasted Nespresso

Custom made Nespresso

I bought refillable Nespresso capsules and armed with my Porlex mini travel grinder I set out to make better coffee on the Nespresso. For some reason I’m not able to get the same depth from my own coffee even though it’s made of freshly ground newly roasted beens. I’m starting to ponder if Nespresso adds some kind of chemical to their beans that enhances the créma.

The waste from Nespresso has always bothered me, too bad the multi use pod doesn’t produce the same quality coffee

Hire a world-class barista

I do appreciate that Nespresso has had an impact on people and how they think of coffee so generally speaking it is a good thing but I really do hope they will try and educate the world about different types of coffee and regions and flavours.

My favourite roaster in Denmark has a great variety of beans from different countries

Just dial your roasters down a little bit and don’t burn every single bean beyond the point of recognition. Unless you are hiding the fact that your produce is all the same or from poor quality sources. With this little change you might finally reach the point of experience nirvana and your consumers will love you even more.

BTW I’m at my in-laws summer house and currently on my third Nespresso cup today, still haven’t found a difference :)

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