Espresso Coffee Reviews

August 26, 2013

Review: Starbucks Discoveries - Chilled Espresso Beverage (Caffe Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte)

Starbucks Discoveries At Grocery

Starbucks has launched its Starbucks Discoveries series of products with partner Pepsi to bring three flavored coffee drinks in ready to drink form to you grocer's chilled section. We thought we'd Review them and give you a snapshot of another cool summer coffee drink.

The 1.5 liter (1.49 actually) packs look different, and come with a screw cap that unleashes the Vanilla Latte, Carmel Macchiato (you need to supply your own "Macchiato"), and Caffe Mocha. The carton is notable because it's some masterpiece of packaging shape; who knew a machine could fold something like this. It's not a regular gable top carton; it's some

My world needs more coffee, and Starbucks Discoveries are a pretty good fit. The flavors are not stand-out, but the drink is a bit indulgent, and sweet, with a hint of the signature flavor at the end. Mocha has a bit of a lingering chocolate flavor, while the caramel has a bit of a salty sweet caramel flavor. Not bad, but it doesn't scream coffee…… at all. Maybe it whispers coffee at best. It doesn't hit you over the head with sweetness either, so maybe a decent balance.

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April 20, 2013

Review: Nespresso Trieste and Napoli Limited Edition Capsules


Several times a year, Nespresso launches a special capsule that drives demand and excitement among users. The Variations are flavored capsules that come out for the holiday season, and then a couple of times a year, usually in the Spring and the Fall, Limited Editions come out focused on a special blend of coffees, backed by some powerful marketing concepts.   

Nespresso likes these for a few reasons, as it drives sales, excitement and a fresh story into the Nespresso line. Oh, yea, and they charge more for the capsules too.

This year, the Spring Limited Edition wraps the experience in the coffee culture of Italy, essentially coming home to the espresso culture's roots.

On the Strong Side

The Napoli capsules is a blend of South American, African and Asian beans that have a dark, complex and STRONG flavor with a bit of a Robusta finish. The capsule sis said to be an 11 on a 10 scale, much like the fabled Kazaar all Robusta blended capsule. With the Napoli, Nespresso is pushing a "Black Gold" concentrated coffee concept of taking the espresso as a Ristretto, (25ml) or an even shorter 15ml. I typically like this type of blend, so my money is on the Napoli in this kitchen for preference. No idea what it would register as a standard espresso (40 ml).

The Trieste is a bit less intense, but not by much. The Trieste capsules will be 100% Brazilian and African Arabica beans with a nutty and chocolatey flavor coming in at a 9 on the 10 intensity scale, also as a Ristretto (25ml).

Nespresso recommends Ristrettos on both the Naoili and Trieste. The Napoli is said to be an eleven on their strength scale, while the Trieste comes in at a nine.

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March 27, 2013

Review: Aromo ESE Espresso Pods - Boost, Bounce, Buzz and Buzz Lite


As the snow clears off our deck, and the weather turns warm here near Boston, it's a great time to enjoy a new set of espresso pods and take in the change of seasons. Today we take a look at the Aromo ESE Espresso Pods that were sent over a few weeks back to us here at Single Serve Espresso.

Aromo covers a good space with their four different pods, including a decaf version. With a lighter blend (Buzz) to a full bodied, and complex blend (Boost), I think most espresso lovers will find something they like.

To try the range, I got one of their samplers with a nice selection of their four blends; they have a couple of different ways to try out their blend and roasting expertise. A Mixed Up sampler with 18 total pods, or a special Free sampler (just pay shipping) with a pair of all four blends. The folks at Aromo provided us the Mixed Up sampler for this review - enough for a couple of weeks' worth of espresso drink in' fun.

ESE Pods - Easy to enjoy

Recall the ESE Pod is an easy way to enjoy espresso in machines that have the ESE Pod adapter for their portafilter - most consumer espresso machines come with them. The pods are made, and foil wrapped in a pouch for convenience . Aromo can ship smaller, 18-packs for those in short-term relationships, as well as fully committed 100-packs that should last a while.

I like the ease of use, and the quick clean-up. The ESE pods make espresso something I can do in the morning or in a pinch later in the day. No grinding, no mess; rip open the pouch, put the pod in the portafilter, crank it on the machine and you are ready to go. There are folks who are not interested in pre-packaged espresso, and I can understand that, but for me, I just don't have the time in the morning to do the whole routine, but I do have the time to enjoy a shot; that's why ESE Pods work for me.

Brewing the Aromo ESE Pods

For this review, I used a Cuisinart EM200 machine for this review - it's a good go-to brewer, with plenty of brewing and heating power for my espresso.

Across the last two weeks, I have been having about a shot a day of the Aromo espresso pods, and have really enjoyed them. Overall, there is a good balance of body, acidity and roast that really screams espresso here. when you open the pouches, the coffee aroma of the pods is good; not stale with a rich chocolate and deep roasted smell that is inviting and worth a quid check each and every time.


Good Dark espresso, with a decent nice layer

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April 21, 2011

Review: Nespresso Onirio Limited Edition Capsules


Nespresso Onirio capsules have arrived at Single Serve Espresso and we wanted to post up a quick review of the latest Nespresso Limited Edition. The silvery white capsules came today with a pair of Ristrettos inthe box; a pretty big contrast in both capsule color, package and taste. I will admit that the Ristretto is one of my favorites, and as one of the strongest flavors in the line. With that, I will say that the Onirio is a refreshing change and a nice break from the norm.

Nespresso is pushing the Onirio as a refined lightly roasted refined coffee with hints of flowers:

"This blend of the finest ethiopian coffees i specially roasted to offer the most refined aromas. Onirio has rounded body and presents remarkable white flower notes reminiscent of jasmine and orange blossom."

Brewing and Tasting

Nespresso's Onirio brews up with a great crema that you would expect from a Nespresso capsule, creating a delicate topping for your espresso. I brewed the new Onirio up in the new Nespresso Pixie brewer that I have been running for a few weeks now. Still enjoying it - Read My Review of the Nespresso Pixie for more on it.


Flavor-wise, I don't get the delicate flowery notes coming through, but hey maybe it's the accumulated effects of hundreds of Livantos and Ristretos. What I do get is a light cereal note, lighter than the Dulsao from Brazil. The Onirio has almost no back end lingering flavor, so the overall profile is a quick one; offering a fleeting taste before disappearing. I will say that the Onirio is acidic and noticeably so. Overall a nice clean flavor.

When I cut open the Nespresso Onirio and Ristreto capsules, surprisingly the color of the roasts were not that far off. I had expected a larger difference.


Nespresso Onirio Recipes

So Nespresso is offering up a couple of recipes that you can use Onirio for including an Onirio Mojito - a non-alcoholic version of these light, mint infused springtime drink. the other is an Onirio Macchiato that is made with jasmine tea and orange peel infused milk. I might just have to try this one. Check out their Nespresso Onirio mini-site.

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September 5, 2007

Quick Pick: Peet's Italian Roast


Thought I would put this one up since I have enjoyed this coffee so much. I picked this up at a local grocery store, now that Peet's is distributed to the Northeast in several grocery stores, including a lot around my area. Peet's Italian Roast was the one roast that appeared to be best suited for espresso at home, although I was a little disappointed to find only ground in my store, I would have preferred whole bean so that I could grind it myself.

Anyway, Peet's describes their Italian Roast as:

"Intense; blended from the fullest-bodied, most flavorful coffees from the Pacific and Latin America.

The Italian Roast is darker than our normal roast and consequently develops an intense, full-bodied flavor from the blend of Pacific and Latin American origins. The aroma is balanced and complex, and the beans glisten with natural oils.

The name "Italian Roast" comes from the dark roasting style that is common in southern Italy. (Coffees in northern Italy are usually a bit lighter.) The dark roast may have resulted from trying to obscure off-flavors in cheap coffee, but our approach to this roast starts with high altitude, full-bodied coffees.

Italian Roast is one of the coffees we recommend for espresso."

Overall, I agree, I would recommend it for espresso. It is sufficiently dark to give a full bodied cup without crossing the edge of being abnormally bitter. I made it in a good entry level pump machine, the DeLonghi Bar 32 machine, and the result was a thick crema and a strong but clean coffee flavor. Well blended and acidic enough to be lively but not too much to be sour. The finish is clean, but better bodied than many 100% Arabica blends.

I will definitely add it to my rotation of espresso coffees.

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April 26, 2007

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean


I came across this deal on one of the most popular Lavazza blends in the US; Lavazza Super Crema. This gives you a full rich taste, that is still sweet in the cup and a thick crema. The body is quite full and well rounded. Lavazza is a huge espresso brand and I have been impressed with their Grand Crema ESE Pods when I reviewed them.

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean- 1Kg (2.2lbs) with free shipping at Amazon

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March 26, 2007

Consumer Reports - 2 Nespresso Machines are Excellent

Consumer Reports is putting out an article covering pump driven espresso machines and they rated two excellent, both from Nespresso. The first was the Nespresso C100, and the other was the Nespresso Le Cube. I'll post my review of the Nespresso C100 this week. I thought that it was a very good machine too.

They do point out that the Nespresso machines are espresso only machines, with no steaming arms, but I'll give you a work-around in my review that I used. The field of machines was limited to seven machines. Disappointingly small in my mind given the rang\e of machines available. Stay tuned for our review this week.

ReadMore at Consumer Reports (Subscription required for full ratings)

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November 19, 2006

Review: I-Roast 2 Home Coffee Roaster Review

"This thing is awesome."

The Hearthware I-Roast 2 is a great little home roaster that allows you to not only take control of what you coffee tastes like, but also gives you access to the freshest coffee you can get. Over the last few weeks, I have roasted up a lot of batches of coffee learning more and more about the process and my own tastes in coffee and espresso. So you might ask “How do I roast coffee at home?” let me tell you it’s pretty easy. Of course there is the question of green coffee, and with so many offerings on the internet, it’s easy to get what you need. I have to say that I loved using the I-Roast 2 to roast coffee, and will say that it should be great for anyone who is interested in delving into their coffee passion even more. While it will take forever to become a master roaster, you can be fluent and comfortable very quickly so that you can be turning out high quality freshly roasted coffee in very short order. This is not hard to do.

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October 18, 2006

Review: Green Mountain Dark Magic and Fair Trade Organic Espressos


We recently received a shipment of Green Mountain Coffee in for a review that we will use in the Jura-Capresso Impressa E8 that we have here at The Impressa E8 is kicking out the espressos here at the test kitchens and we are loving it everyday. If you want a full review of the unit, click HERE. The two blends here for this review are the Dark Magic Espresso Blend and the Fair Trade Organic Espresso blend; both of which are roasted for espressos in mind and the ability to stand up in a Latte or a Cappuccino.

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September 26, 2006

Gimme! Coffee Leftist Review


We are big fans of Gimme! Coffee here at, as their attention to detail and their passion for espresso and coffee pay off. We knew exactly what coffee we wanted to use when we got the Jura Capresso Impressa E8 in for review (Read it) and we wanted a Leftist; not any leftist, but the Gimme! Coffee Leftist whole bean that is a rock solid espresso blend. Gimme! Coffee is a small operation with only a handful of stores in Ithaca NY, with one in NYC too. They were recently featured as part of a video story in the NY Times where they talked about the new wave of espresso excellence sweeping the nation’s coffee shops. It’s not a surprise to us that we enjoyed the Leftist blend in the Impressa E8, but what was surprising was how truly good it was.

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September 25, 2006

Readers Review: Stomping Grounds Espresso Concentrate


So, if you missed our review of Stomping Grounds Concentrate; click here. Stomping Grounds Espresso Concentrates come in 4 varieties and are sold a retailers across the country - Amazon, Cost Plus Markets, and some select Whole Foods stores as well as their own Stomping Grounds website. Well, as we posted our review, the Marketing Chief offered our readers a free sample if they would post a review. A review came in from a reader Greg who said:

I just recieved (9/23) the Espresso flavor. Mixed it up according to the directions (I used skim milk) popped it in the the microwave... it was great. Very, very nice flavor, smoky, smooth not harsh or bitter. My wife and I loved it and I guess we have a new addiction. :-)

Not bad! Stay tuned there should be more coming.

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