Nespresso has a very special reserve capsule out, Maragogype Special Reserve, that on the heels of the Kona Spcial Reserve looks set to usher in a new tradition of rare blends that come with a rarefied cost. While your regular capsules may cost $0.80 each, the Special Reserves cost $2 each. Yes, if you're doing the math, that's over $100 per pound at these rates. Insane? Maybe, Expensive? Sure. Worth it? Why not give it a try?
The Maragogype Special Reserve is a blend of beans from Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Colombia. The Maragogype bean is an Arabica mutation that is known for large beans, and was first discovered by the Brazilian town of the same name. Nespresso uses split roasting to coerce the flavors out of each variety, blending after roast to give the ending cup more complexity. Nespresso says that they have a fine flavor with a creamy crema, and mild, slightly sweet notes on a rounded finish. You know it's something to take care of when it comes; it's got its own bubblewrap treatment.
Bubblewrap on the sleeve - protects your $20 investment.
Nespresso released their 2014 Nespresso Variations capsules this past week in the US, and took a dessert theme this year. In past years, they have been all over the place with wild flavors that may not seem to go with coffee (Ginger, Chai, etc.), but are surprisingly good. My personal favorites were the Crystalized Ginger from the 2008 Variations, and the Apricot from the 2009 Variations, both unexpectedly good. Great ones don’t have to be wild either - a classic caramel is a great choice, and was popular enough to become a regular capsule that can be ordered anytime.
The capsules come reminiscent of little wrapped packages, and use the multi-colored print designs that they have been using recently to mark the special production runs. Even the ends of the boxes look like little wrapped packages.
But are they any good? Sadly, this year isn’t going to go down in my “Best of” category. Nespresso tends to have a light hand with their flavors, favoring a Euro style taste.
Limited Edition variations 2014 are:
Apple Crumble - I thought this was the best of them all, with a nice baked apple aroma, slightly sweet, great with a hint of sugar to transform it into a sweet indulgence.
Chocolate Mint - Chocolate is tough to do in coffee, and neither flavors comes through strongly enough to make it great. Sorry Nespresso.
Hazelnut Dessert - Tried over and over, and it just comes off as a chemical soup of hazelnut flavors. Nut flavors can be hard to replicate, and this one misses the mark.
I really like the Livanto capsule as a base coffee capsule (I tend to drink this regularly), and had been anticipating the release of these since they published the poll results back in the early part of 2014, but they just didn’t deliver for me on the Chocolate and Hazelnut versions. Glad I ordered a couple of sleeves of the Apple Crumble.
If you are interested, they tend to go fast, and sell out by early December.
Prices are going up for Nespresso Capsules, including the Original Line and the Vertuo Line. The price increases are being blamed on Green Coffee cost increases. For those who down a lot of their coffee the price increase will be minimal; hey if you’re already shelling out for a $200 machine and like ordering capsules mail order (for many), a nickel increase might not matter. Original Line base Grand Crus will rise to $0.70 each, while the popular Kazaar will go from $0.70 to $0.75.
What might hurt the coffee capsule giant more are the optics of the VertuoLine increase on those capsules from $0.95 each for a coffee capsule to $1.10. The move above a dollar a cup may slow demand a bit more than the fact that it is only a $0.15 hit to the wallet.
Nespresso is probably in for a busy weekend; prices increase on November 10th, and sent out an email to remind people to get their orders in ahead of the increase. Clear some room for the coming Variations doing later this month….
Not missing a beat, the fine folks over at Hi-Line coffee dropped this graphic out to their mailing list yesterday. I think it says it all.
As summer winds down, Nespresso releases their Limited Edition into the stores; this year we are looking at the Cubania, a very robust little capsule that tips the scale at a 13 on the Intensity meter.... that used to go only to a 10, until Kazaar broke the scale at an 11. Hang on.
Nespresso bills this as a Cuban inspired coffee, and no Cuban coffee beans were hurt, or even used in the making of this blend. Given the state of trade relations here in the US with Cuba, that makes some sense.
This capsules is "Inspired by the passion, and warmth of the Cuban way of life.... a bold blend of Arabicas with a specially prepared Indian Robusta, steam treated to obtain a dense texture and a powerful bouquet with complex aromatics and inimitable strength of character, but without an overwhelming bitterness."
Dualit is selling (in the UK) nespresso compatible tea capsules in the UK. The original line capsules are available in five varieties, including English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Kenyan Gold, Peppermint Infusion, and Blackcurrant Infusion.
The capsules contain a microfilter to keep the fine tea particles int eh capsule. Given that the average lung takes around a minute to brew in a Nespresso Machine, one has to wonder how they get enough flavor coaxed out of the teas in that time, given it doesn't have a proper steep.
Nespresso Vertuo to Brew Tea?
Nespresso has toyed with a capsule-based tea machine in the past, called the Special T machine. With the product still selling in France (the website is still up), you have to wonder if they have set their eyes on introducing a newer iteration that works with the Vertuo Line machine. Recall that the codes on the lip of the Vertuo capsules allow the machine to brew at different conditions, and maybe one of those conditions can be used to brew tea?
More at Dualit for tea capsules. the price is 3.30 GBP per ten capsules or about $5.70 US.
Nespresso has announced a new espresso machine to fill in at the value end of the "Original Line" as they call it after the Vertuo Line launch.The small machine is roughly the same size as the Nespresso Pixie, with a slightly different design, and a much lower price target of $99 (vs. the $229 for the Pixie).
The Inissia Machine has the same manual operation of inserting a capsule, 2 automatic brew sizes (shutting off when it reaches a set brew size), a quick 25 second pre-heating cycle, and a 24-ounce reservoir capacity that will get your through several brews before re-filling.
The Inissia machine still features the same energy saving mode that has become standard over the last few years that shuts the machine down after nine minutes of inactivity; I like this so I don't forget and leave it on all day after I get distracted drinking the espressos.
At $99, this might just be a machine that gets Nespresso going in the value end of the market, where pressure-based machines dominate. Available in the US in Red, Black and Cream.
Nespresso is rolling out two Limited Editions from Colombia to celebrate their relationship with the Colombian coffee growers. The Terroirs of Colombia are two looks at micro climates in Colombia; Cuaca is a wetter, greener climate, while those from the Santander capsule are in a drier, region.
Cuaca - fruity winey notes with complex and aromatic with a light acidity; intensity 6
Santader - hints of toasted bread and caramel notes; intensity 7
The Nespresso Machine Line has grown in a direction that is a move to take on the US Market; one that is just recently dominated more and more by the K-Cup, with incredible growth in the past 4-5 years. Nespresso has a market share dominant position in Europe, where the classic Nespresso capsules account for well per half of the single serve coffee market. Yes, Espresso is the cup of the day for many Europeans.
To take on the US Market, Nespresso reportedly worked on this innovative machine for a decade; with a new "Centrifusion" extraction technique that spins the dome shaped capsule at 7,000 RPMs while pumping hot water into the middle of the capsule, and spinning it out the perimeter of the capsule. The technique is novel, and produces a full bodied cup of coffee and a good espresso.
There's a lot to like about the VertuoLine machine and a fees things to dislike. Will they see success in the US market, or will it become an also-ran that barely makes its mark?
The new Nespresso VertuoLine machine arrived for review and we wanted to share the first looks at the new dual brewing machine. I feared that the thing was going to be massive, but it's actually not, coming in a little larger than my Latissima Plus (Above: Left to Right, Pixie, Latissima Plus and the new VertuoLine), and actually looks a little smaller sitting next to the Keurig B-70 where it will reside for the coming weeks (Below: Keurig B70, and the VertuoLine).
Nespresso has entered a new realm with the new machine; and is attempting to get into the US market for larger cups. Keurig has a giant head start, and with K-Cups on just about every coffee aisle, Nespresso has their work cut out for them.
The new Vertuoline machine has two symmetric tanks on either side of the machine; the left is for the water reservoir, and the right for spent capsules. The thing is stylish, and has an art deco kind of feel to it. The chrome brings a bright professional look to the machine, almost yelling "Good Morning!!"
More has come out on the Nespresso VertuoLine capsules that are available to brew coffee and espressos. The Vertuo:one machines will be able to brew both an eight ounce (7.7 ounce actually) coffee as well as an espresso given the new capsule format and two sizes available.
The machines are intelligent, and read the little bar code on the rim of the capsule (see the black and silver dashes on the rim above), creating a brewing set-up that is just right for that capsule. I would imagine that it gives Nespresso the option for future expansion and fine tuning as they build out the line.
Let's take a look at what Nespresso has to say about the new VertuoLine Capsules. First the Coffee Capsules:
Stormio - An intense coffee, Stormio's myriad aromas stem from its highly roasted Nicaraguan and Guatemalan Arabica coffee beans the evolk spicy, woody and cereal notes. Adding milk softens the intensity of Stormio but distinct roasted notes remain. Intensity 8
Odacio -An audacious blend of fine Arabicas from Nicaragua and Ethiopia, Odacio is a full-bodied coffee with cereal notes accented by a slight East African fruitiness. Adding milk softens the flavor, bringing dairy, sweet notes. Intensity 7
Melozio - Fine quality Brazilian Bourbon and Central American Arabicas are lightly roasted to create a rounded coffee that is smooth and perfectly balanced. Adding milk opens up the softer, sweeter sides of the coffee, enhancing the biscuity notes.Intensity 6
Elvazio -A fragrant blend of fine Arabica coffee beans from South America, lightly roasted to release abundant flavors, in a Coffee full of light fruity notes. With milk, the fruitiness fades to reveal a much creamier brew, with cereal and caramel notes. Intensity 4
Hazelino -Hazelnut flavored A blend of slightly roasted Brazilian and Central American Arabicas infused with a hazelnut flavor which creates a smooth, balanced Coffee that is sweet to the taste with a distinct, nutty aroma. Adding milk gives a praline note to the original hazelnut flavor. Intensity 6
Vanizio - Vanilla Flavored The flavor of vanilla brings a velvety layer of taste to the roundness found in this smooth and balanced blend of Brazilian and Central American Arabica coffee beans. With milk, Vanizio becomes creamy and biscuity, for a gourmand break. Intensity 6
Decaffeinato - Created from Costa Rican and South American Arabicas, the Decaffeinato blend is deliciously rounded and smooth. This Coffee is rich in flavor, with generous malted and cereal notes. The addition of milk establishes a new balance of flavors, releasing notes reminiscent of fresh nuts. Intensity 6
Half Caff -SWEET AND VELVETY This perfect marriage of caffeinated and decaffeinated Arabicas, mainly from Brazil and Africa, displays a smooth texture and medium intensity, with delicate hints of biscuit. Maintaining its light, sweet character, milk opens up new dimensions of Half Caffeinato, as caramel and nutty notes are also brought into play.
How much will the VertuoLine coffee capsules cost? They aren't cheap; they run $0.95 per capsule, and are clad in the well known recyclable aluminum.
The espresso line of VertuoLine capsules is a short one, but that isn't the emphasis here. Let's check out the capsules:
Diavolitto - HIGHLY INTENSE AND POWERFUL A high intensity Espresso for coffee aficionados. Energized by highly roasted Robusta and Brazilian Arabica coffee beans, with an aroma that hints at oak wood and leather, balance is achieved with a creamy texture. Intensity 11
Altissio - FULL-BODIED and CREAMY This highly roasted full-bodied Espresso is made with Arabicas from Costa Rica and South America. The hint of Robusta contrasts with smooth cereal notes. The addition of milk complements its natural full body. Intensity 9
Decaffeinato Intenso - DENSE AND HARMONIOUS The pleasure of an intense decaffeinated Espresso with body. Colombian and Brazilian coffees subtly blend with fine Asian Robusta to create harmony, releasing cocoa and fruity notes. Add milk for a sweet taste and creamy texture. Intensity 7
Voltesso - LIGHT AND SWEET Lightly roasted, Voltesso is a balanced, round coffee that reveals biscuity notes and pronounces a distinctly sweet aroma thanks to its South American Arabicas. For an even smoother result, blend Voltesso with milk for a delicious new take on this Espresso. Intensity 4
the espresso capsules for the Vertuo line will cost $0.75 each.
Nespresso is trying to move into the American market with a strong offering for larger coffees. The Capsule-based systems to date have been great at making espresso drinks, but with the K-Cup craze, Americans continue to seek a coffee experience with larger cups.... ranging up to carafes.
Nespresso is trying to do something about it with their new brewer, calld VertuoLine, a brewer capable of making 8-ounce cups of coffee AND espresso drinks. notice int eh picture above, the capsules are not a normal Nespresso Espresso capsule.
The Nespresso VertuoLine brewer will retail for $299, and be sold through typical Nespresso outlets, including Macy's and William Sonoma.
I would expect that while this will get them moving in the right direction, they are very far behind in the market here in the US, and are probably missing the fact that many people are brewing larger cups of coffee (My K-Cup brewer can brew travel mugs; really diluted coffee though), so there is a consumer demand there. With grocery stores being dominated by K-cups these days, the distribution channel will also be a challenge. Will Nespresso expand their sales? Sure. Will Green Mountain feel it? Maybe not so much.
As the world continues to march down the pathway of single serve coffee as a go-to daily indulgence, the choices continue to expand as more and more roasters get into the format. I welcome the move, as I continue to try new coffee whenever I can get my hands on them, in addition to trying out specialty coffee and espresso from smaller roasters all over the country.
Today, I wanted to hi-light a roaster out of NYC, HiLine Coffee (sorry, had to do that). This roaster specializes in Nespresso compatible capsules and roasts up a pretty wide variety of coffee, including seasonal specialties. I love the idea of introducing specialty blends, as they keep a little excitement in the line, and interest in following the company.
I recently bought a few sleeves to try out, and Review; I'll report back in a while to let you know what I think.
Nespresso has changed their piercing system that is widely thought to prevent other capsule makers from working in their newest machines. Right now, HiLine has this statement on their website about compatibility:
"Our capsules are 100% compatible with the following Nespresso models: Citiz, Essenza, Maestria, U, Le Cube, Lattissima Plus and Pixie. Additionally, each batch of capsules is rigorously tested in all models of Nespresso machines for quality and consistency and to ensure proper operation. Please note that our capsules are currently not compatible with U machines purchased after November 1, 2013."
I think that's a pretty good list of compatible machines.
Nespresso and De'Longhi announced a new brewer, the Latissima PRO, a higher end machine that is se tot deliver espresso and milk based drinks in home kitchens. The Latissima Plus is already a favorite, giving easy access to higher quality espresso-based drinks.
The New Latissima PRO is boasting that is will be ready to brew Ristrettos, Espressos, Lungos, Lattes and Cappuccinos. This happens through a touch screen allowing for easy use.
The sidecar milk carafe (500 ml/17 fl ounce) plugs into the machine and can steam or froth milk, while it can be detached and stored in the refrigerator. The auto-clean system cleans the milk frothed after use.
The Latissima Pro heats up and is ready in 25 seconds; it also shuts off after use automatically after a few minutes to save energy.