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.
Illy has introduced the Illy Y3 Espresso maker targeting those kitchens that want to save on space while offering an easy to use capsule-based espresso maker. The Y3 espresso brewer gives you a slim profile, and a one touch brew cycle that allows you to brew espresso and lung coffees. Want your own size to fit your favorite cup? No problem the brew buttons are user settable for easy use day after day.
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.
Ever since we went to space, those travelers probably woke up dreaming of a good coffee; at least that's what one Italian astronaut dreamt of. Well the folks at Lavazza got to work and are preparing a prototype machine that would extract espresso under pressure to create the first high quality espresso at the International Space Station.
So while you might think they will be sitting around with those little espresso cups, these are probably going to be a little more contained, enjoyed in a little sizable bag, and a little more, well space-aged to handle the low gravity environment.
Interesting espresso machines never cease to amaze me; they are simple in function - push water through coffee, but often amazing in their creativity. The Strietman ES3 is one of those interesting designs. Manual pressure forces the hot water through; notice in the video this isn't for the weak; it takes some serious work.
Terry Smith: do you have a refillable capsule for a Nescafe Dolce read more Mike: This prime for an air lock worked perfectly. To avoid read more SH: @Bogiesan... Have you tried calling the Customer Service line to read more Bogiesan: This capsule seems to have sold out. I've been looking read more Hennie Greeff: Where can I get hold of an operating manual for read more