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Nespresso Coffee: Overpriced Rubbish?

A blind taste-test conducted by consumer organisation CHOICE has found Nespresso coffee capsules to be among the worst tasting, with coffee experts describing the flavour as “underwhelming”, “musty” and “watery”. The George Clooney-fronted coffee placed nearly rock-bottom, despite being the most expensive brand.

Photo: Getty Images

CHOICE enlisted three “coffee experts” to blind-test five different coffee capsule brands: Coffee Capsule Delights Indian, Best Espresso Mercurius Intenso, Piazza D’Oro Superiore, Caffe Vergano 1882 Intenso and Nespresso Roma. Each shot was assessed for crema thickness, colour, aroma, mouth feel and aftertaste.

The three taste-testers were Scott Robertson, master roaster at Double Roasters in Marrickville, Sydney, Fiona Mair, CHOICE home economist and Benjamin Stronach, an independent barista trainer and coffee roaster.

Coffee Capsule Delights Indian came out on top with the judges describing it as nutty, having a good aroma and no bitter aftertaste. At 58 cents per pod, it was also one the cheapest brands tested, besting Nespresso Roma by ten cents.

Nevertheless, Nespresso remains the fastest growing brand in Australia, with global sales reaching $US 3.2 billion in 2011. It’s also Nestlé’s fastest growing operating unit worldwide.

“The low ranking of [Nespresso] coffee capsules in our taste test is a reminder to consumers that an expensive, exclusive product isn’t always necessarily the best,” Angela McDougall, food policy advisor for CHOICE said in a statement.

As CHOICE points out, coffee capsules tend to be weaker in flavour due to the smaller amount of coffee in them. “An espresso from a café usually has 11 grams while the capsules tested by CHOICE ranged from 5 to 5.8 grams,” the organisation explains.

While these kinds of surveys are totally subjective, it’s comforting to know that cheaper brands can hold their own in a blind taste test. Personally however, we’d be more interested to hear how the various coffee pod machines, such as the budget Aldi and Kogan offerings, affect the flavour of Nespresso.

See also: How To Brew The Perfect Coffee: Lifehacker’s Complete Guide | How Do You Store Your Nespresso Capsules?

Do you use coffee capsules? Is it just about convenience or do you think the taste roughly compares to a traditional brew? Let us know in the comments section below.