France’s best-selling premium coffee brand Carte Noire has finally landed in Australia. Made from a blend of arabica coffee and finely-milled beans, Carte Noire's Millicano Wholebean Instant promises a quality and taste "reminiscent" of roast ground coffee. But how good can freeze-dried coffee really be? We made ourselves a cup in a bid to find out.
The local launch of Carte Noire includes the flagship Millicano Wholebean Instant and 'classic' Carte Noire, which will retail in 100g jars for $10.99 and $8.99, respectively. Millicano Wholebean Instant will also be sold in single 20g sachets for $3.99, while Carte Noire classic will come in 200g jars for $16.49.
The above pricing is roughly in line with what other leading coffee brands charge — a 100g jar of Bushels or Moccona will set you back around $10, for instance.
With an estimated 20 percent market share in its home country, Carte Noire proudly bills itself as France's #1 premium coffee brand. Despite being founded back in 1979, it has remained a largely Euro-centric brew that has been difficult to procure outside of the northern hemisphere. Well, until now that is.
Last month, the company finally decided to expand its global footprint via a major push into the Australian coffee market; complete with a TV advertising campaign (which you can view below). It's clear that these Frenchies mean business.
If the above video left you scratching your head, it's apparently a metaphor for the unique manufacturing process that Carte Noire employs. The coffee's main claim to fame is that it halts the roasting process by rapidly cooling the beans with a shower of cold water. This is supposed to capture more flavour.
We got our hands on a few sachets of Carte Noire Millicano Wholebean Instant during the coffee's official launch event earlier today.
I'm one of those people that considers coffee a source of fuel rather than a delicacy so I'm not the best judge of body or character. I subsequently enlisted the taste-buds of Gizmodo editor (and self-confessed coffee connoisseur) Luke Hopewell to give an in-depth assessment of the coffee's flavour.
Here's what Luke had to say about Carte Noire Millicano Wholebean Instant coffee:
It's smooth, almost with a caramel aftertaste. The coffee is deeply aromatic in nature, however it lacks body upon first sip. I think it could use a bit of milk or creamer to fill it out a little. But all in all, this is an excellent instant coffee.
While I don't profess to be an expert, Luke's critique sounds pretty bang-on to me. When you consider its competitive price point, Carte Noire's Millicano Wholebean Instant is a pretty impressive brew. The Carte Noire coffee range is available now from most major supermarket chains, including Coles and Woolworths.