Can Carte Noire’s ‘Premium’ Instant Coffee Compete With The Real Thing?

Can Carte Noire’s ‘Premium’ Instant Coffee Compete With The Real Thing?
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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.

Score: 9/10

See also: How Coffee Affects Your Brain [Video] | Is Coffee Worse For You Than Coke? | How To Brew The Perfect Coffee | Nespresso Coffee: Overpriced Rubbish?


  • And now for something completely different:

    The coffee glasses in the picture, vacuum filled glass (can one rightly say vacuum filled?) are easily the best way to drink coffee. I was lucky enough to be given a set of DeLonghi glasses ( ) and can’t go back to ceramic now.

    If you get the chance to try them, go for it. Not cheap, but the coffee stays hot to the end.

    • I drink short blacks in a smaller versions of the vacuum filled glasses and find that it differs depending on the coffee. Some blends taste better in the vacuum glass ones and others taste better in ceramic. I know that it doesn’t actually change the flavour but for some reason this seems to be the case. The ceramic glasses are always warm from being on the machine so the coffee is hot enough, plus there isn’t enough time for the brew to get cold when you are drinking a single shot.

  • It’s toughest competition is Moccona Latte sachets. For instant coffee – these are very nice.
    To put it mildly, they were sold out about two weeks ago … noone touched the Nescafe sachets … ouch! It was easy to tell by what was on the shelf.

  • $4 bucks for a single serve sachet! holy sheet!! just go to a cafe and get the real, real, real thing

  • My latest jar of this coffee has changes to the label. It now has the addition of the word “Classic”. And that’s not all that’s changed. My opinion is that the coffee itself is now different also. Just when I thought I was onto something really good, the market place swings a left hook. I’m tired of the market place assuming the people don’t know when changes occur. The other thing I don’t understand is that up until the new label it was labelled as coming from Germany. Not France. Now the label shows me that this NEW coffee is made in the UK. If people tell you this coffee is good, you might suggest that it WAS good. Past tense. I think I’ll hold on to these labels. In them I have my proof.

  • The coffee jar I have is made from Germany. It was a little too strong for me at first, but I got used to it and now Nescafe does nothing for me at all, while this one does still ‘pick me up’.

  • I have been buying this coffee and have really enjoyed it but I cannot seem to buy it at the supermarket anymore. Any idea where I can get some..

  • I really like this coffee as a quick alternative to going out for a $4 cup, but cannot find it in either Coles or Woolworths locally (North Ryde, NSW). Does anyone know where I can find it?

  • I used to buy these from Woolworth online store as they were out-of-stock at all the woolies
    in I tried in Sydney. Last batch I bought was a few months ago.
    Sadly I found they’ve also run out in the online store today 🙁

  • I just bought a jar of 100g Classic from Coles and found there was a vital change to the labels. It changed from ‘100% Arabica’ and ‘pure Arabica coffee’ to only ‘Arabica-rich coffee’. What a big difference it is! It implies that not all coffee beans are Arabica, right? I am not sure whether the taste will make any difference or not as I haven’t tasted it yet. Btw, my last jar was made in Germany while this jar was made in UK.

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