Review: Carte Noire Collection Espresso

The new range of Carte Noire espresso coffee pods

This is a sponsored post – Carte Noire sent me samples of the Espresso Collection to test, but the opinions expressed below are wholly my own.

Carte Noire have launched a new range of coffee pods called Collection Espresso, and I was more than happy to put them to the taste test.

My Nespresso* machine is one of my favourite pieces of kitchen equipment. I love the ease of use, the lack of mess, and the fact that I can get good quality espresso with a fab crema, in just a few seconds. I also enjoy trying out the different coffee pods that are released.

Carte Noire espresso #3 ElegantSo when I heard that Carte Noire were launching a range of pods to fit my Nespresso machine, I was keen to give them a try. Carte Noire sent me a box of each of the four varieties in the range, along with a rather cute pair of Bodum double walled glass espresso cups, which would be perfect for the taste test. The four varieties range from light through to intense, and each is numbered so it’s easy to choose the best one for the occasion. My usual preference is for quite strong, intense coffee, so I decided to start with the lightest flavour and work through to the higher numbers.

The pods come in boxes of 10, and each is individually wrapped to keep them fresh. I have used some third party pods in my Nespresso machine before, but found that they didn’t quite fit right, and it felt that I was forcing the handle down. With the Carte Noire pods, this was definitely not a problem – the pods fitted perfectly and the machine closed without any excess force needed.

I tried the #3 ‘Elegant’ pod first – this is quite a light roast, smooth Arabica coffee and has biscuity flavours, with a light crema. I didn’t expect to enjoy this one very much, as I don’t like the lighter Nespresso varieties. However, I was surprised at the depth of flavour of this espresso and would happily choose Carte Noir #3 as a breakfast coffee, when I might not want the full kick of a more intense coffee.

Carte Noire espresso #5 Delicat

My next choice was #5 ‘Delicat’ which is a fruity, light coffee. I found that this was the variety that I would want to drink throughout the day, it’s not too strong but has enough of the depth of flavour that I  like in a coffee.

Next I tried the #7 ‘Aromatique’ coffee – I was looking forward to this variety the most as it is described as having hints of cocoa and caramel undertones. I was not disappointed, as this espresso was full-bodied and had a rich crema, and the flavour lasted on my palate after the drink was finished.

Carte Noire espresso #9 IntenseFinally, I sampled the #9 ‘Intense’ coffee, which has ‘cigar box’ flavour tones and is described as bold and stimulating. I was a little apprehensive about this espresso, as I don’t always like a very intense espresso. But I was really pleasantly surprised by it – although the flavours are big, they are not overpowering and there is no hint of bitterness. I really enjoyed the smokiness of the coffee, and although it’s probably not one I would want to drink all day, it was actually my favourite of the four varieties.

The Collection Espresso range is perfect to drink as a straight espresso, but they are ideal to use in a range of other ways as well. Mark sometimes has a coffee at breakfast time, and he enjoyed the #3 Delicat pod in a long milky latte.

A milky Latte using Carte Noire espresso

My relaxing afternoon coffee of choice is a mocha, which I like to have a distinct espresso flavour. The #9 Intense pod cut through the rich milky, chocolate drink making it much better than some mochas I have had, which taste of little more than hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate and Carte Noire espresso in a Mocha

And when I tasted the #7 Aromatique coffee, I knew its rich flavour was going to be perfect poured over good vanilla ice cream in a classic affogato. I’m sure that the espressos will also work very well in baking, or even in a grown up espresso martini, which I intend to try out very soon.

Vanilla Icecream and a cup of espresso for an affogato

All in all, I was very impressed by the Carte Noire Collection Espresso range. The coffees are all delicious, the pods are well priced, and the fact that they are available from supermarkets makes them much easier to get hold of than the official Nespresso pods.  If I have any slight criticism, it is that the individual wrapping means that they won’t fit on the holder that I use to store my current pods, but this certainly won’t put me off buying and enjoying the Collection Espresso again in the future.

This post is an entry in the Foodies100 Espresso Collective Challenge, sponsored by Carte Noire. Each box of Carte Noire Espresso capsules contains 10 single servings and are available in supermarkets at an RRP of £2.79 and are available in four intensities. To find out more about the new Carte Noire Collection Espresso click here.

* Nespresso® is a registered trademark of a third party without any link with Mondelez International group. Compatible with all Nespresso®* machines bought before July 1, 2013. After that date, compatible with most Nespresso®* machines bought. For additional information regarding compatability, please see UK: 



  1. Emma says

    Thanks for reviewing these!

    I’m trying to persuade my husband to get a pod based coffee machine, but he’s reluctant as he likes strong espresso using his bialetti stove top machine.

    If there is a range of dedicated espresso style pods, it could change his mind!

    Do you know if they do a decaf version?

    • says

      I love my Nespresso – Mark was a bit concerned that it would end up gathering dust, but I’ve had it for 15 months now and it gets used all the time. If your husband likes strong espresso, he will probably like the #9 pod in the Carte Noire range. I really liked the smokiness of it. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Sue G says

    I’ve been surfing for a coffee machine but the options are bamboozling! Great review, really helped me make my mind up :)

  3. Lynne says

    My Dad is a massive Carte Noire coffee drinker so I will let him know that these are worth getting. Thanks Sally :)

  4. Helen Kelly says

    I don’t currently have a coffee maker but your review has really tempted me and it’s good to get a feel for the different brands out there.

  5. sarah bramble says

    Great review, I would love a coffee machine so I could try them! Did you take the photos? They are very good!

  6. Pamela M says

    I am more and more tempted towards a pod machine and like the sound of the flavour range here…….have pinned this post for when the birthday fairies buy me one!

    • says

      My Nespresso was such a good investment – I love ‘proper’ coffee but hate the mess you get with traditional machines. Definitely a good birthday present 😉 Thanks for commenting!

  7. Anna Bennett says

    FAB news! I love the ease of my Nespresso but the capsules are so strong there is only one that I like. These are on my shopping list as of right now!

  8. CJ Munn says

    Am not a big coffee drinker but the convenience and ease of use sound good. I’d like pods of hot chocolate and other naughtiness.

    • says

      I would love hot chocolate pods for my Nespresso, but there aren’t any available. So I just heat the milk in the milk steamer, and use Twinings Swiss Hot Chocolate – that is gorgeous, really chocolatey!!! Thanks for commenting :-)

  9. Viks says

    These sound like a great treat for a coffee buff, and at a great price too! I use Carte Noire in my Tassimo and we all drink it different ways. Love the pics in your review!

    • says

      Definitely a good buy for people who love coffee – and as you say, they are very versatile so it’s not just for espresso drinkers. Thanks for your comment about the pics as well – I’m still learning 😉

    • says

      Absolutely! At the moment, I have to either order pods online or travel to Birmingham to buy them. I know that the Carte Noire pods are stocked in my local supermarket, so that’s a big plus for me :-) Thanks for commenting!

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