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.
So 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.
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.
Finally, 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.
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.
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.
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.
* 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: www.CARTENOIRE.co.uk/compatability