December 6, 2012 by Beans Ahoy
So it has taken me a little time to get around to writing a review for Nespresso’s new Variations line of coffees. You may be yawning in anticipation of reading another Nespresso review, but bare with me because firstly, I believe Nespresso to have done for better quality coffee what Windows did for computers, but secondly, that this Nespresso review is not quite “ordinary”.
Usually I find Nespresso to be a quick, pleasant, and decent way of enjoying coffee. You can have an espresso ready in a minute with no mess, and you can have a cappuccino ready in two minutes. Great! All sorted then for the review of the Nespresso Variation Hazelnut you think…not so fast.
I am simply going to come out with my verdict of it, and then provide the reason why. I think it’s ghastly. When I heard that Nespresso was doing a coffee infused with the taste of either Hazelnut, Coconut, or Macadamia I was immediately put off. Then I thought about it a little and decided that if they kept the primary strong taste as coffee, and added in these light hints of hazelnut for instance that it could be quite nice. Sort of a Christmassy, rich, blend that was a little quirky but could do well over the winter months. I had this horrible feeling though that it would be no such thing and that the taste would be of overpowering Hazelnut extract.
I was right. Dashed were my hopes of a ‘hint of hazelnut’. I was overwhelmed by the smell of ‘hazelnut from a bottle’, a kind of sick imitation smell of hazelnut that you would expect to find lurking in a hyperactive child’s birthday cake. I am not certain whether they have used artificial flavourings, or whether through some medieval alchemy they have managed to extract fake smelling hazelnut from a real hazelnut. Either way it is neither here nor there, because the result is not a good one.
Following the much maligned smell test, I endeavoured to taste some of the hazelnut infused brown liquid. The first thing I noticed was the still overwhelming smell/taste of hazelnut, but it had rather morphed into a type of flat charcoal-ee melee of pyrazine and ‘essence’. There was no discernable taste of coffee there at all. There was only the faintest of aromas resembling a coffee. Nespresso say that it is a Livanto base, but I could taste no such thing, and it tasted rather more like Arpeggio if anything. Livanto on it’s own is actually a very good coffee, so why you would want to put this foul hazelnut nonsense in it is beyond me. It reminds me of a Jeremy Clarkson quote. He once said that a particular car was like an exquisite soufflé that had then been garnished with a lump of lard. That is what putting some type of hazelnut in Livanto has done.
Otherwise the rest of the cup is flat, uneventful, and really rather nasty around the edges. There are hints of charcoal, hickory, and lots of the ever present chemical tasting HAZELNUT. Which is a pity, because I really do like hazelnut. I would suggest if you want a hazelnutty-coffee experience, go and buy some hazelnut truffles, and eat them with a cup of Livanto, and leave this “Variation” on culinary blasphemy alone.
Its odd that Nespresso can produce a fantastic cup of coffee in the form of a Livanto, Rosabaya, or the outstanding Kona Special Reserve, yet get it so far wide of the mark with this. I am simply not brave enough to face the Coconut or Macadamia flavours.
Not applicable. 2.8/10.0