Nespresso Trieste and Napoli review


April 5, 2013 by Beans Ahoy

Trieste and Napoli EditThe last Nespresso to be released was the Linizio Lungo which was a pretty good coffee and a great replacement for the Finezzo. However, I feel that Nespresso was heading in a totally different direction with their latest creations, the Trieste and Napoli. They are both named after Italian cities. Trieste is a port city on the North Eastern coast of Italy, while Napoli is based in the south of Italy (on the shin of the boot). Both of these coffees don’t seem to want to be great coffees, rather an experience.

Nespresso Trieste
We start with the Trieste. This is a 100% Arabica coffee which is a blend of Brazilian and Eastern African coffee. There is certainly a hint of African coffee, with a bite typical of some Ethiopians, however it would be hard to say for sure because of the relatively strong taste of the Brazilian coffee. There is the powerful flavour of a mature Bourbon which is perhaps what makes it tougher to distinguish which African coffees are used. The blend throws your palate all over the place. I have tasted some Kenyan coffees that are similar to a Brazilian Bourbon so really the powerful spice of the coffee could be the African blended in with the Brazilian rather than the Bourbon.

Despite this confusion in the flavours, there is a definite structure to the taste and it is not all that unpleasant, but be warned, it is powerful.

I don’t actually agree with what Nespresso has done with this coffee. I have spoken before about this perception that Italians produce great tasting roasts, and that this is simply not true. Strong coffee is not a signal of quality, but I can in a way understand why Nespresso has released it. Far from being a top quality coffee, or a single estate, they are trying to create a brand niche. They are selling not so much the taste of the coffee, but the lifestyle surrounding the taste. If it is the Italian lifestyle of wearing linen and drinking ristrettos at a café on the piazza then this coffee is for you.

It reeks Italian-ness. It is a powerful coffee that is best drunk as an espresso or even ristretto. Really it makes little difference of where the beans come from. The overwhelming taste to this coffee is the roast which is a very Italian way of serving coffee.

Tasting Note
The aroma is sweet with almonds and stewed fruit. There is a slight hint of tobacco sharpness with a generally nutty aroma. The taste is strong, with the charcoal flavour hitting you first, mellowing to a slightly sweet but turning bitter taste. There is, as with all Italian roasts, too much taste of the roast and not enough of the bean. 5.8/10.0

Nespresso Napoli
If you thought Trieste was strong, wait until you try Napoli. This coffee could be used to kick start a mules heart and is highly recommended for those who have to stay awake for many days. It is a powerful coffee. It may come in a small package, but it’s a bit like an Italian mobster that way. Short, but packing a hell of a punch.

The flavour of Napoli is overwhelming. It is suggested that it is drunk with sugar and although I didn’t taste it with sugar, I would have to suggest doing so. There is Robusta in this coffee so best not drunk before bed, but what really overwhelmed me was the aroma and taste. There really is just too much roast on this coffee. Trying to distinguish flavours is quite difficult as the roast has burnt off any individuality of the beans.

Again, I think that what Nespresso is trying to do is not provide a ‘fine’ coffee, rather an experience reminiscent of Italy. On that basis these coffees serve a purpose and they are probably worth trying for that experience alone, but they are not anything truly special. Nespresso is trying different things which I like, but I would not have liked it if these coffees acted as a replacement to one of their regular Grand Cru.

Buy some tubes and perhaps keep them for when the night is young and the party is only just getting started.

Tasting Note
Very strong aroma of woods, Ash and Hickory. Very strong earthy and astringent tones caused by the roast. The flavour is on the strong side with a lot of charcoal and blackcurrent. The sugars are past optimal caramelisation and into the burnt stage. Again, a lot of roast flavours rather than the bean. 5.3/10.0


6 thoughts on “Nespresso Trieste and Napoli review

  1. The Coffee Bear says:

    Thanks I will not bother buying any as your reviews have been spot on so far.

  2. Trevor says:

    What is that burnt rubber taste caused from? Just to much roasting/ It is bloody awful.

    • Beans Ahoy says:

      Hi Trevor, a burnt taste is mainly caused from over roasting. When you roast coffee it goes through what is called a ‘crack’ where it expands and gives off a slight ‘pop’ sound. A bit like pop corn, but a lot less expansion. Most high quality coffee stops being roasted between the first and second crack. This way the sugars in the bean are properly caramalised and flavours are properly extracted from the bean. All beans have different optimal roasts.

      What seems to have happened with Trieste and Napoli is that instead of extracting the flavour of the bean, they have done what a lot of “Italian Roasts” do and extract a particular roast taste which is traditionally over done. The closer you get to the second crack, or if you go over it, pretty much all the sugars are burnt, and the actual material of the bean has been burnt.

      The burnt rubber taste you describe is a product of the over roast. It is the burn particles of bean in the coffee. Think of it this way: does a steak taste better pink in the middle, or burnt grey and brown all the way through?

      You may want to try letting it cool just a little (but not too cool). A lot of these heavy roast coffees can taste very different when piping hot.


  3. Andrew Agnew says:

    As an ex Starbucks employee (and Brit), you can guess that I had a good chuckle reading your article. I must have been ruined by the Italian coffee culture here, cause I thought these were the only pods keeping me from selling my Nespresso machine and buying the Verisimo. Great article though. Will check in again soon.

    • Beans Ahoy says:

      Hey Andrew. I have heard of a few people saying they like these coffees, and in a way I am not surprised. Some have accused Nespresso of being too weak and that the Napoli in particular remedies this. There are a couple of reasons why people are finding Nespresso ‘weak’ though, one of them subjective, the other objective. The subjective reason is that people have simply grown accustomed to coffee that is incredibly strong and bitter. You often hear people who are given a blind taste test that the ‘richer’ and ‘stronger’ tasting coffee must be the better one. This is not at all true. I always say coffee is like wine in its complexity being a natural product; and would you say that a Pinot Noir is worse than a Malbec on the basis that the Malbec is almost always ‘stronger’, no. It all depends on the flavour and the variations of flavour you can achieve with coffee. Once you have delved deep into the specialty coffee market (which Nespresso is not part of btw, except for perhaps one or two coffees they have produced like the Kona) you will not go back to drinking anything else.

      The objective reason is a simple one. I have noticed a lot of people making their Nespresso shots from their machine too big. A key example of this is the Rosabaya which exhibits a completely different flavour when made as a single shot as opposed to a double shot or bigger. If you are going to make a large shot coffee, use two capsules. This will have a big impact on the taste and people will realise that all they are doing by making a large shot is diluting their coffee, thus giving it a ‘weak’ taste.

      Pleased you liked it!

      • Andrew Agnew says:

        Thanks for replying. Thing is, I do know my taste in coffees. We used to taste test all the time, and so we knew our origins well, and our palates were refined enough to taste test blindfolded. Honestly, we took it that seriously. I guess I just like the over roasted, burnt and bitter taste of the Napoli and Trieste. Waiting for them to come out again and then I’ll buy a years worth. Even the Kazaar and the other new one are a disappointment.
        Keep writing though. You have a very good style.


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