April 5, 2013 by Beans Ahoy
The 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.
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.
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
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.
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