November 18, 2014 by Beans Ahoy
I must admit I was caught completely off guard by the release of Nespresso’s new Special Reserve, Maragogype Grand Cru 2014. We here at Beans Ahoy like Nespresso’s Special Reserves, in fact it was Nespresso’s last Special Reserve, the Kona Special Reserve, that featured as this Blog’s first article some two years ago.
Anyway! I managed to secure two sleeves of this Special Reserve at the last minute and couldn’t wait to cup it. Following Hawaii Kona Special Reserve (my personal favourite Nespresso ever) I was very excited about Maragogype.
To give you a bit of background Nespresso says that Maragogype gets its name from a town in Brazil where the plant was discovered. Apparently the coffee plant grows exceptionally large but also has a lower yield which means it is not as profitable to grow. “Scarcity” seeming to be the buy word for justifying the £1 per capsule price.
But…I’m not sold. I understand that the Maragogype coffee is intended to be lighter, bright and refreshing but I didn’t get any of that. I even tried numerous different cup sizes and temperatures to see if it was highly susceptible to variations in preparation. It wasn’t. Every time I got a coffee that was good…but certainly not outstanding. Where Kona was distinctive, delicate but complex and very easy to drink I found Maragogype to be a little too acidic (not in a good way), lacking structure and a bit all over the place. There were elements of a Bourbon but very little by way of lasting body to the flavour. It struck me as a little two-dimensional and left me thinking “Is that it?”.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent coffee, certainly up there with Nespresso’s better offerings, but it simply doesn’t come close to Kona or I would even argue, Rosabaya or Bukeela ka Ethiopia. I’m surprised that Nespresso would give this Special Reserve status, sure the coffee itself is rare, but so is eating sheep’s head. Rarity is no guarantee of quality or taste.
Nevertheless, Nespresso will have no doubt sold out of this coffee very quickly and my opinion therefore perhaps, as always, stands for very little. I do after all like what Nespresso is trying to do and they certainly do it better than anyone else in the capsule market but I am not convinced by this latest Special Reserve offering. There are a dozen coffees off the top of my head that would have made a better Special Reserve. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe in reality I remember Kona with rose tinted spectacles on. Only, I can’t shake the feeling that the Kona was quite a lot better.
Karsten Ranitzsch of Nespresso said “With Maragogype we have proudly outdone ourselves again”…no Karsten, you haven’t.