Starbucks Verona Coffee pods review: Are they worth it?

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Sometimes you just want to drink store bought coffee without having to go to a café or spend loads of money on an expensive daily habit. If you are considering whether Starbucks Verona Nespresso pods are worth parting with your cash then read further to find out what works about this coffee and what I did not like.

Coffee: Starbucks Verona.

Overall Score: 3/5.

Tasting notes: Dark cocoa.


  • Tastes smooth and sweet with milk.
  • Solid choice if you want a subtle tasting latte drink.


  • Not for milk coffee drinkers that want a more powerful tasting drink.
  • Not a great experience when drunk as an expresso shot.

Like every box of Starbucks Nespresso pods the packaging is slim and sleek. The capsules themselves are purple and made of aluminium to allow them to be recycled.

Drinking Caffé Verona Starbucks without milk:

Before I put the coffee to my lips I noticed the subtle fragrance of cocoa. I did not have the greatest experience drinking it however. The flavour is definitely bold and full bodied but it also tasted overly bitter. The astringency overpowered the cocoa tasting notes and and I did not enjoy drinking it this way. Diluting the coffee did not do too much either but it did dull the kick slightly. I personally would use more water if you are not used to drinking a black coffee that tastes this bold.

That said it did give me a powerful hit and if you are used to drinking this type of coffee or usually put sugar in it then you may experience no issues. I would not recommend this drink to beginners transitioning to coffee without milk or sugar.

Drinking Caffé Verona Starbucks Nespresso pods with milk:

Using milk with this coffee changed the flavour completely. I detected the cocoa aroma much more as I put the coffee to my lips. The drink went down smoothly and tasted nice and sweet. Despite being described as a full bodied coffee the taste is much more subtle than when I drank it as a straight expresso shot and this surprised me. Licking my lips I definitely tasted the dark cocoa tasting notes and it left a pleasant and lingering aftertaste.

The strange thing about drinking it this way is that it almost did not taste like coffee. Using the same amount of milk I usually use for other Nespressos, I noticed that the taste really comes through at the end. There is a hint of coffee but it tastes more like flavoured milk.

You may want to experiment how much milk you put in your coffee to give you the right balance. Reducing the amount of milk I put in compared to other pods did make it taste more like a coffee and the milk still managed to do a good job of bringing out the sweet flavour of the cocoa. Like many Starbucks Nespresso pods I think it does a decent job of mimicking that Starbucks taste you get at the stores.

Who is the Caffé Verona for?

If you are that kind of person that is put off by a strong coffee taste or prefers sweet coffees then you may be attracted to the dark cocoa tasting notes as long as you usually have milk with your coffee. I could easily drink several cups of this when drunk this way and it would make a solid choice as an every day coffee.

Who is the Caffé Verona not for?

I would not recommend drinking this black coffee for anyone but the boldest of coffee drinkers and given how the milk brings out more of the cocoa tasting notes I suspect that this coffee was not designed to be drunk black.

The drink is also not overly complex in flavour and there are many coffee pods on the market that give you a stronger flavour when drunk with milk even if you reduce the amount of milk you use. Having said that if you like the taste with milk you could always use a double shot of coffee.   

Does the Starbucks Caffé Verona have chocolate in it?

These coffee pods do not actually have chocolate in them. However if it is the taste of chocolate you are seeking rather the actual thing itself then they do a good job of mimicking this flavour as long as it is drunk with milk. You may want to experiment with different coffee pods as this tasting note was not particularly strong in flavour when drunk with milk. If you do not like the taste of dark chocolate then I would not recommend this option either.

Is there sugar in Starbucks Caffé Verona?

Coffee contains natural sugar. These pods just contain ground coffee and that is the same for most Nespresso pods so nothing else is added in that sense. If you are looking for a coffee that does contain added sugar you may want to consider buying flavoured coffee pods. Some of these contain sugar within the flavouring. Alternatively you could always add sugar or a flavoured shot to your drink after it has been poured to recreate that coffee shop taste.

Is Verona a dark roast?

Yes this drink is a dark roast. A dark roast generally gives you a bolder more straightforward flavour and this certainly applies when drunk without milk. With milk much of this boldness is lost compared to other Nespresso pods on the market.

Union Coffee Yayu Forest Review

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No one likes a bad coffee. Overly sour or astringent drinks can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. Today I am reviewing Union Yayu Forest Coffee. If you are looking for a drink that is smooth, light and a pleasure to drink then this may be the coffee for you.

Coffee: Yayu Wild Forest coffee beans.

Score: 5/5


Smooth black coffee with a fruity acidity.

Velvety and sweet if you drink it with milk.

Lovely and refreshing.


May not be the best choice if you prefer a really strong flavour.

Not for black coffee drinkers that do not like a fruity taste.

Tasting notes:

Bourbon biscuit.

Citrus fruits.

The verdict on Yayu Forest Coffee.

There are many things to commend about this coffee. The packaging itself is straightforward in design but it has a very interesting sleeve. Although this is not the primary thing I judge a coffee on it is nice to get a background story about the company that sourced the coffee beans and where they came from.

When opening the bag for the first time I detected a nutty, almost earthy fragrance with hint of the bourbon biscuits listed in the tasting notes. The aroma of the coffee really accentuated the earthy fragrance when brewing the coffee.

Drinking Yayu Forest coffee without milk.

The coffee tasted very smooth when drunk without milk. The fruity tasting notes really shone through when drinking this way. The flavour was prominent but not overbearing. It is a pleasing drink that is not sour in any way and it left a pleasant aftertaste. It is a balanced and fruity drink. Not too sharp. Not too sweat. The coffee is light on the tongue and I could easily have seen myself drinking several cups of this. A wonderfully complex and pleasurable coffee.

Despite having said all of this, these coffee beans may not be for everyone. If you prefer a stronger coffee or something more one note or less earthy then this may not be suitable for you. This is probably also not the drink of choice for people that do not like coffees with a fruity acidity. The aftertaste lingers for quite some time and this may be off putting for some.

Drinking Yayu Forest coffee with milk.

Drinking the coffee with milk changes its complexion drastically although this in a good way. This is where the tasting notes of bourbon biscuit really shine through. Again, the drink is incredibly smooth and the interaction of this biscuity element with the milk makes it taste much sweeter. It is very vibrant and the sweetness of the coffee is much more prominent here. Like without milk the drink is light bodied and refreshing. In my opinion the aftertaste off the coffee is even stronger when drunk with milk only this time more sweeter. Closing my eyes I could easily imagine myself consuming a drink made with biscuits. A coffee I could easily drink several cups of.

Being a medium strength coffee it does not give you the same kick you may expect from your usual coffee. You may not also like the lingering aftertaste although personally I found this pleasant. Coffee drinkers that are looking for something that is more heavy bodied may also want to look elsewhere.

Who is this coffee for?

This is a perfect coffee if you want a black coffee that is light and not overbearing. It is also a great first choice if you are looking to transition into black coffee and have had trouble acclimatising to the taste. Its balanced tasting notes mean that its flavour is not overpowering and it is simply a joy to drink.

If you want an every day coffee with milk that is sweet and smooth then this coffee bean is also an excellent choice. If you usually put sugar in your coffee and are looking to transition away from doing this then you may be surprised at how good it tastes without sugar.

Who is this coffee not for?

I would pick a different coffee if you want a more traditional coffee taste. It may not also be a good choice if you prefer a more one note, straightforward tasting coffee. This Union coffee bean is a single origin (sourced from one country), medium roast. If you prefer your drinks to have a heavier body then you may choose to go for a darker roast. For those coffee drinkers that have both milk and sugar in their coffees then a you may prefer to choose a coffee blend rather than a single origin although in my experience the drink did taste very sweet without sugar.

About this coffee bean.

According to Union, the name for this coffee originates from the forest in which these coffee beans have been sourced. The Yayu forest is one of the last remaining places for the conservation of wild arabica in the world. In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Union Coffee has worked together with the farmers at Yayu. The aims of the project are to help protect the biodiversity of the rainforest and improve the livelihoods of the farmers that work there. Unesco have a really interesting page if you want to learn more about the Yayu forest.

Starbucks Colombia single origin coffee pods review

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Looking for that Starbucks taste at home but do not know which coffee to buy? In this article I will provide the definitive breakdown of Starbucks Single Origin Colombia coffee pods by Nespresso.

Coffee: Starbucks Single Origin Colombia Nespresso.

Overall score: 4/5.

Tasting notes: Balanced and nutty.


  • Pleasant flavour.
  • Straightforward and consistent taste.
  • Smooth drink.
  • Lasting and pleasant aftertaste when drunk with milk.


  • Slightly bitter when drunk as an expresso shot.
  • May be too subtle for some when drunk with milk.

The review:

The package came in a standard looking Nespresso box but with the Starbucks branding and logo. The pods themselves come in orange aluminium with a silver coloured covering. Starbucks themselves claim that they use aluminium as opposed to plastic to preserve the flavour of the coffee for longer.

Drinking the coffee black:

The first thing that hit me when watching the coffee pour into my cup was its noticeable and nutty aroma. The nutty notes of the coffee were actually more subtle than I anticipated when drinking it for the first time. As an expresso shot the flavour was reasonably intense but not overpowering. The coffee had a fairly consistent flavour and gave a satisfying hit. I did notice a hint of bitterness afterwards which unfortunately detracted from the experience.

Drinking the coffee as a lungo (with more water) definitely made the experience more pleasurable although it did diminish the strength of the coffee. If you are looking for a smoother black coffee with less bitterness then drinking the coffee this way may be the best option.

Drinking the coffee with milk:

Whilst certainly not the boldest coffee, at a 7/10 coffee strength I was surprised at how subtle the flavour tasted when drinking it with milk. Drinking this coffee does mask the taste of the coffee considerably when compared to other coffee pods so bear this in mind if you are looking for a stronger coffee.

In terms of taste it is a very smooth drink and the flavour is most noticeable at the end after swallowing. The nutty notes work well with the sweetness of the milk and I was left with a pleasant and lasting aftertaste. The lightness of the flavour made the drink refreshing and it is the type of coffee you could easily have every day.

I would however choose a different coffee if I wanted a more powerful hit. A lot of the essence of the coffee is missed when drunk this way but it is still a pleasure to drink.

Who is this drink for?

If you are looking for a subtle but sweat coffee with milk or a pleasant lungo then then these coffee pods are a solid choice. They really do a good job of replicating the Starbucks taste. These coffee pods are a solid choice as a regular coffee.

Who is this drink not for?

It goes without saying that this drink is not for those who are not already a fan of Starbucks. In addition, if you are looking for an expresso or a powerful coffee with milk then you may want to look elsewhere.  

What is Starbucks single origin coffee?

Starbucks single origin coffee is a range of coffee pods that hail from a specific region of the world. Their single origin coffee from Colombia is just one of many from this range. Single origin means that the coffee is sourced from one place. This is the opposite to a coffee blend which use a mixture of coffee beans. As a general rule, with single origin coffees you can taste more of the flavours without milk and blended coffees are usually better with milk. Either options are usually fine however. 

How much caffeine is in Starbucks Colombia single origin coffee?

Unfortunately I could not find a description of its caffeine content either on the Starbucks website or on the packaging. The product definitely does contain caffeine and in terms of strength is is listed a 7/10.

Are these coffee pods recyclable?

According to Starbucks themselves you can order a recycling bag from Nespresso stores or by calling Nespresso over the phone. You can then take your Nespresso pods to the nearest store to get recycled. Alternatively you can drop them off to your nearest CollectPlus location instead.

Rave Colombia Coffee Review: The top things to know.

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Sometimes you stumble across a coffee that does not taste like any other. Say hello to Rave Colombia El Carmen coffee. In this review I am going to breakdown what makes this coffee such a delight to drink.

Coffee: Rave Colombia El Carmen (Suarez Project).

Overall Score: 5/5

Tasting notes:

Chocolate, caramel & red fruits.


  • Light coffee.
  • Pleasant tasting notes of chocolate, caramel and fruit.


  • The taste may be too acidic for some people’s taste if drinking it black.
  • The tasting notes of chocolate and caramel are harder to taste when drinking it without milk.

The verdict:

When you get the package in the post the first thing you notice is its sleek design. You get a nice whiff of chocolate when opening it up and smelling the coffee beans. They are produced with a medium dark roast and the complexity of its tasting notes and smells became apparent as soon as I brewed the coffee.

Brew method: French Press.

Grind type: course.

Brew time: 3.30 mins.

Coffee weight: 17 grams.

Water: 400ml.

Drinking Colombia El Carmen black.

In contrast to the chocolate smell earlier I got a powerful aroma of acidic fruits when brewing the coffee. This fruity acidity is quite noticeable to taste but is quite pleasant. However, this may be too powerful a flavour for coffee drinkers that do not like their coffee too sharp. The taste is definitely bolder without milk and the complexity of different tastes really came through. Through the boldness of the flavour I tasted the subtle hint of chocolate. The sharpness of the acidity overpowered the chocolate when drinking it this way although that did not necessarily detract from my enjoyment of the drink itself.

Drinking Colombia El Carmen with milk.

If you drink your coffee with milk then then the Colombia El Carmen is a delight to drink and changes the complexion of the coffee in a completely different way. Adding milk gives the coffee a light and refreshing dimension. The smell of the coffee became much sweater and tasted velvety smooth as I put the coffee to my lips. Upon sipping I immediately tasted the chocolate I smelt earlier with a sweet aftertaste of caramel at the end. I barely noticed the acidity I detected earlier when drinking the coffee straight.

Unlike some dark roasts of coffee that give a more straightforward, one note taste, the Colombia El Carmen is a drink that should be drunk slowly to appreciate every sip and the subtle flavours it produces.

Who is this drink for?

I would definitely recommend this to milk and coffee drinkers looking for a light drink with sweet, subtle tasting notes. This is Rave coffee’s flagship coffee bean and one of my firm favourites. It is also a good option for black coffee drinkers that like a drink with a sharper, fruity taste.

Who should not drink this coffee?

If you are transitioning to black coffee then you may want to choose a drink with a less bolder flavour. Having said that, it is still a wonderful tasting coffee if you can acquire your taste buds. If this applies to you, you could brew this drink with less coffee or extraction time to weaken the flavour and acquire yourself to the taste. Alternatively, you may want to look for a darker, full bodied roast to give you a smoother and more rounded drink.

Where was this coffee produced?

According to Rave, this coffee is grown in Pitatilo, a town in Colombia. The name of the coffee bean was given to honour the producers Rave support. The farmers come from 300 families that live within this region. Working with their partners, Rave has provided them with a sustainable supply chain and access to the world market of coffee.  

Amazon Solimo coffee review: Check this before you buy.

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Tired of spending lots of money on expensive Nespresso coffees? In this article I will do an in depth review of Amazon’s Solimo coffee pod brand. Find out the key things you need to know about the best coffee pods in this range before you part with your cash.

Best overall Amazon Solimo branded coffee pod:


Overall rating: 5/5


Intense but smooth flavour.


Not as strong as Nespresso’s own brand.


This coffee strands out as the best choice of the Solimo coffee pod range due to its bold but smoother flavour compared to the strongest version. Designed to be used for smaller coffee shots, it is great either alone or with milk. People accustomed to Nesspresso’s own brand capsules may be disappointed to learn that none of the coffee pods on this list taste quite as strong. All of the coffee pods in this range are finely ground dark roasts. A darker roast usually means a coffee with less caffeine and a more simple one note flavour. However, the richness of the Ristretto still comes through even with milk, making it a worthwhile Nespresso alternative. At 100 capsules a box you could easily use 2 capsules at a time and still get excellent value for money. If you do not like an overpowering drink then a single shot of this coffee is perfect for everyday use.

Best versatile Solimo coffee pod:

Expresso Intenso.

Overall rating: 4/5.


Versatile coffee shot.

Balanced flavour.


It might not be strong enough for everyone’s taste.


This is a great, regular drink for people that want a larger coffee shot with a balanced taste. It is mellow and the flavours of the coffee really come through whether you have black coffee or with milk.

If you are used to having sugar with your coffee, the mild taste makes the coffee taste sweater without compromising on the flavour. On the downside, if you prefer your coffee strong then this one may not be enough for you.

Best Solimo coffee pod for stronger coffee drinkers:

Ristretto Intenso.

Overall Rating: 4/5.


Bold flavour.


May be too bitter for some.

This coffee gives you by far the boldest coffee taste out of all the coffee pods reviewed here. This coffee is best used with smaller coffee shots and is a more concentrated shot of coffee than your standard expresso. Using a shorter coffee shot gives it a sharp taste and it really shows when you drink it straight. The coffee tasted too bitter for my personal preference compared to the other Ristretto. However, this was less of an issue when I drunk the coffee shot with milk. For Nesspresso lovers addicted to a power shot of coffee however, this still may not be strong enough for you and it may be best to use two shots. Considering the product’s much cheaper price tag that should not be much of an issue.

Best Solimo coffee for mellow drinkers:


Overall Rating: 2/5


Good for people that like weaker coffees.


Weak taste.

Does not work well with milk.


Being a fan of more bolder tasting coffee, this is my least favourite of the Solimo brand. The flavour is much weaker than the other coffee pods and I struggled to taste much more than a weak, fruity aftertaste when drinking it with milk. That said, this coffee is designed to be used as a larger coffee shot and is great for people that want to drink black coffee but do not want an overpowering taste. It could be a good choice if you want to transition to black coffee. If you like your coffee bold then I would avoid this version.

Best medium strength Solimo coffee:


Overall Rating: 3/5


Good if you like a medium strength coffee.


There are better alternatives for those who put milk in their coffee.


If you are a fan of black coffee and larger coffee shots then this choice is a good alternative if you like to taste your coffee but do not want anything too strong. Unlike the Lungo, the taste comes through when you drink it with milk. However, the Ristretto coffee pods and the Expresso Intenso have a richer flavour. The Expresso is more of an alternative to the Lungo if you want a more powerful but balanced shot of black coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Solimo coffee Good?

At 100 coffee pods per box, the solimo range is excellent value for money even if you need to use two capsules at a time. If you are looking for an affordable alternative to Nespresso’s own brand then this is a good place to start. With five different capsules you get a decent range of choice. However, this range is much more limited when compared to Nesspresso’s.

How much caffeine is in Solimo?

Unfortunately this is not listed on the box itself. A single shot of coffee is more than enough to keep you awake however.

Where does Solimo coffee come from?

The exact list of countries the coffee is sourced from is not listed. According to Amazon, its coffee is sourced from several countries, roasted in Belgium and packed in Italy. Its coffee is sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified farmers.

Is Solimo owned by Amazon?

Yes. Solimo is owned by Amazon, which probably explains why their coffee pods are so cheap compared to other brands.

Is Solimo cruelty free?

Given it is unclear where the products have been sourced from it is difficult to ascertain this. However, according to Amazon this coffee is suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Are Solimo coffee pods available in decaffeinated form?

Unfortunately there are no decaffeinated versions at the time of writing.

Are Solimo pods plastic or aluminium?

Solimo coffee pods are plastic with a foil covering at the front that gets pierced after use.