French Press Cold brew: How to make a killer coffee.

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Bored with brewing your French press coffee the same way every time? Most people only associate this brewing device with hot coffee. And those people would be wrong. Say hello to French press cold brew.

At a glance:

What is a French press cold brew?

How does it compare to normal coffee?

Experimenting with your coffee.

Pros of French press cold brew coffee.

Cons of cold brew coffee.

How to do it + tips.

Getting the right equipment.

Coffee grind.

Coffee ratios.

Putting sugar in your coffee.

Cold brew recipes.

What is a French press cold brew?

Cold brew is a method of brewing coffee that actually originated in Japan hundreds of years ago. Unlike iced coffee which is usually brewed at a higher temperature before being cooled down, most cold brew drinks are extracted at chilled or room temperature for many hours. 

How does it compare to normal coffee?

Brewing coffee at hot temperatures extracts the flavours more quickly. This process also extracts the acidity from coffee faster than if it was brewed at lower temperatures. What this means is that cold brew coffee takes many more hours to extract flavours.

The taste profile of French press cold brew is also different. These coffees often have lower acidity levels, which affect the taste of the coffee. When done well a cold brew will also extract less of the bad tasting notes people associate with coffee such as bitter flavours.

To give you an example, let us consider a coffee I have previously reviewed, the Colombia El Carmen by Rave Coffee. 

This coffee had a fairly sharp, citrusy acidity when brewed hot and drunk without milk. When I put milk in the chocolate notes shone through.

By contrast, the coffee tasted much stronger when I made view a cold brew due to its heavy concentration. Despite this the fruity acidity had been much reduced and I found it much more refreshing and easier to drink this way once I had watered down the solution.

Drinking this drink with milk was a delight and was very easy to drink without milk due to its light body and mellow flavour.

Experimenting with your coffee.

As with hot brewing, you may find that some coffees taste better than others. Coffees that may have been a regular staple may not taste as good when cold brewed. Strangely enough, coffees you may have avoided may end up tasting better than you remember with this extraction process. Try a few of your regular coffee beans and see how they taste. 

In addition to the Colombia El Carmen I also cold brewed another one of my favourites, the Yayu Ethiopian Forest Coffee by Union Roasted. The smooth but fruity acidity of this coffee is what makes this coffee so special. Unfortunately the extraction process reduced this acidity and made the coffee more flat. Its Bourbon biscuit tasting notes were not as pronounced when drinking it with milk either. 

The key take away here is not to get disheartened when starting out for the first time. Cold brewing is no different to hot brewing in that there are several variables to consider before making the coffee that tastes right for you. Choosing the right coffee bean is just one of them.

As to which bean you choose, many prefer a darker roast due to its richer flavours as cold brew does not tend to extract as many subtle flavours. You may prefer the taste of difference roasts however and so it is more of a matter of personal preference.

Play around with the coffee ratios and brewing time to see how that affects the taste of the coffee. Using more coffee will obviously make it taste more intense. Brewing the coffee for longer will draw out more of the acidity. Recommended brew times are a minimum of 12 hours due to longer extraction time but I’ve seen up to listed 24 elsewhere.

Pros of French press cold brew coffee.

Before you jump in and make your own recipes, let me break down some great benefits to brewing cold brew coffee.

Pros of French press cold brew coffee
  • Cold brewing extracts less of the negative flavours you sometimes get with coffee if it is done right.
  • It is less acidic than hot coffee and is gentler on the stomach.
  • Brewing this way is a lot more forgiving than brewing your coffee hot.
  • Making a cold brew is super convenient. Once you’ve put the coffee in the water you can sit and forget about it till it is done. You can also make batches big enough to last a whole week.
  • Great on a hot day with some ice.
  • Cold brew coffees are often sweeter in taste and more mellow than its hot brew cousin.

Cons of cold brew coffee.

  • Finding the right coffee can be hit and miss. 
  • Extraction times are a lot longer. 
  • You may end up extracting less of the good stuff you enjoy in other coffees.

How to do it + tips.

There are two ways of brewing cold brew coffee. One of them involves cold water dripped over a bed of coffee. The other involves the coffee being brewed in water at chilled or room temperature. In this article I am going to show you how to do the latter. 

5 steps to making French press cold brew:

1: Grind your coffee.

2: Use 130 grams and 900ml of cold water.

3: Leave it for at least 12 hours at room temperature.

4: Push down the French Press plunger to separate the coffee beans.

5: Pour your coffee into a container and put it in a fridge.

Before you rush to make your coffee, check out the below details to make sure you know how to make the perfect coffee. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, check out some of my recipe ideas.

Getting the right equipment.

You will need a coffee maker that utilises ground coffee beans and some way of filtering out the coffee at the end. Given the amount of time it takes to make a cold brew, I prefer to use a coffee maker that is able to contain a large jug of water so that I can get several cups of coffee out of it. For this article I used an 8 cup French press. This is a relatively inexpensive and versatile coffee maker but there are several cold brew coffee making devices if you want to go down this route instead. A big benefit of using a french press is that it is so versatile. If you do not feel like a cold brew coffee then you can make a hot coffee instead.

Unless you get pre ground coffee you will also need some kind of coffee grinder. The benefit of pre-ground coffee is that it is convenient but it also comes with the trade off that it is less fresh. If you choose to go for a coffee grinder then the best option to go for is a burr grinder. This will give you a more consistent grind than a blade grinder, which often results in more inconsistent and bitter coffee flavours. If you are put off by the cost of electric burr coffee grinders then there are also budget manual grinders available as well.

Finally, an option but recommend step is is to use a set of scales to weigh your coffee. Knowing how much coffee you are using will allow you to experiment with optimum flavours for a more consistent and satisfying coffee.

Coffee grind.

If you are grinding your coffee then you will need to use a coarse grind. Take this into account if buying ground coffee. The reason you will need a course grind is that the flavours extract more slowly. If you use a finer grind then you could risk extracting more of the negative flavours (such as bitterness) more quickly. You may wish to experiment with how course you want to grind your coffee depending on how you like your coffee.

Coffee ratios.

If you have read other articles about cold brew online you will find many different ratios quoted about how many coffee you should use. Ultimately there is not really much of a definitive answer as it depends on how you like your coffee. For this article I used a ratio of 1:8 and you may to use this as a starting point.

One important point to bear in mind is that cold brew is much more concentrated than hot brew coffee due to its longer extraction time. If you lower the ratio of coffee to water then the coffee taste will become even more concentrated.

Putting sugar in your coffee.

Cold brew coffee usually tastes sweeter and so it may be worth tasting your first brew without sugar if you are usually accustomed to doing this. If you still want to put sugar in your coffee then using something sweet in a liquid form is best. 

Putting normal sugar in a cold brew coffee will leave you with a gritty mess. At chilled or room temperature the sugar will not dissolve and leave most of the taste profile unchanged. I like to put liquid caramel when I want something sweet but anything similar will work as well.

Cold brew recipes.

Looking for different recipes to spice up your coffee routine? Check out these killer recipes to take your coffee game to the next level. All these coffees can be brewed anywhere between 12-15 hours (or even longer) depending on how strong you like your coffee. 

Black Coffee Cold Brew

Ingredients: Black coffee, Ice.

You’d be surprised at how good black cold brew tastes even if you are not accustomed to drinking black coffee. Make sure to dilute the coffee before you drink it and put some ice in it to give it that refreshing taste.

Condensed milk cold brew.

Ingredients: Coffee, 1 can of condensed milk.

This drink will give you a sickly sweet hit when combining the sugary flavour of condensed milk and the smooth flavour of the cold brew coffee. You can use any type of coffee bean for this receipt but I personally would use a darker roast to let the richness of the coffee shine through the sweetness of the condensed milk.

Lemonade Cold Brew.

Ingredients: Coffee, lemonade, ice.

Coffee with lemonade? Yep that is right. If the combination of those two together do not feel right then do not fret. Cold brew coffee is very refreshing. Mix it with ice and the sweetness of the lemonade and you get a heavenly combination you probably never knew existed. Kick back, close your eyes and imagine you are on a beach far, far away.

Baileys cold brew.

Ingredients: Coffee, Baileys, ice.

Perhaps not one to try first thing in the morning. Simply mix a shot of Baileys with some diluted cold brew coffee and ice. The creaminess of the Baileys will compliment the coffee well and the alcohol will give you a nice kick. Not for the faint hearted.

Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee Review: Read This First

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Some people just want a lighter, mellow roast for their coffee. If you are looking for Nespresso pods that do this then check out my Starbucks Blonde Roast review. I discuss what is really liked about this coffee. And some details that could affect whether you buy.

Coffee: Starbucks Blonde Roast Nespresso Pods.

Overall Score: 4/5.

Tasting Notes:

Smooth and mellow.

Pros: 

  • Sweet and vibrant espresso shot.
  • Smooth and sweet with milk.
  • Cons:
  • Tastes flat when drunk as a lungo (long drink).
  • May not be strong enough for some.

This coffee is a lighter roast. It is rated at 6 out of 12 for coffee strength which puts it at the mellower end of the spectrum. This may put off hardcore veterans that need a real intense hit of coffee but it is a really nice drink. Where it really shines is when it is drunk without milk.

Drinking Starbucks Blond Nespresso Pods black.

Drinking this as an espresso is how it appears to have been designed and it is a real pleasure to drink. It had an earthy aroma with nutty undertones as I started to drink it. Not too overpowering but easily detected and very pleasant.

This is a smooth and really easy drink when used as an espresso. It has a fruity acidity. A sweet and light flavour with not much sharpness to it at all. It does not give you an intense flavour hit but it is something that I could easily drink several cups of.

Drinking this coffee as a lungo is an entirely different experience altogether. The drink tasted flat and confused. Much of the vibrant acidity of the espresso shot I tasted earlier had gone and it was less than an enjoyable experience.

The taste profile of this coffee clearly orients it towards being drunk as an espresso shot without milk.

Drinking this coffee with milk.

As you may expect  has a much sweeter aroma with milk. I also detected a hint of nuttiness. 

It is very sweet and light bodied to drink. The aftertaste is nutty although this is subtle and just lingers in the background rather than overpowering you.

Something that may put off some people is that much of its pleasant espresso taste is hidden when you add milk. I drunk it as a latte and so you may want to choose the amount of milk you use wisely if you prefer a stronger tasting coffee. 

This is something I would choose as a light, everyday drink unless you really prefer powerful and one note flavours.

Who is this drink for?

If you like fruity and mellow black coffee then this is an excellent choice. If you are new to black coffee then you may be used to expecting the taste of something bitter and astringent when you remove milk and/or sugar. This drink is nothing like that and it would make a perfect introduction if you are looking to make the transition.

If you are looking for a light bodied, smooth but subtle coffee with milk then this is also a solid choice as long as you are happy with its weaker flavour compared to darker roasts.

Who is this drink not for?

You should really pick a darker roast or something higher up on the Starbucks strength scale if you want a strong tasting coffee. There are Starbucks Nespresso pods that give you a much more intense hit with or without milk, such as its Espresso Roast.

As a lungo it did a really poor job. This is not too much of a criticism as it is advertised as an espresso drink but it is worth mentioning in case you normally have your coffee this way.

Is Starbucks Blonde Roast good compared to other Starbucks Pods?

It comes out on top when it comes to drinking it as an espresso without milk (unless you like dark roasts). When it comes to drinking it with milk it is very similar to others such as Café Verona and Pike Place so you probably would not go wrong with any of them in that respect.

Is Blond Espresso stronger?

Well I have already established that it is weaker than darker roasts. It is definitely on the weaker scale except when compared to its lungo options.

In terms of caffeine, Starbucks does not specify this on its packaging.

Is Blond Espresso stronger than regular?

If by strength you mean taste profile it is bold in terms of masking its presence felt but it is not overly rich. By contrast, the regular espresso pods are way more intense.

Caffeine wise, I could not detect any difference between that and other Starbucks coffees. I would not let its smooth taste fool you into thinking that this is a weaker drink in that aspect. I did not detect any obvious difference between the regular espresso and this drink in terms of its ability to keep me awake.

What is the difference between the Starbucks Blonde and regular?

It is mainly just the taste profile. I found the regular to be fairly uncomplicated. Its intensity meant it took me a while to adjust to its flavour. It has a heavy taste and the aftertaste stayed with me for a long time. 

By contrast, the Blonde Roast is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. They could not be more different so the choice is more down to weather you prefer darker (richer) or lighter (mellow) roasts.

The verdict:

So there you have it. This is an excellent espresso drink and a solid choice with milk. I have knocked off a scoring point just for the fact that it may not appeal to a couple of different types of people.

If you are still unsure as to which Starbucks Nespresso pods to buy, check out my other reviews.

Starbucks Espresso Pods for Nespresso: A Truthful Review.

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There is quite a lot of choice between different Starbucks pods and it can get quite get quite confusing to learn the difference between each one. If you are wondering what makes Starbucks Espresso Pods for Nespresso different to the others then you have come to the right place. This drink is probably going to be something you either love or hate so read further to find out which one applies to you.

Coffee: Starbucks Espresso dark roasted coffee pods

Flavour: Rich with caramel tasting notes.

Score: 3/5

This drink is not subtle. There are no two ways about it. Being a dark roast with a strength rating of 11 out of 12 means you should expect a rich burst of flavour when drinking this coffee.

Drinking Starbucks Espresso Pods Black.

Being an espresso I tried it this way first and detected a pungent and earthy aroma. It is very strong and the flavour overwhelmed my taste buds. 

The acidity of this coffee is sharp. It took me quite a while to adjust to the rich and heavy bodied flavour. The taste and flavour really does impact you and linger for a while. 

Trying the coffee as a lungo (long) coffee does smooth its edges over somewhat but it still packs a punch. 

I did not detect any caramel drinking notes when no milk was used. 

Tasting these espresso pods with milk.

Naturally, putting milk in this coffee makes it go down much smoother. I definitely tasted the caramel notes. 

The flavour of the coffee was strongly present although it did not give me the same flavour hit when drinking it black. You may or may not see this as a good thing depending on how strong you like your coffee.

I still detected the heavy bodied impact of the coffee despite watering this down with milk although it tasted lighter this time. 

Whichever way you choose to drink this coffee, you may find it quenches your thirst. I felt like I needed to grab a glass of water although I do prefer lighter roasts.

Who is this coffee for?

You really have to be used to drinking powerful coffee with a strong acidity if you want to drink this black.

The caramel notes taste really nice if you use milk and are happy with a more heavy bodied drink.

Who is this drink not for?

Avoid if you do not like strong tasting coffee. Pick another option if you are new to black coffee.

I felt the drink tasted really one dimensional. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you want a mellower coffee with a more complex array of tasting notes then try a lighter roast.

Is Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast?

Yes that is right. The coffee beans for these Nespresso capsules are a darker roast, which is what gives them such a rich flavour. 

Is Starbucks Espresso roast actually espresso?

It depends what you mean by an espresso. It is not possible to make an actual espresso through a Nespresso machine. An espresso machine makes coffee though high pressure. This is how the ‘creama’ is created that you see at the top of the coffee shot. 

A Nespresso does mimic this look by creating foam in the coffee when it is made however. These capsules are designed to be used as an ‘espresso’ shot, meaning you are meant to use a 40ml shot of water to make the coffee.

How strong is Starbucks dark roast?

Well it depends as ‘strength’ can be a subjective question depending on what you mean. 

I have not found caffeine content on Starbucks Nespresso packages and so in that sense this is unknown.

In terms of richness of flavour it is definitely up there compared to other coffee brands although I believe there are some Nespresso options that are stronger still.

Does this come in a decaf version?

If you like this type of coffee then check out my review of the Starbucks Decaf Espresso version as the taste profile of these two coffees have a very similar taste profile.

Lavazza Qualita Rossa espresso coffee: How good is it?

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If you are thinking of buying the Lavazza Qualita Rossa espresso coffee beans you might be wondering whether they are value for money or just another average drink. Fear not. I have done the hard work to help you decide.

Coffee: Lavazza Qualita Rossa Espresso coffee Beans

Overall score 4/5.

Tasting notes: 

Rich and chocolatey. 

Pros:

  • Smooth and well balanced.
  • Solid coffee when drunk with or without milk.
  • Nice and sweet when drunk with milk.

Cons:

  • Pick another drink if you like strong coffee.
  • Solid but unremarkable.

I got a nice whiff of chocolate when opening up the coffee bag for the first time. It definitely make me look forward to brewing the coffee. Lavazza rate the strength of this coffee as 5/10 and it is a medium roast coffee blend. 

Drinking Lavazza Qualita Rossa coffee beans without milk.

In my experience coffee blends do not always work without milk. Ultimately it is down to personal preference but I actually liked drinking the coffee this way.

This coffee has an intense earthy aroma. I put the cup to my lips and instantly tasted this earthiness along with subtle tasting notes of nuts. 

Despite being rich and heavy bodied the tasting notes were well rounded. There was a slight punch of an aftertaste after drinking but at no point did I find anything overpowering. 

Drinking this coffee without milk is a smooth experience although I did not detect any chocolatey tasting notes.

Drinking the Qualita Rossa with milk.

Putting milk in this coffee does dull its richness somewhat although it is still pleasurable to drink. Despite being listed as heavy bodied the coffee actually tasted quite light and smooth.

As usual with many coffees advertised as containing chocolate tasting notes this aspect of the flavour came out much more easily when drinking it this way. The coffee tasted nice and sweet and left me with a pleasant aftertaste.

Despite its sweetness the coffee did not blow me away either. I could see this as an everyday coffee but not one to impress your friends when they are over.

Who is this coffee for?

If you like the sound of an earthy, nutty and smooth black coffee then this is a good choice. Because of its smoothness it would also be worth giving it a try if you are new to black coffee.

Drinking it with milk is very pleasant and is a good choice if you want a regular latte style drink or a flat white.

Who is this drink not for?

At 5/10 coffee strength you probably should find a different choice of beans if you want a powerful flavour. It by no means tastes weak but there are more powerful choices out there. This became evident when drinking it with milk. If this applies to you then you may wish to choose a darker roast. 

The other thing I noticed is that I found that the coffee unsettled my stomach after drinking. This probably will not apply to many people as I do not have the strongest stomach but it is worth noting if you are easily affected by coffee.

I would also pay a bit more personally for another brand if I was looking for something to really wow my taste buds. There is very little to be critical about this coffee but it is not remarkable either.

Is Lavazza good quality coffee?

It depends on what you are looking for in a drink. It is a solid choice but I would not class this as a speciality coffee. If you are really into your coffee beans then there are plenty of smaller, more bespoke brands that could give you a better flavour.

On the other hand this coffee brand will do the job for most people and it is decent value for money.

Is Lavazza espresso?

Whether it is an espresso or not will depend on what type of Lavazza coffee bean you buy. In this case, the Quality Rossa could definitely be used as an espresso. 

Starbucks decaf coffee pods: Is their expresso any good?

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Reducing your caffeine intake can be difficult if you like drinking coffee. If you are looking at decaf coffee options there are not as many options available as caffeinated ones. Today I will be looking at the expresso version of Starbucks Decaf coffee pods for Nespresso machines. Find out what I liked about this coffee and who I do not think should buy it.

Coffee: Starbucks Decaf Espresso Nespresso Pods.

Overall Score: 3/5

Tasting notes: 

Rich flavours with caramel tasting notes.

Pros: 

Strong flavour for bold coffee drinkers.

Bold but smooth when used with milk.

Cons:

Avoid if you do not like a rich coffee taste.

Black coffee intenseness may put some people off.

Drinking this coffee really struck me as an either love it or hate it type of drink. Straight away after pouring the coffee I detected a pungent, earthy fragrance that hit me hard. Despite being a decaf this shot of coffee has been designed to really pack a punch and is best used as either an expresso or ristretto (short) shot.

Drinking these Starbucks decaf coffee pods black.

The aroma of this coffee was also very intense as I put it to my lips. Overpowering would not be too far off from someone that prefers a lighter roast than this. It took me a while to adjust to the taste and the drink still hit my taste buds like a rocket. 

I could not detect the caramel tasting notes when drinking the coffee without milk. It has a strong, earthy taste. The coffee is full bodied and its acidity is at the sharper end of the spectrum. Too sharp for my personal preference and whether you will like it depends on what you are looking for in a coffee.

Putting extra water in the coffee or having a lungo (long) shot instead does diminish the intensity although it is not the best way to drink it. Nor is it the way the drink was intended to be drunk. I suspect many people will treat this as a Marmite drink. You will either like its bold flavour or decide it is not for you. Making the drink more watery will probably not affect your opinion on the taste.

Using these Starbucks decaf capsules with milk:

When drinking the coffee with milk you can just about detect the caramel tasting notes but only just. I tasted them at the front of my mouth with my tongue but what really shapes this drink is the full bodied richness you get when you swallow the coffee.

Adding milk does smooth the edges somewhat and make it easier to drink if you usually drink lighter roasts.

The aftertaste is strong but quite pleasant. I did find myself reaching for a glass of water to quench my thirst and so I would probably only drink this on occasion.

Who is this drink for?

Heavy bodied coffee drinkers looking for a decaffeinated drink will probably be fine with this. If you usually drink your coffee black and like powerful, one note flavours then this is probably a solid choice.

Drinking the coffee with milk does make the coffee more bearable for anyone else. I would say that if you want you want to switch up for coffee for something different and need something a little more powerful then this could be just the job.

Who is this drink not for?

Avoid this drink like the plague if you do not like strong tasting coffee. Pick a lighter roast or use milk and/or sugar to smooth the edges.

I suspect that drinking the coffee straight without milk may be too much for some people also.

Is Starbucks decaf actually decaf? Is it caffeine free?

Well it depends on what answer you are looking for. The packaging for its Nespresso pods states that it is decaffeinated and I could not find any caffeine content listed on there. However, studies have shown that virtually all decaf coffees have caffeine in them. The difference is that they usually contain much lower quantities.

Is Nespresso decaf bad for you?

Bad for what? If it is less caffeine you want then a decaf option is going to give you what you need. The drink is perfectly safe to consume and if you are concerned about the environment then you are able to recycle them. 

If you are concerned about the effects of caffeine on your body then you may be better skipping decaf coffee and slowly cutting out coffee altogether.

Starbucks House Blend Nespresso pods: An in depth look.

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Are you looking for a good coffee blend that mimics that Starbucks taste but are hesitant to part with your cash until you get more info? Check out my in depth review of Starbucks House Blend Nespresso pods. I reveal some great features about this coffee. And a few things I did not like.

Coffee: Starbucks House Blend by Nespresso.

Overall score: 4/5.

Tasting notes:

Toffee and nuts.

Pros: 

  • Smooth and mellow flavour.
  • Good choice for a balanced coffee.

Cons: 

  • May be took weak for some.
  • Not for some latte drinkers.

The review:

The way this blend was created makes it obvious it is not trying to please everyone and this is not necessarily a criticism. This will become clear as I take you through the smells and tasing notes of the coffee when drunk with milk and without.

Drinking Starbucks Nespresso House Blend Black:

These are drinks that are designed to be used with a larger shot of coffee but in this case I tried it as an expresso shot first. I smelt a sharp aroma. Nutty and earthy as I tasted it for the first time. 

It definitely had a bold flavour. Rich but not too heavy either. The burst of flavours as an expresso made it hard for me to detect the subtlety of different tasting notes apart from a nutty earthiness. Drinking it this way is not the best but it still produced a solid cup of coffee.

As a larger shot of coffee the House Blend tasted better. The taste was still rich but noticeably smother. Again it tasted much more earthy when drunk without milk and much of the toffee flavour is hidden.

Tasting it with milk.

I drunk the coffee this time as a latte but most of the taste was masked. It tasted neither overly sweet or sour and I struggled to taste much of anything other than a faint hint of cocoa. The drink did taste much sweeter than before but the weak tasting notes really do make it a less suitable choice as a latte for many people.

In my experience it is better to go for expresso or ristretto coffee pods rather than than lungos (larger coffee shots) for latte drinks. However, not everyone likes a strong taste of coffee and so it depends on your preference.

I decided to use a smaller cup with less milk next time to see how that affected the taste.

Using less milk brought out the out the taste much more. First the nuttiness hit me and then I detected a sweet aftertaste. I struggled to notice any toffee flavour other than the taste of cocoa but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.

I did also try a double shot of coffee and this made the drink much richer but it did not strike me as the most economical use of coffee.

Who is this coffee good for?

If you want a smooth black coffee then this is a really good option. I have not yet tasted a Starbucks Nespresso brand that tastes as strong as store bought coffee and this one is no different so bear that in mind before buying this.

If you only want a little bit of milk in your coffee then this is where the tasting notes really shine. The lingering aftertaste is nice and sweet.

Who is this coffee not for?

You may have to use more than one Nespresso pod in your coffee if you like milky drinks. Buying Nespresso pods with a stronger taste would probably be a more cost efficient way of getting more flavour in your coffee.

If you like a powerful tasting black coffee then you may want to considering going for a different roast. The House Blend is a medium roast. What this means is that the flavours tend to be a more mellow balance of different flavours. A darker roast tends to give you a much richer flavour but less rounded as the tasting notes are much stronger.

What is in Starbucks House blend? Where is it from?

This coffee is a mixture of different coffee beans sourced from Latin America. Like many Nespresso pods they are made by grinding the coffee beans and sealing them in the aluminium capsules to preserve their freshness. Starbucks does not specify exactly where these coffee beans are sourced. They have been selected to create the tasting notes of nuts and toffee as advertised.

Is Starbucks discontinuing House Blend?

According to reports on the web, Starbucks discontinued its House Blend sometime ago. However, here in the UK this brand is still available to buy online as Nespresso pods and looks to be that way for the foreseeable future.

How much caffeine is in the Starbucks House blend? Is it strong?

This is not stated unfortunately and in terms of taste you will find stronger coffee pods elsewhere. It definitely contains caffeine though.

How does Starbucks House Blend coffee work?

Coffee blends are created from a mixture of different coffee beans specifically for a particular flavour that is created when the coffee is ground and then brewed. In this case, milk brings out the cocoa notes more as it interacts with the coffee compounds. When drunk black the nutty tasting notes are much stronger and the cocoa notes are not as easily detectable. I would say that this coffee has been designed with milk drinkers in mind although it is fine to drink either way.

Is Starbucks House Blend the same as Pike Place?

Both of these brands are different coffees selected from different blends. However, they are both coffee blends from Latin America and give you a similar mellow flavour. It is hard to recommend one over the other as they do taste fairly similar and it will come down to what you are looking for in a coffee. Check out my review of the Pike Place coffee pods if you want to compare the two.

Nespresso, what is it?: The perfect guide for 2021

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You may be looking for a machine to make great coffee at home but be put off the price of expensive coffee makers. Maybe you do not have the time taking ages to make one. Nespresso is a very popular type of coffee that attempts to solve these problems. Read further to find out why you should buy a Nespresso machine. Or why you may want to try an alternative option.

What is a Nespresso? Is it just coffee?

There are so many options for making a coffee that it can get confusing at times. Each method has its own trade offs so it depends on what you are looking for in a coffee. First I will explain what a Nespresso is and then I will break down the pros and cons so you can decide what it is right for you.

What is it?

A Nespresso machine is a coffee maker that utilises ‘coffee pods’ to make a drink that attempts to mimic an expresso shot. The coffees themselves are capsules with coffee inside of them. All you have to do to make coffee is put one of these inside the machine and press a button. Making one of these coffees is simple and quick.

Convenience.

There is no getting around the fact the Nespresso machines are a super convenient. Making a coffee usually takes no more than a minute. Unlike other coffee makers you do not have to worry about brew times or coffee grind sizes. Clean up is super easy compared to most coffee machines.

Taste.

The main trade off you will have to sacrifice is taste. If you are super serious about your coffee then then there is no denying that Nespresso pods probably will not compare to the best coffee beans.

For many people this may not matter as Nespressos still make a decent cup of coffee. If you have milk or sugar with your coffee you may not notice the difference at all. They are usually much better than instant coffees.

Cost.

Some Nespresso pods may seem fairly pricey depending on where you look but this depends on your perspective.

Another benefit of getting a Nespresso machine is that they mimic the foamy shot of coffee you can get with an expresso. Many also come with milk frothers if you like drinking lattes. Nespresso can provide a similar style of coffee to espressos but at a fraction of the cost of getting a proper expresso machine.

If you usually buy store bought coffee then you will save a lot more money by making your coffees with this machine at home.

Ultimately you are paying for convenience but at a cheaper cost than the initial outlay of an expensive coffee machine that requires ongoing maintenance.

Control.

If you decide that you did not want to make any compromises on taste then you may not have read this far but I will dig a little deeper into this topic to discuss another important trade off.

The beauty of using many coffee makers that use coffee beans is the degree to which you able to control the variables. At home I have a French press coffee maker and a coffee grinder.

Not only am I able to control the grind size of the coffee beans but I can also decide what temperature I want to brew the coffee at, the brew time and so on. All of these factors can affect the taste of the coffee.

Contrast this with a Nespresso machine where you have no control over anything apart from pressing a button. What you taste is what you get and you may have to shop around until you find the right coffee for you.

How does a Nespresso coffee machine work?

Nespresso machines are a cinch. In case you are curious, here are the 6 essential steps to making a Nespresso coffee. Making a coffee is so simple that you should be done in no more than a couple of minutes:

How to make a Nespresso coffee:

Step 1: Put your coffee in front of the machine underneath where the coffee comes out.

Step 2: Grab your coffee pods.

Step 3: Open up the compartment where you can put your coffee pod inside. In the above picture this can simply be lifted up and then closed after you have placed the capsule.

Step 4: Press the button on your coffee maker to warm up the water.

Step 5: If you have milk with your coffee then you may want to use the milk froth compartment to give your coffee that foamy, latte style texture. Depending on your machine you may need to heat the milk beforehand. Skip this step if you drink your coffee black.

Step 6: Press the button to pour your coffee. The machine in the above picture has two buttons. One for an expresso and one for a lungo (larger volume of water).

Step 7: The machine will pour the coffee, giving you a drink that mimics an expresso at a fraction of the cost and effort.

Is a Nespresso real coffee?

This depends on what you mean by ‘real.’ Nespresso pods contain ground coffee so in that sense they are just as much coffee as anything else.

Standard advice regarding coffee is that the fresher the better and so in most cases this means grinding the coffee beans just before brewing the drink. Nespresso capsules attempt to get around this by being sealed airtight. This makes their ‘freshness’ last for longer but more processed compared to their whole coffee bean counterparts.

What is the difference in Nespresso pods?

The machines that produce them use pre-prepared shots of coffee that look like espresso shots and require a lot less effort to use so those are the main distinguishing features.

It is worth noting that there are other types of coffee pod machines available that can provide a similar cup of coffee such as Tassimo or Dolce Gusto to name a few. The main difference is that these pods are incompatible with each other. Other machines such as Dolce Gusto have a wider a range of different drinks such as tea. Nespresso tends to mainly specialise in coffees.   

Can I use Nespresso pods twice? Can they be reused?

Unfortunately most Nespresso pods are designed for single use only. A Nespresso pod has a lining that is punctured upon use. This renders the coffee pod useless for multiple goes. Drinking used Nespresso pods is essentially the same as drinking used coffee beans. If you do want to try it for yourself then prepare to be disappointed with the taste.

Alternatively you can buy re-useable coffee pods. They are usually made of stainless steel. Instead of having your coffee pre-filled you put your own ground coffee inside of them. In some ways this defeats one of the main attractions to buying a Nespresso machine (convenience). To save on time you could pre-fill several coffee pods in advance if you are interested in this option.

Which coffee pods fit Nespresso machines

There are loads of different coffee pods that are able to fit Nespresso makers. The important thing to check before you buy is to make sure they are ‘Nespresso compatible.’ There are different types of pod machines and not all of them are compatible so if you see pods that are for Dulce Gusto or Tassimo then these will not work. Nespresso themselves supply their own range and they have a wide of coffees available. Alternatively there are plenty of Nespresso compatible options if you do not like what Nespresso themselves sell.

Are Nespresso pods filtered?

No. Nespresso machines are similar to Expresso makers in that they use high pressure on the coffee pods to make a concentrated shot of coffee. This is in contrast to other coffees that use filters and do not require the same kind of high pressure. Take this coffee maker for example:

Ground coffee is placed at the top. Water is then poured in. The filter separates the ground coffee granules and at the end you are left with a tasty hot drink after the coffee has dripped through.

By contrast, a Nespresso machine works by heating up its water tank. Once the water is heated, a hole is punctured through the coffee pod and hot water is poured through. The result is an expresso style shot of coffee.

Why is Nespresso so foamy?

It mimics that espresso ‘look’ by using pressure to release the coffee from the capsule. This pressure creates the foamy effect that mimics what you see in expresso shots. The reason this happens is that this high pressure creates an interaction between the ground coffee and the water, which creates bubbles caused by carbon dioxide.

Why are Nespresso pods so expensive?

This depends on what you are comparing Nespresso pods to. Compared to coffee beans, Nespresso pods are highly processed. The coffee is ground, placed into capsules and sealed. This process is added labour and machinery on top of sourcing the coffee itself. However, Nespresso pods are still considerably cheaper than store bought coffee and could save you a considerable amount if you bought them instead. I you are looking for alternatives to Nespresso branded pods there are plenty of ‘Nespresso compatible’ pods out there.

Is Nespresso worth the money? What is so great about it?

In order to know this you need to assess what your motivations are for buying a Nespresso machine. If you want to control every aspect of your coffee then you would be better off buying a coffee maker where you can utilise fresh coffee beans.

Nespresso machines are quick and easy to use. They are also cheaper to buy than top end expresso machines although the taste of Nespresso coffees are usually not as good.

Is Nespresso stronger than coffee?

Nespresso capsules contain coffee and it depends on what you mean by strong. In terms of caffeine strength this will be variable depending on what coffee capsules you choose to buy as they all come with different coffee strengths. Unlike coffee beans you do not get to choose how much coffee is in each capsule. You could get around this by using more than one capsule if you wanted a stronger coffee although this would be more costly.

In terms of flavour you can definitely get a bold taste with some Nespresso capsules. In general however, you are more likely to be able to taste richer flavours by drinking coffee made from fresh coffee beans.

What does Lungo mean?

‘Lungo’ is Italian for ‘long.’ In the context of coffee this simply means a longer shot of coffee than an expresso shot. The recommended amount of water for this type of coffee is 100ml if you prefer drinking coffee this way.

Do Nespresso pods have sugar in them?

Your average Nespresso pod will just have ground coffee in them and so you would have to manually add sugar yourself. Alternatively, you could buy flavoured shots of coffee that do contain sugar in them and so it depends on what you buy.

Starbucks Pike Place Coffee: Is it really any good?

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Fed up of drinking overly strong coffee? Sometimes you just want to drink a smooth drink that does not overpower you. Starbucks Pike Place Nespresso coffee pods attempt to do just this. Find out what makes this drink a solid coffee and what makes it not so great.

Coffee: Starbucks Pike Place Roast Pods

Overall Score: 3/5.

Tasting notes:

Chocolate and nuts.

Pros:

  • Smooth when drunk as a lungo (larger) coffee.
  • Light and refreshing with milk.

Cons:

  • Not for strong coffee drinkers.
  • Advertised tasting notes harder to detect than some other coffees.

The pods themselves are a green colour and the capsules are made of aluminium, which as I have noted on previous coffee reviews of other Starbucks capsules is used to lock in the freshness of the coffee.

Drinking Starbucks Pike Place Coffee black:

I did not detect more than a faint, earthy aroma when putting the coffee to my lips for the first time. The coffee is a medium roast and has clearly been designed as a drink for people looking for a Nespresso pod that is less bold in flavour.

Despite being a lungo (larger coffee shot) I tried the coffee as an expresso first. Sometimes it is worth trying a coffee in a way different to how it has been advertised to see how flexible it is. In this case I would not recommend using this coffee as an expresso shot. The drink definitely had a more powerful, earthy taste but I had difficulty in detecting what tasting notes I experienced as the aftertaste was quite sharp. This is not really much of a criticism though as the drink was not advertised to be used in this way.

Luckily, the drink is much better when drunk as a lungo. The coffee tastes noticeably smoother and I detected a rich, earthy and almost nutty flavour. I could not really taste much of the cocoa apart from a hint of dark chocolate at the end. It really did not taste that imposing and went down easily.

This drink is more complex than some other Starbucks coffees but you may want to select a different Nespresso pod if tasting different flavours is more important to you. It did not wow me with bold array of tasting notes and it is not a coffee I would use on special occasions as I really had to concentrate hard to notice the different flavours.

Drinking it with milk:

Again the aroma was mild but this time I detected something much sweeter and less earthy. It has less flavour when drunk this way but this is not necessarily a bad thing depending on what you look for in a coffee. When I buy lungo coffees I usually expect them to have less boldness in flavour and this one was no exception.

The chocolate tasting notes come through more but this is no more than a hint of milk chocolate after swallowing the coffee. It is very smooth and I could easily have drunk a few of these without wanting to grab a drink of water to quench my thirst.

The aftertaste of this coffee definitely lingers for a while and tastes like I have eaten several chocolates. I could not taste much of the nutty notes as advertised when drinking it with milk.

Is Starbucks Pike Place good?

This coffee works best as smooth lungo drink without milk. Its smoothness transfers well when used with milk and works great this way for people that do not like a strong coffee.

If you are new to drinking black coffee and have not yet acquired yourself to the test then this is a solid choice.

If you like detecting different flavours in your coffee depending on how it is drunk then it is not too bad for this either despite its subtler taste.

All in all these Nespresso pods are a solid choice of regular coffee pods if any of the above applies to you.

What is this coffee not good for?

I would choose a different coffee if you just want to drink expresso style shots as there are much better alternatives out there.

If you like your coffee strong you may be disappointed with the weakness of the flavour, especially when drunk with milk. The taste is very pleasant but store bought Starbucks coffee tastes much stronger than this. In general, there are many different Nespresso compatible pods that provide a much bolder flavour than this particular choice.

What is Pike Place?

Pike Placed is advertised as being a well-rounded blend of coffees from Latin America. As opposed to single origin coffees (sourced from one place), this coffee uses a mixture of coffee beans to give off its nutty and chocolate tasting notes. Blends are often chosen for how they taste when used with milk, which is probably why nutty notes are more prevalent when drunk black and the chocolatey notes are more obvious when drunk with milk.

What kind of roast is Pike Place?

This coffee is a medium roast. As a general rule, medium roasts tend to give more lighter flavours than darker roasts which tend to give off richer and darker tasting notes.

How much caffeine is in Starbucks Pike Place?

Like other Starbucks Nespresso pods this is not listed unfortunately. It does depend on what you mean by the caffeine content. This coffee definitely gives you a hit of caffeine to keep you awake but if you mean flavour then there is wide variety of Nespresso pods that will give you a bolder hit.