Nespresso Roma review: Top reasons to buy this coffee.

The Nespresso ‘Ispirazione’ Roma coffee pods are popular among Nespresso users. They have been designed to kick your taste buds into life with a strong flavour but be smooth enough so that they don’t make you want to reach for the tap to quench your first. So do they do the job? Well in a nutshell, yes. But it depends what you want from a coffee. Read more of my Nespresso Roma review to find out more.

Continue reading “Nespresso Roma review: Top reasons to buy this coffee.”

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 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.


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


  • 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


  • 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. 

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.

Strangers Coffee review: how good is it?

Norwich is a small city in a the East of England with an interesting history. It’s a place of many shops. A city with one of the most filmed streets in the UK. And did you know that it’s a UNESCO City of Literature? It’s also a place full of wonderful coffee roasters and shops. One such place is Strangers Coffee. They kindly gave me a batch of their Colombian Solidario in exchange for an honest strangers coffee review.   

Continue reading “Strangers Coffee review: how good is it?”

Nespresso Cosi review: things to check before you buy.

Nespresso Cosi review

Nespresso Cosi capsules is described as ‘mild and delicately toasted.’ Essentially it’s a light roasted coffee blend designed to give you a more subtle but pleasing taste. If that sounds like something you may enjoy then check out the my detailed Nespresso Cosi review. But depending on how you like your coffee this could be a love or hate relationship.


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Nespresso Cosi review summary:

A fantastic tasting coffee when drunk with milk but black coffee, lungo or stronger tasting coffee drinkers may want to look elsewhere.

Score: 3/5.

Flavour: Lightly toasted cereal and fruity notes.

The full Nespresso Cosi review.

Is this an average coffee given that I have only given it 3/5? Well that depends on how you drink your coffee.

In some ways this is a truly excellent drink. But in many others it did not prove itself to be that versatile either. In fact, depending on how you like your coffee you may consider it a 5/5 or a 1/5. Let’s have a look to see how the coffee tasted when drinking it black.

Drinking the Nespresso Cosi black.

The first thing that hits you is the aroma. The smell is not overpowering but it is distinctively nutty and earthy. When putting the coffee to my lips as an espresso it tasted consistent with what I imagined when first smelling the coffee.

I felt somewhat disappointed when tasting it however. As an espresso I detected a citrusy kick when tasting it but the flavour seemed to lack definition. I struggled to detect any defining tasting notes this way and noticed more of a sour flavour that lingered with me instead.

Upon swallowing the coffee I needed a glass of water to quench my thirst. Despite being advertised as a ‘mild’ coffee its slightly bitter aftertaste made me need more refreshment..

I would not try this coffee if you prefer lungos (larger coffee shots). When used this way it became almost flavourless apart from an uncomfortably bitter and watery mess that made me want to reach for the sink and pour the coffee down it.

Drinking this coffee with milk is where it shines.

If you have read this far you may be wondering whether this coffee deserves any kind of decent rating at all but that is far from the truth. I fact, drinking this coffee with milk (especially if you like it really milky) makes it taste considerably better.

Those advertised ‘cereal’ and ‘fruity’ notes suddenly become more noticeable. The coffee has a a gentle but satisfying citrusy acidity to it and is pleasingly sweet.

What I like most about this coffee is how light and refreshing it tastes when drunk this way. Milk will change the complexion of any coffee but unlike a darker roast you won’t get any bittersweet or overpowering flavours.

Unlike some lighter roasts the flavour is also definitely noticeable so you could say it is ‘middle of the road’ in that respect. A solid, everyday coffee.

Who should buy this coffee?

I think it should be fairly obvious by now who this drink is aimed at. I have knocked off points for versatility but since many people probably have milk with their coffee that probably won’t bother them anyway.

If I was just to judge the coffee on how well it tasted with milk, I would give it a 5/5. That is partially based on my subjective preference for how I like my coffee however, so read on for more.

Who won’t like this coffee?

Again it should be fairly obvious by now why I’ve marked this coffee down in certain areas and almost certainly it doesn’t work as a lungo (in my opinion) and something such as the Starbucks Pike Place coffee capsules may work better for you.

The Nespresso Cosi is not the worst drink if you like espressos so don’t get put off too much by my comments as it isn’t overly powerful or too bitter either. However, there are certainly smoother or more powerful coffees out there. To put it simply, there a better espresso style Nespresso coffees out there but it is not the worst either.

For a really powerful espresso flavour, you may prefer to look at something like Nespresso’s own Indonesia or India Master Origins capsules. If you prefer something a bit lighter then their Ethiopia pods may suit you better.

Lastly, whilst it tastes great with milk, some people prefer the bittersweet flavours of a darker roast where the flavour of the roast itself is more prominent (like many chain coffee shops). If this applies to you or you like your flavour to have a bit more ‘kick’ then you may find it too weak for your tastes.

Final thoughts.

By now I hope I have painted a clearer picture so that you have a better understanding as to whether this coffee is worth buying. I don’t think in any respect that it is a coffee that will blow your mind but it would make a really satisfying ‘latte’ style drink if that is what you are after.

And despite the negatives, this coffee will beat many ‘Nespresso alternatives’ out there on the market.

Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans review

You take that first sip of coffee but it takes horrible and spit it out. You did everything right but ended up buying dishwater. We’ve all been there. There are lots of dud coffees ready to be bought. How are Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans any different? Find out here in my in depth review.


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Coffee: Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans.

Score: 4/5

Tasting notes: nuts and dark chocolate.


  • Smooth and velvety.
  • Little bitterness.
  • Tastes great with milk.


  • Not the strongest flavour.
  • Average when drunk without milk.

The verdict.

Taylors of Harrogate have many different types of coffees within their range from coffee bags to ground coffee. In many respects, this drink is very similar to the coffee bag version that shares the same name as the coffee beans I am reviewing today.

Some of the flaws in that drink are largely the same with this coffee. However, upgrading to coffee beans also makes in better in other respects.

Drinking the Rich Italian without milk.

Like most of my reviews for coffee beans I used a French press. I detected a subtle, nutty aroma after I poured the hot water in and then eventually put the coffee to my lips.

The flavour is rich as the name suggests. Certainly a lot stronger in taste than the coffee bag version but not too rich that it is overpowering.

The coffee is a medium to light roast. I could not taste much in the way of the delicate or complex flavours that you would expect in a lighter roast coffee and yet it did not contain those bold, bittersweet flavours you get with darker roasts.

Upon drinking it I detected a medium body, meaning it left a reasonably heavy sensation in my mouth for quite some time. I felt like grabbing a glass of water to quench my thirst.

The coffee itself is very smooth although I did detect a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The flavour itself is nutty although this was subtle. I could not detect much else in terms of flavour apart from the roast itself.

Drinking this coffee with milk.

Much of the advertised flavours come from adding milk. I like to make latte style drinks at home so if this applies to you then this is where the coffee is strongest.

Adding milk makes it taste velvety smooth. It adds a sweetness to the flavour that brings out the subtle tasting note of dark chocolate and nuts more easily.

It is still medium bodied but it also tastes lighter and more refreshing. There is little to no bitterness and the aftertaste is much sweeter.

Using it as a cold brew.

There any many joys to making cold brew coffee and if you have not tried it yet, you may want to check out my article.

I usually use dark roasts when making coffee this way but the weather has been nice recently and I decided to try it out.

The coffee tastes even smoother when drunk this way. With milk it somehow tasted even more chocolatey.

How does it compare to the Rich Italian coffee bags?

I would definitely consider buying the coffee bean version over their coffee bags if taste is your main concern.

As I pointed out in my review, the coffee bags lack flavour unless you really take the time to squeeze the flavour out or use two coffee bags. Using coffee beans naturally makes the flavour taste fresher.

Naturally, using coffee bags are a lot more convenient and less mess is involved.

Who should buy this coffee?

This coffee really works if you like adding milk. There are better coffees out there if you really want to push the boat but this would work great if you are just looking for a simple, everyday drink.

You may want to consider choosing this also if you are considering switching to black coffee. The lack of acidity means it is not especially vibrant but on the flip side it is not that bitter either.

Who should look elsewhere?

Pick a darker roast if you want something more powerful to drink.

A good light roast will can give you fruity and vibrant flavours when drinking without milk. This coffee does not really do much on either of these fronts and there are better coffees out there that can do this.

In summary.

I hope this review has given you much more insight and clarity as to whether this coffee is worth buying. It is certainly not without some faults but it can also be a pleasure to drink depending on what you are looking for.

Taylors of Harrogate Decaf Coffee Bags: read this first.

These decaf coffee bags are designed to deliver the same flavour as any other coffee bag but with minimal caffeine. They are a one of the lightest roasts in their range too. But there a few things you need to be aware of. Check out my Taylors of Harrogate Decaf Coffee Bags review before you buy.


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Continue reading “Taylors of Harrogate Decaf Coffee Bags: read this first.”

Are Taylors of Harrogate Hot Lava coffee bags good?

Taylors of Harrogate coffee bags are a convenient alternative to making coffee and their Hot Lava bags are a dark roast designed to give you a rich hit of coffee with minimal effort. But does it shine or fall short? There are some important points about this coffee you need to aware of before you buy. So let me jump right into this Taylors of Harrogate Hot Lava coffee bags review so you can work out whether they are right for you.

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Harrogate Flying Start coffee bags: check this first.

Coffee bags are a great convenience but like any coffee they can be a mixed experience depending on what you buy. In my Harrogate Flying Start coffee bags review I am going to dissect what works with this coffee. By the end of this article you should have a good idea as to whether it is worth buying this coffee. Or whether it is not for you.

Continue reading “Harrogate Flying Start coffee bags: check this first.”

Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee bags review.

These Harrogate rich Italian roast coffee bags are made with lightly roasted coffee. They are supposed to give you a smoother flavour whilst still delivering a great taste. But if you have read this far you are probably wondering whether they are worth a purchase? There are a few important things you need to know so let’s jump in and read my Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee bags review.

Continue reading “Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee bags review.”

Nespresso Indonesia Review: a closer look.

Looking at buying the Master Origins Indonesia Capsules? The coffee inside of these pods are made with a process that is unique to the farmers that produce it. But how does it taste? Have a look at my Nespresso Indonesia review to get more in depth information from someone that has tasted them firsthand. I point out where this coffee falls short and where it really works well.

Continue reading “Nespresso Indonesia Review: a closer look.”

The only Nespresso Nicaragua review you need.

The Nicaragua Master Origins is described as a ‘black honey’ processed coffee which the manufacturer claims gives it a smooth texture with sweet tasting notes. But does the drink live up to these claims and is it worth a purchase? In my opinion this drink is decent in some areas but falls short in others. Read my Nespresso Nicaragua review to find out more.

Continue reading “The only Nespresso Nicaragua review you need.”

Nespresso India Capsules Review: The Definitive Guide.

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You may have looked at the India Master Origin Nespresso pods but are hesitating to make a purchase. If you are wondering what makes this different to other pods then check out my Nespresso India capsules review. I have thoroughly tested what makes this coffee distinctive and I discussed what makes it good. And some bad points too.

Coffee: Master Origin Indian With Robusta Monsoon.

Overall score: 2/5

Tasting notes: 

Woody and spicy.


  • Solid choice for power coffee drinkers.


  • Will be too intense for many people.
  • Sharp aftertaste.
  • Slightly flat taste when drunk with milk.


This coffee is for people that like their caffeine hits powerful, uncomplicated and overwhelming. If you like a rich and intense coffee then this could be for you. If not then let me explain why you might be better off choosing something else.

Nespresso India Capsules and box.

Drinking the Nespresso India without milk.

Without paying much to the wording on the side of the packet I could tell that this coffee was a dark roast. Its rich smell hits you when you put the cup to your nose. This coffee has an earthy aroma that is pretty hard to ignore.

I drunk this coffee as an espresso shot first and it took a while to download what I tasted. It is strong bodied, which meant that the taste of the coffee leaves quite a heavy taste in the mouth that lingers for some time. 

Whilst not myself as much of a fan of these types of roasts, the coffee tastes more bitter than I am usually accustomed to. This could be due to the fact that this is a blend of coffee from India that includes robusta beans. These are known for often having harsher flavours and a higher caffeine content. It could also be due to being over roasted although I was able to detect its advertised tasting notes.

Drinking the Nespresso India Master Origin as a lungo (longer drink) did smooth over some of its sharper edges although it still tasted fairly harsh.

As a black coffee the drink has a very earthy taste. It is definitely spiced with a kick of what I could only describe as a strong, smoked wood flavour. The harsh aftertaste does tend to overpower these tasting notes however.

Drinking the Nespresso India with milk.

Unsurprisingly this drink is smoother when paired with milk as the natural sweetness of the milk counteracts the harsh edges of the coffee flavour. It has a gently spiced aroma that is more subtle and does not hit you in the nostrils as much.

This drink has a low acidity and drinking it with milk makes it obvious how flat this coffee is without the richness of the black coffee flavour overpowering your tastebuds. A desirable acidity can really make coffee taste good. Kind of like how the acidity of a fruit can make it taste really sweet and appetising. I struggled to detect much of anything when adding milk other than a very subtle spiciness and the heavy body of the coffee. 

Having said all of this these points do not make it a bad choice if you like drinking your coffee this way. If you usually add milk and like a powerful coffee hit then it could be a good choice.

Who is this drink for?

This drink is for people that do not like a subtle taste with their coffee. If you like a rich and harsh taste with your morning fix then this is right up your alley.

If you are not put off by this and you like the sound of its smokey and spiced tasting notes then consider this a solid choice of Nespresso pod.

Who is this drink not for?

I would pick a coffee that uses a lighter roast if you are put off by my description of its bolder flavours. If you are looking for a more mellow tasting coffee, check out my review of the Starbucks Espresso Blonde roast.

I definitely would not choose this if I were new to drinking black coffee. If you have previously put off drinking coffee without milk and are trying to make the switch, the richness of the Nespresso India’s flavours would probably be too much for most people.

If you are a milk coffee drinker but prefer sweet tasting notes or a refreshing feel then you are better off picking an alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Nespresso coffee good quality?

That depends on what you compare it to. A Nespresso will not give you the same control over your coffee or the quality that comes with using fresh whole coffee beans but it can still make a decent cup of coffee.

There are many Nespresso capsules on the market to suit everyone’s taste and the capsules themselves are sealed to lock the freshness of the coffee in for longer.

That being said, they do not taste as good as freshly roasted coffee beans. I use both a Nespresso machine and a French Press and have Nespresso coffees in the morning mainly for convenience.

If you have milk in your coffee you may not notice as much of a difference in taste anyway. Ultimately it comes down to subjective taste and there are many people that love Nespresso coffees. Check out my Nespresso guide if you still not are not sure.

Is Nespresso better than Starbucks?

If we are just comparing apples to apples then in my personal opinion I prefer Nespresso capsules to most Starbucks ones although they are made by the same company and taste can be subjective.

Generally speaking I find Nespresso capsules to be stronger and there is less choice with the Starbucks ones. Having said that there are some good Starbucks capsules you can buy. Have a look at my detailed overview if you want to know more about the best Starbucks Nespresso capsules you can buy.

Starbucks Nespresso Capsules Review: A detailed look.

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Interested in buying Starbucks pods for your Nespresso machine but do not know which ones to choose? I have thoroughly tried all of the capsules so that you do not have to. Check out my Starbucks Nespresso capsules review of all the best ones below.

Best Starbucks pods all rounder:

Winner: Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast.

The Starbucks Blonde Roast is a mellow tasting coffee that will probably satisfy most people except for the strongest of coffee drinkers or people that drink lungos (long coffees) without milk.

It has a pleasingly fruity acidity when drunk as an espresso shot and and has a subtle but sweet taste when drunk with milk. It is smooth to drink and is light bodied with a gentle aftertaste. 

The Blonde Roast is also an excellent choice for those transitioning to black coffee.

Read the full review:

Starbucks Blonde Espresso guide.

Best Nespresso Starbucks for espresso shots:

Winner: Starbucks House Blend.

In many ways the House Blend is similar to the Blonde Roast but it is with espresso shots where it really shines.

It is a smooth and well rounded coffee with toffee tasting notes although I could really only taste these when drunk with milk. Drinking it without milk gives the coffee an earthy and well balanced flavour.

Power coffee drinkers may again find this too weak and may have to end up using two shots for their drinks.

Read the full review:

The Starbucks House Blend for Nespresso.

Best for Lungo coffee shots:

Winner: Starbucks Pike Place

The Pike Place Nespresso pods are a solid choice if you want a larger black coffee without milk. When drinking this coffee black you will notice a rich, earthy but balanced flavour. The taste does not overwhelm you either.

The flavour of this drink is very weak when paired with milk and does not work as well when used as an espresso shot so bear this in mind when considering this option.

Read the full review:

Pike Place Starbucks Nespresso pods.

Best with milk:

Winner: Starbucks Colombian Roast and Espresso Roast.

I have gone for two options here for milk drinkers depending on what your coffee preferences are.

The Colombian Roast is another smooth and balanced coffee drink and this time comes with subtle tasting nutty notes. It leaves you with a lasting and pleasant aftertaste but may not be strong enough for some people.

If you prefer a more heavy bodied and stronger taste then you may want to consider the Starbucks Espresso Roast instead. The aftertaste is significantly stronger too and the richness of its flavour really does show itself even with milk.

Read the full review:

The Starbucks Colombian Roast review.

Read the full review:

Starbucks Espresso Roast full guide.

Best for power coffee drinkers.

Winner: Espresso Roast.

The Espresso Roast is definitely the strongest coffee in the Nespresso range and is a like it or love it type of drink. This is a dark roast with a rich, one note flavour designed to blast your taste buds. 

Its flavour is very intense when drunk as an espresso shot and little of this flavour is diminished when drunk with milk although doing this does make it taste a lot smoother.

The intensity of this drink may put some people off, especially when drunk without milk however.

Read the full review:

Starbucks Espresso Roast full guide.

Best mellow coffee drink.

Winner: Starbucks Caffé Verona and Blonde Roast.

If you want to taste less coffee in your drink then the Caffe Verona is a good option. It is very smooth when drunk as a lungo and is very subtle with milk. 

The major drawback of this coffee is that it does not work as well as an espresso shot and I found it harder to detect some of its advertised tasting notes. Some people that are used to trying other Nespresso pods may find the flavour too weak and end up using more than one coffee shot.

As previously mentioned earlier, the Blonde Roast is a lovely and versatile drink that gives you complex flavours that do not destroy your tastebuds. 

Read the full review:

The Starbucks Verona Guide

Read the full review:

The Starbucks Blonde Roast review.

Best decaf option.

Winner: Starbucks Espresso Roast Decaf.

This drink is the decaf version of the Espresso Roast. 

Despite being decaf this does not diminish the intensity of its flavour so be prepared to adjust your tastebuds if you are not used to drinking powerful, dark roast coffees. As with the Espresso Roast option it tastes a lot smoother with milk although it does leave a strong aftertaste.

Given that the drink is very similar to the Espresso, many of the pros and cons I have already addressed there are the same.

Read the full review:

Starbucks Decaf Nespresso review.

Best value for money.

If you are still not sure as to which coffee to get or like to have a variety of flavours then getting a variety pack could be your best bet. They are often cheaper than buying the packs individually and allow you to try a range of coffee pods within the Starbucks Nespresso range. 

Check out this range of coffee pods below if you want to get a collection of coffee pods instead.

What is the best Starbucks Nespresso Capsule?

If by the best you mean the one that is the highest quality it depends on what you are looking for in a coffee as each capsule in the Starbucks range serves a specific purpose. I would say that the Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast comes out on top. It is a pleasingly smooth espresso shot and despite its mellow flavour is well balanced with complex tasting notes. 

The Espresso Roast comes out on top if you want a powerful coffee.

Are Starbucks pods good? 

Having drunk many Starbucks Nespresso pods I can confirm that they are not quite as good as their store bought coffee but they do make a solid choice of coffee for a drink at home. They compare well against other Nespresso coffees although I found that all of them apart from the Espresso Roast (standard and decaf) tasted weaker in comparison. This did not necessarily detract from the overall experience from drinking these coffees however.

Are Starbucks capsules made by Nespresso?

Yes that is correct. Despite being branded as Starbucks coffee pods they are in fact made by Nespresso themselves. They do taste like Starbucks coffees although you will always get the best coffee by buying direct from one of their cafes.

It’s time to change your daily coffee routine.

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You are probably reading this because you are either curious about other peoples’ daily coffee routines or want to change your own. Do not worry. We have all been there. Wondering as to whether this regular habit of ours is healthy or slowly killing you inside. Today I will help you assess whether you have bad coffee habits and how to reinvigorate your daily coffee routine.

What is a bad daily coffee routine?

Well there really is no right or wrong answer to this. If you are reading this you probably have a good idea already. When talking about bad habits I am not talking about whether or not drinking coffee is healthy for you, although there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is in many ways.

Ask yourself whether drinking coffee is something you trying like doing or is something that hinders you as a person. We all have habits. The question is which ones you have are good or not. You might not care either way and that is ok too. But if is something that you suspect you might have to give up to have a better life, consider whether there is some way of reinvigorating your relationship with coffee first.

The bad habit checklist.

James Clear is the author of ‘Atomic Habits‘ and he wrote a really good article on how habits form plus how to change them. Rather than cover the same ground I have created a checklist that will hopefully help you assess whether or not you really think your daily coffee routine is bad for you or not.

Get yourself a pen and a piece of paper. Answer these questions honestly. Try not to think too much about your answers until you have finished.

  • Is your habit automatic? 
  • Do you ever stop and think about the coffee you are drinking?
  • How often do you notice different changes in taste when drinking coffees?
  • Is coffee a means to an end?
  • Do you truly enjoy drinking coffee?

Try tracking your daily coffee use to see if that helps you to identify any emerging patterns here. There are no right or wrong answers and you may find that your answers to these questions could be yes or no depending on the situation. None of us are robots and our moods can vary depending on the situation. 

Have a think about your answers and assess whether you really enjoy your coffee as a good habit or whether you think it is something you should probably give up. Before you quit (unless it is for health reasons), have a look at these ideas to see if you can reset your relationship with coffee. 

Practice gratitude.

Evidence suggests that practising acts of gratitude on a regular basis improves your mental health. Before you gulp down your coffee without thinking, why not turn the whole process of drinking coffee into an act of gratitude?

Sit in a quiet place with the coffee cupped in your hands. Think about the destination of how the coffee made its way into the cup in your hands. All the people that harvested the beans. The suppliers that roasted the coffee and the shop that sold you the beans. Think about all the great things you have to be grateful for. No matter how small.

This exercise does not have to be restricted to just coffee. In fact you can do for pretty much anything you want. The key thing here is to reorient your coffee habit towards something more reflective and peaceful. 

Keeping a journal and doing this exercise at least once a week will help you make the most out of this exercise. You may end up finding that there are more reasons to be grateful for coffee than you knew existed.

Learn how to make your daily coffee routine something to be grateful for.

Learn how to taste coffee.

Learning how to taste coffee is a great experience and makes you really appreciate the difference nuances between different coffee beans, brewing methods and roasts. The next time you make a cup of coffee, asking yourself some questions:

  • What kind of acidity does the coffee have? A coffee with a desirable acidity may make the coffee taste sweet and vibrant. Kind of like the different tastes you get from a fruit. An undesirable acidity may make the coffee bitter and astringent. A coffee with very low acidity often tastes very flat and uninteresting.
  • What is the mouthfeel of the coffee? Does the taste feel heavy and stay with you or does it feel light and refreshing?
  • Is the coffee rich and one note with a singular flavour or is it mellow with a complex array of different flavours?
  • What tasting notes can you detect whilst drinking the coffee?
  • What is the coffee aroma? The aroma is the combination of the fragrance and the taste of the coffee.

There are lots of different variables that can impact your coffee taste from brewing to the coffee roast and a whole host of other factors.

The more you understand coffee tasting the better you will get at appreciating its nuances and subtle flavours.

Practice Mindfulness.

Mindfulness, or being present in the current moment, has been associated with many positive benefits when it comes to mental wellbeing. If you are not familiar with mindfulness or other forms of meditation, make yourself a cup of coffee and give the following exercise a try.

Sit down in a quiet place where you are not likely to be disturbed and set aside ten minutes of your time. Close your eyes and hold the cup of coffee in your hands. How does the warmth of the coffee feel in your hands? Try to keep your focus on this. If any thoughts pop into your mind, simply acknowledge them and then let go of them rather than trying to force yourself not to have any.

Switch your attention to your other sensations but keep your eyes closed. What can you hear around you? How does you body feel sitting on your chair?

Open your eyes. Take in your surroundings whilst keeping your focus on the warmth of the coffee, the background noises and the feeling of the chair. Bring the coffee close to you and breath in its fragrant aroma. 

What does it smell like? You may wish to combine this with the coffee tasting exercise above. Take a note of how the coffee tastes. How does it make you feel? Take in some slow, deep breaths and try to enjoy the experience. Make your coffee routine a time for peacefulness and serenity. Doing this in the morning in a garden or park is a great way to start the day.

Change up your coffee.

I am not just talking about about switching up your coffee roasts. Maybe you are used to using a coffee machine and are getting bored with the same routine. Why not switch it up a little? If you are new to speciality coffee, get yourself a French press or an alternative coffee maker along with a decent burr grinder. Learning new ways to make coffee is a satisfying experience. Especially if you are usually used to just drinking instant or using coffee makes such as Nespresso machines.

Why not try making cold brew coffee instead of rushing for the kettle next time? I love having control over all the different variables that go into making a great drink. And it is great fun to be able to try a host of different coffee recipes.

Associate coffee with positivity.

Are you a positive person? Well it does not matter too much as neither am I. But that does not mean that you do not do things that you do not associate as positive in your life. 

Pick something you enjoy doing. Personally I like nothing more than to sit down in a quiet room and listen to some music whilst I browse the internet. I make a coffee in anticipation of doing this and it has become a habit I really enjoy and look forward to.

Some people are more social. In that case, make your coffee habit a time for drinking and chatting with friends.

If you do this enough times, you are beginning to associate your coffee drinking habit with something you enjoy. 

Your alternative daily coffee routine.

You do not have to take up all of these ideas at once but try out ones that speak to you. You may even wish to combine some of them at the same time. 

Maybe instead of getting up late you get up a little earlier and have some quiet time with your cup of coffee. Instead of drinking several cups mindlessly while you work, maybe you could take five minutes away from your desk and listen to to some music with your favourite drink instead.

We live in a crazy world with tonnes of information being thrown at us left right and centre. Sometimes enjoying something is more about changing how you do your daily daily rituals rather than doing something else instead. 

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.


  • 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. 


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


  • 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.


Strong flavour for bold coffee drinkers.

Bold but smooth when used with milk.


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.