December 16, 2009

Review: Nespresso Variations 2009 Ginger, Apricot, and Chesnut Cream Coffee Capsules

Review Single Serve CoffeeVariations_2009_Collection.jpg

As Nespresso Club members are aware, each year around this time marks the release of 3 flavored espresso varieties known as the Nespresso "Variations" collection. These flavors are available for a limited time only and once Nespresso stops selling them, that's it... they're gone until further notice, sometimes never to be seen again. So we decided to order a bunch this year, and try and review them before they're gone.

This year's flavors are apricot, chestnut cream & gingerbread. The coffee base for each flavor is the Livanto capsule which ranks in at a strength of 6 on the packaging sleeves. We have to admit, we went into this order thinking that we'd only love 1 flavor while hating another & "maybe" liking the 3rd. Little did we know how surprised we'd be by what would emerge as our favorite & least favorite flavors of the bunch.

Apricot - This is the flavor we thought we'd end up hating. Gentle aromas of juicy apricots filled the room as we brewed our first cup. Glad to see the scent was spot-on. The initial flavor was right up there as well with luscious apricot/peach floral notes which were sweet but not overbearing. A nice pairing which allows the notes of the Livanto coffee to mingle through. Very faint hints of honey & cereal notes on the finish. Not quite sure how this flavor would hold up in a latte as we fear the milk might wash things out too much. Taken straight black, this is a superb flavor which we wouldn't mind drinking on a daily basis. In general, if you like the taste of peaches, you'll like this. We've had peach-flavored K-Cups in the past, but as expected, this blows them away. What we thought would be our worst turned out to be our favorite. Amazing.

Brewing_Apricot.jpg

Chestnut Cream - This is the flavor we were most looking forward to. We envisioned a lush creamy chestnut flavor with lots of nutty flavors throughout. What we got instead was a similar aroma, except the flavoring was a lot more muted than expected. This is probably the lightest flavor of the 3. We'd recommend adding only a splash of cream to your espresso shot for this one as the notes are quite delicate. Flavor is almost on the Amaretto side (hints of almonds perhaps?) with lightly sweetened cream or caramel notes underneath. We can only surmise that a double-shot in a lungo cup might help reveal more of this flavor's complexities hiding within.

Gingerbread - Wow... definitely the strongest flavor of the 3. We'll admit some of the staff here don't care for gingerbread (be it in cookie or bread format, etc) but not only did they find the aroma intense, the taste was even stronger. Those of us who like gingerbread LOVED this flavor as sweet ginger is in abundance & exploding out of the cup upon first sip. As for our other reviewers, they were unable to drink more than 1 cup. That got us thinking... maybe they'd be willing to try this flavor in a cappuccino? We dug out our trusty Aeroccino + and set about fixing a round of gingerbread cappuccinos for all. This helped mellow things out quite a bit & had the crew enjoying this flavor a LOT more. They noted that this also helped reveal notes of cinnamon in the finish although they didn't notice any honey or brown sugar as in Nespresso's description. There you have it... hate ginger? Prep this as a cappuccino or latte, love ginger? Tak'er black.

We've had many an espresso in our day, but this was the first time some of us had ever tried some that were based on flavored coffees instead of added flavor syrups. Based on what we've seen with this year's Variations capsules, we're truly impressed & are sure anyone who takes the jump towards purchasing a Nespresso machine for the holidays will be satisfied with their purchase. Needless to say the Variations 2009 collection is definitely worth a try for those who are curious & we can't wait to see which flavors Nespresso are planning for December 2010.

Nespresso Variations 2009 capsules are available for a limited time via Nespresso.com (or if you're lucky, via a local Nespresso Boutique retail shop). These tend to sell fast, so get yours while you still can. Pricing for each flavor is $6.20 USD or $6.80 CAD for a sleeve of 10.

You can also check out the official Nespresso Variations 2009 microsite here. Watch the movie and click on it when you see the respective items appear for each flavor (i.e. An apricot, piece of gingerbread, etc.) in order to "capture" the flavors and get a chance at winning a Nespresso Citiz machine.

The Nespresso Variations 2009 coffee capsules will work in your Nespresso CiTiZ, Nespresso D90, Nespresso Le Cube, Nespresso Romeo, Nespresso Lattissima, Nespresso C100T, and other Nespresso single serve coffee and espresso makers.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at December 16, 2009 7:47 AM

Recent Comments

I mistakenly bought the travel model of Nespresso, but the company has a policy in NOT sending the coffee capsules anywhere except your billing address! Therefore, I'm stuck with a machine with no way to use it since I'm unable to obtain the capsules until I return to home base. The machine is great but the company regulations are both impractical and unfriendly.


Posted by: Gary at January 7, 2010 12:12 PM

Not the best year for Variations! I did like the apricot flavor the best too, but the other two were only "eh." So far my favorites over the last couple of years have been Anise, Ginger, and Apple. My favorite flavor usually is the one I least expect to enjoy.


Posted by: Doug at December 17, 2009 12:38 PM
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