July 12, 2010

Review: Fratello Nicaraguan Los Placeres Single Serve Coffee Pods

Review Single Serve Coffee


The latest batch of Fratello pods arrived from Calgary recently, and they don't disappoint! Quite the contrary. You'll find a great new micro-lot from Guatemala, the Guatemala Montecristo, as well as their superb Tanzania Songea Peaberry, which recently became the highest-rated coffee ever to be offered in pod form when Kenneth Davids gave its whole-bean equivalent a 94, and this coffee in whole bean form a 90. And you'd certainly be missing out if you overlooked Fratello's Nicaraguan Los Placeres, perhaps our favorite of them all and our focus in today's review.

With this pod Fratello continues its tradition of offering fantastic single-serve Nicaraguan coffees. Part of their secret seems to be keeping it in the family, so to speak. The Los Placeres Estate is run by the award-winning Mierisch family, who own other estates such as Limoncillo, Mama Mina, and Los Milagros from which coffee for highly regarded pods has been harvested in the past. If you favor a more direct connection to where your morning cup has come from than the big chain roasters can offer, i.e. coffee with a story, look no further.

In brief, Fratello has chosen two small lots of 100% Caturra from the Rainforest-Alliance-certified Los Placeres farm and had the beans processed in the pulped natural, or honey prep, style. This increasingly popular processing method supposedly lends extra body and sweetness to the resulting coffee (more on that in a moment). We're no experts, but the results speak for themselves.


Fresh out of the package, the pod's dry aroma is sweet and rich. In the cup, after a quick brew in our Grindmaster OPOD on the tea setting, we get a darker, deeper sweetness, as expected. In fact, Fratello's official description is pretty much right on according to our cupping notes: "...aromas of caramelized cherries and a delicate buttery body with flavors of milk chocolate and pecans and a clean grape acidity."

This medium-roast pod (officially Agtron 50, or Full City+) produces a very balanced cup with delicate acidity, plenty of body, and superior flavor. We find it has outstanding mouth feel as well and is smooth without verging into softness. As its Spanish name suggests, Los Placeres is a true pleasure to drink. Everything about this coffee quietly screams Quality.

  • Aroma - 9 - Sweet and rich.
  • Acidity - 10 - Pleasingly clean and delicate.
  • Body - 10 - Buttery, probably due in part to the processing method.
  • Flavor - 9 - Superior, with noticeable but subtle hints of chocolate, pecan, and cherry.
  • Mouth feel - 10 - Outstanding.
  • Coffee drinker - This pod should please just about anyone.

Overall rating: 96 - Excellent.

Fratello's Nicaraguan Los Placeres pod has been a big hit with forum members so far, and we strongly encourage you to give it a try while it's still in stock and at peak freshness.

Fratello Nicaraguan Los Placeres coffee pods will brew well in your Senseo, Grindmaster GPOD or OPOD, Bunn My Cafe, Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic, Cafe Invento, Melitta One:One, simplehuman, Krups 1010, Home Cafe, Melitta MES5B Javapod, Kienna Sun Cafe, and other single-serve coffee pod brewers.

Note: We purchased these coffee pods ourselves from the Coffee Artisan for this review. A special thanks to JV for the review.

Read how we review and rate single-serve coffee and other single-serve coffee beverages here.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 12, 2010 6:03 AM
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