May 14, 2012

Review: Nespresso Naora Limited Edition Coffee Capsules

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a Nespresso capsule review here at Single Serve Coffee, but with this latest Limited Edition dubbed Naora (a combination of the English word "now" with the Spanish equivalent of the same word "ahora"), we just couldn’t pass it up. This Grand Cru is truly unique in that it marks the first time Nespresso have deviated from the norm and applied techniques from an entirely different industry during the harvesting process. Instead of using usual methods, they worked in close collaboration with Colombian coffee growers and employed harvesting techniques usually found in vineyards during wine production.

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Instead of harvesting the coffee cherries the usual way, the growers used special equipment/meters to measure & closely monitor the sugar content of the coffee cherries until they reached a certain "sweet spot" or “butter zone” during the ripening process. This meant leaving the cherries ripen for a longer period or "late harvest" & once the desired moment was achieved, the cherries were harvested and processed. This has yielded a truly exceptional coffee which Nespresso describes as bringing forth blackcurrant & blueberry notes when taken black or walnut & hazelnut notes with the addition of milk or cream.

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The entire process is detailed on their corporate website while the creative team has once again created a mind-blowing Flash-animated masterpiece with the official Naora promotional website. This new time-intensive process has resulted in slightly higher cost with average capsule prices being 3 cents more than the single-origin capsules.

With an intensity level of 5 (out of 10) and a recommended brewing size of a 40ml Espresso, brewing these capsules resulted in strong almost cereal-like notes but closer inspection of the final cup yielded an interesting mash-up of many various aromas… very difficult to describe, but it seemed almost spice-like in nature like a sharp floral mash-up (think "potpourri") with hints of licorice. Flavor was as described by Nespresso, very sharp berry notes with dominant notes of blackcurrant and faint tinges of blueberry in the background and cereal notes on the finish. Adding milk did indeed reveal some nutty notes similar to walnuts. Outstanding versatility & complexity all-around.

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Body was black/very dark brown in color with an amazing marbled brown/beige crema on top which seemed thicker than usual. Acidity was on the stronger side (as can be expected with an espresso), but the bitter notes quickly balanced out and kept things popping by quickly bringing the blackcurrant flavors to the front of the cup. Nespresso has a tradition of making exceptionally smooth espressos & ristrettos and Naora is no exception as mouth feel was silky smooth with only a slight oily feel on the finish. We also detected more faint licorice notes in the aftertaste.

  • Aroma – 8 – Cereal notes appear during brewing but closer inspection of final cup reveals sharp spicy notes reminiscent of floral potpourri with hints of licorice in the background. Rather odd since Nespresso kept pushing the berry notes of this coffee every chance they got.
  • Acidity – 9 – Nicely balanced with an expectedly sharp bite at first which quickly balances out to bring the blackcurrant flavors to the foreground.
  • Body – 10 – Very dark brown, almost black at times. Exceptional marbled brown/beige crema on top which seemed thicker than normal.
  • Flavor – 10 – Spot-on with Nespresso’s description. Taken black, predominant notes of blackcurrant fill the cup with hints of blueberry in the background with faint cereal notes on the finish. Taken with milk, nutty notes of walnuts are revealed. An outstandingly complex coffee all-around an unlike anything we’ve tried before.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Smooth throughout with only faint oily notes on the finish. We also detected some faint licorice notes in the aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker – This one is best suited for espresso fans (duh!) and those who prefer sharp/bitter & intensely strong coffees.

Overall Rating: 96 – Excellent

Nespresso’s Limited Edition Grand Crus are usually the best coffees in their lineup and Naora certain fits that billing. Who can forget their "dial goes up to 12" Kazaar which was so in-demand by fans for over a year that Nespresso was forced to re-release it again only 2 seasons later (something which was unheard of with Limited Editions).

We absolutely LOVE how they’re always finding innovative new ways to produce their coffees and taking a wine-maker’s approach to this Limited Edition has to be an industry first. The results are nothing short of amazing with a Grand Cru that is astoundingly complex in flavor depending on how you prepare the final cup. It is indeed a truly unique experience and unlike anything we’ve seen before. We highly recommend trying a sleeve if you've go’ a Nespresso Boutique near you or at least ordering a few sleeves with your next online order. This flavor is sure to disappear fast, so we’d recommend acting sooner rather than later.

Nespresso Naora Limited Edition capsules are available for a limited time in individual 10-count sleeves in-store at Nespresso Boutiques across USA & Canada or can be ordered online (minimum 5 sleeve order requirement) at Nespresso.com (USA) or Nespresso.ca (Canada).

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased sleeves of this Limited Edition on our own for the purpose of this 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 May 14, 2012 7:43 AM

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