July 28, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Capsules Review

Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto

We continue our VertuoLine capsule reviews today by checking out one of their strongest intensity espressos, the Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Capsules. The name was the first thing that piqued our interest and while we don’t know how to read or speak Italian, we got a basic connotation of what was inferred. A quick bit of experimentation on Google Translate quickly proved us right… uh… well, sort of. While Diavolitto is itself not an Italian word (as far as we’re aware) it is derived from diavol, which is apparently the Italian Romanian word for devil. 

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Interesting… what exactly are Nespresso implying here? That this espresso is forged from the fires of hell? That we can expect it to have the hellish roasted intensity of fire & brimstone or perhaps that we can expect it to be devilishly good? Without any holy water handy, we decided to face the espresso of el diablo (wait… that’s Spanish, isn’t it?) with the fervour and trepidation of Robert Langdon himself.  

Brewing these capsules resulted in a strong smoky & earthy aroma with some woodsy notes thrown in the background and a mild hint of leather underneath. We were a bit surprised to get what was advertised on the sleeve as this is usually never the case. Adding creamer toned things down and aided in bringing forth new cereal notes to the foreground while still keeping an earthy & smoky aroma in the background.

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Billed as an 11 out of 11, this one pegged the limits of Nespresso’s intensity scale and definitely made for an intense experience. Flavor was… wow… holy ****!!! One of the strongest we’ve experienced to date and had us wondering if we had produced a new form of coffee syrup which could double as a motor oil or if Nespresso actually travelled to hell, cultivated charred remains of robusta & arabica beans and captured them inside each capsule. Once we caught our breath and explored things further, we detected an odd mix of very strong cereal notes with molasses, ash, smoke and more earthy notes throughout. It made for a very sharp and highly astringent… um… even waxy? taste which, ironically enough, evoked images of walking through the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Leave it up to Nespresso to nail the naming on this one as this could definitely be described only as devilish indeed. Adding creamer helped tamed things considerably and kept the fire demons at bay. Gone were the overpowering intense notes to be replaced by a slightly less strong extra bold dark roast profile. We could still detect the cereal and molasses notes but started detecting faint hints of cocoa emerging from underneath the strong smoky notes. 

This is where the line will be split however as it will reveal the true burnt-beyond-Charbucks French Roast aficionados amongst the casual dark roast fans who claim to like strong coffee yet turn their nose up at the sight of a ristretto. Rest assured, if you like coffee which is strong enough to strip the paint off the side of a barn, you’ve come to the right place. This VertuoLine Diavolitto is BEYOND INTENSE. Dare we say, even more intense than their OriginalLine’s Kazaar capsules? Taken black, it’s just… strong… umkay? We can’t stress this enough. 

Acidity is through the roof here. To call it vibrant would be a massive understatement as it nearly blows your tongue apart on first sip. Surprisingly enough, once you get over the initial shock, you start detecting the aforementioned flavor notes in the coffee so all is not lost. Adding creamer toned down the acidity to typical dark roast levels while still giving enough of a pop to keep the flavors surging ahead. It definitely made for less of a shocking experience upon first sip. Body was… how can we put this… darker than a bucket of ink inside a cosmic black hole? Well, with one obvious exception, the surprisingly deep brown crema which formed on top. Unlike what we’re accustomed to with the OriginalLine systems, we got double the crema you’d find on top of an espresso and it was considerably thicker than expected. Adding creamer gave things a typical beige color with very subtle layering and made for a lighter colored crema on top.

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Mouth feel was equally as surprising. Given the one-two punch of the flavor & acidity, we were expecting an overly harsh oily feel but instead we got a somewhat smooth oily feel. Finish could only be described as a smoke bomb with tons of the robusta’s smoky notes filling the senses with more of the astringent waxy notes in the aftertaste. Adding creamer only made things creamier (duh!) while reducing the oily feel and toning down the smoky notes in the finish to the point were we started detecting previously hidden notes of dark chocolate.

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  • Aroma – 10 – Just as advertised… strong smoky & earthy aromas with wood notes & faint hints of leather underneath. Adding creamer retains the earthy & smoky aromas in the background but also reveals new cereal aromas which were previously undetectable.
  • Acidity – 8 – Blown through the roof, super vibrant yet once the shock wears off, you can still detect the main coffee flavors underneath. Adding creamer smooths things out considerably yet still gave enough of a kick to keep the flavors pushing forward. The only reason we’re knocking 2 points off is due to the near coma-inducing shock to the senses upon first sip when taken black. Damn… we were NOT expecting that much of a head rush. Thankfully, adding creamer brings the score back up to a 10.  
  • Body – 10 – Darker than dark itself. Intensely black color topped off with a surprisingly dark brown crema which istwice as thick as what you’d expect to find on a typical espresso. The VertuoLine has impressed us yet again with it’s super-crema producing abilities. Adding creamer revealed typical shades of beige with a very subtle layering effect and a lighter colored crema on top.
  • Flavor – 10 – Good frickin Lord! This one is intensely stroooooong!!! We are dead serious here. You might have tried GMCR’s Double Black Diamond, you’ve probably tasted Coffee People’s Jet Fuel, we’re sure you’ve tasted a straight-up black Charbucks coffee at some point in your life & if you’re Canadian (and slightly crazy) you’ve probably had an extra large black Timmies without any sugar or creamer. Now FORGET ALL THAT. This Diavolitto is even STRONGERthan any of those. Screw 11 or 12, this one deserves a 13 on the intense-o-meter. Super strong notes of cereal, molasses, ash, smoke & more earthy notes abound (once we regained feeling in our tongue) and adding creamer sends the fire demons fleeing but not without leaving slightly less strong cereal & molasses notes behind along with faint hints of cocoa blended with strong smoky notes.
  • Mouth Feel – 10 – As surprising as the initial shock of flavor & acidity, things were smooth & oily instead of overly harsh & oily. Finish was nothing short of a smoke bomb with the robusta’s intense smoky notes dominating with some astringent waxy notes in the aftertaste. Adding creamer made things even smoother and reduced the oily feel while toning down the smoky notes in the finish only to reveal previously hidden dark chocolate notes.
  • Coffee Drinker – This coffee is best suited for medium bold to dark roast… ok, who are we kidding… if you’re a medium bold drinker, run! Run away from this as if you’ve seen Satan himself! Run for your lives!!! (or at least run for the creamer) Pssst!! Hey, Kazaar & French Roast fans… yeah, you… pull up a seat, stay awhile and listen. We’ve found a coffee which even YOU might find is verging on too strong when taken black. We kid you not. 

Overall Rating: 

98 – Excellent (Taken black)

100 - Excellent! (With creamer)

There you have it. Nespresso warned us this would be the most intense espresso on the VertuoLine system and man alive, they sure weren’t kidding! Calling it Diavolitto was well merited since if we could picture the devil serving espressos in hell, this is probably what he’d serve with a light dusting of flaming biscotti crumbs on the side. Little would he know, we wouldn’t exactly find this coffee to be as hellish as he’d imagine. We figure the same would apply to most ristretto and French Roast fans who prefer over-the-top intensely strong coffees as we’re sure they’ll literally get a kick out of this. If it were up to us, we’d have rated this one 13 on Nepresso’s intensity scale, not 11, as it truly is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. Any stronger and you might as well be trying to suck on robusta grinds. Seriously, if you find extra bold mediums to be too strong, stay the hell away from this… it’s NOT for you. You’ve been warned! 

Kazaar fans, robusta fans and anyone who doesn’t believe that we’ve found quite possibly the strongest tasting coffee on Earth, we encourage you to give this one a try. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you when you down a shot and start running around your kitchen, screaming Ah kant fee mah tung!!! As for the folks at Nespresso… Good Lord… short of VertuoLine capsules that spew molten lava when you brew them, how the hell are you ever going to top this? Flaming kudos to you & our singed hats off for bringing your A game to the intensity table.

Nespresso VertuoLine Diavolitto Capsules are available in sleeves of 10 in USA & Canada exclusively via Nespresso.com & Nespresso.ca (minimum of 5 sleeves, any flavor, required per online order). You can also buy individual sleeves of these capsules in-person at any Nespresso Boutique location across North America.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review… he’ll write up his next one as soon as he’s done bouncing off the ceiling in a few weeks. We would also like to note that we purchased these capsules on our own for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 28, 2014 7:37 AM

Recent Comments

You review was spot on! There were two reasons why I bought the Vertuoline--first was the Hazeltino, which the demonstrator made as a latte for me. and second was the Diavolitto because sometimes you need a mule kick to get going in the morning!


Posted by: Joe Bacon at July 29, 2014 8:43 AM
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