12 December 2013

Coffee Capsules for Coffee Connoisseurs

Almost six years ago, I put my faithful Gaggia espresso machine into semi-retirement after giving in to the convenience of a Nespresso machine. But when I started working in London, I got into making French press coffee at work, and then got the Aeropress bug, eventually getting a second Aeropress for my home last year. I love Aeopress coffee: it's flavoursome and strong, but has a clean taste. It does, however, take about ten minutes to make once you've ground the coffee, boiled the water, steeped, inverted and pressed. Some mornings — particularly when it's cold outside and still dark — even a coffee addict like me finds it difficult to resist the snooze button on my alarm clock.

Over time, though, I've gone off the taste of Nespresso coffee somewhat, so I was pleased to be contacted by a company called Big Cup Little Cup, who sent me some of their Nespresso-compatible capsules to try. Their name, of course, reflects the two varieties of Nespresso pod — the big cup (lungo) and the little cup (espresso), and they are "unapologetically picky about [their] coffee." Excellent!

I tried two of the little cup varieties: the Millers Yard espresso and the Sumatra Gayo Mountain. As someone who likes to choose coffee beans based on the origin and flavour notes, it's nice to have this information on the packaging, rather than just having to go on Nespresso's more abstract names, such as arpreggio and così, and it would go a long way towards helping me select the coffee I'm most likely to enjoy. I like the packaging too, which is cheery and colourful.

The individual capsules are foil wrapped and the first thing I noticed when I opened the first one was that I could actually smell the coffee. The pods are transparent so you can also see the coffee inside, which is nice. The fit of the capsules in my Nespresso machine is a little bit tight, so I had to push the top lever down firmly, but it didn't cause any problems.

I tried the Millers Yard blend first (in the royal blue cup below) and it was good, but I preferred the Sumatra coffee (in the turquoise cup), which had a richer, smoother taste. Just to be clear, if you are making coffee using a Nespresso machine, it won't be as good as a freshly-roasted, just-ground, custom-brewed espresso from a top independent espresso bar. However, I was impressed by the depth of flavour of the two Big Cup Little Cup varieties I tried. These are definitely coffee capsules for people who care about coffee. I won't be ditching my Aeropresses any time soon, it's nice to know that I have a tasty but convenient alternative for those occasions when brewed coffee is just too much faff.

Many other capsule varieties are available on the Big Cup Little Cup website (it's reassuring to see that some are"still roasting"), with prices starting at 23p per capsule.

Big Cup Little Cup are offering my readers a 15% discount off their next order. Just use the discount code BEX1112 when checking out (valid until 11 January 2014).

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