Here’s an interesting bit of espresso and coffee-related news that mostly seems to have flown under the radar today.
Home espresso machine juggernaut Nespresso is partnering with none other than (third wave!) coffee specialty brewer Blue Bottle to make capsules.
The co-developed capsules will be “limited-edition” according to the press release. There’s no word on how long this partnership will last or what is limited about the arrangement. In fact, it seems that this is just the beginning, and we can expect more products in the future.
The first co-developed capsule is called Blend No. 1, and the pods will be made for the newer Vertuo-based machines.
“Years in the making, Blend No. 1 combines two distinct origins that were carefully selected to create the blend using coffee from the renowned Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and Rwenzori in Uganda,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Head of Coffee Development at Nespresso. “Symbolic of these two coffee worlds coming together, even more coffee drinkers can now enjoy the quality and exquisite taste of this exceptional creation.”
Blend No. 1 (Nespresso Vertuo)
Official Tasting Note
“Expertly crafted, Blend No. 1 is a delicious mix of naturally processed coffee from two distinct origins, Ethiopia and Uganda, and particularly light and short roast done in two splits, separated by origin. While the beans from Uganda have more time in development to create intensity, the Ethiopian beans are roasted lighter to preserve the finer aromatics. This is a particularly mild blend with aromatic notes of jammy, ripe fruit, sweet caramel, subtle white flowers and a hint of cereal.”
Nespresso and Blue Bottle recommend drinking Blend No. 1 on its own (i.e. no milk).
Recommended serving size:
Gran Lungo (5 fl. oz / 148 ml)
Look for the new capsules on the official Nespresso.com web site and in Nespresso boutiques starting October 18, 2023. Exclusive tasting experiences, the release notes, are also available this weekend in boutiques.
Specialty Coffee is Growing — Nespresso and Blue Bottle is a Great Example of Where the Market is Headed
Founded in Oakland, California in 2002 Blue Bottle Coffee is one of those brands that has gained a hip and even cult-like status among coffee and espresso aficionados. You can readily find their beans on Amazon, and in specialty shops across the country, here in the U.S. at least. Sort of like how the fine wine market has developed here Stateside over the past few decades, the seems to be happening with coffee. Europe already has this stuff figured out, and we’re finally catching up, if a little.
My experience with Blue Bottle beans has been excellent. I especially enjoy their whole bean decaf (medium roast).
Frankly, I can hardly tell the difference between decaf and a regular caffeinated blend. Placebo effect perhaps? Either way, they taste great, and I’m able to sneak in an afternoon shot without worrying about impacting sleep.
… for a relatively small company like Blue Bottle this partnership is a big win.
On the downside, price is a slightly inhibiting factor from making Blue Bottle my daily. You can pickup a 3-pound bag of decent locally sourced beans at most local Costco stores for just over $20 USD or so — in the Bay Area I often see an organic rainforest blend by San Francisco Bay Coffee (excellent). Whereas, a small 12 ounce bag of Blue Bottle decaf comes in at $17.49 or $1.46 per ounce. That’s Third Wave for you!
In any case, for a relatively small company like Blue Bottle this partnership is a big win. It gets the brand out to more places, and to people who probably wouldn’t have otherwise purchased any of their product. After all, this the single serve coffee segment.
And for Nespresso, they get to tap into the current trend of these specialty beans that everyone is so excited about these days. There’s plenty of marketing opportunity here, and surely it will drive some machine sales as well.
Many of us at-home espresso geeks and aspiring home baristas will likely stick to our sometimes overly complicated brewing techniques and semi-manual machines and grinders. For the majority, though, the convenient option for a gourmet flavored coffee like Blue Bottle will be a most welcome treat.