That coffee moment

Our recently opened in-store Nespresso Boutique’s promise a true coffee experience: our writer Sarah went along to see if she could find a favourite blend.

I only drink coffee to fuel my workouts, and as long as it pumps me with energy, I’m not too fussed about the taste. Shameful, I know. To be honest I’m not convinced the experts at our Nespresso Boutique will be able to find a taste I love. On arrival at the Boutique, I’m greeted by a very smiley coffee-connoisseur, who asks me how she can help. I tell her that I’m not sure which coffee to buy, and that the shelves full of colourful coffee pods behind her, as lovely as they look, feel a little overwhelming. ‘Don’t worry,’ she says. ‘That’s what we’re here for. You see this long glass panel?’ she asks, pointing down to the counter top. ‘These are all the flavours we have, each one numbered and with a different name. You can taste as many as you need until you find the one you want.’ ‘We could be here all day,’ I suggest, smiling.

Nespresso Coffee Machine

She starts by asking me the obvious: how I take my coffee, with or without milk, long or short? I tell her I like milk, but not too much. I don’t like an over-powering bitterness, but still like something with a strong coffee taste.

Then she asks me about my palate. What sort of flavours do I enjoy, milk chocolate or dark chocolate, sweet tastes like honey, or spicy ones like chilli? ‘I like all those tastes.’ I can’t imagine I was her most helpful coffee drinker that day. But she reassures me that a lot of people who visit them are as bedazzled by all the flavours as I am, and they’re here to help us choose.

Nespresso Coffee Beans

She then makes me the coffee and offers me a biscuit to go with it, which somehow she knows should be a sweet tasting shortbread. How she’s managed to find a flavour from my lack of preferences is nothing short of a miracle. But will I love it?

She’s shows me what appears to be the Nespresso bible of flavours, which describes ‘ROMA, Intensity 8’ as a subtle balance between strength, finesse and fullness, setting itself apart by its woody and roasted notes. Roma is the ideal coffee for those looking for an espresso that is both short and mild.

I decide to try the coffee black, so I can get a sense of its true taste. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. It’s smooth and without any of the bitterness you get with instant coffee. I take another sip thinking, 'you're the one for me, Roma.' Am I becoming a convert?

Nespresso Coffee

She goes on to tell me about Nespresso’s Limited Edition Selection Vintage 1914 – ‘an entirely new sensory experience, the result of years of sophisticated care and expertise.’ Nespresso age these beans at a Columbian warehouse located near the equator at an altitude of almost 3700 metres, where there is less oxygen and cold air, so moisture freezes instead of being absorbed by the beans.

The warehouse has no windows to prevent light from getting in and spoiling the maturation of coffee. I’m astonished by this attention to detail, but it all makes sense when I taste it. It’s woody and fruity all at once, luxuriously gliding over my tongue. I wait for the bitter after taste to come through, but it doesn't.

Nespresso Coffee

By the end of my visit I’ve learnt more about coffee than I was expecting, and I can’t wait to try more of the flavours. Before leaving I buy some orange blossom flavour biscuits, which you can only purchase at the boutique, and arm myself with one of Nespresso’s booklets. There are some coffee recipes in the back I’m hoping to create so I can enjoy these biscuits with coffee instead of tea for a change. No more 6am wincing over extra strong, pre-workout instant coffee for me.

Currently we have two Nespresso Boutiques – one at Peter Jones Sloane Square and the other at John Lewis Kingston. You're welcome to visit them anytime during normal opening hours, no need to make an appointment.