Nespresso vs Carte Noire


Regular readers of this blog will know that there are certain things I’m passionate about in life. In no particular order they are: writing, Spurs, music, beer & coffee. And maybe my family & friends might sneak in there at a push. And perhaps my smartphone. My coffee world exploded last year (not literally, that would be messy) when I got a Nespresso machine. Now, not only could I drink coffee, I could drink it from cute little shiny pods. Joy abounded. But now that you can buy capsules from other companies too and not just Nespresso, do they taste as good? I’ve already put Big Cup Little Cup to the test, now it’s the turn of Carte Noire…

I love my Nespresso machine. I say hello to it every morning, sing to it as I fill it with water, watch it with love as it gurgles out my coffee like a beautiful, loyal coffee fountain. But some friends are a bit snobby about it. “Is it real coffee, Clare?” they ask. “Well, yes,” I say, looking perplexed. “You know,” they continue. “There’s no plunging, no messy granules everywhere, no effort. And does it actually taste like coffee?” Er, yes again.

Look, I’m no coffee expert, but I am an expert in Coffee Lifestyle™ and my Nespresso machine enables it perfectly. It’s sleek & shiny and it fits with my dream that I’m living on the set of Knots Landing. But with less big hair, obviously.

So what of Carte Noire then, you cry? Well, the USP for their Nespresso-compatible capsules is that they’re going to sell them in supermarkets. Nespresso do not to this: I think it’s meant to increase the allure (it doesn’t). To buy Nespresso capsules, you have to visit their low-lit website (it really is low-lit, believe me), or head to one of their coffee boutiques where everyone takes coffee VERY SERIOUSLY. Honestly, Nespresso needs to lighten up a little. So by selling them in supermarkets, Carte Noire could very well be onto something. Something blindingly obvious, but nevertheless, something. So what about the other key elements?

The Taste: Having sampled the coffee, I can categorically tell you that it tastes like… coffee. Well done Carte Noire!

The Names: Nespresso goes Italian for its names: Roma, Ristretto, Fortissio. Carte Noire, being a premium French coffee brand, has gone gallic for its names: Élégant, Délicat, Aromatique, Intense. If you prefer Ginola to Zola, this is for you.

The Price: Each pack of ten is set to retail at £2.79. Nespresso goes from £3+ per tube of ten, so it’s a saving. You’ll be able to afford a Danish to go with your coffee every five days.

The Packaging: Nespresso capsules come in moody, colour-coded tubes. Carte Noire favour the traditional box shape and have gone for black and shiny tones, staying classy. The capsules though have packaging overload, each separately wrapped in the box too.

The Verdict: The taste, look & price of Carte Noire capsules are a surefire winner. Sure, the packaging is a bit over-the-top but crucially, they get me to my goal of living a Coffee Lifestyle™, so it’s a thumbs up from me.

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  1. I think I can explain the packaging issue Clare. The Nespresso capsules are hermetically sealed in themselves, and they are pierced during the coffee making process. The Carte Noire capsules are, I understand, pre-pierced and so they most likely need to be sealed in the foil wrapper.
    And I quite agree with you about the Nespresso snobbishness, by all means Nestle, make it a premium product, but don’t make it difficult to obtain!

    1. Aha, I never knew that Richard! Thanks for the clarification. It does still seem a whole lot of packaging, but I’m all for the Nespresso market opening up!

  2. The beauty of the Carte Noir packaging is the intense coffee aroma that comes out of the little sachet when it is torn open.No such joy from Nesspresso.

    1. Very true Dennis, but I’m all for less is more when it comes to packaging. Thanks for stopping by!

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