The Nespresso system is certainly divisive if nothing else. If you’re talking about value for money, the fans say how it’s cheaper than spending much less than the $3 – 4 each day for a decent cup of coffee, and the haters say how much more expensive the pre-packaged system is compared to DIY methods (and we’ll all just ignore that instant even exists…)
In the convenience stakes though, it’s a clear winner. Well, at least until you find yourself without any pods. Nespresso only sell the pods directly, in their boutique stores or online, so if you need a top up either you have to make a trip to one of their few-and-far-between locations, or suffer the interminable wait of having the caps meander their way to you via Australia Post.
However, since Nestle’s patent on the capsules expired last year, so a number of competitor products have started to spring up – one of which, Piazza D’Oro L’OR EspressO can be found in your regular supermarket. When we’re talking about convenience, that’s a big deal, which is why I tried some last year. The prognosis back then: not much cheaper, not at all better.
Undaunted by my scathing word-of-mouth assessments, Piazza D’Oro (a division of Douwe Egberts) saw fit to expand on their original range with a new series of capsules with its new “Sublime” range, which I have been given the privilege of trying ahead of their imminent release.
There are four new flavours:
- Or Jaune (translation: yellow gold), intensity 9
- Or Rose (red gold), intensity 7
- Or Blanc (white gold), intensity 5
- Forza Decaffeinato (strong decaf), intensity 8
I was only given the first two to try, but expect the decaf is probably the one most people would be interested in. Their still the same as their forebears – plastic compatible capsules, individually wrapped in foil. I didn’t like that about the range then, and I don’t now. The packaging is required because the capsules themselves aren’t sealed, and as such their recyclability is extremely low compared to Nespresso, which you can either take back to them for recycling or via DIY methods like the Outpresso.
They work fine in my Pixie, but the shorter capsule length does seem to affect flow, making the coffee trickle out much slower compared to a genuine cap. For what it’s worth, I’ve read opinions out there from people who think this is no good for your machine, but I’ve gone through probably 40-50 of these capsules occassionally in the last year with no noticeable ill effect.
But I suppose you’d want to know about the actual taste, huh? I’m not much of a coffee connosseur, but I do feel that they are better than the previous range. Still not quite as good as Nespresso, but these do close the gap somewhat. They have a very nice crema, and the intensity is a lot better – it’s not just “stronger”, but more flavoursome, if that makes any sense.
In short, the L’Or range to me is a perfectly good stop-gap measure if you’re out of caps and desperate for a fix, but I probably wouldn’t change over to them entirely for my daily cup.