If you ask me, coffee is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There’s something about reaching for that cuppa first thing in the morning and feeling more alive with each and every sip. I could be lounging on a porch swing during my holiday or sorting through my email at work – a few sips of the dark stuff (usually in flat white or Americano form) take me to a happier place.
But savouring an aged coffee as I might a fine wine? That was a new concept to wrap my head around.
Nespresso recently held a launch event for their new Limited Edition SELECTION VINTAGE 2014 Grand Cru capsules. This is their very first aged coffee, made from Arabica beans sourced three years ago from the Colombian highlands. Over lunch at Petrus at the Island Shangri-La (a Nespresso partner), where Chef Ricardo Chaneton created a lovely set lunch using coffee as an ingredient in each dish, Nespresso masters showed us how to understand coffee in new ways.
First we learned the beans used in the new Grand Cru capsules were aged using specific, controlled conditions in a warehouse 3,700 metres above sea level – a new method for Nespresso. This included regulating the oxygen, humidity, light and atmospheric pressure in the warehouse as well as regularly rotating the bags of coffee. Over time, the ageing process developed the flavours of the coffee beans and reduced their acidity. The end result is a velvety, thick coffee with fruity, woody notes (the official Nespresso rating gives it an intensity of 7).
To sample the Grand Cru (and another capsule for comparison), we were served it espresso style in crystal glasses created especially by Riedel for Nespresso. Mark Mak, Nespresso Hong Kong's Coffee Ambassador, then encouraged us to pick up our Grand Cru–filled glass, breathe in the aroma, have a quick sip, take a slurp (yes, it can be noisy!), savour the coffee in our mouths and allow it to hit all our taste buds, then enjoy the rest of the drink.
There really was a lot of depth and flavour in the Grand Cru, which made the drinking process a fun game of trying to guess all the flavour notes. It gave me a new appreciation for how sophisticated coffee can be, and I'd definitely consider swapping my North American post-dinner cappuccino habit for an espresso like this.
For those who can’t bear the thought of coffee without some cream and sugar, we were assured it wouldn’t be sacrilege to add them to the Grand Cru. Ultimately, coffee, one of life’s greatest and most affordable pleasures, is meant to be enjoyed. But do give the Grand Cru in espresso form a try!
The Nespresso Limited Edition SELECTION VINTAGE 2014 is available from 13 February for a limited time and is priced at $67 per sleeve (10 capsules). Perhaps a good choice for the coffee lover in your life (Valentine’s Day – hint, hint)?
The Nespresso x Riedel Reveal Espresso Intense glasses are $280 for a set of two. Larger Lungo glasses are $300 for a set of two. And a Reveal Bundle, which features two Espresso Intense glasses and two Lungo glasses, is $520. Pick these up at a Nespresso Hong Kong boutique, at www.nespresso.com or via the 24-hour hotline (800 968 821).