I love coffee. You may have heard me mention that before, or you might know that from how often I post pictures of coffee on Instagram. I love the smell of it, I love the taste of it, and I love that it gets me going in the mornings! When I got the chance to sample CRU Kafe‘s nespresso pods I therefore didn’t hesitate. A reason to drink more coffee? Yes please.
I have always been a fan of freshly grinding beans to use in our stovetop (a habit picked up from years of living in Italy), but recently was converted to a Nespresso machine for the sheer convenience of it. And also the fact that it comes with an amazing milk frother, which has saved my arms untold misery from manually frothing in my Bialetti! But I have been missing the coffee ‘experience’ – that smell when you open the tin of beans, the aroma of freshly ground coffee – hermetically sealed nespresso pods just don’t give you that. I’ve tried quite a few, from the priciest genuine ones (which are my least favourite if I am honest!) to Lidl’s cheap offerings (which are actually pretty nice), and I’ve yet to find a favourite – a brand that I will come back to time and time again (though I did quite like the Taylors one I tried recently).
CRU Kafe pods are different. Right from the moment I opened the box, that heady coffee scent hit me. When I opened one of the bags, I realised why – each capsule is perforated at the bottom, so you can really smell your coffee. I don’t know if this was a deliberate design choice, a feature which they intended, but even if not, I love it. It elevates the nespresso experience from a quick fix to a genuinely enjoyable coffee experience somehow. They do say that taste is 50% smell*, so maybe this is why I loved this so much.
I was pretty eager to try the coffee. The sample box I was sent contained four bags, Intense, Dark Roast, Light Roast and Decaf. In the interests of a full review I might have tried all three of the caffeinated ones in quick succession, so that afternoon I was buzzing round the house a little more than usual! I tried them as straight up espresso, a cappuccino, and also watered down a bit as an Americano. I was instantly impressed by all three, but the Intense really did what it said on the tin – deep, almost smoky, and really full on. Exactly what I like in a coffee. CRU use only arabica beans, i.e. those grown at high altitude, which have much better flavour, and you can certainly taste the difference. In addition to these four varieties, they also sell a medium strength San Antonio year round, and have a seasonal bean on rotation as well (up until recently Galapagos, which is now sold out), so you can change up your coffee choice fairly regularly, but without being overwhelmed by choice (Nespresso, I’m looking at you – Caramelito?! Really?).
Another thing I love about the CRU pods is that you can recycle them yourself at home – as far as I’m aware, they are the only brand this is true of. The rest are either not recyclable, or you have to return them specially to the manufacturer to recycle them. I’m as keen a recycler as the next person, probably more so, but even I have not gone to the hassle of having to post back my empty pods to Nespresso (I should be ashamed, I know). The CRU pods though have all been taken with my regular recycling. Win for the planet, and my eco-conscience.
Their ethical credentials don’t stop there. In fact, CRU uses 100% Fair Trade and certified organic beans. That’s probably something you’ve come to expect if you buy beans or ground coffee, because it is so important to support the farmers and ensure they get a fair deal. It’s hardly mentioned in marketing for nespresso pods though – it’s as if ‘convenience’ coffee like this doesn’t need to be held to the same standards. Well, I think it does, and I love the fact that CRU do too.
Nespresso pods come in two types – those you buy online via subscription (Nespresso), and those you can buy in the supermarket (Bellarom, Cafe Pod, Carte Noire etc). Which you prefer to use depends on how you shop, but given that we live out in the countryside and popping to a shop to pick up more coffee is a bit of a trek, I prefer the online method. CRU is one of those. Being users of another coffee subscription service for beans (Pact Coffee), we like the idea of our coffee turning up on a regular basis, but also being able to order extra when we’re running low. Lazy, yes, but we never run out! CRU offers a standard subscription of 48 pods a month (4 bags (of 12 pods) of your choice), but you can up that if you drink a lot of coffee (like we do). Or just do one off orders.
So – great tasting coffee, ethically responsible, easy to order, where’s the catch? It has to be price, right? Nespresso are the most expensive, averaging 30p a pod. Taylors are the same (but nicer). Carte Noire (which I wasn’t keen on, but it’s a popular coffee brand so someone must like it) are 28p, as are Cafe Pod. Lidl’s Bellarom are 18p a pod, and to be honest, if we’ve overspent elsewhere that month, I’d be very happy to drink that. So where does CRU fit in? It comes out on top in taste tests (in my opinion). It is also convenient. And it’s better for the planet. You’d expect it to be the most expensive for all those benefits but it comes in second, at 29p a pod. This is really square in the middle of the majority of capsules, and with only 1p difference it probably doesn’t matter a great deal, though if you drink a lot of coffee it does all add up, so price is a consideration. BUT, right now you can get CRU pods for just 23p each – read on to find out how!
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, these pods were sent to me for free so I could try them. That has nothing to do with why I have been so enthusiastic – if you read my disclosure policy you will know I only ever recommend things to my readers if I love them myself, I certainly don’t do it to get freebies or make money (which I don’t do anyway at the moment). You can rest assured then that the above opinions are completely genuine, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you give CRU Kafe pods a try in place of your usual ones. I even liked the Decaf ones – I really didn’t think you could tell the difference taste wise, which means my 4.30pm-slump coffee is back on! I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed either. To make this even more convincing, CRU have kindly offered my readers 20% off your order with the code ANNACRU20, just enter the code when prompted on their website. If you do give it a try, tweet me or comment and let me (and others) know what you thought. You can tweet CRU directly too if you really love it and want to shout about it!
*This statistic may or may not be scientifically accurate, but you know what I mean, right?**
**I just looked it up out of curiosity. It is actually 80%, scientifically proven!