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Whilst shopping recently for instant coffee and having finished off my usual Nescafe Blend 37, I have been trying out a few different brands after the latter product was finished a couple of weeks ago. Coffee and I go together like water and fruit cordial, though I try to limit myself to three coffees a day, never with sugar (unless I treat myself once a week to a Dolce Gusto coffee) and just a drop of skimmed milk. I also make sure that I drink a lot of water, as coffee is a known drink for dehydration, whether it is the real, ground coffee or instant. Normally I buy Kenco Millicano – it appears to be a workforce favourite but it can be quite expensive to buy – even if it is available in those hand 85g refill packs and as usual, the silver tubs with the silver “cat food resealable tin” plastic covers were sold out with only the decaff option available. I met a friend of mine who recommended trying Co Op, our smaller supermarket to the larger Morrison’s in town and that’s when I discovered “Nescafe Gold Blend Barista.” Often the darling of coffee mornings and church fetes, “Gold Blend,” by Nescafe, original has been a love and loathe coffee for me. Weaker than the awful original Nescafe and creamier on the taste buds at times, I must admit that as I have become older and as time has gone on, I haven’t really bought “Gold Blend,” for many years, though as a student I used to buy it, quite regularly.
However, what attracted me to this product was the price cut “from £6-88 to £3-44” so said the advertising shelf where these rather large tins of this new coffee product tells me. Well, we are still in a recession aren’t we? All the supermarkets such as ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrison's and Co Op are now stocking this tub at £3-44.
Now that energy prices have risen again, every little saving helps. A bit like those “half price strawberries,” that has forever appeared on “Watchdog,” consumer program, though I can’t ever remember seeing this product before in any supermarket, let alone imagine anyone would pay nearly £7 for a 180g canister of coffee. But then again, for “Millicano,” by Kenco, it costs on average £3 to £4 for their much smaller 100g sizing, so in effect this coffee appears to be a good economy saver on price with almost double the quantity – handy to keep over the Christmas period or New Year then?
General Impressions & Design
Nescafe’s curvy, huggable figure
Pictures of Nescafe Gold Blend Barista Style Coffee
Nescafe Gold Blend Barista Style Coffee - Tub size difference with Kenco & Morrison's copy of Kenco.
of soft-gloss black and gold canister proudly claims that their Gold Blend Barista is a “new recipe designed to appeal to consumers who want the coffee-shop experience at home.” This would appear to be an original statement if I was not the owner of Nescafe’s “Dolce Gusto” pod machine, never mind being the passed on owner of my late mother’s “Nespresso” pod machine, both advertising that they provide a “coffee shop experience at home.” For those who don’t have pod machines, you may well have read the promised claim from the back of “Azera Barista,” cans as well, also made by Nescafe.But for all that only one local UK newspaper appears to know about Nescafe Gold Blend Barista, there is a rather an inconspicuous lack of advertising and recognition of this brand for all that it is supposed to be the “biggest launch of 2013*.” Well, we’re nearly in 2014 and I haven’t seen any advertising for Nescafe’s Gold Blend Barista coffee, have you? When I started to look online for prices, I found a Nescafe "Gold Blend Barista," coffee machine, available only in Japan. How confusing!
Regardless, the coffee canister is indeed big but it doesn’t take up much space in my food cupboard and looks quite classy sat next to my duo Nescafe branded pod machines. Perhaps when the tin is empty, it could well provide a canister for holding my pods? Anyway…the canister is taller and narrower infact than the standard Millicano and Morrison’s own copy of Kenco’s Millicano coffee tubs. The instant brown granules actually look a little darker than normal Gold Blend, which is always a pleasing sign that the taste may well be a bit stronger and fuller.
General Performance & Downsides
Unlike “Gold Blend,” which has always had a blend of two particular beans such as “Arabica,” and “Robusta,” to create a claimed caramel like taste, I find that Gold Blend Barista has a slightly more bitter bite. It isn’t as dark as Blend 37 though and seems to move on the game a little from the mild and super smooth Gold Blend, itself a creamy blend that I have found in the past even with just a drop of milk and no added sugar.
The scent of the coffee is slightly espresso like, but definitely not as appealing as “Dolce Gusto,” and nowhere near “Nespresso” quality. It smells like normal instant coffee with just an added hint of chocolatey and charcoal tones, which does nothing for the claimed experience of a “coffee shop” at home in my experience (well, unless you sit right to the back of the shop away from the industrial coffee machine!) and Nescafe’s claim here is a bit optimistic to say the least. At least at the bottom of my cup, there are no sediments left over, unlike Morrison’s version of Kenco’s Millicano “Instaground,” coffee, so the quality on soluble performance is better, here.
However, there is something about the taste of this coffee that I rather like at times and then at other times I find myself adding another teaspoon of coffee to my cup. The taste offers a good alternative for a coffee in the morning to wake me up a little and it appears to lack salty over tones, often a bad sign of a poorly produced instant coffee. This is where quite personally, it is evident that Nescafe have added a bit more of the bitterer “Robusta,” beans than an equal combination of “Robusta,” and “Arabica.”
Somewhat nutty, a little creamy and a little bit of body is what I taste on my pallet. Just teetering on the edge of dark and strong espresso with two heaped teaspoons, appears to allow Gold Blend Barista to be just a little bit stronger than “Gold Blend,” but you’d have to be a daily instant coffee drinker who loves coffee to notice the difference. One better aspect of this coffee that seems to do better than normal instant is that it doesn't fall down on taste when drunk, cold. I like cold coffee but not necessarily the sweet Americanised versions where added cream and syrup have been added and Gold Blend Barista certainly carries itself off, taste wise right to the end even when the heat has risen out of it.
Although I have been surprised by what Nescafe appear to have dreamt up here, “Gold Blend Barista,” is an unusual release from Nescafe, in general. Even if it sits in an already hotly-contested market by Nescafe’s “Azera” range, not to mention the other blends of instant coffee that Nescafe have proudly stamped their name on, I’m not that sure however that this blend of coffee is necessarily better than “Gold Blend,” standard.
I’ll still be buying my usual run of ground coffee beans to tie me over Christmas and New Year – I can’t imagine “sharing this coffee” with friends because of its general lack of bite and fuller flavour. It is more of a coffee to have individually than fully treat your friends to something thicker with a longer lasting relishing, taste. Well, unless you don't value your friends, much!
More worryingly for Nescafe, with the additional “Azera” product only launched in June this year, this coffee’s placement and indeed it’s whole justification is a bit questionable as to what company or rival, this product is going to rob buyers from. Even if Nescafe have now added “latte” and “cappuccino,” tubs of their Azera Barista coffee now, sales of this product could infect other products closer to home more dangerously to Nescafe’s already-launched “Barista” style “Azera.” Price it would seem is definitely a big attractant of Nescafe Gold Blend Barista –for the moment.
Nescafe have so many different instant coffee blends on the UK market that it is somewhat difficult to keep track of what this actual product presents in terms of a major difference. Clearly out to double up as an alternative instant coffee to the stronger Azera Barista coffee and dangling-the-carrot prices for buyers may well make a bigger impact on bigger savings for your pocket, purse or wallet. For existing “Gold Blend,” fans, it does appear that Nescafe that earnestly trying to pull a fast one.
Although the product smells okay and has a middle-of-the-range taste, the claims that Nescafe make for this coffee are too optimistic and in my mind it would never take over an alternative, if say I run out of coffee pods, let alone proper beans in my home. If however, I couldn’t find Kenco’s Millicano product, there is a chance that I could be placing another tub of this coffee in my shopping basket, again, but I feel it is all down to the cheaper cost price, than anything else. I'm tied between giving this a rating of 3 to 4 stars. I'd rather have a jar of Blend 37 again, but if money was tight at the time of purchase, I'd get more granules with this product..