The ultimate coffee bean guide

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The ultimate coffee bean guide

There was a time when buying coffee was a simple, straight-forward process. The options were minimal and so were the flavours, roasts, origins and blends. Nowadays, coffee lovers have a far greater selection to choose from. New coffee growing regions discovered all over the world and new and innovative ways of selecting and harvesting coffee have led to a diverse, flavoursome and infinite selection for drinkers. While this ever-growing menu of coffee is exciting and delicious, it can also be somewhat confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this coffee bean guide to help you understand the story of Nespresso beans, their origins and their flavours, and how to choose a coffee that will awaken your senses and tantalise your taste buds.

coffee bean guide

Where do coffee beans come from?

Nespresso’s journey from farm to cup

Coffee beans are an agricultural product meaning that they are grown, selected, harvested and processed on a farm. The fruit of the coffee tree is known as the ‘cherry’ and cherries from the same coffee tree will ripen at different times. For this reason, most of the coffees used for Nespresso coffee blends are harvested by hand. This guarantees the best quality and eliminates the beans that are too green or overripe. At the end of this process, the cherries become ‘green beans’.

Roasting the green beans

Roasting is an integral part of the coffee bean process. It helps to reveal the full flavour and aromatic potential of green coffee beans and extract the most premium characteristics. An expert technique is imperative as poor roasting can completely destroy even the best of coffee beans.

Grinding the beans

Grinding releases the aroma of the coffee bean. Every coffee type or blend will extract a little differently, this means that grinding should be tailored and adjusted for the best results.

Capturing the freshness of the beans

Like all farm produce, coffee beans are at their very best when they are fresh. It doesn’t take long for a hand-picked, perfectly roasted coffee bean to begin to lose its quality and flavours. Unless coffee beans are ground and encapsulated they only have a few weeks of peak freshness and flavour before they begin to lose their quality. For this reason, Nespresso has created a unique and innovative way of capturing coffee freshness. From the completion of roasting, all processing is conducted within a controlled atmosphere that ensures that that no oxygen touches the coffee en-route to encapsulation. The hermetically sealed aluminium capsules then offer complete protection of the coffee aroma, prevent oxidation and guarantee optimal cup freshness for drinkers.

Which type of beans should I use?

Robusta vs Arabica

There are many different types of coffee plant species, but there are two that are commonly used in commercial coffee growing: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica cherries are nutrient-rich, giving them a wide range of interesting and diverse fruity, earthy or floral flavours. Robusta coffees usually have up to 75% more caffeine than Arabica coffees and are generally well-suited to darker roasting for a richer, deeper flavour.

Light, medium or dark roast?

Light roast coffees go through the least intense roasting process meaning that they retain some of the more ‘natural’ qualities of the green beans. While they don’t taste raw or unroasted, they can hold onto some of the unique flavours of the coffee plants. This includes fruity, floral or even acidic undertones. Medium roasts are a little darker than light roasts and tend to hold more caramel, vanilla or honey-like flavours. Dark roasts lose the most of their ‘origin’ characteristics but hold a rich sweet flavour and strong aroma. They are the most bitter of the three roast types and often have nutty, spiced or chocolate undertones.

Single or origin blend?

Single origin coffees are sourced from one farm or coffee growing region. As they aren’t mixed with other beans, they hold the unique and authentic taste of where they’re from. In contrast, origin blends are coffees that are carefully mixed and blended with other complimentary coffee beans from coffee growing regions across the world. Blending takes the best of the world’s coffee and combines it to create new and interesting tastes, aromas and coffee drinking experiences.

Where do Nespresso coffee beans come from?

Blends from around the world

Nespresso’s coffee is sourced from some of the best coffee growing regions from across the world. This includes Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Kenya, India and Mexico.


This fruity and vibrant coffee uses only high-grown, washed processed Colombian Arabica. It has a lively acidity and the burst of winey red fruit aromas.


This flowery and bright coffee is Ethiopian Arabica at its finest. It has an orange blossom aroma, and rich fruit jam notes. The coffee cherry is continually hand-turned to ensure even drying calls for great care – a technique used by Ethiopian farmers for longer than anyone else.


If Black Honey processing were the easy road to a nectarous coffee, they’d all do it. But only a few farmers dare. It’s a rare process because it calls for meticulous monitoring. Master Origin Nicaragua with ‘Black-Honey’ processed Arabica contains this coffee. It gives this Nicaraguan Arabica its smooth honeyed texture and sweet cereal notes.


Master Origin India with Robusta Monsoon gets its intense, woody, spicy aromatics from the monsooned Robusta blended with Indian Arabica.


Master Origin Indonesia wet-hulled Arabica is a race against rain. Sumatran farmers wet-hull their coffee because of the humid climate. They remove the parchment when the coffee is soft and moist because exposed beans dry faster. The method is unique to them and produces the classic Indonesian taste - velvety thick, wildly aromatic, notes of cured tobacco

Vivalto Lungo (Brazil & Ethiopia)

A complex yet balanced marriage between Arabica beans from Brazil and East Africa. Vivalto Lungo combines roasted and subtle floral notes. Split roasting of the beans enhances the character of each origin.

Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato (Brazil & Ethiopia)

A complex yet balanced blend, Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato has the same rich character as the original Vivalto Lungo: roasted, lightly woody with sweet cereal and subtle floral notes. It is a pure Arabica blend from several origins including South America and East Africa. The aromatic profile of these coffees is carefully preserved during the decaffeination process, which respects the coffee bean’s true nature, allowing us to maintain the strength and richness of its aromas.

Cosi (Kenya & Costa Rica)

A blend of East African, Central and South American Arabicas. A lightroast preserves the fragile citrus note that is so unique to Cosi. This very refreshing lemony note develops on a light body.

Volluto (Columbia & Brazil)

Delightfully scented, Volluto has a round body with sweet biscuit and light fruit notes. A combination of Brazilian and Colombian Arabicas, its light roast allows all the finesse of this coffee to be expressed.

Volluto Decaffeinato (Columbia & Brazil)

Delightfully sweet and smooth, Volluto Decaffeinato has the same rich flavours and round body as the original Volluto . The selected pure Arabica beans from South America are roasted lightly and separately to highlight their specificities and reveal the sweet biscuity, fresh and fruity notes. The aromatic profile of these coffees is carefully preserved during the decaffeination process, which respects the coffee bean’s true nature, allowing us to maintain the strength and richness of its aromas.

Capriccio (Columbia & Brazil)

Capriccio is an Espresso with a balanced bouquet, light acidity and a very characteristic cereal note. It is composed of Arabicas from South America including Brazil, in ideal proportions, and a touch of lightly roasted Robusta.

Linizio Lungo (Columbia & Brazil)

Pure Arabica from South America, Linizio Lungo is a well-rounded blend made of Brazilian and Colombian coffee. Split-roasting gives a cereal, malty note typical for the Bourbon variety, and maintains its mild and smooth character.

Ispirazione Genova Livanto (Guatemala & Brazil)

A medium roast brings out the round and very balanced bouquet in this blend of Central and South American Arabicas It evokes the scent of freshly toasted coffee escaping from the roaster: roasted and caramelised notes.

Fortissio Lungo (India & Columbia)

As in the age of sailing ships, Indian Malabar Arabica beans are exposed to monsoon winds after harvest to reveal a distinguished aromatic profile. We blend these with Latin American Arabica beans to create a Lungo with a truly intense character. This full-bodied Lungo, rich in aroma, expresses itself in beautiful sweet cereal and malty toasted notes, and it offers a pleasant bitterness with an exquisite fullness on the palate thanks to its round and smooth texture.

Envivo Lungo (Mexico & India)

Envivo Lungo was specially designed for the morning by Nespresso Coffee Experts. It is a long cup that stimulates the senses through its high intensity and generous character. This dark roasted coffee is a blend of a distinctive Arabica from India with a Robusta from Mexico. In cup, it reveals a bold character and a full body, roasted notes and rich scents reminiscent of aromatic woods and gingerbread.

Ispirazione Roma (Mexico, Brazil & others)

A subtle balance between strength, finesse and fullness- Ispirazione Roma sets itself apart by its woody and roasted notes. Central and South American Arabicas combined with Robusta, have been lightly roasted to preserve the delicate aroma of the blend. Ispirazione Roma is the ideal coffee for those looking for an Espresso that is both short and smooth.

Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio (Brazil & Costa Rica)

Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio takes its distinctive character and full body from a blend of Central and South American Arabicas. The long roasting allows each aspect to develop into an intense bouquet, combining cocoa and roasted notes.

Explore this deeply roasted blend.

Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio Decaffeinato (Brazil & Costa Rica)

Dark roasted and rich in flavour, Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio Decaffeinato boasts the same strong character, intense body and indulgent cocoa notes as the original Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio Decaffeinato A selection of the best Arabicas from South and Central Americas enriches this blend with intense, cocoa-like notes. A split roast reveals the specificities of each origin, carefully protected during the decaffeination process, which respects the coffee bean’s true nature, allowing us to maintain the blend`s aromatic strength and richness.

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano Decaffeinato (Colombia, Brazil, Kenya & India)

Intensely roasted and rich in flavour, Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano Decaffeinato has the same powerful character and contrasting taste as the original Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano. A selection of the best Latin American and East African Arabicas is sophisticatedly blended with a touch of Robusta, roasted separately to create the subtle fruity note of this full bodied, intense Espresso.

Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar (Guatemala & Brazil)

A daring blend including Robustas from Brazil and Guatemala, specially prepared for Nespresso, and a separately roasted Arabica from South America, Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar is a coffee of exceptional intensity. That full bodied Ristretto is rich in roasted notes. In cup, it develops a powerful bitterness and notes of pepper that are balanced by a dense and creamy texture.

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano (Colombia, Brazil, Kenya & India)

Strong in flavour and body, Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano combines the best South American Arabicas, from countries such as Colombia and Brazil, with great East African Arabicas, famous for their citrus aromas with a touch of Robusta for added zing. The slow split roasting of the beans creates a contrasting bouquet, bringing together subtle fruity and acid notes, with intensely roasted and chocolate ones.

Learn more about this complex blend

Caramel Crème Brulee (Colombia & Brazil)

Split roast, the Brazilian coffee is lightly roasted to keep it smooth and with all its malted cereal notes intact, while the majority of the Colombian coffee beans get a short roast to release all their finer aromatics. A fine grind adds a glimmer of intensity to this harmonious coffee. Crème Brûlée is all delicious caramel, vanilla and coconut notes dancing through the malted cereal character of our smoothest espresso.

Vanilla Éclair (Colombia & Brazil)

It’s in sweet harmony that Vanilla Éclair flavour blends into a round, smooth Latin American Arabica espresso. The base blend of Brazilian and Colombian Arabicas is known for its smooth taste and malted cereal notes – a real classic roasted coffee aroma. Vanilla Éclair plays into that full flavour with its own richness. The vanilla flavour brings a velvety layer to this Nespresso flavoured coffee.

Vanilio Variations (Colombia & Brazil)

Dark and bitter cocoa flavour meets the malted cereal note in Cocoa Truffle. It’s rich and reminiscent of dark chocolate truffles. The base espresso is a blend of the finest South American Arabicas – sweet Bourbon beans from Brazil in harmony with washed Colombian beans. A split roast brings out the best in each to create an incredibly smooth and rounded espresso – a great match for a dark cocoa flavour. A distinct cocoa note with a touch of almond sweetness and a hint of vanilla

Ready to discover the best coffee from all over the world?

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