Nespresso came up with a simple but revolutionary idea: to create the perfect cup of espresso coffee with an exquisite crema, tantalising aroma and full-bodied taste, as generations of skilled baristas have done, yet with maximum convenience. This spirit of innovation is still alive in our continuous quest for excellence at all stages of Grands Crus creation, from the cherry on the tree to your perfectly extracted cup.
We borrowed this term from the world of wine, as it represents the best how we consider our coffees. In the wine industry, the term Grand Cru is dedicated to wines of the highest quality.
At Nespresso our selection begins with the best raw materials we can find, because only the best beginning holds the promise of an incredible cup of coffee.We start at origin with fine specialty grade coffees that meet stringent physical criteria and specific taste profiles, necessary to compose our distinctive Grands Crus.
Our approach necessitates another level of selectivity which concerns the sustainability of the coffee tree and coffee world in general.
To address the issue of coffee’s future, we created the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program in 2003 in collaboration with the NGO Rainforest Alliance. This program enables Nespresso to safeguard the future supply of the highest quality coffee, while paying farmers a higher income and protecting the natural environment.
But our commitment goes beyond this; it is about a long-term relationship and continued loyalty to the coffee farmers in the program.
Cherries of the same tree will ripen at differing rates and therefore should be picked at different times. In order to pick only correctly ripened fruit, the majority of coffees used for Nespresso Grands Crus are harvested by hand. Though costlier in time and money, this guarantees the best quality, since beans that are too green, or overripe, are eliminated.
« The better the grading, the more consistent the beans, the more even the roast, and ultimately, the more balanced the cup. »
Ensuring quality through all coffee journey’s stages, from farm to cup, requires us to carry out repeated and systematic physical and taste checks: before packing coffee at origin, before the shipment by sea or air, and again, upon arrival in Europe. Taste (or "cup") testing ensures only the finest, cleanest coffee is selected.
In order to pick the best beans, Nespresso only chooses the "Gourmet Coffees", finest coffees that are rigorously selected and tested, to satisfy the most demanding palates. Selection is so rigorous, in fact, that we estimate only 1 - 2% of global coffees eligible to meet our requirements.It is a gold prospector work that can lead our Coffee Experts in the most remoted areas, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
We develop our Grands Crus in a blend composition much like a form of magical alchemy. Having practiced these skills for over 25 years, Nespresso quality creation is masterful, not coincidental. As a perfumer knows the harmonics of his ingredients, so our master blenders understand the transformation of fragrance and flavours. Nespresso panel cuppers are intensively trained, tested, certified and re-certified every 3 months for their ability to identify quality. Sensory evaluation looks beyond physical attributes, linking taste to variety, terroir and care in cultivation.
After meticulous selection, the Nespresso Experts blend certain coffee origins, to ensure their aromatic profiles complement and enhance one another. These blends, based on a combination of expertise and inspiration, form the basis of the unique personality of each Grand Cru.
The subtle blending of varieties reveals a wealth of flavours, each contributing remarkable characteristics. The two main commercial coffee species, Arabica and Robusta, bring distinct characteristics to a blend. Coffees of both types must pass physical, sensorial and sustainable standards tests of the highest order. Where Arabica brings fineness, acidity, clarity and elegance to the cup, Robusta adds heft, body, texture and pure coffee aromatics. Nespresso uses between 90% to 95% Arabicas with some Robustas to either add spice to selected Grands Crus, or create unique personalities in others.
Roasting and grinding are vital stages towards creating a Grand Cru as here we reveal the full flavor and aromatic potential of green coffee beans.
Coffee develops the full potential of its aroma during roasting. Correct roasting depends on finding the time, temperature and other parameters best suited to a blend, thereby allowing origin characteristics to be fully expressed. Each Grand Cru has its own specific roasting process designed to bring out the intrinsic characteristics of each origin.
Depending on the roast technique used, the same coffee can acquire vastly different in-cup results. By knowing the character of our beans, we roast each one of them with the goal of optimising and maximising its flavour.
Origin, type, shipment, batch… all these variables impact roasting. Our expert understanding ensures consistency cup after cup, year after year, irrespective of seasonal fluctuations.
Ultimately, grinding is what allows coffee’s aromas to be released. The grind size influences the rate at which the coffee flows into the cup. Here again, various profiles are created to ensure an optimum in-cup result. These operations are fastidious and require precision and expertise, for an optimum quality of each Grand Cru in the cup
After grinding, the coffee is packed in a laminated aluminium capsule that protects ground coffee from contact with the air, light and moisture.
Processed and packed under inert atmosphere and hermetically sealed in, the Nespresso capsule guarantees consistent coffee quality by locking in the freshness of the coffee’s flavours and its 900 aromas for 12 months.
The material was also favoured because it is 100% recyclable and thus not only maintains quality and flavour integrity, but is not a spent resource once used.
Compared against the production of primary aluminium, the recycling of aluminium products consumes as little as 5% of the energy and emits only 5% of the greenhouse gases. As part of our vision, Nespresso has already put in place used capsule collection capacity, allowing 90% of our clients to benefit from a collection solution close by at the end of 2013, reaching our target one year earlier than planned.
In the final quality step to the customer, extraction, Nespresso’s complete quality system ensures that finished capsules interact with machines in such a way as to extract all the flavours that have been so carefully sought, selected for, roasted, ground and packed… In other words, to serve as the ultimate expression of all that has gone heretofore.
Our brewing systems operate at the right water temperature, quantity and pressure for each Grand Cru design, so they deliver our quality promise in the cup.
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