A cup of coffee made like it would be at your favourite holiday destination is certainly not the same as drinking it there yourself, but until things change and travel is possible again, it will have to do. Through its World Explorations range, portion coffee pioneer Nespresso is offering connoisseurs the chance to indulge in a cuppa inspired by some of the world’s most well-loved cities and its café culture – Cape Town, Stockholm, Tokyo and Vienna. The latest two additions to this list are Grand Crus featuring flavour profiles of java jolts enjoyed in Shanghai, the glitzy financial hub of China, and historic city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A masterclass with two Nespresso baristas one morning, held over Zoom in the comfort of our respective homes, was a good way to guide a bunch of caffeine-starved journos to create unique coffee drinks that we might not have tried our hand at otherwise. The Buenos Aires Milky Way and the Tokyo Matcha Latte aren’t difficult to make, neither do they call for especially exotic ingredients, but being guided as I made it my own kitchen was a good reminder that Nespresso’s recipes really do aim to make things easy while never compromising on taste and innovation.
I was glad that the class began with the Buenos Aires Lungo, as its cereal and popcorn notes are flavours I naturally tend to gravitate toward. In a nod to Argentina’s vibrant food scene where sweetness prevails, it blends a gently roasted Colombian Arabica with Ugandan Robusta. In this city, you’d have your coffee long with milk and sugar, so that is how we had ours. Well, a richer version anyway – the Lungo is expressed by your Nespresso machine over two teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk, and then, a combination of whipping cream and fresh milk is creamed in a frother and then poured into the glass. Finally, it is topped with a few caramel popcorn bits – stop when your heart says to, I’d say – and a drizzle of caramel syrup.
This was the drink I had seconds of after the one we made in the class. It wasn’t as cloyingly sweet as I expected it to be, while the cream and milk combination was sinfully rich without making me feel overly full. As the popcorn kernels softened in the hot coffee, each lengthy sip came with a pleasurable bite, too. Delicious!
There are little surprises with the Tokyo Matcha Latte, simply because this is a beverage already quite popular in KL. The recipe for this was a little more complex, but still easy enough even for the starter Nespresso fan. Express the Tokyo Vivalto Lungo over two teaspoons of honey, and when you froth the milk and cream, add a teaspoon of matcha as well. Combine the two, and finish this off with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. Refined Ethiopian and Mexican Arabicas deliver a complex, floral cup with a hint of acidity. Depending on the honey you use, the sweetness of this coffee can be more floral, or fruit flavoured, with the kind of matcha powder you use also possibly altering the taste.
I’m generally not a fan of matcha, but I have to admit this was a good cup of coffee – perfectly balanced and elegant, with a slightly bitter finish courtesy of the matcha and a tingling sweetness. I tried this with berry syrup I had, and this really brought out the fruit-like flavours in the coffee – if you have any at home, I’d recommend it over using honey as a sweetener.
The Nespresso World Explorations coffee range are priced at RM23 per sleeve of 10 capsules. From 15 March to 4 April, Nespresso is giving away a limited-edition porcelain coaster of your choice with any purchase of 100 capsules including any Lungo. With an additional 50 capsules, you will receive a set of iconic Shanghai and Buenos Aires pixie cups.
Pick up your new coffees at the Nespresso boutiques at The Gardens Mall and One Utama Shopping Centre, the Nespresso mobile app, online here and through the Customer Careline at 1800 80 7001.