The latest Nespresso boutique to open in London is located in Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. Right before Christmas I was invited to visit the boutique and attend a private coffee masterclass with their coffee expert. I feared Westfield the week before Christmas, forecasting hordes of shoppers, chaos and crowds.
I should not have worried, as the centre was calm, and a pleasure to visit on a late afternoon, and I actually wished I’d arrived earlier to spend more time browsing the many shops on site. Mea culpa! I did not remember how huge the place is however and it took me a while to find the boutique; when I arrived I made my way straight to the Connoisseurs’ bar at the back, where I took my place with Alice from the PR company and we experienced the Coffee Connoisseurs Session with the lovely Caroline, the Nespresso Coffee Expert in this new location. The shop is well laid out with the members’ area at the back, the tasting pod at the entrance and good browsing space.
We started with a taste challenge: we were presented with three cups of coffee and had to pick the odd one out based on look, smell and of course taste. Caroline explained how the sense of smells contributes to the tasting of drinks or food and how to best experience a coffee sip (making noise and aerating it in the mouth, so that the entire sensory action gives a full rounded experience).
We then proceeded to what sounded really quite odd: pairing coffee with cheese. Having known the Nespresso folks for a while now, I should not have been surprised to hear that they have developed pairing of two such apparently contrasting items. The first pairing was indeed, quite scary.. Volluto cru and feta cheese. Are they mad? I said to myself as I slurped some coffee and at the same time (!) I bit into a mouthful of feta. It has to be tried to be believed: the saltiness of the Greek cheese gone, instead replaced by a mellow and almost sweet sensation with the mild coffee. Incredible, and eye opening. I was feeling more more relaxed and up for it with the next pairing, where the cheese was parmigiano, a stronger but fairly versatile cheese. Yet the feta pairing was what lingered in my memory. Another thought provoking experience from Nespresso, so well done for putting us in front of always new and surprising tasks.
The Connoisseurs sessions are completely free but available to registered Nespresso Club Members. I really enjoyed myself, I asked plenty of questions on coffee in general and their brand of course. The people running these sessions are passionate and very knowledgeable so I would recommend to anyone with an interest in Nespresso and coffee in general to sign up.
“explore the wonderfully complex tastes and fragrances of coffee itself and even attempt to master the art of the ‘slurp’, just like a professional coffee taster”
At the end of the session, we were gifted with a gorgeous Inissia system and a few festive limited edition specials, including the Bonbonniere pod, which I brought back home to the Italian family, and the new smart Touch mugs. I also bought some sleeves of crus, among which Ristretto, which I tried during the session and which I think is now my favourite cru, after the no longer available limited edition Cubania.
Worth mentioning that Nespresso also recently launched a new pop-up Boutique at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, to allow shoppers to experience the premium quality coffee offering from Nespresso, access to its range of machines, and the Boutique concept just in time for Christmas.
I was a guest of Nespresso on this occasion; opinions are my own and I was not required to write this post.
Disclaimer: I no longer endorse Nespresso products due to the impact the capsules have on the environment; I am now more informed and no longer buy aluminium pods, preferring compostable compatible pods by independent coffee roasters. I am however grateful to Nespresso for inviting me to their events in the past and introducing me to the brand.