These New Starbucks Coffee Capsules Fooled Everyone in a Blind Taste Test

Nespresso's new pods will make you ditch your Keurig.

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Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for StarbucksGetty Images
Starbucks by Nespresso Variety Pack
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Nespresso's been known for making coffee capsules that, when brewed, taste just like they came from a nearby café. Still, when the brand announced that they were partnering with Starbucks on a line of pods that promised to taste just like the java you wait in line for at the siren-logoed store, editors were skeptical. Could it really satisfy our addiction?

We put it to the test, ordering a round of tall coffees from the Starbucks across the street from our office, while brewing a matching set in our Nespresso machine. They were poured into plain white cups and topped with lids—so you couldn't see that telltale Nespresso crema its coffee gets when freshly brewed—and had people taste it, then guess whether the java was made by a barista...or with the press of a button in the breakroom.

Nespresso's capsules are available in four varieties: Espresso Roast, Blonde Espresso Roast, Single-Origin Colombia Coffee, and Pike Place Roast. While it's worth caveating that this hardly scientific taste test had a very small sample size of four people—and it focused exclusively on the Espresso Roast—the results were shocking. Even daily Starbucks drinkers felt confident they were choosing a barista-made brew ("It just tastes fuller-bodied!" one editor commented). And they were all wrong. They'd chosen the Nespresso-made coffee, and they said they preferred it.

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I loved the rich flavor of the Nespresso capsules, which didn't have that burned, somewhat bitter taste you can sometimes get from coffee shop brews. If you think of the four capsules on a spectrum, the Single-Origin coffee tastes boldest, with Espresso Roast not far behind it. Pike Place is a little smoother, making it the Goldilocks of the bunch, and the Blonde Roast is sweeter, making it best for milk-heavy drinks, like lattes.

At $10 per 10-pack of capsules, the Nespresso line can save you money—once you get over the initial cost of buying the machine—amounting to about $1 per cup. Even at its most basic brew, a tall Pike Place at Starbucks set me back $2.34 earlier this week. It may not seem like much, but if you hit up the 'Bucks just three days a week, that's $209.04 in savings in just one year—more than enough for that Nespresso Pixie to pay for itself.

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