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Smooth coffee in a decent jar!
Carte Noire Instant
Member Name: pmcds
Carte Noire Instant
Advantages: Smooth aftertaste, lovely aroma, good jar
Disadvantages: Weak with milk, harsh initial taste
I must admit, usually when I opt for coffee I'll look solely at gold blend. I much prefer the more gentle and less harsh taste gold blend coffee gives you on the aftertaste. Recently, my father in law treated me (well, and himself I suppose) to a jar of this stuff, a dark blend coffee that professes to be velvety and not harsh.
In terms of similarity between this and gold blend, I'd say the aftertaste isn't all that different. As per usual, I always wait a good few seconds after the kettle boils before adding the water. This way, you stop it from burning the granules and reduce the amount of bitterness the coffee often has. This particular blend gives off a harsh aroma, and so the first time I had this, I figured I'd be in for quite a strong and bitter coffee. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Initially, you do get a bit of a harshness on sipping, but I think this is more the first hit of it your taste buds get. Subsequent sips reveal the true nature of the blend, which is that of a velvety and somewhat weak taste of coffee. Curiously though, this is not a criticism. The main point of such a coffee is to be smooth, and it certainly fulfills this requirement. The initial taste gives way to the underlying tastes of the blend, which turns out to be quite weak if I'm honest. It's certainly still noticeable in terms of taste and doesn't taste watered down like some of the cheapest coffees you can get. I'm not overly familiar with the Carte Noire brand name, but I'm aware that it's a quality product and this is reflected in the drink.
Some may not be so keen on the weaker elements of the coffee, but I quite like this. It almost seems like an attempt to cross regular coffee with a gold blend style, gently fusing harshness with a velvet aftertaste. Carte Noire's blurb on the side of the jar speaks of velvet and richness, although I'm not so sure about the richness of the coffee personally.
Part of a good coffee for me is also the aroma, and this one is lovely. It has the strength to give you a warm feeling, and the hit of a coffee smell first thing in the morning always makes me feel better. This smells smooth, none of the initial harsh taste present in the aroma at all.
Adding milk to it gives it a slightly weaker flavour, if I had to provide any sort of negative point about the coffee. I do like to add milk, and so in general this may not be the sort of coffee I'd buy myself. However, it is a good coffee and without milk holds its own against other leading brands I've tried. the jar itself is firmly designed and has a lid that screws on tightly but is easy enough to open. I know this sounds a little silly, but I do sometimes buy my coffee based on how secure or easy the lid design is. Tesco Gold Blend for example has switched to a different lid that clips on and is absolutely rubbish and comes off far too easily. I reckon from now on, I'll buy some Gold Blend and put it in this Carte Noire jar!
Overall a decent coffee. probably still not one I'd choose, but ultimately worth a purchase. I can't comment on price because it was bought for me, but I imagine it falls within the similar areas that other similar brands and size jars will do. Definitely worth it if you're tempted, but not enough to tempt me away from my usual gold.
Summary: Solid quality coffee from Carte Noire
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