CRU Kafe are a new artisanal range of Nespresso compatible coffee pods. Their coffee is not only "speciality" but also fair trade and organic. If you enjoy a Nespresso coffee but not so much the ethics of the Nestlé corporation then CRU Kafe offers a clear alternative. All their coffee is made using high altitude 100% Arabica coffee, which promises a smooth flavour without any burnt or bitter notes.
I was sent a packet of the CRU Flat White, containing 12 pods, to test out. The packaging is very sleek and I like it's sophisticated black and white design. Following the ethical standpoint of the CRU Kafe founders, the pods themselves are easy to recycle. The CRU Flat White is a blend of three beans; Ethiopian, Peruvian and Indian. You can even read more about the origins and the specific cooperatives and communities that have provided the coffees here. All the CRU Kafe partners use traditional and certified organic farming procedures which means no nasty chemicals or fertilizers, with only 100% natural ingredients.
The CRU Flat White is described as being an ideal coffee blend for enjoying with milk, as the body and flavour is robust enough to cut through the milk, but can also be used as an espresso or ristretto. First of all I tried it as a simple espresso, no milk or additional water, and I could immediately tell that this was a high quality product. The coffee is smooth, full bodied with a sweet cerealy depth. Once milk is added it retains it's strength of flavour and quality. I've tried many Nespresso compatible pods which do not withstand the addition of milk without becoming flavourless and that is certainly not the case here. There is no strength or intensity given for the CRU Flat White but I would compare it to the Roma or Arpeggio Grand Crus from Nespresso.
These are certainly the finest Nespresso compatible pods I've tried, and CRU Kafe themselves are obviously aiming high on quality and ethics. The range is available exclusively online, and can be bought via a subscription service or as a one-off. The pods cost £11 for 24 pods with free delivery (or £10 if you subscribe monthly), which is actually more expensive than the official Nespresso pods. It's worth giving them a try on the basis of their lovely flavour, but especially so if organic and ethical principles are important to you.
More details here: www.crukafe.co.uk