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Putting new Nescafé Gold to a taste test

A revamped Nescafé Gold coffee has been launched globally and in South Africa. Business Insider SA conducted a blind test to find out which people preferred – and the results were surprising.

One of the country’s most popular instant coffee brands, it is now packaged with a new “brushed champagne gold lid and sleek shape”, according to Nestlé.

This is the corporate statement on the new launch:

“For consumers looking for a full flavoured, aromatic coffee, Nestlé is relaunching Nescafé Gold. The new soluble blend includes micrograins of Arabica coffee ground 10 times finer than ordinary ground coffee. These tiny grains enhance the hidden taste and aroma of the Gold Blend.

Nescafé Gold has been completely reinvented with a new formulation, packaging and communication. The new range also includes a FairTrade organic version.

“Care and attention has been taken at every step of the process – from the selection of the cherry beans, the roasting, the grinding and the preparation – to ensure a premium coffee experience in every cup.

“Nescafé is the world’s leading and preferred coffee brand. After 80 years touching people’s lives every day, we continue to share our passion and craft for making great coffee.

“The relaunch of Nescafé Gold underlines Nestlé’s commitment to developing the coffee business and our leading brands around the world,” said Carsten Fredholm, Head of Beverage Strategic Business Unit.

Not everyone was feeling the bean’s soul, and reactions on South African social media have been mixed.

Putting it to a taste test

With this in mind, Business Insider SA set out to do a blind test of the old and new Nescafé Gold, with a group of 19 participants.

Their aim was to see if they could taste a difference, and whether a clear preference emerged.

Each participant was given two cups of coffee, one labelled A, the other B.

Unaware which cup was which, participants had to taste the two different types and tell us which they preferred based on flavour, smell and body.

All participants tasted a clear difference between the two – but they were divided on what they tasted, reports Business Insider SA.

Half of the participants thought the old version was bitter, sharp, and some though it left behind a bad aftertaste. They said it tasted watered-down and bland.

Yet the old blend also had its supporters, who thought it was softer and smoother.

Some tasters claimed the new recipe was a shock to the system, bitter and sour. But there were more who claimed that the new recipe had a fuller body, was smoother and nicely robust.

Out of the 19 people who blind-tested the different coffees:

  • 10 preferred the new Nescafé Gold blend
  • 9 preferred the old Nescafé Gold blend

There’s no accounting for different coffee tastes, it seems. 

Ravi Pillay, a Nestlé spokesperson, told Business Insider SA that the company is “carefully analysing feedback from some of  loyal coffee consumers who are adapting to the new blend”.

Nestlé recently invested R1.2-billion to expand its instant coffee manufacturing plant in Estcourt, KZN. The company has also invested in chicory farming in KZN and Eastern Cape.

Source: Business Insider SA

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