I have to be honest: when I started my quest for the perfect festive coffee, I was not that keen to include Cafe Nero in. I was not convinced that I would find something I liked, as I found their coffees a bit uninspiring during previous visits. There was a period a few years ago that I would refuse flat out to step into a cafe Nero, and that was mainly because of a time I tried an Americano that tasted like mud water and the barista refused to make a new one; I just left it on the counter, walked out, and decided to never order at a Cafe Nero again.
However, here I am, at the till, ready to order. My eye is drawn to the festive cakes that look delicious, and suddenly I feel a bit excited; could I have been wrong? Well, they say that the proof is in the pudding, so who am I to challenge that?
I loved how there was a treat with the coffee that I ordered, and that reminded me of the traditional Greek coffee shops (called Cafeneio, similar in a phonetic way to Cafe Nero) where your coffee would come with a complimentary biscuit at the side, and I find myself smiling. There is a Baci on my tray, and even they are not that popular here, I go back to Greece once again, where along with Ferrero Roche they are a common Christmas gift. They include a small piece of paper with a wish inside, so I open mine, read the wish, and find my smile widening even more. This is proving to be very lovely indeed.
I started my trial with the Roasted Hazelnut Latte, and I kept the same scoring system I had at Starbucks: presentation, flavour, consistency and after taste. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The flavour was lovely, and the roasted hazelnut was really coming through without being overpowering. It was a tiny bit too sweet for my taste, however the consistency, and after taste were great. Overall I gave it an 7/10, and would definitely have it again.
Even though the next day I was tempted to order the Roasted Hazelnut Latte again, I decided to go with the Amaretto Latte, and I did not regret it. The presentation was good, the consistency and flavour did not disappoint, however I found the aftertaste a bit strong- this was the only reason I gave it a 6/10.
Next came the Praline Latte, and you know these moments that you are experiencing an internal wave of OMGiness? Well, that was my first gulp. I was overcome by the richness and lovely texture, and was in a trance of delight. I have to say that I could not flaw anything- the only part that shaved points off was that it was a bit too much towards the end, but even so, I gave it an 8/10 and had it the next day too.
Now that I became a Nero frequent customer the baristas greet me and are amused as I always order something different, trying to guess what will be next. It came as no surprise that I went for the Rich Hot Chocolate, as I wanted to save the best for last. This is where it went a bit sour, as my chocolate was not really as rich as it’s name would imply, and had lumps of cocoa powder swimming in the watery surface. I did not finish it, and gave it a 4/10.
Did that last experience deter me from Nero? Absolutely not. I cannot say I am a convert yet, but the praline latte touched my lips a few more times since then, so overall, I am keeping an open mind. Will it win my festive drink champion title though? All will be revealed tomorrow!