Review for Zebra Coffee Co. Nespresso Compatible Capsules- http://zebracoffee.com/
Zebra is one of the newer Nespresso Compatible capsule sellers, originating out of Miami Florida (Similar to Rosso and Artizan). Besides their normal "house blends", they often times offer seasonal blends from other roasters. According to their website, the capsules usually sell for 70 centers a pop, but are currently on sale for 49 cents. I'm not sure if this is a marketing scheme or if (A lot of these companies tend to continually sell their products at "sale prices" to make it seem like it's a one time deal) normally the capsules are actually 70 cents. I'll say this, for 70 cents a pop you're better off with Nespresso and Rosso's selections. For 50 cents, I would get the Dark and Medium roasts.
Perhaps because they are a newer company, I've noticed some possible manufacturing errors with the capsules. One of the capsules I received had a huge crack down the middle and would not function in my machine. Another (the light roast) either was just flat out awful coffee or, as I believe, was stale as the coffee come out light brown watery, had virtually not crema, and was more of a mild coffee than espresso.
Another thing I noticed among these capsules (excluding the dark roast) is that the crema is rather small and dissipates very quickly compared to other capsules I've used. Likewise, there are often random blotches of red/dark brown (see pictures) that I've never seen in an espresso before.
Lastly, the capsules are made of a hard plastic and foiled with "Zebra Coffee" foils that are indistinguishable from one another, so you have to organize them in a way to remember which is which. The capsules are much harder to take out then normal Nespresso Capsules. You have to use a lot of force to pull the lever back in order to get the capsule to drop into the dispenser. Rosso, Hilline, and Nespresso Capsules have never been as ruff when trying to get the capsule out for me.
Giza Dark Roast- 8/10
Out of all the blends Zebra offers, I would buy this one again. The others, the be frank, are not worth it.
I get a bit of nut and fruity flavors from this blend, making it great for a shot or for a base for a cap/latte. This capsule is the only one that has crema that actually lasts and is comparable (but not at the same level) as Nespresso Crema. I can sense some Robusta in this one from the redness of the crema. I find this more comparable to Darkan/Arpeggio than Ristretto
Kati Medium Roast- 7/10
This one is similar to the Dark roast, but has more of a fruity vibe with a little bit of a wood/grassy flavor. Although it's listed as a medium, it still holds up well both by itself and with caps/lattes.
Mkali Light Roast- Not sure, but I wouldn't buy again
Two of the capsules of this blend came out with coffee that was light brown. had very little crema, and was overly watery to the point that it didn't resemble espresso, not even coffee. Another capsule came out resembling espresso more, with a little bit more crema, but even then it was too light for me to enjoy. Perhaps you'll like this blend, but for me it just wasn't anything exciting.
Bila Decaf Roast- 7/10
I compared this roast to the Nespresso Decaf Intenso. I did enjoy this blend as it's strong enough for caps/lattes and still tastes good on it's own. However, it is a lighter blend, and thus, you feel like you are drinking decaf. When I drink Decaf Intenso, I feel like I'm drinking a strong espresso (obviously, not as strong as Apeggio/ristretto), but when I drink this one, it feels lighter and not as intense. Likewise, this blend just isn't nearly as exciting as the Nespresso counterpart.
Medium Blend crema V Ristretto Nespresso
This is what I was talking about with the random blotches and bubbles in the crema. The colors and blotches just look odd to me