GEORGE Clooney may have helped Nespresso explode into a billion-dollar global brand, but it appears the company's coffee capsules are not as smooth as the world famous actor.
Nespresso capsules placed fourth out of five in a blind taste test conducted by consumer advocate Choice.
Each shot was assessed for crema thickness, colour, aroma, mouth feel and aftertaste.
The Nespresso capsules, which were the most expensive in the survey, were described by the judges as "underwhelming", "musty" and "watery" by Choice's three experts.
Coffee Capsule Delights Indian received the top rating from the judges, who described the coffee from these capsules as "nutty", having "a good aroma" and "no bitter aftertaste".
But the review was not entirely positive, with the judges saying the capsules had a "very limited flavour".
Choice food policy adviser Angela McDougall said Nespresso was an example of what could be achieved through slick marketing.
"Nespresso has built its brand through its club and boutique stores, creating what is known as 'premiumisation'," Ms McDougall said.
"However, the low ranking of their coffee capsules in our taste test is a reminder to consumers that an expensive, exclusive product isn't always necessarily the best."
The Nespresso coffee capsule system was the fastest growing brand in the fresh coffee category in Australia two years ago, with global sales reaching $US 3.2 billion in the same year.
According to Euromonitor, overall sales of single-serve packets - which include cups, pods and discs - jumped 31.3 % that year.
Since 2010, an estimated 50 competitors have entered the capsule market.
HOW THEY RANKED
- Coffee Capsule Delights Indian (Cost: 60 cents for 5.8 grams)
- Best Espresso Mercurius Intenso (58c / 5.6g)
- Piazza D'Oro Superiore (65c / 5.5g)
- Nespresso Roma (68c / 5g)
- Caffe Vergano 1882 Intenso (55c / 5.3g)