Caffe Nero

Visited at Edinburgh Airport

Being so excited about Italy and then disappointed to leave I completely forgot that this particular coffee journey started before I reached Rome, specifically – at the Edinburgh Airport. Those who have flown from here know that it’s not the most thrilling of airports, and having used its services several times, I have probably visited all of the cafes and restaurants that open before 6 am. Just as a side note, the trip to Italy was quite long, due to a five hour stopover at Brussels’ Charleroi Airport – and by comparison, I am glad for what we have in Edinburgh, as they didn’t even have a non-automated coffee machine there…

So, as I said, I had already been to The Gathering, EAT, Fringe Bar and Wetherspoon’s – as for Costa, I didn’t feel tempted. Neither would I have been for Caffe Nero, but it was the only one left on the list, especially that none of the above had enticed me to come back for another coffee. This was not my first time at Nero, but it had been a good year or two since my previous visit (due to similar feelings as I had for Costa) so I thought I could give it a shot. And after all, it is “the Italian Coffee Co.”…

Mocha at Caffe Nero

The airport was heaving and the long queue to the counter did not look good in terms of finding a seat on the quite extensive Nero quarters. There were three baristas managing the line rather swiftly, although you couldn’t really expect of them huge smiles; they weren’t rude either, so I don’t have reasons to complain. As I was served my coffee and chocolate croissant, I quickly reserved a seat that was just made free by slamming my suitcase on the chair, then came back running to pick up my tray, passing other customers helplessly looking for a seat – a simple example of a fight for survival.

The mocha, although I asked for a regular size, seemed huge, but nicely presented. There was a brown rim of coffee on the edges of the cup – just as you see on their posters, which made it look even more appetising. I took a sip, then another one, and another one, to convince myself that it was as good as it looked; but when I overheard an Italian woman sitting just next to me, with a pile of sugar beside her cup, saying to her husband: “It is so bitter! So, so bitter!” I knew that with an unbiased opinion like that, my own judgement was correct.

Truth be told, they do describe the coffee on their website as “rich espresso blended with rich chocolate”, so I could have blamed the bitterness of the coffee on the cocoa content in the chocolate – if not for that Italian woman, that is, who was drinking a cappucino. And it is a real shame, because, considering  the style and image of Caffe Nero, it would be the most appealing out of the major coffee chains in the UK, in my view – if only their coffee was less strong

Verdict justification: The espresso spoils what could have been a very enjoyable experience

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