First impressions: Segafredo ”Decacrèm”

Let’s be honest. I do not drink coffee for the caffeine. In my 13 years as a regular coffee consumer, I have never managed to develop a ”vitamin C” addiction. (You can read my testimony here.) Having said that, I am of the opinion that caffeine is an integral part of the whole experience of enjoying coffee. That’s why I’ve never been a huge fan of decaf products.

But hey, I don’t want to be narrow-minded! Since I recently found this new (to me) decaf blend, I decided to add it to my list of Italian grocery store coffees. So, without further ado, here are my first impressions of Segafredo Decacrèm.

At first glance, this was exactly like any Italian supermarket espresso. That is to say,

  • it was roasted ”medium”
  • it was pre-ground for macchinetta
  • it came in a small vacuum sealed ”brick”

On the pack, the company gave the following information:

  • Aroma: 3/5
  • Intensity: 3/5
  • Body: 3/5
  • Persistency: 4/5

Sounds about right to me! Flavor-wise, Decacrèm was definitely in the same ballpark with its sibling blends. It was a 100% Arabica blend with a nice acidic edge to it. Even so, the overall experience was quite ”soft” and semi-creamy. The flavor profile was surprisingly reminiscent of Bravo ο Κλασικός, the Greek grocery store blend I enjoyed recently: it had this dryish vibe of medium dark unsweetened cocoa powder, and yet it also reminded me of dried fruits. To me, the longish finish was the best part.

I found it hard to determine whether the decaf process had altered the flavor. I think it had. While Decacrèm was by no means weak in body, it might have felt somewhat ”hollow”. That said, it was not the hollowness of those cheap Bellarom blends people buy from Lidl. The body was just lighter than expected.

It was actually quite nice to have one more cup of Italian coffee after dinner without having to lose my sleep. If that sounds appealing to you, you might want to get some Decacrèm and see for yourself.

Segafredo ”Emozioni 100% Arabica”—surprisingly nice!

One day, I had to quickly get some pre-ground Italian coffee. I walked into my local supermarket and noticed this: Segafredo Emozioni 100% Arabica. Since I hadn’t tried it before, I decided to give it a go.

On the package, Segafredo tells us that Emozioni is (obviously) a ”100% Arabica blend with a vivid fragrance.” We are also told that the roast level is ”medium”. The ”sensory profile” is described thus:

  • Aroma 4/5
  • Intensity 4/5
  • Body 3/5
  • Persistency 5/5

As I always do with Italian blends, I brewed Emozioni using my Bialetti Moka pot.

Both the body and the intesity were medium. The flavor profile was quite simple and straightforward, but not monochromatic. In my opinion, there were two main notes:

  • medium dark, semi-sweet chocolate
  • a sour, cigar-like quality

Both of these aspects worked very well together, with the slightly smoky cigar-like thing taking the lead role.

As expected, Emozioni didn’t exactly knock my socks off. After all, it’s a mass produced grocery store blend. Even so, I found it to be a perfectly enjoyable all day espresso made in the true Italian style. If I ever run out of higher quality coffee, I can see myself buying it again.

Oh, one last note: While I rarely use any additives in my coffee, I must say that Emozioni worked quite well as a foundation for oat milk café au lait. The moderate intensity was subdued nicely by the oat milk, but it was still strong enough not to feel weak or diluted. I imagine that this blend would provide a nice base for a caffè latte as well.

Segafredo ”Intenso”—Intense? Yes, but…

This is Intenso, another Segafredo blend manufactured for the Italian espresso maker by Meira, the big Finnish coffee and spice company.

On the bag, we are told that this ”is an Italian-style, dark roast, organic coffee with a flavour reminiscent of the robust, dark and strong characteristics of Italian coffee.” The roast level is ”3”.

For brewing, I used both my Bialetti Moka pot and the French press.

Either way, the results were less than appealing.

Now, Intenso was pretty intense indeed. There was a healthy dose of acidity, and some bitterness as well. I immediately got the impression that this was going the be a very flavorful blend. Ironically, however, the actual flavors were hard to detect. To be more precise, there seemed to be none to speak of.

Everything in Intenso made me think of those cheap (actually, a lot cheaper) Bellarom blends they sell in Lidl.

If that’s what you like, you might consider trying it. As for me, I would rather get a pack of Lavazza Qualità Oro.

Segafredo ”Pausa”—a reasonably good ”Italian” blend

Here’s another grocery store coffee that I’ve wanted to try: Segafredo Zanetti Pausa. To be precise, this blend is manufactured for Segafredo by Meira, the traditional Finnish coffee and spice company. Since Pausa is not listed on the international Segafredo website, one wonders if it’s only made for a limited (Scandinavian?) market.

On the bag, there is some information on the product:

Segafredo Pausa is an Italian-style, dark roast coffee with a flavour reminiscent of the robust, dark and strong characteristics of Italian coffee.

We are also told that Pausa is ”[s]trong in taste”, and roasted ”very dark” (4). Judging by the images on the bag, the company appears to suggest that the blend is suitable for French press and auto drip machines.

Well, if it’s supposed to be an Italian-style blend, it should be tried in the Moka pot first!

Indeed, Pausa was similar to many Italian Arabica espresso blends. (It appeared to contain no Robusta.) While the mouthfeel was by no means harsh, the flavor profile was on the bitter and acidic side. I also detected the following notes:

  • semi-sweet dark chocolate
  • salted licorice—not unlike Moak Gusto Bar, but not quite as much
  • some smokiness
  • the tiniest hint of vanilla

The French press version was nice, but it offered no real surprises. In my opinion, it was ”just good coffee” with few nuances and little complexity. I definitely preferred the Moka pot version.

In summary, the Finnish made Segafredo Zanetti Pausa is a reasonably good, dark roasted, medium bodied Italian-style grocery store blend. While it is hardly ”gourmet”, there is nothing wrong with it, either. If there is no Lavazza Qualità Oro available, I can see myself buying it again.

Segafredo Zanetti Espresso Casa—the Italian powerhouse

I love Italian coffee. I’ve always had a special affinity for Segafredo Zanetti products. In 2010, as I was just starting to get into coffee, their classic Intermezzo was the first espresso blend I truly fell in love with. Soon after that, I tried their Espresso Casa. I remember liking it a lot, but the huge caffeine kick was the one thing that really stuck in my mind.

Recently, I noticed Espresso Casa was available at my local supermarket. I wanted to find out whether I would still feel the same way about it. I was kind of suspecting that now, after all these years of drinking coffee, it would feel like any regular espresso blend.

Man, was I wrong.

First, it was delicious. Of course, Espresso Casa is not gourmet coffee. But it was really good. The Arabicas were nutty and slightly sweet. The Robustas were earthy and bitter, but not overly so. They were slighlty floral and vanilla-like, but not so much as in, say, Lavazza Crema e Gusto. The whole thing was reminiscent of Intermezzo, but it was not as earthy and dry. It was full flavored, but very creamy and smooth. All the different flavors were in perfect balance.

Man, it was almost as good as my beloved Pascucci Golden Sack.

Secondly, the caffeine. Oh boy, the caffeine. I’d like to think that I have a pretty high tolerance for caffeine. Even then, two moka pots of this after a big breakfast made my head spin like no other blend.

If you want some hair on your chest, this is the deal.

I really like Espresso Casa. In my opinion, it is one of the best Italian espresso blends you can find in your local supermarket. That said, I don’t think I could have it every day. It is just too strong in the caffeine department. But if you need a quick pick-me-up in the morning, or if you want to feel like Marlon Brando, this is the perfect choice.