Photo: Naledi Tseladikae
  • Nescafé Gold has rebranded, and with the new look came a new recipe.
  • Reactions to the coffee have been mixed so far.
  • We conducted a blind test to find out which people preferred. The results were surprising.

Last month, a revamped Nescafé Gold coffee was launched in South Africa.

One of the country's most popular instant coffee brands, it is now packaged with a new "brushed champagne gold lid and sleek shape", according to its producers.

More importantly: its recipe has been changed, and now includes Arabica beans that are ground ten times finer.

According to Nescafé, this crafting process allows for "the soul of the bean to be revealed for a finer and fuller taste".

Read: Nescafé, Ricoffy and Frisco are at war – which means cheaper prices for instant coffee drinkers

Not everyone was feeling the bean's soul, and reactions on South African social media have been mixed:

Cape Town barista Freeman Nofemele. Photo: Naledi Tseladikae

All participants tasted a clear difference between the two – but they were divided on what they tasted.

Naledi Tseladikae tasting the coffee. Photo: Jessica Fish

Half of the participants thought the old version was bitter, sharp, and some though it left behind a bad aftertaste. They said it tasted watered-down and bland.

Yet the old blend also had its supporters, who thought it was softer and smoother.

Some tasters claimed the new recipe was a shock to the system, bitter and sour. But there were more who claimed that the new recipe had a fuller body, was smoother and nicely robust.

Out of the 19 people who blind-tested the different coffees:

- 10 preferred the new Nescafé Gold blend

-   9 preferred the old Nescafé Gold blend.

There's no accounting for different coffee tastes, it seems. 

Ravi Pillay, a Nestlé spokesperson, told Business Insider SA that the company is "carefully analysing feedback from some of  loyal coffee consumers who are adapting to the new blend".

Nestlé recently invested R1.2 billion to expand its instant coffee manufacturing plant in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. The company has also invested in chicory farming in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape.

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