The Dharkan capsule has a legendary status among coffee aficionados. Despite its status as the favorite brew of many, Nespresso has discontinued the capsule, making it difficult to acquire. Dharkan is most easily available in variety packs, with a total of 5 black cardboard sleeves of 10 coffee pods running about $36. The Dharkan pods are a cobalt blue, and the sleeve containing this rare blend is a deeper black than the rest.
Like other Nespresso pods, Dharkan pods are made of recyclable aluminum. Each pod is sized for a 25 ml espresso or 40 ml ristretto. In general, the aluminum pods used by Nespresso tend to protect the flavor of the coffee within. Dharkan was discontinued in March 2020, however, so the quality of any remaining pods is dubious at best. Purchase as a novelty and without expectations.
Dharkan is a blend of arabica beans from four locations: Costa Rica, Java, and two Latin American countries Nespresso decline to name. The beans have been given the same treatment that you’d give a lump of high-quality meat on your barbecue: low heat for long periods of time. The result is a wonderful pairing of incredibly bold, smooth flavors with an incredible backdrop of complexity.
Again, Nespresso ran out of beans to make this product in March of 2020. It’s not clear why: perhaps a supplier went out of business, or perhaps the price of beans from one of the suppliers went up. In any case, any modern discussion of Dharkan’s origins should include the warehouse in which it’s been sitting, as the beans have spent more time there than anywhere else.
Roast: Dark, but through an unusual process. You definitely get some dark-roast-Esque flavors in this coffee, but it’s much more smooth and velvety than you’d expect.
Flavor: Smooth, silky, with a strong nose full of caramel, cereals, and cocoa. A bit bitter. Somewhat reminiscent of baker’s chocolate, especially as it cools. Dry on the tongue, with dark-roasted flavors around the edges.
Intensity: 11/13 – Appropriately bold, especially given its excellent taste.
Quantity: 10 capsules per sleeve, 5g coffee per capsule
Beverages: 25 ml ristretto, 40 ml espresso.
Price: ~$0.72 USD. Though its easiest to acquire as part of a variety pack, which gives 5 sleeves (each with a different coffee) for $36
Dharkan smells like breakfast, with strong cereal notes and more than a hint of caramel. It’s bold and very unique, with much more finesse and subtlety in the nose than you’d expect. Give it a bit of room to breathe and you might find hints of chocolate cookies, toffee, and more.
Dharkan wasn’t my personal favorite coffee, but it was definitely my favorite coffee to serve to guests. Its flavor is arguably impeccable, with a masterful balance of bitter chocolate that’s somehow smooth, silky, and creamy without any additions. Dharkan is wonderfully accessible, making it perfect to serve to inexperienced coffee drinkers, but it’s got an incredible range of bold, fleeting notes that tease your tongue as you sip. The aftertaste is short, with hints of your generic dark roasted bean followed by a sudden absence.
In less flowery language, Dharkan is incredibly smooth and very unique. It doesn’t have much of an aftertaste, and it’s quite easy to enjoy, even without a background in coffee. As mentioned above, the experience of sitting in a warehouse for a year (or more, at this point) has no doubt changed the way any modern pods taste. Expect some differences.
Dharkan provides an immediate impact. It’s rated by Nespresso as 11/13 on the boldness scale, which seems fitting. It’s an inventive blend that immediately makes itself known and shares its differences with your tongue. Dharkan’s smoothness and comparative lack of acidity make introductions easy without diminishing its character.
I tended to serve dharkan on its own, letting the coffee speak for itself. If you must pair it with something, try sweet breads (like croissants), ripe fruit, or oatmeal cookies. The bitter cocoa and cereal notes in dharkan play off of the sweet, mellow flavors of these choices, giving each set of flavors plenty of contrast.
What We Liked About Dharkan
I liked just about everything about dharkan. The flavor’s wonderful balance of accessibility, intensity, and deliciousness makes it a favorite blend among everyone I served it to. Were it still available, I would be buying it regularly.
What We Dislike About Dharkan
Dharkan has been discontinued, and I don’t like that. It was one of my favorite Nespresso varieties by a fair margin, and I miss it a lot. My own supply ran out in mid-2020, and I do not plan to tarnish my excellent memories with stale coffee that’s been sitting in a warehouse somewhere. I haven’t had an opportunity to try Dharkan since its discontinuation, but I cannot imagine that modern pods taste the same as I remember.