This is a review of the Illy Intenso Bold Roast an espresso capsule for the Nespresso Original Line machine. The box only indicates 100% arabica is used in these capsules but no other sourcing is indicated. There are 5.7 grams of coffee per capsule and each capsule is made of aluminum and sealed with nitrogen. The Illy capsules are made by Jacobs Douwe Egberts for Illy, who also make the Peet’s and L’Or capsules.


The Illy Intenso Bold Roast has very undistinguishable aromas to it, which is very disappointing. The aroma is like chocolate, and the crema is very light.


The Illy Intenso Bold Roast tastes like cocoa. I can tell it’s intense but it just tastes like it is lacking something. There are light sour after notes, but it is very pleasant. Possibly like dried apricot tastes.

I found brewing these capsules as espresso size makes them very weak. I tried brewing as ristretto size and they are much stronger. As a ristretto pour, there are initial sour (acidic) notes, which are not that pleasant. It’s tasting fruity, with light malt like flavors. It’s not particularly enjoyable as a ristretto.

On a third try, I tried a technique of first brewing a ristretto size cup, then wait for at least a minute, and then brew another ristretto shot. Crema is better, aromas are stronger, and taste is stronger and not as weak. The taste profile is the similar in this case.


I’m fairly disappointed with the Illy capsules for Nespresso OL machines so far; they just are weak in comparison to any Nespresso capsule and there is just no comparing to Nespresso. Illy Intenso Bold Roast is definitely intense, but at around $9.00 US (in the US) for each capsule, I just don’t think it is worth even to consider Illy as a 3rd party choice of capsules.