Caran d’Ache 849 Nespresso Ballpoint Pen in Dharkan: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I rarely use ballpoint pens anymore, but I wanted one for my purse. I don’t carry fountain pens in it due to their potential to leak. Plus, my various pen cases don’t fit in my purse. So, I decided I needed a nice ballpoint that would be my “purse pen” for those rare times I need to write a check or when I need to jot down a quick note.

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I ran across the Caran d’Ache 849 Nespresso pen on Instagram. I loved the color (it matches my purse pretty closely), and I liked that the pen was made from recycled Nespresso pods. I think those things are so wasteful, but Caran d’Ache came up with a way to make them into a lovely click pen.

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The pen is packaged, appropriately, in recycled cardboard, and the presentation is sophisticated yet simple.

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The pen comes with one Goliath medium black cartridge, but I ordered a fine blue because I don’t like medium points. Installing the new cartridge was simple: you just unscrew the click mechanism, remove the old cartridge and put the new one in, and press on the click mechanism while turning.

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As I stated above, the pen is made from used Nespresso aluminum pods using a special alloy. The surface has some texture which is created with microbeading and electrostatic treatment. Caran d’Ache and Nespresso have collaborated to create a different color Nespresso pen each year. This year’s color is Dharkan which is a lovely grayish blue.

The body of the pen is hexagonal. One side is engraved with the words “Made with Recycled Nespresso Capsules.”

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Under the modern-looking stainless steel clip “849 Caran d’Ache” is engraved, and “Swiss Made” appears just below the click mechanism.

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The click mechanism is also engraved with “Caran d’Ache.” It is a very quiet mechanism, so if you like to irritate co-workers in meetings by clicking your pens, this is definitely not the pen for you. Or, maybe it is! You can click away without irritating others and, who knows, you might get a promotion!

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The ballpoint writes smoothly, and the ink glides onto the paper. I did not encounter any problems while writing, such as ink blobs or skipping.

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Unfortunately, this pen is way too skinny for my hand, though the hexagonal shape helps with gripping. Writing three pages with it was agony, and I was glad to put the pen down after finishing my handwritten review. This is obviously not the pen’s fault. I just prefer larger diameter pens. Folks who love skinny pens will find the Caran d’Ache Nespresso to be very comfortable. That said, a purse pen isn’t meant for writing novellas. I just want a light and leak-free writing instrument for times when I don’t have access to a fountain pen. For this the pen will work well.

Still, this is a rather expensive purse pen. I purchased my Caran d’Ache Nespresso from Goldspot Pens on sale for $45.90. Although the pen is well made and classy looking, I’m not convinced it’s worth almost $50. The refills are also a bit expensive at $9.50 a piece.

I will probably return this pen, depending on whether or not I have to pay Goldspot’s 15% restocking fee. If I have to pay that on top of shipping it back, I may just keep it or give it to someone as a gift.


  • The Caran d’Ache 849 Nespresso pen is a very nice looking ballpoint pen. I love that it is made from recycled Nespresso pods, which are otherwise quite wasteful.
  • The pen has a textured surface and a hexagonal shape, both of which make it possible to maintain a good grip on the pen.
  • The pen writes smoothly, and the Goliath cartridges are easy to replace.
  • I really like the Dharkan color.


  • At almost $50 this is an expensive ballpoint pen.
  • I have small hands and found the pen to be too skinny for long writing sessions.

(This pen was purchased at full price with my own funds.)

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Posted on July 13, 2018 and filed under Caran d'Ache, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.