Just Coffee Reviews

The Coffee Judges review coffees that they can easily get their hands on and can make without too much hassle at work in a cafetiere. No poncy coffee machines, five grand Gaggia's or foaming milk. Read the reviews, have a taste of them yourselves and rate them out of ten. If you're feeling verbal, leave a comment.

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India Coffee Beans

indid coffee beans

We’ve only ever had a few Indian coffees before and, to be honest, they normally aren’t that great. Terrible infact. But that’s not really surprising in a country which has devoted itself to tea production. They generally are Robusta based rather than Arabica which, if you don’t know what we’re talking about, means they are strong and harsh. This one claims to be of finest Arabica though – so somehow they’ve managed to find somewhere in India that has the right climate for a decent bean.  And yes – it’s true. This is one of the best coffees we’ve tasted in a while – even grinding it badly ourselves, we just couldn’t cock it up. It’s almost a 10 out of 10 – but we're taking one off just because it’s a "plain" coffee – there wasn’t much of a head on it, so it didn’t look anything special and there were no distinctive flavours in there other than coffee. No hints of fruit or nuts or anything cimplicated. The guy from India sent us this to try eight months ago but due to an administrative error, we’ve only just found it behind the dog food. It says on it best before Jan - so

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9
1 vote
Your rating: None

Brown Bear La Vida Coffee Beans

Brown Bear La Vida Coffee BeansThis claims to be a complex blend of Latin beans – but what does that mean? Is that just sales talk for “a mish mash of all the beans we had left over in one big bucket”?  Who knows – but whatever it is, it does us alright. It’s strong without being over-strong, which matches its strength 4 rating and every cup we made came out a good, solid brew. There’s certainly nothing fancy about this one – no quirky little tastes – like the multiple types of nuts they claim on the packet - and no head on it when it came out of our caffetiere – the words “flat white” must have been invented for this one. But all these quibbles are only because we are such a bunch of snobs we expect something a little but fancy these days – and this one is just a plain and simple good strong coffee. Buy it and you can’t go wrong. 7/10

8.28571
7 votes
Your rating: None

Brown Bear New Latin Coffee Beans

Brown Bear New Latin Coffee BeansThis is a new one from the guys at Brown Bear - it's a super strength 5 roast and so should be right up our street, as regular readers of the Judge's musings will know we like 'em with a bit of grunt. Following in the Brown Bear tradition of marketing nonsense, the side of the packet claims that this one tastes of almost every berry/fruit/biscuit the world has every known - we'd love to go to one of their branding meetings and see how they come up with all this as clearly they are under the influence of something when they take pen to paper and even Oscar Wilde couldn't compete with these nutters. Despite the verbiage, this has been a breath of fresh air to us - the first really decent coffee we've had in a while. We've had too many so-so brews lately where we're struggling to enthuse. But this is right up there - smooth, strong and so easy to grind and make - a child could do it. And although it is strong, it's not in a face smashing kind of way - you could feed this to an legion of primadonna's and we guarantee they'll neck it straight down without a wimper. The only thing we can dock it for is the blurb - it's a resounding 9/10

9.33333
6 votes
Your rating: None

Taylors Rwanda Coffee

Taylors Rwanda Coffee

The blurb on this one spouts on about blackcurrants - and for once it's not too much of an exaggeration. There is a definite fruitiness in this – although when we spooned it up to make a strong one it tasted more like blackcurrants forged from bronze. But at normal strength this one looks and tastes good – in the caffetiere it was a lovely nutty brown with a head on it like a pint of Guiness. A good brew - anyone you serve this to will like it. 8/10

3.75
8 votes
Your rating: None

Tesco Finest Java Sumatra Coffee

Tesco Finest Java Sumatra Coffee

This is a dark and moody one – as soon as you open the pack the heavily roasted smell hits you – it’s black and heavy. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidently bought a packet of ground carbon. Consequently, we had to put this in the plunger with kid gloves. It felt like one grain too many and we’d be paying for it. But actually it’s not that bad – yes it is a very burnt tasting brew – but it does serve up well and come outs more or less the same whether you make it weak or strong.  So, it’s not one for those who like a mellow or fruity taste – it’s a one trick pony, but it’s not a bad trick. 7/10

5.8
5 votes
Your rating: None

Pact El Retiro Coffee Beans

Pact El Retiro Coffee BeansThese beans are just not appetising. They're a pale and dusty brownish colour - something akin to a pile of rabbit droppings that's been lying out in the sun all summer. When we ground them down they were full of a lot of chaff too and looked like a pile of ground Sahara sand. So far, not so good, eh? But on finally pouring it into the cup, it does redeem itself. It then looks good with a nice head – although still is a very light brown colour. The packet claims it tastes of “roast hazelnuts” – which it doesn’t – instead it has a real fruity twist to it – which is a real pleasant surprise when you slurp it. The only real trouble we had was with strength – it needed a long grind to get it fine enough to use and even then we had to heap the spoons high to get any kind of kick out of it. So one point off for fiddly-ness to make, it’s a 7/10

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3.4
5 votes
Your rating: None

Red Tail Apaneca Coffee Beans

Red Tail Apaneca Coffee Beans

These beans look amazing. They’re dark and smooth, like a deeply polished pair of Italian leather shoes. They just make you want to pick them out and nibble them like a packet of sweets. They ground down to a lovely fine and consistent powder with no chaff whatsoever. At this point thinks were looking good for an early morning pick-me-up. But then we had a problem – it ground just too well – because it came out so fine, our usual seven spoons for three cups resulted in a brew that was drinkable, but in no way ideal. It was just too metallic – a crucible of molten bronze. So for the second cup we took a lot more care – checking not to grind to fine or overdose our pot. This second one came out much more palatable – a decent, deeply flavoured brew with no hint of bronze. There was no head on the cup – its flat and plain looking. Still we loved it, but have to take it down a point for the care needed. 7/10

3.2
5 votes
Your rating: None

Percol Distinctive Kenya Coffee

Percol Distinctive Kenya CoffeePercol have gone through a bit of a rebranding exercise recently which, let's face it, was long overdue. All those cheap and nasty looking packets have now been replaced by more sophisticated looking designs and now feel generally less like crisp packets. The coffees, they say, are un-changed. But this one we didn't have in the old range - so it's up for the Judges to have a go. It's a super coarse ground coffee - and very fibrous - there's a lot of chaff in there. Made in the plunger it looks amazing - it foams up with a lovely thick caramel looking head which would be more at home on a pint of real ale. And yes, like any East African brew, it's got a nice lemon twang to it. We loved it - but it didn't take too kindly to be spooned up to the kind of strength the Judges like - it got a bit metallic. Still - that's our problem, the normal user can't go wrong with this one. 8/10

2.33333
6 votes
Your rating: None

Hancock and Abberton Fixx Coffee

Hancock and Abberton Fixx CoffeeThis a little poncy number picked up online by one of our rookie judges. The claim being it was award winning. Well, from the packaging it looks like a TK Maxx special - all thick shiny plastic and a sticker proclaiming "Great Taste" on the front. We'll be the judges of that. Packaging aside - this stuff belies its packaging and is genuinely a good tasting brew. It needs a good fine grinding to get the best of it - the first couple we did were way to weak. But once we had got it right it was a really mellow tasting but still powerful brew. Even though we'd really spooned it up to get the biggest hit we could, it was still silky smooth and was glugged down in seconds, with just a nice smooth aftertaste and no hint of the metallic ashtray we're so used to from coffee in these kind of packets. So get some if you can find it. A good 8/10 - maybe lost a point for the faff in getting the strength right.

4.25
8 votes
Your rating: None

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