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

6 votes
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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 All those cheap and nasty looking packets have now been replaced by more sophisticated looking designs and now feel generally less like crisp packets.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

13 votes
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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.

8 votes
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Slowtown Coffee Roasters House Blend

Slowtown Coffee Roasters House BlendThis one came from a recent trip to Namibia - they're a bit of a cool roasting company based in Swakopmund and you can pick the stuff up at every supermarket in the country. We thought we'd pick up just their standard "house blend" just to see if these guys know how to roast. Well, yes they do, this is a really tasty little brew with an interesting and slightly sour taste. God knows where that came from - but it's there. A really great brew either out in the bush or back or your desk. Easy to make too!  8/10

7 votes
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Pact Finca La Joyeria Coffee Beans

Pact Finca La Joyeria Coffee BeansAnother great metaphor from Pact - poached pear they claim in this one. The taste buds of those Pact kids must be so finely tuned that not only can they detect pears in this - but how they have been cooked!  Suffice to say - we couldn't taste them, being just your average coffee plebs. But plebs we may be, we know a good drop when we get it and this is our second packet of Pact to deliver. It's great - it's a heavy, full flavoured coffee, with a nice pale foaming head on it, more akin to a real ale than a coffee. It's smooth as hell and slid down in seconds, despite us spooning it up big time - there was nothing we could do wrong with this one. We don't know how you could get any of this without going on their mail order scheme... but we suggest you try. 8/10

27 votes
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Pact Praline Espresso Coffee Beans

Pact Praline Espresso Coffee BeansHats off to the guys at Pact for being the first ever to use the word "gooey" to describe their coffee. When we ran this through our caffetiere there wasn't a hint of Goo - chocolate maybe - but then that's an easy one to describe any coffee. As they say on their site, they don't over roast their beans - they like to keep it light to preserve the flavours. So our first cup was a bit harsh as we gave it an extra long grind just to make sure we wrung every bit of taste out of these little fellas - which resulted in a cup full of mud and a mouth full of grinds. Second time out we held back a little - we ground it as we normally would - and it came out fine after all - panic over. There's no fancy notes in this one - but it does somehow just taste fresh. How we can tell that we just don't know - is it psychological from ready the oh-so-recent roasting date on the packet of just 2 weeks ago? Who knows. It's glugged. 8/10

40 votes
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Honest Coffees Firefly

Honest Coffees FireflyOnce we read the side of the packet of this one we were sucked straight in. Not since that rather ill judged biriyani for elevensees we had last summer have we suffered from a "cardamom finish". Unfortunately though, the cardamoms never materialised - which to be honest is a good thing - as they have no place whatsoever in a cup of coffee. We didn't pick up on te honey or blackcurrant either, Basically, the whole blurb on the side was clearly written by someone who'd just taken some cold remedies the night after a big curry and was still suffering from the after effects. Similes aside - this coffee didn't really do much for us. It tastes fine but it could be just about anything - it was shallow in flavour and just didn't deliver. maybe we didn't make it strong enough? 6/10

2 votes
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Honest Coffees Up And At 'Em

Honest Coffees Up And At 'EmThis is probably the first coffee we have ever had that claims to taste of peanuts. So from the outset let's clear this up - it doesn't. And a good thing too as there's nothing more likely to ruin a good cup of coffee that a sprinkling of KP's finest all over it. What next - Chicory??  Hazelnuts? 'nuff said. The first cup we have from this was a real washout - weak as hell even when made at our normal strength of 5 desert spoons for two cups. But on closer inspection when we ground the beans for the second cup we realised why - these beans are as hard as the Kray Twins and practically took the blades off our puny little grinder. We had to put them through again before they submitted and we finally got to taste what this coffee's really like. We couldn't really pick up any berry fruits in there as they claim - it's pretty much a standard coffee without any whistles and bells. Nice enough - but neither super strong nor super fruity it kind of falls into no-mans land. 7/10

7 votes
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Marks and Spencer Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee

Marks and Spencer Ethiopian Yirgacheffe CoffeeThe first Marks and Spencer coffee we've had in a while - they've changed all their packaging now so its all less glitzy and more down to earth - brown bags are the fashion these days. This has all sorts of bold claims on the packet - floral, apricot, Jasmine... it would be easier to list what isn't in there. Still - poncy descriptive aside - this is a great, quirky coffee. Firstly it looks so inviting - it's one of those that as you stir it up in your pot it forms a lovely creamy head which looks so appetising. And it lasts even as you pour it into the cup - it almost delivers a cappuccino from a caffetiere. Taste-wise, well, it really is fruity - normal for an east African coffee it's got that zesty citrus taste that cuts through that sleepy Monday morning and gets you where you want to be. It seems to be lightly roasted - the colour in the cup would encourage anyone to drink it - unlike some, that although taste good, do look as unappetising as a vat of old sump oil. The only downside is you can't really knock this one up too strong - if you over do it the zesty lemons turn to lead balloons and it's like sucking on a handful of pocket change. Overall, a great and one to serve to the uninitiated who will be impressed that you know what your doing with your plunger. 9/10

34 votes
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Morrisons Signature Kenyan Coffee

Morrisons Signature Kenyan CoffeeKenyan coffee is normally the bee's knees - so we snapped this one off the shelf on a recent trip to Morrisons - which itself seems to have gentrified since the last time this judge was in their aisles way back in the nineties in the dusty back streets of Bradford. Instead of being all pies and Yorkshire Puds it's now all artisan bread, wet misted veg and - well - Kenyan coffee. Bring it on.two packs for a fiver is the deal of the year too. Taste-wise the wasn't quite as good their Ethiopian offering - it just had a slightly metallic twang to it. Probably because we over cooked it - but then we'll never know as we won't be making a weaker version any time soon. Still - it's a great coffee - looks good with a nice head on it. It makes a great paring with the Ethiopian - buy them both. 7/10

10 votes
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