Café du Ch'ti

Café du Ch'ti coffeeThis coffee came from a Calais supermarket, and with a name like this it just stood out from the crowd. It's rare to find a French coffee in a poncy paper bag like this rather than in the standard glossy euro-brick. The beans are a very light brown and very dry looking. So dry in fact it looks as though they may have been languishing on the shelf for the last five years. But this is an ok cup of coffee - not as flouncy as the packaging might suggest - but definitely not of the hard core burnt ashtray taste we've come to know and love from the Frenchies. It's a doddle to knock up - under or overdose - it all comes out the same. Again - unusual for a French one where normally one extra grain makes a life or death difference. Its an average nice one at 7/10

7 votes
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Brown Bear Original Blend Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Original Blend Coffee BeansAnother blend from the guys at Brown Bear - this time a strength four. Everything looks "normal" about this one - the raw beans, the ground beans, the brewed beans.... nothing to write home about so far. But, while it's brewing we read the packet - "rose water finish". What the f*#k is that? Firstly - who on earth has been drinking rose water to know what it tastes like? If that's the kind of thing these Brown Bear boys get up to in their lunch break, then we've got to ask are they even from this Earth? And not only that - they don't claim it fully tastes of rose water - only the finish! What the?! There must be something wrong with our taste buds then, as we're getting no roses here at Judge Towers. If anything, it's a bit ashy this one. But not in a horrible way - just in a good first-thing-in-the-morning kind of way. Hmm... on re-reading they claim the finish is also liquorice. I think their marketing boys must have been on some heavy hallucinates when they knocked this one out. Still, piss-taking aside, the coffee's good - works well as a wake me up - nothing fancy and easy as hell to make. Just grind-brew-glug. That's it. So, one point off for the marketing bullshit, gives it a 7/10

41 votes
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Brown Bear Mambo Italiano Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Mambo Italiano Coffee BeansThese Brown Bear packs are heavy as hell - it says 225g or whatever on the side but it feels like they've chucked just that bit more in there. There's nothing worse than a bag of coffee that rattles around making you feel like you've been stitched up. This is their Italian which, for those who think that the coffee must have been grown in Italy, actually just means burnt. Ok... that's a bit harsh, but for the un initiated out there, to make an Italian coffee you just shake out the dust from your Vespa tail pipe before sleeping with the next woman you meet - available or not - and then going home and having your mother cook your tea. So it's not for the faint hearted. Luckily, here at Judge Towers we like giving a Vespa tail pipe a good rimming, and that's just what this is. The beans are clearly two types - there's a lighter and darker one in there - and they're pretty greasy - a sure sign of having been given a damn good roasting as it's this that drives the oil out of the poor little mites. You need to be careful with this one though - like all dark and powerful coffees - just one grain too many in that plunger and you'll be jittering all the way to A&E to get some sedatives. It takes some care with the grinding too - we've been chipping the sludge off the bottom of the mugs all week. Anyway - we love it. It's not sophisticated (like the Italians might have you believe) but it's a good 'un. An extra point for the very useful packet too - it re-seals. YES - it actually does! 9/10

89 votes
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Adams and Russell El Salvador La Esperanza Coffee Beans

Adams and Russell El Salvador La Esperanza Coffee BeansAnother lovely dose from Adams and Russell. The beans for this one are tiny - and quite dusty looking . There's no obvious oily ness to them. In fact they look like they may have been picked up of the floor of the drying room shed. Don't let that fool you though into thinking this is an inferior brew. It's not - it's strong, yet forgiving to make. Nothing came out bad no matter how much we varied the dose. As with a few of these Adams and Russell coffees we've had - there's nothing to really set this apart from the crowd. It's just coffee. Good coffee. It would take the taste buds of 1000 virgin angels to find any other flavours in there. So, overall it's OK... just a bit, well... boring? 7/10

13 votes
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Adams and Russell Timor A1 Arabica Coffee

Adams and Russell Timor A1 Arabica CoffeeThe beans of this coffee immediately put you on your guard - they are dark as hell - one bean too many of this in your grinder and you'd think that you'd be blowing your head off. But it turns out to be a real sheep in wolf's clothing - we lowered the dose down for the first cup to 4 spoons, fearing the worst, and the end result was something so weak that even the two girls who shared the pot commented on how feeble it was. And one of them was an accountant. So for the next cup we spooned it up to max and made sure we ground it pretty fine to drain what we could from it. The result - much better - strong without killing us, yet still a tasty little brew. There's nothing fancy about it - no lemons or flowers, nothing out of the ordinary. Just a fairly decent cup of coffee - which in itself it a little disappointing as we've not had anything from Timor before and was hoping for a bit of a twist. A solid 8/10 though.

8 votes
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Suma Organic Medium Roast Coffee

Suma Organic Medium Roast CoffeeThey say "medium" on the packet - and they mean it. This is a real family pleaser this one. It won't cure your hangover back at work on monday morning after a weekend's bender, but it will serve you well at that Monday coffee morning with the Girl Guides. It's not just plain old coffee though - even though it's not a single origin packet with some fancy blurb on the side, it's more than just "medium roast". It's smooth and mellow, yes, and we really had to spoon it up to get the kind of kick the Judges need. But when we did, it really was a nice cultured glug. If there is such a thing. This one also delivered a super creamy head on it every time, which meant it just looked so appetising. All in all, a superb coffee, only letting itself down on strength, but, as usual, that's our problem, not theirs. There's nothing for it but a whopping 9/10.

7 votes
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Nestle Bonka Coffee

Nestlé Bonka CoffeeWe picked up this one in Barcelona - it's a big corporate brand who've chosen a comedy name. Well done Nestle - don't pretend you didn't know what you were doing. I thought maybe that "Bonka" actually meant something in Spanish or Catalan. Well I suppose it does. It means "Bonka". Once we're over the Sid James guffawing, we open the solid block packet and, as with every European coffee, as soon as it's open you get the hard smash in the face that only normally comes from being hit in the face by an ashtray loaded with butts left over from an all night session in the worlds biggest cigar room having just held a Winston Churchill appreciation evening. Where ever that is. Man, it's harsh. We treated it with kid gloves and kept the dose at the absolute minimum - four barely level spooons for two cups. There's no need to even stew this for the usual 3.30 minutes - as soon as you stir it - it's ready. A black vat of used sump oil. Still - we're no wallflowers here in courtroom 600 and will bring anyone to book. The smell in the cup is pure carbon. The taste is akin to shotgunning a mug of it through the funnel of the Flying Scotsman just as it pulls into Edinburgh. But you do get used to it.. but only if you like it strong. If you're a Gold Blend lover, this will probably put you in an early grave. So we will finish the packet of this stuff - on principle. But it's not for the faint hearted. (5/10)

30 votes
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Suma Sumatra Gayo Highlands Coffee

Suma Sumatra Gayo Highlands CoffeeThis is a strength 5 coffee that everyone should try. I didn't even realise it was a five until we'd finished the packet and I saw the label. Yes it has all the good points of a fiver, but none of the bads. In the cup, even from our french press, it looks so appetising - a nice layer of light coloured head which just invites you to slurp it up. And no matter how many times I made it - every cup came out identical. Perfect for the coffee making novice - I defy anyone to cock this one up. All the way down the cup, the strong flavour holds, with no nasty aftertaste. Just that slight creamy feel on your tongue. It somehow feels as comforting as a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winters night. The only thing holding me back from givng this a full 10/10 rating is the lack of any fancy flowery-ness. But then it never claimed to have that - so maybe that's just my problem? Anyway - its a 9/10

14 votes
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Suma Ethiopia Harar Coffee

Suma Ethiopia Harar CoffeeEthiopian coffee is always good - but never quite as good as Kenya or Tanzania. It's always just that bit more run-of-the-mill. The most common one we've had is from Yirgacheffe - but this one's a new one. Never heard of Harar. It's pre-ground from Suma, and has a great smell when you burst that packet. This one is super-fragrant, it's flowery, it's citrussy, it's all those poncy things. We loved it. Anyone would like this one too - you can't overdose on it - it comes out the same every single time, with a good head even from our aging plunger. The only bad thing about it was how fast the packet went down 'cos we loved it so much. It's a lush and it's a 10/10

15 votes
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Bewleys Panama Coffee

Bewleys Panama CoffeeThis is the first ground coffee we've had in a while - it seems we've turned into such ponces we can only drink freshly ground beans these days. It wasn't that long ago we were moaning about the effort involved in the grinding. What hypocrites. Still, this stuff comes from Waitrose, which at least goes some way towards reclaiming our ponce-rating. This is nice smooth coffee. No flowery-ness or citrus - just a good old fashioned cup of Joe. It's easy to knock up - even being a strength 4 we still couldn't over egg it. Not sure about the packaging though - it looks more like a pack of Turkish Delight. Still - a very solid 7/10

6 votes
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