October 2013

Brown Bear Sweet Brazil Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Sweet Brazil Coffee BeansThese Brazil beans are big and dusty - they look like they've been bleached out in the sun. Once ground they are very light in colour and that made us nervous. This one looked weak.

And so it proved - no matter how much we spooned this one up we couldn't get the kick we needed from it. What this coffee is, is light and refreshing. Now, that's not something we Judges crave in a coffee - if we want light and refreshing we'll knock up a big jug of Pimms. The flavour is definitely a bit nutty though - which is what they say on the packet too. So - most normal coffee drinkers I expect would love this one - it does exactly what it says on the tin, so we can't really fault the Brown Bear boys on it. But for us it's just too wimpy. 6/10

8.97059
34 votes
Your rating: None

Brown Bear Real Colombia Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Real Colombia Coffee BeansWe've never found Colombian coffees to be that sophisticated - you always hope they're going to be amazing and give you a super buzz - but somehow they never do.

Especially when the Brown Bear marketing department were obviously so wired they forgot how to spell Colombia and also thought they were knocking back liquid toffee apples. So  we thought we were in for a Class A treat here. But, as always seems to be the case with Colombians - it's pretty mild - there's no danger of it keeping you awake at night. But it does have a subtle fruity taste that makes it slightly unusual and will send you back for more. Due to its light roast we tried to beef it up a bit - normally with a light roast you can spoon it up to your heart's content and it still won't go wrong. Not with this one though - the effect of loading up our plunger ended up with a much more bitter brew - with a metallic aftertaste we've not sampled since someone swapped the contents of our packet of Werthers for a load of copper washers. The conclusion then - accept this one for what it is - a slightly fruity and refreshing cup, and nothing more. So, one point off for our strength disappointment - it's a 6/10

9.05882
34 votes
Your rating: None

Brown Bear Cub Espresso Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Cub Espresso Coffee BeansWe would always imagine an espresso blend to be strength 5 - yet this Brown Bear coffee is only a strength 3 - and it shows. Making it in the plunger resulted in no creamy head, that's for sure. Every cup came out the same - it's impossible to over do it. For us judges though it was lacking any novelty twists to the flavour - it's just plain straight coffee. In fact - it's pretty difficult to review - it's hard to think of a metaphor. You need something to hang your criticism or praise on - and this one just hasn't got any hooks. But it tastes fine enough and maybe deserves to be run through a high pressure Gaggia to get the most out of it. In the mean time its a 7/10

8.87179
39 votes
Your rating: None

Brown Bear Breakfast Blend Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Breakfast Blend Coffee BeansThis is a strength one. Strength one! I really had no idea that these really existed - only in fairy tales. After 150 coffees reviewed, this is our first ever one-er. The Judges are renowned for liking their ball crushing coffee - so we approached this one somewhat nervously. Would we even be able to taste it? Would it just taste like a cup of tea? Well, first off, the folks at Brown Bear have under scored this - this is easily a mid ranger - we've had strength 4's that are weedier than this. In fact, this one is packed with flavour - to the point where we had to re-read the side of the packet just to be sure we were drinking the right thing. Maybe the clue is in the line that says this coffee contains Robusta beans - which are normally known for the higher caffeine content but harsher and generally nastier flavour. So if those beans are in there, then this coffee really is a paradox. We spooned it up the wring the maximum strength out of it - for two cups we used 5 spoons - which would normally be over the top, but it just made this coffee taste better. But it does have a peak - at 6 spoons it was overcome by a metallic aftertaste. Still - this is actually a great coffee and ideal for those that don't drink too often or those obsessed with strength, as it has a good interesting flavour, is easy to make and will do you proud. Unfortunately it can't score higher than an 8 - as it still is only a strength 1, and we'd never live it down. 8/10

9.10714
28 votes
Your rating: None

Brown Bear Blue Mountain Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Blue Mountain Coffee BeansThese beans are pale, large and dusty. Not that unlike the contents of the Judge's underpants. Visually though, if you ever had a pet guinea pig and looked in its hutch a week later, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had a Golden Goose that had been busy laying Blue Mountain coffee. We've had this stuff before - of the Jamaican variety - which is one of the ponciest coffees known to man and generally only bought by toffs in Nottinghill. We're presuming this is the same variety but grown somewhere less salubrious. It's a mild roast - we couldn't over cook this no matter how hard we tried. If there was a taste to label this with it would be nutty, and the harder you brew it, the nuttier it gets. The packet mentions "maltyness" which is a fair comment (for once). It's like it's been cut with a spoon of Milo. It does tend to get a little dry on the tongue if you get a bit heavy handed with this one. We slurped the whole pack down in a few days though -so it's an 8/10

8.87097
31 votes
Your rating: None

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