Brown Bear Christmas Coffee Beans

Brown Bear Christmas Coffee BeansWhenever we see the word "Christmas" on a coffee it normally means steer well clear. The word normally implies the most horrible concoction of herbs and spices has been cut into the coffee in the name of Christmas cheer.

Cloves, nutmeg, chicory... we've had - and been repulsed - by it all. Thank God the folks at Brown Bear have decided to steer clear of all this Yuletide Mumbo Jumbo - and instead concentrate on the packaging. This comes in a lovely "Illy" style tin - pressure sealed so that when we opened it the smell of those dark beans just exploded in our faces. And dark they are! As the blurb on the tin says, this is not a coffee for the boring. The beans genuinely do glisten and look good enough to eat. And yes, they are smokey - this one has been well and truly roasted on an open fire. It's strong and punchy, and a doddle to make. We never over or under did it - it always seemed to come out right. This really would go down well with a rich slice of fruit cake. Hang on - is this cynical Judge coming over all festive?! Not quite - but good try Brown Bear. This would make a good present for a coffee drinker - but be warned. They will grimace when they see it - you will just have to explain to them quickly - there's no cloves or nutmeg - it's fine! Its a 9/10.

What the Manufacturer's say: 

"Christmas time is about fun and excitement. Enjoy these special moments with our Christmas Blend – an intense, bold coffee with a generous helping of festive smokiness. The Brown Bear™ Christmas blend has been chosen with great care from only high-grown, hard-bean coffees that are dense enough to stand up to this roast.  It’s not a coffee for the boring. The deep, dark glistening beans brew a bold cup of coffee with pronounced smoky overtones. A lively blend of coffees from Brazil and Honduras."

Where you can buy it: 
Average: 7.6 (5 votes)
Your rating: None


The Brown Bear brand has provided us with a selection of beans aimed squarely at the coffee connoisseur. As a result, it's Christmas blend came as somewhat of a shock due to the gimmicky nature of the marketing but thankfully this brew is not beholden to the usual array of flavours thrown into the other Noel no-no's on the shelves of Sainsburys. Rich, with depth developed without the generic cloves, spices and dreaded chicory so prevalent in the large majority of holiday themed coffee. This blend shares many qualities with my top rated coffees on this site. A strong, full flavour that manages to avoid the sickly taste present in some other attempts at a achieving a thicker texture. Very difficult to justify giving this anything less than 9/10. Defiantly something for the Christmas stocking.

I bought this one as a Christmas present for my sister. First up, I completely share the concerns expressed by the Judge re the marketing - I would not have chosen this one as a gift if I hadn't read this review owing to the manifold sins associated with flavoured coffee beans and 'Festive' flavours. Moving on to the coffee itself... we brewed up on Boxing Day and I thought it was really rather splendid. It's strong enough without being too much for everyday drinking. It's rich and tasty without being over the top (though it's certainly got a lot of what you might call personality; strong and punchy I definitely agree with from the Judge's review). And unlike the Taylor's Espresso I just glugged down, it's pretty well balanced (though it doesn't have the length or lovely finish the Taylor's has). Compared with the other Brown Bear strength 4, the original blend, I'd say this has a lot of the same characteristics, but I'd give the nod to the Christmas blend. It's just got a bit more of a flavour hit to it. So this brings me to... Brown Bear: a rebrand is clearly the order of the day here. This is blatantly good enough to be a year round coffee rather than a Christmas novelty. And anyway, the whole Christmas schtick is offputting to people who actually like coffee (surely your core customers?). So call it something else, keep it on the menu and make the world a slightly better place. And with that I'll get down off my soapbox. I would recommend this for sure and will buy it again. Hard to justify giving it less than a 9 out of 10.