Strength 4 Coffee

The Judge's reviews of Strength 4 coffees. Check them out here, leave your own comments and rate them out of 10.

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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Ginerva Miscela Special Coffee

Ginerva Miscela Special CoffeeThis coffee is the El Cheapo of the Ginerva range, and it's 100% Robusta. That sounds like a bloody terrible combination and your coffee gagging reflex should be preparing itself for the worst. The beans are small and dark - and there's not much more you can say about them than that. After grinding, you'll be struggling with what looks like a thick, black, tarry mess all over your plunger - and i don't like anything messing up my plunger. It's not even giving off a good smell - no one will be rushing in to the kitchen telling you how good it smells brewing up. So far, so bad. Until... you get this stuff down your gullet and you quickly realise that this one is a dark horse. It's a right little cracker. Yes - you have to like your strong coffees to appeciate it and want to be slapped around by those dinky Robusta beans. But at only a tenner for a 1kg pack this is such good value - just get yourself some, and mainline it. Now. They've rated this at strength four and a half - which is a new one on us. It's a an 8/10 from me - and I've only docked it as it brews up so un appetisingly. Just don't show your guests the mess and you can be a cheapskate coffee hero.

8 votes
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Suma Colombia Organic Coffee

Suma Colombia Organic CoffeeThis is a very dark roasted coffee. It looked so dark that we actually held a spoonful back on the make up. Mistake. You need the full quota to get the required strength out of this one. We could tell by the colour of it – it was just too weedy. One more spoonful brought it up to par – that was five spoons for two cups. Which kind of says this is not a very strong coffee – or it’s too coarsely ground. Swirling round in the cup with milk you get that uneven look as though you’ve just swirled in some condensed milk and are waiting for it to dissolve. It tastes ok though – but it’s more bitter than even than me - and I've just been cheated on. There’s just nothing special about this – it’s a cup of coffee, no more. They claim is tastes of not just hazelnuts - but toasted hazelnuts. Who the hell has ever toasted a hazelnut to know what one tastes like? Utter bollocks. Probably not to most peoples taste due to the harsh roasting. Us hardened Judges can cope with that, so I gave it a respectable 7/10.  

5 votes
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Rombouts Ethiopian Moka Sidamo Coffee

Rombouts Ethiopian Moka Sidamo CoffeeRombouts have really raised their game lately. From just have one pack on the shelves they've gone all Illy-cool and started producing these tins which started out at a fiver a pop (f*ck OFF!) but you can now pick them up at 2 for a fiver, which is a bargain - being that they are 250g extra large size too. Shame you don't get the Illy woosh when you open the tin - but it's still classy none the less. More importantly though, the taste - and what a cracker this is. It's got the East African zesty twang that we love so much and it still packs a punch on strength. Not in a face-smashing way - but still good enough for us hard-as-nails Judges. You can't over cook it either - it's super-forgiving. You could just shake some by eye out of the tin into your machine with one hand whilst knocking one out with the other hand and you'd end up with something to be proud of (in the Coffee hand as least). Well done Rombouts - we'll be knocking out more of this. (9/10)

19 votes
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Grumpy Mule Organic Brasil Fazenda Santa Terezinha Coffee Beans

Grumpy Mule Organic Brasil Fazenda Santa Terezinha Coffee BeansThis has restored our faith in the Grumpy Mule - and Latin coffee - which for us lately just never seem as good as the Africans. We've had a few of these - and there's been no cock ups on any of them. Easy to make and forgiving on that early Monday morning shaking hand that could so easily over-egg it. Anyway - there aren't really any adjectives or metaphors to describe this - no "fruity"or "zesty" required. It's just a good old coffee-tasting mug that makes you realise that you will never drink instant coffee for as long as you live. They claim "nutty" and "chocolatty" which is just their marketing department talking utter bollocks. There's nothing to say except - it's f*cking great: get some. (9/10)

17 votes
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Taylors Zambia Terranova Coffee

Taylors Zambia Terranova CoffeeA limited edition Taylors - one of our favourite coffee makers. This is a good one - easy to get right, and fully of zesty flavour whether you make it strong or weak. The first one we had was weakish, but the tangy-ness really shone through, so we spooned it up and then up again until we had a right face smasher. Even at that strength the quirkiness was still evident, nibbling away at your tongue. Maybe it lost a little finesse at higher dosages - it did start to give the slightly metallic taste on the back of the tongue, so I don't think it wants to go any stronger. It's an 8/10.

8 votes
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Morrisons The Best Fairtrade Guatemalan Ground Coffee

Morrisons The Best Fairtrade Guatemalan Ground CoffeeThese Morrison Coffees are always hard core killers, and this is no exception. We made this as normal and it was just way over the top. A bitter, filthy dirty brew. This could only be at home on a building site being drunk by hardened, crack-showing navvies who would probably even dunk a biscuit in it. The only way we could take it was to water it down a spoonful - but even then the first taste sends you reeling and staggering backwards. However - if you keep the faith, this one does improve as you go down the cup. I don't know how this works - maybe because your taste buds a being systematically stripped off and by the end, you just don't care. Who knows - but my head now feels a bit fuzzy and I'll rate it above the 5/10 "never buying it a again" watershed. Its a 6/10.

7 votes
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Marks and Spencer Colombian Coffee Beans

Marks and Spencer Colombian Coffee Beans

We picked up two M&S'ers at the same time and the other one - the Luxury Italian - was bleedin' awful. Because this one looks so similar, in our heads, this one was  going to be shonky as well. But hang on!! We were wrong!! This one has a real citrus twist to it  - even the ground beans smelt a bit like a lemon farm. Tasting it too, the first thing you get is the slightly citrus taste more usual with those high altitude east African coffees - we've not had this taste in a South American one before. The follow through gulps are smooth and sweet - and the end effect is you just want more. The only criticism this judge could possibly make was maybe it's not quite strong enough. If this was a strength 5 it would be a 10/10, but as it stands, it's a 9/10.

78 votes
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Marks and Spencer Luxury Italian Coffee

Marks and Spencer Luxury Italian CoffeeThis is not just Luxury Italian Coffee. It's fucking awful Luxury Italian Coffee. This one claims all sorts on the packet - but forgets to mention lack of flavour and all round general weedy-ness. This is only marginally better than instant - if someone offered it to you at their house you would be grateful that it least is was real coffee, but it wouldn't be worth the effort of making it yourself, you may as well spoon up a Nescafe and save yourself the bother - and disappointment. The final inch in the cup really sealed it - a bitter nasty mess. This Judge's summing up: starts disappointing, ends badly. Gets a 4/5.

37 votes
Your rating: None

Whittard Guatemalan Elephant Coffee

Whittard Guatemalan Elephant Coffee

The first thing you notice with this one is the aroma - it's leaping out of the cup to put it's hands around your throat. In the cup it looks velvety and chocolatey - there's no way you can leave this one to get cold. This is a strength 4 buts it's packing a mellow strength 5 - you know it's doing you the right kind of damage but you're blissfully unaware of it as it just slips down. The only minor grumble is the super-fine grind resulting in a final mouthful of mud at the bottom of the cup which leaves you with a slightly tainted parting memory of this one. 8/10

53 votes
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