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.

Percol Americano Arabica Coffee

Percol Americano Arabica CoffeeEvery cup of this has given us a smooth creamy head with less effort than Divine Brown. It's a strength four - which in this case means it packs tons of coffee flavour without any aftertaste or sickly sweetness. It can take a massive overdose too - don't be afraid to spoon this one up and it will just get better and better. As usual, the Percol packaging is as unattractive as Divine Brown on a Sunday morning after a long night with this year's RADA intake. What in their right minds, makes them think that derelict building and an old ladder makes you want to pop off and make a nice cup of coffee? One off for the packaging - as it's SO offensive - gives it 8/10

42 votes
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Waitrose Monsooned Malabar Coffee

Waitrose Monsooned Malabar CoffeeIndia is renowned for it's tea, not it's coffee, and that holds true here. We gave this the benefit of the doubt and had three goes at this, but every time it just got worse and worse. The first glug lulls you into a false sense of security before the after burn kicks in, leaving your entire thorax ripped out and lying in your lap. You just have to grin and bear it and hope the pain goes away. If you read the side of the packet, the writing was always on the wall for this one: they basically leave the bloody thing out in the rain - presumably going moldy - and then try and turn this neglect into a marketing gimmick. Give it up lads. 3/10.

119 votes
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Natural Coffee Co Freedom Blend Coffee

Natural Coffee Co Freedom Blend CoffeeThis one was picked up from The Windsor Farm Shop on a recent London bike ride from Hampton Court to Windsor with the quintessentially English Merry Pedaller Bike Tours. A shop full of game pie and venison. Never seen this brand before - but given where I found it, it's got to be poncy - even though it only cost a standard three pound something. To be honest it was nothing special for me - it was definitely strong and can easily be over done, which we did a couple of times. There's a bit of a chocolate taste going on - which they don't even mention on the packet, for once. 

8 votes
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Sainsbury's So Organic Peru Coffee

Sainsbury's So Organic Peru CoffeeWe've had this one a while and put off the making of it. Why? The packaging. My God it's dull. We want our coffees to draw us in with silvers and golds and feel all continental-like, but this one looks like a packet of grass seed. When we finally do crack it open, it does what it says on the tin. Smooth and mellow is right enough - there's a really punchy flavour without being too overpowering, and every time we've  made one it's come out trumps. I don't think you can get this one wrong - it would easily round off your cafetiere cock-ups and still deliver. Not quite strong enough for me - but then it's not meant to be. But one definitely to dish up at home after your dinner party with confidence that they'll all like it, and it will turn out ok. (8/10)

20 votes
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Marks and Spencer Colombian Coffee

Marks and Spencer Colombian CoffeeArriving at the office first thing on a Monday morning we find that the carpets have been cleaned over the weekend. Now they didn't seem that bad last week, but the assault on the nose this morning was like the Charge of the Light Brigade armed only with lemons. It seems that if you run out of carpet shampoo, Lemsip makes a good alternative. This coffee is claiming a "fruity acidity" - yet this morning everything has a fruity acidity. This is not a good neutral environment for a Judge. So it comes back out over the next few days - and it proves tricky to get right. Even though were sure we make it exactly the same each time, one is foamy, one is heavy and dirty tasting and one is even light and creamy. How can it vary this much? The final one though comes good. There's plenty of depth of flavour and no after taste at all. But still no sign of the fruit. Not one I'd rush out and buy again, but perfectly fine. (6/10)

34 votes
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Lavazza Qualita Oro Coffee

Lavazza Qualita Oro CoffeeThis one has been a real puzzle. First time round it had a creamy taste to it. Like it was crying out to be made stronger. It was also quite sweet tasting - I was definitely thinking that this is a coffee for girls. Then every time we've made it since it just got more bitter - now is this a part of the aging process? Can it change that much, over 2 days, kept in a sealed tin? Or is it some kind of reaction to us emptying the stupid vacuum pack out into the uber-cool Illy tin? Whatever, I needed a tiny bit more sugar to make this to taste for me. In the end though, it's a 7/10 while you're drinking it, but it does have a bitter after taste, which pegs it down to a 6/10.

59 votes
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Starbucks Kenya Coffee Beans

Starbucks Kenya Coffee BeansThis looked great straight away - a nice gentle foam on the top. The only thing that detracted was it seemed to have an oily surface - almost like a mini oil slick swirling around in there. Once you get over that though, the taste is right up there. Us judges now know about the whole Kenya/Altitude/Citrus thing (thanks, Mike Riley of Taylors) so when we read about it on the side of the pack, we were ready to believe it. What was the first thing Judge Coughee said when he glugged it?  It tastes of fruit! Hank's still not quite having it though. I'm on it though - a definite lemony twang. It hits you the second it's in your mouth, but it doesn't linger on. When it's gone, it's gone. It's like a fruity bullet just grazing your tongue as it speeds past. A great coffee - would be a 9, but at the usual Starbucks extortionate price of £3.95, it can only score an 8/10 from me.

76 votes
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Waitrose Java Coffee

Waitrose Java CoffeeThis one turned up from our rookie Judge "cougheee" with the bold claim of the next Lava Java. It was just the two of us and he made his first pot following the strict Judge's rules - 5 spoons. Holy shit - this thing was so strong he may as well have picked up a piece of lead piping instead and smashed me about the face with it. Surely there must have been a mistake in the making?  Tablespoons instead of dessert spoons maybe? So today Judge Hank is back, swaggering about, with the intention of putting things right. What gets delivered is thick, heavy and oily. Just by looking you know that this is going to hurt. And it does. So far under normal Judge rules this is the strongest thing ever tasted. The underlying taste is pleasant enough, but it's just hard to pick it out when your mouth is pouring with blood. Again I can't finish the cup - which must score it badly - but I know deep down there's a good coffee here, you just need to treat it like it's radioactive: handle carefully and brew in a lead lined caffetiere. I can only give it 6/10 for now - but I'm sure this will jump up when we get the strength right.  And this is a STRENGTH 4 for God's sake... I thought Waitrose was the store for lily-livered Guardian Readers!

62 votes
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Percol Nicaragua Arabica Coffee

Percol Nicaragua Arabica CoffeeThis is the first Percol for us, a new brand, and we're excited. But chocolate?  Orange Marmalade??!!  What are these people talking about? Have they any idea what coffee is or do they think they're making breakfast? How long before they are quoting Bacon Overtones with a smooth Egg finish? As if that flowery bullshit introduction wasn't enough to make you feel this is all style over content, wait until you open the packet.. it's full of TWIGS I kid you not. OK I may be exaggerating a little bit, but the coffee really is full of dried husks.. this can't be good. Percol Coffee TwigsSo Judge Hank makes this one, and swears by it. Six spoons for a strength 4 should be good. Hmmm.... no. It's weedy. It's not bad - but it's not good. There's nothing really to say about it - it's just adequate catering coffee. The only good thing to say is that the twigs didn't actually ruin it, as this is one coffee that I really was expecting to be "woody"! The only hope is to really spoon it up next time, to see if there's any hidden depths. Mind you it's the first coffee reviewed to warrent a second picture. Disappointedly a 5/10

9 votes
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Grumpy Mule Organic Colombia Cafe Equidad Coffee

Grumpy Mule Organic Colombia Cafe Equidad CoffeeFirst tasting for over a week - and onto a new brand. It didn't look appealing - an oily looking surface and very little foam. The initial smell was of cigar ash - which knocked me back a bit to say the least. Even the first taste had more of the taste when you pick up the wrong beer can at a party and its the one people have been using to put their butts in. Not sounding good so far?  Well.. you can warm to it a bit, but it's a bit harsh for my liking. Agricultural. 5/10

34 votes
Your rating: None


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