York Coffee Emporium Nicaragua Finca El Bosque

York Coffee Emporium Nicaragua Finca El Bosque

Our 150th coffee review and it comes from Nicaragua - which came to us directly from a roaster in York. The beans were still warm when we got them. Here's our review...

There’s not much in there – it’s a light weight pack and we only got 8 cups from it. Mainly because this feels like a very lightly roasted coffee – when we mixed this up with four spoons, the flavour was buried beneath the taste of water. So we had to crank it right up to five heaped spoons – which is the level this one needs. At that point though it suffers a little from a metallic after taste. The flavour’s generally  good though – quite caramel like and not over powering -  So, overall it’s nice enough but a bit of a fiddle to make it right – and you won’t get many attempts with such a small dosage in the pack. I've not had a dose this small since that night with Little Jimmy Cranky. (7/10)

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6.5
Average: 6.5 (2 votes)

Eduscho Espresso Classico Coffee

Eduscho Espresso Classico CoffeeWe picked this one up on a recent ski trip to Austria. Like all the coffees out there - there's not much to choose between them.

They'll all dark as hell - having had the nuts roasted off them in some kind of industrial furnace. Which means when you make it you have to have a steady hand. One extra grain could mean the difference between life and death. The only phrase to note on the side of the packet is "savory" - a word I'd more normally associate with a packet or Twiglets. Rest assured - there is no hint of savory in this. It's just your standard hard roasted Austrian. Dark and liable to punch you in the face. make it right and you'll love it - over do it and you'll choke. It's that simple. 7/10

8.5
Average: 8.5 (2 votes)
0
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Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Chirinos Coffee

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Chirinos CoffeeSainsbury have gone for broke with a range of Taste The Difference coffees served in Illy-style tins. Not quite as sophisticated as the Illy tins, but better than a placcy bag.

The excitement was palpable when we pulled the ring pull on the top - expecting the Illy style rush of nitrogen and coffee mix exploding out of the tin. What a disappointment - even a half dead Nat after a night on the curry could displace more wind than came out of this tin. But it's a tasty little number this one - it frothed up nicely in our caffetiere and looked just plain appetising. They claim complex flavours - but we couldn't get them. But it is a nice tasting coffee - slightly more citrus than bitter and one that anyone could make, drink and love. Every cup we made came out the same - it's just impossible to cock this one up. There's two more coffees in this range - and to be honest we couldn't tell the difference between any of them. So buy 'em all - they're all cheap anyway!  8/10

8
Average: 8 (7 votes)
0
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San Marco Italiano Coffee

San Marco Italiano CoffeeFirst coffee of the year - and it's a French import bought from a flit to Gay Paris.

It's the usual Euro-Brick packaging - but for once someone has managed to design a packet that you can actually open with your bare hands and that doesn't immediately dump half its contents straight down the front of your shirt.  To be honest, the French are the last people I'd expect to have cracked that problem, what with their usual nonplussed attitude to health and safety, but on reading their website we discover the packaging was designed by Michael Angelo no less which really shows our ignorance as us Judges weren't aware that he was a) still alive or b) working in the food and beverage packaging sector. So that's 5 points in the bag already for these guys for that coup. On to the coffee - this one is so finely ground its tricky to even get it onto the spoon without it all blowing away. The effect of which is to deliver a ball-crushing strength of coffee. Just too much. The key to this one is to do your weights and measures carefully. Where we'd normally use five spoons for two cups, this one had to be pegged back to just 3.5 spoons - and at that level it have us what we wanted. A classic Italian super strong coffee. No novelty flavours or aftertastes - just pure, dark coffee. So one point off for the fiddley-ness in brewing, gives it a 7/10.

6.66667
Average: 6.7 (3 votes)
0
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Robert Rothschild Premium Dark Coffee

Robert Rothschild Premium Dark Coffee

This coffee came from TK Maxx – buried amongst the racks of tacky gifts and oversized knickers.

The packet of this stuff oozes quality – it's got words like “Rothschild” and “gourmet” on the front of the packet. It looks nice. We were sucked in. But read the back of the packet and you discover this “Rothschild” bloke knocks this stuff out in Florida. Now, anyone who’s anyone knows that you can’t get a decent cup of coffee in America – and this stuff proves the point – it’s only 90% coffee. The other 10% is finely ground polyurethane - presumably left over TK Maxx plastic bags. The first batch we made at normal strength – which nearly finished us. Only when we toned it down could we actually drink enough of the stuff to give it a fair and honest chance. And it’s bloody awful. Bear in mind - this stuff is their PREMIUM coffee - which begs the question what the f*'k do they put in their standard version? Presumably just un-cut iron filings.Whatever you do, don’t buy this stuff. You will regret it. If you're in TK Maxx just go and get yourself a nice pair of cheap ski gloves instead. 1/10

4.16667
Average: 4.2 (6 votes)
0
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Chat Noir Dessert Coffee

Chat Noir Dessert CoffeeThis one came from a country more normally associated with its stongs bottled beers - Belgium. Its a two faced little thing - one size is Chat Noir, the other Zwarte Kat, depending on which side of Belgium you come from. 

We didn't even realise they made coffee in Belgium - we've all heard of French, Italian and Viennese roasts, but Belgian? Well, here it is - we picked it up in Spa, right down in the south east of Belgium. Apparently it comes from that area - Liege - and was quaffed by the local miners before they started their days work. Bearing in mind Belgium's idea of beer is to brew it to double the strength we Brits are used to, we were expecting this to blow our faces off. But in fact it was just about right for us Judges. Strong but not burnt and fairly easy to make. We've even tried it in a stove top pot which normally ups the anti from a cafetiere - but it still tasted great. Today we even had the last cup that's been sitting in a pre-opened packet for the last three months and it still hit the spot. It's definitely a dessert coffee - strong and heavy - and probably not for all tastes, but we loved it. It's enough for us to start looking for a job down a mine. 9/10

9
Average: 9 (6 votes)
0
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Roundsquare Roastery House Blend Coffee Beans

Roundsquare Roastery House Blend Coffee Beans

This is the only offering from Roundsquare Roastery - and to be honest just calling it House Blend doesn't really get you fired up for anything spectacular. And so it proved.

It's fine - but that's all we can say. If anything, this has been a tad over roasted - the first cup we made was ashy and harsh. But for the second cup we toned it down a bit and it came out pretty fine. But there's just no depth of flavour in there. We couldn't find any chocolate or caramel in there - there was just nothing to stand it apart from the run of the mill stuff. These guys are really suppliers to the trade - and if I'd had this coffee in a shop I'd sure I'd be more than happy - I suspect this really comes into its own when pushed through a proper espresso machine - but in our lowly French Press it was just left lacking and so only gets a 6/10

 

 

 
8.28571
Average: 8.3 (7 votes)
0
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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.

7.6
Average: 7.6 (5 votes)
0
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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

5.33333
Average: 5.3 (3 votes)
0
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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

6
Average: 6 (4 votes)
0
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