Strength 4

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

Lidl French Blend Coffee

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Whenever we read the word "blend" on the side of a packet, we instinctively think "beans swept up off the floor". But who cares, as we are firm believers in the 3 minute rule for things that have been on the floor - you could eat your dinner off our floor. Providing you don't mind it coated in dog hairs that is. But back to the coffee... well, it wont win any awards for style or subtlety. It's so heavily roasted it could well have been to hell and back. But still, don't let that put you off. This stuff is perfectly drinkable, but you just have to go easy when spooning it in. If you over do it you'll feel like you are drinking the stubbed out Gauloises from Serge Gainsbourg's ashtray after a big night. But get it right and its a perfectly good "European" style coffee, and the pack will last for ages.  Easily a 7/10.

4
Average: 4 (2 votes)
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Lidl Guatemalan Deluxe Coffee

Lidl Guatemalan Deluxe CoffeeThe Judges are back! After a two and a half year enforced break we're here again - and what better way to start than with the whole Lidl offering - of which this is the first. What have we been doing for so long you may wonder? Well, a few technical issues meant the website was well and truly f*cked. We were so wired on caffeine that we got behind with our site maintenance and got hacked - resulting in us being filled up with Viagra adverts. Of course it took us a few years to check each and every advert, call them up and test the wares. So let's just say we were "otherwise occupied" for a few years. But there's only so much hedonism us Judges can take and in a moment of guilt we decided to clean our act up, clean up the website and get back to coffee. But back to the coffee - we've become Lidl converts these days as they're cheap as chips but actually do the business.  The packaging defies their cheap and humble origins - Lidl have done a good job of disguising where this stuff comes from - it looks kind of premium. Now, we don't get much Guatemalan coffee - so didn't really know what to expect - but there's nothing out of the ordinary here. There's no fancy "notes" in here and certainly no bleedin' fruit, as they claim on the packet - but this stuff just hits the spot, is easy to make and gluggable as hell. Maybe we should have resurrected our tasting careers with something a little more distinct?  But who cares - when you just want a good and strong real coffee, this delivers in spades. it's an 8/10.

8
Average: 8 (4 votes)
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Lavazza Intenso Coffee

Lavazza Intenso CoffeeThis is our second sampling from the new Lavazza range - and it's the top strength number fiver. As with all Lavazzas, it's based on Robusta beans which makes which in this case are darkly roasted - so this one was never going to be for the feint hearted. They suggest nuts and chocolate on the packet - but let's face it, there's none of that here. This is just a good old fashioned hard hitting coffee for those who like a pick me up so strong it would even get Pete Doherty out of bed before 9am. Strong though it may be - it's not harsh and there's no metallic after taste which is so often the case with the dark, Robusta roasts. We like it, so it's 8/10

9.28571
Average: 9.3 (7 votes)
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Lavazza Vivace Coffee

Lavazza Vivace Coffee

It’s been a long while since there’s been a different Lavazza on the shelf – they’ve always stuck with their classic branding over the years which, let’s face it, has always been pretty damn cool. There must have been a shake up over at Lavazza HQ  - a new director trying to make his mark – because on our local Sainsbury’s shelf there’s three new retro styled packets of the stuff. Even their marketing geeks have got in on the action – claiming ‘notes of dried fruits’ – a phrase which the Mr Cool Lavazza himself would probably have choked on. Anyway, here’s our first one - it’s the mid strength one of the three and, as to be expected, there’s no bloody fruit in there. Instead of which there’s a packet of small Italian fists waiting to jump out and punch you in the throat. Which, for sure, they do. This stuff kicks arse like a good Italian should, except when their at home being good to their mummies that is. It’s a super fine espresso grind through – we had to decant slowly from our caffetiere to avoid getting a mouthful of 2-stroke Lambretta tail pipe dust. Strong and grainy like a John Holmes classic - it’s 8/10 from us. 

8.33333
Average: 8.3 (3 votes)
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Taylors Café Brasilia Coffee

Taylors Cafe Brasilia CoffeeMade with four spoons rather than five – why? – who knows. The result though felt like a five spooner – dark and strong. There was big contrast between the pale froth and the super dark coffee beneath which just made you want to pick up that mug and get your face in it. Next time we’ll try a five spooner  and see if we can survive it. Judges Rating - 7/10

7
Average: 7 (9 votes)
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Rombouts Cristal d’Arôme Coffee

Rombouts Cristal d’Arôme CoffeeThe first few cups we had out of this tin didn't really go down too well. It just felt very harsh and over roasted - and more like a cheap Robusta type coffee. But then we realised our mistake - in our slapdash behaviour of getting the thing made, we weren't really brewing it up for long enough. When we finally had time to leave one soaking for a full three minutes the difference was notable - the tough-on-the-throat ashtray taste was replaces by a mellow - but still thumpingly strong - brew that looked great in the cup too. We really gulped it down and wanted another, it was that smooth to the taste. And with no tacky aftertaste on the finish this one is a real winner. 8/10

9
Average: 9 (2 votes)
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Brown Bear La Vida Coffee Beans

Brown Bear La Vida Coffee BeansThis claims to be a complex blend of Latin beans – but what does that mean? Is that just sales talk for “a mish mash of all the beans we had left over in one big bucket”?  Who knows – but whatever it is, it does us alright. It’s strong without being over-strong, which matches its strength 4 rating and every cup we made came out a good, solid brew. There’s certainly nothing fancy about this one – no quirky little tastes – like the multiple types of nuts they claim on the packet - and no head on it when it came out of our caffetiere – the words “flat white” must have been invented for this one. But all these quibbles are only because we are such a bunch of snobs we expect something a little but fancy these days – and this one is just a plain and simple good strong coffee. Buy it and you can’t go wrong. 7/10

5.5
Average: 5.5 (2 votes)
0
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Hype Espresso No 9 Coffee

Hype Espresso No 9 CoffeeThe beans from this one look stunning - a uniform, glistening dark brown. It just makes you wish coffee beans were immediately edible as these look like little nuggets of chocolate. Once we'd ground these down though - these wolves in sheep's clothing showed their true colours: a real bunch of hard cases. The first cup we made with our usual five spoons was ball-crushingly strong and made our eyeballs stand out on stalks for a while. That's a feeling we don't mind normally - but there was a slight ashy undercurrent with this one. So we toned it down just a little bit for the second cup - and to be honest it didn't make any difference. Hype claim this coffee is not as strong as their No. 17 Espresso. Je-SUS. This is a strong, no holds barred after dinner coffee. We enjoyed it, but a couple of points off for what we think is a slight over-roasting. (7/10)

Your rating: None
7
Average: 7 (1 vote)

Hype House Blend Coffee

Hype House Blend CoffeeYou would expect the words "House Blend" to mean "All the stuff left in the bottom of the bag after we made everything else". Looking at the beans give's the same impression too - pale, dry and dusty. But hang on a minute - this one exceeds it's "house blend" labeling - this coffee has a real twang to it - and not only that, it's easy to make. We spooned it up big time for the second cup and it still was as mellow as hell. The only thing we did notice was a slightly metallic bite to it when we made the much stronger cup - so lets just say this one has a ceiling that you don't want to go over - but it's a pretty high ceiling. We could happily glug this stuff all day long without any complaint. An easy 8/10.

9
Average: 9 (2 votes)
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Hype Pure Mexican Coffee

Hype Pure Mexican CoffeeMexico is not a big name in coffee for your average coffee drinker in the UK - but we've tried a few here at Judge Towers and their coffees are always firmly at one end of the scale: the top. That's not to say there's anything really noteworthy about this coffee though - it's not full of fluffy flavours and hints of elderberry. Hype reckon that this coffee is a cut above your average Mexican - so maybe we've been spoilt by only ever having good 'uns. We didn't get the fruity notes they claim - but maybe it's just too subtle for our agricultural tastes. But it suited us fine anyway - strong and dark and a doddle to make. We only got a two cups each out of our tester bag, but they were both identical. A solid 8/10.

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8
Average: 8 (1 vote)

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