Coffee Review #24 – Bird & Wild Coffee

Let’s talk about feel good coffee. We’re all here because we love that special brown bean juice, but in this day and age it’s about more than just the end product in our cups. It matters where it comes from, how it’s produced, who it’s produced by, and what impact that production has on the surrounding countryside.

Enter Bird & Wild, a company that specifically sets out to produce environmentally conscious coffee that directly supports animal conservation/protection through donations to the RSPB, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre and the Fairtrade Foundation.

If you’d like to know more, I’d suggest checking out their About Us page on the website which goes into a fair amount of detail about their ethos and their coffee, it’s nice to see a site put so much out there.

The site design is a lot busier than now-traditional look of many other third wave coffee sites which tend to go for that black on white minimalist look. I don’t mean this as a negative in any way, I hasten to add. The site is easy to navigate, everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be and as mentioned before there’s an absolute wealth of information to be found about their business and their coffee. I encountered no problems at all finding what I wanted.

They have three coffees available to purchase in sizes ranging from 200g to 1kg bags and if you really need that coffee fix you can even buy a case of 6x200g! The coffees on offer are –

  • Espresso Roast
  • Seasonal Blend
  • Signature Espresso Blend

Prices range from £4.99 to £29.99 and standard UK shipping is £2.99.

This is the second of my random finds at TK Maxx, and it’s the Seasonal Blend we’ll be looking at.

I know it’s not an easy thing for a company to pivot their packaging from one type to another, but I wonder if, with all this emphasis on conservation and the like, if Bird & Wild have/are considering a move to the biodegradable bags? They’re becoming more common now so it’d be nice to see them ditch the plastic packaging and move to something a bit more eco-friendly.

This coffee was tried in all three of my main coffee makers, the Barista Express, Bodum cafetiere/french press and the Hario Syphon. All this talk of protecting birds and shade grown coffee is all well and good, but as with my previous review of “Change Please Coffee“, it’s all for naught if the coffee isn’t any good.

But it is. Is is good, very good in fact. It’s not often I find a coffee that works in all three makers, providing a lovely cup every time.

Dangit. Again I forgot to take photos of the others. Too busy taking beauty shots of the siphon, I think (It is very pretty, though). Now the tasting notes on the bag talk about ‘floral aromas’ and while they are there, they’re not overwhelming and while the siphon did enhance them (as it tends to bring out whatever the top notes are) they weren’t overpowering. This was a rich, smooth, and simply lovely coffee that I have no hesitation in recommending at all.

Regardless of how you make your coffee, the Bird & Wild seasonal blend will not let you down.

TTFN.

Coffee Review #23 – True Start Coffee

This is the first of three reviews from my latest foray into the wilds of TK Maxx (That’s TJ Maxx for you non-UK folks. I have no idea why the name is different here. Maybe they thought we were all dumb and might confuse it with TJ Hooker or something). If people like these reviews, I might make this a regular thing. There’s like 6 different TK Maxx shops within a 15 mile radius of home so it could be good fun to go rummaging and see what I can find.

Let’s kick things off with a look at Bristol-based True Start Coffee.

True Start have been around since 2015 and they are VERY enthusiastic about what they do. From modest beginnings you can now find their coffee all over the place, being sold by Amazon, Ocado, Shell garages and more.

At the moment they have a pretty wide variety of coffee-related things for sale, including Nitro Coffee, coffee pods, Cold Brew coffee (including chilli chocolate coffee? Interesting!), and actual coffee beans as well. It’s this last one we’ll take a look at today.

YES to biodegradable bags! I think this is only the third roaster I’ve purchased from that does a biodegradable bag. When you go through as much coffee as I do, you start to become very aware of just how much plastic you’re forced to throw away. Please, roasters, switch to biodegradable bags!

Before we go on, I have to admit something. I somehow managed to not take a single picture of any of my brews. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I tried this in the three I promised in an earlier review. My Barista Express, Bodum french press/cafetiere and my Hario Syphon.

So, on opening the first thing that was noticeable were the beans. They’re quite oily which is interesting, a lot of the coffees I buy are very dry. These still aren’t the oiliest I’ve ever bought, that dubious accolade goes to Starbucks who have beans SO OILY they stuck to the inside of the bag, clung to the insides of my grinder’s hopper and left an oily smear all over everything like you’d been rubbing your fingers in cooking oil. It really wasn’t entirely pleasant. These, however, were nowhere near as bad.

First off was the Sage/Breville Barista Express and my customary Americano and….eww. I’m sorry guys, but eww was my first reaction. This one tasted really strongly of licorice, at least that’s how it seemed to me, and that’s not a flavour I particularly like. This flavour persisted all the way through the cafetiere and the syphon.

Now as to the rest, there was nothing bad about this coffee. It made a nice clean cup, it was certainly drinkable in everything I tried it in, but this was just not one for me, not at all. As this seems to be the only whole bean coffee that True Start offers, I likely won’t be picking this one up again but you might find this coffee more to your liking. It’s certainly a memorable one even if, for me personally, it’s for the wrong reasons!

TTFN.

Coffee Review #22 – 3pm Coffee

So this is something a little out of my usual purview, but I was intrigued enough to give them a look. 3pm Coffee make coffee bags. Basically tea bags, but with coffee in them…or so I thought. Oh no, we have some interesting technical wizardry going on here. Does it work? Kinda.

3pm Coffee haven’t been around for a massive amount of time, only coming into existence in August 2018 but they’ve certainly got a unique product on offer. While coffee bags are no new thing to the UK coffee market, I’ve never seen any quite like these before. These are Japanese filter coffee bags and they’re kind of fascinating.

At the moment you have four tiers available for purchase. You can order a “Coffee Sample” of just two pouches for the pricely sum of nothing at all at the moment. Then you have the following options –

  • The “Small Discovery Pack” – 4 pouches for £4.95
  • The “Large Discovery Pack” – 10 pouches for £10.95
  • The “Signature Coffee Box” – 24 pouches for £23.95

All of the above come with free delivery so you’re paying roughly £1 and a bit per bag/pouch which isn’t bad at all. You can also save yourself some money on the two bigger boxes by signing up for a monthly sub which saves you £1 a box for the Large and £3 a box for the Signature.

The coffee on offer rotates out fairly frequently and at the time of writing they have coffees from the following roasters –

  • Frazer’s Coffee Roasters
  • Strangers Coffee
  • Exchange Coffee
  • Django Coffee
  • Cannonball Coffee

Which is kind of cool as I’m only familiar with one of those, Strangers, so that’s more roasters for me to add to my ever growing list! So, enough talk about the products on offer, let’s look at what the actual coffee pouches are like. You get a little fold out pamphlet that gives you additional information about your coffee, which is always nice..

So as you can see, they come in individual little sachets and this is where I first realised that what I bought wasn’t what I thought I’d bought. I was expecting coffee bags that were just like teabags, ones you just toss in a cup to infuse as they were the only ones I’d had experience with. Oh no, these things are awesome.

I mean look! Lookit that! It’s a mini drip filter! How awesome is that? I f’king LOVE the design of these things, they’re adorable. They feel a bit flimsy, but I didn’t have a single problem with them, they hooked nicely onto my glass Bodum mug, didn’t slip or sag or anything.

But now we reach the crux of the matter. What was the coffee like? Honestly it was a bit weak. Now partly that’s my fault, I like a somewhat strong coffee. I regularly put two shots in my americanos and lattes so I found this one a bit lacking in the body department, a bit on the watery side when made in a full size mug. I don’t know if I was meant to leave the bag sitting in the actual water for longer than I did or if that’s just how they taste. If I made them wrong, folks at 3pm, please do let me know!

The actual coffee was nice, a very clean cup, no sludge or anything. The coffees were both on the fruitier end of things, so both right up my alley. Your mileage will vary, of course, as since I ordered mine they have a whole other new set of roasters and coffees on offer.

Would I recommend these? I can see the appeal, certainly, they’re very simple to use, nifty to look at, don’t require anywhere near the faff of a full on drip filter, or something like a Kafflano Classic, Aeropress or the like, but the coffee itself was a bit underwhelming. Maybe with a smaller mug, or with more time spent sitting in the cup it’d pick up a bit more strength and body but for me they’re a novelty I likely won’t pick up again.

But hey, you can get two pouches for nothing at all. Give them a try, see for yourself! You might like them!

TTFN.

Kit Review #1 – The F-Cup

Disappointment, folks. Disappointment. I guess this is sort of spoiler territory for the rest of the review, but today we need to talk about disappointment. I wanted to love this cup. I really did. I love the ethos behind it, I love the design, I love the look, the weight, I love everything about it and I wish, I wish that I could tell you all to run out and buy one, tell you this is the greatest insulated mug I’ve ever used…

But I can’t. Because it’s not, at least not for me.

Before we get too into things, let’s back up and set some context. So I’ve started working from home on a mostly permanent basis and I have a horrid habit of letting my coffee/tea go cold. I make a cup, and then get distracted by work and 20 minutes later my drink is room-temp as my office is somewhat cold. So began my search for an insulated mug for home. I won’t touch plastic ones, as they make drinks taste funny. Metal ones are better, but they do still flavour what you put in them. I’ve had glass ones, but they tend to be horribly brittle and I smashed the last two I had just by knocking them against the sink while I was cleaning them so ideally I wanted ceramic.

Hunting around on eBay and Amazon, I eventually found the F-Cup and instantly fell in love with the looks. I mean LOOK at it. It’s f’king gorgeous! Okay, so it’s too big to fit under my coffee machine properly but I didn’t care, it was that good looking.

I mean yum! I instantly fell in love with that two-tone metal/ceramic look. I also loved the ethos behind it. This cup is made as kind of an offshoot of another business. A water-sports business called FC Watersports! You can look them up, they sell like kite-surfing kit and paddleboards and all sorts. Being involved in water-sports and the ocean, they decided to try and do their little part to cut down on the amount of plastic waste we all create and set out to make a reusable mug. Using the name of “FC Watersports” and their other website “SUP Inflatables” they came up with the F-Cup brand.

It came to me well packaged, wrapped in plenty of bubblewrap inside and out to protect it, not a ding to be found when I unboxed it. As you might be able to see from the pictures above, there’s a lip in the ceramic inner and that’s where the lid rests, secured in place with a rubber flange. This holds in place nice and solidly when you open/close the lid to drink but the moment you tip the cup onto its side the lid does stay in place, I’m pleased to be able to say, but it starts dumping the contents all over the place as you can see in the image below (demonstration hand provided by my long-suffering wife).

We repeated this test on multiple occasions, always making sure to ensure the lid was properly seated and closed. The issue here is down to the design of the lid, highlighted in the images below.

The rubber flange that holds it in place does not actually secure the opening that allows you to drink and liquid is able to escape through those gaps on either side of the opening. Now this isn’t a deal-breaker as plenty of other travel cups leak, and many of them can’t even be closed over like this one can, this is just something to bear in mind. You can’t just toss this into your bag, not unless you want everything in there to be soggy!

The biggest issue I have with the F-Cup is the thermal retention, or the lack thereof. This became apparent almost instantly on first use. The metal walls of the mug got hot when I made coffee, and when I put in boiling water to make tea the metal got so hot I couldn’t physically handle the cup without risking burning my hands. I had to wrap the cup in a towel and then wait for it to cool before I could drink from it. This amount of heat leaking out suggests very poor thermal retention abilities and this was borne out by the drinks, even with the lid on, going cold in only a little longer time than I could achieve with a normal stoneware or ceramic mug.

Concerned that I had, perhaps, received a defective mug and wanting to give it every chance to shine, I reached out to the support email address to ask if this was normal, or if I’d somehow been sent a mug that wasn’t working properly. Unfortunately the response I got back indicated that this was, indeed, simply how the cup works as the gentleman at the F-Cup informed me that his cup was the same, that it got very hot when being used to make tea and slightly less hot for coffee, which is no surprise as the water for coffee is usually at a lower temp than tea.

I was also informed that the inner of the cup between the ceramic inner and metal outer was sealed with foam, which strikes me as a little odd. I am used to these mugs using a vacuum to ensure that heat isn’t transferred between the inner and outer, I don’t know if many other types use foam.

So here we arrive at the end, the summary, the final judgement. As a cup, the F-Cup is a beautiful thing to look at. It’s a really nice, heavy cup which won’t suit everyone but I rather like it. Now it is possible that my expectations here weren’t realistic, perhaps I’m simply expecting too much for a ceramic insulated mug to work as well as well as a metal one like the Starbucks travel mug I also own, I honestly don’t know. From what I can tell, ceramic thermal mugs don’t perform as well as metal ones, but I’d still hope for it to be noticeably better than a regular stoneware mug!

What I really need is a cup that I can leave my coffee in for forty minutes and come back to it and it’s still drinkable and unfortunately the F-Cup simply doesn’t meet my needs.

It’s a lovely made thing, and I appreciate the thought behind it, but could I recommend it for purchase if you’re looking for an insulated travel mug? Sadly the answer is a definite no.

TTFN.


Review #21 – Unique Coffee Roasters

So this one comes with a little bit of a curiosity attached to it. As you may know from reading the blog, I’m based in the UK but today’s coffee comes to us from a roaster based in Staten Island, USA. Now while not entirely unheard of, it’s not a place I tend to buy coffee from because –

A – Most of them won’t ship overseas and

B – If I DID, the costs would just be prohibitive.

So how did this particular bag of coffee come into my possession? Well, I randomly found it at my local TK Maxx (TJ Maxx to any US folks reading this). TK Maxx has stocked coffee for ages, but the one local to me has mostly had random bags of pre-ground, flavoured coffee that don’t interest me. But on this visit I found this, a bag of beans! Interest piqued, I grabbed it and it wasn’t until I got home and looked up the roaster that I discovered that it’d had quite a journey to get to me. I did reach out to Unique twice through both their online contact form and their Facebook page, asking for more information about this coffee and how it might have ended up in the UK, but received no response to either one which is a little disappointing (though I can clearly see that they have read my FB message). Ah well, it’s a sad truth of the internet that we encounter poor customer service far too often. Let’s move on!

As usual, we start with a bit of history about the roaster.


Based on Staten Island, Unique Coffee Roasters have been around since 1995 and offer an impressive selection of coffees. Fifteen single origin beans, fifteen different blends and THIRTY different flavoured coffees as well as teas and Keurig and Nespresso pods! Dayum. If you can’t finds something here you like, I’d suggest maybe switching to…I dunno. Soft drinks?

Prices run from between $11.99 to $13.99 for a 450g bag of single origin, which is pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. Blends are $10.99 to $14.99 and the flavoured coffees are almost entirely $10.99 for a bag, with only one at $11.99 so I have to say their pricing is pretty generous for the size of bag they’re selling, I’ve paid more than that for a 250g bag which is pretty much the regular size for most UK roasters.

Nice enough bag, eye-catching livery and a nice little blurb about the coffee and the company on front and back, along with some brewing instructions and information on their roasts. Nice! No way to re-seal the bag, so an airtight container or straight into the hopper for your grinder is recommended.

First thing you notice on opening the bag is DAMN, that’s pungent! Not unpleasantly so, but I could immediately tell that this was a much stronger roast than I normally buy. Looking at their roasting chart they claim this is a medium roast but I gotta say it tasted FAR more like a dark roast to me, it had a serious kick.

Straight off, don’t bother with this in a syphon, it’s not pleasant. In a cafetiere it was nice enough, but again just too strong for me. Definitely one for espresso only, I think. Unlike my previous review, also of a Mexican coffee, I couldn’t really pick up any massively spicy notes here, all I got was COFFEE. Like COFFEE from dawn till dusk and then dawn again. If this is their idea of a medium roast, I can’t even begin to imagine what their strongest roast is like!

All in all, this is one for those who like their coffee to taste like coffee, but also who want a stronger kick to go along with it. I ended up having to add extra milk and sugar to mine! Would I buy this one again? No. Would I pick up coffee from this roaster again if I had the chance? Definitely.

TTFN.

Review #20 – Raw Bean Coffee

Hello folks,

So it’s been a little while since my last review and for that I do apologise! I’ve been doing a lot of work writing for the other site I’m involved with – Set The Tape – and between that and gearing up to start a new job in the new year, coffee reviews have somewhat fallen by the wayside.

But I am still here! Still drinking coffee! Still slowly driving my wife insane by attempting to find space for yet more coffee paraphernalia on our already cluttered kitchen counters! With the run up to Christmas money’s been a little tight so I’ve not been ordering as many coffees online as I used to and instead I’ve been hunting around trying to find if there’s any other really good store-stocked coffees.

My current go-to remains Modern Standard’s Espresso Blend – Available at your local orange branded supermarket. I also quite like the “Lucy’s Blend” from Change Please. Unfortunately the others from this range are all pre-ground, this is the only one available as whole beans.

Today, though, we’re looking at a recent discovery – Raw Bean Coffee.

The site is a little light on specific details about the company, but looking at the blog it would appear that they’re based in Winchester and they’ve been around since around 2014/2015. There’s a number of different coffees available on their site, from single serve coffee bags, single origin coffees, decaf coffees and even three different blends. The site design is pretty nice and clean, quick and easy to navigate, so I might well give online ordering from these folks a try.

At the moment there’s only one of their coffees available in my local Sainsburys so let’s take a look at Raw Bean’s “Mega Mexican” single origin coffee.

Immediately major props for putting a roasting date on the bag! Modern Standard do that as well, but most of the other brands you see in the supermarket don’t, so you really have no idea if they’ve been there three weeks, four months, ten? Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Well, probably not, but it’s the sort of little detail that I appreciate and immediately makes this offering stand out from the rest.

Moving on, one thing needs to be made clear – Don’t use this for espresso. My results with it were, well, not great. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. In fact, this kicked off a new trend with any coffee I review in future. All coffees will now be tried in three machines –

  1. Sage Barista Express
  2. Hario Syphon Filter
  3. Bodum Cafetiere

That way I’m giving every coffee a fair shake, trying it as espresso, plunger and filter. So after my mediocre results in the espresso machine (and again, it wasn’t BAD, but a lot of the coffee’s tasting notes were drowned out by the milk) I moved on to my syphon.

I got a little arty with this one, can’t you tell? The syphon will always be one of my favourite machines to make coffee with, just because of the artistry of it. It’s such a fun thing to show off, it looks like some mad scientist experiment! I’d love to lay my hands on a Vienna Balance machine sometime, which is sort of like a syphon on steroids, but they’re both big and kinda pricy so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

So what was it like in the syphon? Not good. I don’t know about other folks, but I find the syphon is unbelievably picky about coffees and it has a habit of bringing out all the top, sharp notes of anything you put into it so in this instance the coffee just became unpleasantly strong and almost sour so I gave that up as a bad idea and turned to machine number three and this is where I struck gold.

In the cafetiere it was transformed into something rich, slightly spicy and entirely delicious with not a hint of a sour or sharp note to be found. Strong, without being overpowering, with a pleasant mouthfeel that stayed just the right side of cloying, this was just a bloody good coffee.

I finished the bag in a week, it was that good I kept going back for more and more and more. My cafetiere saw more use in that week than it has in the year and more since I bought it. I actually have another bag of this coffee in my kitchen as we speak, it’s simply that good.

But I’d really, really recommend a cafetiere for it. I grind it on the coarsest setting my Sage Smart Grinder Pro will do and that seems to work pretty well so just something to keep in mind.

Right, that’s it for now. When I return in the new year it’ll be with a review of a purchase from TK Maxx that turned out to be the most well-travelled coffee I’ve looked at so far.

TTFN for now, and have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

Review #19 – Bean Smitten

That’s right folks, today is a twofer!  I realised I was falling behind in my reviews a bit so it’s time to get caught up.

Bean Smitten is a roastery based in East Sussex, founded in 2014 by Accountant turned Roaster Darren Tickner and they sell to both home and local businesses as well as being a distributor of Sanremo coffee machines.  As an aside, even though I know I’d likely have to take out a second mortgage to afford one, their Cafe Racer coffee machine is a thing of absolute beauty.   I was lucky enough to get up close to one at the London Coffee Festival earlier this year and just…yum.  So gorgeous.  Anyway, we’re here to talk about Bean Smitten and their coffee!

BeanSmitten

A nice, straightforward site design, the “buy coffee” link nice and obviously placed.  They could do with updating the “press” section, though, as there’s been no update there since Feb 2015!

Bean Smitten have a grand total of eleven coffees on offer at the moment, with four being blends and the other seven being single origin.  One of these is a decaf coffee, using the swiss water method.

Blends:

  • Classic Blend – £6.00
  • Revive Blend – £6.00
  • Contemporary Blend – £6.00
  • Roasters Choice – £5.75

Single Origin:

  • Honduras Finca San Isidro – £6.27
  • Honduras Altos De Erapuca – £6.00
  • Brazil Presente Do Sol – £6.00
  • Rwanda Huye Mountain – £7.25
  • Bolivia San Pablo – £8.95
  • Roasters Choice – £5.75
  • Nicaragua Finca El Bosque (decaf) – £6.25

Prices are for a 250g bag and are perfectly reasonable, with shipping being either £3.99 for post, or if you order over £15 then shipping is free.  As is customary around here, I chose one of the house blends, the Contemporary.

The delivery wasn’t super fast, it took four days for the coffee to be dispatched after my order was placed, and another couple of days for it to arrive. Hardly the end of the world, but just something to bear in mind if you’re just about to run out, make sure to leave yourself a comfortable margin!

A fairly standard bag, but no way to re-close and no twisty ties to seal it either, so make sure you have something air-tight to decant these into as soon as you open them.  Excuse the shadows in the picture, we had a lot of very bright sunlight in the kitchen that particular morning.

I forgot to take a picture of the shot again.   I really am going to have to print out a picture and stick it to my cupboard at head height.

So how was it to drink? Really, really hit and miss.  I just could not get this thing dialed in properly.  Too fine, too coarse, it refused to make its mind up.  One shot would be fine, the next would be little more than vaguely-coffee-flavoured water even though I’d changed nothing at all between cups! So much of this, sadly, went straight into the sink.  It’s genuinely been a long time since I had this much trouble with a coffee.  I’m used to taking maybe a cup or two to get dialed in, but I just couldn’t get this one to settle down at all, which was really frustrating.

What I did manage to get was…mostly okay? I mean I’ve had plenty worse and it was far from undrinkable but a lot of it came out very harsh, with almost burnt notes lingering unpleasantly in the mouth when made with both hot water or hot milk.  Unfortunately I honestly can’t tell you if that’s the fault of the coffee, or just the fact that it didn’t seem to get on at all well with the Barista Express.

I definitely wouldn’t say don’t buy from them, as there’s plenty of other options there, and I think I need to try one of the other blends to see if it’s my machine or the beans themselves.  If I buy from them again I’ll be back with a re-review and hopefully I’ll have something more positive to say.

TTFN.

 

Review #18 – Percol Iced Coffee Protein Latte

Hello again folks, we’re back with another real life review.  We spotted this on the shelves of our local orange-branded supermarket and I couldn’t resist picking it up.

Percol Iced Coffee Protein Latte. It doesn’t quite trip off the tongue but it certainly tells you everything you need to know.  In case it needs to be restated here, this is something that’s definitely meant to be drunk cold though as it’s made with UHT milk it can be stored in a cupboard if fridge space is a problem for you.

This came in a box of four for, at the time, an offer price of £4 which is quite reasonable. I believe at full price it’s £5.50 which is a little much for me, I’m not sure I’d want to pay much more than a pound each for these as they’re on the small side (225ml) but that’s just me.

On opening the pack the first thing you discover is that these aren’t actually cans, they’re cardboard, like a carton of milk. They seem robust enough for what they are, though I wouldn’t want to put one of these in a bag where it might get squashed as the only thing holding it closed is a stick-on plastic label over the opening.  I think that’s just asking to have your bag coffee scented for the rest of its life.

My track record with protein-enhanced food & drink has been a bit hit and miss, with as many good things as bad.  The weirdest was definitely a protein pizza where they’d added pea protein to the base.  Problem was, it just meant you had a pizza that tasted really noticeably of peas.  Sweetcorn is one thing, but peas in/on your pizza is just not right. Not right at all (and don’t even get me started on pineapple).

So by now you’re probably wondering what I was at the time – What does it taste like?  I’m happy to report that it tastes like coffee, no peas here.  Phew.  It’s thicker than you might expect which was slightly off-putting on the first sip, almost like some sort of coffee milkshake.  It’s sweet and rich, the coffee strong but not overpowering, no hint of harsh or burnt notes and thought the cans are quite small, it’s surprisingly satisfying as it’s so thick and sweet. Honestly, it was a really pleasant surprise and something I’d happily buy again.

After a workout this might be a handy way of getting a quick protein boost but it does come laden with sugar, 19g of it to be precise per 225ml serving, which is WAY more than a similar amount made up using my Gold Standard Whey powder which comes out to just shy of 9g of sugar.  Just something to bear in mind if you’re being calorie conscious.  If you need protein, make these an occasional thing unless you KNOW you’re going to be burning off all those carbs as well.

That’s it for this one, folks, something a bit short and sweet for you all.  I’ll be back again soon with another review.

Review #17 – Green Hippo Coffee

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening everyone, and today I’m back with a bit of a story for you.  Today’s roaster – Green Hippo Coffee – will need some explanation, and a couple of caveats.

I found Green Hippo following a simple google search for “Hertfordshire coffee roasters”.  My initial attempts to order coffee from the site…didn’t go so well.  Down below is a screenshot of the site as it currently stands and it’s assumed that nice, clean third-wave coffee look that’s quite popular at the moment. I have no issues with this at all, I like a nice, clean and simple look to a site.

greenhippo

Sadly, I don’t have a shot of the site as it was when I tried to order, but it was nowhere near as nice as this, with a lot of the coffees lacking any details, such as the seasonal espresso that I was looking to purchase that had no information on what varieties went into it.  So, I called up the number on the site and after a little bit of phone tag got talking to a very nice chap called Sello who runs the site who seemed slightly startled that I’d found him as he doesn’t go out of his way to advertise the site.

I explained the problems I was having with the ordering and he admitted that the site hadn’t been his primary focus because at the moment he’s working on a new business, looking at getting a new cafe/roastery set up but he apologised for the problems and asked me to give him the weekend to get the site up to snuff.

Monday rolled around, and things were still a bit dicey so I called up again and he admitted that it’d been so long since the site was updated, the underlying template had been updated and now a lot of the images were broken.  Doh!  Rather than make me wait longer for him to sort the site out, he instead offered to send me a bag of the seasonal espresso free of charge, which was lovely of him.  So thanks again for that, mate!

Currently Green Hippo offers nine different coffees with selections from Brazil, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador and Kenya as well as the Seasonal Blend though at the time of writing this two of the Brazilian ones are sold out.

Prices range from £6.50 to £7.50 for a 250g bag and shipping for a single bag is the very reasonable price of frrrrreeeeeeee!  Can’t ask for better than that.

So.  A couple of days passed and my coffee arrived.  So with all the background stuff out of the way, let’s discuss the actual end result.

First up – Packaging props!  My beans arrived in a flat packed cardboard sleeve that fit easily through the letterbox so no faffing around with having to be in, or go to the sorting office afterwards.  The bag is resealable, with all the information you might want clear on the front.  Big thumbs up on this, my penchant for resealable bags is likely well known by now.

So what about the actual coffee? Y’know what? It was…fine.  Just fine.  In the past I’ve somewhat struggled with how to describe coffees like this, ones where there’s no particular flavour note that massively dominates, but now I think I know how.

You know what this tastes like?  It tastes like coffee, and that is not a bad thing by any measure!  For someone just dipping their toes into the whole artisan coffee thing, who doesn’t know their way around an SCA tasting wheel, someone who just wants to start to see what all the fuss about fresh-ground coffee is?  This is a bloody good place to start.

Slightly sharp when made with hot water, it’s lovely and rich as a latte and…yeah. It’s a very coffee-flavoured coffee so if you’re just starting your journey into this whole “third wave coffee thing”, you could do a whole lot worse than giving Green Hippo some love and some money!

TTFN folks.  I’ll be back in a bit with another real-life shop review.