Review #7 – Ozone Coffee Roasters

Today we’re going to be looking at an offering from Ozone Coffee.

They’ve been around since 1998 and have two locations, one in New Zealand and the other in London. I decided to give them a try as they sent me an email inviting me to sign up for a coffee subscription and offering my first bag free so I figured I’d see what they had on offer.

ozone

Now, I did have some trouble when it came time to place my order, the site initially refused to accept the code for my free coffee so I needed to ping them on twitter about it and eventually speak to someone by email to get it resolved.  They did sort it out very quickly and I was able to place my order without any further issues.

Ozone not only sell coffee, they also offer barista training, equipment and merchandise.  Their site is fairly easy to navigate, with everything being accessible through the dropdown in the top left corner.

They offer nine different kinds of coffee consisting of four house blends, four single origin choices and one decaf. I won’t list them all here, but prices range from £9 to £80 depending on the type of coffee and how much you want to purchase in one go.  They offer 250g, 1kg and 2kg options for those who like their coffee in industrial quantities!

For 250g the shipping was £3 and for 2kg the shipping was £3.50, both with Royal Mail. I encountered no issues placing my order beyond the aforementioned problem with the discount code and my order was dispatched and delivered to me quite briskly.

As you can see, it doesn’t come flat packed and it’s not what I’d describe as properly re-sealable, coming with those little twisty-tie bits instead of a ziplock like some other roasters use. Booo! But it does come with a clearly marked roasting date and one of those little cards that gives you more information about what you’ve bought.  Yay! I have a little collection of those cards now, helps me decide what I’m going to buy in future.

Now here’s where this review becomes slightly problematic.  I’ve tried this one in both my Barista Express and my syphon filter. I’ve tried it as a latte, americano and a filter drink and really all I can say about it is….it tastes like coffee. Now I’m sure some of you are going “Well what else should it taste of, Mr Coffee Blogger?” and by that I mean that I couldn’t really detect any of the tasting notes listed on the bag.

Unlike others where I can go “That tastes of berries, that tastes of spice, etc” this one simply tasted like coffee. A very pleasant coffee, I must add, but there was nothing in it that made it stand out compared to any of the others I’ve tried for review so far. That’s not to say it’s by any means a bad coffee, it really isn’t, but nor was it a standout one.

Which, as my wife pointed out, is not necessarily a bad thing depending on who you plan to be making coffee for.  One of my friends is an avid coffee drinker, but she doesn’t like coffees with a strong berry or fruit flavour to them while I tend to favour them.  My wife, also, bless her though she does try, has no real nose for coffee. I’ve plied her with multiple different beans from multiple roasters and her opinion at the end, without fail is “it smells/tastes/looks like coffee”. I could serve her coffee that costs £50 a bag, but in her words, it would be utterly wasted on her as she simply can’t tell the difference, so there’s always a place for those beans that, well, simply taste like coffee.

I’m trying not to sound like I’m damning with faint praise, the Ozone “Brothers” blend is a perfectly decent coffee, the kind of beans I’d buy if I knew I had a lot of folks coming round who really weren’t all that bothered about the kind of coffee they were having as long as it tasted good. I did enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s one I’d rush back to purchase.

Next time we’re going to be looking at what Strangers Coffee Company has to offer. Mainly because I was fascinated by the name!

Review #6 – Eden Ethiopian Coffee

Hello folks, I’m back again with another review for you and this one is something a bit special. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Today we’re going to be looking at Eden Ethiopian Coffee who were a lovely little find on my last visit to Camden Market in London.  They have a stall there selling both drinks and bags of coffee and they lure in business by roasting beans right there on the stall in a little pan.  You can smell them long before you see them and like a moth to a lightbulb I made a beeline for them the moment I caught a whiff of the beans.

And wow, I am so glad I did.

I’m fairly familiar with Ethiopian types of coffee, I regularly buy Yirgacheffe and occasionally Sidamo as well, but this time I spotted a bean that I wasn’t familiar with – Djimmah.  That’s what we’re going to be looking at today.

As with the Union coffee review, I can’t exactly talk about the online purchasing experience as I picked my beans up from the stall.  The folks working the stall were very knowledgable and friendly and I’d happily go back to purchase from them again.  They’ve recently relocated their stall in the Market and you can see further details about this on their twitter account here – Eden Ethiopian Coffee Twitter

eden coffee

The website takes a moment or two to load, but is very easy to navigate. Prices for their coffees range from £8-£8.50 for a 250g bag.  Currently they offer the following –

  • Djimmah
  • Eden House Blend
  • Sidamo
  • Yirgacheffe

You can get free shipping, or there is a flat rate of £5.40 if you need your coffee hit in a hurry.  They don’t specify the specific details of each shipping option, but I would imagine the free shipping will be by UK 2nd class post, so it’ll take a few days to get to you.

It’s also worth noting that the coffee is cheaper if you buy it in person at the stall. I paid £6 for my bag of Djimmah which is a very reasonable price indeed.

It’s a very simple bag, not air tight, so best to decant these into another container as soon as you can to keep them fresh.  I couldn’t get a very good shot of the beans in part due to the bag being very tall, so there was a lack of light, but also the light in my kitchen wasn’t very good on this particular day.

The first thing you’ll notice about this coffee is the smell. There’s a distinct spicy overtone.  Now the blurb on the back of the bag says that the coffee is more natural and “having a hint of a spicy flavour”.

I first tried this as a milk based drink and all I can see is that for me it was less “mild” spicy notes and more “A bellowing Randy Savage bursting into the room as he exhorts you to snap into a processed meat snack”, or “Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall and offering what appear to be glasses of his own blood”. Mild was not the word I would have used to descrbe it.

The spicy notes are immediately in attendance from the second you open the bag, to the moment you pull the shot to the first sip and yet to say that my brow was furrowed in confusion on the first mouthful wouldn’t be far from the truth. It really wasn’t what I expected it all.  I actually had to ask my wife to try it as well because at first I didn’t believe what I was tasting.  It’s so rich as to be almost chocolatey, with the spicy notes rolling over the tongue as you swallow and lingering very pleasantly afterward.  She had a taste and agreed it was almost like drinking chocolate rather than coffee!

I then tried it in my syphon filter, where it’s a very different affair entirely.  Below you can see a little gallery of the syphon process for those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular piece of coffee-making kit. You heat the water in the bulb at the bottom so that it rises up through the cloth filter and into your grounds.  Once that’s done you turn your heatsource down so that the liquid is just simmering for about a minute or so, then remove the heat and the coffee filters back into the bulb, leaving your grounds behind.

The syphon, I find, tends to bring out the brighter notes in coffee. In this instance that meant it amplified the spicy flavours to the point that they were almost overpowering on the first sip!  It’s a much stronger drink in the syphon, the coffee and spice notes drowning out any hint of the chocolate. It almost reminded me of wine, actually, that sort of quite potent flavour.  It’s not a bad drink by any stretch, but it is very, very different.  I’ve likely drunk as much of this in my syphon as I have with the Barista!

In summary, this is a really lovely, unique coffee with massively different characteristics depending on how you make it. I would NOT recommend you use it for espresso unless you’re going to put it in milk, I found it very bland when used to make an americano.  Filter or milk-based espresso drink is definitely the best way to enjoy it in my opinion.

Up next, the Brothers blend from Ozone Coffee.  That should be out in the next week or so.  Thanks for taking the time to read my latest review.