Okay, taking a moment to step away from the Pact Advent Calendar, let’s talk about another roaster that I recently got some coffee from. Now in the interests of full disclosure, I’ll state right from the getgo that this coffee was provided free by the fine folks at Poco Espresso. I said I’d give an honest opinion about the coffee, and about my purchasing experience with them, so let’s get right into it.
Poco Espresso are based in Preston and their site states that they are a “young” roastery, though I can’t see any specific dates on the site to indicate how long they’ve been in business. There’s a single blog post (which is actually very handy for those who are unclear on different coffee grinds) from November this year and the Twitter account dates back to 2014 but that doesn’t necessarily mean they started roasting then, it could have been before or after.
Site design is simple, easy to navigate and I encountered no issues at all in placing an order. I like that their next roasting date is prominently displayed right on the front page so you can tailor when you place your order to make sure you get the freshest coffee, or make sure there’s no too big a wait for it to arrive.
Clicking into each coffee gives you a quick overview of the variety, processing, cupping notes and other useful information. I also like that you get to see a picture of the green beans, not just the roasted end product.
There is a very simple selection of three coffees on the site. Two for espresso, one for filter. At the time of writing the following were on offer, all in 205g bags –
- Sumatra Mandheling G1 Rainforest Alliance – £5.50
Ethiopia Natural Sidamo G1 – £6.50
Colombia Excelso EP Fairtrade – £5.50
Shipping is £2.00, sent First Class Royal Mail. For my initial order, as you may all recall, I’m not a massive fan of Colombian coffee, and I wanted something for my Barista Express, so that made my choice fairly straightforward. Sumatra Mandheling it is.
With…mixed results. But we’ll get to that, let’s cover the packaging next.
Joy of joys, a flat-packed, re-sealable bag! Ten out of ten, all the thumbs up and a very happy me. Fits nicely through the letterbox, can be re-sealed to keep your coffee fresh. Top marks. Love the information on the back too, everything you need to know there. Unfortunately this is where I realised that I had made a booboo. Clever me in my “Oh, well I’m not going to order Colombian coffee so that’s an easy choice” hadn’t noticed one important piece of information. A single line.
Roast Level – City+ – And I’m sorry, but I have to do it. It’s Indiana Jones reference time.
Well…damn. I’d managed to order a coffee that’s waaaaay stronger than I normally buy. The moment I opened the bag I realised my mistake. It’s got a heck of a potent smell, but I went ahead and I tried it all the same and I made my usual double shot of espresso.
Now THAT is a dark coffee. Almost looks like a mini pint of Guiness, don’t you think? The scent was enough to have my nose hairs standing on tiptoes. If hair had toes. Stop looking at me like that. The important thing here was one sniff was enough to have me wide awake and after I’d added hot water, one sip was enough to let me know that I couldn’t drink it two shots at a time. It was astoundingly rich and strong, enough to make me wince, but at the same time it’s not overroasted, it’s not harsh or burnt, it’s perfectly well done and you can detect those spicy tasting notes sneaking through near the end.
After trying it with hot water, I tried it with hot milk and hoooooooo boy I swear it was even stronger in milk! I ended up that I can only drink it as a single shot and you know what? It’s strong, but it’s nice. I even had a couple of friends over to get their opinions and they both gave this one a big thumbs up.
Is it something I’d buy again? No, but that’s because I prefer a lighter roast than this. But if you want a good, strong, rich coffee? This one is well worth your time.
My next review will be another one from Poco Espresso, a Peaberry. Yum, looking forward to that. I’ve had a lot of lovely Peaberry coffees over the years.