Review #11 – Yallah Coffee Roaster

Hello again folks, I hope you’re all doing well on this fine, crisp Sunday morning. I’m watching last night’s Ireland/Wales game in the 6 Nations as I write this and then after that I’ll finally watch the Scotland/England game as I hear I can’t set foot anywhere near any social media if I don’t want the score ruined for me!  I’m not much of a sporting fan, but I follow the 6 Nations everytime it’s on. Love me a bit of egg chasing, though as a lifelong Scotland fan (being Scottish myself), I am also inured to the disappointment that inevitably comes with it!

But anyway.  Coffee!  Today we’re looking at Yallah Coffee.  I believe this was one that popped up on my twitter feed as a suggestion from the algorithm so I thought I’d give them a looksee.

They’re a roastery based down in Cornwall, apparently using a 1950’s era roasting machine for their beans. I can’t tell how long they’ve been around for as their “story” on their site simply says that the idea for their business came about a few years ago.  Their Facebook page says they were founded in 2014 so I’ll go with that!

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The website is simple to navigate and I had no problems at all finding what I wanted and placing my order!  They currently have five coffees on offer and, as per usual, I decided to go for the House blend.  They also have –

  • Colombia – La Plata
  • DR of Congo – Rebuild Woman’s Hope
  • Guatemala – Las Terrazas
  • House Decaf

Prices range from £6.50 to £9.00 for a 250g bag.  Postage is £3 flat rate with Royal Mail or they offer free shipping for orders over £25.  The coffee was shipped the same day I placed the order and I’m happy to say that I had it the very next day so absolutely no complaints about that!  Couldn’t get it any faster unless you went and knocked on the roastery door.

 

So let’s talk packaging. It…could do with a bit of work, honestly. It arrived as you can see, not flat packed, or in a resealable bag (I really don’t count those twisty things, I never feel like they keep bag sealed, though that’s just my preference!) and it arrived shipped in a cardboard box that appeared to be designed to take two bags instead of one.  There was a lot of empty space for things to get bounced and jostled around which for me is always an opportunity for things to get damaged.

This really is just a pet peeve here, I hate packaging that’s way too big for the item.  Amazon has to be Public Enemy Number 1 when it comes to that, some of their packaging is just insane!  But this isn’t a shipping blog, it’s a coffee blog, so let’s move on.

EDIT (15/03/18) That said, one thing I am very pleased to see is that it comes in a fully biodegradable bag! I think that’s a first for the coffees I’ve been reviewing up till now and I do apologise to Yallah for not noticing that when I initially wrote the review, hence this update.  That’s actually very cool as I hate that most of the other coffee bags just need to go straight in the bin as they’re mixed materials and the local council won’t touch them.

So, moving on! The tasting notes listed on the bag promised yummy things  “Chocolate mousse with notes of caramel and demerara”?  SIGN ME UP.

But…yeah. This review has actually taken me a while to write.  Why?  Well, because honestly this coffee turned out to be a bit of a disappointment and I really hated to have to say that. Whether used for hot water or hot milk based drinks, it was just kind of forgettable save for a somewhat unpleasant final sour note lurking at the bottom of every cup that made me want to screw my face up if I drank it too quickly.

Other than that it wasn’t a bad coffee, it just wasn’t very good either and I really struggled to detect any of the tasting notes no matter how hard I tried.  Nothing made it stand out to me as one I’d fall over myself to buy again and I always feel bad saying that! I always feel like I’m damning a coffee with faint praise if I go “Well, it wasn’t BAD…”

So yeah. It was a nice enough coffee, certainly not one I regret trying, but not one I’m likely to order again.

TTFN.

EDIT: 15/03/18Yallah got in touch with me on Twitter to comment on the review, which was lovely.  I always like to hear back from the folks I write about, especially if they have comments which can help me improve my writing, which they did!  They specifically flagged up the biodegradable bags which, I have to admit, I’d completely missed despite it being printed right there on the bag so I’m very happy to add that into the review.

They also said “Around the same time as your review we actually flagged an issue with the roaster through our normal QC programme, the roast has since changed ” so it’s possible that the bag I got from them wasn’t a proper reflection of their usual quality and they’ve offered to send me a replacement to taste again which I’d love to try.  I was hoping for good things from this coffee and that last sour note that kept creeping in just spoiled it for me.

I will do a re-review of Yallah once I get another bag to try!

Intermission – A Coffee Cupping Experiment!

Hello again, lovely people, and welcome back to my ongoing journey to true coffee snobbery.

Before I pick up the reviews, I wanted to talk about the coffee cupping experience we attempted a few weeks back!  We had four coffees on offer from three different roasters. One each from PocoEspresso and TAP Coffee, and two from Dear Green.  We found that the instructions on the Dear Green card left room for confusion in the instructions, for example on things like how fine to grind the beans (I ended up grinding too fine. Oops) but we went on and we tried it out anyway!

So, a quick explanation before we go any further.  What is coffee cupping and why would you do it?  Basically it’s how they analyse coffees to put those tasting notes on the bags that you buy.  It’s how they check the aroma, the taste, the body, all that good stuff.  Sort of like wine tasting, you’re not necking entire glasses/mugs, you’re taking sips from spoonfuls to see what tastes hit your palate.

You can find a really good description/explanationof cupping at Has Bean’s site HERE

So, back to our attempt.  We ended up consulting the actual SCA guidelines at one point to see how they compared to the instructions that came with the cupping kit to double check if we were doing things right and….wow.  That’s a whole new level that I have yet to even come close to attaining so in truth Dear Green did a really great job of breaking down an immensely detailed process into something that fit on the back of a postcard.

Here’s a few photos from that weekend!  Huge thanks to my friends Rob and Carole, and to my wife (the one wearing the Progress Wrestling hat) who really isn’t that much of a fan of coffee but stepped up to give it a try all the same.  You can see from her photos that she really wasn’t a great fan!

So we quickly found that we had broadly similar opinions about the coffees, though we disagreed over which of the Dear Green offerings was better.  For a while the kitchen was full of slurping, and debates about exactly what we could taste with each coffee on offer, with much consultation of the flavour wheel printout (also supplied in the cupping kit!) till we came to a consensus.

Ladies and gentlemen, your winners in order from left to right!  PocoEspresso won hands down.  A lovely coffee in every way!  The Dear Green’s were a solid second and third, but when it came to the TAP Coffee…It’s a very strong, very distinctive taste, mixed berries assaulting your tongue like you’ve just taken a swig of forest fruit squash and then gulped some coffee. It was just way too weird for most of us, though that was actually the one my wife preferred over all the others (as per usual, we agree on nothing!  This has been a long running thing)!

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Closing thoughts?  It was a fun experience, something a little different for us all to try! Would I do it again?  Probably, if I had friends round to make a bit of an event of it. I don’t think it’s something you’ll see me doing all that often, I’m content to just make my cups of coffee and write about it rather than go through this somewhat more convoluted process.

That said, I hope you’ve found my little experiment educational!  You can pick up one of the cupping kits I used from Dear Green HERE.  I went out and bought some more of the cupping bowls myself, you can get them from eBay and Amazon for not a great deal of cash.

That’s it for today, I’ll be back with a review of Yallah Coffee!

TTFN.