Review #14 – Dark Arts Coffee

Today, let’s take a walk on the dark side.  Or as we sometimes quote around the Snob household –

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Dark Arts Coffee are based in Hackney in London, and have been in business since 2014. Their blurb on the site reads “We had visions of funnelling the profits into a cult based on our love of the occult, bikes and all things unholy” and I am totally down with that.  Coffee, the occult and motorbikes? Where do I sign up?

For future reference, as well as being a coffee lover, I love motorbikes as well.  I am the current owner of a 2005 plate BMW R1200RT, a huge, mile-munching tourer that I semi-regularly ride to Scotland and back.  But anyway, once again, this is a coffee blog and not a biker blog so let’s move on!

Dark Arts

Dark Arts have eight different coffees on offer at the moment that break down into one decaf, one geisha and six other regular coffees.  Prices range from £8 to £19.50 depending on which variety you choose. with an additional £3.30 in shipping for a 250g bag.

  • Dead Flowers – Ecuador – £15.00 (Out of stock at time of writing)
  • Eat the Rich (Geisha) – Costa Rica – £19.50 (Out of stock at time of writing)
  • Goat – Colombia – £9.50
  • Life After Death (Decaf) – Colombia – £8.00
  • Lost Highway- Nicaragua – £9.00
  • Maggie May – Kenya – £12.00
  • Satan Lives – Bolivia – £12.00 (Out of stock at time of writing)
  • Scarlet Woman – Rwanda – £9.50

Lost Highway is the seasonal espresso so, as that’s the closest to a house blend they had on offer, that’s the one I went for.  As is reassuringly common in these reviews, I encountered no issues at all when placing my order and my coffee was not only shipped same day, it arrived the day after.  You can’t get any fresher than that unless you go knock on the roastery door yourself.

 

Let’s talk packaging.  While the box isn’t quite letterbox friendly and did come inside additional packaging to protect it in the post, I’m adoring the design. It was almost a shame to cut into it! It’s just a lovely, well made thing.  Full marks for both the design, and the blurb on the box and label.  Love it!  Getting inside, we have the actual bag with the beans.

What’s the catchphrase?  “Business up front, party in the back?” The unexpectedly cheerful sticker made us chuckle.  Again, we have a twisty-tie bag but my feelings on them are well known by anyone who reads this blog so I won’t bang on about things again here.

So we’ve got nice packaging, a straightforward website with some lovely music/movie inspired coffee titles, but how was it to drink?

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Again.  Argh, again.  I hate damning coffee with faint praise but here we are once again.  This coffee was…okay. Just okay. I had some problems getting it dialled in, I will admit, but there was this lingering sharp note I couldn’t quite get rid of no matter how much I fiddled with the grind and the amounts.  I’m starting to think that chocolate notes are ones I need to be wary of, my luck seems very hit and miss with them.

It is interesting how many of these coffees are so much better in a hot water based drink as opposed to milk.  In a latte this was almost overwhelmed by the creaminess of the milk.  The sour note was gone, yes, but you were left with a drink that was just kinda…generically coffee flavoured.

Now this all said, I don’t regret the purchase, it was far from terrible, and I’ll definitely be ordering from these guys again as I love the ethos and the packaging.  Maybe I’ll try the Maggie May instead, I rather like Kenyan coffee.  If/when I buy from them again, I’ll be back with a re-review.

Next month, though, we’re going to be looking at a little shop in London called the Algerian Coffee Store.  If you’re ever in Soho this place is worth a looksee.  But is their coffee any good?  Guess you’ll need to wait and see!

TTFN.

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