Review #15 – Algerian Coffee Stores

We’re moving away from the website side of things today, and instead we’re going to look at one of the first coffee suppliers I ever visited.

Tucked away on Old Compton Street in London’s Soho, Algerian Coffee Stores has been in business since 1887, which is pretty goddamn impressive however you look at it.  Offering over 80 different coffees and 120 different teas as well as sweets, brewing equipment, spices and lots more, this place is a must visit if you’re any sort of fan of caffeine.

The one thing you miss when you shop online is the smell of a place like this.  The moment you open the door your nostrils are assaulted with the myriad scents of the teas and coffees, it’s lovely. I think I’d probably rate that in my top ten favourite smells, though for me nothing beats the musty scent of a secondhand bookshop. Mmmm. Smell of my childhood right there! (Big love and shoutout to Abbey Books in Paisley!)  But anyway, once again this isn’t a book blog, this is a coffee blog, so let’s talk about what I purchased here and let’s take a little look at their website while we’re at it.

Algerian Coffee Stores

Honestly I think the kindest thing I can say here is that the website is functional, if looking somewhat dated these days.  Functionally it does the business and I have ordered online using this site without any issues.  One criticism I do have here is that details of some of the coffees are thin on the ground, with some getting only a few words. I do get that it’s probably a right pain to try and keep this many coffee listings updated but as a newcomer to coffee as I was when I first ordered, I found that kind of intimidating and had no real clue where to start.  Even now I definitely prefer to go into the shop and buy it in person anytime I get into London as the staff are very helpful and knowledgeable!

Ordering through the site, shipping costs within the UK range from £2.95 to £15.45 for a single 250g bag of beans depending on how desperately you need your coffee.  You’ll pardon me if I don’t go listing every different kind of coffee they sell here, that’d be one heck of a list!

So what did I go for?  Well, after a chat with a very nice lady in the shop about the kinds of things I like I was steered towards two that I’d never tried before.  First up we had the Tanzanian Chagga.

And then after that we had a coffee from Malawi.

No comments on packaging this time as I bought in store.  The bags are simple enough, a rather eye-catching shade of red, though there’s no twisty tie or ability to re-seal so make sure you have a nice air-tight hopper or jar to store your beans in once you open them up.

Of the two, the Tanzanian was definitely my favourite, though neither of them were bad coffees at all.  The Tanzanian reminded me of a peaberry, that lovely blend of nutty and fruity, sweet and just yum!  I finished that entire bag in like a week and was rather disappointed when it was finished.  Again, definitely one for hot water based drinks rather than milk, though it did make a perfectly nice if somewhat unremarkable latte.

The Malawi, though, there was a funny tasting note that was quite off-putting when I first tried it though after a bit of fiddling I got it dialed in and was able to enjoy it.  Looking at the details on the website they do mention that it has honey notes so I’m definitely beginning to think that’s one I need to start steering clear of, just not a fan!

As one of the oldest coffee sellers in London, it’s hard to go wrong and any self-respecting coffee lover should give this place a try, even if just once.  With so many options on offer I can pretty much guarantee there’s going to be SOMETHING there you’ll like!

Oh, personal suggestion?  Steer clear of the spiced coffee though.  That stuff is just plain weird.

TTFN.

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