Review #19 – Bean Smitten

That’s right folks, today is a twofer!  I realised I was falling behind in my reviews a bit so it’s time to get caught up.

Bean Smitten is a roastery based in East Sussex, founded in 2014 by Accountant turned Roaster Darren Tickner and they sell to both home and local businesses as well as being a distributor of Sanremo coffee machines.  As an aside, even though I know I’d likely have to take out a second mortgage to afford one, their Cafe Racer coffee machine is a thing of absolute beauty.   I was lucky enough to get up close to one at the London Coffee Festival earlier this year and just…yum.  So gorgeous.  Anyway, we’re here to talk about Bean Smitten and their coffee!

BeanSmitten

A nice, straightforward site design, the “buy coffee” link nice and obviously placed.  They could do with updating the “press” section, though, as there’s been no update there since Feb 2015!

Bean Smitten have a grand total of eleven coffees on offer at the moment, with four being blends and the other seven being single origin.  One of these is a decaf coffee, using the swiss water method.

Blends:

  • Classic Blend – £6.00
  • Revive Blend – £6.00
  • Contemporary Blend – £6.00
  • Roasters Choice – £5.75

Single Origin:

  • Honduras Finca San Isidro – £6.27
  • Honduras Altos De Erapuca – £6.00
  • Brazil Presente Do Sol – £6.00
  • Rwanda Huye Mountain – £7.25
  • Bolivia San Pablo – £8.95
  • Roasters Choice – £5.75
  • Nicaragua Finca El Bosque (decaf) – £6.25

Prices are for a 250g bag and are perfectly reasonable, with shipping being either £3.99 for post, or if you order over £15 then shipping is free.  As is customary around here, I chose one of the house blends, the Contemporary.

The delivery wasn’t super fast, it took four days for the coffee to be dispatched after my order was placed, and another couple of days for it to arrive. Hardly the end of the world, but just something to bear in mind if you’re just about to run out, make sure to leave yourself a comfortable margin!

A fairly standard bag, but no way to re-close and no twisty ties to seal it either, so make sure you have something air-tight to decant these into as soon as you open them.  Excuse the shadows in the picture, we had a lot of very bright sunlight in the kitchen that particular morning.

I forgot to take a picture of the shot again.   I really am going to have to print out a picture and stick it to my cupboard at head height.

So how was it to drink? Really, really hit and miss.  I just could not get this thing dialed in properly.  Too fine, too coarse, it refused to make its mind up.  One shot would be fine, the next would be little more than vaguely-coffee-flavoured water even though I’d changed nothing at all between cups! So much of this, sadly, went straight into the sink.  It’s genuinely been a long time since I had this much trouble with a coffee.  I’m used to taking maybe a cup or two to get dialed in, but I just couldn’t get this one to settle down at all, which was really frustrating.

What I did manage to get was…mostly okay? I mean I’ve had plenty worse and it was far from undrinkable but a lot of it came out very harsh, with almost burnt notes lingering unpleasantly in the mouth when made with both hot water or hot milk.  Unfortunately I honestly can’t tell you if that’s the fault of the coffee, or just the fact that it didn’t seem to get on at all well with the Barista Express.

I definitely wouldn’t say don’t buy from them, as there’s plenty of other options there, and I think I need to try one of the other blends to see if it’s my machine or the beans themselves.  If I buy from them again I’ll be back with a re-review and hopefully I’ll have something more positive to say.

TTFN.

 

Review #18 – Percol Iced Coffee Protein Latte

Hello again folks, we’re back with another real life review.  We spotted this on the shelves of our local orange-branded supermarket and I couldn’t resist picking it up.

Percol Iced Coffee Protein Latte. It doesn’t quite trip off the tongue but it certainly tells you everything you need to know.  In case it needs to be restated here, this is something that’s definitely meant to be drunk cold though as it’s made with UHT milk it can be stored in a cupboard if fridge space is a problem for you.

This came in a box of four for, at the time, an offer price of £4 which is quite reasonable. I believe at full price it’s £5.50 which is a little much for me, I’m not sure I’d want to pay much more than a pound each for these as they’re on the small side (225ml) but that’s just me.

On opening the pack the first thing you discover is that these aren’t actually cans, they’re cardboard, like a carton of milk. They seem robust enough for what they are, though I wouldn’t want to put one of these in a bag where it might get squashed as the only thing holding it closed is a stick-on plastic label over the opening.  I think that’s just asking to have your bag coffee scented for the rest of its life.

My track record with protein-enhanced food & drink has been a bit hit and miss, with as many good things as bad.  The weirdest was definitely a protein pizza where they’d added pea protein to the base.  Problem was, it just meant you had a pizza that tasted really noticeably of peas.  Sweetcorn is one thing, but peas in/on your pizza is just not right. Not right at all (and don’t even get me started on pineapple).

So by now you’re probably wondering what I was at the time – What does it taste like?  I’m happy to report that it tastes like coffee, no peas here.  Phew.  It’s thicker than you might expect which was slightly off-putting on the first sip, almost like some sort of coffee milkshake.  It’s sweet and rich, the coffee strong but not overpowering, no hint of harsh or burnt notes and thought the cans are quite small, it’s surprisingly satisfying as it’s so thick and sweet. Honestly, it was a really pleasant surprise and something I’d happily buy again.

After a workout this might be a handy way of getting a quick protein boost but it does come laden with sugar, 19g of it to be precise per 225ml serving, which is WAY more than a similar amount made up using my Gold Standard Whey powder which comes out to just shy of 9g of sugar.  Just something to bear in mind if you’re being calorie conscious.  If you need protein, make these an occasional thing unless you KNOW you’re going to be burning off all those carbs as well.

That’s it for this one, folks, something a bit short and sweet for you all.  I’ll be back again soon with another review.