Review #20 – Raw Bean Coffee

Hello folks,

So it’s been a little while since my last review and for that I do apologise! I’ve been doing a lot of work writing for the other site I’m involved with – Set The Tape – and between that and gearing up to start a new job in the new year, coffee reviews have somewhat fallen by the wayside.

But I am still here! Still drinking coffee! Still slowly driving my wife insane by attempting to find space for yet more coffee paraphernalia on our already cluttered kitchen counters! With the run up to Christmas money’s been a little tight so I’ve not been ordering as many coffees online as I used to and instead I’ve been hunting around trying to find if there’s any other really good store-stocked coffees.

My current go-to remains Modern Standard’s Espresso Blend – Available at your local orange branded supermarket. I also quite like the “Lucy’s Blend” from Change Please. Unfortunately the others from this range are all pre-ground, this is the only one available as whole beans.

Today, though, we’re looking at a recent discovery – Raw Bean Coffee.

The site is a little light on specific details about the company, but looking at the blog it would appear that they’re based in Winchester and they’ve been around since around 2014/2015. There’s a number of different coffees available on their site, from single serve coffee bags, single origin coffees, decaf coffees and even three different blends. The site design is pretty nice and clean, quick and easy to navigate, so I might well give online ordering from these folks a try.

At the moment there’s only one of their coffees available in my local Sainsburys so let’s take a look at Raw Bean’s “Mega Mexican” single origin coffee.

Immediately major props for putting a roasting date on the bag! Modern Standard do that as well, but most of the other brands you see in the supermarket don’t, so you really have no idea if they’ve been there three weeks, four months, ten? Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Well, probably not, but it’s the sort of little detail that I appreciate and immediately makes this offering stand out from the rest.

Moving on, one thing needs to be made clear – Don’t use this for espresso. My results with it were, well, not great. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. In fact, this kicked off a new trend with any coffee I review in future. All coffees will now be tried in three machines –

  1. Sage Barista Express
  2. Hario Syphon Filter
  3. Bodum Cafetiere

That way I’m giving every coffee a fair shake, trying it as espresso, plunger and filter. So after my mediocre results in the espresso machine (and again, it wasn’t BAD, but a lot of the coffee’s tasting notes were drowned out by the milk) I moved on to my syphon.

I got a little arty with this one, can’t you tell? The syphon will always be one of my favourite machines to make coffee with, just because of the artistry of it. It’s such a fun thing to show off, it looks like some mad scientist experiment! I’d love to lay my hands on a Vienna Balance machine sometime, which is sort of like a syphon on steroids, but they’re both big and kinda pricy so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

So what was it like in the syphon? Not good. I don’t know about other folks, but I find the syphon is unbelievably picky about coffees and it has a habit of bringing out all the top, sharp notes of anything you put into it so in this instance the coffee just became unpleasantly strong and almost sour so I gave that up as a bad idea and turned to machine number three and this is where I struck gold.

In the cafetiere it was transformed into something rich, slightly spicy and entirely delicious with not a hint of a sour or sharp note to be found. Strong, without being overpowering, with a pleasant mouthfeel that stayed just the right side of cloying, this was just a bloody good coffee.

I finished the bag in a week, it was that good I kept going back for more and more and more. My cafetiere saw more use in that week than it has in the year and more since I bought it. I actually have another bag of this coffee in my kitchen as we speak, it’s simply that good.

But I’d really, really recommend a cafetiere for it. I grind it on the coarsest setting my Sage Smart Grinder Pro will do and that seems to work pretty well so just something to keep in mind.

Right, that’s it for now. When I return in the new year it’ll be with a review of a purchase from TK Maxx that turned out to be the most well-travelled coffee I’ve looked at so far.

TTFN for now, and have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

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