So this one comes with a little bit of a curiosity attached to it. As you may know from reading the blog, I’m based in the UK but today’s coffee comes to us from a roaster based in Staten Island, USA. Now while not entirely unheard of, it’s not a place I tend to buy coffee from because –
A – Most of them won’t ship overseas and
B – If I DID, the costs would just be prohibitive.
So how did this particular bag of coffee come into my possession? Well, I randomly found it at my local TK Maxx (TJ Maxx to any US folks reading this). TK Maxx has stocked coffee for ages, but the one local to me has mostly had random bags of pre-ground, flavoured coffee that don’t interest me. But on this visit I found this, a bag of beans! Interest piqued, I grabbed it and it wasn’t until I got home and looked up the roaster that I discovered that it’d had quite a journey to get to me. I did reach out to Unique twice through both their online contact form and their Facebook page, asking for more information about this coffee and how it might have ended up in the UK, but received no response to either one which is a little disappointing (though I can clearly see that they have read my FB message). Ah well, it’s a sad truth of the internet that we encounter poor customer service far too often. Let’s move on!
As usual, we start with a bit of history about the roaster.
Based on Staten Island, Unique Coffee Roasters have been around since 1995 and offer an impressive selection of coffees. Fifteen single origin beans, fifteen different blends and THIRTY different flavoured coffees as well as teas and Keurig and Nespresso pods! Dayum. If you can’t finds something here you like, I’d suggest maybe switching to…I dunno. Soft drinks?
Prices run from between $11.99 to $13.99 for a 450g bag of single origin, which is pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. Blends are $10.99 to $14.99 and the flavoured coffees are almost entirely $10.99 for a bag, with only one at $11.99 so I have to say their pricing is pretty generous for the size of bag they’re selling, I’ve paid more than that for a 250g bag which is pretty much the regular size for most UK roasters.
Nice enough bag, eye-catching livery and a nice little blurb about the coffee and the company on front and back, along with some brewing instructions and information on their roasts. Nice! No way to re-seal the bag, so an airtight container or straight into the hopper for your grinder is recommended.
First thing you notice on opening the bag is DAMN, that’s pungent! Not unpleasantly so, but I could immediately tell that this was a much stronger roast than I normally buy. Looking at their roasting chart they claim this is a medium roast but I gotta say it tasted FAR more like a dark roast to me, it had a serious kick.
Straight off, don’t bother with this in a syphon, it’s not pleasant. In a cafetiere it was nice enough, but again just too strong for me. Definitely one for espresso only, I think. Unlike my previous review, also of a Mexican coffee, I couldn’t really pick up any massively spicy notes here, all I got was COFFEE. Like COFFEE from dawn till dusk and then dawn again. If this is their idea of a medium roast, I can’t even begin to imagine what their strongest roast is like!
All in all, this is one for those who like their coffee to taste like coffee, but also who want a stronger kick to go along with it. I ended up having to add extra milk and sugar to mine! Would I buy this one again? No. Would I pick up coffee from this roaster again if I had the chance? Definitely.