Coffee Review #24 – Bird & Wild Coffee

Let’s talk about feel good coffee. We’re all here because we love that special brown bean juice, but in this day and age it’s about more than just the end product in our cups. It matters where it comes from, how it’s produced, who it’s produced by, and what impact that production has on the surrounding countryside.

Enter Bird & Wild, a company that specifically sets out to produce environmentally conscious coffee that directly supports animal conservation/protection through donations to the RSPB, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre and the Fairtrade Foundation.

If you’d like to know more, I’d suggest checking out their About Us page on the website which goes into a fair amount of detail about their ethos and their coffee, it’s nice to see a site put so much out there.

The site design is a lot busier than now-traditional look of many other third wave coffee sites which tend to go for that black on white minimalist look. I don’t mean this as a negative in any way, I hasten to add. The site is easy to navigate, everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be and as mentioned before there’s an absolute wealth of information to be found about their business and their coffee. I encountered no problems at all finding what I wanted.

They have three coffees available to purchase in sizes ranging from 200g to 1kg bags and if you really need that coffee fix you can even buy a case of 6x200g! The coffees on offer are –

  • Espresso Roast
  • Seasonal Blend
  • Signature Espresso Blend

Prices range from £4.99 to £29.99 and standard UK shipping is £2.99.

This is the second of my random finds at TK Maxx, and it’s the Seasonal Blend we’ll be looking at.

I know it’s not an easy thing for a company to pivot their packaging from one type to another, but I wonder if, with all this emphasis on conservation and the like, if Bird & Wild have/are considering a move to the biodegradable bags? They’re becoming more common now so it’d be nice to see them ditch the plastic packaging and move to something a bit more eco-friendly.

This coffee was tried in all three of my main coffee makers, the Barista Express, Bodum cafetiere/french press and the Hario Syphon. All this talk of protecting birds and shade grown coffee is all well and good, but as with my previous review of “Change Please Coffee“, it’s all for naught if the coffee isn’t any good.

But it is. Is is good, very good in fact. It’s not often I find a coffee that works in all three makers, providing a lovely cup every time.

Dangit. Again I forgot to take photos of the others. Too busy taking beauty shots of the siphon, I think (It is very pretty, though). Now the tasting notes on the bag talk about ‘floral aromas’ and while they are there, they’re not overwhelming and while the siphon did enhance them (as it tends to bring out whatever the top notes are) they weren’t overpowering. This was a rich, smooth, and simply lovely coffee that I have no hesitation in recommending at all.

Regardless of how you make your coffee, the Bird & Wild seasonal blend will not let you down.

TTFN.

Coffee Review #23 – True Start Coffee

This is the first of three reviews from my latest foray into the wilds of TK Maxx (That’s TJ Maxx for you non-UK folks. I have no idea why the name is different here. Maybe they thought we were all dumb and might confuse it with TJ Hooker or something). If people like these reviews, I might make this a regular thing. There’s like 6 different TK Maxx shops within a 15 mile radius of home so it could be good fun to go rummaging and see what I can find.

Let’s kick things off with a look at Bristol-based True Start Coffee.

True Start have been around since 2015 and they are VERY enthusiastic about what they do. From modest beginnings you can now find their coffee all over the place, being sold by Amazon, Ocado, Shell garages and more.

At the moment they have a pretty wide variety of coffee-related things for sale, including Nitro Coffee, coffee pods, Cold Brew coffee (including chilli chocolate coffee? Interesting!), and actual coffee beans as well. It’s this last one we’ll take a look at today.

YES to biodegradable bags! I think this is only the third roaster I’ve purchased from that does a biodegradable bag. When you go through as much coffee as I do, you start to become very aware of just how much plastic you’re forced to throw away. Please, roasters, switch to biodegradable bags!

Before we go on, I have to admit something. I somehow managed to not take a single picture of any of my brews. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I tried this in the three I promised in an earlier review. My Barista Express, Bodum french press/cafetiere and my Hario Syphon.

So, on opening the first thing that was noticeable were the beans. They’re quite oily which is interesting, a lot of the coffees I buy are very dry. These still aren’t the oiliest I’ve ever bought, that dubious accolade goes to Starbucks who have beans SO OILY they stuck to the inside of the bag, clung to the insides of my grinder’s hopper and left an oily smear all over everything like you’d been rubbing your fingers in cooking oil. It really wasn’t entirely pleasant. These, however, were nowhere near as bad.

First off was the Sage/Breville Barista Express and my customary Americano and….eww. I’m sorry guys, but eww was my first reaction. This one tasted really strongly of licorice, at least that’s how it seemed to me, and that’s not a flavour I particularly like. This flavour persisted all the way through the cafetiere and the syphon.

Now as to the rest, there was nothing bad about this coffee. It made a nice clean cup, it was certainly drinkable in everything I tried it in, but this was just not one for me, not at all. As this seems to be the only whole bean coffee that True Start offers, I likely won’t be picking this one up again but you might find this coffee more to your liking. It’s certainly a memorable one even if, for me personally, it’s for the wrong reasons!

TTFN.