The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 19

Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I wanna go to bed. I had a lil drink about an hour ago…and it was actually coffee, so I’m not THAT tired.  Let’s take a look at what Pact had in store for me on day 19.

This one was…it was a bit weird. It was almost sweet and sour? In little sips it was lovely, with quite a sharp citrus taste.  But if you gulped it then it quickly became rather overwhelming.  This was not a coffee to be rushed, no sir.  You want a coffee to gulp, you go mosey on down to McDonalds, kid, and you tell them El Chollo sent ya and…I’m sorry, I appear to be channelling the spirit of a spaghetti western there.  Ahem.

Definitely one to be enjoyed in small amounts.  I wonder if having it in hot milk would mitigate the sharpness any.  We’ll be tentatively adding this one to the “like” column, but with the caveat that this would be an occasional coffee, at least for me, not an everyday one.

TTFN.

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 18

Today’s review is brought to you by “Dear God, are we still doing these?  Why isn’t it Christmas yet?”

So this one.  This one was NICE.  I genuinely have not got a single complaint here. I could happily drink this one every day, every hour of the day, and likely die of caffeine poisoning with a big, happy smile on my face.  It was sweet, smooth, utterly delicious and I was rather disappointed when I finished the cup.

That’s one I definitely want to get again so I can try it with a milk based drink as well.  Top marks, highly recommended, hats off to Maria Pacas who has grown a simply lovely coffee.  Get yourself some if you get the chance!

TTFN.

Review #9 – Poco Espresso

Okay, taking a moment to step away from the Pact Advent Calendar, let’s talk about another roaster that I recently got some coffee from.  Now in the interests of full disclosure, I’ll state right from the getgo that this coffee was provided free by the fine folks at Poco Espresso.  I said I’d give an honest opinion about the coffee, and about my purchasing experience with them, so let’s get right into it.

Poco Espresso are based in Preston and their site states that they are a “young” roastery, though I can’t see any specific dates on the site to indicate how long they’ve been in business.  There’s a single blog post (which is actually very handy for those who are unclear on different coffee grinds) from November this year and the Twitter account dates back to 2014 but that doesn’t necessarily mean they started roasting then, it could have been before or after.

pocoespresso

Site design is simple, easy to navigate and I encountered no issues at all in placing an order. I like that their next roasting date is prominently displayed right on the front page so you can tailor when you place your order to make sure you get the freshest coffee, or make sure there’s no too big a wait for it to arrive.

Clicking into each coffee gives you a quick overview of the variety, processing, cupping notes and other useful information.  I also like that you get to see a picture of the green beans, not just the roasted end product.

There is a very simple selection of three coffees on the site.  Two for espresso, one for filter. At the time of writing the following were on offer, all in 205g bags –

  • Sumatra Mandheling G1 Rainforest Alliance – £5.50
  • Ethiopia Natural Sidamo G1 – £6.50

  • Colombia Excelso EP Fairtrade – £5.50

Shipping is £2.00, sent First Class Royal Mail. For my initial order, as you may all recall, I’m not a massive fan of Colombian coffee, and I wanted something for my Barista Express, so that made my choice fairly straightforward.  Sumatra Mandheling it is.

With…mixed results.  But we’ll get to that, let’s cover the packaging next.

Joy of joys, a flat-packed, re-sealable bag!  Ten out of ten, all the thumbs up and a very happy me.  Fits nicely through the letterbox, can be re-sealed to keep your coffee fresh.  Top marks.  Love the information on the back too, everything you need to know there.  Unfortunately this is where I realised that I had made a booboo. Clever me in my “Oh, well I’m not going to order Colombian coffee so that’s an easy choice” hadn’t noticed one important piece of information.  A single line.

Roast Level – City+ – And I’m sorry, but I have to do it.  It’s Indiana Jones reference time.

he-chose-poorly

Well…damn.  I’d managed to order a coffee that’s waaaaay stronger than I normally buy.  The moment I opened the bag I realised my mistake. It’s got a heck of a potent smell, but I went ahead and I tried it all the same and I made my usual double shot of espresso.

IMG_20171207_124350

Now THAT is a dark coffee. Almost looks like a mini pint of Guiness, don’t you think?  The scent was enough to have my nose hairs standing on tiptoes.  If hair had toes.  Stop looking at me like that.  The important thing here was one sniff was enough to have me wide awake and after I’d added hot water, one sip was enough to let me know that I couldn’t drink it two shots at a time. It was astoundingly rich and strong, enough to make me wince, but at the same time it’s not overroasted, it’s not harsh or burnt, it’s perfectly well done and you can detect those spicy tasting notes sneaking through near the end.

After trying it with hot water, I tried it with hot milk and hoooooooo boy I swear it was even stronger in milk!  I ended up that I can only drink it as a single shot and you know what?  It’s strong, but it’s nice. I even had a couple of friends over to get their opinions and they both gave this one a big thumbs up.

Is it something I’d buy again? No, but that’s because I prefer a lighter roast than this.  But if you want a good, strong, rich coffee?  This one is well worth your time.

My next review will be another one from Poco Espresso, a Peaberry.  Yum, looking forward to that. I’ve had a lot of lovely Peaberry coffees over the years.

TTFN.

 

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 17

Today’s coffee is brought to you by a recently discovered musical track (Thank you BBC 6 Music).  You should check it out. It’s called “Yo Mae Leh” and it’s by a person? Group? Murder of Crows? Pod of Dolphins? Cyborg Horse? called Invisible Minds.

Link to music

And now for something completely different

Coffee.

I gotta admit, jury was out on this one to begin with.  I’m not a massive fan of dark roast coffees, and this one is definitely veering toward the darker side.  That said, it’s not unpleasant at all and the predominant tasting note I got from it was…treacle, I’d say.  Something dark and rich but not chocolatey or sweet, at least not for me.  I think I’d really like to try this one as a latte or a flat white, I think it’d be bloody lovely.

I am suffering from a stinking headcold so my tastebuds might not be working 100% at the moment but you know what it sort of reminded me of? Cinder toffee. It was like having a mouthful of that and then swirling in some coffee. Good stuff, Pact.

TTFN.

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 16

I know, I know, late again!

My excuse is Star Wars. Star Wars is the best excuse for everything. Have you seen the new movie yet? If not, you should, just for the visual spectacle.  The story is mostly decent, with some slightly questionable decisions in the storytelling in places, but I enjoyed it more than the Force Awakens BECAUSE IT WASN’T A BLOODY REMAKE.

Anyway. Coffee.  This was an interesting one!

The blurb on the back talks about “lemony acidity” and I’d have to agree.  Wow, this one was JUICY.  We went way beyond acid, way behind fruity or floral and solidly into juicy territory.  The last mouthful was so potent it was like finishing your coffee and promptly swigging a glass of really tart fruit juice. This is another that I think wouldn’t be a regular purchase, but damn if I wanted something with a bit of ZING to it, this would be my go-to.

We’ll add this one to the “Like” column as well as my “I hope Pact stocks this regularly!” list.

To sum up where we are with the scores so far –

  • Like – 11
  • Meh – 3
  • Dislike – 2

TTFN.

 

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 15

Ten days to go, ten days to go, hi ho the derry oh, it’s ten days to go.

Have you done your Christmas shopping, boys and girls?  Made sure to lay in enough coffee to see you over the festive period?  If not, might be time to think about it!  We’re mostly organised here at Casa Del Snob, and our daughter spends every day yelling “SANTA IS COMING!” But that’s beside the point, let’s talk about today’s coffee.

And I was stalling a bit because today’s was….it was alright, I guess. It was nothing massively special, nothing hugely memorable, but nor was it terrible. After the two in a row that I definitely did not care for, it was good to get back on track with a couple of decent ones! This is another that, at least for me, was just coffee flavoured. No massively standout notes, but no nasty overtones or lingering aftertastes either. Just a nice cup.

That’s it, I’m off for now!  Be back tomorrow with another review.

TTFN.

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 14

Sorry folks! Running a bit behind again, but determined to keep it going.  The end is nearly in sight.  And hey, today’s coffee was bloody lovely and another that goes solidly into the “Like” column.

So the back of the pack talks about cherry and red apple flavours and I have to agree. It was sort of like biting into an apple, then taking a swig of coffee to wash it down!  A little odd, but pleasant all the same. I’m not sure it’s something I’d buy too often, but as with some of the previous ones I think I’d pick it up if I fancied something a little different.  Not sure how it would work in hot milk, but might need to get some again to try it and see!

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 13

~Opens Advent Calendar. Looks at Day 13~

Finca Filadelfia.  Bugger.

So yes, this is another one that I’m familar with from my previous subscription with Pact and honestly? I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.  I did make it up and try it as it had been a while and my tastes in coffee have changed over the years but this is still another that goes straight into the “Dislike” column.  It’s harsh and tastes like it’s been overroasted, so acidic that it’s sour and just generally a coffee that I really don’t get on with.

Huh, maybe I really don’t like Guatemalan coffee after all. We’ll add that to the list with Colombian (though this calendar is definitely showing some exceptions to this rule, some lovely Colombian coffees so far).

Yeah. Moving very swiftly on from this one. Not a fan, not a fan at all. As I recall even having it with hot milk wasn’t enough to mask the sour notes. Ah well.  Here’s hoping tomorrow is an improvement!

 

 

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 12

Ladies and gents, boys and girls, it’s finally happened. Day 12.  We have our first one that goes straight into the “Dislike” column.  Because dang.  Yeah, didn’t get on with this one at all.  If that’s all you want to know, then I’ve saved you reading the whole review!  You’re welcome for the time back, try not to use it all on the same website (unless you’re spending it reading more of my reviews, in which case fill your boots).

If you’re still here, let’s go into some more detail about why I didn’t get on with day 12’s offering.

Man, the smell of this one jumps out the bag the moment you open it, that was my first indication that I perhaps wasn’t going to entirely get on with this one. When I was younger, during my University days, I used to live on stuff like the infamous “Hot Lava Java” that Taylors makes. I was less concerned about  the taste than I was about how strong it was and how much caffeine it seemed to contain.

These days I favour a much milder roast so with this one I had reservations from the get go. As you can see above, a dark shot with quite a dark crema compared to the others. The smell of the shot was even more overpowering than the grounds, strong and a little harsh, the raisin tasting notes overwhelming almost everything else.

And yet, when I took a sip, it was surprisingly far less harsh than I was expecting it to be, at least at first. The raisin flavour was definitely front and center, but the aftertaste was, at least for me, kind of unpleasant. It was, weirdly, a kind of sweet and sour coffee.  Sweet at the beginning, but then harsh and rough and the combination of flavours just wasn’t doing it for me.  Didn’t like it at all, didn’t finish the cup.

Still, the “Likes” still far outweigh all the others and we’ll put this one behind us and move right on to Day 13.  Roll on tomorrow.

TTFN.

 

The Pact Advent Calendar – Day 11

I’m late, I know!  In my defense I had to go out for Chinese food and be sociable last night.  And it was really good fun, but by the time I got back I was more interested in going to bed than writing a coffee review.

Also, the udon noodles with mixed meat at Rainbow in Hatfield? Best Chinese meal EVER.  But this isn’t a chinese food blog!  It’s a coffee blog (Wait, I could have been ordering out for chinese every night and claiming it was for research? Dammit! Oh well, too late now).

Day 11.

Well dunk me in coffee and call me a jammie dodger.  It’s another Colombian coffee and it’s another one in the “Like column”!  We started off well with the name.  As a huge Doctor Who fan, all I could hear in my head when I saw this one was “SILENCIO MUST FALL!”.  I’ll pause for the rueful shaking of heads and eyerolling.  All done?  Good.

This one was genuinely really nice. It was another that was almost floral in flavour, really light and quite unique. I’m not sure if it’s something I’d want to have everyday, but it was something quite different and something I think I’d get in occasionally when I wanted something out of the ordinary.  Not sure if it would work in a syphon, I suspect the floral notes would become unpleasantly strong but for an espresso based drink it was really pleasant. I’d probably steer clear of using it for hot milk based drinks as this is another where I suspect the light flavour would be overwhelmed by the milk.

Right, moving swiftly on to Day 12!

TTFN.