Strangers Coffee review: how good is it?

Norwich is a small city in a the East of England with an interesting history. It’s a place of many shops. A city with one of the most filmed streets in the UK. And did you know that it’s a UNESCO City of Literature? It’s also a place full of wonderful coffee roasters and shops. One such place is Strangers Coffee. They kindly gave me a batch of their Colombian Solidario in exchange for an honest strangers coffee review.   

Continue reading “Strangers Coffee review: how good is it?”

Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans review

You take that first sip of coffee but it takes horrible and spit it out. You did everything right but ended up buying dishwater. We’ve all been there. There are lots of dud coffees ready to be bought. How are Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans any different? Find out here in my in depth review.

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Coffee: Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee beans.

Score: 4/5

Tasting notes: nuts and dark chocolate.

Pros:

  • Smooth and velvety.
  • Little bitterness.
  • Tastes great with milk.

Cons:

  • Not the strongest flavour.
  • Average when drunk without milk.

The verdict.

Taylors of Harrogate have many different types of coffees within their range from coffee bags to ground coffee. In many respects, this drink is very similar to the coffee bag version that shares the same name as the coffee beans I am reviewing today.

Some of the flaws in that drink are largely the same with this coffee. However, upgrading to coffee beans also makes in better in other respects.

Drinking the Rich Italian without milk.

Like most of my reviews for coffee beans I used a French press. I detected a subtle, nutty aroma after I poured the hot water in and then eventually put the coffee to my lips.

The flavour is rich as the name suggests. Certainly a lot stronger in taste than the coffee bag version but not too rich that it is overpowering.

The coffee is a medium to light roast. I could not taste much in the way of the delicate or complex flavours that you would expect in a lighter roast coffee and yet it did not contain those bold, bittersweet flavours you get with darker roasts.

Upon drinking it I detected a medium body, meaning it left a reasonably heavy sensation in my mouth for quite some time. I felt like grabbing a glass of water to quench my thirst.

The coffee itself is very smooth although I did detect a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The flavour itself is nutty although this was subtle. I could not detect much else in terms of flavour apart from the roast itself.

Drinking this coffee with milk.

Much of the advertised flavours come from adding milk. I like to make latte style drinks at home so if this applies to you then this is where the coffee is strongest.

Adding milk makes it taste velvety smooth. It adds a sweetness to the flavour that brings out the subtle tasting note of dark chocolate and nuts more easily.

It is still medium bodied but it also tastes lighter and more refreshing. There is little to no bitterness and the aftertaste is much sweeter.

Using it as a cold brew.

There any many joys to making cold brew coffee and if you have not tried it yet, you may want to check out my article.

I usually use dark roasts when making coffee this way but the weather has been nice recently and I decided to try it out.

The coffee tastes even smoother when drunk this way. With milk it somehow tasted even more chocolatey.

How does it compare to the Rich Italian coffee bags?

I would definitely consider buying the coffee bean version over their coffee bags if taste is your main concern.

As I pointed out in my review, the coffee bags lack flavour unless you really take the time to squeeze the flavour out or use two coffee bags. Using coffee beans naturally makes the flavour taste fresher.

Naturally, using coffee bags are a lot more convenient and less mess is involved.

Who should buy this coffee?

This coffee really works if you like adding milk. There are better coffees out there if you really want to push the boat but this would work great if you are just looking for a simple, everyday drink.

You may want to consider choosing this also if you are considering switching to black coffee. The lack of acidity means it is not especially vibrant but on the flip side it is not that bitter either.

Who should look elsewhere?

Pick a darker roast if you want something more powerful to drink.

A good light roast will can give you fruity and vibrant flavours when drinking without milk. This coffee does not really do much on either of these fronts and there are better coffees out there that can do this.

In summary.

I hope this review has given you much more insight and clarity as to whether this coffee is worth buying. It is certainly not without some faults but it can also be a pleasure to drink depending on what you are looking for.

Lavazza Qualita Rossa espresso coffee: How good is it?

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If you are thinking of buying the Lavazza Qualita Rossa espresso coffee beans you might be wondering whether they are value for money or just another average drink. Fear not. I have done the hard work to help you decide.

Coffee: Lavazza Qualita Rossa Espresso coffee Beans

Overall score 4/5.

Tasting notes: 

Rich and chocolatey. 

Pros:

  • Smooth and well balanced.
  • Solid coffee when drunk with or without milk.
  • Nice and sweet when drunk with milk.

Cons:

  • Pick another drink if you like strong coffee.
  • Solid but unremarkable.

I got a nice whiff of chocolate when opening up the coffee bag for the first time. It definitely make me look forward to brewing the coffee. Lavazza rate the strength of this coffee as 5/10 and it is a medium roast coffee blend. 

Drinking Lavazza Qualita Rossa coffee beans without milk.

In my experience coffee blends do not always work without milk. Ultimately it is down to personal preference but I actually liked drinking the coffee this way.

This coffee has an intense earthy aroma. I put the cup to my lips and instantly tasted this earthiness along with subtle tasting notes of nuts. 

Despite being rich and heavy bodied the tasting notes were well rounded. There was a slight punch of an aftertaste after drinking but at no point did I find anything overpowering. 

Drinking this coffee without milk is a smooth experience although I did not detect any chocolatey tasting notes.

Drinking the Qualita Rossa with milk.

Putting milk in this coffee does dull its richness somewhat although it is still pleasurable to drink. Despite being listed as heavy bodied the coffee actually tasted quite light and smooth.

As usual with many coffees advertised as containing chocolate tasting notes this aspect of the flavour came out much more easily when drinking it this way. The coffee tasted nice and sweet and left me with a pleasant aftertaste.

Despite its sweetness the coffee did not blow me away either. I could see this as an everyday coffee but not one to impress your friends when they are over.

Who is this coffee for?

If you like the sound of an earthy, nutty and smooth black coffee then this is a good choice. Because of its smoothness it would also be worth giving it a try if you are new to black coffee.

Drinking it with milk is very pleasant and is a good choice if you want a regular latte style drink or a flat white.

Who is this drink not for?

At 5/10 coffee strength you probably should find a different choice of beans if you want a powerful flavour. It by no means tastes weak but there are more powerful choices out there. This became evident when drinking it with milk. If this applies to you then you may wish to choose a darker roast. 

The other thing I noticed is that I found that the coffee unsettled my stomach after drinking. This probably will not apply to many people as I do not have the strongest stomach but it is worth noting if you are easily affected by coffee.

I would also pay a bit more personally for another brand if I was looking for something to really wow my taste buds. There is very little to be critical about this coffee but it is not remarkable either.

Is Lavazza good quality coffee?

It depends on what you are looking for in a drink. It is a solid choice but I would not class this as a speciality coffee. If you are really into your coffee beans then there are plenty of smaller, more bespoke brands that could give you a better flavour.

On the other hand this coffee brand will do the job for most people and it is decent value for money.

Is Lavazza espresso?

Whether it is an espresso or not will depend on what type of Lavazza coffee bean you buy. In this case, the Quality Rossa could definitely be used as an espresso. 

Union Coffee Yayu Forest Review

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No one likes a bad coffee. Overly sour or astringent drinks can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. Today I am reviewing Union Yayu Forest Coffee. If you are looking for a drink that is smooth, light and a pleasure to drink then this may be the coffee for you.

Coffee: Yayu Wild Forest coffee beans.

Score: 5/5

Pros:

Smooth black coffee with a fruity acidity.

Velvety and sweet if you drink it with milk.

Lovely and refreshing.

Cons:

May not be the best choice if you prefer a really strong flavour.

Not for black coffee drinkers that do not like a fruity taste.

Tasting notes:

Bourbon biscuit.

Citrus fruits.

The verdict on Yayu Forest Coffee.

There are many things to commend about this coffee. The packaging itself is straightforward in design but it has a very interesting sleeve. Although this is not the primary thing I judge a coffee on it is nice to get a background story about the company that sourced the coffee beans and where they came from.

When opening the bag for the first time I detected a nutty, almost earthy fragrance with hint of the bourbon biscuits listed in the tasting notes. The aroma of the coffee really accentuated the earthy fragrance when brewing the coffee.

Drinking Yayu Forest coffee without milk.

The coffee tasted very smooth when drunk without milk. The fruity tasting notes really shone through when drinking this way. The flavour was prominent but not overbearing. It is a pleasing drink that is not sour in any way and it left a pleasant aftertaste. It is a balanced and fruity drink. Not too sharp. Not too sweat. The coffee is light on the tongue and I could easily have seen myself drinking several cups of this. A wonderfully complex and pleasurable coffee.

Despite having said all of this, these coffee beans may not be for everyone. If you prefer a stronger coffee or something more one note or less earthy then this may not be suitable for you. This is probably also not the drink of choice for people that do not like coffees with a fruity acidity. The aftertaste lingers for quite some time and this may be off putting for some.

Drinking Yayu Forest coffee with milk.

Drinking the coffee with milk changes its complexion drastically although this in a good way. This is where the tasting notes of bourbon biscuit really shine through. Again, the drink is incredibly smooth and the interaction of this biscuity element with the milk makes it taste much sweeter. It is very vibrant and the sweetness of the coffee is much more prominent here. Like without milk the drink is light bodied and refreshing. In my opinion the aftertaste off the coffee is even stronger when drunk with milk only this time more sweeter. Closing my eyes I could easily imagine myself consuming a drink made with biscuits. A coffee I could easily drink several cups of.

Being a medium strength coffee it does not give you the same kick you may expect from your usual coffee. You may not also like the lingering aftertaste although personally I found this pleasant. Coffee drinkers that are looking for something that is more heavy bodied may also want to look elsewhere.

Who is this coffee for?

This is a perfect coffee if you want a black coffee that is light and not overbearing. It is also a great first choice if you are looking to transition into black coffee and have had trouble acclimatising to the taste. Its balanced tasting notes mean that its flavour is not overpowering and it is simply a joy to drink.

If you want an every day coffee with milk that is sweet and smooth then this coffee bean is also an excellent choice. If you usually put sugar in your coffee and are looking to transition away from doing this then you may be surprised at how good it tastes without sugar.

Who is this coffee not for?

I would pick a different coffee if you want a more traditional coffee taste. It may not also be a good choice if you prefer a more one note, straightforward tasting coffee. This Union coffee bean is a single origin (sourced from one country), medium roast. If you prefer your drinks to have a heavier body then you may choose to go for a darker roast. For those coffee drinkers that have both milk and sugar in their coffees then a you may prefer to choose a coffee blend rather than a single origin although in my experience the drink did taste very sweet without sugar.

About this coffee bean.

According to Union, the name for this coffee originates from the forest in which these coffee beans have been sourced. The Yayu forest is one of the last remaining places for the conservation of wild arabica in the world. In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Union Coffee has worked together with the farmers at Yayu. The aims of the project are to help protect the biodiversity of the rainforest and improve the livelihoods of the farmers that work there. Unesco have a really interesting page if you want to learn more about the Yayu forest.

Rave Colombia Coffee Review: The top things to know.

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Sometimes you stumble across a coffee that does not taste like any other. Say hello to Rave Colombia El Carmen coffee. In this review I am going to breakdown what makes this coffee such a delight to drink.

Coffee: Rave Colombia El Carmen (Suarez Project).

Overall Score: 5/5

Tasting notes:

Chocolate, caramel & red fruits.

Pros:

  • Light coffee.
  • Pleasant tasting notes of chocolate, caramel and fruit.

Cons:

  • The taste may be too acidic for some people’s taste if drinking it black.
  • The tasting notes of chocolate and caramel are harder to taste when drinking it without milk.

The verdict:

When you get the package in the post the first thing you notice is its sleek design. You get a nice whiff of chocolate when opening it up and smelling the coffee beans. They are produced with a medium dark roast and the complexity of its tasting notes and smells became apparent as soon as I brewed the coffee.

Brew method: French Press.

Grind type: course.

Brew time: 3.30 mins.

Coffee weight: 17 grams.

Water: 400ml.

Drinking Colombia El Carmen black.

In contrast to the chocolate smell earlier I got a powerful aroma of acidic fruits when brewing the coffee. This fruity acidity is quite noticeable to taste but is quite pleasant. However, this may be too powerful a flavour for coffee drinkers that do not like their coffee too sharp. The taste is definitely bolder without milk and the complexity of different tastes really came through. Through the boldness of the flavour I tasted the subtle hint of chocolate. The sharpness of the acidity overpowered the chocolate when drinking it this way although that did not necessarily detract from my enjoyment of the drink itself.

Drinking Colombia El Carmen with milk.

If you drink your coffee with milk then then the Colombia El Carmen is a delight to drink and changes the complexion of the coffee in a completely different way. Adding milk gives the coffee a light and refreshing dimension. The smell of the coffee became much sweater and tasted velvety smooth as I put the coffee to my lips. Upon sipping I immediately tasted the chocolate I smelt earlier with a sweet aftertaste of caramel at the end. I barely noticed the acidity I detected earlier when drinking the coffee straight.

Unlike some dark roasts of coffee that give a more straightforward, one note taste, the Colombia El Carmen is a drink that should be drunk slowly to appreciate every sip and the subtle flavours it produces.

Who is this drink for?

I would definitely recommend this to milk and coffee drinkers looking for a light drink with sweet, subtle tasting notes. This is Rave coffee’s flagship coffee bean and one of my firm favourites. It is also a good option for black coffee drinkers that like a drink with a sharper, fruity taste.

Who should not drink this coffee?

If you are transitioning to black coffee then you may want to choose a drink with a less bolder flavour. Having said that, it is still a wonderful tasting coffee if you can acquire your taste buds. If this applies to you, you could brew this drink with less coffee or extraction time to weaken the flavour and acquire yourself to the taste. Alternatively, you may want to look for a darker, full bodied roast to give you a smoother and more rounded drink.

Where was this coffee produced?

According to Rave, this coffee is grown in Pitatilo, a town in Colombia. The name of the coffee bean was given to honour the producers Rave support. The farmers come from 300 families that live within this region. Working with their partners, Rave has provided them with a sustainable supply chain and access to the world market of coffee.