Friday, 15 March 2013

Kopi! KOPI! - A review about coffee

For my first guest blogger I would like to welcome TDS... 

Sometimes, life drops something into your lap for free. Free of charge, free of effort. My most recent slice of fortune came in the form of a black and yellow pouch of coffee. Breadstickler received a sample of Kopi coffee, a new monthly coffee subscription service, and had the good grace to share it with me (read: gave it to me as she doesn't actually like coffee…)

For £8.95 a month (or £8.45/£7.95/£6.95 if you pay in advance for a 3/6/12 month package), Kopi will deliver a 250g pouch of high-end coffee to your door. They claim to hand pick a different single source (and ethical) coffee each month. This particular sample was “Java Jampet Estate UTZ Certified Arabica”.

The coffee was impressively fresh for pre-ground beans, thanks to a vacuum packed sachet. As I tore open the rather pleasing black packet, I was hit with a powerful aroma that suggested hints of orange and dark chocolate (like a grown up Terry’s chocolate orange… a winning smell on a Sunday morning!)

Kopi provide you with an information card which I read as the kettle boiled. The card was very interesting. It included everything from tasting notes to a history of Java coffee, experts’ reviews to a recipe for black coffee ice cream (which will be my next project - maybe Breadstickler will be good enough to review it for you…)

Once the water was added the aroma shifted, losing its more floral notes and becoming decidedly richer and earthier. To idle away the time it took to brew, I sliced into a big chunk of chocolate brownie we’d picked up at the Headingley farmers’ market. Mouth well and truly salivating, I took the plunge (pun intended) and poured out two mugs of the coffee.

Disappointingly, the Terry’s chocolate orange smell did not translate to the taste. Breadstickler and I both used the term ‘biscuity’ to describe the flavour. My (admittedly uneducated) palette could not detect the subtler flavours the tasting notes suggested – lavender and pine. I made this first batch following the suggested ratio of coffee grounds to water, and the taste was slightly underwhelming. A few days later I had another go, using the tried and tested “one heaped spoonful per mug, and one for good luck” method. This brought better results, with the coffee possessing enough natural sweetness to drink without sugar. Kopi claimed it would be “a heavy hit of dark chocolate”. I didn't find the chocolate flavour, but it was a smooth and tasty cup all the same.

Subscription services (wine, vegetable boxes, meat etc.) can be a bit hit and miss, with the quality often deteriorating after the first few months. Kopi certainly seem passionate about their coffee and they’re well worth a one-off trial run. I imagine that serious coffee connoisseurs will already be enjoying coffee of an even higher quality than the sample reviewed here. For everyone else, Kopi might just be the gateway to better brews.