Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UK Supermarket Coffee's

Isabel was over the Canal for Sara Lee Douwe Egberts and brought along some coffee specialty's from a local English supermarket.

Inspired by James Hofmann's cupping last year, i decided to give it a go myself.

Here we had 6 packages of whole beans.
In order, with cupping and brewing results :
1, was Sainsbury's Kenyan on Medium Light Roast. Acceptable freshness and OK taste. Kenya is mostly a delight to cup. Later on i trew it on my Eva Solo and there i missed some character. Too light and boring.
2, was Sainbury's Colombian on Medium Roast. A bit Nutty and fruity, but not fresh enough. Aftertaste not very clean. On Eva Solo it was really acceptable. I was happy with the balance although i missed some punch. On my Bodum Press is was less convincing.
3, was Tesco Sumatra on Dark Roast. Lots of defective beans and variable screening. If this was an Indonesian, so where were the spices? Dissapointing and not even worth a try on other equipment.
4, was Peru Machu Picchu from Cafedirect, the ones that organised James's cupping adventure. The smell of the beans was OKish, sweet, chocolate, but at the cupping table we tasted an old, no body, sour and duff coffee. Sorry.
5, another Tesco, Colombia. Sour, no balance, aftertaste sucks. Forget about it.
6, and final was the Sainsbury Espresso Blend. As you know we don't take blends to the cupping table. We trew it directly into the Ditting for an espresso test. Start was ok. Strong, Italian, full, but the aftertaste was a disaster. I had this before with an espresso blend from Delhaize, which is one of the market leaders here in supermarket coffee. Probably some cheap Vietnam or what?....

So, no good score, but i have to admit we didn't expect so. Why? Well there's of course this price issue, although i find here in Antwerp very good beans (mostly Brazil) for very good prices. Another is freshness. It's not easy to keep them fresh in those supermarkets and this is a good thing for all 3rd wavers. A perfect reason to drag the people to specialised shops like ours.
Besides of that it seems that those blenders and cuppers for the big chains and coffee company's are not really busy with the newest evolutions. It looks like there's a lot of market study and tasting to do for those big ones. A company like Delhaize understood this and maybe we can work together in the future... Everybody is always welcome.

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