The Big Coffee Comparison Pt 2

AKA - I can’t cup to save my life (Although that would be an interesting situation to be in, all the same)
The weekend has come and gone and as promised I have the results of my “great experiment” which were slightly different than I expected; I discovered a complete inability to distinguish any flavours when cupping! I’m not panickng yet though, I have a very good sense of smell and taste and I find it very unlikely that this would happen, unless the taste was incredibly over/under powering, which would happen if my grind was incorrect.

Not to be defeated and not wanting to waste any more precious coffee, I moved to my espresso maker and set to work over-caffeinating my family. The result being that I ended up pulling drinks WBC style, in batches of four, both espresso and cappuccino and having three members of the family evaluate, based on body, flavour, sweetness, acidity etc. I drank the remaining drinks, so they wouldn’t go to waste -)

We sampled Coffee Collective’s Espresso Blend, Ristretto Coffee’s Espresso Blend, Has Bean’s El Salvador Finca La Siberia and my “Proletariat Blend.” In hindsight, I wish I’d ordered Has Bean’s Espresso Blend, to make this a fair test; the La Siberia is in a league of its own as far as I’m concerned, it’s a wonderful example of a single-origin espresso and stood out to all the family as something different, although some noted it may actually have been too sweet and bright for cappuccino.

I won’t get into specifics, although I know that’s what you all want, but I was pleased to find my blend could almost hold its own against the pros, even after roasting the Sumatran component too dark. No surprise that The Coffee Collective came out on top, these guys have created a wonderfully balanced and sweet blend that lends itself to milk drinks. Ristretto are locally based and are making serious inroads into the stagnant Northern Ireland coffee industry, their blend itself is very Northern Irish, quite a heavy body with a touch of sweetness, its much closer to the expected “coffee taste” than something like the La Siberia. My blend, needs work, that’s the main point of this test. I feel the proportions are right and the choice to halve the Monsooned Malabar a few months back has allowed the fruity flavours in the other beans to come through, its also quite well balanced as a straight espresso. In the next few weeks, look out for part 3, where I’ll be running the same test on some high end commercial machines to see the difference in taste.


Andrew Gribben @grib