Author Topic: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans  (Read 2307 times)

shelivesthedream

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Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« on: December 12, 2017, 11:18:26 AM »
Mr SLTD and I like our coffee. We have four methods of making coffee in our house at present and currently buy expensive beans from the cool hipster cafe a little way away. However, in the spirit of Mrs Frugalwoods and her Costco coffee beans, are there any surprisingly excellent coffee beans vended by cheaper UK shops? At least one of us drinks coffee every day usually, so I'm happy to buy a larger bag for more savings, but definitely whole beans. We like nutty, we like sharp, we don't like muddy or bland. Any ideas?

skip207

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 12:14:57 PM »
We use roast and post.  No idea if they are good value but its good quality.

twistedfirestarter

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 04:01:07 PM »
We like Rave Coffee, particularly the Colombian Suarez at ~£15 per kilo. Not the cheapest but we think it's good value and the offer of free shipping with £25 spend and 20% off first order helps soften the blow.

jgoody

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 05:34:15 PM »
If you're up for DIY, roasting your own is surprisingly easy and potentially a very cost-effective way to get awesome results.  Fresh coffee trumps old coffee any day of the week.  Many people start noticing a degradation in flavor of roasted beans after 10-14 days.  So by roasting your own, you should easily be able to enjoy maximum flavor and minimum price.  As for the "nutty" flavor you like, that has a lot to do with the region your coffee comes from.  You might try Brazilian and other South American coffees.  The "muddy, bland" flavors are hallmarks of old beans.  Me personally, I dig the fruity/floral flavors of Ethiopian coffees.  But discovering these differences (and the impact of how dark you take your roast) is part of what makes home roasting such a fun learning endeavor. 

Fair warning - all of the names I'm about to drop are from the U.S., so you might need to scour the internet a bit to find comparable alternatives in the UK.

The easiest way to start roasting your own is with an old popcorn popper.  The Poppery is an air popcorn popper that works well.  Here, they can be found at thrift stores for $5-$10.  Do a little research online to find what other home roasters in the UK are using, because not all popcorn poppers work well for coffee.  Next, you need to find a resource for green coffee beans - in the U.S., Sweet Maria's is a great resource for online purchases.  Green coffee beans will run about $6 per 16oz (most "fancy" coffee bags are actually just 12oz).  So there you go - for as little as $15, you can be up and running and your ongoing expense can be as little as $6 per pound/16 oz (if anyone is really scrutinizing the $/ounce, also factor in about 15% weight loss during roasting).

As for technique - turn the popper on, pour in beans until the air is no longer rapidly spinning them around the roasting chamber (but they should definitely still be moving a bit).  After some minutes (I think it was about 7 minutes on my Poppery), they will be starting to look brown and you will hear "first crack".  Sounds a bit like popcorn popping.  This is the first point you might decide to pour them out to cool - corresponds to a rather light roast.  If you leave them in long enough, they will go quiet, and then later enter "second crack" and the process gets noticeably more smokey (you will want to roast outdoors).  This is about the darkest you are likely to want to take them. 

Anyway, that's about all there is to it at first.  Super easy, super fun, great opportunity to get to know your food a little more deeply and save money in the process.  If you decide you like roasting , you will probably next get a nicer roaster that can do larger batches because the popcorn popper will probably only do one or two day's worth at a time.  I think the Behmor 1600 is currently the sweet spot for price relative to batch capacity.  It will roast about a pound at a time.

Enjoy!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 02:26:59 AM »
Jgoody: that is SERIOUSLY cool and definitely something I will keep in mind as a future experiment, but not something I'm up for taking on right now.

financialfreedom

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 07:39:28 AM »
Our everyday coffee is Lavazza Qualita Rossa. It's available on amazon for 8.33/kg if you buy 6 kg, and is great.

Not pretentious in any way just a great cup of coffee. We have an espresso machine (commercial, from ebay) at home and drink this several times a day.

Medium roast so no bitterness either.

Mrs Hen

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2017, 11:08:06 AM »
Mr Hen is a coffee lover, and I've used Redber coffee before.

Huge selection, mail order, ground or beans.  Not sure if it's particularly cheap, but he's always liked what they've sent.

No affiliation!

The Cardinal

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2017, 12:07:31 AM »
In the interests of balance, I should add my experience as an ex-coffee drinker. 

I really enjoyed my coffee and drank it from the time that I had access to a good coffee maker at work (2006) until earlier this year.  More recently, I'd usually have a caffetiere at breakfast and at least another at work.  I'd also enjoy having a cup when out and about. 

All that was, on reflection, quite expensive.  I'd often build my routines around visiting a coffee shop visit. 

Cost wasn't the reason I gave up - but I thought that I'd add that I've saved load of money since giving up, since this is MMM forum after all!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2017, 02:18:48 AM »
The Cardinal: why did you give it up? I've never been much of one for drinking coffee out, and even at the height of my coffee-drinking I wasn't even drinking a cup a day.* My husband used to drink loads but has cut way back since I met him and feels better for it. He now drinks a cup most days. I'd say 75% of my drinking is taste-related and 25% is caffeine-related. The caffeine is more of a draw for my husband, I think.

*Currently pregnant and the first three sips are still delicious, but after that I start to feel a bit sick. Still like the taste, though, so a few times a week I'll beg a couple of sips off my husband.

The Cardinal

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2017, 11:58:34 AM »
Like you, I enjoyed the first few sips, but was finding that I was drawn to it for the caffeine.

Our kids are now 8 & 5, so I didn't really "need" it any more, but found myself compelled by the caffeine kick.  I didn't have any problems with it per se, but did go to the loo a lot and generally found it made me a bit erratic.  I had long limited myself only to coffee in the mornings, but was typically drinking a big caffetire at home before going to work and then another 1/2 strong mugs at work or when travelling. 

If there was anything that made me switch, it was watching a programme last February about Andrew Marr's stroke and how he cut it out afterwards.  It was only a passing mention, but spurred me to renew past attempts at giving it up.

I was used to feeling a bit rubbish for a few days from these past attempts and it was the same this time.  Then, between about day 4 and 2 weeks, I felt normal - and then felt really good at about 2 weeks.  I had the odd de-caf coffee, but for some reason I was just repulsed by the idea and taste of coffee and so avoided that too.

I didn't really intend to give it up for good and I still have a few mugs of tea a day, so I'm not caffeine-free - but it's been a good thing for me.

The thing I can see now is how people (including me) build their habits around coffee.  It's really quite eye-opening to take a step back and give it some MMM-type analysis. 

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2017, 06:40:41 AM »
We like Rave Coffee, particularly the Colombian Suarez at ~15 per kilo. Not the cheapest but we think it's good value and the offer of free shipping with 25 spend and 20% off first order helps soften the blow.

We've placed an order with Rave - I'll let you know what we think! It seemed to offer the best balance of variety, price and hipster credentials :)

kaizen soze

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2017, 08:08:15 AM »
Roast your own. Use a pot and wooden spoon, not some fancy roaster. You can get the beans just like you want with little effort and people in your life will be amazed.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2017, 09:03:12 AM »
I wouldn't ask me...I spend Xmas being mocked by my family for my ability to drink instant coffee...I like it.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2017, 09:19:49 AM »
Roast your own. Use a pot and wooden spoon, not some fancy roaster. You can get the beans just like you want with little effort and people in your life will be amazed.

This sounds very me, and I'm sure I'll have a go at some point, but I've just got too much going on right now to take on something new. Plus, presumably that would start a whole separate quest for green beans suppliers!

londonstache

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 03:59:49 AM »
I wouldn't ask me...I spend Xmas being mocked by my family for my ability to drink instant coffee...I like it.

I don't like it, but certainly I'm trying to train my tastebuds sufficiently so that my favourite taste is "free". Still amazed at my colleagues who despite having a fancypants coffee machine in work will go to boutique coffee shops instead.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2018, 05:01:45 AM »
Checking back in to report, part way through our 1kg bag of Honduras Clave del Sol from Rave. This particular one is not entirely to our taste, but we are generally pleased with it enough that we'll be trying another one from Rave when it runs out - so thanks for the recommendation!

twistedfirestarter

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2018, 01:30:18 PM »
Checking back in to report, part way through our 1kg bag of Honduras Clave del Sol from Rave. This particular one is not entirely to our taste, but we are generally pleased with it enough that we'll be trying another one from Rave when it runs out - so thanks for the recommendation!

No problem, I've heard if you register another email address you may be eligible for another introductory discount :-)

Zola.

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2018, 02:47:05 AM »
I have started grinding the coffee beans in my breville blender. Its super, basic and only 25. Not really designed for grinding coffee, but it works well!

For the french press / cafetiere, 60g beans ground makes a great cup for 2 people. Fill the french press half way. 4 people about 140g ground. Not into dust, but thicker grains kinda like instant coffee size.

That way you get an awesome cup

The Zola Method:
  • Boil kettle. Open Lid for 1 minute after boiling to cool
  • Grind beans as per size requirements
  • Heat French Press with a water sample from the kettle, swirl it around and pour out
  • Pour in enough water to fill the bottom and chuck in the ground beans
  • Pour in rest of water (half full for 2 people, full for 4)
  • Stir lots, then move the spoon up and down to froth it a little
  • Let sit for 5 full minutes
  • Enjoy

shelivesthedream

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Re: Recommendations wanted for surprisingly excellent coffee beans
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2018, 02:17:29 AM »
Yep, we like Rave a lot now! Good variety, good interface, good coffee, decent value. Problem solved :)