Review of Urban Coffee Connoisseurs

I was asked if I would like to review the coffee available to members of the Urban Coffee Company’s Coffee Connoisseurs Tasting Club. They sent me a free sample of this month’s coffee selection; 2 x 125g bags of ground coffee with tasting notes.

I accepted because I like coffee and I like the idea behind this company, a locally grown independent coffee company that wants to compete with Starbucks and Costa. They currently have two cafes (they prefer the word emporiums) in Birmingham. I haven’t visited their emporiums yet as it is a rare event for me to visit Birmingham these days ( I used to spend a vast amount of time there before I stopped work to look after the children), but I like the idea of their knit and natter events on a saturday very much.

I like the idea of a coffee tasting club too.  There are chocolate tasting clubs, but this is the first time I have heard of a coffee tasting club.

The box arrived and the smell emanating from it was intoxicating. One coffee is from Nicaragua and the other from Mexico, both have use by dates of one month and by two weeks from the date opened.

The tasting notes give details of the coffee farms including their sea level and a little general information about Nicaraguan and Mexican coffee. I like this bit very much.  It is interesting to know exactly where your coffee comes from. The Head Barista then gives you his take on the coffee. The Nicaraguan has “a caramelised sugar, nuts and chocolate taste, with a cinnamon stick spice note. It’s quite balanced, not overly acidic, with very pleasant bitter-sweet qualities”.  There is also advice about the best way to make and store the coffee.

Both coffees are good, but my favourite was the Nicaraguan.

The coffee comes ready ground, unless you request beans at the point of ordering.  The beans have been ground to medium/coarse which they state makes them perfect for most types of home brewing, although they recommend a coffee press, drip brewer or siphon. I have used my Gaggia and a cafetière  with these coffees and I found that the Gaggia worked OK but the grind was too fine for my cafetière, leaving grinds in my coffee, which I could taste throughout the cup.  I would prefer beans that I could grind myself to the grind that suited either my Gaggia or my cafetière. Having beans would also mean that the coffee would stay fresher for longer than the two weeks they recommend.

If I was stuck for buying a present for a coffee lover then I think this would be a good gift. Although, depending on the length of subscription each bag will cost you between £5.00 and £4.25, which is on the expensive side for a 125g bag.  The tasting club concept is a good one though.  It gives you the opportunity to sample coffees that you probably wouldn’t otherwise try.  I understand that you also receive a scorecard, but I didn’t have one of those in my free sample.  So, if you are that way inclined you could give a score for each coffee and submit your score back to the Urban Coffee Company.  I think they could develop this aspect with tasting club members giving their feedback via social media.  This would give a greater value to the members of the tasting club as you could see whether you agree with other members and would benefit the company giving their tasting club greater PR visibility.  Perhaps they should employ me as an ideas person?

I was not paid to do this review, but I did receive a free sample of 2 x 125ml bags of coffee. I have included links to my Amazon store, which if you purchase the items after clicking from my site I will receive a referral fee at no cost to you.


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