I hope this post will serve as an introduction and outline my journey with coffee so far, but will also get a bit more specifically into beans in the end. Warning: it's quite a long read
I have liked coffee for many years but until relatively recently it was usually the cafetière brewed variety. Usually strong and black. But with lots of travel, I found myself enjoying espresso and Americano coffee more.
I had received a DeLonghi EC330 espresso machine as a gift but didn’t really get on with it for long. The ESE pods were expensive and I don’t think I was getting the best out of it with the ground coffee I was using at the time so it got shelved.
Years later my fiancé and I were holidaying in Cornwall and the little cottage we were staying in had left scones and clotted cream next to the pod type espresso machine that was on the counter. We enjoyed the coffee so much I hatched a plan to get my old machine out and then source some ESE pods online at a better price and quality point the expensive ones that had come with it originally.
We found a small UK coffee roaster that supplied their own ESE pods and ordered a selection pack of about half a dozen different types for us to sample to find the ones we liked best.
After much tasting, we settled on one called Columbian supremo as the hands-down favorite and that was it. For a year or so we stuck to exactly that in our little DeLonghi machine and found that with a bit of care to finesse the process, and the usual maintenance we had perfectly good coffee every time.
We had thought to upgrade to a bean to cup machine when our DeLonghi finally succumbed to an inevitable demise and I had worked out that we were getting through over £400 a year in pods so changing to beans from pods would pay for the machine relatively quickly. The coffee we were using in pods was also available in whole beans by the kilo so that would work out well.
But the little DeLonghi it just kept on going.
So, I bought a burr grinder (just a Krups GVX2 as I was still relatively ignorant of the gourmet coffee upper echelons) and a couple of kilos of the Columbian supremo beans and set about experimenting. After a few runs with grinds and dosing I was gratified to find that the coffee was also a big step forward in terms of flavour, with a lovely rich crema.
However, after only a few weeks of enjoying our new improved coffee, the little DeLonghi developed a fault and lost pressure, leaving us stranded.
No morning coffee was such a shock to the system that my fiancé, who has 5am starts 5 days a week, suggested we have a backup machine. I felt a project coming on…
So began my latest foray into the world of coffee, researching what machine would suit.
By now we were quite attached to the superior results of freshly ground espresso and quite attached to the craft or ceremony of it all, so the idea of bean to cup was not so appealing. I am also not a fan of plastic in contact with hot food or beverages so that idea was gone.
Instead, I settled on getting a Gaggia Classic, and after discovering the latest ones are not ideal, I decided to buy a 2014 model, with a plan to refurbish it and fit PID and a few other upgrades along the way (OPV mod, upgraded boiler heater, insulated boiler etc, which may be the subject of a later post)
So that brings me back to beans.
As I mentioned, we are currently very happy with the Columbian supremo beans from here: https://www.thecoffeepod.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p311_Colombian_Supremo_Espresso_Beans_1kg.html
But mainly because they are the best we came across on our original search and the brief excursions away from that since that time have not been as good.
The tasting notes are as follows:
Colombian Supremo 100% Arabica
Roasted Whole Coffee Beans
A Unique Coffee Experience
Artisan Roasted Coffee, roasted by hand to ensure that you get the best possible taste and flavour from your coffee
A true Italian classic, perfect high quality Colombian Supremo Arabica coffee beans. Good crema and smooth taste, Ideal for regular coffees, cappuccinos and lattes
This coffee consists of Coffee from Central America and roasted to perfection by skilled coffee roasters
Fruit notes, chocolate, medium body, clean finish, balanced, bright acidity, caramel notes, nice after taste, smooth
We typically drink it black and something like a Lungo in strength (an 8g dose and a 90ml shot)
We are interested in trying something else, similar, hopefully, better, so although I am sure this is a very personal thing, I would be interested to hear suggestions for those more familiar with what’s out there.
Has anyone here tried the Columbian supremo and can compare it to other beans?
Rave coffee is just down the road so probably worth a visit - and I notice that they do a similar sounding Columbian medium roasted bean.
Other suggestions also welcome!