Just so that you know, this is a review of a product of which I was sent a free sample. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest. Please note my Patrick Stewart-worthy sentence arrangement in the first line there.
I wanted to do justice to Kopi and write a more detailed review, including having used the coffee to bake with, but I’ve been tragically disorganised of late (including telling myself that I’ll start blogging properly again next week) so I’ve decided not to delay any longer and to go ahead and write this short post, which I’ll follow up with a baking post as I get around to it.
traceable coffee beans. I can certainly vouch for their delivery service; almost no sooner had I volunteered my blog to do a review, a package came in the mail for me. It really took me by surprise how quickly the coffee arrived, and I’d say it is a very good sign – Kopi are on top of it.
I received a full size, very stylish looking pouch of coffee along with a leaflet giving loads of information about the product, including info on what altitude the coffee is grown at (1650m above sea level, if you wondered). The pouch is easily resealable and easy to get into, as well as been very durable; so durable, in fact, that you can’t detect even a hint of the coffee smell until you cut it open. It is packaged in a tidy cardboard box, designed to fit in most letterboxes so you don’t have to make that annoying trip to the sorting office – why is it always raining when I have to go to the sorting office?
The coffee on offer changes every month, and this month it was Guatemala Finca Santa Clara Genuine Antigua. There are loads of tasting notes and information on the coffee on the site, in case you lose your leaflet or want to know a bit more. The info available includes a suggested song choice to accompany your coffee – I wish them the best of luck with that, I started my blog with the intention of an accompanying song choice with each post and it soon fell by the wayside. It was harder to choose a song than write a 2000 word post, most of the time. I salute Kopi for taking on this particular challenge, never mind the challenge of producing quality, traceable and ethically sourced coffee.
Speaking of ethically sourced, one of the first things I noticed about the packaging for the coffee was that it didn’t have a Fairtrade stamp on it anywhere. I checked their website, which assured me that their coffee met or exceeded Fairtrade standards, but couldn’t be officially classified Fair Trade for the following reasons:
We always pay premium prices for premium coffee to premium growers – far above their cost of production or the Fairtrade minimum. While we fully support the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association initiatives, not all our coffee is organic or Fairtrade certified and here’s why:
- Fairtrade only certifies co-operatives. This excludes many superb growers and smaller farms who like to sell direct – this means lots of high quality small family farms would be excluded if only Fairtrade stamped ones were selected
- Fairtrade is tied to the commodity price to secure a minimum to the growers. The market price for a long time (18+ months as of October 2011) has been consistently well above the minimum price.
- We strive for a symbiotic relationship between ourselves and the growers to create a sustainable business model for everyone involved.
Those surely sound like good reasons, and I would hope that the coffees which do meet the Fairtrade certification standards would be branded as such – that’s impossible to tell on just one sample, which came from a family farm in Guatemala.
I suppose I should really offer an opinion on the coffee itself, while we’re here. I would never put myself forward as a coffee connoisseur, but I can appreciate the smell and taste of a nice brew. This particular coffee had the rich smell that you’d expect, and though I wasn’t getting hints of vanilla or almonds, I could definitely smell the sweetness of this particular bean, and possibly that chocolatiness that the tasting notes promised. It also doesn’t look over processed, with the ground beans being reassuringly irregular in size and colour.
Once brewed up, the coffee was smooth (yes, OK, velvety) and deep but completely without that heavy, bitter aftertaste that I’ve often associated with coffee. The G man and I proceeded to dilute it with milk and sugar, which I know would be frowned on by many coffee lovers but which we enjoyed – you feel free to drink coffee to your own taste. I will keep my milk-and-sugary ways. I suppose a crucial distinction would be to say that we added these things because it enhanced our enjoyment, not because the coffee did not taste good on its own.
The Kopi service costs the equivalent of £7 a month if you pay up front, £8 per month if you pay for 6 months up front or £9 a month if you pay as you go along. As they say themselves, this is ‘the price of two grande lattes and a banana muffin’. Or any other kind of muffin, presumably. If you drink a lot of coffee, this could be a great saving over the course of a month, and given that you can keep the coffee in the fridge of freezer you’ll always have a stash ready. There’s also the excitement of getting a parcel in the mail, and the excitement of trying a new blend each month – pretty soon you could have your own coffee library.
Everyone loves a good library.