TOP 8 CRAFT BEANS
Stone Valley Coffee Roasters Simbi Rwanda 250g €12 Red bourbon variety of arabica beans are lightly roasted near Bandon, Co Cork. Started in January by musicians John Boyle and Tom Doherty, a beautifully rounded and mellow blend has no overpowering element. With a satisfying, warm depth, it is a good one for beginners. Other, livelier blends available too. From Union Grind, Filter, Alchemy, all in Cork and Cakeface patisserie, Kilkenny. Score: 9.5
Golden Bean Kenya Kima Iti AB blend 260g €8.50 This one from Kenya has delicious notes of cocoa and interesting layers of light fruit and nuts to make a well-rounded coffee. Tasters wanted more. Always worth trying their latest blends, ask for El Salvadorian Finca La Fany. Roasted in Ballymaloe by Marc Kingston since 2012, we bought in East, Winthrop Arcade, Cork. Also available in selected cafés and at Douglas and Mahon Point markets. Good price.
Red Strand Kenya Gatina peaberry 250g €8.50 All tasters loved this multi-layered blend which is smooth, yet lively, and has plenty of rich flavours. While blackberries and plum jam are mentioned on the pack, we did not discern many fruit notes. Tasters loved it. Good value. Score: 9.25
Cloud Picker 250g €9.95 From a range of blends, this one from La Cuesta Costa Rica has catuai beans was toffee like, with quite a lot of cherry fruit flavours. Soft deep and delicious with a nice, fresh kick. Tasters loved the complexity. From Filter, Cork which will grind to suit and Ali’s Kitchen, Cork for whole beans. Online sales of coffee and equipment, courses and cafés in Dublin can be checked at cloudpickercoffee.ie.
3FE Momentum Blend 250g €9.50 Third Floor Espresso, established in 2008 after a career in finance, Colin Harmon joined with Steve Leighton in Dublin to give courses and run a café as well as roasting and blending beans. This one has 50% Nicaraguan caturra, 25% Costa Rican yellow honey caturra and 25% Brazil pulped natural bourbon. The result is nutty, slightly sweet and smooth, with a hint of chocolate. Delicious. Available in speciality food shops and online at 3fe.com. Score: 9
West Cork Coffee 230g €10 Guatemalan Huehuetenango varieties in this blend are: typica, bourbon and catuai which have quite a lot of cherry and a dark roasted, smoky flavour. Plenty of layering, hits the taste buds at different spots. Since 2017, Shane Kelleher roasts in Clonakilty and his mobile coffee van goes to markets in Kinsale, Bantry, Clonakilty and Schull. Bags sold in Bradleys, North Main Street; Soma, Tuckey Street, Cork; Lettercollum, Clonakilty.
Badger & Dodo Beneficios Los Andes 250g €8.20 A consistently good brand, now widely available, this blend has red catuai, bourbon and typica from Honduras. Since 2008 beans have been roasted by Broc (Irish for badger) and his father-in-law Dodo in Fermoy, Co Cork. Delicious layering of nuts, chocolate and a little fruitiness show their experience. They run classes and sell equipment too. We bought in Bradleys North Main Street, Cork. Score: 8
Cork Coffee Roasters Rebel blend 227g €6.75 Established in Cork in 2006, these roasters are getting better and better. With a wide range for sale by the bag or by the cup on Bridge Street and French Church Street, Cork, as well as in shops, this one is quite lively and needs a lot of milk for the faint hearted. Full bodied, it will appeal to those who want a decent kick. There are more mellow blends in the range.