TOP 8 CRAFT BEANS

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Food -

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.

Score: 9.25

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.

Score: 9.25

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.

Score: 8

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.

Score: 7

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