Image description: Coffee beans, ground coffee, and a cup of coffee in portafilters
I’ve never been a huge coffee fan.
If I need some late-night caffeine, a cup of tea will usually do me just fine. And if I’m trying to make the most of my Pret subscription, a nice mellow vanilla latte will do.
I suppose I’ve always found the coffee that’s normally at home – whether ground or instant – too strong and bitter for my tastes. So, when I got the opportunity to try out Beans Coffee Club, I was eager to try and broaden my coffee horizons. Beans Coffee Club is the UK’s largest subscription coffee site, offering a hand-picked selection of ground or whole coffee delivered weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
After only 7 quick questions, including my brewing and taste preferences, I was matched to Garage Coffee’s Catimore from Vietnam, a fully traceable and fairtrade roasters in Canterbury! Beans Coffee Club has a page on each of the roasters, and coffee varieties, which really makes the subscription feel even more personal as you can get to know your handpicked supplier. This Catimore was produced in the Dung K’No commune by the K’No people, one of the many ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Their page explores how coffee was introduced to Vietnam in the 1800s, initially grown on French-owned colonial plantations, though a ‘variety of political and economic factors (including the civil/cold war and subsequent Communist prohibitions on private land ownership) meant Vietnam was slow to achieve any real relevance as a coffee-producing nation’. By 1990, however, after heavy investment in the industry Vietnam had become the second-highest producing coffee country in the world.
After only 7 quick questions, including my brewing and taste preferences, I was matched to Garage Coffee’s Catimore from Vietnam
The K’No commune has around 500 households with the main source of income being agriculture. Coffee cherries (the fruit from which the coffee bean eventually appears!) are hand-picked, and – like all Beans’ coffee – is roasted to order and shipped directly to your door.
The result is a fresh, smooth, and well-balanced coffee. The label said it would taste of plum, orange, and red fruit – I was sceptical as to whether this natural sweetness would come through. After all, could it really taste as sweet as vanilla syrup? The answer, of course, is no: this natural sweetness is soft, not sickly. The medium roast meant it wasn’t too acidic or bitter, and was rich and flavourful.
The result is a fresh, smooth, and well-balanced coffee.
Perhaps ambitiously, I set my subscription for fortnightly, and received a fresh package of Horsham Coffee’s Red Bourbon from Rwanda two weeks later. The medium roast lends to another naturally sweet blend, with tones of orange and caramel, and slight bitter black tea.
My Beans account gave me the option to review each coffee and decide whether I want Beans to ‘send again’ or ‘never again’: another degree of personalisation that not offered by coffee shops or other subscriptions.
Lucky for me, these were both a ‘send again’, and I’m re-evaluating my thoughts on coffee. Maybe I am a fan.
Disclaimer: Beans Coffee Club offered me a two-week subscription free trial in return for an honest review.