A return to Irish producer Bewley for today's coffee, and it's interesting to see how different coffee companies provide information to their drinkers.
As I mentioned in earlier reviews, Puro go to remarkable lengths to let you know what's in their coffee – not just the country they're from, but right down to the geographical region and even the altitude of the farm.
While some of Bewley's range is geographical – such as the Araku India coffee – they also have more generic products which don't even give you a clue what country they're from, let alone any other details.
This is Rich Roast, the strongest coffee in their range and grown ... somewhere that grows Arabica. I suppose this gives them the freedom to alter the blend as required, but it's unusual for the kind of coffee I seem to end up drinking.
Visually, it's a very dark roast – not quite the near black of some of the Vietnamese coffee I've had, but close to the colour of grated Bournville chocolate. The nose is well roasted too; rich, warm black cherries with just a suggestion of slightly overdone toast.
Once brewed, a lot of the fruit goes and you're left with the aroma of cold ash from last night's bonfire, with a little dark brown sugar underneath.
In the mouth, it's a pretty decent everyday coffee; medium rather than the full-bodied experience the packaging suggests, but a nicely rounded, ripe plum-like fruit and a decent but controlled roasted bitterness in the background. Tasty and nicely balanced, but not really the punch I'd expect from a strong coffee.
I suspect part of the reason may lie in the grind – although the package states that it's suitable for "all coffee machines", it's coarser than I normally use and I know that the Aeropress prefers coffee on the finer, espresso-friendly end of the scale.
To be fair to Bewley's, the graphics are for drip filter machines and cafetieres but if that's the intended usage why use the term "all coffee machines"?
Still, despite a slight grumble on the strength side, this is a nice 'day' coffee and earns 3 stars.
Many thanks to Bord Bia for these samples.
This review was originally published 5th August, 2013. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.