“ Brand: Kenco „
Kenco Brazilian Coffee
I drink about 3 cups of coffee a day and enjoy a nice cup of coffee but am too tight to spend Costa & Nero prices.
At work we are provided with Nescafe which I always have drunk at home and work and never gave it a thought to change until Christmas!
I decided to treat myself and family to a slightly more expensive one - Kenco seemed like a good option as they are a well known brand and 100% Brazilian caught my eye and sounded appealing.
Kenco's claim -
"Dark & Smoky"
Brazil's distinct dry and wet seasons give this wonderfully smooth coffee its intriguing dark, smoky flavour, with just a touch of sweetness. A pleasure for the senses.
Made entirely from 100% single origin Brazilian Arabica coffee beans.
The process of making this coffee included -
This process claims to be done with precision and skill resulting in a tasty instant cup of coffee. I have a filter coffee machine at home but for the ease of just adding water I am a converted to the jar.
The jar is a 100g glass jar and is not only recyclable but is made of 35% recycled glass. A very green and sustainable container if you ask me.
The labelling itself doesn't scream out at you but the wording "Dark & Smokey" adds intrigue to try this product. The label is dark green with a gold band.
I drink coffee with semi skimmed milk. I made my coffee with boiling water a dash of milk and a heap of coffee. The taste of this coffee is as promised Smokey although a little bitter, the colour of the coffee was darker than most once made up. Overall a very enjoyable cup of coffee my expectations were exceeded.
The cost of a 100g jar of this coffee will set you back £3.69 from Tesco unless on special offer at the time. I do think this is a little expensive but if you consider the price against a Costa or Nero coffee I think you have a bargain.
Would I buy this product again and would I recommend? I think I would try one of the other in the range to compare but I did enjoy this coffee. Also visitors have commented how nice it is and enquired in to what it is. I would recommend this coffee to others if they enjoyed a heavy tasting coffee.
well i was never really a big fan of coffee until about 5 years ago then i started drinking lots of it (kenco smooth). I later discoverd Kenco Pure Brazilian and now i think it is the best coffee ever! cant understand why it wasnt invented sooner really lol. i just love a good strong cup in the morning and a few more cups through the day. The first cup of the day is very refreshing
I generally stick to just a few different favoured brands and blends when it comes to instant coffee. Lately however I have been more adventurous and given that coffee is relatively expensive at full price, my buying habits are strongly influenced by price promotions.
The major supermarkets are in healthy competition and this is good news for us consumers - but only if we are savvy shoppers. Rather than fill our larders with multi-buy offers on products which we don't use or particularly like after the first experience, better by far to shop hop and pick off the bargains which offer truly great value.
This Kenco Brazilian Dark and Smokey blend was just such a purchase. Having noted that Asda have a good offer on at present on Nescafe's speciality blends and having resolved to stock up on same at the weekend, I spotted this earlier in the week at our local Tesco store - at an even lower price. Any premium 100g coffee for £2.00 or less is a good deal in my book and Kenco is a brand which I have previously tried and liked so it went into the trolley and I have been trying it out this week.
Favouring darker, stronger blends, this one appealed to me (although the full range is on offer) so I had a good idea that I would like this one....and I do - it's not as nice as Black Gold and Carte Noire, my latest favourites, but it ticks the boxes on flavour and if this was the only one available to me, I would happily drink it.
I don't much like the jar it comes in and more specifically the screw top which has a bit of give to it even when apparently fully closed. In this case, design seems to have triumphed over functionality and I don't know why we just can't have normal screw on tops. A minor niggle. The coffee still tastes fresh and won't last long at the rate I drink it anyway.
This is 100% Brazilian coffee made from 100% Arabica beans, identified as being Strength 4. "A perfectly balanced and intriguing flavour" they say. "Taste the region in every sip" Well, that's a load of tosh - I hate it when manufacturers get carried away with themselves - shampoo marketeers are the worst for this, but before I climb fully onto my hobby horse, I'll get back to the drink.
For all you folk who like to make a contribution to saving the planet, this product is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The jar is made from 43% recycled glass and is fully recyclable.
What's it like? - well, I always find it tricky to describe tastes and smells - top notes of this and base notes of that. To me it just smells and tastes quite strong - the way I like it and it does smell and taste a bit smokey; I think that's the bit that puts it below Black Gold and Carte Noir for me. It's a funny idea to drink smokey things, don't you think?
Anyway, all in all it's fairly decent stuff and I'll give it a 4 and would buy it again if on offer.
I'm not a huge fan of instant "freeze-dried" coffee, but given that my choice at work is limited to a vending machine that dispenses black sludge approximating tar in both consistency and taste, its my only viable option. We do have a Starbucks and a Costa Coffee in the vicinity, but both are too expensive for anything other than an occasional treat, and the 20 minute round trip is not really feasible time-wise during the hustle and bustle of an average day.
SO HOW DO WE GET INSTANT?
It suddenly occurred to me that I know nothing about the transformation of coffee from humble bean to freeze dried granules. I did some digging, and here are some basics. Coffee beans are green in their raw state - it's the roasting process that turns them brown - and how long they are roasted for determines the depth of flavour and strength. Instant coffee starts its life out much like normal coffee, but once roasted, their production paths diverge dramatically.
In the "freeze-drying" process, the beans are ground into a fine powder and then dissolved in water. This solution is set aside to allow most of the water to evaporate naturally. Then once it reaches a "slushy" consistency, this wet mass is rapidly frozen, and placed on trays into a special - vacuum sealed - drying machine.
The coffee is then rapidly dried while a condenser removes all of the water vapour from the evaporating ice, rapidly drying coffee to leave the granules much as you see them in the jar. There is an alternative way of doing things called "spray-drying", but as Kenco freeze-dries its products, I have concentrated on that process only.
Instant coffee differs in quality from whole, ground and brewed coffee beans, mainly because the lowest quality beans are usually used to make instant - growers usually reserve their best quality beans to be sold whole. Those looking for a decent hit of caffeine for the money will also be disappointed to learn that instant coffee has less caffeine than its brewed equivalent (the production process removes some of it), but most will consider the trade-off worthwhile given the convenience and speed of preparation.
Anyway, onwards to the product itself! Bored with bog standard Nescafe and Kenco, I decided to have a more critical look at the other options available at my local Tesco, hoping to find something a little different, a little less ordinary. My eye was drawn to Kenco's "Pure" range, which includes offerings from Costa Rica, Brazil and Columbia. I was intrigued by the description given for the Brazilian blend - "dark and smokey" - and, encouraged that the item was actually on offer, decided to take a closer look at the packaging.
The product comes in a 100g squared off glass jar which is not only recyclable, but is made of at least 35% recycled glass itself. The labelling - a fetching dark green and gold with a gold band at top and bottom - looks reassuringly expensive, as it should be for a coffee that normally retails around £3.38 (compare this to £ 2.68 for a similar sized jar of Gold Blend, or £1.39 for 100g of Tesco's own "Gold" brand).
It also features the Rainforest Alliance (RA) "Frog" logo, which means that it is made using coffee beans which are ethically sourced from certified RA farms. However, on closer look, only 75% of the beans used currently come from such sources, but Kenco hope to make this 100% by 2010. Anyway, I won't go into too much more detail here, as this is a review of the coffee itself, but if you want more information it is readily available at www.ra.org.
The label also includes some basic information on where and how the coffee was sourced and what gives this variant its distinct taste. It is given a "4" out of "5" for strength, so it is definitely a dark, robust roast. It is also single source, so all of the beans used to make it come from Brazilian growers.
The overall impression is that you are buying into something made with quality and care, while doing something good for coffee growers, sustainability and the environment in general. I'm not one to take such statements at face value, and if I had more time, I'd give some more thought to the actual benefits (in both quantity and quality) that my purchase has on the producer at the sharp end, but, cynicism aside, I suppose it's a good thing.
Seduced by the promise of something altogether more exotic than my usual brew, I decided to take it "home" and give it a go. The jar was foil sealed under the chunky black plastic lid. Apparently, instant coffee is "hygroscopic" (yes, I had to look that up too...!) - a fancy way of saying that the granules will absorb any moisture in the air - so its imperative that it is sealed in this way. In puncturing the seal, I was rewarded by an intense hit of coffee aroma, which paradoxically smelled bitter and sweet in equal measure. There is a hint of honeyed chocolate about it, and I was pleased to find no chemically smell at all.
I normally have my coffee white with two sweetener tablets, but have been known to have it black without "sugar", so, in the interests of this review, and to ensure I tasted the coffee properly, I decided to try it three ways - black, white with semi-skimmed milk, and white with my usual sweetener (Candarel or Splenda). I appreciate that doesn't cater for all combinations, but it should give the reader a general idea.
I placed a heaped teaspoon into a generous sized mug and was pleased to see a nice brown froth develop as I poured water, just off the boil, into it. The aroma rises instantly and gives you an olfactory hit consistent with the first impression on opening the jar. As with wine, what you taste should complement what you smell, and this Brazilian blend does not disappoint.
The initial taste is full-bodied, slightly bitter and slightly "burnt" - again, consistent with a dark roast and the claim to a "smokey" quality advertised on the label. After a short while, it mellows out considerably, leaving you with a slightly sweet, honeyed taste on the palate.
I'd never had a Brazilian blend of coffee before, and given the limitations of the "instant" manufacturing process, was quite please with the result. Definitely different, definitely not ordinary, and gratifyingly so. A second cup confirmed my initial impressions, although this time I detected a slightly salty note in the finish, but nothing I would consider particularly off-putting.
Unfortunately, once you start adding things - even milk - you start to lose flavour at an alarming rate. All of the distinctive notes that make it special are masked by the introduction of milk, making the drink altogether more cloying and oily in consistency - even with semi-skimmed, which is lower in fat than whole milk. The milk tempers the bitterness, but emphasises the sweetness, so you lose the balance that makes this coffee work so well black.
+ White with Sweetener
Oh dear. At this stage, I wouldn't have been able to tell this apart from any other, generic, freeze dried coffee, such was the masking effect of milk and Candarel. I can't comment on how it would work with white or brown sugar as, unfortunately, I can't take either, but I doubt the end result would be much different. If the "milk only" option enhanced the sweetness, you can imagine what you get when you add two tablets of sweetener.
The blend, the packaging and the taste (black) are consistent with the retail price - there is real quality there - so hats off to Kenco for this nice little gem. I started out wanting something out of the ordinary, and this instant coffee delivered that in spades. That said, there is a "but".
You can't really justify paying so much more for a blend like this (almost £2.00 a jar more than Tesco own brand) if you are going to add milk and sweetener to it, because, simply put - you lose everything that makes this blend special when you add the two most common additives coffee drinkers use, i.e. milk and sugar/sweetener.
As such, I would unreservedly recommend this product to black coffee drinkers - it's a satisfying and pleasing alternative to run of the mill instant coffee - but if milk and sugar are your thing, I would think twice before splashing out your hard-earned.
© Hishyeness 2009 - Published previously on ciao.co.uk under the same user name.
As an ex-Barista of many years I have to faithfully say that it isn't particularly easy drinking instant coffee and loving the taste when used to espresso blends. Although as a child I was more of a tea drinker I never really fully appreciated the joy of coffee until I became a student and swapped the Pro Plus for a healthier cup of instant caffeine in coffee or Coca Cola form. Therefore I've had the cheapest brands in my food cupboards to the premium brands where instant coffee powder is concerned, and Kenco is one of my favourite brands, discovered at a time when "Red Mountain," no longer became available and before they changed the taste quite dramatically a few years ago. From the hellish to the heavenly as a coffee drinker, I've endured so many different brands from "Maxwell House," to "Mellow Birds," (awful) not to mention supermarket brands in the past.
Up until now however brands such as Nescafe and Kenco have been battling out with each other as to who can make the best beans possible in the freeze dried department and of the following available such as "Alta Rica" which is a dark coffee, I've only ever been accustomed to real Turkish coffee in the past that has always given a true, dark and smoky colour as well as a thick treacle like taste through the depths of charcoal and one of my favourite spices, Cardamom. In addition that is the only time when I will ever go black without milk. Alta Rica however is a rich blend that only those who adore coffee will be able to tell whether it's crap or credible. When I saw Kenco's Dark and Smoky coffee product at my local Somerfields, I couldn't help but try the formula since I'm used to their normal deep roast versions in their blue and red jars and overall prefer Kenco's quality over Nescafe; the prices seem to be cheaper too by a couple of pence. Here instead of blue or red topped 400g jars, you'll find the "Dark and Smoky," variation trapped in a smaller and medium sized 100g black and clear glass jar, presumably designed to entrap would be shoppers ready to pick up Alta Rica or other variations in the Nescafe range. Make no bones about it (and there aren't any bones in this, I'm sure) it is clear from the offset that Kenco are out to battle with Nescafe, but have they got it quite right with their Dark and Smoky flavour? A standard jar of Nescafe's premium Alta Rica brand costs around £3-74 in my local Somerfields; Kenco's Dark and Smoky costs approximately £3-36.
For a start the scent of this coffee is quite deep and mystifying and its no wonder that the directions suggest that the user adds a little milk if desired. From the moment I broke the seal on top of the jar I knew that I could well be in for a treat. One of the aspects I love about instant coffee isn't the amount of chicory that most companies try to inject into their products but rather a deep and intoxicating smell of roasted beans that don't over take the basic recipe; something that filter coffee is famous for in my opinion. This is why I prefer Kenco because on a general level their coffee scents for most of their ranges are satisfying and hold much promise.
When preparing this coffee however I did realise that even after depositing one teaspoon of the granules to my favourite mug, it did need a lot of milk to bring it up to a colour and strength level to my tastes. This would clearly show how strong this coffee is, and whilst the scent lingered in the air of charcoal and roasted coffee, I disposed of putting sugar in as I feel with most instant coffee; sugar tends to mess up the flavour unless it's of the brown Demerara quality.
Expecting a thick line of coffee, perhaps treacle and perhaps more charcoal from its heavenly scent, I was disappointed to find that the taste didn't quite live up to its scent. For a start although no sugar had been put in, I was unable to detect fully what I was tasting, thinking that the cup I had taken out of the dishwasher hadn't been washed properly and promptly disregarded the mug, taking a new one and a new coffee in the making. There was something definitely savoury in the mug and not sweet of which Kenco promise.
There are tones of treacle here which don't over take the roasted bean flavour, and whilst there is quite a depth to something that is freeze dried and in no way better than filter coffee, let alone heavier espresso blends, the second mug did not deter me from the initial mug I had prepared. Although there are some hints of bitterness from the roasted beans no doubt due in point to the amount of "Smoky," balance that this recipe has been made to, there is quite a depth of charcoal that fills my mouth with a pleasing thickness of satisfaction. However despite the quality of the coffee in my own mind having a great taste, in both times of preparation, I have been left with a distinct salty aftertaste - and by lord, it lingers to the point that I need Listerine!
As I prepared a mug for my mum, (another coffee lover) she prefers her coffee to be thick like soup in its strength and often will take 2 to 2 and half spoonfuls of coffee. In this regard, she came away feeling similarly disappointed and agreed that there is quite a salty aftertaste embedded after all liquid has been swallowed. And Kenco have a cheek to suggest that its "Dark and Smoky," range has a touch of "lingering sweetness."
So if you are looking for something thick and heavy darting around your mouth and represents coffee in freeze dried form, I'd settle for something else. What a pity that despite its promise, Kenco's Dark and Smoky leaves anything but a lingering sweetness. For sodium fans however, look no further. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009