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Coffee is possibly my favourite drink. The smell of freshly ground or freshly made ground coffee is simply intoxicating. Its price makes it a kind of luxury and I look forward to drinking one cup - and only one cup - each day, usually in the late afternoon with a light snack. I can drink instant coffee and there are some good ones around but for me instant coffee will always be a kind of coffee substitute for you cannot beat the freshness and the flavour, not to mention the immediate hit, of ground coffee. The Percol brand was launched in 1987 and I have probably been drinking their coffee on and off for about five years. The company has always been dedicated to ethical trading and environmental sustainability and since 2002 Percol has won 27 industry awards. I've tried various Percol coffees sourced from different locations such as Nicaragua, Mexico and Columbia, but I find myself returning to this Guatemala blend more often than not. Percol doesn't source its beans from large commercial estates; instead they seek out small plantations in different regions of Central and Southern America, often run by the indigenous population and benefiting from natural soil enrichment and microclimates that allow the coffee to develop its full, natural character. Fairtrade coffee beans are purchased from organic growers who carefully hand pick the red cherries just when they are ripe and perfect for harvesting. Like wine, coffee oxidizes so sophisticated processing methods are used from roasting to packing to ensure that the beans do not come into contact with oxygen. This is an organic coffee and is certified by the Soil Association. The company rightly uphold the belief that coffee can be grown and nurtured without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Where possible they source organic Arabica beans from organically managed farms where soil health and fertility is sustainable. This ensures a human health benefit in the long term through the reduction of pesticide residues. Farmers also benefit because organic coffee commands a higher price in the world market for gourmet coffee. Fairtrade Organic Guatemala is a lovely tasting coffee and at grade three is not too strong. Most of Guatemala's coffee is organically grown 5000ft up on the Pacific slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Here the roots of the coffee plant benefit from the volcanic soil. I make my coffee without any fancy coffee machine. In my opinion a simple Melitta paper filter does the trick. The aroma of these roasted coffee grains is delicate and refined. You can almost taste the pure mountain air that makes the beans so clean and pure. The coffee has a wonderful seductive flavour that is not too bitter with overtones of dark chocolate mixed with subtle hints of tropical fruits. The Fairtrade Mark shows the company's commitment to paying coffee growers in particular a fair price for their produce. The growers also receive a premium that they can invest in community projects. This means that farmers who get a better deal on their crops can properly husband their land and resources. By putting a lot of care into their crops and the forests that sustain them they are also helping to care for the environment. Sourcing coffee beans from these small farms and communities no doubt ensures the distinctive character and quality of this coffee. My recent purchase of a 250g pack of Fairtrade Organic Guatemala pack cost £2.89 at Tesco - a rise of 30p since my previous purchase some months earlier.
Brand: Percol / Type: Coffee