“ Brand: Starbucks „
When I was a kid there were lots of things I didn't understand. One was drinking coffee, another was smoking. At the grand age of 13, at the Summerfields Friday night disco I had my first and last taste of a ciggie. I hated it and decided that from thereon never again (who says that a stubborn streak is a bad thing)? Incidently, at that disco I was asked out by the most fancied teen boy from the rival school, much to the amazement of my friends who still saw me as the really quiet girl. A memorable day for strange reasons. Anyway, I had knocked smoking on the head. Drinking coffee, another strange phenomena. I thought it smelt and tasted revolting. As a helpful girl, always making cups of Mellow Birds for my mum, I'd often try a cup myself but could never drink it. With or without sugar it was just nasty. The smell of flask coffee on long car journeys to the seaside just about sealed my hate for the drink. However when I got a Saturday job and was about to leave home for University, I decided I should make myself drink coffee for social reasons. I discovered black coffee tasted a bit better than milky, so there began my addiction with the coffee bean. From instant black coffee, I have developed a taste over the years to white and 'proper' coffee. The smell of freshly ground coffee I now perceive as delicious and inviting. Our kids don't like the smell, so it must be an adult thing. Maybe I've grown up at last. Those who know me better may find this hard to believe. We've yet to get a fancy Alessi or similar coffee machine but a simple cafetiere can be great for making your own café style coffee at home. It has become a daily drink for me and I have taken to buying freshly ground beans from our local Starbucks café. Starbucks do a wide range of whole beans from South America, Africa and the Pacific, a small selection of which include: ~ Guatemala Antigua; ~ Ethiopian Sidamo; ~ Organic Shade Grown Mexico; ~ Starbucks French Roast (Latin American); ~ Brazil Ipanema Bourbon; ~ Sulawesi. There are also blends of coffee including : ~ Café Estima (the subject of this review); ~ Café Verona; ~ Gold Coast Blend. If you visit any Starbucks café there is usually a display near the counter showing some of the beans available. They vary in colour and flavour (but in fact these displays are not real coffee beans as someone I read of found out to his cost). Starbucks do label their packs of coffee beans with the name of the beans and they are categorised as Mild, Smooth or Bold. However it can still be a little bewildering unless you are a bean connoisseur. Some of their blends are also Fair Trade which means that the coffee growers get a fair price for their produce. I have tried several different types of coffee bean both in Starbucks café and at home but remembering which one I bought and liked is not always so easy. Last time the very helpful Pete came over to assist my choice. This man knew his coffee beans for sure. I was looking at the Café Estima blend and he exuberantly explained that this was a coffee with the most amazing finish. Hmm I thought. He explained it left the most amazing aftertaste. 'Did I brew my coffee in a cafetiere?' I replied that I did. 'Ever take it black?' 'Not anymore' I answered. 'Oh you should try it' he said. 'The finish is fantastic.' Well before he could finish, I'd promised to try it black. He ground the beans for me ready for use in a cafetiere and re-sealed the ground coffee into the pack with a special clip to seal in the freshness. Starbucks will grind the coffee to suit your method of brewing (coarse grind for cafetieres, medium grind for drip filter coffee and fine grind for espresso machines). So, I am ready to explain all about Café Estima (eventually!) Café Estima ~~~~~~~~ Classed as a Smooth Coffee on the packet, the Starbucks website begs to differ. Here it is classed as a Bold coffee described as exotic and intriguing. Here are a few facts about this coffee: ~ Café Estima is Fair Trade coffee - the bean growers are guaranteed a fair price for their produce; ~ The beans come in a 250g bag and cost £3.90; ~ The Café Estima is a blend of coffee beans from Latin America and Africa; ~ Café Estima blend is best suited for use in cafetieres or filter machines. Brewing the coffee in a cafetiere ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is recommended that you use 10g ground Café Estima for every 180ml of water. This is enough for a medium sized mug, with room for milk. In other words, this equates to a heaped desert spoon of ground coffee per mug quantity of water. Add your coffee to the cafetiere and pour on water that is just off boil (90°C - 96°C) for perfect results. Allow the coffee to brew for four minutes before depressing the plunger. Hey presto, it's coffee time. Storage ~~~~~ Once the pack of coffee beans has been opened, they should be used within seven days. The ground coffee should be transferred to an airtight, dry container and stored in the dark. I store mine in a glass coffee jar in a dark cupboard and never use it all within a week. Taste ~~~~ Well, I had to try this coffee black, just a small cup, to see if Pete really did know his beans. Well yes it seems he does. The coffee has a lovely flavour which is described by Starbucks as nutty and fruity. Smelling the coffee, it is exactly that, nutty first and then a touch of fruitiness, a tad citrussy. The aftertaste is great, not at all bitter. It is not an exceptionally strong coffee but it has plenty of flavour. As Pete the coffee expert said, the finish is just about perfect. This coffee is ideal for Americano (without milk) but it is also delicious with milk. I warm my milk up first in the microwave. Recommend? ~~~~~~~~ This coffee is my favourite for home brewing. It saves me a fortune as I'd happily visit the local Starbucks on a daily basis and at £1.80 for a tall latte, coffee at home gives me 25 cups for the price of two or three in the café. The taste is great, nutty and fruity with no bitter aftertaste. For further information visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk www.starbucks.co.uk Thanks for reading.