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This is a review of Taylors of Harrogate - Cafe Imperial.
Being a devotee at the shrine of caffeine, I thought it was time to turn my attention to some popular coffee brands available in most supermarkets. Taylors of Harrogate have a reputation for being a leading brand in the upper end of supermarket coffees, but is it deserved?
This coffee can be made using a cafetiere, espresso machine, filter or an Italian stove-top moka. I recommend not making this coffee in a press-down cafetiere-mug.
This coffee is a blend of arabica beans from Central and South America with Kenyan beans.
-- Aroma --
It's hard to keep your nose out of this bag once you have opened it. This coffee smells almost as good as beans which you have freshly ground yourself. I find that both the aroma and the flavour of the coffee improve if the bag is kept sealed in a freezer. The grounds do not freeze and you will have more time to enjoy your coffee. Pre-opening, you can keep any fresh coffee at room temperature. The aroma has citrus notes, but not without body. It is described on the pack as 'refreshing and lively', and I would certainly agree that this is a good morning coffee, very drinkable, but perhaps lacking the depth and chocolate flavours you might prefer as an after dinner or early evening treat.
-- Flavour --
For those of you who like your coffee strong, you will need to add an extra spoonful or three of this to your cafetiere. It is advertised as mild, and this is an accurate appraisal. The flavour maintains the citrus theme, and is light and refreshing. A good all-day coffee, as it is not too strong and not as heavy as a lot of coffees.
-- Price --
Coming in at around £3.00 a bag in Tesco's, or £2.69 from the Taylors online shop, this coffee is not the cheapest. However, I managed to grab it when it was reduced to two bags for £4, which is a bargain! If you see this on offer, buy up as many bags as you can, it will not be a waste of money.
-- Ethics --
It is a good fact, but it is hard to buy a bag or a cup of coffee today without being assailed with facts about its origins. Whilst this particular coffee does not sport the notorious Fairtrade stamp, we are assure that the 'family values' of Taylors mean they are good friends with their farmers and pay them fair prices. But you get a bonus treat with this coffee - not only do they trade fairly, but they also give you the opportunity to stop deforestation! You can cut out coupons on these packs to save the trees and mail them off to Trees for Life, who will use them to ensure the planting of many more trees.
Overall, this is a very decent coffee which you can drink all the day round. It loses one star for a slight blandness in flavour, but this is probably due to my preference for stronger coffee.
Browse the coffee selection of any supermarket and you'll be overwhelmed by a seemingly infinate range of coffees from the truly horrific supermarket budget brands including Tesco Value Instant Coffee Granules 49p per 100g or £4.90 a kg - think hot water with a teeny amount of added carpet sweepings - to Waitroses outrageously decadent Clydesdale Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee at a mere £7.99 for 114g jar, £70 per kg. Whilst it tastes fabulous its not fabulous enough to justify a price of that magnitude.
Taylors of Harrogate offer a wide variety of coffees within the £2.50 to £3 price bracket for a 227g bag. Unfortunately they don't offer an instant variant but what they do offer is a range of ground coffees suitable for cafetieres, filter machines, percolators and even the one cup disposable filter brigade.
Whatever the flavour the packaging it comes in is a distinctive brightly coloured foil lined plastic bag which Taylors claim is "the Rolls Royce of coffee packaging systems". Opening it is a multi sensory experience. Firstly its tough stuff so you'll need a pair of scissors. The instant you begin cutting you can smell the most fabulous smells. Strangely its not always a coffee scent, some smell nutty others are rather reminiscent of woodsmoke but whatever the brand you inhale the aroma which is more often than not smooth and mellow. What you'll see is uniform dark chocolatey brown grounds.
I've got a huge cafetiere and I add a very generous 6 heaped spoonfuls to this before adding water just off the boil. The aroma of the brewing coffee wafts around the house and is usually rapidly followed by the appearance of my other half to partake too. The bag is easy to reseal using a large plastic clip which Taylors often add to their products as a free gift. I have Taylors Coffee tins too thanks to other promotions. My favoirite promotions have to be the supermarket buy one get one free offers.
After a few minutes when the water within the cafetiere has turned a dark raw umber I push down the plunger trapping the grounds at the base of the caffetiere. They're coarse so very few escape into the hot coffee. Pouring into a mug releases another burst of aroma and drinking it is a real pleasure. Its one of the few brands of cafetierre coffee that I can drink without needing to cjheck my teeth for stray grounds afterwards.
Theres an enormous variety to choose from ranging from the obligiatory decaf, a half caf named Take It Easy to an organic variant and just about everything imaginable in between. They also produce a monthly special and their legendary Christmas Blend.
Taylors of Harrogate were established in 1886 and are still in independant company. They have a very strong ethical policy with a large proportion of the range is endorsed by Fairtraide and they are experimanting with a unique recycling gimmick whereby the jute sacks that house the raw coffee beans are being converted into jute shopping bags with the profits being used to fund a coffee growers programme to enhnace the lives of the producers.
Money! Don't you get fed up with all this talk of recession, bank rates going down etc - well if you have a mortgage you'll be pleased but if you want to have a bit of fun with the interest from money you invested then you will be disappointed , as I am! So this leads me to doing the weekly shopping in Tesco and looking out for bargains. I do love Illy coffee but it is pricey and often there are some good offers on Ground coffee, so while I put some Douwe Egbert coffee in the trolley - another of my favourites, my husband noticed a packet of Taylors of Harrogate Take it Easy ground coffee. Being a Yorkshire man he was almost bound to notice Harrogate I suppose!
The packet is foil and mostly in grey with the top third of the front of the packet showing a picture of a building, possibly the Empire state building and a lot of sky and grass. The printing is in white and silver on the back and quite difficult to read. The grade is 3 and it is medium roast, it is also low in caffeine, which is why my husband thought I would like it. I had to reduce my caffeine recently so I now drink de-caff instant and my 1 drink of caffeine each day is my after dinner coffee, so this could be the cherry on the cake.
On the back of the packet it tells me that New Yorkers are a pretty demanding bunch and know what they want when it comes to coffee. Take it Easy is a combination of regular and decaffeinated inspired by a blend served in NY delis for office workers to enjoy all day long. Tailors produce this smooth but flavourful blend to help us to have a nice coffee every day.
Take it easy is a blend of Brazilian and 50% decaffeinated Columbian coffee beans, so you can reduce your intake of caffeine or drink twice as much without overdoing it!
Taylors of Harrogate
A family business, started in 1886, famous for teas and coffees, and a firm that believe in trading fairly. They regularly visit the coffee farms and co-operatives where the growers live and work and pay a fair price for their coffee. They also support Trees for life and by collecting four tokens off the packets, you can send them to Taylors and save a tree.
How to make a cup of coffee
You will all have your favourite ways of making Ground coffee, I have a selection of coffee makers but use my Espresso maker most of all. This filters the coffee under pressure. Take it Easy is ground so it can be used in all coffee makers, they recommend using one dessertspoon per cup in a cafetière or filter. I then steam my milk and create a froth so it is like a Cappuccino. A sprinkling of chocolate on top and it is ready to drink.
If I hadn't known that my husband had opened this coffee I wouldn't have known the difference. It tasted just like the last coffee we were using. It wasn't too strong, as I dislike bitter coffee, but as it says on the packet it is a medium roast and smooth.
I really disliked de-caffeinated coffee at first, but know find it OK, my husband says it tastes awful but admitted he couldn't tell the difference with this brand.
Normally £2.49 but it was half price in Tesco this week, so an absolute bargain at £1.24 for a 227gram packet.
Sell by date
I was pleased to see that it is best before March 2010, so as it was a bargain I shall have to buy some more and keep in the cupboard.
Will I buy it again?
You bet I will and there are lots of other blends to try to. If your local shop doesn't stock it try looking online at http://www.taylorsofharrogate.co.uk/ and you can buy online.
I have been a customer of Taylors Of Harrogate for about 3 years and they never seem to stop impressing me. Their excellent range of coffee's will have the caffine addict's mouth watering. In particular Lazy Sunday coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker, i prefer a cuppa tea! But after tasting this particular coffee i was hooked. It comes in a soft green packet and says in the name what kind of coffe it is. It hasn't much caffiene so when drinking it you don't feel over excited !! It's very smooth and not bitter. The way it glides down your throat leaves you wanting another cup. The way it is ground means you can use it in almost any machine- filter ,cafetiere but it's not recommended for esspresso as the coffee isn't strong enough !! Taste it it's superb !!!!!!!