So this week I have been sent the introductory box from Zabu Coffee, a monthly coffee subscription. I received an introductory box, containing two 200g bags of coffee beans, plus a free grinder. The two bags were Zabu’s own blend and Columbian.
As this is a fast turnaround review, I’ve only tried one of the bags so far. That is, my husband and I have tried them; he requires industrial quantities of caffeine simply to rediscover the power of speech in the morning, whereas I just like coffee. We usually buy our coffee from the Algerian coffee shop in Soho so it was interesting to try something different.
A nicely branded box arrived; as the grinder was included it didn’t fit through the letterbox, but I understand that coffee-only packages fit through just fine.
Inside were the two bags, grinder, an introductory letter, a sheet explaining how to make the perfect filter and cafetiere coffee and tasting notes on the two coffees. The instructions included how to grind the coffee using the accompanying grinder.
The tasting notes are excellent, enough information to be interesting but not so much that it’s too much trouble to read before diving into the coffeepot.
The coffee is in bean form, because it’s always better to grind fresh, and if you’re going to take the trouble to buy fancy coffee it’s worth doing this.
My husband and I decided to go for the Columbian, as the package described it as being suitable for all types of coffee machine. We have an espresso machine, and use the ‘small cup’ setting, which gives you about four doubles’ worth. We do have a French press, but we moved recently and it’s at the bottom of a box somewhere. We only use it for cold brew anyway.
So, the Columbian was very nice. It was quite a mild taste, which is probably good for people who are kind of easing themselves into real coffee-drinking. However it was lovely; perfectly roasted with absolutely no bitterness. It was probably a little mild for us, but that is purely personal taste; the coffee itself is excellent.
Here is where I am going to write about the grinder. Because we are moderately serious about coffee we have a burr grinder, which everyone who is remotely poncey about their coffee agrees is the best thing to use. There is a reason for this beyond general pretension.
A burr grinder works by crushing the beans between two abrasive surfaces, resulting in uniformly sized particles. (It’s also the only way to get small enough particles for espresso, a blade grinder will not do so.) They produce very little heat and friction, thereby avoiding affecting the taste of the coffee which heat and friction can do. A blade grinder, such as the one included, chops up the beans and heats them up, which can mean they become bitter. They are also not of uniform size, which can also affect the flavour. This is a shame when so much care has been taken with the actual roasting of this coffee.
So while a blade grinder is an ok starting point, it’s not something that should be used long term. If you don’t have a grinder at all it’s nice to get a free one before you make a real commitment to being a coffeephile. But once you decide you are going to do serious coffee (and this company’s coffee is pretty serious) get a burr grinder. You can get one from Amazon for forty quid. Totally worth it. Though I will say the blade ones are fab for spices and making powdered sugar, so hang on to it if you like to cook.
If you like good coffee and like trying out new varieties this is brilliant. If you are unsure what kind of coffee you like but want to learn more, this is brilliant. If you are too busy to get to a shop to buy coffee yourself this is brilliant. If you are looking for a nice gift for a coffee-lover this is brilliant.
It’s £13.98 per month, which apparently gives you enough coffee for around two cups per day for the month. Or about a week’s worth for my husband!
[Editor’s note] Zabu Coffee are ecstatic with Merith’s review. Catch their reaction and reason for including a blade grinder here: http://www.zabucoffee.
Zabu coffee has expert roasters who select the best beans from around the world. When you order your first 2 bags, they roast your coffee to order, vacuum pack it in bags with their special widget to keep it perfectly fresh and then send it out to you.
Every month they’ll send you another 2 bags of freshly roasted beans so you never run out, and the boxes are letterbox friendly!
£13.98 (FREE delivery)
They’ll dispatch a FREE grinder worth £20 with your first order.
None at the moment.