In 2013, we reviewed coffees from 12 countries, namely the United States, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, China, Netherlands, Guatemala, Italy, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, and Sweden.
The United Kingdom was noticeably absent from the list. London (and the U.K. in general) has a thriving specialty coffee scene that rivals that of other well known U.S. coffee-crazy cities like Seattle and San Francisco. After the U.S. and Canada, the U.K. has more Coffee Review readers than any other country. London has more Coffee Review readers than any city outside the United States. And, yet, we have never reviewed a coffee roasted in the U.K.
That finally changed. With the help of The Coffee Roasters, a coffee retailer based in Bath, England, we cupped 21 coffees roasted by specialty coffee companies in the U.K. We cupped several very attractive coffees. We chose to write reviews for six coffees we rated 91 points or higher.
Most of the twenty-one coffees we cupped seemed relatively subdued in light of the distinguished origins and the names that appeared on the bags. We assume that this is due in some part to loss of aromatics during transit. Despite everyone trying to move quickly, we ended up cupping these coffees anywhere from eleven days to fourteen days out of the roaster, and none of the samples, so far as we could tell, were flushed with inert gas at packaging. We took residual oxygen readings for about half the samples, and the readings were consistently in the 10% to 14% range.
It’s possible that many of the coffees could have scored a point or two higher had we been able to cup them sooner after roasting.
We did not mention the possible loss of aromatics in the reviews we did write. It seems too hypothetical a point, however likely. We simply report honestly on what we experience in the cup at the time we experience it, which is, after all, the only entirely reliable evidence on which we can report.
At times we felt that we detected other possible reasons for muted aromatics or characteristics that detracted from our assessment. Sometimes we suspected an underdeveloped roast, or perhaps a drying roast, or a possible faded green. These observations must be taken as hypothetical given the circumstances.
Read reviews of U.K. coffees:
Most of these excellent coffees can be shipped worldwide, either by the roaster or by The Coffee Roasters.