The first time I every had a cup of coffee was in my first year of university, when desperate for a caffeine hit I took the plunge and got a cup of the stuff from the student café. Yes, I managed to go until I was 18-19 until having coffee. Particularly impressive if you analysed the daily caffeine intake of my parents. But, like some many before, I was hooked.
As a teacher I am actually amazed at home many students, and how young, regularly indulge (gulp?) in coffee. To the UK’s credit, most coffee sold in shops is fresh ground espresso. I was rather stunned when at 6:30am one morning, while waiting for a connecting train, I walked into the newspaper shop at Ely station to discover it was serving fresh ground espresso. Equally the first cup of coffee I had in the UK was again, fresh ground espresso, this time from a gas station near Norwich.
While the UK is growing in its taste of coffee, the reality is in the home most of it still sucks. People are obsessed with instant coffee or overly milky/sugary coffee. This is particularly painful for someone who got used to having fresh ground coffee in the mornings. I was truly spoiled growing up in NS, where we had a choice of three different local coffee roasters.
Moving to Bedford, I had hoped my luck would change. With such a large Italian population, surely they would have brought coffee roasters. Indeed they did. Industrial ones for private labelling. Not exactly what I was looking for. Instead we resorted to buying a Nespresso machine. Ok, the espresso is good, but you don’t get the same experience as when you grind your own beans. Its quick, and I find my consumption is quick as a result. Where’s the enjoyment??
[infobox maintitle=”North American/UK Dictionary” subtitle=”Coffee Terminology” bg=”brown” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”10″ link=”no link”]
North American Term
Coffee with milk
Milky coffee or White coffee
So, a few months back I signed up for Pact Coffee. Admittedly it was inspired more by the prospect of getting a free Hario coffee filter than by the coffee. The concept is a bit different than me biking to the coffee roaster and picking up the coffee for the week. Instead It involves me ordering it online and having be delivered by post.
The upshot is it is very good coffee. They have a increasing and ever changing variety of beans and roasts, and all are shipped within 7 days of roasting to whatever grind you choose (I get the whole beans). They source many beans directly, so they are uniform in shape when roasting making a more consistent roast. I was also impressed when they introduced tasting cards with some of my bags, and all roasts are described with taste aromas for people to help them choose. Plus, when you open the bag you are hit with that fresh coffee smell.
The downside, and this is the only downside, it isn’t cheap. It is £6.95 a bag. While you can argue that it includes shipping, the fact is it is easily double the price of coffee from the grocery store.
Pact isn’t my weekday coffee, that is still Nespresso pods. Partly due to the convenience at 6:30am, partly due to the fact that the no-name brand pods are inexpensive. Weekends, on the other hand, are all mine. I do enjoy Pact Coffee then. Then I have the time to grind the beans, slowly brew it, and most importantly enjoy the aromas and the taste.
There is something very nice about watching the rising sun on a Saturday morning with a fresh cup of black coffee in hand, or while kneading bread for the week. A fully justifiable little luxury before my house wakes up.
Shameless Plug – If you want to try Pact Coffee, you can click here to sign up and get your first bag for £1 (plus I get a bag for a £1 too, so thanks for supporting my caffeine addiction!). Alternatively use the code ROUGHEATS to get the same deal!