You may know that I am a coffee fiend.
There are many things in life I have had to give up due to age and children, including all night parties, excessive alcohol consumption, too much dairy (plays havoc with my sinuses. Oh for the days of unlimited access to cheese. Sigh), clubbing and any drug stronger than Co-codamol. I have also been known, on occasion to give up sugar, although not for long.
You will have to rip it from my cold, dead, claw hands.
Over the years I have destroyed many a cafetiere, boiled dry many a stove top coffee maker, and despaired at the fact that North Americans seem loathe to give up their drip coffee makers. It’s not the method of making it I don’t like, I just object to the hot plate that leaves it gently reducing for hours, so you end up drinking coffee ‘jus’ that can make your teeth retract into your gums it’s so strong. And chewy. I will allow Seattle leeway in this arena, as they’re pretty damn committed to good coffee.
Denmark is my idea of paradise. They take their coffee ultra seriously, and they also do pastries that make you weep with joy. That’s before you even think about their jumpers.
I have in recent years discovered the marvel that is the double skinned, stainless steel cafetiere that is utterly bomb proof and keeps my coffee warm (without stewing it) long enough for me to drain an entire pot every morning. It is one of those things that I would pack, say, in a house burning down situation, or if I ever decided to run away from home with my life’s possessions in a hanky on a stick.
I’ve committed entirely to ‘real’ coffee. I do not do instant any more except in extremis, and then I tell myself that it isn’t coffee at all, but some other strange drink that will give me all the benefits of a caffeine rush but without the lovely taste.
I usually buy Union coffee. It is reasonably spendy but it’s very good, and ethically produced. I also favour Illy or Lavazza, both of which make a damn fine cup of coffee. My coffee buying habits, however, have been turned upside down by the arrival in my life of a new company called, Pact.
They were recommended by a friend who is more obsessed by good coffee than me. They have a very fine introductory offer which is to try your first bag for £1. Given that a bag usually retain at between £6.99 and £8.99, this is a bit of a bargain. For this £1 you can choose which of their coffees you want to try and they will post it to you free of charge.
The website is simple to use and it took me a couple of minutes to set up an account. You commit to purchasing bags at a regular price in order to get your £1 bag, but you can cancel your ongoing commitment easily and with no pressure if you find that it isn’t for you.
The coffee is sourced from independent growers who are paid above fair trade prices for their beans. There are about half a dozen varieties to choose from at present, and you can leave feedback with your order history so you get exactly what you like, when you like it.
You can receive the beans whole or ground, and you can specify how you make your coffee so they know how fine or coarse to grind them for you. The coffee menu on the website will update you if a new coffee has arrived, and the details of each coffee tell you what to expect in terms of taste, and when the beans were roasted. If you’re having your beans ground they do it literally moments before they seal it up and send it to you. The packaging is effective, easy to access, and most importantly fits through most letter boxes, so you won’t be trekking to the sorting office every week to collect your fix.
You can specify whether you want a bag weekly or monthly or daily and change this at will. You can pretty much customise your account so the perfect coffee is delivered in the perfect way to you. The only thing they won’t do is pop over and make it for you.
I started with a coffee called Toledo Norte de Santander. It’s rich and the description calls it chocolatey which I found slightly odd. I wondered whether I would like it. It is slightly chocolatey, but not hugely so, more of a kind of nose, rather like in wine tasting. The coffee was terrific.
My second bag was called Planalto, which the website said was more of a malt milk chocolate shake flavour. It was certainly smoother and creamier than the Toledo. I enjoyed it very much.
The bag that is being delivered today is called El Mirador and promises to be citrus toned. It’s a new bean and the batch is quite small, so it’s a limited edition one for now. I’m most intrigued.
Up to now I’ve been delighted by everything about Pact, except for a small snag when their system broke down at the weekend when I was trying to order something. On Monday, when everyone was back at work I received flawless customer service in response to my problem and it’s one of the reasons I’m banging on about them so enthusiastically now.
I’m not being sponsored for this post, by the way. If however, you fancy trying Pact, and getting your £1 bag, if you say I sent you by inputting the code: KATY-JCSU-A when you place your order, I’ll get another bag for a pound myself, which would be pretty splendid. If not I shall be continuing to order my regular caffeine fix from them regardless, they’re that good. That should tell you everything you need to know.