Showing posts with label Robert Roberts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robert Roberts. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Taste of the Week. Santa Isabel Coffee

Taste of the Week
Santa Isabel Coffee
via the Golden Bean
I recently bought a pack of new crop Santa Isabel Coffee beans from Golden Bean at the Mahon Point Farmers Market and have been enjoying cup after delicious cup. It is nearly finished now, unfortunately.

The beans come from the region of Coban (around the city of the same name) in Guatemala and are grown at a height of 1400 to 1600 metres. The Valdes family have put the emphasis on quality in recent decades and the result has been two placings in Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence.

This current coffee is full of flavour with a bright acidity and is our Taste of the Week.

For tips on making the perfect cup of coffee, check out the Robert Roberts website. For me, the best way to enjoy the full flavour is to take the Espresso route. In addition, I always stir the cup as I think the flavours concentrate in the bottom otherwise - probably no scientific basis for this, but it works for me!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Taste of the Week. A cup of joe.

Taste of the Week. A Cup of Joe.
We all love a winner!
Sitio do Rochedo Yellow Bourbon Coffee Lot #22.

Taste of the Week comes from Brazil and this cup of joe has more power and finesse than Jo and Fred, their misfiring World Cup strikers.

While the forwards could well prove me wrong by the end of the tournament, the coffee, the latest offering from the Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club, is already a champion. The Rochedo was an award winner in the Brazil Cup of Excellence 2013, the most prestigious award given to a fine quality coffee.

The Cup of Excellence is “unmatched anywhere for the level of scrutiny”. Over three weeks, thousands of cups are evaluated and only an amazing coffee, such as this, comes out on top. And it is a gem, one that ambushes the morning routine, makes you stop and linger with your cuppa.

Robert Roberts taster Garath Scully agrees with the judges view and I must say I’m enjoying cup after cup of this medium bodied, well balanced and rounded coffee from the Matas de Minas region. Outstanding. Goals change games, Gilesie repeats. Coffee like this can change your day!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
Yesterday, about ten, I was routinely sipping my cup of coffee, enjoying the sunshine coming in the south facing window when, all of a sudden, I realised I had something special in my mouth, a really good coffee. Not that I was too surprised, as this splendid Colombian, my Taste of the Week, was the opening edition from the 2014 Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club.

What make its special is that it is what they term a "microlot" coffee, one that comes from a specific area in a single coffee farm, Finca Laguna, owned by Dona Dita. Dona named this "Musicas" and, for almost 30 years, only the locals knew of it.

Garath Scully, buyer and master blender at Robert Roberts, is thrilled with this one: "  its balance and flavour and acidity..its ever so mild spice and nut background taste. The subdued yet sublime acidity really tops it off." No wonder I woke from my day dreaming.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flavours of Christmas (but may be tried at any time of the year!)

Flavours of Christmas

(but may be tried at any time of the year!)
Bubbles from the Loire
Ummera Smoked Chicken (served with a Cajun Potato Salad). Lovely contrast after days of turkey!

Rwandan Coffee, the Cup of Excellence award winning Maraba Sovu 2012 lot #14,  via Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club.

Organic Pink Bubbles (made from Cabernet Franc) from Chateau Miniere and Domaine du Clos d’Epinay Vouvray Brut. Souvenirs of the summer holidays in the Loire Valley.

Mella’s Rum & Raisin Handmade West Cork Fudge.

Ummera smoked chicken.
Cashel Blue mature and Warre’s LBV Port (2002).

The Cornstore’s Plum infused Whiskey.

Dungarvan Coffee and Oatmeal Stout, by now a Christmas standard.

Eight Degrees Zeus Black IPA, 7%. Looks like a rich dark porter but tastes like a pungent IPA.

Fleming's fantastic Orchard Chutney.
Fleming’s Orchard Chutney (Apples, Pears and Green Tomatoes from their own orchard).

Barrie Tyner’s Pates (from the local Farmers Markets, inc. Mahon).

Pandora Bell’s Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios.

Cashel Blue

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Food and Drink Spotting

Food and Drink Spotting
Kate Lawlor's Spiced Beef, Horseradish Croquette

Get Cooking

Well done to Margaret Smith and Goodall’s on publishing A Modern Irish Cookbook in double quick time. Well illustrated and uncluttered, it is packed with recipes provided by dozens of bloggers and it neatly divided into sections: Light Bites, Brunch, Dinner, Bread and Sweet Things.

Lots of us don’t like Raw Oysters but have you ever tried them grilled. Zack has just the recipe for you: Grilled Oysters with a Bacon and Blue Cheese Crumb. Many eye catching pics in the book and one features Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise by Donna.

Lots and lots of Dinner recipes including Potato and Scallion Strudel with Local Pork and Apple Velouté by Fritz, the chef proprietor of County Down’s Strudel Bistro. From Kildare’s Kenny’s Kitchen comes a tasty looking Sausages with Lentils.

Some really promising looking bread recipes including the famous one by Avril of Rosscarbery Recipes titled: Cheddar, Stout and Black Pudding Bread.

Hard to resist the Sweet Things, especially the Plum, Cardamom and Almond Cake by JensKitchen and the Beetroot and Orange Blossom Fudge by Kate from Fenn’s Quay, known as FQChefess on Twitter.

I even got roped in – hard to say no to Margaret! You’ll find my Marinated Mushroom Salad on Page 9. The trick here is to skip the marination, entirely possible if you live in Cork. Just go to your local market and buy a jar of the delicious marinated mushrooms by Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, remove the top and pour them out onto your salad. Top class and no bother at all!

But do take a look at the book. Check it out on the top right corner of the screen and, remember, that proceeds go to two charities, including Cork’s own Penny Dinners!

Time for Port

I’m partial to a glass of Port at any time of year but know that many prefer it during the winter season and particularly at Christmas time. Some of you will have a favourite but, if not and even if you have, why not try the Taylor’s First Estate Reserve available at €11.99 from Bradley’s in North Main Street. It comes in a full bodied traditional classic style and is an excellent introduction to the Taylor’s style.

It is blended from young red wines and then mellowed for several years in oak casks and is a lovely after meal drink. Use it on its own or as a match with a salty cheese. The Taylor Port website is a very enjoyable one, with lots of information laid out in a simple clear way – see the entertaining section on Port traditions, for example.

Panama Joe

My current coffee is the most recent offering from the Robert Roberts’ Club and is a relative rarity in that it comes from Panama.

Gareth Scully says that coffees from Panama are few and far between and are highly sought after in the US and Germany. “Rancho Gotta Coffee Estate has been producing specialty coffee since 1985 and now produces solely Arabica coffee. The harvest is all done by hand. Rancho Gotta Coffee was one of the few coffees used at the 2011 World Coffee Tasters Championship in the Netherlands. I roasted this one to a medium level which is always important to make sure all the flavours in a coffee like this come through.”

“The medium roast compliments all the unique flavours, with strawberry, peach and dark chocolate notes. Among other things, are hints of blueberries as it cools. An incredible body to this coffee with a butterly feel to it too. Poetic license I know, but another great example of what specialty coffee should taste like….. Enjoy!”

David Hohnen, who visited Ballymaloe last month,tells us about his Margaret River Porkers

Christmas offers from Amandine Confectionery 

Blair’s Inn nominated for Good Food Ireland Award!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Enjoying Great Coffees in 2012


It has been a bright start to 2012 on the coffee front with some brilliant stuff passing through the Cafetiere, including top cups from Sumatra, Guatemala and Ecuador.

The long established Dublin company Robert Roberts  are my regular supplier, via their Coffee Connoisseur Club, and I started the year with their Sumatra Wahana. The Wahana Estate sits between 1300 and 1500 metres above sea level, higher than Carrantuohill, and Roberts say it is ideal for this type of coffee.

You get a decent amount of technical info from Roberts including the fact that this is known as a “parchment” coffee. Part of the process is carried out with the green seed with the parchment shell attached. In any event, it is an excellent drink, bold and fruity. Gareth Scully recommended it with milk. I tried it but preferred it black, as always!

Fermoy roasters Badger and Dodo  have been making waves in the coffee world in recent months and you’ll find their products at some markets (including Douglas on Saturdays) and also in Curious Wines (Kinsale Road) and at Bradley’s in North Main Street,

I picked up a pack of their beans in Bradley’s and there was a tempting aroma in the kitchen as I ground down the Guatemala Finca La Perla. They source from quality single origin estates and the website is worth a visit, not just for the coffees but also for the equipment.

Must say, I was really impressed with the La Perla, a very clean cup with a delicate but satisfying mouthfeel. A tempting introduction to the range that I will explore further.

The high standard continued with the latest delivery from Robert Roberts: Ecuadorian Las Tolas, a light and sweet variety. Gareth Scully says that Ecuadorian coffees are not the most complex in the world “but they have that Central American classic cup taste profile – medium bodied with a hint of sweetness and a light floral background note”.

Must say I don’t pick of half the hints of this and notes of that that the coffee blenders talk about but I’ll also say that I am thoroughly enjoying this one. And looking forward to the next one.

Perhaps Badger and Dodo have a point that the equipment you use may help you appreciate more the finer points.

Saturday, December 10, 2011



Just rejoined the club. No. Not the Sports Club!

My first renewal for 2012 is the Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club. Cost has gone up a bit to €59.00 but it is still very competitive. I’ve seen another one being pushed on the net for close to double the price.

Delighted with the way Robert Roberts, a long established Irish company, ran the club last year and delighted with the selection of excellent coffees. Master Blender Gareth Scully took us on a world trip: from Brazil to Malawi to India to Columbia.

Not a bad choice among the 12. The really strong ones wouldn’t have been among the favourites but they weren’t too many. Indeed, one of the strongest ones I came across was outside the club: a summer sample from Roberts called New York Roast #6.

This was strong, like a yellow cab engine powering away from the kerb. Come tumbling down in the morning, mumbling and grumbling and this one would growl back at you: get up, get out and get on with it, wimp!

My favourites? Well, the current one, a Honduran Pacamara from the family owned Finca Santa Maria, is going down very well indeed. I also liked the co-op coffee called Malawi Mzuzu AAA, the organic Ethiopian Yiracheffe was another favourite, as was the Organic Peruvian Cecovesa (another co-op, Fair-trade, organic and Rainforest approved!),

The Bastilla Farm in Nicaragua has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance and supplied the August offering, the well liked Finca la Bastilla. Guatemala’s Los Volcanes was a bit stronger but excellent and I also liked the full bodied Kenyan AA Mwiega Estate offering.

All in all, it was a very good performance by the Coffee Club and I’m sure Gareth and company will be doing the same for us in 2012. Looking forward to it already.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011



Joined the Robert Roberts Connoisseur Coffee Club at the start of the year and have enjoyed the experience so far. A new pack arrives every month and the cost, paid upfront, works out at about four euro a pack.

A high standard was set by the first one in January, a medium strong Brazilian Bruzzi and the packs that followed, which came from all over the coffee producing world, maintained the high standard.

Next came the unusual Monsoon Malabar  from India followed by the more delicate Sigri A  from Papua New Guinea.

April saw the arrival of the Columbian Paraiso followed by a purple patch as far as I was concerned starting with the Malawi Mzuzu AAA.

The June edition featured another African, a good strong Organic Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia, and then followed two more of my favourites: Organic Peruvian Cecovesa and August’s Finca La Bastilla from Nicaragua. Just finished the September pack of Guatemala’s Los Volcanes, again good and strong.

That means an opening later on today of the October pack which comes from Kenya and is named the AA Mweiga Estate. Gareth Scully, the Master Blender at Roberts , is very happy with this very aromatic full bodied cup and he hasn’t let us down yet! Looking forward to that!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011



Been falling behind on my coffees (mainly due to the long holiday – didn’t take any of my specials with me).
These specials are coming to me monthly, thanks to my membership of the Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club.  I’m not the connoisseur, by the way, but I sure am enjoying these offerings.

They changed continents in May, moving from South America to Africa, to Malawi in particular. And Roberts came up with a gem here: Malawi Mzuzu AAA. The co-op produces some cracking examples of Arabica coffee.

This had a substantial body, well balanced from start to finish and one that you won't be leaving behind you until you finish it off.

The June offering also came from Africa, from somewhat further north. It is Organic Ethiopian Yiracheffe. This is aromatic and quite rich, darker than the Malawian because Master blender Gareth Scully wanted to “ensure those wind and earthy citrus flavours are there with a good spicy aroma and a full syrupy aftertaste”.

Must admit I’d find it difficult to discern all the scents and flavours mentioned by Gareth but it is certainly one good cup of coffee.

It is back cross the Atlantic for the July pack: Organic Peruvian Cecovesa. I haven’t opened that yet but better get a move on before the August offering arrives.

On the tea front, I’ve been enjoying recent purchases from Little Buddha  in McCurtain Street, particularly the plain Shu Pu Erh, a four year old from the Menghai district in the Yunnan province of China.

The other loose tea I have at present is Pu Erh Pomegranate and Nettle (also includes orange peel and thistle flowers). This flavoured mix (79% black Pu Erh) has quite a sweet smell in the bag but that doesn’t mean the tea in the cup smells of seeds and flowers. 

It does have a flowery scent for sure and that is transferred, in  a very moderate way, to the cup, which I find, somewhat to my surprise, quite tasty indeed. A nice change from the straight Pu Erh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



Gareth Scully, Master Blender at Robert Roberts, tells us that the Columbian Paraiso Coffee is a mid morning one. No problem with that; mid-morning is my favourite coffee time and this one is just perfect.

Indeed, it is the fourth in 2011 Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club and keeps up the high standard set by Brazilian Bruzzi (Jan), Monsoon Malabar (Feb), Sigri A (Mar).

Scully: “Columbia produces some of the most complex coffees in the world and this little gem is no exception.”  He felt a lighter roast was best to make this coffee “really deliver” and it was roasted for 11 minutes @191 degrees and released 30 seconds after the first crack.
The name Paraiso is taken from the village at the centre of the local co-op and I really enjoyed this one from the first sip. Tasty and well balanced, the flavour is complex and it has a long aftertaste, a classic coffee. Gareth suggested trying it both black and with milk saying the addition of milk and its cooling down effect give a little extra length to its body. Not too keen on the milk. Maybe I’ ll get someone else to try it.

Monday, April 18, 2011



Petroleum and coffee had no value a few centuries ago.  Now, they keep us going. And this new coffee will keep you going more than most.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



No. Not a mis-spelling of Sangria. Not alcoholic at all, in fact.

Sigri A is the latest coffee I’ve received as a fully paid up member of the Robert Roberts Coffee Connoisseur Club and it comes all the way from the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea (pictured).

Was it worth the journey? Had my doubts when I read it was a fine and delicate coffee and also noticed the colour, which was quite light compared to most of the coffees I’ve known.

Gareth Scully, the Master Blender at Roberts, suggests it is ideal in the morning - when your palate “is a bit more open to taste”. He has a point. If you yourself are feeling a little “delicate” in the morning, then this is the one for you.

I have drunk it at other times also and have grown to like it, even though it is certainly no way near as strong as the Monsoon Malabar, last month’s selection.  Gareth suggests using milk but I never do. The Sigri is a really nice subtle coffee, well balanced and a fine finish indeed. No need for supports or disguises.

The artisan producers apparently take a little more time over the beans and Roberts went for a lighter roast here, 11 minutes at 189 degrees with the beans released 50 seconds after the first crack is heard. Nice choice Gareth and well handled.

This is the third in series. The first was a Brazilian Bruzzi. From where in their world will Mr Scully pull the next gem from?

Thursday, March 3, 2011



Last summer, I saw some old tobacco sheds in the Dordogne, sheds where they can open the sides to allow in the sun and the drying wind. But, on the south west coast of India, they have sheds that are opened during the monsoon to allow the moist winds circulate around the coffee beans laid out on the floor.

The process, which includes raking and turning, goes on for 3 or 4 months and ,at the end ,the beans have swollen to twice their original size and have turned a pale golden colour. This is the coffee that Gareth Scully, Master Blender at long standing award winning Irish company Robert Roberts, has chosen for us, the members of their Coffee Connoisseur Club, for the month of February.

“To achieve the strong strength we felt would best suit the Monsoon Malabar, the beans were roasted for 11 minutes at 205 degrees, and  released one minute after the second crack is heard.”

As a result, the coffee is strong with a full body, a good deal stronger than the Bruzzi (the January choice). It is full of flavour, not really sweet but not too acidic either.

Important here, and indeed with most coffees, is to use water that has just gone off the boil. If you use boiling water, you’ll end up with a bitter taste. Patience, like that used by the Indian producers and the Dublin roasters, is required! To find out more, click here 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



Cheers up and down the Broomhill Road in Dublin recently as Robert Roberts celebrated their unprecedented success at the 2010 Great Taste Awards in London.

Master Roaster and Blender Garath Scully: “These awards are a great boost to us. ...nice to see that an Irish company can hold its own with international competition. All of us here in the factory are thrilled.”

To celebrate the incredible success, Robert Roberts have given us a hamper of their award winning teas and coffees for you.

To be in with a chance of winning just answer the following question. How many Gold Stars were Robert Roberts awarded in the 2010 Great Taste Awards:

A – 6

B – 12

C – 20

Send answer with name and address to before 8.00am on August 16th next.

For more info (not to mention a huge hint) check out these links.

Great Taste Awards

Robert Roberts