Wanna hear us get humbled and schooled?
Interested in exploring whether expensive really means better when it comes to coffee and wine? Or how we’re getting it wrong when it comes to storing coffee and wine?!
This is a collaborative episode in which we get together with Scott and Jools from the brilliant Adventures in Coffee podcast. We give them a blind wine tasting, they serve us a blind coffee tasting. Hilarity and humiliation ensue – as well as lessons about how to get the biggest bang for your buck in both.
There are tips, confessions, jeopardy and fun galore in this crossover episode. There’s even mention of plastic beach balls, de-gassing and 1974 Barolo. Enjoy!
ps Do check out the brilliant Adventures in Coffee podcast!
pps Buy our delicious English sparkling wines, with all profits going to the Marine Conservation Trust charity via this link: The Big English Wine Adventure. You can find out more here: our Big English Wine Adventure.
1. Viña del Cura Rioja 2020, 13% (was £5 at time of recording, now £6.75, Tesco)
2. Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2016, 14.3% (from £13.99, Majestic)
3. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja Reserva 2009, 13% (From £29.99 for the 2008, Majestic)
1. Origin Coffee Coffee Roasters, Los Altos, Washed coffee from Nicaragua (£8.00 for 250g, Origin Coffee)
2. Sainsbury’s Fairtrade Colombian Coffee, Taste the Difference (£3.50 for 227g, Sainsburys)
3. Origin Coffee Roasters, Washed Casona Geisha from Mierisch family in Nicaragua (£30, no longer for sale)
Susie: Hello. I’m Susie Barrie. I’m here with my husband and fellow Master of Wine, Peter Richards. And this is Wine Blast.
Welcome. Except this time we’re not just talking wine. We’re also talking coffee.
Peter: Coffee, which is a bit of a turn-up for the books isn’t it?!
Susie: It is indeed.
Peter: Given you hadn’t touched coffee for 30 years before we recorded this episode. Can that really be true?
Susie: It’s true, it’s true.
Peter: I mean what other massive secrets do you have? Any other kind of long term abstentions we should know about?
Actually, when I think about it don’t answer that.
Unless maybe it’s about Viognier.
Susie: It is true though, it is a bit weird but I am a wine and tea girl at heart, but it was great to do something a bit different, be pushed out of my comfort zone and at the same time do a new kind of collaboration.
Peter: It was a fun collaboration.
Susie: It was, it really was.
Peter: We even managed to humiliate ourselves, which is always nice.
Peter: Yeah. In fact, this was what our co-host had to say:
Scott: ‘Can I just say one thing? Man you’re cheap dates’
Susie: Proud moments.
Susie: Let’s not give too much away just yet.
Let’s limit ourselves to saying we are very big fans of the Adventures in Coffee podcast, with its co-hosts Scott Bentley and Jools Walker plus producer James Harper, who we did this collaboration with.
Peter: Yeh, but before we get started, we did just want to share a message didn’t we. Which we recently received from Paul in Wimbledon.
Paul: Hi, Peter and Susie, just a quick message. My wife and I have bought one of your three packs from the Wine Society recently.
Cracked open the first bottle last night. It was the Pinot Noir from Danbury Ridge.
Absolutely fantastic wine.
I just wanted to say how much we loved it.
Really enjoyable bottle for a Saturday night in these stressful times.
So great work. And we can’t wait to drink the two sparklings.
Keep up the good work with the podcast. Thanks.
Susie: Cheers, Paul. It is so kind of you to support our Big English Wine Adventure.
And thanks to all of you who have bought the wines too. All profits are going to save our seas and our planet via the excellent work of the Marine Conservation Society.
The three packs have now all sold out from the Wine Society.
But you can still get hold of our fabulous Hampshire sparkling wines with their unique collector’s item street art labels by Hendog. They’re on sale via Hattingley Valley from just £35 and we will put the link on our show notes.
Peter: Yeh back to coffee then. And this does tie in a bit with our previous podcast, doesn’t it? Which was all about our favourite non-alcoholic cocktail.
Equally at this point, I just wanted to reassure you all. We are not losing the faith. We’re certainly not doing dry January.
We just thought it might be a good time to explore some non-wine subjects right now.
Susie: And there is plenty of wine in this episode too frankly, so to explain.
The lovely guys at Adventures in Coffee got in touch because well, when you think about it, there’s a lot of common ground between coffee and wine.
There’s terroir, expensive products, complex processes.
There’s serving and storing etiquette, not to mention all-around geekery frankly.
Peter: Why are you looking at me when you say that.
Susie: I’m not really a born geek.
But there are plenty.
Peter: They’re also fun people.
Susie: They are lovely.
Peter: We got to work, and we quickly realised the best thing to do would be to get together and focus on a couple of the big questions like um is expensive coffee and wine really worth it? How to get the biggest bang for your buck with both, and also what we’re doing wrong in terms of storing our wine and our coffee.
Susie: Yeah, and we thought a fun and and very honest way to go about this was to do a blind taste test for each other.
So we gave Scott and Jools wines at different prices to taste without them knowing what they were, to see which they preferred and whether they could guess the right prices.
And then them doing the same to us with coffee, throwing in a few top tips along the way.
Peter: But the pressure, the pressure, I think it got to us especially given that in the tasting we knew there was a super expensive world champion, highly revered coffee up against the cheap supermarket one.
Susie: I mean, I don’t drink the stuff.
Peter: But then, on the flip side, we went with the Rioja angle didn’t we?
So a five quid bottle from Tesco.
Susie: Vina del Cura, wasn’t it, 2020?
Peter: Yeah. So young. Sort of joven style.
Then we had the Marques de Riscal Reserva 2016.
Susie: Which is £13.99 from Majestic.
Peter: That was our mid price bottle for them.
And then expensive bottle was the Viña Tondonia Reserva 2009.
Susie: Yeah, that’s about 30 quid from Majestic
Peter: Which was a real treat wasn’t it.
Susie: It was. It really was
Peter: We’d like to say a big thank you to Majestic for providing those wines.
Susie: Now it’s important to say that this recording has already gone out via the Adventures in Coffee podcast feed with Scott and Jools introducing our encounter in their own unique way.
And I don’t want to pre-empt anything. But this episode with us introducing could be described as our ‘right to reply’. And we’ll come onto that in our comments after the recording you’re about to hear.
Peter: Suffice it to say that, you know, in this episode we’ve got what
Susie: We’re just making excuses now aren’t we.
Peter: We’ve got jeopardy. We’ve got confessions we’ve got, you know, definitely humiliation.
Even got the odd plastic beach ball to liven things up and hopefully distract you.
We also hear from Adventures and Coffee producer James, who had flown all the way over from Berlin to join in the fun.
And he was, I think, important, vital in maintaining order and also being the voice of Big Brother in the recording.
Susie: Yeah. So the recording took place, just so you know, in a little back room at Origin Coffee Roasters in Suffolk. So thanks so much to them for having us. And hopefully that just helps set the scene for what is now to follow.
Peter: Hi, guys.
Scott: Hello, Peter.
Susie: Hello. Hello.
Peter: So should we introduce ourselves?
Scott: Sounds great.
Peter: Okay, you go first.
Scott: My name’s Scott Bentley.
I am the founder of Caffeine magazine.
And as Jools loves to point out, I’m an all round coffee dork.
Scott: Tell us about yourself, Peter.
Peter: So I’m Peter Richards.
I’m a master of wine, and I’m gonna see your coffee dork, and I’m gonna raise you a wine nerd.
Scott: Love it.
Peter: Jools, Come on.
Jools: Well, my name is Jools.
Some people know me as Lady Velo on certain parts of the Internet.
I’m very much your everyday coffee lover.
And most people will also know me for being that woman who likes to ride bikes and talk about them.
Susie: And then there’s me. I’m here too.
I’m Susie, former actress, also a master of wine, what I am, though, is a non-coffee drinker.
So I would say I haven’t drunk coffee for probably a good 30 years.
I’m not sure if this is where I tell you to get out or whether I say good another victim.
Peter: So in the same way that Susie, you know, hasn’t touched coffee for 30 years.
Which you guys, I’m clearly seeing that you guys see that as a challenge.
What about you guys with wine?
Scott: Haven’t touched the stuff?
No, I haven’t ever touched it – every Friday night
Jools: Lies lies.
But no, I’m not a wine expert in any way, shape or form.
Scott: Susie, tell me, tell our dear listener actually, you know why we here?
I mean, I’m glad you’re here, and I’m glad you bought the booze.
But why are we here?
Susie: Well we’re here, I mean, really, the idea here is you know, there’s quite a bit of crossover between coffee and wine.
And what we thought was it would be great to kind of address the bigger questions or the questions we get asked, you get asked.
You guys get asked.
We get asked all the time about either wine or coffee.
So the first thing we thought we’d look at is what we might call the sweet spot in terms of price versus quality.
So you know, from a wine point of view, what we’re going to do is take a cheap wine, a moderately priced wine, and then more expensive wine.
Give them to you guys, see what you think.
Which do you prefer?
You know, where does that sweet spot lie?
Peter: How do I get the biggest bang for my buck when I’m buying this stuff?
And I think there’s very much that there for coffee, too.
So we’ll do the same with coffee and see how you guys get on too.
Susie: And finally, we might look at storage as well. How best to store your wine or your coffee.
Susie: I’m sure there are good ways and not such good ways.
Peter: Yeah, we’re going to share with you some terrible things we do with coffee.
I can see you sweating already.
Scott: It’s the espresso machines in this room that’s making me hot.
Not, not the rage that’s kind of like boiling inside me.
But you know, guys, my throat’s quite dry.
Peter: Do you need something to drink?
Scott: I need something to drink.
Susie: Let’s get on with it.
Peter: We didn’t want to push it on you too early but let’s go for it.
Scott: Susie and Peter currently are running around pulling glasses and wine out of boxes and bags.
Jools: Oh I’ve been passed my first glass of wine.
Susie: Wine number one, so these wines are all Rioja, so they’re all from the same region.
They’re all red wines.
They’re different price points.
So we’ve got £5, we’ve got £13, we’ve got £30.
Peter: But maybe we should do a little bit of a very, very, very, very quick recap on how to taste wine.
See Scott and Jools you’re both automatically doing something which I always say to people. If you don’t anything about wine, the one thing you do is lift your glass up, tip it 45 degrees and just stare into it, really hard with a mixture of sort of anger, rage, rage and a bit of kind of intrigue.
You do that in a in a wine bar.
People will think that this person knows their stuff or you do that at a dinner party and people, your host will think, oh my God, I’ve got to get the best wine out of my cellar because this person clearly knows what they’re doing.
Scott: I’m holding the stem here.
You don’t use a claw hands around the glass.
Susie: That’s absolutely, you’re so right, Scott.
So hold the stem, literally because what you really want is the temperature of the wine in the glass to stay the same.
All that’ll happen with your hand, depending on how hot, hot hands you’ve got, it will warm up the wine so you don’t want to warm up the wine, particularly white.
This is red, but particularly if it’s white.
So the idea is that you just hold the stem so the wine stays that same temperature.
Scott: So I’ve got this lovely wine in front of us it’s our first one.
We’ve got three price points.
Susie: So we’ve got £5, we’ve got £13, and the third wine is £30.
But we haven’t said which order we’ve given you them.
So this is one of the wines.
So it’s either £5 or £13 or £30.
Scott: So where’s the cheap one?
Peter: We’re not going to give you any clues.
Scott: No, no, no.
Where’s the cheap wine the first one’s a fiver.
Susie: Sorry we start with five.
James: Hey there. So you haven’t heard my voice yet?
I’m James, the producer behind Adventures In Coffee.
And I’m jumping in to let you in on a little secret.
What Scott and Jools don’t know.
So the first wine they’re tasting, this is the £5 wine, the cheapest.
Peter: Talk us through what you’re tasting or what you’re smelling. What are your impressions?
Scott: I’m getting a little astringency.
So it’s a little bit drying.
Jools: It tastes fruity to me.
I’m not getting.
It doesn’t feel for me, oaky
It feels quite heavy.
Peter: So I’m going to pour you the next wine now.
Wine number two
Still not telling you the prices.
James: So for the £5 supermarket wine, Scott and Jools found it a little bit astringent, quite fruity and not very oaky.
And now they’re going to taste the mid priced wine, £13 a bottle.
Scott: You’re gonna hate what I’m going to say about this one.
The aroma of this, it reminds me of when I was a youngster, I would go down to the beach in Bournemouth and we would always go past the really cheap shop that would sell, like all the inflatables and all the postcards.
And this smells like the plastic blow up balls that you used to get.
Jools: Wow that’s specific.
Peter: Was that a happy time for you, Scott?
Scott: It was an amazing time in my life.
Peter: Isn’t that wonderful though, the way that these drinks can evoke very specific memories.
Scott: I love the way you are taking that as a positive Peter.
Susie: What do you think Jools?
Jools: It doesn’t smell as fruity as the first one.
Susie: Leaving aside plastic beach balls.
What do you smell?
Jools: It’s got more of a woody smell to me.
Peter: Do you like that or not?
Jools: I do.
Of the two.
This one feels less sweet, and I feel like I prefer this one of the two that we’ve just tried.
Scott: Absolutely Jools. I definitely prefer this one.
I think this one feels more refined.
So the first one feels like if it was a painting, it was a big, thick brush stroke.
Whereas this actually feels like it’s a lot finer in its detail.
It just has a… It has more of an elegance about it I would say. The first wine just felt a bit kind of like Boom.
James: So Scott and Jools definitely prefer the mid priced wine, the £13 wine over the £5 supermarket wine, and that’s because they found it less sweet and more refined.
Okay, now here’s the most expensive £30 wine.
Peter: Yeah, okay, so here’s wine number three.
Jools: Now, this one feels even woodier than the last one that I tried and I’m not.
I’m not getting lots of fruit
Scott: But I’m getting the fruit at the end.
I’m definitely getting more astringency with this one than the second one, but not as much as the first.
Susie: So you’ve had all three wines.
Which would you say, is your favourite wine?
One, two or three?
Jools: It’s three.
Scott: I quite like three.
Jools: Number one now feels like it was far too sweet and almost two light.
It didn’t feel like it had a lot going on with it.
Two and three.
You feel like there are a lot more complex to me.
Susie: So the second question is, which one do you think is which in terms of price?
Scott: I definitely think the first one was the £5, the other two, though I’m not sure, because it might just be that I’ve got a cheap palate and Jools, you’ll attest to that.
I think the first one was 5.
Second one was 30.
Third one was the mid priced 13.
Jools: I think the first one was the five.
I think the second one was the mid price one, and the third one was the most expensive one of the three.
Susie: Well, we can reveal that Jools, you were right in terms of price.
So the first one, which you both absolutely nailed, you knew it was the £5.
Peter: Can we just have a second to respect these guys performance.
Susie: Very good. Would you rather, actually, given the price point. Would you rather just buy wine two?
Scott: I think I would be very happy with wine two.
Susie: And is wine three worth the extra 17 or whatever pounds?
Scott: Probably not, in my opinion, but I don’t understand it enough to warrant that.
Peter: That’s very fairly said, because I think really, to get the most out of that £30 wine, which is a really complex wine, you need to understand it.
You need to understand the context of Rioja, what they’re trying to do in that Rioja, how that wine has been made, and why therefore, it should be worth this.
Now the first wine we tried, is a young Joven Rioja.
So you make it, you pump it out, you don’t age it, you get it out.
Susie: You know, they’ve kept as much sweet fruit as they can.
Or ripe fruit as they can to make it easy, easy drinking.
Peter: It’s bold, but it’s quite simple.
There’s not much extra stuff going on there.
You just get that whack of fruit and then that’s it. Which is fine, if that’s what you like.
Susie: But but let’s let’s look at the price in a different way.
It’s a £5 bottle.
Now, if you look at how much wine you actually get in a £5 bottle, it’s about 25 pence worth of wine in a £5 bottle.
If you go up, for example, to £20 a bottle, you would imagine that’s four times as much you’re paying for the wine.
Surely you get a pounds worth of wine. In a £20 bottle you get approximately £7 worth of wine, so it’s a huge difference.
Peter: Just by paying that little bit more what you’re actually getting in terms of yield for the wine, the investment in the wine, the quality of the wine, therefore, is a huge amount more.
Scott: Because it costs the same to transport a cheap wine than an expensive wine.
Packaging might be a bit more expensive in an expensive wine, but your duty is the same, your logistics are the same.
There’s so much that is the same.
Peter: But to go on to describe the differences between the wine. The first wine, very simple and fruity.
The second wine we had, which is £12.99, which is the Marques de Riscal Reserva 2016.
So the first wine we had was very young wine
Susie: 2020, literally a year old.
Peter: So it’s four years older, but has been aged in oak barrels, and it’s been kept in the winery for at least 3 or 4 years.
So you think again, about cost of tying up that amount of stock.
Some of these Rioja wineries have thousands and thousands of barrels that they’re keeping and ageing the wine for you.
When it’s shipped, it’s ready for you to drink, so there’s another difference there, which is the age of the wine.
The third wine is 2009.
So again, that’s how old now? Twelve years old. So you’re paying for a bit of age.
What happens as a wine ages, the fruit tends to drop out, and you get much more of these.
What’s called secondary or tertiary characteristics, like wood, like wood smoke, mushroomy, earthy, tobacco, cedar, the fruit becomes sort of dried fruit, but it’s much less primary.
Now that’s up to you whether you like that or not.
Peter: I feel we need to bring on the coffee.
Susie: I might start bouncing off the walls, though, because I genuinely haven’t drunk coffee for about 30 years.
Jools: 30 years?
Susie: Oh, yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a long time.
I just I just don’t drink coffee.
Not for reasons where I thought coffee was bad.
So very briefly, I at one point went to the doctors, had high cholesterol, and at that time I wasn’t a big coffee drinker.
But what I would drink is a tiny bit of coffee from Starbucks with loads and loads of full fat milk in it.
And I thought, well, if I cut out my coffees, I would probably be able to (no scientific evidence behind this) I’d probably be able to lower my cholesterol, and so I sort of stopped drinking coffee and then just never went back to it
Scott: But never thought your cholesterol has nothing to do with the full fat milk.
Peter: So in a way, Susie’s coffee intake was actually more milk and coffee.
Susie: So, Scott, tell us what we’re tasting in terms of the range of coffees.
Scott: So very much in the same vein as what you presented in terms of the wine, I’m going to present to you three coffees.
This is filter coffee.
This is black.
So we have no sugar, no milk.
They’ve been brewed as a filter coffee.
It’s coffee grounds with hot water through a paper filter.
Now I’ve got three coffees here.
I’m going to give you one, which is a supermarket coffee.
This is priced at £3.50 for a bag, which I think is around 250 grammes.
So the second coffee is more expensive.
This is going to be £9 for a bag of coffee.
So this is a speciality coffee.
This is from our friends here at Origin Coffee Roasters.
Our third one is it’s quite an expensive coffee.
This is going to be £30 for a bag of coffee.
It’s not even the same size bag, it’s like half the size, 125 grammes.
Susie: What’s interesting straight away.
I know we’ve got the three coffees in front of us.
We have no idea, which is which.
They are completely different colours.
So they go from a sort of a mid, almost slightly ruby brown to a deeper slightly what I described as a nut brown to really dark, almost black.
Peter: Inky black.
Susie: Well, a sort of brown black, isn’t it?
Peter: Come on, bring it on, bring on the coffee.
James: So Scott and Jools have just served Peter and Susie the first coffee in this tasting, and it is the mid priced speciality coffee.
£9 a bag.
The colour is not dark and black ink.
It’s not light ruby brown, but it’s the middle nut brown colour.
Scott: Give a sniff first
Susie: I get something a bit smoky there.
Peter: Sort of tiny bit of caramelization
Susie: A little bit of sort of a tobacco scent.
Scott: One of the things I think is really important to talk about is how we talk about coffee and how we talk about wine. Now, some of the words that we were using regarding the wine.
If you use those words in coffee circles, there will often be negative words
Peter: Really, like what.
Scott: So what if you were to say things like something tastes woody or something tastes tobaccoey or something like that, often within specialty coffee they’re not words that we prize.
Peter: OK, interesting.
Scott: Now it’s not to say the coffees don’t taste like that.
It’s just that they’re often not the words that we prize.
Peter: What are the terms which are good?
What do you look for in a good coffee?
Scott: So within specialty coffee what we generally are looking for are fruit brightness, sweetness.
What we’re usually not looking for is things like smokiness, ashiness, woodyness.
We’re looking for things which represent the fruit of the coffee bean.
Often what we’re trying to do is preserve as much of the origin of the terroir.
Peter: Fascinating, okay, thank you.
Susie: Okay, so with a filter coffee, I would love to put some milk in.
So that’s the, you know I don’t know how good or bad that is.
Scott: Dairy from a purist perspective alters the flavour.
Essentially, what it does is it puts a blanket over the coffee – so it softens everything, which is really probably what a lot of people want when you’re drinking an espresso.
You want softness around the espresso because it’s quite a tough drink to drink on its own.
However, for myself on filter coffee.
It’s more dilute.
It’s more subtle.
I probably wouldn’t want to put milk on that because it would soften it out too much.
And I would lose a lot of what I was there to drink.
Susie: I’m smelling something slightly fruity now as well actually.
It sort of just tastes like coffee. It doesn’t get me terribly excited. It’s fine.
I wouldn’t stop my lifetime of no coffee for this.
It doesn’t convert me.
James: Okay, so for the specialty coffee, the £9 per bag.
Susie and Peter found it a bit smoky, tobaccoey, some caramelization going on, some fruitiness towards the end.
But Susie hasn’t been convinced yet to embrace coffee again. For her it just tasted like coffee.
Now they’re going to try the £3.50 cheap supermarket coffee.
Peter: Okay, so that’s number one.
Can we have number two, please maestro?
Scott: We can.
So how would you describe this in terms of colour?
Susie: Was the darkest one, wasn’t it?
I think this is what I described as brown black.
This immediately smells more interesting to me.
I get more of a slightly kind of licorice and a sort of a bitter chocolate smell.
It seems more intense.
Peter: The texture seems a little bit softer.
It just seems to have a little bit more intensity and roundness to it and maybe a little bit more nuance.
Susie: Oh that’s so intense, yeah and there’s like a, I don’t know if this is the right terminology, but like a citric note to its bitterness, that’s kind of refreshing and bitter.
I would rather drink that.
Scott: How are you feeling about these ones Jools.
Jools: The second one a bit too intense for me.
James: So Peter and Susie definitely prefer the £3.50 supermarket coffee over the £9 speciality coffee.
They liked the fact that had a licorice and bitter chocolate flavour.
It was quite intense, a little bit citric.
But now what are they going to think about the most expensive coffee?
30 quid for half a bag.
Peter: So we’ve got number three here.
Palest in colour
Scott: It was pale yeah
Peter: almost get sort of herbal character sort of green character from that one aromatically.
Something a bit odd as well.
Susie: Oh, that both smells and tastes cheap because I’ve got a slight whiff immediately of that slightly stale instant coffee jar.
Am I getting this all wrong?
I probably am.
Peter: Initial impressions, that last one you served us, Scott was the least likely for me to want to have some more.
I really hope that’s the cheapest, stalest one.
Susie: So my feeling is the third one definitely would be my least favourite.
So I’m assuming that is maybe the cheapest one.
Susie: Out of the first two. I appreciate both of them. Personally, given I would probably not have a coffee very often and I probably am looking for a little bit of extra coffee hit from it.
I would probably go for number two as my choice.
Scott: And, Peter, how do you feel in terms of preference, and then what are the price points?
Peter: Yeah, I’m depressingly similar I’m afraid.
James: Susie and Peter said they prefer the £3.50 supermarket coffee the most, followed by the £9 per bag speciality coffee.
But they disliked the most the 30 quid coffee.
Scott: Can I just say one thing?
Man you’re cheap dates.
Susie: Are we, are we?
Peter: Are you serious?
What, go on.
Scott: The first coffee was our mid priced coffee.
Scott: So I think you basically kind of nailed that.
Peter: Did we get those two the wrong way round.
Scott: Our middle coffee, number two, that you both loved.
Is £3.50 coffee from the supermarket and the most expensive, the £30 coffee, is the one that you dislike the most
Peter: Talk us through, what, is that kind of funky flavour part of the appeal?
Scott: So the coffee you preferred was the second coffee, which was the cheap coffee.
And I think the reason that you like this is because it has a structure and it’s what you know.
This is what you understand coffee to be, and I think that’s the same for many, many people, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
And I think what the supermarkets do is they hit the nail on the head.
They know what people want and they give it to them for a good price.
My problem with coffee number two is that I believe this to be rather generic, and I also believe there’s very little nuance on this.
I also believe that it’s darkly roasted for consistency.
Some of the things that both myself and also James kind of noted, was that there are certain defects within that within that coffee.
And it’s not always something which is really, really obvious.
And I think one of the things that roasting a coffee darker tends to do is to make things taste a little bit more generic.
So it’s more difficult to pick out those nuances because everything has been flattened off.
And so any any defects, any sort of nuance just gets kind of pushed down a bit.
Number one, which I think was kind of both of yours.
This is a good mid price coffee, it’s been well sourced.
James: Scott’s referring to the £9 per bag speciality coffee.
Scott: This coffee would probably have been bought.
The green coffee, the raw ingredients of it would have probably paid, like £5 a kilo for this coffee, the second coffee that you both liked better
James: The £3.50 supermarket coffee.
Scott: That was probably a lot less.
That was probably less than £2 a kilo for the raw ingredients.
But I think what we’re really interested in here is, why do you not like the third coffee the really, really expensive coffee. From a panel of judges, like worldwide super respected judges, this was the finest coffee to come out of Nicaragua in 2020.
This is coffee that in the marketplace is highly highly revered by coffee snobs because it’s so different
Susie: But does different make it good?
Scott: This is your decision to make.
Susie: Do you like it?
Scott: I do like it.
Peter: How would you describe it?
Scott: So this coffee specifically is a Geisha varietal, so the bean is a different breed of bean, much in the way like a Cox’s Pippins apple versus a Granny Smith Apple
Peter: Or Merlot versus Cabernet.
So this is essentially a Geisha coffee.
It’s very difficult to grow.
It’s only grown at very high altitudes.
It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make this coffee.
But this coffee often produces quite floral notes.
You said herby, which is great because yes, it does have herbal qualities to it.
And for many people, this isn’t coffee.
For many people, this is more tea-like, but I think the thing is here its not what you expect.
Peter: I think you’ve confounded our expectations, and our expectations are pretty basic.
Susie hasn’t drunk this stuff for a long time.
I’m no expert, and I think absolutely.
The second coffee was just similar to what we were expecting
Susie: But I think, you know, it’s like we could get used, not we could get used to it, but we would probably get used to it and we’d probably quickly get beyond number two and say, ‘I’ve had that so many times it all tastes the same.’
Actually, I am looking for some nuance and some subtlety.
Um, you know, I remember the first time that I was introduced to Earl Grey tea as opposed to builders, and it was a bit weird, you know, it’s a bit flowery, and you think I’m not sure about this.
Now, years later, I love Earl Grey.
So I think it’s a journey, isn’t it?
Jools: So I have a question in regards to storing wine, so we have a very old bottle of wine at home.
We have a 1974 bottle of Barolo, and Ian was given it on his 40th birthday seven years ago
Peter: And just to clarify Ian’s your partner?
Jools: He’s my partner, and I genuinely don’t know if we’ve been storing it correctly, and all we knew to do was put it in a dark place, and somewhere that’s not to cold and not too hot.
So it has lived in a cupboard in our house, lying down.
It’s like was, was that correct?
We don’t know.
And then we got paranoid about keeping it in that cupboard, so we moved it to the drinks cabinet.
Now it’s standing up, and now we have this paranoia.
It’s not in anywhere that’s like, we don’t have a temperature-controlled room that it’s in, or anything like that at all.
Peter: So I’m sensing Jools, I’m sensing a lot of anxiety.
Peter: Wine should never make you anxious.
Susie: I think one of the things that’s the hardest thing when you are given or you buy, and it’s usually given, an amazing bottle of wine that you know has cost a lot of money.
What do I do with it?
And when do I drink it?
When do we open that bottle of wine?
And I would say that in terms of storage, you’ve done absolutely fine.
If you know you’re going to drink it, that’s absolutely fine.
An ideal, ideal world you know, which none of us live in would be to have it in a cellar at about 12 degrees C.
At about 65% humidity, you know, and lying on its side, it doesn’t have to be.
Most people store their wine lying on the side.
It’s quite convenient.
Doesn’t have to be as long as you’re not somewhere where it’s really dry drying, so you’re not.
If you’ve got the humidity or you’ve got the cooler temperature, it’ll be fine because the cork is not going to dry out.
That’s the only worry that the cork dries out and too much air gets in and oxidises the wine.
So on the whole, if you’ve left it standing up, it should be fine.
If it’s on its side, it should be fine.
The question really is when you drink it and you’ve got a Barolo that’s 1974 that is how old now 46, 47 years?
Jools: 47 years old.
Peter: And how long have you had this Jools.
Jools: It’s been seven years
Peter: Seven years, and can I ask why you haven’t drunk it in that time?
Jools: You know what?
It’s one of these things again, where, just as you said, if it’s something expensive that’s been gifted to you, we’re going to save it for a special occasion and it’s like, right there was the idea that he was actually gonna open it on his 40th birthday when he was presented with it.
But then it was that whole no, we’ll put it down and keep it for something else.
We don’t know what that something else has been.
There’s been like Christmasses where we thought we’ll have that, and it’s like, no, maybe Christmas isn’t the occasion for it.
Peter: I’m going to tell you two things now, Jools, the first thing is that good wine is not for good days.
Good wine can be for bad days.
In fact, why don’t we just do that?
Makes a bad day so much better.
If you’ve got a tube of Pringles, you want to have it with, and it’s feeling really bad.
And you you both want to have something to lift your mood.
That’s the time to have it.
The second thing is this.
I did do a little bit of research on 1974 because a little bird did tell me you had this bottle.
Can I read you what to Decanter say about the 1974 vintage, which is a wine magazine and website.
Jools: Do I need to stick my fingers in my ears?
Peter: No, because it’ll be funny.
Uh, snowy winter, late spring, hot and dry summer, mild autumn. Wines were fairly firm and tannic, with low acidity, but good, rich fruit.
Okay, that’s all by the by.
This was the killer line.
This was a good medium term drinking vintage, which should have all been drunk up by now.
Peter: Now, I am sure that your bottle will still be fine, but Jools you need to drink it.
Jools: Oh, my goodness.
Susie: What you’re going to need to do, though, is quite carefully decant it and then drink it quickly.
Because that wine is very fragile now, it’s 42 years or however how many years old, it will deteriorate immediately that you open it so just very carefully but swiftly decant it.
Get that sediment, leave the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and just drink it.
Susie: So enough about wine storage.
What we really want to know is how do you store your coffee perfectly?
Peter: We’ve got coffees we’ve had for…
Susie: No, no, don’t say that.
Susie: No, no, no.
Let’s just listen to Scott and Jools.
Scott: What I would say actually on the whole.
Fresher is better with coffee.
So what you’ll find is that once the coffee has been roasted, it’s essentially de gassing.
There’s like carbon dioxide is coming out of the beans and essentially it’s going stale.
So you really want to use coffee relatively quickly.
And I would say within a few months. Now, the reason I say don’t look at the best before date is because supermarkets, is where people buy their coffee a lot of time, they essentially want to leave that on the shelf for as longer period of time as possible.
But if you see a roasted date, you know when it was roasted, calculate three months off of that and you’re really in the sweet spot for coffee.
Peter: Okay, so it’s almost the opposite to wine.
Good wine should develop and improve with age.
Coffee is the opposite.
So you’re talking about even a really fine, really expensive coffee needs to be super fresh.
Susie: And if I’ve got this lovely coffee that somebody has given me, what do I do with it?
If I want to… say I want to open it, I get given it, I open it, make a cup of coffee or a pot of coffee, and then I want to drink it over the next three months.
What’s the best way of looking after it?
Scott: Okay, I’ll tell you, the worst thing that you could possibly do is to open it and leave in your fridge.
Peter: Can we just pause there Scott?
Susie: Don’t ask, no don’t.
Peter: So that’s something we absolutely do.
We open a nice bag of coffee that someone’s given us.
Susie: We put a little peg on it and we leave it in the fridge.
Peter: And then we’ll revisit it about six months later.
Susie: Yeh, when somebody comes around and wants a cup of coffee
Peter: And then we’ll repeat the process, probably for a couple of years.
Scott: Firstly, if you can have whole bean rather than pre ground, that’s always better, because as soon as you grind the coffee, you’re exposing a large surface area for the oxygenation of that coffee so if you can keep it whole bean that’s always going to be better.
And the reason I always say, please don’t put coffee in a fridge is because essentially a fridge is a moist atmosphere, and so the water gets into the coffee.
Not only that, fridges are very smelly places, and you have a substance which is desperate to suck in water suck in smells.
And that’s what it does.
Peter: Now that you say that I think our coffee has been tasting a bit of celery. But given clearly, we’ve been drinking bad coffee for a while, is it going to harm you?
And what’s the signs of a stale coffee?
What should we be looking out for freshness vs staleness.
Scott: So essentially stale coffee will taste flat.
It’ll taste generic, very uninteresting.
Peter: But this might explain why we haven’t been so keen on coffee.
If we’ve just been drinking bad coffee for a long time
Susie: I think you’re absolutely right.
But not keeping it in the fridge just in a cupboard then?
Scott:100% airtight container if possible, and just out of sunlight and an airtight container and you’re pretty good to go.
Peter: And actually, it’s not that we haven’t been drinking the right coffee.
It’s just that we may have been drinking right coffee, but we’ve stored it wrong.
Scott: Or just stored it for too long.
Just tried to keep it longer than it’s really kind of, it’s good for
Peter: Fantastic.Thank you.
Jools: Well, this has been an absolute pleasure, experiencing just the different facets of wine.
But my burning question that I have to ask Susie have we brought you over to the coffee side, is this it, is this a coffee revolution for you now?
Susie: Do you know this has been so fascinating and maybe more of a treat because I haven’t drank coffee for so long?
I’m coming at it completely fresh, and I will definitely, I promise you, add coffee into my drinking repertoire in the future.
Peter: There’s a lot to learn. I think the one thing we know now is there’s a lot to learn, but actually, we’re intrigued.
So I think we’ll go away and we’ll start experimenting and having some fun with coffee.
So thank you guys.
Scott: And you know what?
I might actually spend a bit more on wine now.
I think I think my £5 budget might have been bumped to at least 10.
Susie: We love it.
Peter: Jools obviously knows everything about wine.
So you can ask her as well in the future
Scott: Guys thank you so so much for your time, for your expertise, and thank you very much for getting me very slightly tipsy.
Peter: Likewise has been an absolute pleasure.
Thank you so much guys.
Peter: Now, I don’t want to put this too strongly, but I think we were hustled, totally hustled.
They saw us coming and they thought mugs.
Susie: Coffee mugs.
Peter: You know, they claimed to know nothing about wine.
But I’m pretty convinced now that Jools is some sort of world expert on orange wine.
And Scott clearly puts away a fair bit of wine in his spare time too, so I think, you know, we were hustled.
Susie: They’re just very fine tasters.
And we clearly don’t have a clue what we should be looking for when it comes to expensive speciality coffee.
Peter: There is that explanation too, but I don’t know, I prefer my version. It is an important thing to say actually, even the cheap coffee in our defence wasn’t Nescafé.
Susie: There are other brands of cheap coffee obviously.
Peter: There are other brands available, but do you know what I mean?
It was still decent-ish sort of.
Susie: It was to us.
Peter: Am I? No I’m not am I… But clearly we just had no frame of reference whatsoever for what’s good and bad in coffee.
Susie: Which is really interesting to know.
Peter: Yeah, it was equally really interesting that in coffee it’s all about the fruit and the brightness and the sort of sweetness, isn’t it, um, and not what we might term complexity in wine, like the smokiness or woodiness, or tobacco.
Susie: So all those obvious things that we think of as being complex, are not good in coffee.
Peter: That was the opposite, wasn’t it?
You know, in coffee, it’s all about preserving the fruit or the origin of the coffee bean.
Susie: Yeah, and I think I think Scott said, people prize the Geisha coffee because it’s almost tea-like, whereas we just found that a bit weirdly disconcerting.
I mean, it wasn’t what I would expect from coffee.
Peter: No, but given you haven’t drunk it for 30 years I’m not sure what you were expecting – you know, a nice, creamy latte?
Was that your drink of choice?
Susie: That’s all I used to drink anyway.
Peter: Massive milky latte. Not sure that classes as coffee does it?
Susie: I’m definitely not the right person to do this.
Peter: I know what you mean. I know what you mean.
We definitely need to up our coffee game, especially you know, when it comes to Geisha stuff like that.
Anyway, that’s all quite exciting isn’t it.
Susie: I bet it is with Geishas involved.
Peter: It’s a new thing to be able to learn about, isn’t it?
You know, building on our newfound enthusiasm, courtesy of Scott, Scott and Jools so thanks, guys.
Um, talking of which, I hope I wasn’t too harsh on Jools when it came to her 1974 Barolo.
Susie: You were mean.
I think you may just have broken her heart to be honest, and sorry to Ian too, frankly
But it does serve as a good reminder we all need to drink our special bottles, not just keep waiting for a special occasion that may never come.
And I say that as much to ourselves as to anyone, frankly, and plus that way you don’t have to worry too much about storage then do you. It’s gone.
Peter: Drink our special bottles, that’s a good learning outcome.
Susie: Drink them drink them, drink them up.
Peter: That said, we did do an episode on building a wine collection at home didn’t we.
Susie: We did we did.
Peter: Serious 2 Episode 12.
We were also doing a pretty good job of building a coffee collection at home, largely in the fridge.
Before Scott told us off.
So I can confirm that there is no longer coffee in our fridge.
We know that fresher is better.
And you can’t have open bags in there for six months.
Peter: Are you saying that to yourself?
Susie: I am I’m saying that to myself I am indeed. All wrong, all wrong, sorry Scott.
Peter: We can be better. Thanks, Scott.
As for de-gassing, what a great word, love that.
Can we get that into wine somewhere, this is a de-gassed wine.
Susie: This is a no de-gassing zone, I’m sorry.
Peter: And to be honest, de-gassed is how I feel most of time these days so I might incorporate that into my vocabulary that way.
Anyway, on that bombshell, it is time to wrap things up.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this slight departure from our usual programme.
We’ll be returning to normal service very soon, touching on both Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Susie: Do check out Adventures in Coffee.
It’s an absolutely brilliant podcast, and they are lovely people, and they’re also doing a listener survey right now.
So you could ask them to cover more wine, possibly.
Or maybe you’d like to hear how that 1974 Barolo tasted.
Who knows, have you drunk it yet Jools?
Anyway, we’ll put a link to Adventures in Coffee in our show notes.
Peter: Yeah, we’ll also put details of all the wines and coffees in the show notes too. Thanks again to Majestic for the wines also to Origin Coffee Roasters for the venue, thanks to Jools, Scott, and producer James, also for his piano tinkling, which is brilliant, very multi-talented James.
And, of course, thanks to you for listening
Susie: Until next time. Cheers!