The first thing I should tell you in this review is while that I’m not a representative of Costa Coffee, I have worked for Whitbread companies in the past and have even won accolades for my coffees. This will in no way influence this review.
The second thing you should know is that I’m not one of these coffee snobs that you see out there. Everybody has different tastes and what is good to one person might be absolutely awful to others. I get that and I’ve never seen the point in being childish over differing tastes. Having said that, if you’re one of the people who regularly convince yourself that you enjoy the burned mush that Starbucks serves then you’re a stupid doo doo head and I don’t like you no more.
I like my coffee. In fact I honestly don’t think I could do without it. If you know me you’ll know I don’t have an addictive personality and also how easily I’ve given up other addictive substances in the past, so when I say that I honestly don’t think I could go without my coffee you’ll realise how big a deal this is. So, when Costa sent out a missive to all their members that they had a new range of coffees I was interested in trying them. The Old Paradise Street range of limited blends are being served at most Costa coffee shops around the country and are named after the roastery on Old Paradise Street in London, where Costa have been blending their coffee for years.
Limited Roast Number 3 is, despite the numbering, the first in the Old Paradise Street range and is what I made my way to Costa one almost rainy morning to try out. The first thing I noticed was how confident Costa are either in the flavour of the blend or in the British public being afraid to ask for a replacement, as they are offering a free replacement of the regular coffee to anyone who doesn’t enjoy the new blend. The second thing I noticed is that the staff at this particular Costa are almost Starbucksian in how they respond to people going off menu.
On asking for “A small Old Paradise Street No.3, bl…” I was cut off and told that it wasn’t a drink.
“Not a drink?” I asked, incredulously. All the things I’d been sent indicated that you could only buy the coffee as a drink, and that the blend wasn’t available bagged.
“It’s a shot that you put in a drink.” he said and I restrained myself from climbing over the counter and beating him with one of the delicious and so unhealthy carrot cakes that Costa serves. Had he let me finish my original order he would have seen that “bl…” was going to be “black, no sugar.” There would even have been a “please” in there because I’m polite like that.
“So it is a drink then?” I asked, being very careful to get my meaning across to whoever was below the counter working this coffee puppet. “Just like the regular blends? You make longer coffees from the shots of espresso?”
He nodded and you couldn’t even see his strings move.
When I finally got my coffee I retired to a seat outside simply to put a wall between me and boy who doesn’t think coffee is coffee until it’s inside coffee, then I took the first sniff of the blend.
When most coffee shops have a new blend and make this sort of big deal about it, I’ve noticed that they tend to be quite strong coffees. Limited Roast Number 3 was surprisingly mild with a sweetness to it, but there was a subtle depth to the aroma. Further research told me that the beans used are a primarily Columbian Arabica blend, roasted in a traditional drum roaster.
The taste was decidedly mid-range, not as bitter as many coffees are but not too overly sweet either. At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks after robbing several humanoid animals, it was just right. There were ever so slight hints of dark chocolate in the the blend and the aftertaste had a kick of acidic bitterness, but neither were enough to upset the balance of what was a very nicely brewed cup of coffee.
If you’re in the UK and you happen across a Costa while they’re still holding this blend, then I hope you stop in to try it for yourself. They’ll give you another cup of their regular blend on the house if you don’t like it, so you really have nothing to lose. And if you work for Costa in any capacity, please do something to get this blend added to the menu for good.
I’ll be trying out the other Old Paradise Street blends whenever they show up and leaving my impressions on those as well, but I honestly doubt any of them can be quite as good as the cup of coffee I had that morning while fuming at the barista over his simple mistake.