Friday, August 10, 2012

SEA ISLAND COFFEE - A REVIEW

Sea Island Coffee 2 bis
The smell of coffee cooking was a reason for growing up, because children were never allowed to have it and nothing haunted the nostrils all the way out to the barn as did the aroma of boiling coffee.
- Edna Lewis


I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
- T.S. Eliot
I have been enjoying coffee most of my life. My fondness for the brew started when I was a child. Already then, I found its amazing frangrance enticing and I was a sucker for desserts that were perfumed with it. Of course, at this time, I wasn't granted the access to this magic potion reserved for adults, so I contented myself with a substitute. It may not have been the real thing, but this kid-friendly ersatz sure tasted very close coffee and it dispensed a lot of happiness too. Those characteristics were suffucient for me and, in my defense, I must point out that my Mémé (Swiss grandma from Vaud) was the queen of coffeeweed. Her legendary chicory au lait was remarkably delicious and comforting. Heaven in a mug!

Not long after, around the age of 14, I finally ingested my first sips of that much coveted coffeinated drink. At the beginning though, this dark brew's main purpose was not really to provide me with gustative indulgence. Instead, I employed it to give myself energy, increase my confidence, boost my intellectual faculties and calm my nerves during exam periods as tests traumatized me to the highest point. But, as I grew a little older it became a symbol of maturity, a way of showing people that I had grown up and wasn't a baby anymore. In my late twenties, I discovered that it wasn't just a pleasant beverage you drank on café terraces with friend while philosophizing, but that it actually had terroir, a soul of its own and could be savored just like a wine. That's when I began to search for gourmet blends and stopped being satisfied by the astringent "piss" that restaurants and tearooms frequently served. Nowadays, I choose my coffee carefully and since I have a considerably more selective palate than before, I've moved from rot gut to refined.

At home my mother prepared coffee with an aluminium moka machine that dated back to the 70's and ground her whole beans directly at the supermarket. The year I moved in with my partner P., his parents gifted him an espresso machine (no capsules). Sadly, it broke down rapidly despite its significant initial cost and promising brand name. So, the day we moved into our second lovenest, we opted for a classic Italian stovetop pot from IKEA. Uncomplicated and low-maintainance. Each method we tested was good and gave gratifying results, yet none was particularly exceptional. However, I felt that there must be another manner of producing coffee which is not acutely bitter or acid, and which is round as well as fragrant. It still had to come across the right one, though...

No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
- Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
- Turkish Proverb
Until 2010, I was a frustrated "battery acid" addict who had not yet unearthed the coffee Grail and was accustomed to mediocrity for lack of finding better. I had a love-hate relationship with this decoction. Luckily, my big revelation came one April evening, two years ago, thanks to a lovely blogger called Zarpandit (check out her site "Cikolata Kavanozum") who sent me a heartwarming package containing a pretty card portraying the Topkapi Palace, a miniature copper cevze, a set of two adorable espresso cups and saucers, a packet of Turkish coffee and a box of exquisite lokums. An extremely kind and generous gesture which made me gleeful and uplifted my mood (at this period, my job was negatively challenging and awfully stressful).

A few hours later, my "kavhe" virginity was forever lost. That dinky ibrik
was so cute - a foodie toy par excellence! - and the fine-ground coffee looked terribly tempting in it's somewhat exotic and retro packaging that I had to play with them IMME-DIA-TELY!

After surfing the internet for information on those unfamiliar items, I entered the kitchen like an pioneer on a mission, brimming with curiosity, and shyly poured water in the pot. With a trembling hand I added a few teaspoons of the precious bean powder and a little sugar into my minuscule brass pot, then stirred well and with great anticipation, I slowly heated the mixture (see my recipe & check out this article). Once the surface started to foam I excitedly poured the opaque liquid into my tiny cups.

Needless to say that I immediately enamored myself with this strong beverage's exhalirating aromas, pungent richness as well as intense, luscious, fresh, full-bodied and divine flavor. Quite mind-blowing and totally irresistible! And to top that fabulous experience, the whole preparation process enraptured me - it can be compared to meditation as it requires patience, relaxes you, builds up your craving and puts you in the right mindset for reaching "kaffa" nirvana. The Turks really understand how the mechanisms of gustatory pleasure work...

I cannot imagine living without this marvelous fluid as it is vital for my overall well-being and dear to the sensual gourmet I am, hence I solely purchase quality coffee and steer clear from bad products. Therefore, when I was approached by Sea Island Coffee my foodie geekness was awakened. How could I refuse the opportunity to try two of their luxurious samples? There was no way I was going to decline their enticing offer.*


For those who are not familiar with this small enterpriseSea Island Coffee is based in Knightsbridge, London (UK) and is one of Europe’s leading importers of specialist coffees from around the world. Their aim is to supply rare, exclusive, exotic, intriguing and top-notch coffees which deliver a wonderful and exceptional combination of taste, body and provenance.

Generally, I am always careful when people promise us the moon and never buy into any company's advertisement propaganda as generally their words are just empty/hollow and their affirmations are pure commercial ramblings, so I circumspectly read through Sea Island Coffee's leaflet and tried to not let my tasting session get influenced by their pamphlet. You see, I believe that neutrality is crucial when you are writing a serious and unbiased review.

Anyway, both the coffees I was given to judge were so impressive and tantalizing that I got blown away by their
overwhelmingly distinctive personality, sheer uniqueness and top-class sublimity. Definitely nothing meanstream or cheap here, trust me. As a matter of fact, pure mouth-orgasm is guaranteed with every swig!

Sea Island Coffee 5 1 bis
Geisha - Costa Rica
This ancient and very rare Ethiopian wild coffee variety is grown on the Coffea Diversa plantation in Costa Rica (
close to the Panamean border) which has pioneered the botanical garden approach to coffee cultivation. Aromatically complex, yet mild, this stunning coffee delivers notes of lavender, cocoa and hints of molasses.

Jamaica Blue Mountain - Jamaica
Cultivated on Clifton Mount, one of the oldest functioning coffee estates in Jamaica, this world-reknown coffee is considered by many connoisseurs to be one of the best on the market. It is exquisitely well-balanced (aroma, body and acidity in equal parts), incredibly smooth, spectacularly pungent and has a creamy aftertaste as well as hints of chocolate with floral, caramel and vanilla undertones.

* Please note that I only promote things that stay true to my tastes, convictions and interests. The opinions expressed on Rosa's Yummy Yums are purely my own and based upon my personal experiences with SEA ISLAND COFFEE. I was not paid nor asked to publish a positive review.

Coffee-Flavored Recipes:

55 comments:

  1. I can't live without coffee. I will have to check them out!

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  2. wow love the color... your a great photographer, you make the simple things look so good... :-) inspiring blog.. love to follow you. Do visit my space

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  3. Omg I love the way you hv written about ur experience with coffee. Excellent writing & needless to say nice photos. Hv a grt wknd!

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  4. I love your post, and I understand your feelings toward coffee. I'm one of those who get high on coffee :)

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  5. Hi Rosa,
    Another amazing post. I love the way you write about things and, in this case, the coffee experience is a delight for any reader.
    Cheers and hope you have a fantastic weekend,
    Lia.

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  6. Rosa, I too own that copper coffee pot..and my recent post is turkish tea..and yours is coffee! love the similarities and your beautiful pics as always.

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  7. Splendides photos ! pendant longtemps j'ai préféré le thé....maintenant je fonds littéralement devant une belle tasse de café corsé !!!
    Bon weekend Rosa, Bisous

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  8. Coffee is what gets me up in the mornings. I go to bed thinking about a wonderful cup the next day.

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  9. I have to have my cup of coffee before I can make much sense in the mornings. When we lived in Louisiana, their dark brew always contained chicory.

    I will definitely give Sea Island a try. The name alone makes me want to grab it from the shelf.
    Sam

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  10. Des photos magnifiques. Moi je suis très café, et apprécie un très bon moka...pas facile à trouver. Bisous

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  11. I love coffee too. I will be in the bad mood if I don't get my morning cup of joe :)

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  12. I love that copper Coffee pot!
    I am a tea addict, but also love a well brewed cup of coffee, but I have never quite adjusted to the idea of having black coffee, for many Indians, like me, we like our brewed/ filter coffee with milk.
    Lovely pictures, like always.

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  13. There's nothing like a good strong cup of black coffee! I've drank it every day since my early teens and love, love it. I definitely can't live without it either. This is a great post, Rosa and I'll be checking out Sea Island. The name reminds me of a great resort.

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  14. Coffee is my favourite drink. You have captured the drink to perfection Rosa. I just fell in love with the 2nd click :)

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  15. Lovely one and stunning pictures Rosa :)I can feel the aroma from ur pictures.

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  16. I do love tea, but coffee is what gets my blood running every morning.

    Beautiful shots, Rosa. Browns and blues are my fave complementary colors. : )

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  17. I also love coffee. These sound wonderful.

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  18. I love the smell of coffee being made. And bacon sizzling in a pan. Or garlic being sauteed. Those aromas never cease to perk me up.

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  19. I am so with you on this post.
    I am an avid espresso drinker.
    Love to experiment with various beans.

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  20. I love the smell of coffee. However, I am not a coffee drinker. I could only have decaf.

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  21. Beautiful photos! I can smell the coffee from here.

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  22. I want to try it I am a coffee addict!

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  23. comme toujours de superbes photos qui m'ont donné envie de me faire un bon café turc...... bisous et bonne soirée

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  24. Really interesting post! Although I love coffee, I rarely drink it - my wife is allergic (which is too bad because she really like it), so we drink tea instead. Blue Mountain coffee is one of my favs. This sounds like a wonderful place. We do serve coffee occasionally to guests, so I'll have to check it out.

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  25. A wonderful tribute to my all time favorite drink. I have a huge appreciation for fine coffee ~ I would love to try Sea Island some day :)

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  26. Bonjour Rosa,
    J'ai comme une envie de raconter ma vie, tellement cet article me parle (à tel point que je préfère écrire en français!!;-)). Je ne vais pas le faire, mais je me retrouve dans ton histoire. Tes photos témoignent à merveille de ton amour des belles et bonnes choses. Je vais rêver de café, c'est sûr!

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  27. Amazing pictures of that lovely coffee. So sweet your words, I love your review Rosa, and this post is really awesome and fun to read!
    Have a lovely Monday! Gros bisous
    Cheers
    Mamat

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  28. I am a tea drinker, but do love the aroma of the coffee.

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  29. Ce petit pot de cuivre est vraiment adorable - quelle chance tu as eue de le recevoir. Il faudrait que j'essaie de faire le cafe de cette facon un jour.

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  30. As an Australian from Italian parents, I grew up watching my family drink espresso coffee 3 times a day while waiting for the day when I too was able to join the family in this tradition. Now not a day goes by when I don't knock back a little espresso to get me through the day and when I am back visiting my parents on the other side of Australia, it is the daily coffee tradition that brings us together again. Wonderful post, great read and superb images. Subscribing now!

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  31. This looks amazing! Thank you for sharing :). Glad I found your awesome blog!!
    xoxo
    Ash
    http://abpetite.blogspot.com/

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  32. Coffee is this small thing I need in the morning. I love everything about it, start from the aroma while I make it to the amazing taste. Lovely post.

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  33. We really enjoy good coffee and would love to try this one! Now I need nice coffee aroma to stay awake.. :D

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  34. I'm not a coffee drinker Rosa! I love the fragrance, but never have liked the taste. I do make it for my daughter when she's home, however, and she's fussy. Lovely photos!

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  35. What lovely pic's Rosa! They make me really want a cup of coffee - and, being a dedicated tea girl, I don't ever drink it!!

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  36. I didn't start drinking my first proper coffee until university I think. Before that I was so deprived, although I didn't really understand at the time why people drank such a bitter drink. Now I can't live without it!

    Beautiful photos yet again Rosa. :)

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  37. I've always been a tea drinker, but this summer my day starts with a glass of iced coffee. I've never tried that sea island, but I was gifted a Nespresso machine and love that method.

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  38. Wonderful post, Rosa! And I am a big fan of quality coffee!
    Your pictures are great and I love the way you wrote this review.
    Ah, and ot to forget - it is so hard to take nice pictures of "brown things" - great job, once again!
    hugs, Sandy

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  39. I love Sea Island coffee, what a great review! And I love your stunning photos, Rosa!

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  40. Beautiful post Rosa...like the coffee review and the pictures are awesome as usual...I can almost smell it :)
    Hope you are enjoying your week!

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  41. You have a great way with story-telling. I am now craving for coffee. For reals :D

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  42. Beautiful and a wonderful story!

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  43. Rosa I need a high quality coffee, amazing the pictures - I can smell from here, it seems the island is near :)

    All the best,

    Gera

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  44. there was a time when i didn't like coffee, but that's long over now! it's my beverage of choice. :)

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  45. Oh yuuuuuurm! I absolutely love your photos

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  46. great pics and great sound
    Liebe Grüsse aus Zürich,
    Andy

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  47. Tes photos sont de plus en plus belles
    Je suis vraiment impressionnée
    Tu as suivi une formation ?

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  48. Great review Rosa and lovely photos.

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  49. OMG that second photo... *swoon*. I grew up drinking coffee in the teensy espresso cups my parents always used, long before they were popular so yes, I developed a taste for it young... Still love it!

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  50. Found this interesting as it set me exploring into Turkish coffee!

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