Quick disclaimer first, this is an honest review of Jackhammer coffee, it is not a paid review and I have no links to the company whatsoever, they simply asked me if I’d like to try their coffee, and sent me a bag – I tried it, and this is what I thought of it.
I Recently had an email from Jackhammer coffee, asking me if I’d like to try their “Brewtally Strong” Jackhammer Coffee. While of course I said yes, not one to ever turn down coffee obviously (as long as it’s not instant), I have to say I wasn’t that excited by the prospect if I’m honest.
To me this description, similar to other brands I’ve seen such as “F*cking Strong Coffee” gives me the impression of overly roasted coffee beans, probably with a high Robusta content, with any of the subtle notes that would usually be expected from the particular origin and varietal, having been lost by over roasting and lots of powerful Robusta.
The branding, and the black packet, enhanced my expectancy of an overly roasted coffee bean, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the pack to a very pleasant aroma, and the sight of medium roasted coffee beans.
I had a guess at the grind, didn’t take me long to dial in with my Sage smart grinder pro (I usually start at about setting 11 or 12 and then go from there), and made a double espresso via my Gaggia classic (I don’t usually bother with single shots, in fact I couldn’t even tell you where my single basket is, probably at the back of a kitchen drawer somewhere).
What first struck me was the amount of crema, really good thick crema. From this I assumed that I was right with my guess that there would be a lot of Robusta. Robusta in espresso blend helps to give a good crema & a kick, but I’m not usually keen on blends that are heavy on Robusta, I tend to find there’s a burnt rubber taste to it which wipes out everything else. I think there’s a fine line in espresso blends when it comes to using just enough Robusta to give a kick, but not so much that the Robusta taste dominates.
Anyway, when I tasted Jackhammer, I was reminded of the two sayings about assumptions “to Assume, makes an ASS out of U and Me” (Odd Couple, TV series), and “Assumptions are the mother of all F**k ups!” (Steven Seagal in Under Siege).
I wouldn’t describe the taste as brutal or “brewtal” in any way. It does have a kick, but it’s a flavoursome, full rich bodied coffee, with a lot of sweetness, tones of chocolate and raisins. Really nice coffee, in fact the bag didn’t last long at all! 😉
I wasn’t smacked in the mouth with over roasted high Robusta content coffee, as the “Brewtally strong”, branding lead me to believe. There is some Robusta in the blend, the Jackhammer website states a “small dose”, and judging by the taste and the kick, I think they’ve got it spot on, for my taste buds anyway. I’m going to guess at 20% Robusta, and if I got this right Jackhammer guys, then for this correct guess I think I should win another bag of Jackhammer! 😉
The Arabica in the coffee is from Hulia, in Southern Colombia, a blend of Caturra, Typica and Bourbon, grown throughout the Hulia region at an altitude of between 1,200 – 2000 metres. The Robusta comes from India, and I know that while only a small percentage of the worlds Robusta comes from India, there is some very high quality Robusta being produced there.
By the way, you might notice that in this review I’ve started to describe tastes a bit more than I have in the past, and this is because all of a sudden my coffee pallet seems to be becoming much more sensitive. A year or so ago I was tasting coffee and not really picking up a lot of the subtleties and tasting notes that I was expecting, but over time my pallet has improved and I’m finding now that just within the past few weeks or maybe the past month or so really, I seem to have developed a much more sensitive pallet when it comes to coffee, from consciously trying to taste what I’m drinking. It’s not just with coffee either, my taste for everything seems to be enhanced, which is unexpected actually but really good!
Anyway going back to Jackhammer, I was really impressed with it via espresso, as I say it’s strong, it has a kick that is perfect when you want waking up, but it’s also packed with flavour. I also tried it via V60, Aeropress, and Cafetiere, and again really nice rich full bodied taste, bags of sweetness, chocolate tones, really enjoyable.
Another thing I’d initially assumed with the branding is a supermarket style coffee with long sell by dates, rather than freshly roasted speciality coffee. When the emphasis is on the strength, or some other element of the branding, which makes it a good product for the coffee gifts market, I get the impression of a coffee which is bought in bulk, re-labelled and sold, in which case a long shelf life would be a must. I was wrong here too, as Jackhammer state that their coffee is always freshly roasted on a weekly basis, so that’s another “tick”.
If I was pushed for a negative here I’d say price. It’s £8 for a 250g bag, which for me seems pricey. I’m used to paying around £5 or £6 for a 250g bag of coffee, and a bag that is going to cost me close to a tenner including delivery would be a treat rather than my daily fuel.
So to conclude the review, Jackhammer is a very nice bold, strong yet flavoursome coffee, that I very much enjoyed, and I would certainly drink again.