(iL) Soigneur Coffee  £5.50

8/10

Well-balanced and full-bodied coffee that's just right for a pre-ride espresso or two for those that take their coffee drinking seriously

Weight 250g   Contact  www.ilsoigneur.co.uk

by Jez Ash   January 27, 2012  

Il Soigneur coffee

This (iL) Soigneur coffee is well-balanced and full-bodied – just right for a pre-ride espresso or two.

Last year we reviewed an (iL) Soigneur musette; the Bristol-based brand is already stocked by some of the UK's hippest cycle shops, including Tokyo Fixed, Condor and Freshtripe and has been quietly re-establishing the musette as a required accessory for the cycling gentleman- or lady-about-town. (iL) Soigneur recently signed up with Saddleback as a distributor and with things looking rosy, Dene Percy, the main man at (iL) Soigneur has taken the slightly unexpected step of moving into hot drinks.

Here at road.cc we can't help but agree that cycling and coffee go well together, and so when Dene sent some of his coffee and tea over, we got stuck right in. The coffee is available both as beans and pre-ground, both made up of a blend of beans from Sumatra and Brazil with 10% Monsooned Malabar from India, locally roasted and packed in smart, lined paper bags which have the advantage of a proper resealable top (akin to what you get with your strong cheddar cheese).

It's been a while since we did any coffee grinding and so a degree of creativity was needed to make up for our limited cafe equipment. Dave opted for the hand blender, which would be frowned upon by any coffee aficionado, whereas I at least own a real burr grinder, of the human-powered variety. I'd forgotten, however, how much cranking was needed for each brew, and quickly got fed up doing it by hand. The addition of a cordless drill made things much easier.

Dene's beans (we think there may be an advertising slogan right there) have a good, earthy aroma in the bag and are notably shiny, indicative of a French- or Italian-style full espresso roast. The oils that produce this shine are what gives coffee much of its flavour and are also responsible for the crema that you get on an espresso.

The ground coffee is supplied fairly coarse, which is well-suited to the cafetiere and domestic coffee machines. We called on one of our favourite local cafes, Java for the views of a real coffee obsessive, Kevin. The first attempt, using (iL) Soigneur ground coffee, was not a total success.

Kevin explained that the grind was not nearly fine enough for a pro machine, with the result that the water passed through too quickly and the coffee didn't give up enough of its oils. It didn't taste bad to us, but Kevin is something of a perfectionist. Emptying his grinder of his own blend, he ground our beans to his liking and made a very good espresso. In a back-to-back espresso comparison with Java's house blend (which is particularly potent), it was evident that (iL) Soigneur coffee couldn't match the concentration of flavour, but nonetheless made a damn fine cup, perhaps better suited to pre-ride drinking (when really full-flavoured coffee can leave your mouth parched).

Back home, we really liked using (iL) Soigneur ground coffee with our cafetiere. Here the coarser grind is spot on - if it is too fine then the plunger will clog. We also tried using a stove-top moka pot which worked well with both the pre-ground coffee and the coffee we ground ourselves - producing a good flavour without the bitterness which it is often hard to avoid with a moka.

The coffee is priced at £5.50 for 250g, either as beans or ground, and can be ordered by emailing (iL) Soigneur directly (ilsoigneur@ilsoigneur.com). The prices puts it in line with top-end supermarket coffee and other small-production gourmet coffees.

The choice of formats is an astute one - those lucky enough to own a pro coffee machine are likely to prefer to grind themselves and hence can adjust to suit their tastes, whereas the pre-ground is just about right for those making coffee with a cafetierre or stove-top pot.

Verdict

Well-balanced and full-bodied coffee that's just right for a pre-ride espresso or two for those that take their coffee drinking seriously

road.cc test report

Make and model: (iL) Soigneur Coffee

Size tested: 250g beans

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

(iL) Soigneur are in the process of revamping their site and product range. They now have some nice, locally roasted coffee available in 250g packs either ground or in bean form for £5.50 and during January 2012 that includes free P&P. In the short term, you can order a pack from Dene direct by contacting him at ilsoigneur@ilsoigneur.com.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

60% Sumatra Lintong, PPKGP Co-operative, fair-trade organic

30% Brazil Santos, Minas Gerais

10% Monsooned Malabar, Malabar Coast, India

Available (fairly coarsely) ground or as beans.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The pre-ground worked well in a cafetierre, less so in a "proper" machine. Grinding the beans made a fine espresso complete with good crema.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

You can get passable coffee in the supermarket for under £3 a bag; you may or may not be willing to pay nearly double for this coffee... Much like a £2k road bike will be perceived by some as a ludicrous extravagance and by others as a bargain, or indeed as with bikes beyond a certain price point you get a diminishing performance return on your investment. On the other hand you could easily pay this sort of money and more for beans or ground in a coffee shop.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I got more flavour from our cafetierre than with our usual (Sainsburys Continental), and markedly less bitterness from our moka. The bag's good too - no faffing around with those tabs that never work, just a simple closure that works.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes - it was a good excuse to invent a new way of grinding beans and to drink a lot of coffee.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but more likely as a gift than for day-to-day consumption.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Sure

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6  Weight: 81kg

I usually ride: Boardman hybrid for the daily commute  My best bike is: Fixed-conversion Eddy Merckx MX-Leader

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

"The addition of a cordless drill made things much easier." you can see baristas across italy head in hands at the mere thought of diy based equipment and coffee beans coming into close contact..
Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
27th January 2012 - 15:37

16 Likes

don't tell them i did it with a hand blender in a jam jar then, eh Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
27th January 2012 - 17:03

13 Likes

When is road.cc going to publish pork pie reviews? ... us cyclists need to eat as well as drink. Big Grin

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
27th January 2012 - 17:25

9 Likes

Mmmm… is there a cycling themed pork pie out there? If so we're on it, even if it's just got something like "wheel" in the name

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4142 posts]
27th January 2012 - 17:42

17 Likes

I'm happy to test this - Cono Sur Pinot Noir
http://www.ocado.com/product/22634011

it's got a picture of a bike on it Big Grin

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [312 posts]
27th January 2012 - 17:52

16 Likes

I have a couple of recipes for Paris-Brest cakes (named for the race, designed to resemble a wheel and reputedly first made in the year of the inaugural edition by a patissier with a shop along the route). Happy to do a comparison review once I've found time to do those.

I'm also planning on doing some TDF-themed macarons once I've nailed my skills in that department (so probably the 2015 edition at the earliest) Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8103 posts]
27th January 2012 - 18:29

15 Likes

tony_farrelly wrote:
Mmmm… is there a cycling themed pork pie out there? If so we're on it, even if it's just got something like "wheel" in the name

How about if the butcher, or one of his kids owns, or has previously owned, a bike? Surely that would do it ... or if any of the letters 'b', 'i', 'k' or 'e' appear in the name. Nerd

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
27th January 2012 - 18:42

8 Likes

i got some of this coffee from dene. Getting my proper cycling gourmet coffee beans hand-delivered was one of the more middle-class, first world things that has happened to me.

the coffee is very nice. it has a full flavour. it gets me out the door and onto my bike at 6am in the morning.

posted by pj [139 posts]
27th January 2012 - 20:50

17 Likes

If you live near Teddington, go to Astrora opposite Tesco. There's no cycling connection, but they roast the beans on the premises and there are always several interesting varieties, particularly from Ethiopia.

Noli porcum linguere

captain_slog's picture

posted by captain_slog [271 posts]
27th January 2012 - 22:40

19 Likes

Shall have me a bag o those beans fer a grindin' Big Grin

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [434 posts]
27th January 2012 - 22:45

14 Likes

http://bikebasketpies.com/

we need a san francisco correspondent. any takers?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
27th January 2012 - 23:00

14 Likes

tony_farrelly wrote:
Mmmm… is there a cycling themed pork pie out there? If so we're on it, even if it's just got something like "wheel" in the name

Moulton Mowbray.

I thank you.

posted by Mat Brett [1887 posts]
28th January 2012 - 9:59

20 Likes

Well Meads Village Butcher in Eastbourne have a bike in their logo...

http://www.villagebutcher.co.uk/#/meads-village-butcher/4539645364

robinboothroyd.com

posted by clodofclay [5 posts]
28th January 2012 - 10:39

22 Likes

Erm, pre-ground coffee will be stale (not "off", just stale) by the time you get to use it. Do the bags of roasted beans have a "roasted on" date? #coffeegeek

posted by scook94 [40 posts]
28th January 2012 - 13:53

21 Likes

stuke wrote:
I'm happy to test this - Cono Sur Pinot Noir
http://www.ocado.com/product/22634011

it's got a picture of a bike on it Big Grin

I have in the past extensively teshted their Gewurztraminer… very nice too

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4142 posts]
28th January 2012 - 13:59

18 Likes

dave_atkinson wrote:
http://bikebasketpies.com/

we need a san francisco correspondent. any takers?

we'll be there (with bikes) this summer ... just say the word Smile

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
28th January 2012 - 15:42

18 Likes

Just had my musette hand delivered by Dene, and as it
was a little behind schedule I got a bag of beans too ....
looking forward to this little treat Big Grin

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [713 posts]
16th May 2012 - 22:40

24 Likes

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