At Mongrel Joe’s we like to put our money where our mouth is—and our coffee too naturally. So it wasn’t much of a stretch for us to host a recent blind tasting of the leading (allegedly) high-performance coffee brands. Consider it our version of the classic Pepsi vs. Coke challenge, except we pitted our coffee again four other brands from Australia and the US. As our testers, we assembled four coffee drinkers, ranging from a self-described “addict” to a once-a-week sipper. Included in the panel were a few mates from Men’s Fitness magazine, who also tested the coffee on a separate occasion, prior to their usual crossfit workout.
The testers were asked to rank five different unmarked coffees. To ensure consistency and fairness, we used only whole beans, vacuum-sealed up until the minute before grinding. Each person ranked the brews according to five categories: aroma, crema, body/richness, aftertaste and acidity/bitterness. The coffees were all tasted hot and at room temperature, with and without milk, and the whole beans were even sniffed for good measure.
After a two-hour long session, the scorecards were handed to an independent judge who tallied up the positive points, deducted the negative points, and gave a final score for each coffee. And the results? There were two brands that were literally unpalatable (who shall remain nameless since we’d prefer not to embarrass them). A third coffee brand seemed to tread the middle ground, inspiring few positive statements or scores, but not a lot of vitriol either.
That left two brands standing. Their scores were almost tied, and only a few points separated the blends according to our discriminating panel. They were both deemed smooth and rich, delicious when taken black but still strong enough to punch through milk and leave their mark. Happily, we can report that the two brands were Mongrel Joe’s and a US competitor called Caffeine & Kilo’s.
Both scored through the roof for aroma, body, crema and lack of bitterness or acidity. The aftertaste for both was pleasant, without the ashy notes that some coffees can leave. Taste is a subjective thing but we feel supremely vindicated by the blind tasting. In this case, we tied for first place. In the world of high-caffeine coffee, we know that Mongrel Joe’s leads the way.