I'm the kind of coffee drinker who would rather go without and brave a thumping headache, then drink a bad cup. What's a bad cup? Well, that would differ from person to person but it's pretty simple for me; tar-thick sludge is a big no-no, especially if it comes with little actual coffee flavour. Sour coffee is another turnoff - a little acidity, even more than a bit is fine, as long as it's part of the inherent character of the coffee, not a result of brewed coffee standing around on a heater, getting as acidic as an aging spinster awaiting a suitor.

Coffee is for me, like bread, rice, potatoes, wine or good sex - absolutely essential. I've drunk my way through numberless varieties, brands, grinds and styles but I've never really given much thought to who had a hand in the coffee in my cup and how it got  on the supermarket shelf.

I saw Cafedirect for the first time today on a supermarket shelf and this will come as no surprise to you, if you know me personally or have been following my posts for a while. It was going at a discount - not a hefty one, mind you, but a discount is a discount and no one's going to toss even a dollar your way, just because they like you! It was marked down from SGD 7.95 to SGD 6.70 for a 227 g pack. I grabbed all four packs off the shelf. It was a small leap of faith considering how finicky I am about my coffee and, that I've never tried Cafedirect. I squeezed the pack of coffee and deeply inhaled what little aroma managed to escape the vacuum packing. It smelt reassuringly rich, nutty and FRESH!

Once home I boiled water before even keeping the groceries I'd bought along with the coffee. When I cut open the package, I knew I had struck coffee gold; it was roasted just enough to bring out the full aroma of the beans without burning the natural sugars and causing an acrid, over roasted pong. It smelt rich, nutty, with hints of chocolate and cinnamon. I made it using a paper lined Melita porcelain filter allowing a dessertspoon of coffee per cup of hot water.

The coffee was good - not outstanding but very good. It was velvet smooth, a little on the sweet side, with modest acidity, (possibly lacking for those who prefer more 'oomph' in their coffee) the merest hint of cinnamon and anise and definite nutty overtones. This is a coffee I could easily enjoy without any added sugar. It's a very easy drinking brew but I honestly would've preferred a little more bite and character. Although described by the manufacturer as "vibrant", I found it a little too mellow for my taste. It might be more assertive if made in a cafetiere (French press/plunger pot) as a cafetiere tends to extract more from the coffee. What I really liked about it though was it's remarkably clean taste - no funky, iffy aftertaste lingering unpleasantly in the mouth, as with quite a few coffees I've drunk, particularly some Indonesian coffees. What I would have preferred is a listing of the variety/varieties of beans used. The only information given is that it's 100% Arabica and "a product of more than one country".

This is a fairtrade product meaning coffee growers get a "guaranteed minimum price" on their crops. Additionally half of the manufacturer's profits are invested back into "helping growers achieve the highest quality", so consumers get the best possible product for their money. A win-win situation all around.

So, bottomline time. Would I recommend this? Yes, definitely and unhesitantly. It's a coffee I think most people would enjoy, though some may prefer more vibrancy and nuance. More importantly, it's a quality product at a justifiable price, by a conscience driven manufacturer that supports and educates workers and growers. What's not to love? Recommended price SGD 7.95 at major supermarkets. Or buy online here.