Experiments In Drinking: Dark Arts Coffee Listen To Bathory

How can you go wrong with black metal-inspired coffee? Prepare to find out.

Time and time again, we find ourselves suckered in by the false promises of impressive packaging and dramatic names that promise more than they can ever deliver. In this case, the ‘we’ was, more specifically, Mrs Reprobate who stopped off for a coffee on her way home from a work meeting and – understandably – had her eye caught by a black box of coffee beans from Dark Arts Coffee. This certainly talked the talk: not only was it called Listen to Bathory but the box featured a suitably demonic figure and the blurb on the back talked of coffee made with a love of “the occult, bikes and all things unholy”. Well.

She was given a further hard sell by the  – ahem – ‘barista’ who pumped out a lot of flannel about how to make the perfect coffee which seemed to involve not quite boiling your expresso pot then dumping it in cold water then reheating and possibly sacrificing a goat or two, all of which seemed the sort of guff you get from someone desperate to convince themself that their job is jolly important. We’ve been making coffee with beans from our local indie coffee shop for the last few years and believe me, it’s all been fine without any of that nonsense. Said coffee shop has a fine selection of roasts and in retrospect, we probably didn’t even need to try an alternative… but I did mention the packaging, right? Yes, we’re suckers for that sort of thing, unfortunately.

Anyway, while our usual morning coffee – currently made with Guatemalan beans that don’t come with a side order of sloganeering – is fine and dandy, strong and flavoursome and pours a dark brown bordering on black, Listen to Bathory is rather more feeble. You ould expect this to be black and metally but this Mexican brew emerged looking mid-brown, thin and translucent. This prompted a disappointed “oh’ from Mrs R, but never let it be said that we judge every book by its cover. The proof was in the tasting. Sadly, it tasted much as it looked – weak, bland, ineffectual. I know that some people enjoy that – Mellow Birds existed for a reason, I guess – but it’s not for us and it hardly lived up to the image created. I’m not saying that a heavy metal, occult-inspired coffee producer should only be making the strongest, darkest, most uncompromising coffee out there, but… actually, that’s pretty much what I am saying. This might have seemed adequate – never good, mind – under other circumstances but all things considered it was a major letdown.

I’m not writing off Dark Arts Coffee based on this – I’d very much like to enjoy what they do, frankly. But I can’t see myself actually buying any more after this.


Help support The Reprobate: