Rysp – a Plain Tasty treat

I first came across the Rysp a couple of years ago at Wirral’s Farm Feast – held at Claremont Farm. A smiley man offered me a taste of a new product made from a 100% rye sourdough – a crunchy crisp bread with a hint of Scandinavia that also managed to be wheat & dairy free and rather nice for dipping into lovely things like hummus. Since that first taste, I’ve spotted Rysp stocked in more and more places, and developing into an award-winning product (Great Taste).

For my “day” job, I work with Liverpool Food People – a managed network of people, communities and organisations who are all working in one way or another to make Liverpool a more sustainable food city. We had a discussion day planned – looking at how we were developing and new plans for the future – and as always, I was planning to supply the group with a lunch to keep them going whilst we wrestled with concepts such as sustainability, behavioural change and policy strategies. Plain Tasty, the company behind the Rysp had been in contact with me to see if I would review the range, so it seemed serendipitous to try Rysps out on the lunch guests.

Plain Tasty sent over 3 varieties of Rysp – Garlic & Rosemary, Caraway & Black Pepper, and Dulse (Seaweed) & Sesame Seed; plus a new product in development called Kryka – a larger flatter crisp bread that came in Beetroot & Rye and Skye (Sea Salt) & Rye.Rysp I encouraged people to sample them “plain” and then try with a variety of different dips – hummus, broadbean & pea and smoked mackerel; and also with cheeses – ewe’s milk Parlick Fell, tangy Kick Ass cheddar, creamy Cornish brie and smoked Lancashire.

The clear favourite was the Garlic & Rosemary, closely followed by the Dulse & Sesame Seed. The Garlic & Rosemary were being eaten by the handful without dips and disappeared sharpish, and were described as “very moreish”. Dulse & Sesame Seed got approval from the fish lovers who particularly enjoyed it with the mackerel pate. The larger Skye & Rye Kryka also proved popular, as it allowed for the building of a Scandi style open sandwich. Fingers crossed that goes into production soon.

One of the things I liked best about Rysp was the simplicity of the ingredients – here’s the list for the Garlic & Rosemary Rysps:       IMG_7878
Rye Flour sourdough 81%
Black sesame seeds 10%
Garlic 4%
Rosemary 3%
Salt 2%

No other nasties, plenty of fibre (something we all need more of) and handily for the way food trends are going, 100% vegan.

If you’d like to try Rysp for yourself, you can order online from www.plaintasty.com or check for retailers such as the marvelous Tebay service stations, Lunya in Liverpool & Manchester and the WholeFood markets in London. Expect to pay around £2.99 for a 30g bag.

Disclaimer: I was given these products in exchange for my honest review and opinion. This review is my own personal opinion on the product, given in good faith and has not been sponsored or endorsed. The photography unless otherwise stated / credited is also my own. None of the links are affiliate links

A caffeinated week….

I like coffee. I do. But I am a bit fussy about it. Not for me the spoonful of instant. Nope. I have a little Italian Moka pot, not quite as shiny as it once was, but capable of making me the perfect morning coffee. I use Guatemalan FairTrade coffee, a rich sweet but strong bean that I was introduced to in a restaurant in Belgium many moons ago and has remained my go to coffee bean ever since. I like coffee the Italian way, not a bucket of milk but a short, satisfying hit of coffee topped with foamy milk and NO chocolate sprinkles or other flavours.

picture of a flat white coffee

Flat white, artisan style by Filter and Fox, Liverpool

I was contacted by Havas PR (working on behalf of Greggs) to ask if I would sample and compare a range of coffees available from various high street brands. To make things fair, I was asked to compare the same drink in each establishment and mark each one on the following: Taste, Value, Fresh, Smell and Aesthetic. I was not paid for this but provided with gift vouchers to use in each establishment.

Obviously this is a personal view and what I find palatable others may not but I was surprised at the results. When I order coffee “out” I usually choose a flat white or an espresso. For this test I went with the flat white.

Starbucks – nice aroma but very creamy. Slight bitter aftertaste, not full bodied. Very hot. Smaller cup that had to be doubled due to not fitting the cardboard sleeve. Most expensive drink.

Costa – good aroma, creamy and rounded taste. My usual gripe is that it’s too big a serving and I rarely finish it. (To declare an interest, this is where I usually buy a coffee if I’m not near the preferred option of an independent coffee place). Not the prettiest of cups but most practical in terms of its corrugated wall preventing scalded hands.

Pret a Manger – good aroma but bitter coffee, very acidic. Didn’t finish it. Almost too hot to drink, was the milk burnt? Needed to sit a little before serving I suspect. Simple cup, but as per Starbucks, so hot it was hard to hold.

Greggs – good aroma. Not as silky as some I’ve had but perfectly pleasant cup of coffee. Coffee used was quite mellow, didn’t leave a harsh aftertaste. Not sure I’d class it as a flat white, more of a coffee with hot milk but best value of the lot in terms of cost and taste comparisons. Simple cup – why not make more of the 100% FairTrade? I almost missed that and it wasn’t highlighted in the shop like it is in Pret. Least expensive drink but also only one that wasn’t made from scratch i.e. barista style.
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Caffe Nero* – harsh coffee, left bitter aftertaste. Seemed thin, not rounded, no aroma, didn’t finish it. Distinctive blue cup – like Costa – immediately obvious which brand you have chosen.

*I went to Caffe Nero last and discovered that they don’t serve a flat white. So I had a cappuccino sans chocolate as the closest I could manage.

Taste  Value  Fresh  Smell  Aesthetic  Total
Starbucks                                     3         3        4         3       3             16
Costa                                           4         3        4         4        2             17
Pret a Manger                              2         1         3        4        2             12
Greggs                                         4         4        3         3        2             16
Caffe Nero                                   1          1        3         3        3             11

So in conclusion, following the marks, Costa came out top, just, but the least and most expensive coffees from Greggs and Starbucks tied. As already stated, Costa is the brand I am most familiar with, but I was surprised by how much I disliked the Pret a Manger and Caffe Nero coffees, clearly I’m not a fan of the coffee beans that they use! I am still going to purchase my flat white from an artisan coffee place (no, I have no beard, nor tattoos), as I like to support local micro businesses but if that option isn’t available, I may revisit Greggs again for a coffee.

picture of coffee cards

Coffee cards supplied by Havas PR