Stale coffee from boutique roasters. - Page 2

Postby danetrainer on Fri May 27, 2011 3:26 pm

Ian_G wrote:I just took possession of an Elektra Microcasa Semiautomatica.


I've read many posts over the past about these machines... that they take quite a bit of finesse to get some ideal temperature from the group. Being it's new to you, possibly the brew temp is affecting (along with dose and extraction ratios) what you are expecting to taste from the given coffee?
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Postby Ian_G on Sat May 28, 2011 2:29 am

danetrainer wrote:I've read many posts over the past about these machines... that they take quite a bit of finesse to get some ideal temperature from the group. Being it's new to you, possibly the brew temp is affecting (along with dose and extraction ratios) what you are expecting to taste from the given coffee?


This is not something I had overlooked and I agree it will have had an influence. This is especially so, since I had to adjust the pressurestat to get the boiler pressure (and temperature) in to the green zone. Fortunately I have a lot of experience of tasting burnt coffee, so I'm pretty confident I have a handle on the extraction temperature.
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Postby Ian_G on Sat May 28, 2011 2:35 am

Intrepid510 wrote:You said supplier in your post, did you mean that you bought directly from the roaster or did you buy through a 3rd party?


Yes I bought direct from the roaster. One that I complained to has said that two of the coffees I ordered were roasted in order to be used in filter coffee rather than espresso. But there is no mention of this on their website. So I'm not sure what to think. But they gave me a full refund, so can't complain really.
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Postby Ian_G on Sat May 28, 2011 3:12 am

another_jim wrote:The description you quote is of an idealized "island profile," -- of how the very best island coffees should taste. Each year, there's maybe a half dozen Kona lots, maybe also an odd lot or two of Puerto Rican or Jamaican coffee, that will actually taste like this.


I 'm left wondering to what extent this is true for all coffees. Do you think, then, that what roasters describe is an ideal rather than a true description?
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Postby another_jim on Sat May 28, 2011 4:18 am

Ian_G wrote:I 'm left wondering to what extent this is true for all coffees. Do you think, then, that what roasters describe is an ideal rather than a true description?


It's a good question. I think when it comes to micro-lots and auction coffees, customers expect unique coffees, and you get accurate descriptions. The key is that roasters don't buy these coffees unless they offer something.

But the bread and butter of roasters is regional and blended coffees, each of which must fit a standard taste profile, and each of which roasters must buy every year, whether it is good or bad. No matter whether it tastes like its ideal profile, or like a faded photograph of that, the description will be the same: a medium roast of Kenya AA will be described as tasting of blackberry and cloves; the same in a Colombia Supremo as caramel, nuts and cherries. But what you'll get each time will not be apparent from the description.

Some regions are more reliable than others. Except in terrible years, a good roaster will almost always be able to locate Colombian and Kenyan lots that are good instances of their expected taste. Central American countries rise and fall in reliability based on price and planting cycles; but in each year, one or two will produce good generic coffees.

Island coffees are a different story: the quality is so hit or miss, and the supply so small, that even for a good roaster, getting anything that fits the classic description is rare. Many roasters just stop carrying these coffees; but some have dedicated buyers and will try to locate the cream of each year's crop. Fans who regularly buy island coffees understand this and cut the roaster some slack for this reason; but most coffee lovers simply stay away from island coffees unless they have a hot tip about an exceptional one.
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