Switched from Illy to Black Cat - WOW!

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
gj91
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Postby gj91 » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I don't know why it took so long to switch but it's night and day. No matter what I did Illy always tasted bitter and wasted a lot of time trying to get it right. Black Cat just the opposite.

I will try some Black Cat organic and single origin soon. Hopefully attend one of their Barista classes too.

Has anyone had any luck with Illy. What was your secret. Or is this just the difference between fresh roasted vs. on the shelf for a long time coffee.

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zin1953
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Postby zin1953 » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:16 pm

gj91 wrote:Has anyone had any luck with Illy.

No. Only the people who don't know any better and think it's supposed to taste that way . . . kinda like *$ . . . .

gj91 wrote:Or is this just the difference between fresh roasted vs. on the shelf for a long time coffee.

Yes.

Given the fact you live in Chicago, I will presume you are picking up your coffee, rather than having it shipped to you. You may also want to try Chicago's other great roaster: Metropolis Coffee. I've never been there, but I have had them ship their coffee to me, and I actually prefer it (personally) -- but that's my taste, and I certainly stop at Intelligentsia whenever I am in LA . . .

Cheers,
Jason
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Postby another_jim » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:18 pm

Black Cat is a better coffee than Illy.

However, the two require different technique. Black Cat should be dosed fairly high, 17 to 18 grams on an E61, pulled hot, and kept at ristretto volumes although in the normal 27 to 30 seconds. Illy should be dosed at 14 to 15 grams, pulled cool, run to full normale volume at a brisk 22 to 25 seconds.

Given perfectly dialed in shots, I'd still prefer this year's (and most others) Black Cat to Illy; but I would never call a well pulled shot of Illy bad.

gj91
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Postby gj91 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:30 am

zin1953 wrote:Yes.

Given the fact you live in Chicago, I will presume you are picking up your coffee, rather than having it shipped to you. You may also want to try Chicago's other great roaster: Metropolis Coffee. I've never been there, but I have had them ship their coffee to me, and I actually prefer it (personally) -- but that's my taste, and I certainly stop at Intelligentsia whenever I am in LA . . .

Cheers,
Jason


I'm in the burbs so I had it shipped but it's pretty much next day delivery. I may need to work out a pickup schedule. I'm drinking more espresso now. I really want to go to their barista class.

I will try Metropolis. Actually another_jim mentioned is a place to compare espresso shots.

gj91
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Postby gj91 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:37 am

another_jim wrote:Black Cat is a better coffee than Illy.

However, the two require different technique. Black Cat should be dosed fairly high, 17 to 18 grams on an E61, pulled hot, and kept at ristretto volumes although in the normal 27 to 30 seconds. Illy should be dosed at 14 to 15 grams, pulled cool, run to full normale volume at a brisk 22 to 25 seconds.

Given perfectly dialed in shots, I'd still prefer this year's (and most others) Black Cat to Illy; but I would never call a well pulled shot of Illy bad.


When I ordered the Black Cat I did call and ask for the best way to pull a shot - Jim you are right on. I think I need to tighten up the grind a little for a longer pull.

So after I got the temp info I checked Illy and was surprised at their optimal temp - definitely on the cool side of the spectrum. Didn't give a recommended dose but I was thinking Italian style, fine grind and close to 14g and tamp to level. I was going to try this to see how it tasted. The temp is going to be the tough part.

The only good thing about all the Illy coffee I bought are the nice espresso cups they gave me for free.

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Postby another_jim » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:57 am

On your Andreja, just run water through the group before pulling the shot. When the water stops boiling, start timing. Two seconds past boil is hot, six seconds is usually cool, and four is usually medium. However, this is something worth learning precisely for your machine. There's a very cool instrument for doing this.

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Postby TimEggers » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:01 am


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Postby uscfroadie » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:04 am

EricS adapter is not just recommended...it should be required! It takes any guess work out of pulling shots (my opinion).

As for Black Cat...it's really hit or miss depending on the blend at the time. Years ago it was really good, and I think it's gone south ever since. If it's back to what it was three years ago, let me know, and I'll give it another shot. Until then I'll stick with my Barefoot's The Boss and a few others that circulate in my grinder.

Taste is very subjective...the reason for the second paragraph is to try to entice you to branch out a little since you may be blown away by some of the other coffee you try. In the end, if you're happy, that's all that counts.

Congrats on kicking up your espresso a notch.
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Postby arcangel6 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:39 am

Does anyone wonder what kind of shot Illy beans would yield if you could try them within one week of the roast date? I think it is fine coffee that is just wayyyyyy beyond its 'real' freshness date. I dont care what they do to the can (i.e. nitrogen or whatever) the fact is that I do not believe that any bean could possibly fresh one or two years after roasting. I wonder how my personal fav Belle Espresso from Klatch would do when subject to the same conditions and time in can.

gj91
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Postby gj91 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:22 pm



Way ahead of you guys, Eric's temp gauge is a must, and should be required with these type of machines. For me it's a 4oz flush and maybe a blind flush.

I would like to figure out how to get the Faema adjustable thermosyphon into this machine to slow the temp to just a single 2 oz flush. I already bugged Eric about this...