3rd wave bad, North Italian good

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
dave_in_gva

Postby dave_in_gva » Sep 16, 2018, 4:42 am

I live in Switzerland now but am originally from the West Coast. I was in Toronto in August and was so pleased to discover a top end espresso bar (Quantum Coffee) that was serving espresso that was not so-called 3rd wave. I would say just at 2nd crack or maybe a little in, basically a north Italian roast.

While I have loved returning to the West Coast from time to time, I have been shocked at the fetish for what I would call grossly under roasted beans in many designer style North American espresso bars over the last 10 years or so. While in Toronto it was a pleasure to taste espresso in North America again that actually had sweetness and wasn't an all out acrid assault on my taste buds with searing acidity the overriding impression. Yes, with a very light roast you can taste things that are no longer there with a deeper roast but God you have to survive an all out acid assault to "enjoy" those things.

Was what I tasted in Toronto a one off, or are people starting to pull back from this fad of under roasting and moving towards a more classic, European styled roast? To me this is an Emperor's clothes kind of thing...I realize we all have our own tastebuds and I've no doubt many people actually become accustomed to and enjoy very lightly roasted espresso blends, but I'd wager there's no small part of the trend that is purely down to fad and fashion and has very little to do with actually enjoying whats in the cup.

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Balthazar_B

Postby Balthazar_B » Sep 16, 2018, 8:58 am

Different strokes for different folks.
- John

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BillBurrGrinder

Postby BillBurrGrinder » Sep 16, 2018, 11:22 am

I was in the same boat as you. I despised underroasted sour shots. I found that there is only one way for me to enjoy high elevation, single origin, light roasted espresso. 30g espresso to 80g hot water. Pull your shot then add hot water to mimick a brewed coffee. Some of these are amazing.

When going to many "specialty coffee" shops here in NY state, I have found that none of these 17 year old kids even know how to use an espresso machine. It gets left on the same grind setting as the beans stale and they are told "fill this", "tamp down", "press button". One girl was tamping while holding the portafilter in the air :shock: .
The results are always underextracted shots that gush out at an alarming rate and taste like dog shoooot. Not to mention the machines in some cafes are never cleaned, at least not the inner parts that touch the coffee and water...including portafilters.

Do yourself a favor and give one last chance to my method above. One notch back from bitter should do it. You want zero bitter. Also let the coffee get a little warmer than room temp after brewing before sipping and think of it as a summer time coffee.

For the good Italian shots, not much beats Caffe Lusso Gran Miscela Carmo :wink:

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MB

Postby MB » Sep 16, 2018, 12:52 pm

It may be hipsters and/or acquired tastes for sour extractions, but I also imagine there is a wide variety of taste perception among populations of people. For example, some insist a straight shot is king and if you don't feel that way, you just haven't progressed enough. While others feel like it's too intense to really enjoy the flavors, and get a better experience by mellowing it with milk, water and/or sugar. We should be more understanding that our own perceptions don't universally apply (not all taste buds, genetic and environmental, are like ours.)
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Almico

Postby Almico » Sep 16, 2018, 1:23 pm

I'm a self-taught roaster and barista. Actually, H-B taught for both. I never drank espresso before I started roasting my own coffee. I had no idea what espresso should taste like and no idea how to roast coffee. Needless to say, there were a lot of moving parts and a very steep learning curve.

What I've settled on is a 12:00 minute roast, 10 seconds into a rolling 2C for an agtron 50/52. I use a Brazil/Sumatra/Ethiopia blend, roasted together. It's a coffee smokey and sultry enough to tick the comfort coffee box, spicy enough for interest and still juicy enough to be sweet. Maybe this is your Northern Italian roast? Hopefully I'll find out soon. I finally got my very first passport and Italy is first on the list.

I roast and brew coffee for the way I like to drink it. It works for me and thankfully my customers love it too.

No one around me is brewing third wave coffee. Most are still working on their turpentine recipe.

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JohnB.

Postby JohnB. » Sep 16, 2018, 2:08 pm

BillBurrGrinder wrote:I was in the same boat as you. I despised underroasted sour shots. I found that there is only one way for me to enjoy high elevation, single origin, light roasted espresso. 30g espresso to 80g hot water. Pull your shot then add hot water to mimick a brewed coffee. Some of these are amazing.


That's called an Americano. I start the day with one every morning.
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Chert

Postby Chert » Sep 16, 2018, 2:33 pm

3rd wave good, Nordic good, Northern Italian good, Naples roast good

messing up good coffee bad

I like it all when it's done right. It may be hardest to mess up the Northern Italian style espresso.
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BillBurrGrinder

Postby BillBurrGrinder » Sep 16, 2018, 2:50 pm

JohnB. wrote:That's called an Americano. I start the day with one every morning.


Yes John you are correct it is called an Americano. There really is no standard for recipe so they very widely based on coffee and preference.

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bean2friends

Postby bean2friends » Sep 16, 2018, 3:15 pm

It's the way I drink my espresso. I pull a double shot on top of hot water. I may not get the intensity of a pure espresso shot. But I like it. And I do get at least some of the nuances of lighter roasts. I have been neglecting 2nd crack roasts for quite a while. But recently I had a small latte at a local coffee shop. It was made with a dark roast and it made me remember how good that can be. So, I'm going to be doing some second crack roasts again.

lagoon

Postby lagoon » Sep 17, 2018, 12:10 am

Tend to agree with those suggesting that a light roast works best as an Americano. The extra water provides clarity and flavour separation.

I defnitely prefer darker roasts for straight shots. To me, straight espresso works best with the chocolatey, nutty flavours that come from a medium to dark roast.

Those "tropical fruit" flavours that can appear in a light roast don't suit a short sharp straight shot. If I want those flavours I can have a glass of Verdelho :)