Advice for dark oily coffee beans?

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

#1: Post by Jesse.F »

I decided to try some beans from a local roaster I have never been to before, and I am a little unsure about the beans I got from them. I know its subjective, but most of what I drink would fall under the light/medium category. I typically buy single origin coffee, with a preference for naturals. This was a very small shop, and they are only doing a to go window at the moment, so I wasn't able to go in and brows their coffees. I was made a little wary when I asked what they had for whole bean coffee and they said "Light, Dark, and Espresso", but I figured, I was there, may as well give them a try. I got a bag of light and a bag of espresso, and both are what I would call very dark. Both coffees are very oily, there is no roast date, or any info on the bag. I am not one to be wasteful, so I am curious to try these and see what I can do with them, however, I am not looking to gum up my grinder, or anything like that. I know all coffee has oil in it, but I've never used beans like this before, with so much oil on the surface. Am I just going to be making a chore for myself and need to clean my grinder if I use these beans?

I am always game to try new coffee, and am always rotating threw the different roasters and their offerings here, but this one is just so different from anything I've picked up thus far, I was a little thrown.

Thanks in advance

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Team HB

#2: Post by Jake_G »

Turn the temp way down (198 or even 196) and see if the roasty notes can be avoided. There might be goodness in there, but maybe not. If all you get is ash and despair, they make great compost or you could even make some pretty tasty Kahlúa.

Going through a pound or so of dark oily beans won't ruin anything. But if they are really nasty, just pitch em.


LMWDP #704

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#3: Post by lancealot »

Jake has you most of the way there.

Do everything in the book to underextract it. Cool temperatures. Coarse grind. High dose. Low yield. Fast extraction time.

For example: I really like Counter Culture 46 it's pretty dark and if I do a standard 18 grams in, 36 grams out, 200 degrees in 30 seconds = :cry:

But at 20:22, 198, 26 sec the nasties are all gone and I am in 1 dimensional comfort espresso heaven.

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#4: Post by happycat »

If all else is lost, grind v coarse, dump into a jug and cold brew it over a few days.
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#5: Post by nuketopia »

Give them to a friend who likes "dark" roast.

Yes, they can make a mess in your grinder.

Oily surface is far too roasted and the option of, "light, dark and espresso" is sort of in the grocery-store/starbucks way of doing things. Espresso roast being the darkest of all, except maybe french roast in that scale.

If a shop says, "light, dark or espresso roast?" that's usually the cue to say, "thanks, i'll keep that in mind when I'm out at home.."

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#6: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

It all depends what you like. Given them a try and see what you can do with them. They might surprise you. If you can't seem to get something you like you can try blending them with something that you know you like. I wouldn't let how others define a dark roast to keep me from trying them and making up my own mind. You're sure to learn something by direct experience through the process.

Personally, I like darker roasted beans, Any light roasted beans would get blended, passed on or thrown out.

'Chacun à son goût'!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#7: Post by cskorton »

I mostly pull darker Italian roasts so I can try to help here. I've since moved away from really dark, oily Neapolitan blends but I have one in my pantry waiting to be used.

The general rule of thumb I use when dialing in a dark roast:

1. Minimum preinfusion time if you can control that. I try to keep to 3-5 seconds, 7 seconds max
2. Preinfusion pressure is usually low at the standard boiler pressure of a lever of around 1.3 bar. I can't control temperature on my Londinium R, so this is a workaround and works great. I've heard a good temp for really dark roasts is 85 Celsius.
3. Smaller dose depending on basket size. I have a standard Italian double and don't go over 15g
4. Pull it tighter, certainly no more than 1:2. I tend prefer ristretto's in darker roasts in the 1:1.25-1:1.75 range
5. Don't push extraction at full pressure for too long. I usually cut it at 25 seconds. Ristrettos are ok to go a bit longer, up to 32 seconds but again you may get bitterness pushing time this much outward
6. Let the shot cool, don't drink it hot. I'd say let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Maybe even longer. It's amazing how the notes change as it cools.

Have medium or lighter roasts? Easy, start by moving all of the above parameters outward, I.e. larger dose, longer preinfusion, longer shot time, longer brew ratio, etc.
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Jesse.F (original poster)

#8: Post by Jesse.F (original poster) »

Thanks for the info, I set my machines pid down to 198, and genuinely went to bed thinking I was going to give them a try, but in the morning I opened the bags and the smell of charcoal hit me in the face, and I just couldn't bring myself to even give it a try. I don't know what dark roast typically smells like, but this has more of a charcoal smell than my dad's Folger "bold" does. It just went into the compost, lesson learnt.


#9: Post by aleks »


1 - Does the extraction time include the preinfusion?

2 - Also, after the preinfusion, do you allow for a few seconds of wait time ("dwell time") or for the water to percolate, or do you start the extraction right after the pre-infusion?

I asked because I'm a big fan of ristrettos and I want to understand what the timeline looks exactly from start to finish. I want dark ristrettos with zero bitterness (Northern Italian).

3 - do you have favorite beans? In the US I found Colombe Nizza/Montecarlo/Phocea to be quite alright. Nizza would be the least dark, but it's chocolatey/nutty, with zero citrus or berry, as I like. Reminds me of the Vergnano of my hometown Torino in Italy, that cannot be found fresh in the US.


#10: Post by BaristaMcBob »

I made the mistake of using oily beans in my grinder. Never again.