Blue Bottle coffee beans larger volume?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by Alan »

I ordered "17ft Ceiling" espresso from Blue Bottle for the first time.

When it arrived I started organizing it into the 50ml centrifuge tubes that I'd used for 20g shots of Intelligentsia Black Cat in the past, but 20g didn't come close to fitting in there. I needed around 60ml to hold it. It's about 20% larger than the previous beans I'd used in the past.

I also got their "Winter Blend" for my wife's drip coffee and it was the same story. I could only get about 17g into a 50ml tube.

I haven't been dividing out my beans into individual containers for long, but I was surprised at the huge size difference. Is it all over the place or do they roast unusually dark for those which makes the beans larger or something?

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#2: Post by yakster »

Coffee seeds to increase in size due to roasting but there's a bigger variation in size due to variety as shown here: ... -bean-size

Coffee is also graded and sold based on screen size. (roasting the same size beans gives you better consistency)

Of course it's not just the size of the beans that matters, but also the density so less dense beans will take up more volume for the same mass. Coffee grown at higher altitudes is typically denser than lower grown coffees.

LMWDP # 272

Alan (original poster)
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#3: Post by Alan (original poster) »

Makes sense. It is much darker roast than I typically drink. I assume longer roast is driving off mass, even if only in moisture, which would result in needing more beans to meet a give weight.

I remember reading that a 12oz bag of roasted beans started life as a 16oz bag of green beans.

Another quirk of the "17ft ceiling" is that they suggest a dose of 20g and a yield of 20g. That a 1:1 ratio and much stronger than closer to 1:2 that I'm used to. It's weird.


#4: Post by jpender »

The bulk density for most whole bean roasted coffee varies from around 0.3 to 0.5g/cm³. For darker roasts what you're seeing is normal. And the shorter shot ratio recommendation is also due primarily to the roast degree since darker roasted coffee is more soluble, more quickly extracted. Try pulling it 1:2 and I'll bet it will taste like a barbecue charcoal briquette.

Alan (original poster)
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#5: Post by Alan (original poster) » replying to jpender »

Thanks! I used their contact form to ask if it was a typo, but your response makes perfect sense. I'll give their ratio a try and see how it goes.

Alan (original poster)
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#6: Post by Alan (original poster) »

They also recommend 201.5F (94.2C) for the temp, which is higher than I normally go as well. I'm normally around 195F.


#7: Post by jpender »

I would take their recommendations for ratio and temperature as a possible starting point. Your equipment is different and BB gets some things wrong as well.

Not that this proves anything, but the coffee I'm currently drinking is an Italian blend that includes robusta, essentially what BB is attempting to emulate with 17ft Ceiling. This morning I measured a leveled 1/3 cup of the beans at 24.8g. That works out to 0.31g/ml. The 16g doses I've been pulling probably wouldn't fit in your vials. And when I've pulled this particular coffee at 1:2 I've spit it out into the sink. At 1:1.2, however, it's very creamy and chocolatey. YMMV.


#8: Post by Nate42 »

Think last time I had 17ft ceiling I was pulling it closer to 1:1.5, but it definitely likes to be on the ristretto side.


#9: Post by objective1 »

When I regularly travelled to San Fran. The mint location pulled 17ft ceiling as their standard espresso. And yes they pulled ristrettos. After getting to know the baristas, and asking about pulling shots at home, they recommended a very long pull time for that very short shot. On the order of 45 seconds. They told me at the time the blend included a 'decent percentage of a high quality robusta'. That may be contributing to your 'low density' observation.

Alan (original poster)
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#10: Post by Alan (original poster) » replying to objective1 »

Thanks for this. The coffee doesn't visually look that darkly roasted. It doesn't have oil on it and it isn't black with burned spots like some french roast, for instance. It must be the larger robusta beans that make it such a larger volume.

Coincidentally, I think I'm right in line with what they recommend after playing around with it until I got something that tasted good to me: ... af3222d079

That shot is from this morning. It's about 15 seconds of pre-infusion and then 45 seconds of pressure to get 20g of output from 18g of beans.