Canadian Roaster Recommendations (Was - How to grind for Italian blends)

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

#1: Post by PIXIllate »

So before anything else I'd like to say that I'm not questioning the use of fresh roasted beans nor am I looking to switch to Italian bean blends to drink everyday. I do like more medium roast and traditional flavors and am generally not a fan of 3rd wave, light roasted modern espresso and the acid that goes along with.

All that being said I was at Costco last night and saw these for $13.99CAD:



They had a Best Before date of 02/22/2022 which should be about as "fresh" as you can get a bag of this stuff in Canada (probably about 3-4 months off roast). I decided to give it a try.

I cut the bag open today and immediately froze the majority of the contents in mason jars and then proceeded to try and pull about a dozen shots. None of which I could get to run for longer than about 13-14 seconds. I tried the standard double Profitec basket with 14g in it as well as a VST 18g basket with 18g in it. I have a Baratza Vario grinder that is set to have the burrs touch at 2Q as the manufacturer describes. With my normal freshly roasted (within 2 weeks) medium roast beans I'm somewhere about the middle of the 3rd range:




With the Lavazza nothing I did seemed to make anything change. I went all the way down to 2A for a grind and was still getting 12-14 second gushers.

I know that stale beans will need a finer grind but I'm not even sure I could pull a shot with these on my equipment.

Am I missing something? Is it just this particular Lavazza that will be like this in terms of grind or are they all in a similar range?

emradguy
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#2: Post by emradguy »

You just learned the hard way why everyone always recommends freshly roasted beans. My recommendation is gift the rest to someone who doesn't know any better...perhaps someone used to using stale beans for their department store auto drip machine. It'll be a win-win. They'll be excited and grateful, and you'll make room in your freezer for fresh beans...and won't feel bad having to throw these out.

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TomC
Team HB

#3: Post by TomC »

Unfortunately you're left with the option that runs countertintuitive to classic northern Italian roast blends. Updose. Keep the grind the same.

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slybarman

#4: Post by slybarman »

I'll hop on the bandwagon. Sounds stale.

PIXIllate

#5: Post by PIXIllate »

TomC wrote:Unfortunately you're left with the option that runs countertintuitive to classic northern Italian roast blends. Updose. Keep the grind the same.
So is this a case that my grinder isn't up to the task? Would most/some/other grinders be able to take a 14g classic dose in a stock basket and pull a 28g output in 25-30 seconds, or is this bag/roast just not meant for what I'm trying?

PIXIllate

#6: Post by PIXIllate »

slybarman wrote:I'll hop on the bandwagon. Sounds stale.
Yes, by North American standards ALL classic Italian blends we can buy are "stale".

My question surround the ability to grind this particular coffee to an espresso grind/dose/shot time.

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Spitz.me

#7: Post by Spitz.me »

Many of us on HB have proven time and time again that you can pull shots of espresso with these stale Italian blends. Many of us :gasp: even enjoy the shots we pull with these blends. So, no, it's not impossible, but your grinder isn't set to grind tight enough for the blend. I'm not that well educated on the calibration of the Vario so I initially questioned why you couldn't go tighter than 2A. I now get it. If the burrs are squealing at 2Q, then 2A was a stretch. Well, you need to calibrate finer, if you can, to pull a shot properly.

Italian coffee blends are similar to decaf beans in terms of grind level. Usually you go much tighter than you're used to...MUCH tighter.

I don't have experience with Italian blends and the Vario, but someone else might!

I also don't have experience with this blend, but I'd imagine it's very close to Kimbo Extra Cream. I didn't like it much....
LMWDP #670

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slybarman

#8: Post by slybarman »

PIXIllate wrote:Yes, by North American standards ALL classic Italian blends we can buy are "stale".

My question surround the ability to grind this particular coffee to an espresso grind/dose/shot time.
My experience has been that when it's stale like that there is very little / no margin between gusher and choked, but sounds like maybe some others have found the sweet spot. Good luck.

PIXIllate

#9: Post by PIXIllate »

Spitz.me wrote:Many of us on HB have proven time and time again that you can pull shots of espresso with these stale Italian blends. Many of us :gasp: even enjoy the shots we pull with these blends. So, no, it's not impossible, but your grinder isn't set to grind tight enough for the blend. I'm not that well educated on the calibration of the Vario so I initially questioned why you couldn't go tighter than 2A. I now get it. If the burrs are squealing at 2Q, then 2A was a stretch. Well, you need to calibrate finer, if you can, to pull a shot properly.

Italian coffee blends are similar to decaf beans in terms of grind level. Usually you go much tighter than you're used to...MUCH tighter.

I don't have experience with Italian blends and the Vario, but someone else might!

I also don't have experience with this blend, but I'd imagine it's very close to Kimbo Extra Cream. I didn't like it much....

Sounds like you have some experience with this. I'm looking to try something that I can get in Canada that might give me a pleasant Italian profile for a change of pace. Can you recommend any blends that might be a little more forgiving with the grind?

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Spitz.me

#10: Post by Spitz.me »

PIXIllate wrote: Sounds like you have some experience with this. I'm looking to try something that I can get in Canada that might give me a pleasant Italian profile for a change of pace. Can you recommend any blends that might be a little more forgiving with the grind?
Sure, I have a few to recommend that I'm sure you can find easily in Canada. The list below is in the order of preference.

Lavazza Gold Selection
Kimbo Superior
Lavazza Super Crema
Lavazza Top Class
Kimbo Extra Cream

The high ratio of low quality robusta makes for a fairly gross rubbery taste that is really difficult to remove completely from the aroma and taste. High ratio, to me, is at least 50% robusta. The low quality seems to be the one disclosed as from Vietnam.

The Extra Cream and Top Class just have too much Robusta to be great. The Super Crema and Superior are at 30% Robusta and they're more manageable in terms of making a good tasting shot without the negative qualities of the robusta overwhelming. The Gold Selection has a washed robusta that Lavazza calls higher quality robusta and it is at 30%. It's a very nice robusta since i haven't tasted anything approaching the obvious/overwhelming robusta taste in the other blends.

We all have different taste preferences. There are people who love the Napoli roasts which tend to be disgustingly over roasted with high levels of robusta. So, this is definitely a journey to figuring out what you like. The Italian blends may be more easily substituted for one another than other boutique roaster offerings, but it's not obvious how you would do that until you try.

There are a handful of awesome threads here that have a number of experiences posted to learn from.
LMWDP #670