Choosing your daily drive - Page 2

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#11: Post by Jeff »

I have more of a selection of roasters of choice than a coffee of choice. My beans are either from their subscription or direct purchases. Light roasts often benefit from 30-90 of rest, so I can order from around the world without worrying about a couple days of "freshness".

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#12: Post by luca »

Chef1978 wrote:Hello caffeine junkies :mrgreen: Here is my current existential dilemma. In the world of infinite coffee possibilities, so many specialty coffee,choices,things to try ,how do you guys went about choosing your go to,daily drive beans,the stuff that powers your day,the one you always get back to after sampling some crazy guatemalan honey processed light roast ,or India monsoon beans.
Was a price a factor? After all good coffee ain't chip this days,do you order online from guy that roast it to order? Or from your local town roaster? How long did it took you to find THE BEANS you now love?

Thanks so much for sharing your journey for the holy grail.
There's a wildly different diversity of roast and green stylistic choices that people have, so invariably everyone is going to go through a phase where they try a bunch of different coffees to learn and work out what they like. After that, you'll probably settled down into largely buying from coffee roasters whose stuff you have enjoyed in the past, and you will probably winnow that list down based on consistency.

My tips to hasten the journey along would be to take some notes and use your freezer to save coffees, then keep on tasting two or three coffees against each other and take notes about how they taste relative to each other. The cupping brewing method is the cheapest and easiest way to do this.

What you end up going with will depend on your stylistic preferences. You might want to settle on a comfort food espresso blend and keep on using that, or you might want to try lots of different things, or you might find a subset of particular coffees that you will chase down every year.

Of course, coffee is an agricultural product and there is tremendous variation from year to year. Not necessarily even seasonal - the last few years have been very challenging for producers and everyone else in the value chain, for many reasons, including things like shipping.

I went on a journey of trying to support many local roasters during the pandemic, which was a waste of time, since many of them did not have roast styles that I could tolerate and most of them had similar green coffee. My approach now is to keep an eye on offerings from a shortlist of coffee roasters that I know have a roast style and green coffee buying styles that match with my personal preferences. There are about three roasters that I trust enough to subscribe to, and what I've done there is to split subscriptions with friends so that we get to try a lot of their coffees without having too many around. The roasters offer generous discounts on subscriptions and we can trust their green buying. I also keep my eye out for coffees of the type I really enjoy and snap them up individually. I am also buying green coffee to home roast, and there I tend to buy larger lots of coffees that I'm more likely to like so that I can try to really nail the roast, as well as odd lots of other things for curiosity. There's a lot of coffee buying there, and a lot of this is because I regard it as enjoyment, not just sustenance. For many people, setting up a subscription with a roaster you can trust will be lots of fun and good value. The trick is finding such a roaster.

I also keep an eye out for when new crop coffees that I particularly like arrive, particularly Kenyan coffee. It's usually a hard slog to do it myself - for years, I would buy lots of coffees from different roasters and by the time I worked out which ones I really liked, the roasters had probably sold out. Now I have a large geek squad, so last year we held a new season Kenyan tasting where everyone turned up with a bag and we tasted about 20 so that, for the price of a bag or two each, we all got to try the majority of the roasted Kenyan coffees that were likely to be good so that we could focus our buying on the best ones. Unfortunately, everything on the market really sucked, but the idea was good.

The coffee market has no shortage of innovation, so I tend to limit tasting the weird and wonderful to cafes and sample swaps with people. There are lots of coffees around that command extremely high premium prices and have innovative processing methods, but that I wouldn't pay even a small amount of money for. It's great to swap lots of coffee samples with friends to establish a group of people that know what each other likes, can give each other good tips, and can pass on disappointing coffees to people who are likely to enjoy them.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes
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#13: Post by coyote-1 »

Past few months have found me trying many coffees. In fact I have three separate espresso-oriented roasts in house right now! Never had that before.... :shock:

And having three to compare back to back, along with others recent, are sending me back 'home'. To a local roaster, whose espresso blend knocks it out of the park. I got a fresh bag of that yesterday, and it's everything I want in a daily espresso. Yeah I'll continue to sample a variety of others, and I will definitely re-purchase some (such as StumpTown's HairBender). But the local guy has 'it', and it's exactly right for me.