Coffee Review June Issue on "Classic" Espresso Blends

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

Postby BaristaBob » Jun 14, 2019, 2:31 pm

Just received this email today from Coffee Review. Interesting article (with some ratings of North American roasters) on what makes a "classic" espresso blend. Worth the read...I think. In my opinion, "classic" isn't quite classic anymore?! :shock: ... -roasters/
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

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Postby » Jun 14, 2019, 2:59 pm

Thanks for the head's up. I really liked the article.

I'm a little surprised to see ACE Espresso up there as a new classic example. I've had it at home and pulled well at their shops and their description doesn't match my experience. Interesting as well is that the shop moved away from using ACE as their espresso to TURBO which is their take of the old classic.
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.


Postby BaristaBob » Jun 14, 2019, 8:45 pm

I must say that the only one I've experienced in this group is Dragonfly's Crema Dolce. When it comes to espresso blends I do like this one a whole lot. I've ordered it several times and enjoy it every time.

I just finished a bag of Counter Culture Hologram, which can be hit or miss. This bag was definitely a hit...blend of 65% Guatemala, 24% Ethiopia, and 11% Uganda. The flavor notes where fruity (blueberry), chocolate, with nice acidity.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

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Postby lancealot » Jun 16, 2019, 12:37 pm

After reading that they didn't bother to dial-in each coffee in the name of "fairness", I have a really hard time putting faith in any of their ratings & opinions about the coffees.


Postby BaristaBob » Jun 17, 2019, 1:12 pm

lancealot wrote:After reading that they didn't bother to dial-in each coffee in the name of "fairness", I have a really hard time putting faith in any of their ratings & opinions about the coffees.

Hi Chris,

While I won't disagree with you about the "fairness" of dialing in each coffee, I will say this always brings up the issue of what parameters do you hold constant while comparing different coffees to each other, different grinders to each other, different espresso machines to each other, etc, etc. I don't have a monkey in this game with respect to Coffee Review or how they choose to play the game, however, they did at least attempt to hold several variables they clearly stated:

"While espresso as a brewing method continues to evolve, it is still based on technologies developed in Italy late in the last century. The machine we used at The Crown is a La Marzocco Linea PB, and Jason (our resident shot-puller) discussed with Ruthie and Elise our typical parameters: 19 grams in, 38 grams out over 27-28 seconds, while suggesting that the day's barista had license to tweak that formula, as necessary. While this protocol might not be optimal for each and every coffee, it ensures consistency, and that's important for fairness. We also taste blind, of course, just as we do when reviewing coffees year-round."

Personally I like to read their reviews, and have tried many of the top rated coffees from their reviews over the past few years. Some I have truly enjoyed, others not so much. I guess it really comes down to personal taste in the end, or maybe I'm not a Q-rated taste tester. :shock:

Right now I've been tweaking machine parameters on a coffee for the past five days trying to zero in on a balance of sweetness/sour/bitter/chocolate. I'm almost there! If I were running a business website to compare 25 coffees in a month, I'd be in trouble! Just saying... :lol:
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."