Favorite/"Best" single origin espresso?

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

#1: Post by tmaynard »

To start, I did a search with "single origin" and read all the resulting hits -- most of which were compelling and informative (of course, where are we all?!).

But, I didn't really see an "answer." Is there a single origin bean (even if only occasionally available) that is "best" for a shot of espresso?

I'm guessing that a bean with a wide roast profile tolerance would be a candidate. My preference in this category would be a Mexican Chiapas -- delicious from City to Vienna (and beyond?) as auto-drip/pour-over/French Press. But there must be others that are suitable for espresso as SO beans. Your choice? Your favorites?

I ask because I'm never sure that the small sample size (Fresh Roast Plus 8) I roast is (necessarily) representative of the blends I usually buy. I am very careful to mix and distribute the beans before sampling and roasting, but I always have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'm not *really* getting a representative aliquot (i.e., sample).

Okay, I admit that this query is nit-picking at nearly its finest, but I have to ask. If there's a SO bean that makes an acceptable espresso, I'd love to know what it is. All comments (and/or flames) are gratefully accepted.

t++

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RegulatorJohnson

#2: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

i enjoy SO as espresso.

my all time SO fave is yemen moka sanani from a local roaster.

i also enjoy ethiopian longberry as an SO.

i think one thing that makes a good SO espresso is a bean that has a large variation in size. this tends to make a roast that is varied. also it tends to make each shot taste different which is fun also.

jon
jon stovall
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coffeetoolsapp.com

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another_jim
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim »

Yemens, Harars, and some Brazils make fully rounded shots, much like a regular espresso blend. When people talk about SOs, they are usually not talking about these. Instead they are talking about coffees that taste unusual and somewhat unbalanced, surprise shots, so to speak. It follows that looking for "the best" SO is pretty much a waste of time. An SO is not an everyday, go to, coffee; rather it is an unusual treat. The idea is to find four to eight a year and give them each a limited run.
Jim Schulman

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#4: Post by cannonfodder »

I like some of the Africans as SO espressos. There were some nice Yirgacheffe's and Sidamo's this year. They are complex enough to keep me interested in the cup. Yemen is nice as well. The cup changes from shot to shot, sometimes for the better, other times for the worse.
Dave Stephens

User avatar
HB
Admin

#5: Post by HB »

another_jim wrote: An SO is not an everyday, go to, coffee; rather it is an unusual treat.
Exactly! I got the SO bug thanks to Jim and Abe. I don't have the same expectations as a regular blend; my only expectation is that it surprises me (related poll: Do you handicap your single-origin espresso evaluations?)
Dan Kehn

Abe Carmeli
Team HB

#6: Post by Abe Carmeli »

If you want some specifics, here is a link to one SO worth its name from this year's crop - Ethiopia Natural Yirgacheffe - Adado. The stellar performers this year were all dry processed Ethiopians, and the Yirgs among them were the biggest surprise. Unfortunately, the Heche, Idido & Bale Kara are all gone. Some early birds made a killing.
Abe Carmeli

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tmaynard

#7: Post by tmaynard »

HB wrote:my only expectation is that it surprises me
I guess this answers my question succinctly (which is typical of HB's responses). A blend is designed to be consistent from cup to cup .. a SO will (tend) to be different from cup to cup (and season to season). Surprises are to be expected -- and enjoyed or avoided. So let's narrow the parameters a bit:

What SO bean would you order "automatically" when you see it available from your favorite bean provider?

And do you experiment with the roast profile (or final result in the cup)?

I take fully to heart the idea that home roasting (especially on a small scale) is not a precision activity: each roast will differ from the previous by some demonstrable amount (sometimes good, sometimes bad). Given your past experience with a SO bean, and your past roasting experience, is there a bean that you would order *without question* for another batch of SO espresso?!

Because you know (from previous roasting experience) that this bean will deliver an espresso that satisfies (almost regardless of roast profile) will you order it again (if it becomes available) because you know you can produce a satisfactory espresso from it?

Okay, I admit to being off the curve on roasting SO beans -- but that's where I live. Your honest answers are appreciated (trust me!). <grin>

t++

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another_jim
Team HB

#8: Post by another_jim »

tmaynard wrote:What SO bean would you order "automatically" when you see it available from your favorite bean provider?
As Abe mentioned, there is a new grade of super prep dry process Sidamos and Yirgacheffes coming into the US, which are carried by a number of roasters, notably Paradise, who are pioneering the category both by carrying a lot of different examples and by travelling to origin to encourage the growth of these coffees.

As to worthwhile SOs in general, I hate to toot my own horn, by you may wish to to check out the reviews on coffeecuppers. We review green coffees only, but most are also available roasted.
Jim Schulman

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#9: Post by cannonfodder »

Coffeecuppers is a wonderful resource and one I do not visit enough.

As far as a no questions asked SO. If I ask Miguel at Paradise if it makes a good SO and he says yes, I buy it. Is there a farm that I would purchase in bulk without sampling first, no. This year's stellar farm my be next year's compost. Coffee is an agricultural product and varies, some times drastically, from season to season and from acre to acre.
Dave Stephens

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Jasonian

#10: Post by Jasonian »

My favorite SOE to date is hands down, the El Salvador COE - Santa Sofia from Rocket Coffee Roasters.

I tried as a SOE just out of curiosity. I was really taken aback.

A near second would be Terroir's Ethiopia Addis Ketema single origin espresso. The flavors of coffee and indian black tea... together... in an espresso. (there is even a hint of lemon.. it's pretty cool.)

As others have already stated, though, it's not a go-to type espresso. For me, it's about experimentation and experiencing new flavors. What makes it fun, is that you have to approach with no expectations to be able to fully appreciate most SOE's. The two I mentioned are exceptions to that "rule", imo.