Forgiving espresso blends for the beginner... - Page 2

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

ProHobo wrote:Thanks everyone.

I ordered the following:

Black Pearl (Chris Coffee), Black Cat, Klatch "Belle", CCM blend (pretty cheap)....

I'll use the CCM to practice = then try the other three.

My equipment and some coffee (according to UPS) arrives today!
Sounds like a plan. There are so many good blends that are home friendly, IF you have a really good dedicated espresso grinder. Chris' Coffee's Black Pearl hasn't touched my lips in a while, but it was very nice, as I remember.
Practice makes better, so have at it! Enjoy.
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

Lockman

#12: Post by Lockman »

I see a number of Black cat versions. :?

Has anyone tried the Finca Santa Teresa?
LMWDP #226.

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zin1953

#13: Post by zin1953 »

In what I am sure was an attempt to make things simple, Intelligentsia has made things a lot more complicated. There used to be two Black Cats, one regular and one decaf. Then the "Kid-O" organic espresso became "Black Cat Organic Espresso," and it was all downhill from there. "Black Cat" has now become a brand name (the "Black Cat Project"), rather than the name of a specific coffee -- so now, when you say "Intelligentsia Black Cat," the response is no longer, "How many pounds would you like?" but rather "Which one?"

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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JimWright

#14: Post by JimWright »

ProHobo, I've had the Finca 408 in the last few months and it was still good (if they've still got any). If you like berry-type coffees and would consider playing with a single origin rather than a blend, you might also consider a nice Ethiopian - the Sidamo Dare from Verve in Santa Cruz or the Koratie from LaMill in L.A. In a blend, I found the Medici blend from Mike McKim at Cuvee Coffee Roasting both forgiving and interesting/complex.

I love the Vivace Dolce, a couple of pounds are on their way to me right now, but I'm in the other category Robert mentions and guessing you might find it on the demanding side. IMHO, a change of half a degree in this blend can be the difference between a heavenly sweet shot and confusion as to what went wrong, so I'm not sure I'd start with this unless you're diving head first into temp surfing right off the bat and willing to incur more than a few sink shots.

IMAWriter
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#15: Post by IMAWriter »

JimWright wrote: [snipped]
I love the Vivace Dolce, a couple of pounds are on their way to me right now, but I'm in the other category Robert mentions and guessing you might find it on the demanding side. IMHO, a change of half a degree in this blend can be the difference between a heavenly sweet shot and confusion as to what went wrong, so I'm not sure I'd start with this unless you're diving head first into temp surfing right off the bat and willing to incur more than a few sink shots.
Jim, you have a point regarding the temperature and Dolce, though the mouth-feel more than made up for the occasional temp screw-ups!
Some had mentioned getting the grind sussed in as well, but that didn't seem to be a problem.
Where did you find the "sweet" spot temperature wise with your Dolce?
Were you using a HX machine?
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

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JimWright

#16: Post by JimWright »

If memory serves, it was 203.6 on the GS/3, but it was Thanksgiving so my memory is hazy (I remember trying a shot at 203.0 or 203.3 and not getting it, then bumping up the temp by 0.3 and blam, there it was). Darn it, I really must start logging this...

It also, if memory serves, needs a few days of rest - the last batch, in the first day or two, was occasionally sending blobs of crema popping sideways out of the spout when using the single spout, and completely missing the cup! That robusta certainly makes its presence felt. :D

When it shows up this week I'll try a few variations and post my notes.

IMAWriter
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#17: Post by IMAWriter »

Jim, that would be great, as Dolce gets a bit of a "bad rap" occasionally.
I think I was around 202 with my Anita...haven't tried it with the Cremina.
When dialed in, the pour is gorgeous, and the taste equally as good. The buzz ain't bad, either! :lol:
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

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JimWright

#18: Post by JimWright »

Notes over a week or so:

Beans roasted 2-2, received 2-4. Attempted to accelerate rest of first 2-3 shots of beans by placing in the hopper overnight.

Day 1
First shot - 203.3, very slightly overdosed, extracted to 1.9 oz. A little sweet but not terribly, heavy crema, and a smoky/woody flavor that lingers like dust on the tongue. Pulled a little too fast at 14 sec., and lightening a little more than I like - by both appearance and flavor, slightly overextracted.

Second shot - 203.3, slightly more overdosed. Pulled to 1.75-1.8 oz or so, and still too fast. Sweeter, juicier, still with a little wood/smoke, but much less. Needs grind adjustment before I can make any judgments here.

Day 2
Third shot - 203.3, more heavily overdosed plus grind tightened. Pulled to 1.8 oz or so, 25 sec. Near the end, it started to bubble and some popped out of the spout. Espresso was good, smoky/woody with a little juicy coffee flavor, but I have the feeling it would have been better had I cut it off at 1.5.

Fourth shot - tightened grind further, 203.3, overdosed a bit less again. Pulled 1.25 oz or so, too tight.

Fifth shot - Only slightly over level, bump temp up to 203.6, pulled 1.3 oz. or so, much sweeter/juicier now. Will relax the grind back to the second setting and try again at 203.6, pulled to 1.3-1.5 oz.

Day 4 and Later
8 or 9 shots in, and then revisited after a week and a half and a few more bags:

Tricky. I found that the sweet spot tends to hover at 203.3 to 203.6, with a < 1.5 oz pull, wanting to move back and forth a little on the edge of going bitter and occasionally dropping over the other side. It mellows a little on the lower end of that scale and down at 203 and so avoids the bitterness, but you can sometimes can get noticeably more sweetness at the higher end if willing to tolerate or risk a little bitter thrown in there. Also, if you like that smoky/dusty flavor and feel on top, pour it a little longer (my wife loves this so I've continued to pull her shots at 1.75 oz or so). Another thing - this definitely needs and improves with a few days rest, and I found that I could just dump a 1/2 lb. bag in the hopper the night before starting use, and since this only takes 3-4 days to go through, it does not stale unfavorably.

Lockman

#19: Post by Lockman »

Hi Jim,

Are you pulling doubles or what is the gram quantity you putting in the basket?

Thanks

Jeff
LMWDP #226.

"It takes many victims to make a culinary masterpiece"

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JimWright

#20: Post by JimWright »

Ah, yes, sorry, I settled on medium overdosed using a ridged LM triple basket, and haven't bothered using the scale - by medium I mean more than just a hair over level, in fact substantially over level and requiring some material finger compression before tamping, but not so much that I have trouble getting it into the head. I'm getting 1.4 oz or so in 25ish seconds.