another_jim wrote:The $50 to $100 per pound coffees may be a poor idea for espresso. They are usually at their best at very light roasts, and they are generally about the fruity acidic tastes. For instance, this year's Esmeralda (non-ayction Geisha) was a 95 coffee in the cup, and just a 90 coffee as espresso. The Biloya was better as a brewed coffee too.
But some taste better as SOs.
Spending more does not necessarily equate to getting more.
Jim and I have discussed (and drunk together) the Biloya as a SO. I think we have come to the same joint opinion, which tempers my initial enthusiasm for this coffee. I've now roasted at least 5 batches of it, one of which I flubbed due to operator (my) inattention. Forgetting that one batch, all the others had occasional phenomenal SO shots, but there was a lot of variation and the average shot was only "good" rather than exceptional. In addition, all the great shots (and there haven't been that many) coming from the Biloya have been in the first 5 days of life of this coffee, after roasting. It becomes rather tired by the end of the first week and loses almost all its charm. My standard practice is to weigh out 14g of coffee on a 0.1g scale for each shot, and these shots are amazingly consistent in "shot quality," if not in flavor, so I would discount the inherent variability of espresso shots as being a major factor in this case.
The lower-rated Adado, which presumably is less good brewed than the Biloya, has consistently produced better SO espresso shots for me than has the Biloya. One of the ways they are producing coffee like the Biloya is presumably through using a lot more labor to hand sort the beans, keeping only the very best ones for the premium coffee. But, it just might be that for whatever is gained by this practice, something is lost in exchange, the kind of thing that might produce a longer living and more consistent result as an SO espresso.
At least in this one case, paying up for a super premium bean has not paid off in the (espresso) cup. In fact, I think I prefer the adhoc blend of 25% aged Lintong Sumatra plus 75% Yemen Ismaili that has been suggested using coffee from the Coop or from a number of other sources, in preference to the Biloya for espresso. Since the coffees in this blend (green) cost a small fraction of the price of the Biloya, it is dismaying to prefer it, but I do. What's more, this blend lasts a long time, and seems to be serviceable for espresso up to maybe two weeks post roast. Not bad for the ~$3.50 I paid per pound of green.