The hunt for best Italian roasted coffee beans - Page 34

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

#331: Post by Goldfinger »

Great to see this thread still going strong. Since my last post I tried a few Italian roasts and am still enjoying some of them. I managed to get hold of some Saka 80/40 but it came from an unofficial source (some individual) and turned out to be more than 10 months old. I had to grind it very fine to make it work and even then the results were not outstanding. I ended up discarding the last quarter due to certain element of bitterness that couldn't not notice. I kept the bag out of the freezer and I think that fact combined with particulary hot weather this summer made the bean detorirate even quicker. But a certain and unmistakable character of the blend did regiester with me during the first month of me drinking this coffee and I'd definitely like to come back to it, though I will make sure that the next time if I get it, I make sure it's at least reasonably fresh.

I also got some Lavazza organic bean which I bought from a London cake shop chain (Lola Bakery) for paltry £11. What interest do they have in selling it to me for such sum I have no idea. It's a 1kg bag. Decent coffee, if a bit prosaic, that I wouldn't complain about if served in a coffee shop. But at home I expect more and so I'm struggling to finish the bag.

I discovered Caffee Napoli in London. I went to try them out and I was really pleased with their coffee, and their cakes. It's a tiny outfit, you sit at the street, it's a kiosk, really, but what they sell is very authentic and unpretentious. Not pricey at all, which makes the whole experience even more 'authentic' because, let's face it, south Italy is not Milan and the part of its charm is affordability. Now, having said that, if you want to buy a 1kg bag of their coffee that will set you back £30. Not super expensive but certainly not 'south of Italy cheap'. So i passed on it. But, a few yards down the road another Italian deli. Confusingly, their house coffee is called Cafe Napoli (the other one was called something else) and when I asked the owner if he would sell it to me he agreed and asked for £17. I ended up buying half a bag (he tipped the remaining half into his hopper) after he'd made me a single espresso to test it. This blend tasted identical to what I'd just had at Cafe Napoli. I think it's the same coffee both establishments are selling in different bags (CN is moving up market and accordingly they've 'comissioned' a new bag design - is my guess). Back to the coffee. Well, tonns of crema, smooth and very well suited to sugar/cremina (I drink it with my usual 2g of sugar in a double shot which I make with 14g of coffee and it works wonders). It's hard not to appreciate this coffee for what it is and at this price I decided I'm going to go back for more. It can be my staple Napolitan brew to always have at hand.

When I finished CN blend I opened a tin of Lucaffe that I got from Amazon. It employs the same preservation technology as Illy. I think this is 80/20 if I'm not mistaken. I"m loving it. Dark chocolate all the way. A tiny bit one dimensional but not a problem for me, I think that's what you get when you reach for a flavour that's perfected to hit one particular spot, i.e. expectation. And this one does hit it. There are espresso beans that exhibit much more complexity than this but the trouble with them is they always hide in them certain notes that are there by accident (like some botanical bitterness or too much acidity). That's my personal experence. Lucaffe is single mindedly about dark chocolate. I think the entire Italian espresso approach is a top down thing where the aim is to achieve a flavour profile of a certain predetermined kind. The coffee bean is just material without much intrinsic value. They don't fetishise the bean at all, they'll scorch it if that's what it takes to get out of it what they like. The whole 'origin' thing simply doesn't come into it.


#332: Post by Goldfinger »

I thought I should attach some pics of the coffees I spoke about. Something that didn't work first time round :oops: