The hunt for best Italian roasted coffee beans

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

#1: Post by Phillycheese »

Hi I'm more of a passive person on the site for the past 12 years or so and have been reading more lately since time is aplenty during the Covid shutdown.

First some background, my wife and I lived in Zurich, Switzerland for several years in the '90s and used to travel to Como Italy for cycling and shopping and eating. We stayed at this otherwise nondescript Hotel- called Albergo Firenze. The first time there we ordered cappuccinos for breakfast with the usual self service table of meats and cheese and pastries. We downed those caps in no time flat and asked for (2) more. The taste was incredible and not reproducible anywhere else that we went. Needless to say- everytime we went back to Italy we had to stay at this little hotel and get their coffee.

Fast forward to present day- I have been on the hunt for that elusive taste from back then and sometimes I am able to come close but never consistent enough to say I've nailed it.

Reading on this forum from 2008-2015 and older I have a new appreciation of the Italian roasted bean and the DOCG rules for espresso making. I've gone through all of the Black Cats and Hairbenders et al and while they are good and decent for what they are, it is simply not the magic I am looking for. I did find that the Espresso Vivace from David Schomer- Dolce and Vita the closest thing to the real deal. Sadly, we live on the east coast and the coffee goes stale rapidly plus the cost of shipping made it unsustainable.... but my hat goes off to the maestro Mr. Schomer- he gets it.

I went out on a limb about a year ago and bought some Segafredo Red- Extra Strong from Whole Latte Love- I knew about the expiry date and was of course concerned. So when it arrived I immediately dosed out 18 grams and proceeded to extract at 36 grams in the cup. To my surprise I got a hint of what I was searching for, like the elusive high you look for but never can replicate- "this was it" I thought-- right in front of me all of this time...
But then I had trouble repeating the taste and settled into a trial and error process to get back to where I wanted to be. I never was able to get all the way back there.

Armed with this knowledge, I then bought some Filicori Espresso blend and Delicato to further the adventure- on that bag was the Italian Certificato from the Italian Institute. These beans were very good, satisfying but subtle and elusive as well. The last kg bag I bought was Lavazza Gran Riserva- going against all of my instinct about bad blends etc. On the bag of Lavazza was a little diagram- with 14,5g and 92 Deg C and 21g output. So I started thinking- man this is stupid of me not to know what the DOC requirements are...

So I went on here and found a 28 page thread on Kimbo, Lavazza, Danesi, et al. In there they all were raving about the age of the roast and the freshness and then the double shot 14g puck with 18g in the cup, 9 bar, 92 deg C etc. Now I know this was 5 or more years ago and since I have not gone back and re tried the Filicori and Segafredo with the new dosing and extraction times and weights. I want to hear from the forum on what you found and do you know what I am talking about above at Albergo Firenze and this wonderful taste to die for??

BTW- as a rule we don't drink many straight shots here, mostly macchiatos or cappuccinos.

For equipment, we are using a LM GS3- set to -3.5F offset on the boiler temp at 9 bar, grinder is a Mazzer Mini with doser. I currently am using a 17g LM basket. Do I need to go to a 14g basket? Also use a BT wedge distribution tool and 58mm espresso vivace convex tamper.

cheers and thanks for reading....

Philly

dparrish

#2: Post by dparrish »

Hi,

I'm guessing you're talking about northern Italian coffee? It's not that easy to find coffee in the States blended specifically for espresso (most are too acidic/3rd wave imo). Here's a few I like: Caffe Umbria Gusto Crema, Espresso Vivace Dolce, and Caffe Lusso Gran Miscela Carmo.

Sometimes I crave the southern Italian style roast, and I have yet to find anything that approaches the amazing complexity yet darker roast of Italian blends. I've been enjoying Passalacqua's Miscela Napoli, and Harem is next on the list. There has to be some trick the Italians know in roasting-dark, but still complex tasting with a unique and captivating aroma/taste. And no, those two I just mentioned are 100% arabica.

chipman

#3: Post by chipman »

I've been a loyal Redbird espresso customer for years. Recently , I tried their Mountain High blend and absolutely love it.
https://redbirdcoffee.com/collections/c ... h-espresso

Brent1975

#4: Post by Brent1975 »

Did you happen upon the following discussion in your search?

Espresso Napoletano and Thoughts

Phillycheese

#5: Post by Phillycheese » replying to Brent1975 »

I did see that thread and thought that it was useful directed more to the southern italian roasts which are more of an oily roast and darker blends which need to be brewed at the lower temp range say 90C. It was not what I was on the hunt for however. Looking more for the lighter roast and sweet caramel or chocolate flavors.

Philly

Phillycheese

#6: Post by Phillycheese »

dparrish wrote:Hi,

I'm guessing you're talking about northern Italian coffee? It's not that easy to find coffee in the States blended specifically for espresso (most are too acidic/3rd wave imo). Here's a few I like: Caffe Umbria Gusto Crema, Espresso Vivace Dolce, and Caffe Lusso Gran Miscela Carmo.

Sometimes I crave the southern Italian style roast, and I have yet to find anything that approaches the amazing complexity yet darker roast of Italian blends. I've been enjoying Passalacqua's Miscela Napoli, and Harem is next on the list. There has to be some trick the Italians know in roasting-dark, but still complex tasting with a unique and captivating aroma/taste. And no, those two I just mentioned are 100% arabica.
I have tried the espresso Vivace Dolce and Vita- they are very close to the Northern Italian sweet caramel and chocolate flavors I am searching for. I just finished a kilo of Danesi which was good and a kilo of Kimbo which was oily and dark- interesting and great with an affogato but not the flavors I had in mind. The ones you mention above are Napoli style dark I assume? How would you describe the Caffe Lusso Gran Miscela Carmo?

Phillycheese

#7: Post by Phillycheese »

chipman wrote:I've been a loyal Redbird espresso customer for years. Recently , I tried their Mountain High blend and absolutely love it.
https://redbirdcoffee.com/collections/c ... h-espresso
How would you compare to say the Vivace Dolce? or Danesi?

chipman

#8: Post by chipman »

Sorry to say,I haven't tried those two.

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Chert
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#9: Post by Chert »

Phillycheese wrote:I did see that thread and thought that it was useful directed more to the southern italian roasts which are more of an oily roast and darker blends which need to be brewed at the lower temp range say 90C. It was not what I was on the hunt for however. Looking more for the lighter roast and sweet caramel or chocolate flavors.

Philly

Did you come across Hausbrandt, a roaster IIRC from Trieste? Very delicious northern Italian style.
LMWDP #198

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yakster
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#10: Post by yakster »

Some of the best coffee I had in Milan was at the hotel I was staying at in Vimercate, they said it was Hausbrandt.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272