Light roast coffees for espresso - Haven't discovered the joy... - Page 2

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

Peppersass wrote: I'd add that light roasts often require more rest after roasting than darker roasts. It's not unusual for light roasts to need 10-14 days or more to outgas enough to extract properly
Has anyone actually done an outgas test wherein one measures the gas pressure per day on lighter roasts?
The ones I receive will not inflate a one-way sealed bag at all more than three or four days post roast.

Perhaps it's just nasty, underdeveloped components decaying?
A la fruit "ripened" w gas in warehouses, which taste nothing like a ripe fruit right off the tree.

luca wrote:Also worth mentioning that lots of roasts are just bad, by whatever metric. There are plenty of roasts of all colour levels that are underdeveloped, overdeveloped or baked. I'd guess easily more than half of all commercial coffee probably has some roast defect that could be improved.
Amen 8)

eheffa
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#12: Post by eheffa »

If it's any comfort. You are not alone.

I've given up trying to like the lighter roast espressos.

I'm sorry but I'm not looking for salty, sour grapefruit in my cup. Instead, I take great delight in the dark chocolate, nutty slightly bitter tones of a more traditional espresso.

There is nothing wrong with being out of step with the latest trends. Some of us just prefer the more traditional darker blends.

- evan

baristainzmking
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#13: Post by baristainzmking replying to eheffa »

Very well said!
Julia

Dpablo
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#14: Post by Dpablo »

Getting light roasts right is so hard. I've got to say that I'd never enjoyed them until recently- flow control is a game changer. I started pulling very low flow shots (until a few drops start to bead under the basket) with very fine grinds. The acidity is surprisingly tame and there's a ton of rounded sweetness. I'm especially impressed by the fruit forward notes I get.

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retireddude
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#15: Post by retireddude »

I like dense, syrupy, rich and chocolaty med-dark roast espresso. I've tried a few light-roasts over the years, but vehemently disliked them.

This morning, on a lark, I decided to try a light-roast espresso one more time at local roaster/coffee shop that specializes in what they call light-medium roasts. It was pulled on a 2-group Slayer. I went into it thinking, "don't think of this as coffee, think of it as a different drink, try to have an open mind," which I think helped.

It was the first light-roast I've enjoyed. First, there was none of the off-putting vegetal flavor I've noticed in previous attempts. It was definitely on the sour side, but there was a noticeable underlying sweetness and some body as well. I'd describe it as juicy and refreshing lemony chocolate. It's not something I'd want every day, certainly not as my morning cup, but for the first time I can imagine contexts where I might enjoy a light-roast espresso from time to time.

ZebcoKid (original poster)
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#16: Post by ZebcoKid (original poster) »

" I take great delight in the dark chocolate, nutty slightly bitter tones of a more traditional espresso."

Now that made we want a cuppa. Nice writing!
ZK

Phip
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#17: Post by Phip »

Jeff wrote:Classic espresso and light-roast espresso are effectively different drinks prepared with similar raw materials and equipment.
Thank you, Jeff. Now I get it. Calling both "espresso" has had me confused for years.
Philip
LMWDP #687

txxt
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#18: Post by txxt »

eheffa wrote:
I'm sorry but I'm not looking for salty, sour grapefruit in my cup.
Frankly this is an assumption based on the inability to dial in light roasts on your equipment or on bad experiences at a cafe.

That description does not reflect what a well prepared light roast espresso would taste like in my experience and I have only converted in the past few years

eheffa
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#19: Post by eheffa »

Frankly this is an assumption based on the inability to dial in light roasts on your equipment or on bad experiences at a cafe.

That description does not reflect what a well prepared light roast espresso would taste like in my experience and I have only converted in the past few years
You may be right, I may not yet have tasted the best examples of well roasted & properly extracted light roast espresso. I would like to keep an open mind; but, so far any lighter roast beans in the cafe or in my own personal home-based attempts fall far short of the intrinsically satisfying darker roast espressos I love. I do not have to talk myself into appreciating my more traditional espresso. The dopamine hit does all the talking I need to hear ;-)

If this were a discussion around the relative qualities of red wine vs white wines, people would quickly acknowledge personal preference and taste and move on. I think what complicates this light vs dark roast discussion is that extracting lighter roast espresso is a relatively newer phenomenon, more difficult to do well and has more than a hint of trendy hipness for its adherents?

(It kind by of reminds me of the wine tasting club members in the 90's waxing eloquent over their latest grappa discovery. I couldn't join their cutting edge club because grappa reminded me more of Drano than anything I would want to enjoy...)

Anyways, part of the appeal to the espresso disease is how nuanced and difficult it is to produce consistently great espresso. The occasional traditional roast God-shots coming from my shiny chrome-plated altar make the effort oh-so compelling and worthwhile. I keep coming back to worship and have decided it's OK to be content with a more traditional bean.

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Peppersass
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#20: Post by Peppersass »

eheffa wrote: There is nothing wrong with being out of step with the latest trends. Some of us just prefer the more traditional darker blends.
You may be out of step with the latest trends, but in my experience the vast majority of coffee drinkers, including those with discerning taste buds who drink specialty coffee, prefer traditional chocolatey, low-acid, comfort food espresso. The other members of my family certainly do.

I'm sure this is due in part to the difficulty of producing properly developed light roasts and fully extracting them. Many traditional espresso fans have been permanently put off of light roasts because they drank an under-developed, vegetal roast and/or one that was under-extracted. Even in this new-age, very few baristas are capable of properly pulling light roasts. I suppose the same could be said of the many filter drinkers who found their first swig of an over-roasted, over-extracted traditional straight espresso so burnt and bitter they never tried one again.

But I suspect that much of the dislike for light roasts among traditional espresso drinkers has more to do with years of conditioning and enjoyment of traditional espresso with sugar to offset the bitterness, as well as filter coffee mixed with prodigious amounts of cream and sugar. Once you get hooked on a particular style of coffee, it's hard to switch to something completely different.

Personally, I fell in love with traditional espresso in Spain and France over 12 years ago, then later found the Holy Grail of that style of espresso in Italy. I doubt many people drink that beverage straight -- it's always served with one or two large packets of sugar. One of my favorite things is to munch on the coffee-soaked undissolved sugar that remains in the bottom of the cup.

But I couldn't reproduce Italian espresso at home because domestic roasters weren't using Robusta and tended to over-roast (and at the time I didn't know how to obtain genuine Italian blends.) I tried all the tricks -- up-dosing, pulling Ristretto, etc. Always disappointing. Then I tried a superb light roast from George Howell, and the few times I accidentally pulled it well, I was astonished by the bright, fruity sweetness and distinct Ethiopian origin flavor. No sugar needed. That was 12 years ago. From then on, I have almost exclusively sought SO light-to-medium roast flavor profiles, going down the flow/pressure profiling path and roasting my own beans. I'm sure I'll love sugary, chocolatey espressos next time I visit Italy, but for my daily consumption it's always going to be light roasted SOs.