Nominees for "Favorite Espresso Blends 2010" review

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

What espresso blends would you like to see reviewed?

Barefoot Coffee Boss
14
3%
Barrington Gold Espresso
6
1%
Cafe Grumpy Heartbreaker
11
3%
Counter Culture Coffee Toscano
45
10%
Caffe Fresco Ambrosia
22
5%
Ecco Espresso
23
5%
Espresso Vivace Dolce
36
8%
Four Barrel Friendo
7
2%
Gimme! Leftist
18
4%
Hines Espresso
6
1%
Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic
46
11%
Klatch Belle Espresso
31
7%
Metropolis Red Line
33
8%
Olympia Big Truck
4
1%
Paradise Espresso Classico
18
4%
PT's La Bella Vita
10
2%
Stumptown Hairbender
39
9%
Terroir Northern Italian
23
5%
Zoka Paladino
8
2%
49th Parallel Epic Espresso
33
8%
 
Total votes: 433

User avatar
HB
Admin

#1: Post by HB »

For the last five years, the site The Bench have focused on espresso machines and grinders. Starting this year, we would like to expand the Second Look review format to include group evaluations of coffees. For the inaugural review, the theme is favorite espresso blends. Team HB has nominated these candidates:
UPDATE: Of course these are too many to evaluate, so we're winnowing the list down by a public vote in a forum poll. Please take a look at the list above and vote on which roasters' you'd like to hear more about in this new review format.
Dan Kehn

compliance

#2: Post by compliance »

This looks like it is going to be a great shootout. How many are going to make it in? The only blend I'd really like to see that is not on the list is 49th Parallel's Epic Espresso.

User avatar
HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

Consistent with the site's equipment reviews, the HB coffee reviews will have a technical slant and peer oversight. This level of detail requires more effort, so the number of coffees under consideration will be limited. We're discussing the final format offline, but the thinking is that the coffee reviews will follow the form of the "Second Look" reviews. These are blog-like reviews that alternate between reviewer-only discussion and open discussion. For example, one week with the thread locked so all reviewers can weigh in on two coffees, then one week with open discussion; repeat this two week cycle for all nominees.

If the review proves interesting, we can schedule a second round for favorite espresso blends. Who knows, it may even become a yearly event.

Please note that it is not our intent to bill this as a "shootout". Rather our goal is to elicit the best every blend has to offer, ideally providing readers with brew parameters and tips for duplicating the results we report. The reviews will undoubtedly include copious taste notes, but true to the site's motto, there will be a strong emphasis on explaining what techniques we believe will work best for a given coffee.
Dan Kehn

aindfan

#4: Post by aindfan »

This is a great idea, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results. Will there be quarterly/semiannual/annual updates to reflect blend changes? I only mention this because during a recent visit to some NYC Black Cat cafes, the baristas have mentioned how Intelli's changing of the blend components has resulted in changing flavors. I suppose this isn't the case for many other blends who are less transparent about blend components and strive to keep the flavor profile constant (please note that I'm not saying this condescendingly, merely mentioning a few different examples with no opinion about the merits of one or the other).

Any change CCC Aficionado will make an appearance? I thought that one might have a reputation as being more challenging to pull than Toscano. Any chance we'll see anything from Barismo?
Dan Fainstein
LMWDP #203
PSA: Have you descaled lately?

erik996

#5: Post by erik996 »

I used to get Hairbender about every week and a half to refill my hopper, but lately I've taken to another local roaster's product. Ristretto Roaster's "Belmont Blend" espresso offering. I get more consistent crema and more balanced flavor than I've gotten lately with Hairbender.

sdavidp

#6: Post by sdavidp »

What about including Caffe Fresco's Luna Nuova? It's a definite favorite of ours, easy to pull, and it's decaf.

User avatar
iginfect

#7: Post by iginfect »

I agree with aindfan that CCC Aficionado should be in the running.

Marvin

User avatar
tekomino

#8: Post by tekomino »

I would add one more vote for CCC Aficionado. I really like that blend.
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

coffeestork

#9: Post by coffeestork »

Love the idea and focus. Not to force the Canadian content, but I second the Epic recommendation although it is not my favourite blend. I tend to go sweeter and chocolatier. I am sure you have already probably considered, but it would be interesting to group certain taste profile together so that people who tend to like certain blends have other similar blends to try. Finally, in the spirit of suggestion another Counter Culture blend: Rustico is my favourite.

AUSTINrob

#10: Post by AUSTINrob »

i too would recommend adding the 49th parallel's epic (and organic espresso) blends to your original list. They truly wow me every single time i try them, and they both rank as the best blends in my personal list of favorites.

This will be a fun AND INFORMATIVE thread!!!