Recommend a coffee subscription (or a bunch of roasters to try one off)

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

#1: Post by dsc106 »

I have been drinking and enjoying the same roaster for a couple years and I need to branch out a bit. I had been on subscription and wondering about either trying out a new subscription from a service that includes various roasters, or just ordering direct from several different highly recommended roasters sans subscription.

Someone mentioned "coffee collective" to me. Looks great, but I am west coast USA so it takes some time to ship here. Because it's light roast the bags should still be fresh enough even arriving a couple weeks after roast but maybe it's less than ideal?

Anyway, looking for suggestions! Thank you.

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#2: Post by Jeff »

I wouldn't worry about Coffee Collective, Tim Wendelboe, La Cabra, April, ... Typically I'll hold them 3-4 weeks before opening for espresso, maybe a week or so less for filter. They're usually here near San Francisco in about two weeks or less.

dsc106 (original poster)

#3: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Do those light roasts play well with a Niche Zero for espresso? And, are they ok in milk, or only straight? (Haven't tried many light roasts for espresso yet). I am sure they would be great on drip (I have Ode with SSP Red MP for drip, but only a niche zero for espresso).

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#4: Post by Jeff »

I've pulled La Cabra, Tim Wendelboe, and Coffee Collective ("filter" mainly) with a Niche Zero and a DE1. They tend to be more developed than the "light lights". The biggest challenge for me with the Niche Zero is getting enough extraction to be balanced without bringing out astringency. It can be done with a longer ratio (1:3?) with high flow (20-25 seconds). I'd try with a VST or Pullman and filter like Ahlstrom 909s if I were trying today. The Pullman is slightly better than the VST for me, using 98 HU and Bentwood. The TW and CC espresso roasts aren't much more developed, extract easier, and may be an easier starting point.

The coffee is generally very enjoyable as filter, so it isn't as though it would go to waste.

(I only use milk with dark roasts, so I can't meaningfully comment on that.)

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#5: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

That is super helpful, thank you. To clarify a couple things, the notes you gave on 1:3 ratio in only 20-25 seconds - was that a recommendation for the "light lights", or for the TW/CC espresso roasts?

I have never tried that timing and ratio on my Niche I will have to give it a go on some different beans to try it out. I'm on a Synchronika with FCD... Do you use flow control? Would you recommend just starting at full flow for that ratio, or doing a low flow pre infusion to start (maybe 15 seconds until first drip) and then letting it run 20-25 seconds for the 1:3? (So a total of 35-40 seconds)?

I didn't know about the Ahlstrom 909s, is that the same as what Weber is selling as "EPF" ("Espresso Paper FIlter")? You think they help a lot? My basket is a Decent Espresso basket (20g), I got it years ago because supposedly it was better than the VST baskets... any thoughts on it?

Sorry, many scattered questions, I just find this very helpful. My go to for the last years has been Coava Coffee and their espresso roasts, but many of them are bit richer. Not at all dark, but deep flavor notes that go well in milk - but I am ready to branch out more.

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#6: Post by Jeff »

A 1:3 with fast flow and lower pressure (5-6 bars) is one profile that seems to work well if you don't have extraction profiling. I think that's close to what April uses in their Modbar.

I don't know the WW paper, but it's worth a shot.

The DE baskets are OK, but several of us prefer baskets with a bit more hole coverage and sharper corners. The corners don't seem to extract as well on the DE baskets. If you're buying, I like the Pullman 17-19 among second-generation baskets these days. It is sold out right now through the US and Canadian outlets I typically use. The next size up is about 2 mm deeper. I haven't used it as my typical dose is 17 g or so. The VST 15 and 18 were my previous go-to. The Pullman might be a bit better, but it's not a huge difference to me.

The espresso roasts are not much more developed and still lighter than most US-based roasters. I'd use the same approach.

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#7: Post by PIXIllate »

All good advice if you want to explore lighter roasts, although your grinder isn't ideal for espresso with those coffees. You can often buy DAK and Manhattan from Eight Ounce and they have reasonable free shipping.

Hatch would be the North American roaster I'd recommend trying. Their Gamma is a very solid espresso roast in the traditional vein as are the Supernova and Blackout. You'll have to pull them cooler {190-197) and shorter (1:1.7ish) to get the best out of them but they may suit your grinder better. However suiting your palate is a question only you can answer. Hatch also has a broad selection of lighter roasts that rotate.

Here is my routine with the E61 flow control. This works well with Tim Wendelboe espresso roasts.

An Even MORE Considered Approach to E61 Flow Control (now with video)

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#8: Post by RyanJE »

Wendelboe all day. What you get for the price is hard to beat! CCC is pretty cheap but not near as good, IMO.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

dsc106 (original poster)

#9: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Thanks Jeff. I do have flow control but not profiling like on the DE1 obviously. To clarify are you suggesting I don't pre infuse with my Synchronika? Or that I would pre infuse for a 1:3 ratio but would need to figure out the timing on my own? Not sure the Vincent I am going for to best extra these lighter roasts with my niche and Synchronika flow control..: seems like the theory is I need to grind coarser to avoid astringency due to the niche producing more fines and a less Unimodal profile, and then pull a longer shot to extract more that way instead. Just not sure how that would interface with flow control!

Interesting it's been a few years and I didn't realize the Decent basket was just so-so. Bummer. So I should look at a VST 20g basket for better results? Do you recommend 19g or 20g dose in the basket?


Others - thank you for the suggestions I will look into all of these, and likely try them all.

For those darker roasts mentioned with a cooler temp and shorter ratio, is that because the beans are roasted more darkly? Do they still have nuanced flavor? I ask because the coava coffee espresso roasts I've had aren't as light as say the TW beans, and I don't have a problem getting great flavor out of their beans at around 200F. So hearing the low temp makes me think those beans are roasted especially dark? (Or maybe I should be turning the temp down on my coava beans more and I don't know what I am missing?).

Thanks again for the extraction tips and roaster recommendations!

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#10: Post by PIXIllate »

In regards to shot temperature, you should definitely experiment with lower temperatures as the roast becomes more developed. Nothing that I recommended is a dark roast in conventional terms. As a point of reference, Tim Wendelbow espresso roast always measures 27-28 or light on my Roast Vision. The espresso roasts from DAK and Manhattan that I've had recently measure 30-32 or very light. These "espresso" roasts measure lighter than most filter roasts from TW or Hatch. I pull all of these at 202F.

The Gamma and Supernova from Hatch typically measures 22-24 or medium/medium light on the Roast Vision. These I find best at 197F.

Hatch Blackout measures 18-19 or Medium on the Roast Vision. No oil on the beans or anything crazy. I pull this at 190F and get milk chocolate and cordial cherry along with caramel and some molasses depending on the bag/shot.

I enjoy a range of flavour profiles, as long as they're high quality. Hatch remains unbested for me when it comes to the medium, medium-light coffees mentioned above.