Saka Caffè in the States - Page 43

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#421: Post by prust »

FYI, I purchased some varieties of this coffee, Gran Bar and Tafuri Amalfi and some decaf blend. The decaf had no roast date and the other two were roasted in February, about 3 months ago. Had I known the beans were not dated or wall past what is considered fresh, I would not have purchased them.

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#422: Post by Ken5 »

prust wrote:snip.... and the other two were roasted in February, about 3 months ago. Had I known the beans were not dated or wall past what is considered fresh, I would not have purchased them.
Be aware that the dates on the bag are not formatted as they are here in the states! In Europe the dates are written day/month/year. Are the dates on the bag by any chance 02/05/22? If so it was roasted May 2, 2022


#423: Post by jpender »

Anyone with a refractometer: What sort of extraction percent have you been getting with the Saka blends?


#424: Post by nameisjoey »

prust wrote:FYI, I purchased some varieties of this coffee, Gran Bar and Tafuri Amalfi and some decaf blend. The decaf had no roast date and the other two were roasted in February, about 3 months ago. Had I known the beans were not dated or wall past what is considered fresh, I would not have purchased them.
Ignoring the dates for the sake of curuousity, did they not pull as though they were fresh? Because my experience is even well past what I would consider fresh and where other coffees would pull and channel as stale coffees normally do, the Saka coffee's do not behave this way.


#425: Post by CantinaCoffee »

prust wrote:FYI, I purchased some varieties of this coffee, Gran Bar and Tafuri Amalfi and some decaf blend. The decaf had no roast date and the other two were roasted in February, about 3 months ago. Had I known the beans were not dated or wall past what is considered fresh, I would not have purchased them.
Hi, I just want to confirm that the coffee we shipped to you was all from the most recent batch, roasted between 4/29 and 5/2. As someone else mentioned the dates are European style, so 2/5 is May 2nd. I'm adding this to the website FAQ.

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#426: Post by slybarman »

Anyone not happy with their Saka purchase can give theirs to me and I will ensure it is properly disposed for free. :wink:


#427: Post by tv79 »

I have some Crema Bar and Top Selection on the way. Any recommendations for pulling these on a Robot?

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#428: Post by Balthazar_B » replying to tv79 »

Dial them in like any other coffee, really, and you may find there's not as much benefit from preheating as with more lightly-roasted blends. You can shade towards ristretto extractions with longer pulls, which will enhance the sweetness.
- John

LMWDP # 577

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#429: Post by OK31 » replying to Balthazar_B »

By longer pulls are you suggesting to dial it in for a smaller ratio but in a longer time? Sorry for the density of the question. I also just got the gran bar, crema bar and top selection. Have been pulling top selection at 1:1.5 or 1:2 in ~30s with 14g in and feel like there could be a bit of improvement. I'm pulling at 199.4F is that too high/low?


#430: Post by jpender »

Nobody can tell you exactly how to use your own equipment to get the taste you prefer. But a starting point can be helpful.

I personally pull all of the Saka blends short of 1:2. And I've found that the more robusta in the blend the shorter I pull it. So Crema Bar I pull at 1:1.2, Top Selection at 1:1.8. Time is usually 25-35s but sometimes longer. I never preheat my Robot for these blends so the water temperature (from a boiling kettle) starts around 91-92°C (196-198°F) and declines to the low 80's (170's in F) or lower by the end of the shot. With the Top Selection I noticed that starting even cooler (kettle at 92-95°C which means starting water temperature in the Robot in the 80's) seemed to bring out more chocolate. YMMV.

When I first bought some Saka I went through this long thread and compiled notes from other people. There have been more since I did this but it's a starting point.

Saka Cafe notes (from

#38: Post by cskorton » Feb 09, 2021, 6:35 am
I've really been enjoying pulling Crema Bar and sadly, I'm almost through the whole bag. I've found what works best is a 14g dose, pulled 1:1-1:2 (I prefer 1:2). On my Londinium R, I have preinfusion pressure set to 1.3 bar, and I preinfuse for the least amount of time possible, just enough for the group head to fill, about 3 seconds. I then release the lever and let it go for another 28 seconds.

I'm also using the stock Fracino double basket that came with my Londinium. I've tried experimenting with my VST basket, and that made me need to grind finer which has an adverse affect on taste. I've also experimented with higher preinfusion pressures and longer preinfusion times, but they all resulted in pretty bad tasting shots.

I really get more sweetness and complexity after I let the shot cool down for a little. The coffee provides incredible body and comfort that I've been missing in light roasts. Tasting notes in order include:

Mixed Berry Jam
86% Dark Chocolate
Toasted Walnuts

#55: Post by drgary » Feb 24, 2021, 3:16 pm
I just had a shot of Saka's Gran Bar Top Selection all-Arabica blend, pulled cool at a 1:1.5 brew ratio. It was like drinking liquid fudge. I didn't sweeten it at all. There was a slightly bitter top note that might have been modified by a slight dose of sugar, but the fudge dominated.

#56: Post by cskorton » Feb 25, 2021, 6:17 pm
I've got my Gran Bar dialed in pretty well now.

16g dose in/28g out. Preinfusion for 3 seconds, extraction time is 25 seconds. Preinfusion pressure set to 2 bar.

I tested just about every preinfusion pressure and length, and found the above works best. I've also found that my 18g vst basket produces much better taste than my stock basket, though I'd prefer a smaller dose of 14g (on my Londinium R).

The only tasting note I get is straight dark chocolate. I've been really enjoying it.

Gran bar is much milder than the Crema bar I had before, much more palatable for straight espresso. The crazy thing though, is I find it less nuanced. I think I actually like the Crema bar better despite its high robusta content. It is especially better in milk drinks. The taste is just more punchy and in your face, not to mention the insanely thick body.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm really enjoying Gran Bar. If I get in the next round of ordering, I'm going for the higher robusta blends.

#65: Post by drgary » Mar 03, 2021, 9:23 am
I had another delicious shot of Saka Caffe Gran Bar Top Selection this morning on my Cremina, using a Niche Zero grinder. The brew ratio was 17 gm in, 30 gm out. I like this blend the most when I pull it cool, which emphasizes the chocolate/hazelnut/orange sweetness of this coffee, which is wonderfully sweet without adding sugar. Mouthfeel was buttery thick. There's a long aftertaste of chocolate and almond. My probe is located near the back of the group, above the crease, and the start temperature was 185°F. In contrast, if I'm pulling a medium roast where about 202°F is an ideal brew temperature, my starting temperature on the outside of the group is 195°F, so I'm pulling this coffee about 10°F cooler. I will definitely be wanting more if anyone does a group buy. Yum!

#68: Post by drgary » Mar 29, 2021, 11:39 am
There's a lot of pre-heating discussion about the Cafelat Robot. I'm using a very retro technique with Saka Caffe Top Selection, 100% arabica, updosing with 22 gm in, about 35 gm out and am pouring 197°F water into a portfilter that has not been preheated. I get the coffee equivalent of a rich chocolate brownie.

#79: Post by drgary » Mar 29, 2021, 4:09 pm

cskorton wrote:
What does up dosing accomplish in the cup for these kinds of roasts? I've always stuck with 14g doses, pulled at around 1:2 (with the occasional accidental 1:1.25 in there) and always had great results. I always reserved up dosing (to 16g) for light roasts just based on basket volume.

vze26m98 wrote:
There are folks on this thread that know better than me, but updosing with a coarser grind enables a shorter pull time, so you're tending toward under extraction, ie getting more of the good flavors from the front of the shot.

I think of it like tea, where the early portion of the brew time pulls out the more fragile aromatic flavors, but leaving it to brew longer starts to extract the "woody" components.

I think this is the concern for dark roasts.

I like to play with extractions to see what flavors I can emphasize. This was not a short-duration pull, but it was an intentional updose to emphasize the chocolates and sweetness. There was still a top note of anisette. With this cool pull and updose there was no need to add sugar. Mouthfeel was nice and thick, keeping in mind that my blend had no robusta in it. I also tried the coffee as Ryan suggested, a 1:2 ratio pulled at 202°F. That shot needed a demitasse spoon of sugar, which I understand is typical of shots in Italy. There was an incense-like anisette flavor that was more prominent and decreased chocolate and sweetness. Both were good.

#97: Post by cskorton » Mar 31, 2021, 4:59 am
My experience with American "Italian style" blends echoes what others have said here. I've recent had Mr. Espresso's Organic Neapolitan and now Caffe Lusso's experimental Roma blend. In general, they try hard to replicate the magic of Italian blends, but fall short IMO. They tend to taste a bit flat and one sided (not as multi dimensional and intricate). For example, the Roma blend is too lightly roasts and sweet, with no beginning, middle, and end notes. The Mr. Espresso one was too earthy with no dimensions of sweetness or acidity. They also lack the body and punchiness of Saka and other Italian blends.

Maybe it is true...Italians just do it better, ha!

126: Post by cskorton » April 22nd, 2021, 5:16 pm

Klang wrote:
I received my bags in excellent condition on Monday and just got around to pulling the first shot this morning. My roast dates were 1/9/21 on the Espresso Bar and 3/1/21 on the Gran Bar. Gran Bar is in the freezer so it was Espresso bar this morning. 14.5g in and 25g out, got excellent woody and dark chocolate notes, tomorrow I will try to stop it a bit shorter and maybe get some more sweetness out of it... we'll see how that goes.

I am working with a Breville Cafe Roma and a Quamar M80e usually slow shots don't work well for me so this one ran in 12s from first drip. No channeling just seems fast but I pull all my shots that way. I'd love to know the recipe you all use with you Italian blends, and wether or not 12s is at all common.

I haven't opened up my bags of Saka yet, however I do have quite a bit of experience pulling dark roasted Italian blends including a couple bags of Saka from the first order.

I use a few guidelines to start, but these are by no means steadfast rules:

1. Preinfusion time is usually kept minimal, 5 seconds tops. I never wait until first drops for dark roasts. Dark roasts are easier to extract so no need preinfuse much if at all. As of late I'll allow just enough time from my group head to fill, about 3 seconds.

2. Shot ratio is usually 1:2, however I'm really starting to like ristrettos more, especially in the 1:1.2 range with these dark roasts. It's like drinking sweet chocolately motor oil in the best way :wink:

3. Shot time after preinfusion (not included in these times) usually runs another 25-28 seconds. On ristrettos I can push it to 35 seconds. Haven't tried longer

Play with these first and let us know how it turns out. I didn't even get into adjusting preinfusion pressure or temperature, both of which may be less important than the above, but I'm not 100% sure.

#166: Post by drgary » August 24th, 2021, 6:22 pm
I tried the decaf this morning for my wife's cappuccino, but she and I tasted it as a straight shot first. I wasn't precise about brew temperature or brew ratio but dialed it in on my HX pump machine with a cooling flush until there was no flash boil. The brew ratio was about 1/1.7. I'm quite fond of dark roasts brewed cool and dense. Because the decaf is made with 50% robusta, mouthfeel was very creamy and superior to the Gran Bar Top Selection, which is 100% arabica. The taste was bittersweet chocolate with more sweetness than I usually get with the Top Selection. There was a nutty middle flavor (hazelnut?) not present in the Top Selection when brewed identically. There might have been a bit of anisette or bitter orange on the top end. I'll need to try again and make notes. I actually prefer the flavor of the decaf to the Top Selection, and that's not a dig at the latter. My wife complimented me on her cappuccino.

#206: Post by Jeff » October 7th, 2021, 9:25 pm
All I can say is "hats off to Saka" and their blending/roasting expertise!

New-to-me 1Zpresso JX-Pro came from previous owner at 1.8, I set it at 1.5. 17 g of Gran Bar nearly overflowed a VST 18 and choked the 8-bar peak profile (declines at 1 bar every 10 seconds). Dropped to 14 g (hey, it's a classic Italian roast). 27.9 g in 39 seconds extraction, 49 seconds from pump on. 88°C as controlled in the basket by a DE1.

Lots of sweetness and nuts, too much bitterness for my preferences (likely from no dial-in and 1:2 starting ratio), but amazing results without dial-in of any reasonable sort. It speaks powerfully of Saka's ability to produce a coffee that performs well over a wide range.