Taste testing and price comparing with Redbird, Illy, and Lavazza - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Randy G. »

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mariobarba

#12: Post by mariobarba »

Subq, comparing pre-ground Illy to any freshly ground coffee that has been dialled in to your machine is not really a fair comparison. Try ordering something from Paradise, have them grind it before they ship it to you, then see how it pulls. I bet the difference isn't so great. Again, the cans of Illy are meant for my nonna's moka pot, not my espresso machine. Try some real Italian espresso meant for a coffee bar, grind it at home then get back to me. You are missing out on a lot of quality coffee from the birthplace of espresso if you do not.

I do agree that Illy is waaaay over-priced. Most Italian bar coffees are much more economical (20-35$/kg) than Illy.

subq

#13: Post by subq » replying to mariobarba »

Actually, it wasn't quite dialed in. The flow was nearly identical between the two. The can of Illy has been open less than 24 hours.

Obviously, pre-ground isn't going to match up to whole bean, fresh ground and dialed in.

At any rate, you caught onto my main point. The price does not match up to the quality on Illy.
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peacecup

#14: Post by peacecup »

mariobarba wrote:Subq, comparing pre-ground Illy to any freshly ground coffee that has been dialled in to your machine is not really a fair comparison.
Not only not fair, but like comparing apples to orangutangs. Believe me, even my little Ponte Vecchio can punch through a full-loaded basket of preground like the basket is empty.

How can you dial in a preground coffee? Only by upping the dose I guess. That won't work.

Best if you just find a good Italian roast, whole bean, from a retailer who rotates their stock and gets it as "fresh" as possible.

I am no super-taster with a lot of coffee cupping experience, but I've been at the lever game for six years now. I think if you give it an honest try you may find that a few Italian roasts pair very nicely with your new lever machine.

PC
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Chert
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#15: Post by Chert »

Peacecup,

All I find locally is Lavazza: not bad up-dosed with the Olympia Maxi but not workable with a lever. Back in the days I lived in Europe, I used Caffe Kimbo from the can in a mokka. Southern Italian and dark. Have you tried? Any thoughts, commments on Kimbo?
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subq

#16: Post by subq »

peacecup wrote:How can you dial in a preground coffee? Only by upping the dose I guess. That won't work.
Best if you just find a good Italian roast, whole bean, from a retailer who rotates their stock and gets it as "fresh" as possible.
Not sure I would consider that "dialing in" either (updosing I mean...where is the dial)? ;)

I was commenting in regards to cost. Are you saying Illy is worth what they are charging for it (vs other good Italian roasts)?

I can't see it working out cost/taste wise (for me at least).
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mariobarba

#17: Post by mariobarba »

Chert,
In my experience the only Lavazza worthy of your espresso grinder comes in one kilo blue bags and are meant for cafes and restaurants, there are several different blends/roasts available. Here in Montreal they are easily found and retail for anywhere between 20-35$/kg. As for Kimbo, the same advice can be followed, look for their Bar series of coffees sold in brown one kilo bags. Kimbo is a brand from the Naples region and as you can see from my profile I am partial to all things neapolitan. I am actually about a third of the way through a bag of Kimbo Extra Cream and am not crazy about it. It is a very dark roast with about 50% robusta which gives it a crap load of crema but not too much in flavour dept.

Subq,
I don't think peace cup was arguing that Illy was worth it, rather I think the argument was not to discount all Italian coffees based on your experience with one roaster's pre ground (overpriced) coffee.

I would add that until you try whole bean Illy (if money was no object or if you got a can as a gift, for example) I would not discount that brand outright either.

subq

#18: Post by subq »

mariobarba wrote:I would add that until you try whole bean Illy (if money was no object or if you got a can as a gift, for example) I would not discount that brand outright either.
whole bean Illy is available just like pre-ground
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peacecup

#19: Post by peacecup »

I don't know anything about prices there, but if Illy costs more than do fresh-roasted beans from reputable local roasters, it does not seem to be worth the price. One might try a can once a year for a change of flavors, but I would never argue that Illy is better quality that any of the well¨known NA roasters.

I pay around $20/kg for the Musetti I like (100% Arabica) - Illy costs more, probably $30/kg or more (I almost never buy it, so I don't recall). The local micro roasters are twice price, around $40/kg.

If the local roasts tasted better to me I'd pay the price, but they don't. My guess is that the Italians are better at blending and roasting, at least for my tastes, so the flavor profile is better for me. They seem to have developed very effective packaging, because when the bags are properly sealed, the coffee definitely has the characteristics of relatively fresh roasts (maybe something like 2-3 weeks post roast?) when opened. These make well-rounded, flavorful shots with plenty of crema, without any Robusta in the blend. They retain their quality when frozen.

The upshot is if you can get good Italian beans for an accepable price they're worth a try. I would not pay a lot of money for a can of Illy though, unless the alternative was no espresso at all.

PC
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Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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mariobarba

#20: Post by mariobarba »

+1