What is a good, well rounded starter coffee - Page 2

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

Since you're in Boston, you should give George Howell a try. He's a legend, and does lighter roasts than the other recommended ones. I would urge you to pair his Daterra espresso (pick the roast level you prefer -the Northern is very light) along with Black and White's offerings. The reason is that B&W pushes the envelope on natural and anaerobic processed coffees; while GH is all about super clean washed and pulp natural coffees. Most people tend to come down heavily on one side or the other. They tend to be completely different experiences, a bit like red versus white wines.
Jim Schulman
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#12: Post by BaristaBob »

If you're in Boston, then give George Howell a try. I've had the Tarrazu espresso roast and the Alchemy espresso roast and they are great, very easy to dial in with the flavor notes you described. In my opinion most of B&W coffees are toward the medium-light side (even when the bag says med-dark). They are much harder to dial in on a LMLM given its preinfusion capabilities are limited.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"


#13: Post by OK31 »

I have tried a number of GH blends including the daterra espresso, alchemy and tarazu. I just got a Linea mini and am finding it's not too complicated to dial in when paired with my Atom 75 BUT I am not using the pre/post infusion. What I am having a very hard time with even on the Linea with TWW water is I still get a touch of acidity/bitterness. I for the life of me cannot seem to get a clean coffee flavor that some cafes tend to offer. Beginning to wonder if the cafe shots are simply pods or if I'm doing something awfully wrong? I don't like acid and not butter I like a true Italian more robust flavors. I'm brewing at anywhere between 199-203 at 9bars have tried 21 and 17g baskets in around 30-35sec for a 1:2 ratio. Anyone have any suggestions? At first I though the water helped but just can't put my finger on it.


#14: Post by nyaka »

I completely agree with OK31, I'm in the same place.

I also tried Intelligentsia Coffee Black Cat Classic and Stumptown Hair Bender and Holler Mountain. No matter what I do, the shots are acidic AND bitter, or just acidic.

I just came back from Italy, and what I tasted there was a revelation. I even ask a couple of times what they do - 7g (14g in a double basket) of coffee and 25ml (50-60ml for a double) of output. What I saw, is they actually drinking singles, but they still using doubles and discard the second shot if not needed. I tried dialing this at home and the shot came out watery and still acidic! Any ideas?

Supporter ♡

#15: Post by ShotClock »

In Boston, George Howell are excellent, in particular, the espresso blend mentioned.

I'm also a fan of Barismo, who were based in Arlington - they have a couple of cafes there and in Cambridge.

Barrington coffee in the Berkshires are also excellent, and you can find it around quite a few places.

In my local market basket, you can find stumptown hair bender for $12 a bag, and it can be pretty fresh.

I'd really recommend buying a couple of pounds at a time of decent coffee - pretty much any of the ones mentioned will be fine - and experiment. You will waste a lot to begin with, but as your pick prep and other techniques get better, you will consistently get good results. Investing some time in practice here will get you where you want to be much faster. Aim to be drinking it between one and three weeks after roasting. I'd highly recommend reading the article here on dialing in espresso by taste. There are plenty of good videos online about this too. Also I'd heavily recommend getting and using a scale to measure your input, output and time.

Supporter ♡

#16: Post by ShotClock »

Acidic and bitter can be the result of channeling, if you are over and under extracting at the same time. Bottomless portafilters are the best way to diagnose this. Puck prep is the key!

Bitter and acidity can also be easily confused. Maybe this is also an issue.


#17: Post by gobucks »

I like the Rainforest Espresso from Stone street, and the Dulcilinea from Cafe Integral, both out of NYC. Both are medium-dark roast, good quality, and very reasonably price, especially in 2lb bags.


#18: Post by JudeYu »


I personally prefer Miami Espresso, Caribou Coffee and Death Wish Coffee, cause I kinda want my coffee to be as strong as possible.

But I think it is recommended to start with a popular brand. If the majority of people like them, then they must be good, right? :lol: Lavazza is a perfect choice.

chanty 77

#19: Post by chanty 77 »

cafeIKE wrote:People, how about recommendations close to Boston?

I don't order east coast coffees and don't recommend great west coast coffees to Least Coasters due to shipping vagaries.
I recently tried Barrington Coffee Roasting Co.'s 413 (sweet, blueberry, smooth), their The Natural--again sweet with blueberry & so smooth(that even my husband who isn't a coffee drinker detected) & their Gold which is harder for me to describe--but all of these are just so good to me that next order will buy again & continue to be on my rotation. Medium roasts.


#20: Post by kinda-niche »

BaristaBob wrote:If you're in Boston, then give George Howell a try. I've had the Tarrazu espresso roast and the Alchemy espresso roast and they are great, very easy to dial in with the flavor notes you described.
Do you or anyone else here have suggestions on a recipe for Alchemy? I got my first bag today, and the 2 shots I pulled (with second one nailing the recipe suggested on their website) turned out to have great texture but tasted fairly sour. I was a little surprised, as their suggested temp (93-94 deg C) is a bit higher than I prefer and as a result I was not expecting much acidity given their flavor notes.