What is a good, well rounded starter coffee - Page 3

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

#21: Post by BaristaBob »

kinda-niche wrote: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.
I looked back at my notes and here are my parameters:
18g in
36g out
20 sec. preinfusion
30 to 35 sec. (includes preinfusion time)

If sour, extract for a longer time and more coffee in the cup. Maybe move temp to 202F as well. Try dropping dose to 17g as well...these are all things that reduce under extraction (ie. move from sour to bitter).
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

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#22: Post by Jeff »

Though usually a light-roast drinker (so take my comments on acidity relative to that reference), I portioned and froze a bag of Alchemy, 4/28 roast, yesterday (two weeks past roast, later than I perhaps should have). This morning I pulled three shots, both using a lever-like profile that peaks at 8 bar in the basket, then declines to around 6 bar during the shot. 17.0 g is my "standard" portioning for light roasts, not a specific recommendation for Alchemy. The temperature is "normal" for my machine, neither notably warm or cool.

16.8 g in (dropped a bean), 43.2 g out (unintentional hold-over) (about 1:2.5) in 46 s from pump on (includes ~9 seconds of basket-fill time).
"Very low acidity, chocolately, slightly bitter"

17.0 g in, 34.5 g out (about 1:2) in 35 s from pump on (same grind, comparable measured flow rate).
"Light brightness, less chocolately, that bitterness subsided"

17.0 g in, 26.0 g out (about 1:1.5) in 29 s (same grind)
"Strange acidic balance, not sweet"

All three were drinkable for me. My preference was for the 1:2 ratio. If I were to pursue the shorter ratio, I'd try a slightly finer grind as it tasted underextracted to me.


#23: Post by kinda-niche »

Thanks, Bob and Jeff. This is all very helpful.

Based on somewhat of a common thread (pressure profiling of sorts, essentially?) in both your dialing in processes, I will try out longer pre-infusion later today (curious to see how a finer grind will change the taste). I already made my first 2 shots of the day before seeing your replies here, and I was once again surprised by just how fruity the coffee is (drinkable but orange juice drinkable)! Since it's a seasonal espresso, it seems like they are avoiding putting tasting notes on the bag itself, but the coffee tastes way too different from the description on the website ("darker roast"; "chocolate, almond, nougat" flavor notes, etc).

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#24: Post by ShotClock »

I had great success pulling Alchemy at something like 1.8-2:1. The shots I pulled with the decent were a lever profile with around 15s preinfusion and 30s shot duration. The best of them had a flavor very much like a dark chocolate Toblerone - fantastic for milk drinks in particular.

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#25: Post by Jeff »

That 9 seconds isn't really "intentional soak", but mainly the time it takes for the pressure to rise in the basket. Looking at the recording of the shot, the first drops into the cup were around 7-8 seconds in.

"Dark" is relative. George Howell tends to roast lighter than many US-based roasters. Their "darker", in this context, is more of what I'd call "medium" on the scale that I am used to. Checking with a roast-level meter, the Alchemy I have is "Medium" (Roast Vision 19).

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#26: Post by mkane »

Shop local when possible.


#27: Post by aspenextreme03 »

Monkey bite by Bird Rock, San Diego is my go to. Also B&W

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#28: Post by Chert »

MarcDencker wrote:I just got a linea mini and a niche and we went through a few coffees but wanted to get something that is commonly available, not expensive so I tune my grinding/coffee making skills.

not expensive is in the list as sometimes I make 3-4 shots in a row to just taste what I did different.

the coffee we typically drink is macchiato, espresso or cortado ( I use half and half, she uses whole milk for the foam)
we dont like the very dark roasts

I like citrus and caramel flavors
the last coffee we tried "a local organic coffee" seemed a bit oily in the grinder
prior to the local we got Lavazza Caffé Espresso 100% Premium Arabica Coffee from costco and "it seemed ok but not good"

If I end up sticking to the Lavazza for the beginning that wouldnt be the worst but figured to ask the experts here.
we live in boston in case that matters
So what did you try next?
LMWDP #198

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#29: Post by LVD »

nyaka wrote: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?
If you're anything like me (sounds like you are), you're never going to get what you're looking for from the likes of black cat and hairbender, et all. I can almost guarantee that it's not anything you're doing that's the problem. You just don't like the way they taste. It took me a couple of years to truly realize this. The vast majority of popular American roasters don't even remotely resemble the taste profile or mouthfeel of Italian coffee.

You should really try some actual Italian blends. And, maybe some of the more "classic" or "Italian style" American roasters. Over the years, I've tried many from all over the country. All I can say is that with a few exceptions, there haven't been many I've been crazy about as a straight espresso.

There's a couple of long threads about Italian coffee on page 1 of the Coffees sub forum that will get you started.

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#30: Post by OK31 » replying to LVD »

I'm beginning to realize this myself. I'm in NYC no just recently was near a roaster which doesn't deliver doesn't sell online but is accessible and tried theirs. I have to say it's absolutely the beans and roast level. The one I'm talking about is Arabica% but the blend they use for espresso roasted onsite in some super quick roasters was truly awesome. I'm going to try finding some local Italian stuff or maybe will order direct because as others I'm doing this for 4 years and yes I love milk drinks but would love to enjoy a double same as I do when at a restaurant where sadly they are likely simply using pucks. I can say water did help with some flavor and I now have an LMLM and an atom 75 so equipment is not an issue. What I think may also be the key is volume. You mention 14g with 50-60 out in how long is it 30sec? Because to get that it's a larger grind size which makes sense.

I've also tried a salami shot on one of new I had and the middle was the best suggesting it's the right blend, I just couldn't figure out how to get the middle as the whole shot. At one or two shots a day it's really not enough. So back to feeling discouraged yet excited.