Recommended Espresso Roasts for Neophytes

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by melanger »

I recently purchased what I hope is competent equipment (Profitec Pro 700/Mahlkonig K30 Vario) for making milk-based espresso drinks, and I've begun to experiment with different espresso blends and single-origin roasts. The on-line offerings are overwhelming. Can someone please recommend, say, five to ten must-try roasts that would help familiarize a neophyte with various pleasing taste profiles?

Thanks all.


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#2: Post by TomC »

I think you've asked a great question. We have lots of threads here for filter brew style recommendations based just on what people have recently liked, but not as many about espresso, and perhaps not with the focus on ease of extraction or a "road map" of try-this-style espresso. I think you'll get a few good recommendations from folks shortly.

Without knowing what types of flavor notes you're hoping for (other than say, they stand up in milk) the recommendations might be a bit vague. But in no particular order, I'd try:

- Counter Culture Hologram or Apollo

- Linea Caffe Espresso Blend

- If someone didn't mention Black Cat from Intelligentsia it would be a sin.

-Pretty much anything from Kuma Coffee to experience a lighter roast done amazingly well.

- Probably the easiest coffee to get amazing results out of, Nossa Familia Full Cycle

- The massively popular Caffe Lusso Gran Miscela Carmo Espresso Blend is also very easy to pull and fills the niche between fully developed, yet sweet, classic Italian espresso.

- Deep, brooding traditional Italian espresso, give Kimbo Superior Blend a try. Kimbo has many choices in their line, I think half of them have very well curated robustas and Brazilian coffees.

Those are more than enough to get your feet wet and find some classic examples at different roast levels. None of them are particularly hard to extract well.
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#3: Post by melanger (original poster) »

Extremely, helpful, TomC. Thanks so much.


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#4: Post by jwCrema »

With a completely new set up, I would pick one coffee and spend a bit of time to get your process nailed down. By process I mean machine pressures, temps, dose weight, timing and grind. This also includes rest time for the beans, which is how many days past bag opening they're ready to use.

What I'm doing now has become second nature, but the journey has been most interesting.... In the beginning I had a hard time believing tiny, (miniscule?), tweaks to any one of those factors would actually matter.

I picked a different coffee than Tom listed, only because it had a flavor profile reported by fellow HB'ers my wife and I both prefer. I have no idea what I would have done if our preference would have been opposite of each other. Hahaha.

I chased getting to a consistent delivery of that flavor for a fair amount of time. Those settings are in the ballpark for the next roast, usually tweaking the grind a wee bit. We try new roasts now - when I do I will look for rest day's advice here or call the roaster. About half the time the person answering the phone has to give it to someone else to provide that information.

Hopefully this doesn't sound overwhelming- It's just an alternative path on the journey idea.

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#5: Post by marlodmb »

Bookmarks all of those beans and just purchased 2lbs of black cat first to try out.

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#6: Post by »

Black Cat is fairly consistent as it changes and it's fairly easy to dial in a tasty shot. I think you'll enjoy it!
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#7: Post by Kevinmj70 » Klatch Belle Espresso. Great blend and I can pull great shots on a ROK Espresso hand press so should have no or lens with your set up. Rich chocolate and caramel flavors

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#8: Post by RyanJE »

Paradise roasters doesn't get much love these days but great 5lb options and a lot of espresso. Many roasted with milk in mind.
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#9: Post by TomC »

Since we rarely have a bunch of pinned threads in this sub-forum, this wont be taking up too much valuable real-estate. I'm going to go ahead and pin this for a while and see how the member body responds. I think this could be a very useful thread. I'd say a safe estimate is somewhere around 25-30% of the commercially available espresso market is easy to extract, so for a newbie, it can sort of be hit or miss.

I'd like to see others recommend not just the low-grown, chocolate and caramel, nutty coffees, but also some of the brighter, denser high grown beans that still extract well (not always as easy of a task to find).
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#10: Post by appfrent »

Roadmap from another neophyte :D
1) Find a good local roaster and build a relationship and follow their recommendations. If roaster is not friendly, ask which coffee is ordered by majority of good, busy cafes (they prefer roasts that are good yet very forgiving).
2) Repeat 1

Seriously, for me having a very friendly relationship with good roaster was better than choosing machine. And, I save tons of money as I get corporate pricing with beans <3 days post roasting.

Start with Full City roasts as they are good balance of flavor and yet easy and forgiving and venture outward in both directions as you master the art.
Forget four M's, four S's are more important :-)- see, sniff, sip and savor....