Espresso Blends Inspired by Black Cat

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Dogshot

Postby Dogshot » Jan 01, 2007, 10:08 pm

Most of my coffee is home-roasted, but I recently had the chance to go through 2lbs of fresh Black Cat, and I was blown away by how much range a well-blended and roasted coffee can have. It's no surprise that it is so temp tolerant, given that it has impressive high tones and low tones.

It seems that many of the popular home blends (like Liquid Velvet, on which my usual blend is based) concentrate on the medium and low ends of the flavour spectrum. I often roast something like 40% Brazil, 30% Uganda, and then 15% Sulawesi, and/or 15% Peru, and/or 15% Yemen. This makes a nice smooth, deep espresso. However, the thundering bass tones and the soaring highs of the Black Cat sent me running to the CG archives to find out how to add some tonal range to my blends.

The following were offered up at one time or another by Jim and a few others as Black Cat substitutes for home blending, and are a few years old. My interest in posting them is not to try to replicate BC, but to develop a blend that is similarly full-range.

The general advice that I gathered is to add 2 bright blends (like Yirg and/or Harrar) to the bottom-heavy coffees (like Uganda, Sulawesi).

1) 25% Uganda, 25% Sulawesi, 25% Brazil, 12.5% Yirg, 12.5% Uganda Robusta

2) 33% Sulawesi, 33% Harrar, 17% Guat Antigua, 17% Brazil

3) 40% Brazil, 30% aged Sulawesi, 20% Harrar, 10% Kenya


Any current thoughts on a well rounded, full-spectrum blend?

Mark

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another_jim
Team HB

Postby another_jim » Jan 01, 2007, 11:54 pm

A couple of notes.

1. Even with the great high toned dry process coffees available like DP Yrgs and Sidamos, a high end WP like a Kenya, Yrg, or Guat, at 10% to 15% amounts, adds a big pop to a blend. These should be coffees that are too bright for SOs.

2. The most important element of any blend is finding a really good blending Brazil. You are looking for something with a mouthfeel of heavy cream, and a mild taste, milk chocolate, vanilla, etc. The "designer Brazils" we've seen lately, like Daterra, are less useful, since they are going for a complete SO taste range, rather than the creamy middle of blending brazil.

3. The amount of "bass," either darker roasted distillates or medium roasted woody notes is purely a matter of taste. I'm using less. My current favorite commercial blend is the peach-syrup Red Line; as my tastes have gotten a lot softer these last two years, and I've become less enamored with the very aggressive Seattle style wood and bass toned blends. This is purely a personal preference, and shouldn't be taken as some sort of authoritative blending advice.
Jim Schulman

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Compass Coffee
Sponsor

Postby Compass Coffee » Jan 03, 2007, 11:53 am

Here are two of my recent blends that while not based on duplicating any commercial blend/roast per se have full flavor range.

First is/was my Summer Jam blend. This one got raves at the End fo Summer Espresso Jam I hosted. Les rated shots I pulled of it in his top 5 shots for 2006. Deep smokey base notes, balanced smooth and creamy, lively bright fruity high notes. Pre-blend Caffe' Rosto roasted 15 minute profile, 4 minutes equalization drying stage to start of tanning, level 20f/min ramp tanning through browning stages to start of 1st, 6 minutes start of 1st to end of roast, fast cooling.

Summer Jam 5 bean blend 20% equal parts:
Aged Sumatra DP
Brazil Cerrado DP
Brazil Cerrado CD
Harrar FTO Oromia DP
Kona Premium Coffee Co. Fancy WP

When the 10# of Summer Jam blend recently ran out was going to mix more but instead decided for a change. Added a bit of funk to the base and changed the high notes for some berry/cherry wine. Pre-roast blended, roasted same profile. Only done one batch so far and only made it out to 7 days rest. (Didn't touch until young 3 days rest) Yesterday Greg, a local fellow home roaster with a Rocky & Silvia a couple years, said it was the best straight shot he's ever had, far better than any shot of Hairbender he's had from numerous different 3rd wave Cafes around here. I won't go that far, but it does rock! :wink: Excellent full smooth symphonic taste range, outstanding creamy mouthfeel. While I don't necessarily care for Malabar as the primary bass notes, I do like the bit of funk it added with the Age Sumatra. :D

Winter Solstice 6 bean blend (of strange percentages, don't ask why! :lol: )
Aged Sumatra DP 17.4%
Monsooned Malabar 8.7%
Brazil Cerrado DP 19.7%
Brazil Cerrado CD 19.7%
Kenya Gethumbwini 17.4%
Panama Eleta 17.4%

NOTE: If you don't have a good Aged Indonesian, I'd suggest trying 50:50 regular DP Sumatra:Malabar substitute. Won't get the bit of smoky notes but I think should work ok.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

Dogshot

Postby Dogshot » Jan 05, 2007, 12:48 pm

Thanks for these suggestions. I am putting together an order of green beans, and this has helped. I think I am in ok shape for Brazils - I enjoy both my Monte Carmelo and villa Borghese, the Carmelo being a better blender. I have some Monsooned Malabar, but I just cannot make it work in any amount or combination. I'm sure it's my roasting or the batch that I have, but it just tastes like tree bark to me.

Mark

2xlp

Postby 2xlp » Jan 05, 2007, 1:39 pm

i gotta ask- how did you get the percentages ?

its just mathematical curiosity.

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Compass Coffee
Sponsor

Postby Compass Coffee » Jan 05, 2007, 1:57 pm

2xlp wrote:i gotta ask- how did you get the percentages ?

its just mathematical curiosity.

By dividing weight used of particular bean by total weight of all beans. :lol:

Ok, with the Winter Solstice blend it all started by somehow only having 18 ounces of one of the two Brazils left. So matched the amount with the 2nd Brazil just 'cuz. Then rather than screw up the other beans left in stash amounts simply used a pound (or half pound in the case of Malabar). Figured close enough to my original intended ratios. My normal SO batch size is 1/2# so usually any size bag-o-greens comes out even. But when I first got the Brazil Cerrado Lots 141,142,143 & 144 did 1/3# batches of all four to compare and never adjusted future batches to compensate and come out even in the end. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :!: :roll:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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Compass Coffee
Sponsor

Postby Compass Coffee » Jan 10, 2007, 6:51 pm

Made a bit of a mistake with my Winter Solstice blend. While the taste is fantastic it took a bit of a hit in crema persistency and realize why. When I switched from DP Harrar to WP Kenya I should have gone all DP Brazil instead of half DP half CD Brazil. Lesson learned in maintaining adequate DP ratio in espresso blend!
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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ordo.dk

Postby ordo.dk » Feb 18, 2008, 10:06 pm

Dogshot wrote:3) 40% Brazil, 30% aged Sulawesi, 20% Harrar, 10% Kenya



Wow, a couple of days ago I roasted 40% brazil, 30% monsooned malabar, 20% harrar and 10% kenya - so close ;P It's very good!

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Fullsack

Postby Fullsack » Feb 23, 2008, 4:30 pm

Compass Coffee wrote:Made a bit of a mistake with my Winter Solstice blend. While the taste is fantastic it took a bit of a hit in crema persistency and realize why. When I switched from DP Harrar to WP Kenya I should have gone all DP Brazil instead of half DP half CD Brazil. Lesson learned in maintaining adequate DP ratio in espresso blend!



Mike,
Is there a rule of thumb on this? I have never seen it dealt with on an H-B thread.
LMWDP #017
Kill all my demons and my angels might die too. T. Williams

happytamper

Postby happytamper » Feb 24, 2008, 1:12 am

All these blends sound interesting and I would like to try out some. Only question is this. Do you blend the beans and then roast them?

Thanks
Mitchell
LMWDP #77