What Are Your Most Satisfying, "Best Value," and Most Disappointing Green Coffees?

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

#1: Post by Ken Fox »

Every time I begin a roast session, I head down to my basement where the greens are stored and have to decide what I'm going to roast. I try to keep a fairly large stash of green, since for me, the coffee is the least expensive part of this whole "home barista" thing, with the equipment and the value of my time being much more costly than what I spend on green beans in a year. I enjoy having choices and letting the whims of the moment dictate what I'm going to be drinking for the next while after a day of roasting.

Over the time I've been roasting, I've had some favorites and some duds . . . It struck me that I'm probably not alone, and that this forum could use a thread (possibly meriting a sticky) where people can write about their favorite and not-so-favorite coffees, the ones they're glad they bought and the ones they wish they hadn't, the ones they'll seek out in the next crop and the ones they'll avoid. It might even turn out that by posting one's experiences someone else here will give feedback that might enable someone to get better results out of coffee already given up for dead, or possibly confirm the worst.

Here are my recent candidates in these categories:

(1) In my "Most Satisfying" category, the hands-down winner is "Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Adado Coop," purchased from both Miguel at Paradise Roasters and from Klatch Coffee Roasters. I believe this is ultimately from the identical source. This coffee, roasted to the onset of 2nd crack or a bit lighter, has never failed to produce an interesting, multidimensional cup. It was not exactly cheap, but not exactly expensive, either. I still have about 20 lbs of it left and continue to enjoy the results I'm getting from it, more than 6 months after the first batch of green that I received.

(2) My Best Value Coffees are a tie, which is convenient because I've been serving them as a 75%-25% blend, as suggested originally to me by Jim Schulman. They are Yemen Ismaili and Aged Sumatra Lintong, both purchased from the Green Bean Coop. I have roasted them more or less as I roast most everything right now, to just before the onset of 2nd crack, with the Lintong roasted a hair lighter (2-3 degrees F). These coffees were cheap (both under $4/lb, green) and in this blend produce a very complex cup that doesn't seem to come into its own until the coffee has aged 4 or more days post roast. Interestingly, it seems to last longer than most coffees I roast for espresso, up to as long as 2 weeks post roast, still producing a very complex and satisfying cup of espresso. This blend works well both in milk and for straight shots.

(3) My Most Disappointing Coffee this year has been the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Select Biloya, much heralded in the press and purchased from both Paradise and the Coop, and ultimately sourced through Novo. This coffee gets bottom honors from me in part because it never could possibly live up to its hype (or cost). To me, it is the "incredible shrinking coffee." I have had 3 or 4 of the best espressos of my life from this coffee, mostly from the first batch I roasted, and tons of good but not great shots that would have been more enjoyable had I paid $4 for the green instead of $13 including the postage :roll: I've tried several different profiles and the results are always similar. There are 1 or 2 very good (perhaps great) shots hiding in the pound, but the rest are merely good or average. I've never experienced a coffee like this, and can't really explain its behavior. My leading theory at this point is that it has simply gone "over the hill" at a record pace, enjoying a very brief moment in the sun with a very precipitous decline. But I'm not really sure, maybe it is something I'm doing wrong with this coffee.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

OkcEspresso

#2: Post by OkcEspresso »

I'll second the Ismaili. There appears to be no end to the roast those beans can take and still turn up something interesting. I have yet to make the Lintong work for me.

I have the opposite experience with the Biloya. Extraordinary coffee both blended and SO. Each roast keeps getting better.

My big disappointment has been the Brazil Poco Fundo. I cannot find a way to roast it without scorching it. And even though a 50/50 blend of my scorched Poco Fundo and FC Yemen Ismaili is pretty dang good, I still get a little ash in the cup.

Ken Fox

#3: Post by Ken Fox » replying to OkcEspresso »

I don't think the Lintong is necessarily something you want to drink straight; I've only used it in a blend with the Ismaili and also a Harrar Horse.

Jim Schulman gave me a couple of suggestions on roasting the Biloya, which I have tried 4 days ago and I'm about to try the roast results which hopefully will be better. It's been in a sealed valve bag since it was roasted so although I would have preferred to start drinking it yesterday, it is still pretty fresh.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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AndyS

#4: Post by AndyS »

Ken Fox wrote:the hands-down winner is "Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Adado Coop,"....This coffee, roasted to the onset of first crack or a bit lighter, has never failed to produce an interesting, multidimensional cup.
I know you like it roasted light, but...is this a typo?
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

Ken Fox

#5: Post by Ken Fox » replying to AndyS »

I hope so!

ken
(at least someone read the post)
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

King Seven

#6: Post by King Seven »

Ken Fox wrote: Interestingly, it seems to last longer than most coffees I roast for expresso, up to as long as 2 weeks post roast, still producing a very complex and satisfying cup of espresso.
ken
Personally I am hoping this isn't a typo... ;)

Rainman

#7: Post by Rainman »

Ken Fox wrote:I hope so!

ken
(at least someone read the post)
I was hoping the same thing, Ken.. But out of blind faith, I figured you had a reason for the "onset of 1st crack". I thought that was only used for cupping- now I know! If you're telling me that you actually enjoy espresso (or even press-pot coffee, for that matter) that light, you've dropped one notch on my list of those whose posts I read with most interest (it's not a very long list, FWIW)!

Ray

PS. I'm still thinking of an appropriate response to this thread... as my stash is quite eclectic by now!
LMWDP #18

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Kaffee Bitte

#8: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

King Seven wrote:Personally I am hoping this isn't a typo... ;)
I don't think it is. I have experienced similar length of usefullness in dry process coffees from Ethiopia and Yemen. Often they are not even close to ready for espresso by day four out of the roaster, often still having a carbonated fizzing still. My usual rest for these coffees is six or seven days post roast. YMMV depending on how you store your coffee during the resting period. I use one way valve bags or jars.

More on topic, my top coffee of the moment comes from Chicane Coffee. It is Costa Rica Orosi Valley Estate. Really a very classic coffee, with thick creamy body that I have never experienced in a wet process Costa Rican before. It has some intense caramel sweetness and some nice spicey notes as well. I tend to prefer this one about thirty seconds into second crack, but it is also good lighter than this.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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Ken Fox

#9: Post by Ken Fox »

King Seven wrote:Personally I am hoping this isn't a typo... ;)
It isn't. I did a roast session when Jim Schulman was here visiting in the summer, and he had the same observation, that the coffee had a "second wind" after about 10 days.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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AndyS

#10: Post by AndyS »

Ken Fox wrote:It isn't.
So when did you switch from making espresso to making espresso? Is this a French thing? How has the flavor profile changed?
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company