Favorite Espresso Blends 2010 - Page 6

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atao

#51: Post by atao »

I do have a question about Hairbender and how to deal with it as it ages from a few days old to maybe 1.5 weeks old. I was able to dial in Hairbender to get a fruit-first profile which i was very happy with (thanks Chris!). The coffee was about 4 days old when i got there.

Now the beans are 6-7 days old and the flavor profile has moved to chocolaty and maybe slightly chalky. My shots are also running quicker, so i've had to fine up the grind a bit.

Is making the grind finer, dosing similarly, keeping temp similar a primary way to deal with the aging beans?

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malachi

#52: Post by malachi »

two responses:

1 - counter-intuitively, with a lot of coffees - the best way to deal with aging is to coarsen the grind and increase the dose.

2 - Hairbender's sweet spot (to me) is 4-6 days post roast. Once past 6 days it starts to fall off somewhat rapidly. At 8 days post roast in my experience it's pretty much done.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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tekomino

#53: Post by tekomino »

malachi wrote: 2 - Hairbender's sweet spot (to me) is 4-6 days post roast. Once past 6 days it starts to fall off somewhat rapidly. At 8 days post roast in my experience it's pretty much done.
Definitely, this has been my experience as well.
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

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Peppersass
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#54: Post by Peppersass »

malachi wrote:Hairbender's sweet spot (to me) is 4-6 days post roast. Once past 6 days it starts to fall off somewhat rapidly. At 8 days post roast in my experience it's pretty much done.
This is really good to know! Could the reviewers summarize their opinions on optimum days past roast for each blend?

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sweaner
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#55: Post by sweaner »

So, after 8 days Hairbender goes downhill? Well then, as i am opening a bag tonight that is 5 days out, I have a lot of espresso drinking to do this weekend! I must say that does not really seem to be ideal for an espresso, as how much can one drink?
Scott
LMWDP #248

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malachi

#56: Post by malachi »

There are very few quality espresso blends that peak past 7 days out (IMHO and to my personal taste).

The Black Cat we reviewed was specified to be at peak at 8 days - but I know that I preferred it at 5-6 days out.

The Ecco (to my taste) was best at 5-7 days.

The Toscano was best at 5-6 days out (to my taste).
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

da gino

#57: Post by da gino »

I've long been thinking of starting a thread on people's perspectives on the peaks for coffees and if it is something that should be expected to differ greatly from person to person even for the same espresso. My inspiration was that I've noticed in the past that Chris (Malachi) almost always seems to prefer espressos in their first week and I usually prefer them in the second week (with Stumptown being a notable exception the one time I ordered it). I'd been told by someone at Intelligentsia a few years ago that they thought their coffee was better after day 7 or even later and the same thing from several people at CCC.

I wonder if this difference is something that should be expected just as people can have good taste but like different foods or if this is something that changes as your palate gets more refined (not surprisingly my palate isn't nearly as experienced or well trained as Chris' and certainly I like different and arguably better wines than I did years ago and I've noticed my taste in espresso changing, too, as I've learned about it).

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another_jim
Team HB

#58: Post by another_jim »

Peppersass wrote:This is really good to know! Could the reviewers summarize their opinions on optimum days past roast for each blend?
In general, since I home roast, I'm more aroma than taste oriented. So I tend to prefer the aromatic, but unbalanced tasting shots from 3 to 5 days to the less aromatic, more balanced ones from 6 to 9 days. 10 days and beyond I tend to get the early signs of staling, salty and powdery flavors, which I mostly dislike.

I liked Hairbender's Sumatra skeleton, so I thought it was acceptable the longest, although the aromatics faded after about six days. Toscano I liked less and less after about 4 days post roast. To me a lot of the appeal was in the very evanescent estery flavors from DP brazils; after these fade, the downside of DP appears instead, with funky vinegary flavors. The version of Black Cat we tried was all top end, so it went downhill after about four days too. Ecco is well balanced and changed very gently. I think it had the longest window of really great shots, maybe 4 to 9 days out.

There was, to my mind, a substantial disconnect between the specifications used in cafes, and the best straight shot flavor. I'm guessing, the specs are best for cappas and lattes.

But please note: As a general proposition for home use, I find all this waiting to to try coffees utterly incomprehensible. The taste of coffees from straight out of the roaster to two weeks old can all be instructive and sometimes surprising. If I haven't had a blend before, I pace myself and try it all the way through. So far, I haven't gone screaming into the night when I get a less than great shot from a 1 day old coffee.
Jim Schulman

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Peppersass
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#59: Post by Peppersass »

another_jim wrote:But please note: As a general proposition for home use, I find all this waiting to to try coffees utterly incomprehensible. The taste of coffees from straight out of the roaster to two weeks old can all be instructive and sometimes surprising. If I haven't had a blend before, I pace myself and try it all the way through. So far, I haven't gone screaming into the night when I get a less than great shot from a 1 day old coffee.
Better early than late. I just went to Ecco's site to order some of their signature blend, and found they ship only via UPS, and expedited shipping would double the cost to about $30 per pound. If I order today via UPS ground, I would receive the coffee in seven days, best case, because of the intervening weekend. Even assuming it was roasted today (and not, say, Friday of last week or or earlier), it's going to be getting well into the second week by the time I receive it. Most of it would go into the freezer in small mason jars, but I'd still have to drink the contents of each jar pretty fast to avoid the end of the peak window, and wouldn't get to try the coffee at an earlier stage.

My word to Ecco: please add USPS Priority Mail shipping to the options. For an east-coaster, it's the only cost-effective way to get coffee reasonably fresh from the west coast. Takes 2-3 days and Saturday delivery still exists (for now.) More and more roasters are offering this option. For example, I just ordered three bags of Hairbender to be shipped Priority Mail Flat Rate Box for $10.78. Should be here before the end of the week.

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HB
Admin

#60: Post by HB »

Espresso Dolce by Espresso Vivace Roasteria

David Schomer is well-known for his articles and books on espresso, as well as his signature espresso blends. Next up for review is Espresso Vivace's Espresso Dolce, described as "the most complex and balanced flavor possible in an espresso ristretto. It features a heavy red-gold crema with a sweet floral presence, balanced with a rich note of chocolate, and a complex, sweet aftertaste that lingers on the palate."
Dan Kehn