Is it a roast issue or a green issue? (Prospective new roasters; you should read this too!) - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Rickpatbrown »

Mbb wrote:I like to order only 1 lb until I've roasted it and like it, and then I'll order larger quantities.

And yeah, sometimes a green coffee will have some undesirable taste. Sometimes it's bitter. One time I got a coffee so bitter when roasted it left a horrible bitter taste all on my cup. The cup had to be scrubbed to get rid of it. Even the same coffee from same estates may not be the same quality year to year. Even some highly touted coffees can be living on reputations from an awesome picking years ago, and not actually be nearly as good anymore
I used to try and do this, but a lot of the really good ones are sold out by the time I get sample and reorder. I have to relie on my knowledge of a specific retailer and their descriptions. While over the top, you begin to know how they wrote about coffee when it's REALLY good.


#12: Post by addertooth »

Fair question, I used to do leather working, and sometimes you need a third hand, and put it in your mouth to hold it while your hands work.

The flavor also shows in the the "coffee flavor wheel", the portion of the spectrum it is placed in is "savory".

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#13: Post by luca (original poster) »

PIXIllate wrote:Thanks for this Luca. Sorry I wasn't more descriptive, I'll try to expand. This is a coffee that is a regular for me, as in one or two bags a month. Consulting my notes the last bag I had was roasted on June 28th, the bag before that on June 15th and this bag was roasted on July 15th. I can't say with any certainty that neither of the blend components have changed but I would guess they haven't. My Roast vision notes indicate all bags were within 1-2 numbers of each other (~19 or Medium).

There are no toasted flavours, more of a muted hollowness with an overriding papery quality and a mild astringency which leads to a shorter, sharper aftertaste. Again this reminds me a great deal of a corked wine in that the original flavours seem to eroded, muted and subsumed when a bottle is first opened, and then the more the air gets at it all that is left is the damp basement/wet cardboard.

Now I should clarify, this coffee is not undrinkable (although I have had some in the past that were similar to these notes but much worse that I didn't consume) and not all of the expected flavours are missing. More that the hollow, papery, astringent characteristics are present and diminish the good qualities.
Oh OK, so I think I'm getting up to speed ... you are talking about roasted coffee that you have bought, not green coffee that you have bought and roasted yourself? I was very confused because this is a roasting forum, and the subject under discussion is whether home roasters have an issue because of poor quality green coffee, because they face disadvantages in buying green coffee compared with pro roasters.

It's kind of impossible to tell, because I have no visibility or information on what they're doing. It could be anything. For all we know, they blend in failed roasts with their blends to get rid of them. Some roasters do. Or maybe they had a jute bag of one of the green components sitting stored right next to the roaster for several months and it super aged. Or maybe they've switched to a different coffee.

FWIW, I've noticed a dramatic decline in the quality of Ethiopian coffees available to me in Australia over the last few years; worse than the decline in quality of Kenyan coffees, and to the point that I've almost given up buying Ethiopian coffees. Many of them have a washed out, astringent, hay, papery, past crop type quality to them, which I think is pretty much what you're describing. Of course, the industry is still describing them exactly the same way as everyone did five years ago, as though nothing has happened. I asked a few Australian friends that work in green coffee and they told me that I'm not mad, the market has changed a bit, here at least. I'm told that the trading system has been restructured; I don't understand any of it or know the details, but the upshot is that there are now tiers for increased pricing for increased cup quality and apparently the increase for the higher tier stuff is quite a lot (which, IMHO, is deserved, because these coffees were always underpriced for so long), so I'm told people have gone down quality tiers to keep the price at what their customers have become accustomed to. I'd say that Ethiopian green would probably be the coffee with the highest distance from floor to ceiling at the moment. Some people will have pretty good ones, some people will sell them to you described in exactly the same way, and you can expect that every single vendor you ask about it will nod sagely at you and say something like "hmmm, yes, but not ours". Maybe some of them will be right; maybe some will be misleading and deceiving you. You guys will have to exercise your own judgment as to which kool aid you drink.
mkane wrote:Very interesting thread thanks, Luca. I suppose suppliers' names are not mentioned.
If you guys are comfortable mentioning the suppliers, feel free; having links to what we're discussing is going to make it much easier. I avoided naming the suppliers of the crap I got saddled with in the previous thread because I'm lazy and I don't want to have to deal with whinging from them or their customers. But having links to the thing we are discussing is going to help the discussion, for sure. I wonder if part of this may be an american thing, too. Like I know that amazon and ebay are so pro-consumer that small businesses seem to kind of roll their eyes and accept no questions asked returns and complaints.
Brewzologist wrote:Carefully controlling items like these would be my first goal before moving into a diagnosing roast vs. green. I'm not suggesting this thread dive into those complexities but do think prospective roasters should be aware they also can have an effect.
Sure, but this thread is about saving people wasted time and effort. You're not going to create a phenolic defect by having the wrong grind setting, so if people are smelling medicinal bandaid chemical type stuff, for example, there's no point pulling their hair out trying to fix storage, roast or grind. Hopefully this thread will help people to distinguish stuff, and it's worth keeping in mind that we ought to make a note if any of your other factors could be the culprit.
addertooth wrote:I have tasted multiple commercial coffees that have a "leather" aftertaste. I thought it was an artifact of bad commercial brewing.

But then I roasted some coffee from Bali (Organic Kintamani Natural) taken to the beginning of second crack. It exhibited the same leathery finish (not overwhelming, but definitely present). What is the underlying cause of the taste of a tanned leather belt? If I were to further describe the leather taste, the components would be sour, astringent and tannic. But it (overall) is spot-on for the taste of leather. The home roasted coffee was aged 3 days before sampling.
Mmm ... my guess is that you can probably develop this in at least some coffees through darker roast levels, but I have also had some coffees with a leather type quality as an inherent feature of the green. Yeah, some indonesian coffees and sometimes some yemeni coffees. I know what you mean. Like you can get a leather watch strap or a belt, scratch the back of it with your fingernail and have a sniff. I'm assuming you're really talking about old leather that hasn't been polished for a while, not like fresh boot polish. I don't know much about it because I don't like this flavour and the darker roasts with a bit of a leather quality that I've made have all been screw ups, not something I was trying to achieve.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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#14: Post by PIXIllate »

Thanks for the insight in Ethiopian coffees. I'm very interested in learning how to associate different flavour notes to known defects but I have zero interest in roasting.

I'm looking to drink only the best I can get my hands on and after trying basically every roaster of note (most multiple times) in Canada I can certainly see your point about how non-trivial it would be to achieve top tier results home roasting if so many professionals with all the best equipment and decades of experience can't even manage it most of the time.

This may also be why so many home roasters say they can achieve the same or better results than XYZ coffee they were buying at retail. Chances are XYZ coffee wasn't anything special regardless of being $30-60 for 200g. Including the $72/120g Cup Of Excellence winner I recently bought. It was okay but it would not have stood out in a series of blind shots.

I'll see myself out of the roasting section. Sorry for the confusion.


#15: Post by addertooth » replying to PIXIllate »

I don't think anyone took offense at your posting, we just wanted clarity.
If you can find them, some clear winners for me have been Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley, Panama Finca Lerida Geisha, Brazil Daterra Peaberry, and this year's Kona Peaberry.

Although not a cup of excellence top-charter, I enjoy the Kenya Kiriyaga Kamwangi Peaberry a lot as well, for it being a well balanced cup. It only has a "claimed" cup of excellence score of 90.2

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#16: Post by mkane »

Here's a Kenyan that just arrived. Details after our walk.


#17: Post by Milligan »

I can corroborate here in the states that it can be hard to find a very fruit forward Ethiopian. I've had a box of samples from importers with various Ethiopians that I'm glad I sampled and didn't go by the descriptions.

luca, what regions do you find are putting out exceptional coffee right now compared to either their past crops or the coffee market in general? Anything that is at the top of your list that could help us zone in on regions that may not be as hard to get good results from? Thank you for this thread.

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#18: Post by mkane »

Sorted the 1st lb with my opti-visor on.

Are these defects on the plate?

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#19: Post by mkane »

Another 1lb Kenyan sample.

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#20: Post by mkane »

And the 3rd pound.