J. Hoffmann's vintage lever - and the blend he created for it

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

#1: Post by baldheadracing »

So James Hoffmann bought a restored FAEMA President spring lever machine from Enrico Maltoni and the machine is now working at the Prufrock cafe in London.

He has done one video about buying the machine, and this second video is about commissioning the machine. What I found most interesting about the video was that he (Square Mile Roasters) created a blend just for the machine:
As a love letter to Italian espresso, we created Il Grifone: a limited edition 3-component blend made up of Santa Hedwirges from Brazil, El Diablo from Nicaragua, and Al Obrah from Yemen. A celebration of rich texture and mouthfeel, Il Grifone honours classic Italian espresso within the ethos of how we source and roast coffee.

Fazenda Santa Hedwirges has been producing coffee for over 90 years with a strong environmental and social ethos. This specific lot is of the Topázio varietal and was patio dried for 19 days. The extended fermentation period gives more prominent fruit flavours, which brings all the texture and structure to Il Grifone.

The Jinotega region of Nicaragua has long been associated with mid-level quality coffee, and El Diablo is a sign of the move towards speciality for the area. This 7-producer blend offers the classic rich chocolate sweetness of both Jinotega and Italian espresso.

And lastly, Al Obrah from Yemen. As some of the first traders of coffee, and because the Yemeni-style natural profile was a favourite in classical espresso blends. We felt this would be an interesting nod to both the Italian espresso ethos and the work of our sourcing partner in Yemen, Qima Coffee.
It is nice to see that his blend agrees with the advice that Tom @ Sweet Maria's gave home roasters years ago: https://library.sweetmarias.com/blending/

James Hoffmann talks a very little bit about the process of creating the blend in the video:
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Milligan

#2: Post by Milligan »

I was wondering how his project would turn out. Gorgeous machine. I did like his little dig at himself and specialty coffee about blending.

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Almico
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#3: Post by Almico »

Nice to see JH acknowledge the wonderment that is the lever machine and the great espresso they create. I'm curious as to the blend he settled on. Robusta? Roast level? Pre or post roast blend?

VST baskets are a misstep with that machine I fear.

DeGaulle

#4: Post by DeGaulle »

Today I just watched James's video of the arrival of this vintage machine. What a beautiful restoration job indeed! I am curious to know the feedback from James and his team about how it compares to a state of the art modern espresso machine, performance-wise, workflow-wise etc.
Bert

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Chert

#5: Post by Chert »

Isn't Prufrock or wasn't it the Gwilym Davies London joint?

If so, I believe that cafe has seen a commercial level before.
LMWDP #198

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baldheadracing (original poster)
Team HB

#6: Post by baldheadracing (original poster) »

Almico wrote:Nice to see JH acknowledge the wonderment that is the lever machine and the great espresso they create. I'm curious as to the blend he settled on. Robusta? Roast level? Pre or post roast blend?

VST baskets are a misstep with that machine I fear.
No robusta in the constituents as given above, but no other info on roast level or pre-/post-blending. I was tempted to buy a kilo (about $96USD shipped), but I have too much green on hand that is getting old and I need to roast/consume.

I was wondering about the VST baskets as well, but given the video, I'd guess that the beans haven't seen second crack. (I use VST's for light/medium roasts on my spring levers.)
Chert wrote:Isn't Prufrock or wasn't it the Gwilym Davies London joint?

If so, I believe that cafe has seen a commercial level before.
Yes, I think so (I think he's in Czech Republic now). Victoria Arduino Athena. Not his cafe, but here he is demonstrating:
Part of three videos. The other two are http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35iylRWT09I and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=327q2csmH4g
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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another_jim
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#7: Post by another_jim »

I like Italian blends, especially for cappas and for their overall taste in straight shots. For everyday straight shots, not so much, since they lack complexity at the top. This is not a knock; given their low price, complex origin flavors are impossible. Moreover, I am in awe of the balanced and low end complexity they get for that price.

So here is what I learned from trying to reverse engineer them.

-- The low end complexity is mostly due to really high quality Robustas. Use a good quality Indian one, roasted at a high ET to the first pops of the second, and you'll get a brandy like note when blended at about 15% to 25%. Don't worry about waste, Robustas basically don't stale in valve bags. Just roast a bunch and use them in your blend over a few months.
-- For all the Arabicas, roast a little slower than usual, but no need to go into the 2nd crack.
-- If you can find a good Indo, this will add to the low end.
-- For the high end, you are looking for pit fruit, not citrus. Here is one place you can surpass Italian blends, simply by spending some money on a good DP Ethiopian or other pit fruit bomb.
-- The other place you can beat an Italian blend is by spendiug bucks on a top brazil. You're looking for body, sweetness, caramels and chocolate. Something like Daterra's Sweet Blue does better than the more budget Brazils the Italians have to use.
-- I prefer roasting everything separate and blending in nice whole numbers. At a minimum, I roast two preblends, one for the lighter beasn. one for the darker. Remember., for this style of espresso, freshness is not a priority. I've gone months on the Robusta and three weeks on the Arabicas.
Jim Schulman

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yakster
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#8: Post by yakster »

There used to be a 49 mm Espresso Blend created for home levers. 49mm Espresso Blend for Lever Machines

Besides getting advice from members here, I also followed Gwilym Davies for a while for advice on lever espresso years ago.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

marcism

#9: Post by marcism »

another_jim wrote:
-- The low end complexity is mostly due to really high quality Robustas. Use a good quality Indian one, roasted at a high ET to the first pops of the second, and you'll get a brandy like note when blended at about 15% to 25%. Don't worry about waste, Robustas basically don't stale in valve bags. Just roast a bunch and use them in your blend over a few months.
Thanks for the tips.

I usually shy away from robusta but a few greens have been available at my local supplier that I've been wanting to try with my arrarex. I guess it's time to pick up a bag or two of the best they've got to test with.

mathof

#10: Post by mathof »

Almico wrote:Nice to see JH acknowledge the wonderment that is the lever machine and the great espresso they create. I'm curious as to the blend he settled on. Robusta? Roast level? Pre or post roast blend?

VST baskets are a misstep with that machine I fear.
Why? I find they work well with my Londinium spring lever, except for dark roasts where I need to limit the extraction yield.