My main problem with buying coffee greens.

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

#1: Post by Ron »

I've been home roasting for espresso for several decades and one of my perennial problems is that I sometimes get an outstanding coffee (in terms of great flavor) that gives me great shots all the time, but more often I get mediocre coffee that's nothing to write home about. In order to save on shipping, I usually get something like 9 lbs. at a time. I hate to waste the mediocre coffee, so my solution has been to dose one-half excellent coffee and the other half something less than excellent. These blends have been turning out pretty good that way. The excellent coffee easily carries over and the lesser coffee often adds something to the body. The problem is when I start to run out of my excellent varieties. Right now I have two coffees I'd rate as excellent: Bali Kintamani which is now sold out where I bought my 9 lb. bag a while ago, and a Brazilian Minas produced for Vispak, a Bosnian company. But, sooner or later I'll need more excellent coffees.

I had thought that I could re-order some of my previous excellent coffees by name but it doesn't always work. A couple years ago I had an excellent Colombian Nariño but a recent purchase of the same name turned out very weak on flavor and only good for blending. On the other hand, my repeat purchases of Bali Kintamani have always been very good.

Do others often wind up with several pounds of coffee lacking in flavor? Do you get recommendations here? Sometimes the internet descriptions sound great but turn out mediocre.

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#2: Post by yakster »

I do look a the recommendations on this forum mostly on the Greens Alert thread, but for the less spectacular coffee's that I've picked up (not based on recommendations) I'll usually just use them for pour over/drip coffee duty.

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#3: Post by mkane »

Just how repeatable are your coffee roasting practices? Artisan tracking really helps if you want similar tastes with the same bean.

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#4: Post by LBIespresso »

I'm sure most people started roasting their own coffee because it would be a financially wise choice vs buying roasted coffee :lol: :lol:

But if you are not one of those people, I think you could be missing an opportunity to give the coffee that you find mediocre away. For around $1 per bag you can get decent bags and print up some cool stickers with a logo or your name and give it away.

That's what I do. I even have a sliding scale in my head in terms of who gets the best and the worst of the giveaways. It's like the fun of having a roasting business without the need to commit to a roasting schedule. The only real downside is missing out on all that fat roaster money they're handing out.
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Ron (original poster)

#5: Post by Ron (original poster) »

I always seem to get consistent results with the same batch I buy. So, if I buy 9 lb. of Kintamani, it all is excellent. I only ran into trouble with Narino. My first batch was also all excellent but another order from a different store was all mediocre. Maybe they were different crops or different plantations. There was no inconsistency with a given lot of coffee, only a big difference between different orders with the same origin name.

Ron (original poster)

#6: Post by Ron (original poster) »

I also like the benefits of having fresher coffee and also saving money. But I found that I can add 1/3 or 1/4 of the mediocre stuff to the best coffee and get excellent espresso.

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#7: Post by drgary »

I read a study awhile back of wild yeast growing in the greens that stales them. I don't have the link at the moment. Added: It was an article by Christopher Feran. I wonder if batches sold to different sources are less fresh, which suggests yeast growth. That article also mentioned the inoculation of some greens with a yeast that would degrade slower. There may be differences in storage, from one lot to another, etc. Also, if a batch starts to turn flat, would that be a good one to roast a little darker to be used as a blend component?

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

Ron (original poster)

#8: Post by Ron (original poster) »

After complaining here, I looked at some recommendations. I wound up springing for 10 lb. of Colombia Huila Aguazul Pink Bourbon. Everyone seemed to give it high marks. I didn't get it yet, but it sounds like it's worth a try.

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#9: Post by LBIespresso replying to Ron »

I love this coffee. While some roasts have had a random strange spike-dip combo occurring within 20 seconds or so at different points in different roasts unlike any other coffee I have roasted, the results have far outperformed the looks of the curve.

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#10: Post by Dokkie »

You know Nariño is a really big region right? It's about 33.000 square km. There's so many different coffees in this region. Different (micro)climates, altitudes, etc

The Bali Kintamani is a specific smaller region (only 366 square km), so the chance these coffees are going to be the same is way bigger than the Nariño coffees.

Best chance at constantly good buys is if you get coffees that are traceable down to farm level. You can get good coffees if you buy coffees with just a big region such as Nariño, but as you experienced these are a bit more hit and miss.