Espresso technique with dark, oily beans

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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JimWright

#1: Post by JimWright »

Any feedback on trying to get good shots from dark roasted, oily beans?

When I'm not drinking espresso (most of the time lately), my wife and I enjoy a very dark roasted blend called Black Pearl from La Mill Coffee here in L.A., which I usually make in a vac pot (though it's also darned good from a press).

I want to try making espresso of it, but before wasting a lot of beans, I'm curious - what, if anything, have people found makes a decent shot from super dark, oily beans of this type? Tighter grind or looser? Updosing or downdosing? Or is this really sufficiently bean-specific that roast-based generalizations don't work at all? Or have folks found that nothing will work for beans like this in espresso?

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Kuban111

#2: Post by Kuban111 »

JimWright wrote:Any feedback on trying to get good shots from dark roasted, oily beans?

When I'm not drinking espresso (most of the time lately), my wife and I enjoy a very dark roasted blend called Black Pearl from La Mill Coffee here in L.A., which I usually make in a vac pot (though it's also darned good from a press).

I want to try making espresso of it, but before wasting a lot of beans, I'm curious - what, if anything, have people found makes a decent shot from super dark, oily beans of this type? Tighter grind or looser? Updosing or downdosing? Or is this really sufficiently bean-specific that roast-based generalizations don't work at all? Or have folks found that nothing will work for beans like this in espresso?
Hola Jim,

wow thanks for the idea. I purposely got the Vacuum pots for lighter roast coffee. I've never thought to brew a vacuum pot with a dark roast yet, mmmm need to try that.

But as far as for espresso, try and experiment to see what you like.

You can enjoy/make espresso using various types of roast degrees. It's really all up to your personal taste & how you want to approach it.

What I have found to like with a darker roasted bean.

Not fine but coarse grind.
Not hot (201-205) but lighter brew temperatures. (197-198)
Not up dosing but down dosing
"Tighter grind or looser"
Tighter on a macchiato looser on a cappuccino.
"Or is this really sufficiently bean-specific that roast-based generalizations don't work at all?"
They do work but it's all up to the user behind the machine.
"Or have folks found that nothing will work for beans like this in espresso?"
I believe history will show us the opposite, whole café / espresso cultures in Southern Italy & Latin America have been enjoying darker roasted coffee for a very long time. Even before the star-bunks revolution. Which to be honest doesn't really help or reflect anything positive on the side of enjoying a darker roasted coffee.

I myself come from a darker roasted espresso culture...café Cubano. 8)

I especially enjoy looking down at my reflection on a dark oily surface americano early in the mornings.
This is were I believe an americano excels at..... with a darker oily roasted bean, well at leas on my taste pallets anyway.

Hope this helps too shed some light on the subject. :lol:
Don't be afraid of the dark side. :)

Enjoy.

Michael.
"azuca, azuca" Celia Cruz

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JimWright (original poster)

#3: Post by JimWright (original poster) »

Thanks Michael - for these beans, I started off a little loose & under-dosed but then worked my way up to tighter and over-dosed before getting anything acceptable. Then again, I think the beans were a little long in the tooth (17 days) - I'll try again when they're fresher next time.

Man oh man, you can go through a lot of beans trying to find your setup! You've gotta be careful too - this morning, I managed to make myself sick for hours after having 5 shots! (Ok, maybe they were doubles...)

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Kuban111

#4: Post by Kuban111 »

JimWright wrote:Thanks Michael - for these beans, I started off a little loose & under-dosed but then worked my way up to tighter and over-dosed before getting anything acceptable.
Sounds like a start to a nice friendship...add a spot of milk for a Cortadito/ Macchiato
Light up a Fuente & put on the Buena Vista on the CD...enjoy


Follow your taste not the rule books :P


Michael.
"azuca, azuca" Celia Cruz