How to make a tasty espresso from a single origin that tastes wonderful brewed.

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#1: Post by another_jim »

I spent years doing handstands with fine grinds, low doses, and profiled shots; and these approaches do work. But there is a much more low tech approach that works with simple gear. Mix the coffee with about 50% to 75% Brazil. We are not talking about a fancy Brazil with pit fruit and port flavors, bit a neutral DP Brazil, roasted medium, with plenty of body, that tastes like ... coffee, i.e. of nuts, cola, and cocoa, with no acidity and no dark roast distillates.

This will not interfere with the tastes of the SO. Instead, it will make the extraction easy, and give a nice mellow background to the flavors you liked when you brewed the coffee.

Yeah, I know; it's way too easy for HB. But sometimes easy is the way to go.

I hope roasters take notice and offer "espressofication brazils" as part of their lineups.
Jim Schulman
★★ Quite Helpful

User avatar
luca
Team HB

#2: Post by luca »

Hi Jim,

Great post. I seldom actually do this, but probably should.

Here's one issue that I've grappled with in doing this, though - if you have, say, a Brazillian coffee and a washed Colombian coffee and you dialled them both in to make espresso, you'd probably find that you would grind the Colombian coffee much finer than the Brazillian coffee. So you'd think that if you blended the two together and ground it, the grind would be too coarse for the Colombian component and too fine for the Brazillian component. But why isn't this a problem for commercial roasts?

Well, I tried this a few years ago with coffee from a roaster that offered the blend and components separately, and I thought that the grind setting was a problem. I got better results grinding the brazil component at its grind setting, then fining the grind for the colombian component and grinding the colombian component at its grind setting and then tamping and extracting as normal.

What do people think? Am I wrong on this one? Right, but it's not worth the effort?

Cheers,
Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes
★ Helpful

User avatar
another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

I sometimes use separate grind settings for what can be called "single dose grinder blends" where changing the setting for each component is no problem. But in this topic, I was trying to 1) keep it simple and 2) advocate to roasters that instead of selling espresso blends, they could sell espresso blenders, that is, neutral Brazils that can be used with any coffee to make an espresso blend. Clean, pulp natural bourbons from anywhere in South or Central America might even work better (Illy certainly thinks so). Also, my experience is that blends are often more tractable in terms of grind and dose than SOs, as each coffee fractures a little differently at the same grind setting, so that the puck has more variation, and therefore higher and more even flow resistance (the common idea hereabouts that uniform particle size is good for percolation is quite contrary to engineering experience).

Many Kenyas, for instance, can be superb brewed; but even with every trick in the book, not nearly as good as an SO. Often I've found I can make great shots if I go with 1/3rd of the Kenya and 2/3 of a neutral, low acid coffee.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
CarefreeBuzzBuzz

#4: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Which is why I think my wife loves our 50/50 of Daterra Sweet Blue and Ethiopian Wush Wush. The Daterra is not DP. But similar concept. It's Process: Pulped (Semi-washed), Natural, Pulped Raisin.

I read that the latter is this- The method they applied for this specific coffee is called "Pulped Raisin". Only the overripe cherries were picked by hand and then pulped.
Artisan.Plus User-
Artisan Quick Start Guide
http://bit.ly/ArtisanQuickStart

User avatar
MNate

#5: Post by MNate »

I'm sure you've given this advice elsewhere in the roasting forums because I make a general practice of it and really find it great. And yeah, it doesn't seem to hide the SO characteristics, just add the nice espresso characteristics and make a nice base. You need a cake with your frosting.

Roasteries may find their Coffee more approachable doing this too. My friends who are food snobs but not coffee snobs always remark about unpleasant flavors when they try SOs (flavors may not be the right word, I do think it's just that things are out of balance...)

I do think some marketing would be needed as people have just become convinced that SO are "better" than blends (especially when things like a Kona blend is just to keep costs down) and now we want them to see that's not always so. I like your idea of a "blender bag" so they can add to whichever SO they buy. Just might work, especially from a big specialty roaster that tries to sell a lot of SO!

User avatar
another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#6: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

MNate wrote:I'm sure you've given this advice elsewhere in the roasting forums because I make a general practice of it and really find it great. And yeah, it doesn't seem to hide the SO characteristics, just add the nice espresso characteristics and make a nice base. You need a cake with your frosting.
Not me, I think it's conventional wisdom among home roasters. Tom of Sweet Maria's has been giving that advice and stocking blender Brazils for twenty years. It would be good if the practice became more known and widespread.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
GC7
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by GC7 »

Thom's first ever espresso blend that he used to start his series of blends was 50% Brazil and 50% Ethiopia Dry Process. It was wonderful.

We have been playing with the same 50/50 blends for our flat white's for years. For milk drinks fruity Ethiopian don't cut it but as you say, a blend works well for balancing everything. Presently, a Brazil Mogianna (full city) mixed with Ethiopia Hambela Goro (city) is working very well in our flat whites. We have dumped the Sumatra for now.

I have grand plans for the Brazil Legender I recently picked up. In milk drinks, I plan to use it with light roasted Panama Elida, Colombia Pink Bourbon's and Ethiopians.

User avatar
Chert

#8: Post by Chert »

LMWDP #198

zefkir

#9: Post by zefkir »

I love blends with beans from Brazil, but too often they have a chocolate taste I can't get rid of.

User avatar
Rice Bowl

#10: Post by Rice Bowl »

Sounds like a great way to mask all the potentially interesting origin tastes and characteristics just to get chocolate and nut tastes in the cup