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The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
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Posted Tue May 22, 2007, 6:47pm
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

petuniaii Said:

Something else in the article got me thinking, about some of the words often used to describe decaf (flat, bland, dead, etc.), and there was the bit about some decafs being "tamer or quieter tasting than the regulars."  However, my own (extremely limited) experience with decaf espresso has been, at the lower end, something I would call really sour-tasting.  It just occurred to me that maybe I'm not using the right word to describe it, or that maybe something else is going onto make it taste that way.  Sorry if I'm asking too broad a question here, but... what does an average decaf shot taste like to you?

Posted May 22, 2007 link

First off, as someone who roasts decaf as well as high test (and drinks it/gifts it as well) I feel that the best decafs...for the MOST part....are better prepared as vac pot/drip/french press, than espresso style, which really exaggerates the less than complete elements...I must admit that a straight shot of even as fine a decaf blend as Sweet Maria's Donkey blend for espresso leaves me less than yearning for another....HOWEVER....pull a double, steam some milk and VOILA!....a terrific cappa, decaf or otherwise, with wonderful chocolate and nuts...easily as good as any cappa you'll taste.That is not to say an SO decaf might not be "da bomb"...I've just not had one yet....hhmmmmmm...any decaf Yemen out there?
Any coffee that exhibits a "sour" taste most likely was prepared with water that was below acceptable temperature...that is not in that 194-202-ish vicinity.
Try using an electric kettle...cheap these days...and fast. When auto shutoff occurs, wait around 20-25 seconds, and then use...
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, most folks feel the "WP Royal Coffee" decafs are quite close to their full-caf counterparts. There is a new Yerg that I just read about....needs 200f water for sure.
Most Brauns, Krups, Capresso. etc (other than the Krups Moka thingy) do not get the water up to the proper temp.
Wow...your post has fired me up...gonna check around for a likely decaf "victim" for my Anita...   ;>D

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue May 22, 2007, 6:56pm
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

petuniaii Said:

Something else in the article got me thinking, about some of the words often used to describe decaf (flat, bland, dead, etc.), and there was the bit about some decafs being "tamer or quieter tasting than the regulars."  However, my own (extremely limited) experience with decaf espresso has been, at the lower end, something I would call really sour-tasting.  It just occurred to me that maybe I'm not using the right word to describe it, or that maybe something else is going onto make it taste that way.  Sorry if I'm asking too broad a question here, but... what does an average decaf shot taste like to you?

Posted May 22, 2007 link

Ah...I see you are presently using what is affectionatly referred to around here as an"espresso toy"...no offense ment...but the Melita will in no way produce anything remotely resembling the real thing....I say this from experience as I too embarked upon this journey from humble beginnings! (won't even mention my "toy"...it's long since completed it's own journey to that not so great espresso toy heaven in the sky)
I do suggest you find a couple of decaf SO's. Try them as French Press, Chemex, etc....if one of them strikes your fancy, then buy a good espresso grinder, a decent pump driven machine..Gaggia, Silvia, Solis SL70, etc...and start tasting what you've been missing....I'll bet the decaf will sing for you. Another thing...
If you live near a GOOD cafe...a really good cafe....have them pull a shot of their decaf espresso blend...if it's pre-ground crap, PASS......
See what THAT double shot does for you...

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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petuniaii
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 187
Location: Mississippi
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
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Posted Thu May 24, 2007, 8:47am
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

Oh yes, I just have a steam toy, no offense taken, I won't even call it an "espresso toy"!  That's why I've been scouring my town for a good cafe, and finally found what I think is the best (don't know if it will pass the CG test, time will tell...).  I plan to go there a few times a week to indulge and learn what it SHOULD taste like, whilst practicing at home on my "Fisher Price" coffee maker til I have some idea what I'm doing.  I had *$ grind up 1/2 lb. each of decaf & regular espresso roast (this was before I knew where to go), 1/2 lb. was the smallest quantity I could get.  (Don't have a grinder yet, but I'm getting there.)  And until I have a grinder, buying good beans just seems like a waste.  Of course once I have the grinder and an ever-so-slightly-better machine, I can start going down the list of recommended decafs.  Can you say "kid in a candy store"?  

I've been tearing through Mark's guides & how-to's, saving the ones on pour-over brewing and press pot for last.  I have a press pot that I suspect I never quite got the hang of, and as for the pour-over method, great coffee from a $4 gadget? Uh, yes please!  Unfortunately, I'm already hooked on the cappas and the lattes, so I just can't give up on espresso yet.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu May 24, 2007, 10:00am
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

petuniaii Said:

Oh yes, I just have a steam toy, no offense taken, I won't even call it an "espresso toy"!  That's why I've been scouring my town for a good cafe, and finally found what I think is the best (don't know if it will pass the CG test, time will tell...).  I plan to go there a few times a week to indulge and learn what it SHOULD taste like, whilst practicing at home on my "Fisher Price" coffee maker til I have some idea what I'm doing.  I had *$ grind up 1/2 lb. each of decaf & regular espresso roast (this was before I knew where to go), 1/2 lb. was the smallest quantity I could get.  (Don't have a grinder yet, but I'm getting there.)  And until I have a grinder, buying good beans just seems like a waste.  Of course once I have the grinder and an ever-so-slightly-better machine, I can start going down the list of recommended decafs.  Can you say "kid in a candy store"?  

I've been tearing through Mark's guides & how-to's, saving the ones on pour-over brewing and press pot for last.  I have a press pot that I suspect I never quite got the hang of, and as for the pour-over method, great coffee from a $4 gadget? Uh, yes please!  Unfortunately, I'm already hooked on the cappas and the lattes, so I just can't give up on espresso yet.

Posted May 24, 2007 link

"Fisher Price"...LMAO!!
yes, stay with your espresso dream...just don't forget the mantra here....GRINDER, GRINDER...GRINDER....tthen machine....
If you're too busy to peruse the numerous "which grinder?" posts here, call several of our respected vendors, describe your needs and price range (try anything under $250)...note...there are refurbs with full guarantees, and I'd also check our Buy Sell thread...there is often a gently used Rancillio Rocky...an awesome all around grinder...one you'd keep for all your other uses , if you eventually upgrad a bit to a Mazzer Mini, Macap, or such. Resale is also very good...as you'll find out. I don't recommend the Solis Maestro series, or Kitchen Aid type for espresso...too many issues, and uneven grinding.
As far as Starbucks, unless the beans were somewhat fresh (which I doubt), grinding them will further degrade whatever worth is there. Your Melita will release no crema...I imagine yours is a pressurized "crema enhancing"
PF and basket...another reason to move on.
Don't be shy about enquiring about your cafe's decaf source....do they roast?
Since you'll eventually spend upwards of $600-700, including a nekkid PF, steam pitcher and such, maybe a little road trip of a couple hundred miles would be a good idea....by the way, one of our prominant CG'ers, JonR10 is from Houston...he could fill you in on the best cafes...Jon, you out there?

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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petuniaii
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 187
Location: Mississippi
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Macap M4, Zass 161, Baratza...
Drip: Melitta cone, Aeropress
Roaster: air popper
Posted Fri May 25, 2007, 9:22am
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

Oh yes, Jon has already told me I won't find anything decent in town & I'm better off just going to his house.  :D  The cafe I did find (it's brand new, only 5 weeks) gets their beans from a local roaster whose name I've seen in these forums.  Actually it was the roaster I met at a farmer's market who told me about the cafe.

I've been reading the TX threads so I'm sure there's a road trip or two in my future.  Oh yeah, I'm not expecting crema of any sort from the Melitta - I've misplaced the manual >_< but I don't remember anything about "crema enhancing" devices.  However I do remember watching the VHS tape that came with it, watching the demo and thinking, 'oh dear, that doesn't look right at all...'  It just looked like coffee.  OTOH it was only $20.

Based on Mark's guides, I'm leaning towards a Maestro grinder (also because it's the most I can afford).  Also keeping my eye on the buy/sell thread.  (I could keep rambling here about my personal quest, but I'm thinking this might be better suited to one of the other sections or three.  So, back to the topic:)

You said sourness could come from the water not being hot enough - the sourest shot I had recently was at a new Dunn Bros. shop, where I would assume their equipment would not have that problem... or could it?  The chain just opened up some locations in TX, so maybe things aren't calibrated right yet?
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Fri May 25, 2007, 10:12am
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

petuniaii Said:

Oh yes, Jon has already told me I won't find anything decent in town & I'm better off just going to his house.  :D

Posted May 25, 2007 link


He's right

"Based on Mark's guides, I'm leaning towards a Maestro grinder (also because it's the most I can afford)"


Not for espresso...I'm testing the new version of the Virtuoso (Baratza) it would be a better choice, but I think for less than $100 more you could get a gently used Rocky....

"You said sourness could come from the water not being hot enough - the sourest shot I had recently was at a new Dunn Bros. shop, where I would assume their equipment would not have that problem... or could it?  The chain just opened up some locations in TX, so maybe things aren't calibrated right yet?



Could be

Edit...should be $100 more than a Maestro

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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CraigA
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Posted Fri May 25, 2007, 10:17am
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

IMAWriter Said:

"You said sourness could come from the water not being hot enough - the sourest shot I had recently was at a new Dunn Bros. shop, where I would assume their equipment would not have that problem... or could it?  The chain just opened up some locations in TX, so maybe things aren't calibrated right yet?

Posted May 25, 2007 link

Sourness comes from brew water that's too cold.., bitterness from too hot.

 
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petuniaii
Senior Member


Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 187
Location: Mississippi
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Macap M4, Zass 161, Baratza...
Drip: Melitta cone, Aeropress
Roaster: air popper
Posted Fri May 25, 2007, 7:45pm
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

IMAWriter Said:

Not for espresso...I'm testing the new version of the Virtuoso (Baratza) it would be a better choice, but I think for less than $100 more you could get a gently used Rocky....

Posted May 25, 2007 link

Ooh, let me know how the Virtuoso works out.  I was looking at refurbs on Baratza's site today and a refurb Virtuoso would just about max me out, but it might be worth it.  I've heard of little problems with Rockys, I can't remember what exactly or who said it though!  I'll take another look before I start looking at vendors.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Fri May 25, 2007, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

petuniaii Said:

Ooh, let me know how the Virtuoso works out.  I was looking at refurbs on Baratza's site today and a refurb Virtuoso would just about max me out, but it might be worth it.  I've heard of little problems with Rockys, I can't remember what exactly or who said it though!  I'll take another look before I start looking at vendors.

Posted May 25, 2007 link

I'll be checking my demo out for a few days...maybe a week later, I'll post some sort of thread....this is informal, consumer like...not near as thorough as Mark would do, but I'll try hard to put it thru its paces....for all grinds, but leaning towards the espresso usage, as the Maestro does fine as a drip/vac grinder. I can heartily recommend the Baratza people. They are all first rate, and work hard to keep our trust.
By the way, the motor is actually adjusted down to 45orpm, not the 500 mentioned in the flashing advert pictured directly above my words...lol

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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petuniaii
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 187
Location: Mississippi
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Macap M4, Zass 161, Baratza...
Drip: Melitta cone, Aeropress
Roaster: air popper
Posted Mon May 28, 2007, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: The Decaf Drinker: Poor Stepchild or Ultimate Coffee Lover?, The Cafe Stage
 

Just out of curiosity, why post a thread instead of a consumer review?  Maybe because it's the new version?  I know I'd certainly be interested in seeing discussion on it.  

I'm glad to hear that about Baratza.  Full warranty for refurbs is nothing to sneeze at, and is pretty important to me for a type of machine I have no experience with.  

Still going to read up on Rockys, but I'm not holding my breath as 1. they really are out of my price range and 2. the warranty issue.  I've all but decided on the Virtuoso and am starting to get antsy, lol.  Don't let that rush your evaluation of the Virtuoso, though!  I still have plenty to learn from my steam toy, and I just heard about a little coffeeshop down the road that needs checking out...
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