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Tastes like hay?
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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > Tastes like hay?  
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:10am
Subject: Tastes like hay?
 

I have a recently roasted expensive bag of coffee that, to my mind, smells and tastes like hay,
both the beans and the brewed beverage.

Is this a characteristic of certain types of coffee or certain roasts that is considered desirable?

I personally don't find it desirable.
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calblacksmith
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:39am
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

Based on nothing more than the info stated above, I would guess that they are under roasted. The "grass" type of flavor is very common to under roasted beans.

 
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Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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jpender
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 11:46am
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

So it's a flaw? Probably an error by the roaster?

What additional information would be useful?
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SteveRhinehart
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 2:15pm
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

Roast date, roaster, perhaps harvest date. Old crop beans that have been sitting in jute for a long time, or improperly stored, can taste vegetal and grassy, haylike. I agree that it's more likely they were under-roasted or a bit baked.
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jpender
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 4:28pm
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

SteveRhinehart Said:

Roast date, roaster, perhaps harvest date. Old crop beans that have been sitting in jute for a long time, or improperly stored, can taste vegetal and grassy, haylike. I agree that it's more likely they were under-roasted or a bit baked.

Posted March 27, 2012 link

Roasted: March 22
Roaster: Ritual (SF, CA)
Harvest Date: ?

Label: "Kaliluni Peaberry - Kenya"
Producer: Kaliluni Farmers Co-Op Society
Altitude: 1850-2100 MASL
Varietal: SL28, SL34
Flavors: Dried Rasperry, Formosa Oolong, Roasted Chestnuts

My first impression was more like grain husks or straw. Otherwise fairly bland.

And my point is not to pick on Ritual as I've purchased coffee beans from them before that I really enjoyed.
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

Yeah, interesting. Fresh roast, likely a fresh crop, and Ritual is typically a reputable dealer. I know a few folks that have complained about their roasts before, but rather that they were uneven or too dark. I will say though, oolong and chestnuts makes me think it might be a fairly light roast anyway, to preserve the more delicate notes Kenyans are often graced with. I wonder if you may need to tweak your brewing parameters. Would you care to provide your brewing process?
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2012, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

That's what I was wondering about: should this coffee smell like hay and taste like it too? Maybe it's expected and even savored by people who understand a lot more about coffee than I do, which is to say, a lot of people.

One of the things that struck me was that the usually wonderful aroma of freshly ground coffee was almost completely missing when I ground this stuff.

My brewing process of late:

Inverted Aeropress, preheated with 50C water
About 22 grams of beans ground "fine" with a Kyocera hand grinder
Add 150-160g of water just off the boil, stir like crazy for 10-15 seconds
Add more water to top up to 208-209g total
Total steep time 110-120 seconds, then a quick plunge through rinsed paper filter --> about 186g of coffee

Surely there's plenty of room for improvement in my technique. But if there is a way to squeeze blood from this stone I'd sure like to know. Otherwise it will soon be an expensive addition to the compost bin.


edit: Just out of curiosity (I'm not going to try it), would it make any sense to re-roast under roasted beans?
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 4:35pm
Subject: Re: Tastes like hay?
 

Another coffee that tastes like hay!

I've been buying a locally roasted Yirgacheffe recently that has been really wonderful. It's been so forgiving of brew technique, always tasting great no matter what I did. But the last batch I purchased was different.

Can you hear a difference in an electric grinder? I have a hand grinder and I can feel how hard the beans are. It's a measure of the degree of roast. This last batch was hard. And the aroma of the freshly ground coffee which usually is Nirvana to me was bland instead.

I brewed the coffee and shortly thereafter I was drinking "hay" again. If I wanted herbal tea that's what I'd buy and it wouldn't cost as much. The cup went cold without being finished.


Do home roasters have this issue? Or are your results more consistent?
I really get frustrated with expensive gourmet coffee that isn't.
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