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Espresso: Espresso Blends
Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
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Discussions > Espresso > blends > Alternative to...  
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espressoaddict
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Joined: 18 Mar 2009
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 (Primary)...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 2009 and...
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Melitta Single Cup, Bodum...
Posted Thu Apr 2, 2009, 2:53pm
Subject: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

I just finished a pound of Black Cat Classic Espresso.  That was probably the best straight espresso, I have ever had in my life period.

Anybody living in the Seattle area recommend any good espresso beans locally available? Keep in mind, I drink my espresso without sugar.  That is why Black Cat is so perfect it has the perfect sweetness and is not bitter.

If you can recommend something that is very similar to Black Cat.  FYI - I have tried Cafe Ladro's Signature Espresso Blend and I like this one, but I'm looking for a new blend to my list of untried.  I've tried Allegro Bel Canto and did not enjoy this one as well as Cafe Ladro and Black Cat.

Here is my future bean list:
Zoka Paladino
Velton Bonsai Espresso Blend
Stuptown Hair Bender or Holler Mountain Blend
Vivace Espresso Dolce  

Any suggestions you can make, I will highly appreciate.

Thanks!
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,282
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Apr 4, 2009, 7:06am
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

My brother just sent me a pound of this from where he lives and Im drinking it now in a Latte and its pretty darn good.

A medium roasted espresso. Sweet and opulent, with maple, dried fruit and chocolate notes. A blend of semi-washed and washed coffees, the Old World Espresso features a dry-processed Ethiopian, semi-washed sumatra, Peru Jaen, and AAA Bolvian Cumbre. Wonderful tiger-striped crema awaits!

Medium Roast

http://www.sacred-grounds.com/oldworesblen.html

As far as Black Cat goes the original was better but even then there isnt really one roaster thats always perfect,like a good resturant they go through phases,arent always dialed in and often just loose it all together. Ive eaten at places I simply loved and then the Chef leaves and the owner tries to compensate but there is more than cooking to following a recipie,probably the same with roasting I imagine. Ive experienced differences in whats supposed to be the same coffee from many of the places Ive ordered from,not a lot but enough to be noticed from time to time.

From thier website


"We aren't pretentious or ignorant enough to call ourselves "master roasters" but we feel confident in our ability to coax the nuances of every coffee we roast. (In our travels we've met about 4 people who are genuine "master roasters" and they all have one thing in common: 25+ years of experience.)"


Heres some more I like


http://www.klatchroasting.com

http://www.paradiseroasters.com
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arcangel6
Senior Member
arcangel6
Joined: 30 Nov 2008
Posts: 39
Location: Brookfield, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus III-Rotary
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E Type B
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Posted Mon Apr 6, 2009, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Hi,

I never tried the original Black Cat but I do like the current iteration. However, I have become a BIG fan of Belle Espresso from Klatch roasters. It has a remarkable flavor profile that really lights up my palate (in a good way).

Click Here (klatchroasting.zoovy.com)

I am also trying Metropolis Redline but have not had the chance to play with it. That will be for this weekend!

Regards,

Joe
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cbrucecampbell
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Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 17
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Apr 8, 2009, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

I'm recently raving over a local roast here in Western OR. Try the Chupacabra Espresso blend. Beautiful extractions and wonderful taste.

I have no affiliation other than as a customer.

http://www.wanderinggoat.com

-bruce
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o3
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Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Posts: 125
Location: MI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Posted Thu Apr 9, 2009, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Current fav is this http://www.coffeereview.com/review.cfm?ID=1683
Outstanding in milk drinks...I'm also a real fan of Paradise Roasters Espresso Nuevo as well as the Espresso Classico...but especially the Nuevo.   I got an email from them recently saying they have tweeked the blend....anyone try the new Neuvo (echo...echo...echo....)?
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espressoaddict
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2009
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 (Primary)...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 2009 and...
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Melitta Single Cup, Bodum...
Posted Mon Apr 13, 2009, 9:36pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Thanks all for the suggestions.  This is very valuable information and adds to my future espresso bean list.  There are just so many to try in the local area, but when I'm done I'll give those a shot.

Just tried some Stomptown Hairbender espresso at my nearby Whole Foods supermarket.  Apparently, they supply them with fresh beans regularly.  The roasted date was dated April 1.  I bought it on the 8th, so it was still fairly on the fresh spectrum.  Ideally, wanted to buy it on the 3rd or 4th day for optimal freshness.  I can't complain though.

Not oily, a brownish color -- very similar in appearance to Black Cat. Tried using the same grind setting (5.5) as with Black Cat, but this was too coarse for my pull. Seems like 3.5 was the ideal setting for that day.  Also noticed the beans seem more dense than Black Cat.

After about two tuning shots later, a perfect 25 second extraction was delivered with results strikingly like Black Cat. Yes, the flow had rat tails.  Don't have a naked PF yet, but monitoring the color from the flows revealed a gradient of colors.  The shot has about 2/3rds of crema and the surface had tiger stripping with the very fine speckles of espresso.  The overall taste was excellent.  It did have the chocolate notes, bitterness was not even considered bitter, but a tad bitter mixed with a potent sweetness similar to Black Cat. However, I would still have to give Black Cat the decision on the taste.  Not saying Hairbender is not as good or worst, it's most likely the bean age was not at optimum as compared to when I pulled the Black Cat which was at 5 days old.  Yeah there was only a 3 day difference.  What was missing was the intensity that Black Cat delivered and the syrupy feel to the mouth.  If 5 was the highest and 1 the lowest, I would rate Black Cat a 5 with Hairbender a solid 4, not too bad.  This deserves a re-test once I get my hands on a fresher Hairbender.

How did it fair as a latte? Well, the lattes were amazingly tasty.  Keep in mind, before pouring the shot into milk, each shot is tasted for bitterness to ensure the coffee, not the bitterness is tasted in the latte.  Sure enough, the espresso and latte combination was surprisingly very excellent.  The milk volume was about 8 oz + 2 oz shots of Hairbender.  Added about two teaspoons of sugar.  Starbucks or any other lattes in my area of lower standards did not even compare.  Keep in mind, most lattes in Seattle are overly powered by strong bitterness by how they prepare espresso.  Were referring to the main-stream places and not the high-end espresso shops.  To be on the safe side, adding more than 8 ozs may mask Hairbender's flavor.
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JVBorella
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JVBorella
Joined: 29 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,166
Location: northeastern CT.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Speedster, Strega, Cremina
Grinder: K10 WBC, Bunnzilla
Vac Pot: Hario NCA 3 & 5, Mitzudash
Drip: Hario Wooden Neck/Buono
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828P/B
Posted Sat Apr 18, 2009, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Typically Black Cat doesn't hit its prime until 8-10 days past roast. Did you notice an improvement between day 5 & 10 or did you use it all up before then?

 
John
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espressoaddict
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2009
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 (Primary)...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 2009 and...
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Melitta Single Cup, Bodum...
Posted Wed May 6, 2009, 10:21pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

JVBorella Said:

Typically Black Cat doesn't hit its prime until 8-10 days past roast. Did you notice an improvement between day 5 & 10 or did you use it all up before then?

Posted April 18, 2009 link

This being my first exposure to Black Cat, it tasted the same for me on the 5th and days following that.  You must have more experience with Black Cat than myself.
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malachi
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malachi
Joined: 5 May 2002
Posts: 1,761
Location: SFCA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Monster Mia (for now)_
Grinder: Monster Cimballi Junior
Vac Pot: Not any more
Drip: never
Roaster: Ecco, Stumptown, Intelli,...
Posted Fri May 8, 2009, 10:16am
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Hairbender is best at a lower brew temp and higher dose than Black Cat. I'd suggest giving it another shot.

If you like Black Cat, you might want to try Big Truck from Olympia Coffee roasting. Of the "local" beans you have access to, it's probably closest to the Black Cat.
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Beavis
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Mar 2005
Posts: 122
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Alexia
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French Press/Clever Dripper
Roaster: Want a Behmor!
Posted Fri May 8, 2009, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Alternative to Black Cat Espresso
 

Bonsai Blend Espresso

Origin: Not disclosed.

Notes: Located in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle, Velton's Coffee is a quality-focused small-batch wholesale roaster. Visit www.veltonscoffee.com or call 206-250-6130 for more information.

Blind Assessment: Co-taster Byron Holcomb (94): "On the nose, I got inviting, complex floral and strawberry notes. The body was vivacious - I could have said round, sweet, with a little savory edge, comforting, but vivacious will do." Both Ken (94) and Byron found chocolate and malt in the flavor, with an assortment of additional descriptors that testify to the complexity of this blend: "cedar, butter" (Ken), "lemon bar, spice" (Byron). Both were impressed by the big, sweet, chocolaty bloom in milk, which Byron found was complicated by a continued, brightening hint of lemon zest. It appears that a very controlled, judicious use of cleanly fruity-fermented dry-processed coffees contributed to the round, sweet, complex richness of this versatile blend.

Who should drink it: Everyone: round, rich mouthfeel, natural sweetness, great complexity, suave presence in milk.


This was the just on COFFEE REVIEW and it's in Everett, WA.
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