Posted Thu Nov 22, 2012, 7:21pm Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
Some decafs do better as drip, some as espresso, a few, both, such as the "Greenline" (decaf Redline) from Metropolis. My favorite decaf espresso is Donkey from Sweet Maria's. It's green, so you'd have to roast it. My opinion is, buy a roaster such as a Behmor ($299, and they give you 4#'s of free green beans0 or a DIY Convection Oven/Stir crazy combo. ($125 including a few parts) With either you can easily roast 14oz. Drinking a # a week, at $7.50 a # for the green coffee including shipping, you'll pay for the roaster in no time, and have different choices at your fingertips. Home roasting is not difficult nor time consuming, and you get to roast some regular for gifts. I have over 400 roasts on my Behmor. click here
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 5:06am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
In what way do you prepare Luna Nuova? How would you characterize its flavor? When I opened the bag, they looked like little charcoal briquettes. I currently own a pound but I can't get by the impression that they taste like charcoal briquettes, as well.
I have just the opposite problem with Redbird. No matter how much dialing in I do for an infusion or for drip, there is just no flavor. What do you do with it?
There is no problem for me in getting a good flavor profile from regular roasts, with some regular roasts being more complex in flavor than others. But the flavor quality of decafs seems to be much more variable, so it is either the decaf technology or the selection of beans that a roaster decides to send to the decaffeinator.
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 5:17am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
Thank you for the suggestions. Home roasters have this advantage over roast-buyers. This is one of the dichotomies on Coffeegeek: roaster or nonroaster. Roasting has always tempted me as a zen activity for coffee. I decided not to go that route. In doing so, I realized that I sacrificed accomplishment, convenience and thrift for freedom from yet another learning curve and the ability to drink the widest selection of coffees available from the widest selection of roasting talent available. Naturally, one attempts to select from the 'upper end', but with decaf coffees, this parameter is poorly defined. You can see on this thread that several contributors swear by roasts that I consider to be a waste of beans. Its enough to make one start to roast at home.
JasonBrandtLewis Senior Member Joined: 9 Dec 2005 Posts: 6,203 Location: Berkeley, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -... Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -... Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup Drip: CCD, Chemex Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:13am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
Buckley, what do I do? Who the **** knows? I pour the coffee in the grinder; dial in the grind; pull shots. I'm a bad coffee geek, in that I don't obsessively measure temperatures, weigh each and every shot, etc., etc., etc. I try not to be OCD about it.
The last time I got the decaf from Caffè Fresco was probably a year, to be honest, but I don't remember it being roasted as dark as you are describing -- and it never tasted like charcoal to me. As for the Red Bird, I don't use it in any way other than for espresso, so I can't speak to other methods. Again, grind, tamp, pull. It's slightly darker than the Red Bird espresso, and isn't quite as chocolatey (the fabled "Snickers" that gets spoken of so much), but it's quite good, IMHO. I blend it 50-50 with the regular espresso, and see very little flavor difference between this mix and the straight "regular" espresso beans, and when pulled on its own, I find it tasty if a shade less intense in flavor.
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 9:02am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
Interesting reports here, especially on the Red Bird decaf.
In my house, we use Red Bird (decaf and non) for espresso exclusively as well, but we've actually found th decaf tastes even more "snickers"-like than the regular at times. In fact, of late, I seem to have lost the snickers effect from the regular (non-decaf), which has been tasting more like ash. I know it's not the beans because they smell awesome before I grind them (maybe I should smell them after I grind them too?). My shot technique hasn't changed and the extraction looks great too. I've done a good chemical backflush with thorough rinsing, without improvement. I'm thinking the real problem is my grinder needs a deep cleaning. Yeah, the decaf has tasted better then the regular at times even when I wasn't having the problem above...and btw, I have one grinder dedicated for regular and another for decaf (both are Macap M4s, but the newer one (decaf only) is almost one year old and the older one (regular only) is about 4 years old.
Well, I've also always loved the Klatch House decaf and have some in transit "as we speak".
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 8:16am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
The variability of reports concerning Red Bird are interesting. Actually, everyone gives it fair marks except me. And except for your recent report concerning the decrement in Red Bird regular (rbr) taste. The quandry is this: given a significant variability in a roast's taste quality in a different number of home barista kitchens, the obvious source of variability is the barista, the grind, the machine, the water, etc. One would suspect variability to lie in the variables and not in the (supposedly) stable roaster. Yet, speaking especially for you and me, we all are not idiots; we are capable of successful and even superlative shots. I am wondering if Red Bird has a QC problem. If your 4 year old M4 was indeed wearing down, I do think you would notice it. Period. It is too gradual. Maybe a difference could be tasted between the 1 year old and the 4 year old machine if you ground the regular in both and did an A-B test. I do not know what Macaps are rated for, but my Compak suggests replacing the burrs after more then 3000 pounds of beans have gone through. I am confident that I will not live long enough to do it. Having 2 similar machines is interesting. One could expose the burrs of both machines, grab a bean a rub it across both sets of blades to gauge any difference in 'grab' (forget using the back of a fingernail; this works just as well). Still interested to know, anyone else disappointed by Red Bird decaf?
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 4:05pm Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
good points Buckley!
I just pulled my first shot of Counter Culture Toscana today. It just arrived this afternoon via USPS. I ground it with my older Macap, and it was fantastic...hell, I haven't even dialed in the grind yet!
Macap says the burrs should last about 400# of beans and I'd guesstimate I'm at about halfway there on my old grinder.
off topic: Have been wondering if you've been to Southside Espresso yet (over on Westheimer and Montrose next to the new sushi place)? I happened to be in Greenway today (got to costco about 15 min before they opened so I took a side trip), and I heard Blacksmith's is supposed to open at the end of December.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:30am Subject: Re: Looking for a good Decaf Espresso?
I would give anything to be at Blacksmith's opening night. I like and respect David and Ecky. Unfortunately, life moved me to Indianapolis last July and I will be here until next July, when I am moving to Baltimore. I have been following the posts by onocoffee (Jay); they are full of existential dread concerning the status of coffee in Baltimore but I am not concerned. I can spro myself and the metropolitan area is dense enough that good espresso encounters will happen, even if not often. I was going to buy a used LM Linea 3AV but this is probably not going to happen with a move to look forward to in 7 months.
There are two roasters in Indianapolis. All I will say is that Intelligentsia is easy to buy locally.
I appreciated your note Re: Southside. Again, wish I were part of the scene, but I do not miss the Bayou City's roads or drivers!
By the way, ate at Les Givral. The Bahn Mi was twice as big as Nguyen Ngo and the bread was toasted, not wimpy like NN, and you get a lot more meat. The Bahn Mi at LG would win any contest in Texas over NN because of the serving size, the bread and the pork was okay, too. Having said that, my dining companion and myself prefer the NN bahn mi because the flavor of the BBQ pork is more complex and seasoned more along our tastes, we like the smaller size and the lower profile of the bread, but we realize this is pretty personal and we do not expect universal agreement. The light inclusion of pickled vegetables was similar in both sandwiches and the vegetables themselves were also similar between the two places, being nicely crunchy and not too salty or sweet, but well balanced. You and I each have our preferred place for Bahn Mi.
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