Chanty Senior Member Joined: 26 May 2005 Posts: 227 Location: Milwaukee, WI Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Vario, had an MDF Vac Pot: none Drip: none Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 5:19pm Subject: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
I so wanted to try various new roasters, but at $14-18 12oz-16oz., it is very discouraging. I say that because I just spent $20 (including shipping) for 12oz. of new beans. In about 2-3 days, I have wasted most of it trying to find the right grind for it. I don't know how you all do it without flushing your money before you are lucky enough to maybe find the right grind. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Maybe I should go back to the tried and true; despite some issues.
yakster Senior Member Joined: 25 Feb 2009 Posts: 1,040 Location: San Jose, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Factory / La Peppina... Grinder: Vario / Kyocera Vac Pot: Yama 8 + Pyrex Lox-in Rod Drip: Brazen / Kalita / Chemex /... Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 6:00pm Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
My lever seems to be less sensitive to grind, making it easier to produce a good shot from an unknown coffee... but I've had coffees that were difficult to dial in.
Are you sure that it's your grind and not the beans? You could reach out to the roaster either for brew parameter recommendations or to bring up the issues your having to see if it might be a QC issue on the particular batch of beans you were sent.
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,375 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Mon Jan 14, 2013, 7:19pm Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
Check out cafe don pablo in miami, usually 20 bucks shipped for 2lbs fresh roasted. I like their espresso blend. Had the Brazil and Guatemalan as well. Pry try the harrar or Sumatra next.
Try notching down the grinder till its around choking out the machine then back off from there. If you can't get to choking out the machine then the grinder may need adjustment/calibrating. Or the beans like posted above lol.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,030 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:12am Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
When you are first learning you end up using a lot to dial in. I think you are better off getting at least 2 lbs of the same batch so when you find the mark you can enjoy some coffee before running out of beans. That is very frustrating to run out just as you get it dialed in.. I got a lot better once I had my first batch of 5 lbs. (I freeze small amounts 2-3 days worth in zip lock bags you can pull the air out of)
Also he is right, check the calibration on the machine. Redbird is a lighter roast than most espresso roasts and I have my grinder set so that grinds at 2 L-A before I get another batch from the freezer. (you move the left lever from L to A as the beans age in the hopper) I hardly ever have to move the right size.
When I have had really charred dark roasted I was grinding at the finest setting and I had to up dose to get a good pull. Luckily, by then I knew what I was doing and I was able to adjust my pull to get what I wanted. (they were using cheap charred beans in the class I was in)
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:44am Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
When you're getting started you end up using a lot of beans to dial in your grind. Once you get it there, you don't change it much, and when you do it's micro for the same beans and typically only a little more than that when you change beans. Also, as you get used to your grinder and machine, you learn how to better estimate a needed change based on the last shot, so in the end it doesn't take more than a shot or two, usually, to get it dialed in - even when you try something new. So, it might be better for some people to get used to their gear before trying a bunch of different beans/blends (of course, to stick to one for a while means finding one you like enough to start with).
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Jmanespresso Senior Member Joined: 18 Jan 2009 Posts: 2,109 Location: Westchester NY Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5 Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Mon Jan 21, 2013, 4:30pm Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
If you order one 12oz bag of coffee at a time, yes, its could be seen as expensive.
Order more at one time if you need to find a way too offset the cost. Many people say that 5lbs of Redbird is a killer deal. And if you don't drink a lot of coffee(fear of waste causing you to order such small amounts), then freeze what you ont use in 14 days, in mason jars. (Me personally, Im not a huge fan of freezing coffee, but done correctly, it DOES work well. When I do freeze, Mason jars are the only way I do it.)
Personally, I dont find specialty coffee to be expensive. Certainly not the popular, common blends/SOs. Sure, Micro lots are bit pricier, buts its a rarer coffee. But, lets take your example of paying $20 for a 12oz bag, which includes shipping. Now, assuming you can dial in within 3-4 shots, that leaves the entire rest of the bag to pull shots with. Figure 16grams a shot, and less four shots to dial in, thats 17 double shots left in the bag. 18 or 19 if its a blend you've had before and can be on point with a shot or two.
Now spend that same $20 on a bottle of wine. That bottle is gone in four glasses MAX. Often times its three, and a little bit.
Just like many people reading this, Coffee is my hobby. I have other hobbies too, coffee is a big one. I think its safe to say I spend between $45-$80 every other Sunday evening on my coffee order. If Im buying something really special(which, I havent splurged on a coffee in a while, I probably will now since Im talking about it lol), it'll be a bit more. So, monthly, thats between $100-$200. If you ask me, thats pretty darn reasonable to be enjoying the best coffee on the planet, brewed any way I like, AND, as often as I like.
You can look into home-roasting to save money on coffee. It takes practice, just like anything, but with a good attitude about it, you can turn out a good roast on your 2nd or third try, and the more you roast, the better you get. There is a bunch of roasters, from cheap to expensive, to choose from. I might suggest the Behmor, the Gene Cafe, and the Hottop as three that stand out at good price points. For green beans, SweetMarias.com is your place to be. Stick to thier blends for espresso, and try single origins for brewed, and as you get more comfortable roasting, you can try making your own espresso blends and doing single origin espresso.
Follow Your Bliss
Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 7:29am Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
Once you find your taste buds leading you down the path of specialty coffee you can find your bank account being drained Quickly at first. you think to your self how can I justify spending my hard earned $$ searching for that coffe pefection to please your palette. Thats one of the reasons I started home roasting,even though I buy 10 times more coffee than I used to and spend even more money on coffee, I can afford to try more rare and better quality varitals. now that alot of artisan roasters are offering their coffees in greens you can buy many of the blends/varitals that are offered for a fraction of the cost plus you have the enjoyment of trying to match or improve on their roast to suit your palette.
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 8:53am Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
This is why I consider myself lucky not to have a stepless grinder (but still a good one), as I do not have to think too much about it. I always use the same 3 consecutive steps. Those steps have worked great for all the coffee I have tried so far (bought from pro roasters, or home roasted).
When I start a new batch of coffee, I choose the grinder step depending on the roast level. The lighter the finer. Since I have basically only 3 options, I can fail only twice :-). And as long as I get a coffee out of it, it is not really a failure. Not great, but still ok. Of course when you choke the machine, it can be discouraging. It does not happen often anymore as I got to know my grinder better, but if it happens, try to let it run for a minute and get a small over extracted coffee out of it. It is still really instructive!
Once the correct step found, it is just a matter of tuning the weight of coffee to get closer to the volume I am looking for.
Anyway, I am not a pro or whatever, but this is how I made it work. Since you have a stepless grinder, maybe you are trying too hard by adjusting with too small increments, where you should be using bigger steps?
Intrepid510 Senior Member Joined: 30 Dec 2010 Posts: 355 Location: California Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 1:51pm Subject: Re: Very expensive venture trying new espresso blends
I am kind of with MatP here, you shouldn't be wasting most of a bag to dail in. You needn't be exact in you espresso. Of course if you have a 10 s gusher then yes you do probably want to sink it, however if you are making a latte and you get a 17-20s shot it's not going to be horrible. Then you just adjust your grinder a little finer so next time you are almost there.
Also if you are burning through a bad in 3-4 days (not hard to do) buy more coffee! 3 bags of People's from Social is only 36 with free shipping to the US or any other roaster that offers lower rates like that.
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