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"Forgiving" vs. "unforgiving" blends
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Senior Member

Joined: 29 Jan 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Boston
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:07pm
Subject: "Forgiving" vs. "unforgiving" blends

So, I'm fighting with Stumptown Hairbender yet again for the last few days. Go searching and find a couple really informative threads here to help out with experimenting on my QM Anita and Vario. Everybody pretty much agrees that Hairbender is a very unforgiving blend. But a wider question comes to mind.

Which blends do we consider forgiving? Which are unforgiving? Let's try to make a list here. And maybe keep it pinned if a good reference comes out of this thread?
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Senior Member

Joined: 12 Jun 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Linea Single Group Rebuild...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Yama
Posted Sun Dec 1, 2013, 1:16am
Subject: Re: "Forgiving" vs. "unforgiving" blends

I am with you.  I go back to Hairbender every few months and find myself feeling like bending something other than hair.  I try to buy from lots of west coast roasters, but end up mostly buying from Northwest roasters that ship.  Instead of offering a list of unforgiving blends, I will list a few that I have had multiple successes with.  

First, and my wife's favorite is Venia Coffee's Square Peg espresso.  I like it most at 200 degrees or a little more, brings out the chocolate, cranberries and peanuts.  If pulled a lower temp citrus (possibly orange zest?) brown sugar and nuttiness.  Either way it is really balanced on both ends of temperature and grind.  

Second, Veltons bonsai blend espresso.  Think they are mail order only, but have ordered a few times with great success.  Have had better shots before, but in the early morning when my machine isn't quite up to temp and I can't wait any longer it still pulls a very nice shot.  

Third, Kuma Red Bear espresso . It changes a bit more than other espressos through9out the year i have noticed, but usually is very nice.  Chocolate and fruity.  Maybe not as forgiving as the Square Peg or Bosnia, but still easy enough to get a good shot.  

Lastly, I like how Venia and Kuma tell you what beans are in their espresso blends, just like the transparency.
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Senior Member

Joined: 29 Nov 2011
Posts: 57
Location: NY, NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Dec 9, 2013, 7:31am
Subject: Re: "Forgiving" vs. "unforgiving" blends

I've never found Hairbender to be a consistent and balanced espresso blend, for my taste. VS other roasters like redbird and Counter Culture where without adjusting the grind and starting in on a new bag I;m likely to get a great shot the first time around. for Stumptown, I actually much prefer the Holler Mountain. Not as acidic and more interesting flavors in my opinion. I likea large dose on a double shout and go for a 1.25- 1.5 oz super ristretto shot. Yeah!
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