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Traditional Italian Espresso
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Jan 5, 2014, 3:25pm
Subject: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

Did a bit of an experiment over the past couple of weeks. When I got a holiday coupon for a free pound of 1st Line's "Fattobene" espresso blend, I decided to take Jim up on it. It's pretty good for a traditional Italian-style espresso, and I made a nice sweet ristretto with an 18gm dose ground for 28-28 gram extraction in 27 seconds.

But that wasn't the experiment—I added on a 1-kilo bag of Essse Cafe's Bar S just to try, knowing that it would be not the freshest, but also be a blend that's designed to sit in the bag for a while before being used. Call it getting back in touch with the roots of our favorite beverage, if you will. The bag has a roasted date of 6/13 and an "use-by" date of 6/14, so this is about halfway through its expected life.

After finishing off the Fattobene (a pound doesn't last long around here at holiday time), I opened the bag of Bar S, divided it into thirds and froze two 1 qt. canning jars worth, dumping the final third into the MD85. Pulled a couple of dumpers to get the grind and dose adjusted for 28 gms in 25-30 seconds, and then pulled one to drink. Mmmmm. Nice, nutty, sweet, with a touch of chocolate. Very non-3rd wave, but classic. Big body, nice crema. Not bad at all as a straight shot, and cuts through milk nicely in a breve latte (7 oz. latte that I sometimes refer to as a latte-ccino). Looking at the beans, I'm thinking 20-25% premium robusta in the blend, but none of that "burnt-tire/solvent" taste that a less-than-good robusta can carry with it. Each third lasted about 4 days, and the last third began to deteriorate badly in the last couple of days to the point where I couldn't get a decent shot out of it today.

Conclusion? If you wanted to throw a party for people who like cappas or aren't into what Jim Schulman has called "3rd Wave Orange Juice," you might want to pick up a 1-kilo bag of this stuff to try. It's not going to be my regular coffee, but I have some idea now of what that tradition is all about and what the classic "comfort" espresso can be.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Jan 5, 2014, 10:53pm
Subject: Re: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

I guess it just goes to show that industrial packaging works up to a certain degree to actually preserve the aroma. However, as demonstrated here, once the package is opened, the beans deterriorate fast. A blend of arabica and robusta can be pretty nice, and it's ideal for beginners, because it creates a full body and more crema much more easily than 100% arabica.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 239
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Aeropress, Bialetti Brikka,...
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 11:34am
Subject: Re: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

Home Barista has a detailed thread about this.
It's a few years old, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 12:16pm
Subject: Re: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

NobbyR Said:

I guess it just goes to show that industrial packaging works up to a certain degree to actually preserve the aroma. However, as demonstrated here, once the package is opened, the beans deterriorate fast. A blend of arabica and robusta can be pretty nice, and it's ideal for beginners, because it creates a full body and more crema much more easily than 100% arabica.

Posted January 5, 2014 link

On the other hand the Guatemala Volcan de Fuego that I roasted yesterday (yes, I know it needs a few days more rest, but when you're out of coffee, you make do) has big creamy body all on its own when pulled on the Caravel here at work today.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:38pm
Subject: Re: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

No doubt, Babbie's Rule of Fifteens basically applies. My theory is that freshly roasted beans have their aromatic peak between 5 to 15 days after roasting. However, they're not really stale at day 16, but they start to loose aromas. It's a (more or less) slow degradation, and industrial packagaging can prolong that process for a while sealed. For example, I find that a just opned can of Illy can still be palatable, but the beans loose that very quickly.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Traditional Italian Espresso
 

canuckcoffeeguy Said:

Home Barista has a detailed thread about this.
It's a few years old, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

Posted January 6, 2014 link

That thread was one of the things that inspired this experiment. Since almost all of my espresso making at home is from my own roasts or local roasters (Intelly, Groundworks, Demitasse, Handsome, etc. Some decent choices here in L.A.), I figured I should go to the source, so to speak, so as to have a basis for comparison.
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