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Discussions > Espresso > blends > Lighter than...  
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Buckley
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Joined: 25 Jan 2011
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Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

Dear CLM,
Glad to learn that you are another Mypressi user.  I have been using one for three years and I really like it and I really like the folks who make it.  The only improvement that I can suggest is to buy an inexpensive steam toy and a digital thermometer.  Measure the temperature of the water in the reservoir just before you close the lid and, if you want it hotter, immerse the steam wand into the water and turn it on until you reach the desired temperature.  (I know: it takes three hands)  The reason to do this is to be able to enjoy roasts that are at their best at hotter brew temperatures.  As it is, the Mypressi has no trouble being at 194°F when filled with water on the boil and, by warming the reservoir three times, it can get up to 196°F.  That is good for many roasts out there but there are many roasts that are at their best at higher temperature infusions.  I like to bring the reservoir up to 200°F for 198° target roasts and 205°F for 203° target roasts.  This is just not possible without a steam wand.  When ordering any roast, always ask the roaster what the optimum ratio, temperature and infusion time is for their roast, (I always phone or email them if it is not on the website.  They almost always enjoy talking about it and they are glad you are really interested) then you are free to muck it up from there by experimenting around; you may like to bring out different tastes for yourself.
You see, if the temperature is below 'optimum' the taste may be too bright, acidic, or sour.  If the temperature is above 'optimum' the taste may be 'burnt' or bitter.  Since your original post was about the acidity of medium roasts, you may benefit by infusing them at higher temperatures.  All this for only $5-$40 at a yard sale!  Plus thermometer.  On a side note, by doing this you will be coming close to knowing an exact infusion temperature and being able to replicate it almost exactly.  If you read all of the posts of the owners of $2500-$4000 machines, this is what they want to do and are struggling hard to do so.

About Alzheimer's (blow my cover: I've had four years' postgraduate neuroscience training, among other things) we know nothing about the cause of the disease.  Yes, we pretty well see no cause by aluminum in the diet.  Patients on dialysis have, in the past, been exposed to such high levels of circulating aluminum compounds during dialysis that aluminum had replaced so much of the calcium in their bones, making them brittle and easily fractured.  If aluminum in the diet caused Alzheimer's, one would expect almost all of these patients to get the disease.  They do have a higher than average rate of dementia, but it is only partially due to slightly increased Alzheimer's rates.  What is the major risk factor for getting Alzheimers?  Being American.  Our nation accounts for 4% of the world's population and almost 25% of Alzheimer's cases.  OK, so diagnosis may be missed in Africa and rural India and China, but we have a much higher prevalence here than they do in Europe.  We do not know why.  Crackpot theories abound, but who knows what kernel of truth may lie hidden there?  We cannot say for sure what the genetic or environmental (toxic, viral, or prion) determinants of the disease may be.   If we can discover lead in pottery causing mental difficulties and BPA in plastics causing hormonal difficulties, we should have picked up cohorts of aluminum users and their resultant dementia by now.  It is just proving too elusive to worry about it.  We should worry more about our diets vis a vis obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

Oh, and you have my sympathies for living in HI.  Sure the weather can be great and the land beautiful but the food and culture can be a little monotlithic.  If you are a kamaaina it must be really great but if you are a haole like me it may get a little 'in your face' for being there all the time - I would yearn for the occasional change.  I do not like fish or Spam but for some folks that would be heavenly.  As you pointed out to us, the 'good stuff' grown locally gets shipped out to the big, wide world for profit, leaving very little for home consumption and at prices competitive with the world market.  Getting away from the islands must be quite an investment ... and it costs a lot to get a heavy espresso machine shipped there, thus the beauty of the Mypressi.  Still, it sure beats Baltimore.

Anyway, enjoy your Mypressi.  And think about the steam toy.

buckley
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,841
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
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Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 7:04pm
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

ljguitar Said:

Hi clm...

It's not necessary to start with and air popper, but let me point out some plusses of the air popper method. Many of us started that way and learned a lot about roasting by doing so.

Because of the limited batch size, it means both smaller experiments, and smaller failures as well. It's easier to have success and consistency with a full-batch in a small capacity roaster (like an air popper) than trying to roast a ¼ pound in a one pound capacity roaster.

If you were able to roast batches at City, Full City, Full City Plus, Vienna, and French and compare both the resting time and taste, it would probably tell you what level of roast you prefer.

You are saying you don't like the under roasted beans, but what level is under roasted? For me that's City or City Plus. I really like espresso roasted at Full City Plus (which people who like Vienna, French or Spanish would consider under roasted). I don't like burnt flavor, and love the depth of a Full City Plus roast after about 5-10 days.

Hope you find either a source of beans you like, or learn to roast them for yourself. That's why I started roasting.



°

Posted April 2, 2014 link

Larry, you and I would be considered heretics, as I also like my home roasted espresso pulled when I can SMELL the onset of 2nd crack, or even 1 or 2 snaps in.
I believe these days city+ is considered "dark" by the 3rd wavers. A minute out of city (or on a professional roaster no more than 415f) is considered on the edge of darkness!
Personally, if I WANT tea, I'll BREW tea.
My lever machines allows me to profile all roast degrees with more than a modicum of success (if I'm on my game), but I still come back to a SO that looks to MY eye like Agtron 55-50, and a comfort food blend that looks like Agtron 50-45. 8 days later, it's brandy, dark cherry, and at day 14, VERY sweet tobacco. No hibiscus for me. LOL

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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ljguitar
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ljguitar
Joined: 28 Jan 2003
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

IMAWriter Said:

Larry, you and I would be considered heretics, as I also like my home roasted espresso pulled when I can SMELL the onset of 2nd crack, or even 1 or 2 snaps in.
I believe these days city+ is considered "dark" by the 3rd wavers. A minute out of city (or on a professional roaster no more than 415f) is considered on the edge of darkness!
Personally, if I WANT tea, I'll BREW tea.
My lever machines allows me to profile all roast degrees with more than a modicum of success (if I'm on my game), but I still come back to a SO that looks to MY eye like Agtron 55-50, and a comfort food blend that looks like Agtron 50-45. 8 days later, it's brandy, dark cherry, and at day 14, VERY sweet tobacco. No hibiscus for me. LOL

Posted April 6, 2014 link

Hey Rob...

I've been considered worse, but since I just roast and brew/pull shots for our satisfaction, I'll just keep roasting the beans to our tastes.

Good to see you…we were in Nashville for a few days last Dec.



°

 
L  a  r  r  Y          J

<°)))><
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clm
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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 84
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 10:03pm
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

Buckley Said:

Glad to learn that you are another Mypressi user.

Posted April 5, 2014 link

Well, I haven't used my Mypressi since I got my Caravel.  Your suggestion about using a steam wand does make me want to give that a try.  I'd be really curious to know if I can extract more body from the Kenyan using a higher temp.  A thermocouple was also recommended and I tried sourcing one, but my search became really technical and I gave up.  I believe that instrument allows you to test the temp of both the water and the coffee as it's being brewed?

Thanks too for blowing your cover and your insights into alzheimers...fascinating stuff.

No need feel sorry for me, brah....I got da ocean.
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Buckley
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Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 6:19am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

clm Said:

No need feel sorry for me, brah....I got da ocean.

Posted April 6, 2014 link

So long da ocean don' hav' u! Geev'um!

Thermoworks sells a twisted wire thermocouple for $12. You can buy their thermometer readout units but the wires come attached to standard type K plugs that will fit into cheaper thermometer readout units, say, from Harbor Freight Tools (some of their cheap voltmeters have a temp readout, just make sure that they have a type K socket).

I wouldn't think about breaking myself in to a new (to me) machine without wiring it up for a few weeks; I use two probes in various locations and a two-channel readout.

Buckley
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Worldman
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Worldman
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Posted Sat Apr 12, 2014, 2:49am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

The easiest way for me to understand/explain it is in terms of wine...The "heavier" the influence of the winemaker (let's limit this to Chardonnay and aging in brand new oak barrels), the less influence the place of origin has upon the flavors of the bottled wine.  In other words, the more time the wine spends in new oak simply means you taste more oak and less Chardonnay -- regardless of its origin (be it, say, the Napa Valley of California, the Margaret River region of Australia, or the Burgundy region of France).

OK?

The darker the roast, the more influence the roast itself has upon the taste of the coffee, and the less influence the origin of the beans have.  An "über-dark" roast like the ubiquitous *$, and it can be difficult to tell a Columbian origin coffee from a Kenyan or Indonesian.  A lighter roast shows more of the beans' origin(s), but less of a "roast" flavor...

Posted April 2, 2014 link

This is a VERY GOOD analogy! Though, while I tend to like a good bit of oak taste in wine, I find a heavy hand in roasting makes coffee pretty nasty.

This is why I suppose *$s sell more sugar, flavors and milk that actual espresso. Their customers seem to be trying to hide or ameliorate the burned taste of the coffee with other flavors, whipped cream and milk.

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Sat Apr 12, 2014, 6:54am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

Danger! Danger! Warning Will Robinson!  Thread Drift approaching!  (but it does relate to coffee, honest!)

Yes, but Len . . . there are a whole lot of people that absolutely LOVE "loads o'oak" in their Chardonnay, while others prefer a more judicious use of oak . . . think of it like salt:  use no salt whatsoever in cooking that entrée, and there is something "missing"; use too much, and it overwhelms all the other flavors in the dish.  But use the right amount and the food will sing . . .

BUT what is the "right amount"?  That is different for every person -- a matter of Personal Palate Preference.  So some people love more salt, others less, and in point of fact there is no exact right amount.  

Restricting this to espresso and espresso-based drinks (i.e.: ignoring other methods of coffee prep), there are some people who love dark roasts . . . some who prefer much lighter roasts . . . and everything in-between . . . .  And none of them are "right" or "wrong" UNLESS -- though perhaps "if" is a better word choice -- they know no better.  

Back in the early 1970s, I remember being one of two guest speakers at a wine tasting -- me, the wine writer, and Dick Arrowwood, then the rising winemaker at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma, a winery specializing in Chardonnay.  After a flight of four Chardonnays, served blind, the group voted for their favorites.  The top two were Wines number 1 and 3; yet Dick and I both thought wines 2 and 4 were better.  The group wanted to know why we (the professionals) were "right" and they (the consumers) were "wrong."  After I explained there was no right or wrong to it, Dick said simply that Wines 2 and 4 tasted like Chardonnay, while Wines 1 and 3 tasted like oak.  ;^)

Now, keep in mind, there are tens of thousands of people who LOVE *$ . . . why?  Some -- a fraction, I would think -- love it because they actually love it, pure and simple, but most I suspect love *$ because they don't know any better.  That is, they are led to believe (before actually ever tasting any) that *$ is excellent.  When their taste buds rebel, they add flavoring and/or more sugar and/or milk to their drink . . . and then they think ahhh, this is great.

*$ is the McDonald's of espresso, yet while no one over the age of 9 or 10 thinks that McDonald's makes the greatest burgers in the US, many adults swear by *$ . . . . go figure.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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clm
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Posted Sat Apr 12, 2014, 8:56am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

Bringing this back.... I have this sneaking suspicion that my brewing technique isn't up to par.  I taste lemon.  All the lighter roasts I've tried taste very similar - shades of various lemony-flavors, especially as they cool.  Buckley, you mentioned that maybe I need a hotter brewing temp, maybe my grind is off.  Frost provided some great articles that indicate the Kenyan I received might have been just a little too under-roasted - there was no gasoff, the beans are so dry (sans oil) my grinder has no problem fluffing out fines (vs fines with a even a little oil that I must brush out).  It does have this undertone of bourbon, it's interesting, bright?  (Why do I find that descriptor so dull and jaded?)
Over the past year, and after learning to pull a decent shot with the Caravel and RedBird, I'm just looking to expand my horizons.  However, as I've tried to do this, I'm tapping into these very light roasts that just don't seem to have the body for a full espresso shot.  I use them for drip, take them to work, and try to get a sense of what all the fuss is about and what I'm missing.
On the other spectrum, I've recently received 2 batches of scorched beans - I complained and both roasters agreed with me.  In one instance the "software" and a newbie on the machine was to blame.  In the other, the farmer admitted that her regular roaster was unavailable and so she used a friend.   So, I'm not advocating a super-dark, commercial roast.  I'm just alarmed - is my taste spectrum that narrow?
My best solution is to begin to learn how to roast my own beans.  I keep shopping for new roasts, and would love to taste Big Island Roasters SOs, but I just know they'll be of that new, and now, old wave of brightness that just doesn't appeal.  Unless of course, someone can suggest what I could do to change the brewing and extraction.
I'd also love to get a recommendation for a decent cupping course that doesn't cost $2000.

And back to the wine analogy...I doubt any of the chardonnays in the tasting were "corked" or rancid (aka vinegar).  The problem I have with many imported wines is that so often they are damaged in shipping/transit.  Either they sit in hot docks, or the flux in temps ruins them.  I lived in France 20 years ago and that ruined me for a good wine - after so many local mishaps, I am unforgiving on this point.  I definitely agree that there is no right and wrong in personal preference of wines and varietals (providing they have been properly and gingerly stored).
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Frost
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Frost
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Posted Tue Apr 15, 2014, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

A thread about under-roasted and we keep coming back to the over-roasted problem. A clear sign the dark roast has been around much longer; I suppose we should welcome the under-roasted, at least as a change in the right direction.

Grape juice straight from the crusher or barrel tasting immature wine can be fun and interesting. Trying to drink green coffee is just disgusting. I'm not sure there is a good analogy with wine for the under-roasted problem.

With these light roast coffees you suspect are under-roasted, I would suggest to use pour over or press brew to try and sort this out. Get control of brew parameters, temp, time, grind, dose and try to get a balanced cup. It should not be that hard.

The ideal roast window is not very wide. First Crack marks the aroma and flavor development phase. Roasts ending before first crack completes are likely under-developed; green, edgy, harsh, astringent, remains of that awful tasting chemistry of the green coffee bean.

As first crack completes, this marks the lightest palatable roast degree. Commonly called City.

The start of second crack marks entry into the dark roast range. The cell structure of the bean is breaking down, damaged and you are passing the peak window of aroma and flavor development.

As example of the narrow temperature window here:  in my roaster first crack usually completes around 415-420F and second crack starts around 440-445F bean temperature. ( actual internal bean temps are lower than this)

If the roast time and temperature is well paced, peak aroma and flavor development will occur somewhere between the completion of first crack and the beginning of second crack. (Generally in the City+ to Full City range.) This is very much a balancing act.

Surface oil on the bean is a mark of higher temperatures in the roast. It is entirely possible to have a fully developed roast showing no surface oil at all, completely dry. Some surface oil spots are typical on a medium Full City roast that does not enter second crack, (appearing a few days after the roast) but an oily bean surface is a sure sign of a darker roast and higher temperatures that damage the bean cell structure.

Just say no to oily beans.

Coffee roasting, light, medium, or dark,  is a ( hopefully complete) transformation of the flavor profile of the green bean from disgusting to delicious and delightful. There is an ideal roast 'window' ; too light(or fast) and you quickly fall off the flavor development cliff, too dark (or slow) and  the downward slope is just a bit more gradual.
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clm
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Posted Tue Apr 15, 2014, 10:29pm
Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
 

Well, I was afraid it was me all along...my propensity to want to blame the tools rather than the carpenter.  I'll tweak my pour-over methods to see if I can extract some flavors other than the off-putting lemon.  I did notice an aged quality in the Kenyan, like bourbon, but it's subtle.  I'm using a LIDO grinder, and just read a post on HB that the LIDO may fare better with a finer setting even for pour-over.  It may not be hard for you, but this is new stuff for me (how I became a sr member on CG is a mystery.)
I'm shocked, shocked, that I must say no to oily beans - I thought the point of roasting was to extract some oil.  Redbird roasted beans are not obviously oily, but they are not bone dry in the grinder either.  
Q:  In all the light roasts, I notice that some chaff is left behind (not burned off).  Could the chaff be the offending taste sensation?
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