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karenbsb
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Sep 2003
Posts: 9
Location: quebec
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 9:00am
Subject: espresso blending
 

hi all
must espresso be acidic or not? what is characteristics of a best espresso blend?
why using robusta as it is full body coffee(is it suitable for espresso?)?
what origins is the best for espresso and which ones not?
thanks
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GypsyGiuseppe
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Joined: 9 Oct 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Washington
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Brasilia 2 vintage Brass,...
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: euwww gross
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 11:01am
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

I know I may take a lot of flack for this but...Espresso does not have to be acidic.  It does have a certain amount of acid in it, but a truely good espresso does not leave your stomach burning.  A lot of espressos in the U.S. today (can't speak for the other countries) use highly acidic, over roasted, arabica beans.  They do not try to find a good blend of robusta/arabica bean.  People of today are all about appearances.  The Arabica bean is a beautiful bean.  Very consistant in shape and roasts evenly.  The Robusta bean is very inconsistant in size and makes for a dificult job of roasting.  Half may burn and the other half may be (for lack of a better term) raw.  
  You asked about the characteristics of a best espresso blend.  Blend is the key.  I have found that the best tasting caffe' is made with a true blend.  A blend of both arabica and robusta.  The colors are very different even within that blend.  The beans are everywhere from a light tan to a dark brown.  With this you get a full flavored caffe' with some acidic properties, but not too much.
  Robusta...Difficult topic.  Too many people have not fully explored this bean for the purposes of Espresso.  It got a bad rap because all of the cheap coffee companies (Folgers, etc) use it in their drip type coffees.  As stated above, Very inconsistant bean.  Let's face it, we like the pretty shiney dark brown-black colored bean.  Someone has flooded the market and our minds with this being the best bean.  Pretty is not always best.  Robusta/Arabica blends were the first bean blends used in espresso.  Those blends are still being used in Italy today.  One of the TOP selling espressos in Italy today is not the names you hear about in the U.S.  According to the U.S. market, Illy, Torrefazione, Caffe D'Oro, etc are the top sellers in Italy.  They are up there, but there is one bigger found in the Caffe' shops.  They also don't tell you that the coffee beans they sell here are not the ones they sell in Italy.  Here: Pretty Arabica Beans, There: Inconsistant, ugly, arabica/robusta blends.  They are package the same.  Even with the same lable.  But the contents are different. If you want truely Good Caffe', Use a truely original blend that is still being used today where it originated.  They haven't changed in over 100 years.  That is so for a reason.  They know their caffe'.  Period.  They have adapted there beans to cater to the American Modern mind and market.  But not within their own caffe' drinking.
  Origins...Another tough one.  Most beans found in Italy come from...dare I say...Brazil.  I know I'll take some heat for this one.  But the fact is, the best Robusta beans come from Brazil.  The best Arabica beans come from everywhere else.  In fact, one of the oldest Italian bean companies started as a bean grower in Brazil.  Then, they cut out the middle man and started roasting and selling it themselves.  They have been doing that ever since.
  I reference Italy a number of times in my post for a reason.  The biggest is, that is where espresso originated.  They know coffee for the purpose of espresso.  I lived there and studied caffe for a few years.  I never seem to do anything on a small scale, so I threw myself in head first.  Went everywhere I could and drank caffe until my heart was content.  When I returned to the States, My suit cases were full of beans and pasta.  Since then, importers have started bringing both to me in my own country.  Thank you.

Joe
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jim_schulman
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jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

There's articles on-site here and here. As usual, there's a few days worth of reading on this very topic in these forums.

My "secret" recipe is 4 parts Brazil, 3 parts Indo, 2 parts of an Ethiopian, Yemen, or mild Bourbon Central, and 1 part of a bright Central or Kenyan at a few pops of the second crack roast. To me this recipe yields a nicely balanced cup, you may disagree.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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GypsyGiuseppe
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Oct 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Washington
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Brasilia 2 vintage Brass,...
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: euwww gross
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 3:21pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

Don't roast my own, so I can not agree or disagree witht the "second crack roast."  But I most definately agree with blending vs one straight type.  Just out of curiosity, do you use a blend of both Robusta and Arabica?

Joe
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Jeffo
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Joined: 3 Sep 2004
Posts: 126
Location: Milwaukee
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 5:37pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

>>> A lot of espressos in the U.S. today (can't speak for the other countries) use highly acidic, over roasted, arabica beans.<<<

Actually, darker roasts lower the acidity.
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malachi
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malachi
Joined: 5 May 2002
Posts: 1,761
Location: SFCA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Monster Mia (for now)_
Grinder: Monster Cimballi Junior
Vac Pot: Not any more
Drip: never
Roaster: Ecco, Stumptown, Intelli,...
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 6:56pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

more articles here and here.
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GypsyGiuseppe
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Joined: 9 Oct 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Washington
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Brasilia 2 vintage Brass,...
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: euwww gross
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 7:45pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

I won't debate the facts of roasting.  I don't roast.  But the beans here, are still high in acid, over roasted, arabica.  Wether or not they are lower in acid, than they could have been, because they have been over roasted.  Don't want to necessarily start a debate over the roasting or what the chemical outcomes are because of the process.  But the beans themselves, are a lesser quality by their own nature.  These are just my opinions.  Going on my own studies on taste alone.

Joe
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ljguitar
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ljguitar
Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 2,805
Location: Cheyenne
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Pulsar
Grinder: Mazzer SuperJolly • Baratza
Drip: Bunn • AeroPress
Roaster: Behmor•Variacs
Posted Sat Oct 9, 2004, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

GypsyGiuseppe Said:

I won't debate the facts of roasting.  I don't roast.  But the beans here, are still high in acid, over roasted, arabica.  Wether or not they are lower in acid, than they could have been, because they have been over roasted.  Don't want to necessarily start a debate over the roasting or what the chemical outcomes are because of the process.  But the beans themselves, are a lesser quality by their own nature.  These are just my opinions.  Going on my own studies on taste alone.

Posted October 9, 2004 link

Hi Joe...
Actually Arabica beans are higher quality beans, and robusta are lower quality beans.

Overroasted, poorly roasted, too long ago roasted beans are common, and are the reasons many of us started roasting our own.

Pre-blends of high quality green blends are available, and preroasted high quality beans, properly roasted, and shipped the day of roasting are available at a price. Once you start roasting your own, if you are a 'twiddler' then blending your own follows rather naturally.

My 'ordinary' 4/3/2/1 blend is:
4 - Brazil
3 - Aged Sulawesi (or other funky Indo)
2 - Yemen (or other funky African)
1 - Kenya AA
    It was built on the advice of Jim Schulman's 4/3/2/1 mentioned above

I also love a 2/1/1 consisting of:
2 - Uganda
1 - Aged Sulawesi
1 - Yemen
    This also works as a 1/1/1 blend too

L  a  r  r  Y

<°)))><

 
L  a  r  r  Y          J

<°)))><
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CupaJoeKid
Senior Member
CupaJoeKid
Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 208
Location: Cary, NC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Silvia w/ PID, pressure mod
Grinder: Mazzer Mini P
Vac Pot: nada, french press
Drip: See french press
Roaster: WB Poppery II w/ control box
Posted Sun Oct 10, 2004, 7:43am
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

jim_schulman Said:

My "secret" recipe is 4 parts Brazil, 3 parts Indo, 2 parts of an Ethiopian, Yemen, or mild Bourbon Central, and 1 part of a bright Central or Kenyan at a few pops of the second crack roast. To me this recipe yields a nicely balanced cup, you may disagree.

Posted October 9, 2004 link

Another good basic blend, in two roast session, mix after:

5 parts Brazil, dry processses

2 parts Indonesian or possibly something like Indian Perl Mountain
2 parts Central, I like El Sal or Nicaraguan
1 part African, I like a Yemen or an Eth Harrar

The first batch of all Brazil is softer and will roast quicker.  The second batch should more or less all roast at similar times.

I prefer to take my blends a bit deeper into second, usually 30-40 seconds into active second crack.  I measure about 481F via a thermocouple reading just above the bean mass (thanks for that trick Jim).  I like to aim for a total batch roast time of 13-15 minutes.

cheers,
mike
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jim_schulman
Senior Member
jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sun Oct 10, 2004, 1:22pm
Subject: Re: espresso blending
 

CupaJoeKid Said:

I prefer to take my blends a bit deeper into second, usually 30-40 seconds into active second crack.  I measure about 481F via a thermocouple reading just above the bean mass (thanks for that trick Jim).  I like to aim for a total batch roast time of 13-15 minutes.

Posted October 10, 2004 link

Everyone likes "balance," but it's never the same for any two people. I've gone to the lighter end of espresso roasts since getting my tea and brewing at higher temperatures. My guess is that a home roasting espresso lover will eventually "settle in" to a point where all the variables - coffee selection, roasting style, brew temperature and pressure, extraction amounts, etc. fit together very nicely. That part is good; the bad part is when one tries something new, and finds out that one has to change every detail. I picked my style because I like East African Arabicas above all other coffees, and want to use as much of them in espresso as possible (my current blend is 40% Kenyas). Given my rather less than steller experience trying Centrals, I doubt my recipes and roasting style do them much justice.

I think putting the sensor above the bean mass works best for all the poppers and roasters with high, narrow roast chambers -- apparently it's not best for those that have a shallow, wide bean mass, like Hearthwares and Rostos, where a placement in the part of the bean mass moving most slowly may be more consistent.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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