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Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Off the Shelf...  
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GrantT
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GrantT
Joined: 9 Feb 2005
Posts: 692
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra A3
Grinder: HG-One 71mm #002, Macap M4D
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 10:15am
Subject: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

Two things I hate about espresso is that I get tired of paying premium $$ for good freshly roasted espresso beans (which often I find not that good), and the repeated hassle of ordering, shipping etc.  I also get really peeved at the waste factor as I keep having to adjust grinder settings if I change brands etc.  I also hate that my grinder (Macap M4D) has a built-in waste factor by retaining grinds in the chute path...more waste if I really want to push out the stale grinds between shots that are long apart.

So, I keep being drawn back to the "stale" on-the-shelf  beans (not always that cheap) in an effort to economize and to experiment.  I am always looking for cheap quality (with many things...food, wine, coffee, etc as well).  I also like the convenience of being able to purchase locally and buy more beans in advance so I always have an extra bag around...i.e. would be nice to buy 3-4 kilos and just have them stored.

The problem I kept running into with the "bulk" Italian espresso's (Danesi, Illy, etc.) is not that they are stale when initially opened, but that they stale VERY, VERY quickly AFTER they are opened.  Immediately after opening the bag, they are very good - grind and extract very well, and I can get quite a few good shots in if used quickly (within two days).  After that...they die!

I have been carefully experimenting with different methods of storing these "aged" espresso's, and recently have been very successful at opening the bag or tin, immediately pouring the beans directly into small canning jars (small is important), and then immediately freezing them.  I found that if I create 8-10 small jars per kilo it works well.  Each jar is packed tightly with the beans to avoid air space.

I can then open them as needed and they seem to avoid the staling problem this way.  I rarely have to adjust the grinder up at all.  I tried larger batches (4-6 larger jars per bag) but by the time I got to the end of each jar, they were staling.  By splitting them at least 8-10 ways (each jar filled to packed tight to avoid air), I seem to have crossed over to a good place for storing them successfully.

Interested in any thoughts etc...

Grant

 
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mhborstad
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Gatineau
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

I'm doing the same, in between local and home-roast. One thing I'd add is not to open the on-deck jar until it comes to room temperature (ie take them out the night before).
I'm in Ottawa/Gatineau, and the "Maxi" here (owned by Loblaws, so distrubution may be Canada-wide) carries a blue-bag "Espresso Azzurro" by CIMO in Montreal. ~10$/kg
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GrantT
Senior Member
GrantT
Joined: 9 Feb 2005
Posts: 692
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra A3
Grinder: HG-One 71mm #002, Macap M4D
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 11:19am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

mhborstad Said:

<snip>...One thing I'd add is not to open the on-deck jar until it comes to room temperature (ie take them out the night before).

Posted February 24, 2012 link

I'll experiment with that a bit too....can't say I've noticed a difference to this point, but I'll pay more attention.  Any particular reason?

G

 
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,426
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

My solution for freshness: home roast.

 
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GrantT
Senior Member
GrantT
Joined: 9 Feb 2005
Posts: 692
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra A3
Grinder: HG-One 71mm #002, Macap M4D
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 11:46am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

frcn Said:

My solution for freshness: home roast.

Posted February 24, 2012 link

Yeah...been there, done that.  Winter months here make it very difficult for a good portion of the year unless you are set up for indoor roasting.  I also found the amount of effort going into the ordering, stocking, roasting, blending, etc became rather wearisome.  Enjoyed it a bit...but wouldn't do it again unless I invested in a large, indoor capable 1lb minimum roaster.

G

 
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,426
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

GrantT Said:

Enjoyed it a bit...but wouldn't do it again unless I invested in a large, indoor capable 1lb minimum roaster.

Posted February 24, 2012 link

Be careful what you wish for!  The Hottop model that is now in the late development stages will (should) fill those requirements. It is still a few months out from what I can tell, and although I am a wishful thinker, hopefully it will be available by the end of the year, but I have no specific info on that on which to tie my dreams.

 
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mhborstad
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Joined: 18 Feb 2012
Posts: 31
Location: Gatineau
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

GrantT Said:

I'll experiment with that a bit too....can't say I've noticed a difference to this point, but I'll pay more attention.  Any particular reason?

Posted February 24, 2012 link

Cold beans condense water out of the air (maybe not in Alberta in the winter). Not a huge amount, but especially if you were taking the container in and out it adds up and might contribute to staling. I don't put mine back in.
Maybe overkill for coffee, but I can't really think of anything that doesn't suffer from temperature swings. Avoiding them is absolutely critical to maintain quality in commercial food storage/shipping even without air exposure.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,405
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Feb 26, 2012, 9:21am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

GrantT Said:

Two things I hate about espresso is that I get tired of paying premium $$ for good freshly roasted espresso beans (which often I find not that good), and the repeated hassle of ordering, shipping etc.  I also get really peeved at the waste factor as I keep having to adjust grinder settings if I change brands etc.  I also hate that my grinder (Macap M4D) has a built-in waste factor by retaining grinds in the chute path...more waste if I really want to push out the stale grinds between shots that are long apart.

/ / / / /

I have been carefully experimenting with different methods of storing these "aged" espresso's, and recently have been very successful at opening the bag or tin, immediately pouring the beans directly into small canning jars (small is important), and then immediately freezing them.  I found that if I create 8-10 small jars per kilo it works well.  Each jar is packed tightly with the beans to avoid air space . . . I seem to have crossed over to a good place for storing them successfully.

Interested in any thoughts etc...

Posted February 24, 2012 link

Above all, Grant, I'm glad you seem to have solved your problem -- you are storing your beans "successfully", as you put it, and that's all that counts.  But you asked for our thoughts, and so here's my 2.  No doubt they are worth far less, so you may keep the change, as well as take how many grains of salt you deem appropriate . . .

1) I am not tired of "paying premium $$" for great beans.  It is, IMHO, actually one of the great values left in the world.  I cannot speak for shipping rates, etc., etc. in Canada, but -- as I'm sure you already know -- here in the States, I can get five 1-pound bags shipped to me in a US Priority Mail Flat Rate box coast-to-coast for $10.  So shipping will add, at most $2/lb. So let's look at Red Bird -- yes, I know you can order a five-pound bag for $51.90 including shipping, but let's do this the expensive way!  Red Bird is $11.99.  Let's call it $12, and add the $2.  Oh, heck, let's say it's $15/lb. delivered.  One pound is 453.6 grams.  Let's round that down to 450.  My shots are 15g., and so I get 30 shots per pound.  Thus my coffee cost is 50 a shot, and -- to me -- that's pretty gosh darned affordable.  Even at an updosed 18g. per shot, it's 25 shots a pound, with a cost-per-shot of 83.333 a shot.  Most expensive, yes, but still less than a buck/loonie.

2) I don't find ordering online a hassle, but YMMV.

3) You issue with your grinder is a common one, but how does that change with your "solution" of storing.  Does your grinder's chute "magically" stay clean when you use "bulk Italian espresso" beans?  (I didn't think so, but I had to ask.)  So -- out of curiosity -- why does that waste (seemingly) not bother you?

4) Again, I cannot speak to how things are in Canada, but here in the US, Illy is often more expensive than buying fresh roast online, so that wouldn't be an economical solution south of the 49th . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
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Bitches_Brew
Senior Member
Bitches_Brew
Joined: 4 Feb 2009
Posts: 775
Location: indiana
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: yes
Grinder: yes
Vac Pot: no
Drip: no
Roaster: yes
Posted Sun Feb 26, 2012, 9:56am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

 Oh, heck, let's say it's $15/lb. delivered.  One pound is 453.6 grams.  Let's round that down to 450.  My shots are 15g., and so I get 30 shots per pound.  Thus my coffee cost is 50 a shot, and -- to me -- that's pretty gosh darned affordable.  Even at an updosed 18g. per shot, it's 25 shots a pound, with a cost-per-shot of 83.333 a shot.  Most expensive, yes, but still less than a buck/loonie.

Posted February 26, 2012 link

i think you would be closer to (if not over) a dollar after you factor in "dial-in" and "grinder purge" waste.

 
"You can write down how to make the perfect cup of coffee. But to make it really good, you have to play something fictional, you have to dress up, you have to think, This is the most important thing."
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,405
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Feb 26, 2012, 10:41am
Subject: Re: Off the Shelf Espresso Experimentation
 

As I said, I get 30 shots per pound.  I dose 15 grams.  But for the sake of discussion, let's say that I waste 75 grams (the equivalent of five doubles).  25 shots/lb. = 83.333  At $15/lb., $1.00 per shot would equal 15 shots/lb.  So . . . I don't think so.

 
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