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Illy coffee-is it crap?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Illy coffee-is...  
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tharidla
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Feb 2009
Posts: 20
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Iberital MC2
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 9:25am
Subject: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Hi, another espresso newbie trying to get my head round the perfect shot!

My experience so far:

Bought gaggia classic on ebay, used Lavazza black pre-ground, AWFUL TASTE! Very very sour. Undrinkable. made me think something was wrong with the machine.

Did research, purchased Iberital MC2 grinder, instantly much better results! With a bit of practice was getting 2 oz in approx 25 secs, fat layer of crema. No bitterness or sourness. This was with Whittard of Chelsea 'After dinner' blend, very very dark beans. Actually, black. Espresso good but very strong with caffiene kick like a mule-a few sleepless nights after a 6pm espresso!

Decided to treat myself to a tin of Illy coffee-pretty much the most expensive in England. 5.26 for 250g! I guess that's approx $10 in the States. I'd heard a lot about it so was expecting something good.

Had to spend a while adjusting the grind-at first was getting nothing save a few pathetic drips, then pouring too fast etc. This morning had my first 25 second pour, but the results very disappointing. The sourness has returned, but not as bad as with the Lavazza preground. It's drinkable but not enjoyable. By now I've used up 3/4 of the tin calibrating the grind!

Any idea what's causing the sourness? Should it take that long to adjust the grind?

Also, I'm wondering if I'm using too much coffee. It seems like I use a lot of beans for a double shot, although if I use any less the espresso flows to fast and is somewhat insipid. I'm tamping fairly hard-harder than I see guys in coffee bars tamping but pretty sure not harder than 30lb.

Any help much appreciated!

Matt
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Rancilio
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2008
Posts: 422
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Giotto Premium
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Back to Basics Popcorn...
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Hey Tharidla, I don't think you're using the wrong amount of coffee for a double coffee shot, but in my opinion I think you're using the wrong coffee. First of all any coffee you buy in the bag or in a can off your local store's shelf, either is whole beans or ground coffee most likely is already steal. Lavazza, Illy or any others you don't really know how long that coffee has been inside the bag or can.

If you really want to taste freshly roasted coffee, and experience what fresh coffee really smells and tastes like, you have to buy it from a local coffee roaster company or roast it yourself as many of us do here at coffeegeek.com.
Mr.T
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roastaroma
Senior Member
roastaroma
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 438
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PV Lusso, Bacchi
Grinder: Rocky Doserless
Roaster: Blue Bottle Coffee
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 11:40am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Ciao Matt,

I heartily concur with Rancilio on the coffee. Illy may be a huge name, but I wouldn't bother with them unless I were in Trieste. Everywhere outside Italy, you may assume Italian beans are DOA. A local roaster who understands espresso freaks, who puts the roasting date (not a sell-by date) on the bag, and sells a day or two after roasting -- that's what you need! Proper fresh coffee is a lot easier to work with, too!

 
"Non la macchina, la mano."
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philosogeek
Senior Member
philosogeek
Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 448
Location: Northborough, MA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Livia 90 Semi-Auto
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Maestro
Vac Pot: Yama 8 and 3 cup
Drip: Pour over, Clever coffee...
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

The Illy topic has been covered so I figured I'd address one of the other things you mentioned.  When I first got my machine (and didn't have a scale), I thought I was tamping a little hard but about 30 pounds.  Then, when I got a scale, I discovered I was giving about a 50lb tamp.  Moral, if you think you're going a little too hard, you might be going way too hard.  Address the bean issue first, but I figured I'd share my personal experience with another variable in the equation.  

Best,
p
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,450
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 Tue Feb 3, 2009, 1:14pm
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

ILLY: whole bean in a can is good for about the first eight or ten hours after opening the can. The second day after opening it tastes like it is 6 months old.  5.26 for 250g works out to about $13.80 USD/lb. if i can still do math.

TAMPING: anything between about 15 and 50 pounds of tamping force ends up with about the same results. If you NEED to tamp very lightly or very hard, you have other problems for which you are unknowingly compensating. As long as you are tamping level, and the tamper is a decent fit in the basket, it should be fine.

 
Visit My Website
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xdavez
Senior Member
xdavez
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,157
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: La Spaziale Vivaldi II
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Tue Feb 3, 2009, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Not crap, just stale.  and WAAAAY overpriced.
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tharidla
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Feb 2009
Posts: 20
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Iberital MC2
Posted Wed Feb 4, 2009, 4:57am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Hey folks thanks for the tips!

Regards Matt
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greeneye
Senior Member
greeneye
Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 336
Location: Western Australia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea HX
Grinder: Mazzer SJ E, Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: 2 cup syphon
Drip: Clever Dripper, V60
Roaster: Coffeetech Torrefattore 2kg
Posted Thu Feb 5, 2009, 12:34am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Freshly roasted and ground beans = good coffee
Pre-ground or canned beans = bad coffee
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MonkeyDude
Senior Member
MonkeyDude
Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 2
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Feb 5, 2009, 12:55am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

Also, I noticed something that wasn't addressed:

Where are you getting your water from?
If it's the tap, that may also be causing trouble for your taste buds.

I agree with the others that pre-ground coffee in a tin is going to be substandard compared to a local roaster's whole bean.
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xdavez
Senior Member
xdavez
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,157
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: La Spaziale Vivaldi II
Grinder: Mazzer mini
Vac Pot: none
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Sat Feb 7, 2009, 5:17am
Subject: Re: Illy coffee-is it crap?
 

MonkeyDude Said:

Also, I noticed something that wasn't addressed:

Where are you getting your water from?
If it's the tap, that may also be causing trouble for your taste buds.

I agree with the others that pre-ground coffee in a tin is going to be substandard compared to a local roaster's whole bean.

Posted February 5, 2009 link


OR if you are not near a good roaster (as I am not)  Mail order!!

dave
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