Len (a.k.a "Worldman") recently made a gracious offer to CG's for free sample pounds of two of his new blends. This thread is for discussion, review and tips on Len's #5 Blend.
While I await the arrival of my sample I wanted to start the discussion for those of you who have already had the chance to try it. Please include as much information as you can about how exactly you are pulling this blend (dose, temperature, equipment if not listed in your profile, ETC). With any review please give your self several days to evaluate the blend in a fair and objective manner. First impressions are welcome but please be frank when posting as such. Post what you like and what may not appeal to you but be fair and honest. A lot of work has gone into this blend I'm sure so be careful when selecting words and be as precise, objective and relevant as possible when describing you experiences.
Thank you for your kind comments. Your flavor description is fine...but tell me, how does this blend compare to what you usually drink? Are your shots all crema immediatly after pulling them? What is your "normal" blend?
What is "MVP"? Also, I will be happy to send to you a trial of 1# of each blend. Just send me a PM.
First let me say a big thank you to Len for the opportunity. I must preface my comments with the acknowledgment that I have never done this before and would rank myself as a novice, so please accept my thoughts accordingly.
My initial thoughts: upon opening the bag: very slight oil release, nutty, sweet (almond?) fragrance w/traces of fruit scent. I also wrote cherries with a question mark, but the scent of cherry and almond register very similar with me. On to the grind: tight-ish ristretto (about 1.25 to 1.5 oz) on a vintage ('75) Cremina/Macap combo. Beautiful amber color w/tiger striping. Served over ice and about 6 - 8 oz of non-fat milk w/Splenda (yeah, I know). Very nice nutty (even caramelly) taste. My brain registers this as a very nice mouthfeel. Long finish with a pleasant after-taste. An interesting notation: citrus/green/floral (?) aroma noticeable in the spent puck. I have never detected that before.
For the second drink, I backed off the grind and updosed. Still pretty tight (gotta love uber-fresh beans!). Lovely crema color and amount (not tons, but I usually don't have that on the Cremina anyway). I used 1/2 the amount of Splenda (tried for none, but just couldn't do it) and and slightly less milk. Very enjoyable, but not as much lingering after-taste (would you call this the finish?).
Notation for next time: No updosing.
Again, please make allowances for my lack of experience. I know very little, but I know what I like/dislike and thus far, I am really enjoying this blend. Thanks.
Hello Len. I have done a brikka, and 2 doppios with the #5 blend. I noted that as compared to the FTO, it is definitely stronger flavored. It has some fruit notes in it; a muted cherry was something I could say was involved in that, more of a sour cherry than a sweet cherry probably influenced by the acidic feel I also got. The flavor lasted a bit after I did the shot. I enjoyed it more as an espresso than the brikka. The FTO was a smoother shot, however less flavorful and had hardly any aftertaste at all. It was the same in the Brikka.
If I were to choose my favorite I would choose the #5, as I enjoy stronger flavors that have a "pop" to them. Others may find that the FTO is a great breakfast or morning espresso, while the #5 is an excellent dinner/evening espresso.
I have yet to do the shots in my Pavoni. The above #5 shots were done in my KA Proline. The pavoni will be getting a workout maybe this evening.
Best regards, Len
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674
This was pulled on a stepless, dosered M4 and an Astra Pro.
I WDTed and weighed each shot to be as consistent as I could. The #5 is a considerably lighter blend than the FTO. The crema has a nice caramel color. Solid body and a creamy mouthfeel. On the bottom end, I got chocolate notes somewhere between milk chocolate and bittersweet; it also had a certain rustic quality about it. There’s some herbal or floral flavors; I got some spice notes blended in with this but I didn’t pick it up on every shot. I got a definite orange along with some other fruit(s) that I couldn’t distinguish as well as the orange (maybe the cherry that was mentioned earlier). There’s an “earthy sweetness” in the finish that Len mentions on his site. The taste lingered in my mouth for quite a while after the cup was empty. Not a very bright cup and I would actually prefer it to have a little more zip.
As far as variable go, I found medium temps to work fine. Didn’t experiment with temps too much though. Used a slight up dose at 16-17grams range. What worked for me was to really open in up and get a full 2oz+. I like getting just over 2oz in 27-28sec; it let the brightness come through with a good full spectrum of the flavors. These shots also resulted in a very balanced cup. I didn’t like the ristrettos with this blend; it was too muted and lost its balance. I also tried some larger dosed ristrettos with the same result and found it a little harsh. This blend really benefited from letting sit for a week minimum IMO. After about a week post roast is when the flavors all came together and became very balanced. At a week and a half past roast now, its still holding up well.
Made a few traditional caps and machiattos. It doesn’t stand up to the milk well and I personally wouldn’t even bother trying anything over 5 or 6oz. However, the milk and the chocolate notes blended really well even though some of the shot’s characteristics got lost. One of the more enjoyable caps I’ve had in a while. Definately an enjoyable, easy to drink straight shot which is how I prefered this blend.
This blend is really up my alley. If it was local I would buy it as often as I buy any blend. It will definitely make its way back into my home for sure.
As a "normale" shot (2 ounces in 20 seconds) this one was a tad too bright and citrusy for my taste, but when pulled tighter (maybe 1.5 - 1.75 oz. in 25-30 seconds) it softens the high end a bit and the low end fills out beautifully. The softened bright top end gives the shot a lovely sweetness to balance to fatter lower end. As ristretto this one is fabulous, so nice in fact that it seems like it would be a waste to add milk.
With milk added, it keeps a bit of the citrus fruityness in short milk drinks but even a 6 oz. cappa starts to get kinda milky. I liked this one well in a 3-oz. machiatto (micro-latte?), but overall prefer the #5 as a straight shot.
Of the two, I prefer the #5 blend overall for my tastes, because I rarely make milk drinks at 6 ounces (almost never more than that). It has interesting nuances that change slightly over the age of the bean so that's a pleasant added characteristic.
The blend #5 reminds me of Counter Culture Coffee Tuscono Blend or maybe Gimme! Coffee's Leftist Blend as it was a couple of years ago ( I haven't tried it recently). these are also a tad bright for my taste as normale but both are dramatic, deep, balanced, sweet and smooth as ristretto.
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