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RobMo
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 6:04am
Subject: Beans for a newbie
 

Hello all

Just recently joined up but have been perusing the site for the last few weeks as I've decided to take the plunge and invest.  Over the past few years I've spent a fortune on good, bad and indifferent coffee but now I'm becoming more home based for work I need something better than a kettle and pot of instant brown stuff to keep me going.  I'm by no means an expert, but I do appreciate 'good' coffee and by nature I'm a fiddler, I love to do things that are 'not easy' so it has to be a lever machine. I'm the only peron that will use it and I don't anticipate pulling more than 5 or 6 shots during the day, once I've gone through the initial madness, so the potential advantages of a semi auto higher volume machine are to some extent not relevant.

I'm starting from scratch and have pretty much decided on an Elektra Microcasa a leva coupled with a Mazzer mini (open to opinions on the grinder but the Elektra is pure porn) plus all of the usual associated paraphernalia but the area I'm really stuck on is the bean and I'd welcome some recommendations.  Predominantly it'll be expresso/ristretto but occasionally I like a cuppacino.  For me the taste has to be very full and rich, a little bitterness is OK but only if it's a little to give it one more complexity of flavour, but the coffees I remember as being most enjoyable tended to have a slightly 'sweet' taste and good length.  Good crema goes without saying but I suspect this is more skill based than bean based.  I've looked around the web but all coffee retailers describe their beans as 'outstanding' (I've yet to see one that describes their blend as 'insipid and bland', ideal for those who like $$bucks) so given this is a purely personal thing it's difficult to determine where to start unless I buy 20 or so types to test.  Whilst this is in some ways appealing, the subsequent week of no sleep and the associated paranoid behaviour probably isn't a good idea.

I appreciate there's not going to be a definitive answer but any pointers would be welcome.  If possible I'd like a view on the bean or blend you'd start off with (and any you'd avoid given my vague description of likes) and any recommendations on where to get it from.  There seem to be a lot of retailers that aim at mass consumer market and may not have the right quality, and as I'm never going to be a big consumer I want to buy in relatively small quantities with the knowledge that each purchase is fresher than the last.  

Given the bean is the starting point in a whole chain of critical variables I'd like to get the one element that I can't directly control reasonably right, so if the shot is complete rubbish I know it's my fault.

Many thanks

Rob
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,056
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 6:17am
Subject: Re: Beans for a newbie
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

As far as taste is concerned it's hard to give any recommendation, because that's a highly personal and subjective thing. What's important is that the beans you use are really fresh! That rules out anything you can buy at the supermarket, because fresh means roasted no longer than 15 days before use. Therefore you should get your coffee from a local microroaster or online from people like Londinium Espresso, for example.

However, using a blend that contains a fraction of robusta beans can be helpful when you start brewing espresso, because that'll make it a lot easier to get more crema.

Apart from that, finding out which beans taste best to you is part of the fun.

In order to get decent shots, you must learn to work consistently as far as dosing, distributing and tamping is concerned. Use a scale for dosing. Then dial in your grinder.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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RobMo
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 6:23am
Subject: Re: Beans for a newbie
 

Thanks for that, and I do appreciate the pointlessness of the question, ultimately it's going to come down to an amount of trial and error.  

I suspect I'm about to enter a world of pain and a prolonged learning curve.  

Rob
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,056
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Feb 22, 2013, 7:05am
Subject: Re: Beans for a newbie
 

There certainly is a learning curve, and there'll always be room for improvent even after years of experience. But you'll see, that you'll get decent espresso in a short while. And after some practice even great shots will occur. The difficult part is to work really consistently. The more consistent you'll get, the more often great shots will be the result. But from my own more than 20 years of experience in home espresso I can tell you that even then you will make shots every once in a while that are godawful. But that's no problem. You can always brew another one.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 9:20am
Subject: Re: Beans for a newbie
 

Sorry, wrong topic!

:(

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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