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Thread: Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

    Away from home visiting a friend in the Riverina over the past 10 days, took the LaPavoni, however, underestimated my coffee consumption and was forced to go searching for a source of roasted beans about 2/3rds of the way through our visit, could locate nothing within striking distance of our base, soooooo, visited the local supermarker and bought 1 kg of Vittoria espresso beans in the gold packaging, use by date indicated, best before some time in 2017, paid something like $35 for the kg.

    Have not used supermarket beans in well over 10 years, regardless was not prepared for what I was about to experience.

    The beans looked to be well roasted, nice and even, approx CS 8, even smelled a bit like coffee, that's where the wheels fell off, ground the first 16 grams for the LaPavoni at the same setting I was using for the home roasted batch I was using prior to running out, lifted the lever on the Pav and the water flowed through the puck almost unrestricted, adjust the grind down, another 16 grams, similar result, I might add the resultant coffee flowed in a foul watery looking jet black stream and tasted foul, even though the beans looked well roasted the coffee tasted as if the beans had been on the verge of incineration when the roast was stopped.

    No matter what I tried could not get anything like a decent shot on the Pav.

    So, back home.

    Not to be beaten, have been trying for two days to pull a decent shot using the same beans in the Bezzera, hah! same result, thin watery black bitter tasting crap with a bit of crema floating on the top.

    So, for them about to ask the question, nope, you cant pull anything even close to a decent shot using Vittoria espresso beans, even though your using decent machinery, your technique is good and the beans are well within the best before date, at least I cant with the batch I bought, perhaps I was just unlucky.
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    Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

    I've had the same results in the rare "emergency" where I've had to run with supermarket beans.

    Basically you get a cardboardy taste, minimal crema and the water seems to flow straight through the grounds at a rate of knots.

    I actually reckon you can get a better result from Nespresso

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    TC
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    otherwise known as overpriced compost....
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    I've used the Aldi beans once or twice when desperate. Not too bad for $11/kg and at least have a roast date on them and taste 'reasonable'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    otherwise known as overpriced compost....
    Funny you should mention that. I've been using my spent grounds on the garden for years based on the commonly held belief that coffee grounds are good for plants...

    Turns out this was wrong. Someone actually did a comprehensive experiment and discovered that coffee actually regards plant growth!

    http://www.sgaonline.org.au/using-co...in-the-garden/

    That leaves only one thing that supermarket beans are good for - breaking in a new grinder!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    ...and the water flowed through the puck almost unrestricted, adjust the grind down, another 16 grams, similar result, I might add the resultant coffee flowed in a foul watery looking jet black stream and tasted foul...
    I was reading your post expecting this - same experience with Vittoria I bought to season some burrs. But couldn't resist trying some shots.

    Even called up Vittoria and asked them how was the use by date arrived at. They said roast date + 1 year. My beans were therefore 2 months old.

    I'm thinking it's impossible to use that stuff without a pressurised basket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    I've been using my spent grounds on the garden for years based on the commonly held belief that coffee grounds are good for plants...
    And you're safe to continue doing so.

    Either compost them or mix with compost- as per the article...

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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Have you considered that perhaps your grinder isn't capable of grinding stale beans
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    Quite a few people I recommended them to years ago have been happy with ALDI Melb roast beans. I have noticed big drops in flavour at times and I have generally only used them to dial in a new grinder over the last 2 years. I noticed approx. 6 months ago that there is no longer a date on the 1 kg bags, not that I can see anyway.
    My choice of coffee is that supplied by Andy, roasted in the Behmor. My preference, Sumatran. Cheers, Ron

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    Senior Member Logga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnafunk View Post
    Have you considered that perhaps your grinder isn't capable of grinding stale beans
    I had a laugh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    And you're safe to continue doing so.

    Either compost them or mix with compost- as per the article...
    I stick them in the worm farm these days.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Does the coffee behave this way because it's been roasted in some sort of commercial continuous roaster rather than a batch roaster? I know you can get some pretty damn big batch roasters but they probably don't go big enough for Vittoria's scale of operation. Do any of the pros amongst know?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnafunk View Post
    Have you considered that perhaps your grinder isn't capable of grinding stale beans
    Perhaps so, maybe someone can suggest a grinder that will do the job.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    I stick them in the worm farm these days.
    According to the comments on that article, feeding coffee to worms slows down the rate they eat vegetables.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Oh dear! the problem compounds, I don"t have a worm farm, come to think of it, wonder how many people do.

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    Betcha didn't think you'd be talking about worms today when you got up this morning.

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    I recently bought a bag of Aldi beans to break in a new grinder. (Did no want to waste home roast). I pulled a few shots as I went and I was astonished at the quality. Not in the same league as home roast or stuff I get from andy and TC, but WAY better than Coles/woolies and some "Specialty" roasted beans I have wasted money on before.
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    Agreed. The Aldi stuff is not your usual supermarket beans. Not the best you could get but pretty darn good for the price and totally drinkable(dare I say delicious) in a latte/flat white (shame to admit I've been surviving on that for months - am a home roaster too and apparently my skill is not up to par).

    There's the expiry date on the bag - minus one year and that's your roast date If you can get one <3 weeks (some Aldi have higher turn over rate and thus fresher batch), it's a bargain. For some reason it tastes best after 'resting'/opened for 2-5 days and kept in glass jars(100g-150g portion).

    So not all supermarket beans are horrible
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post

    So not all supermarket beans are horrible
    Guess I'm just gonna have to take your word for that, cos I promise ya, I ain't embarking on a quest for a drinkable supermarket bean, when I know I am able to produce a product at home that will knock em in to a cocked hat, and, at a fraction of the price.

    Somehow I had a feeling someone would claim to have discovered a product that was an exception yep! there is an Easter bunny.

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    And while we're shopping at Aldi, don't forget their powdered milk - works amazingly well as backup (especially as the creaminess can be controlled).

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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Grab a box of powdered latte sachets as well.
    Coffee splattered on computer screen, thanks k_bean
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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    And you're safe to continue doing so. Either compost them or mix with compost- as per the article...
    I can vouch for the plant nutrition value of coffee. I have been adding my spent Aeropress pucks or coffee cup dregs to various office plants that had been poorly looked after and without exception, they put on new growth.. One plant started flowering after years of inactivity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Guess I'm just gonna have to take your word for that, cos I promise ya, I ain't embarking on a quest for a drinkable supermarket bean, when I know I am able to produce a product at home that will knock em in to a cocked hat, and, at a fraction of the price.
    Well, that was what I thought too. But @ $11/kg roasted (can't even buy green bean with that nowadays - unless you live next to Andy and pick up from his warehouse with a special rate) and compared to my non-optimally roasted beans, it is a drinkable bargain.

    Here's a pull this morning - a well roasted beans will easily beat it in taste and it's definitely showing its age in the cup (it's 100% arabica for the record) - but as I said, not too bad compared what you'd expect from off-the-shelf beans.

    p/s: I don't know why I am posting but I am definitely not endorsing buying supermarket beans. I guess it's to make the point that generalization does not work always.
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

    It's pretty much never an issue for me now that I roast myself, but we're a little luckier here in NZ as most supermarkets stock coffee from at least one independent or boutique roaster. Sometimes you even have a choice of 4 or 5 different brands. Brands I've seen available include - Hummingbird, Avalanche, Havana, Karajoz and Vivace to name a few.
    Not many have a roast date stamp, but they all have 'best by' or 'use by' dates. You have to know the brand as some use roast date plus 6 months and others use roast date plus 12 months, but if you can work it out you can often find coffee that's only a week or two old.
    The supermarkets still peddle the garbage like Vittoria, Lavazza, Civo, Illy etc. but it's nice to know that most of the time you can avoid being caught out when you're traveling or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    p/s: I don't know why I am posting but I am definitely not endorsing buying supermarket beans. I guess it's to make the point that generalization does not work always.
    That shot looks pretty good . It's good to know, I haven't bought supermarket coffee in ages but if I ever need to, your post makes it an easy choice.

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    Ok so now I am going to have to try this for myself..... Aldi beans in a La Marzocco, what has the world come to?....😁
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Oh dear, I scratches me head in abject wonder, what have I unleashed.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Nice work
    Should have known better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    cos I promise ya, I ain't embarking on a quest for a drinkable supermarket bean
    Come on... do it, for science!

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    Ok. Bought the medium and dark roasted Aldi beans. Opened the dark. Lets get the obvious out of the way- no one is going to confuse this with expensive premium coffee. If it is given a used by date of 1 year after roast, my bag was roasted 3 weeks ago. Having said that, at $10.99 per kg it drinks way better than it should at the price. Espresso shot had heaps of dark crema, chocolate and caramel, and lots of sweetness. Unusual amount of sweetness. Aftertaste though was pretty rough, and a quick follow up glass of water is good to have handy 😀

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Ok. Bought the medium and dark roasted Aldi beans. Opened the dark. Lets get the obvious out of the way- no one is going to confuse this with expensive premium coffee. If it is given a used by date of 1 year after roast, my bag was roasted 3 weeks ago. Having said that, at $10.99 per kg it drinks way better than it should at the price. Espresso shot had heaps of dark crema, chocolate and caramel, and lots of sweetness. Unusual amount of sweetness. Aftertaste though was pretty rough, and a quick follow up glass of water is good to have handy ��
    Awesome Melb! The world has just gone upside down with Aldi in the Marzocco (what's next?)!

    Extremely similar impression to mine (I tried the medium) - incredible amount of sweetness, almost bordering unusual. Have it rested a few days and the roastiness will tone down even more. Compared to what we normally pay ($14-18 for 200-250g roasted in specialty cafes), this stuff is not too bad. It's a good experiment/learning bean for sure (that's what I normally use it for without feeling the pain in wallet) , with the plus side that they won't have you rushing out for a sink.

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    Another way to find fresh roasted beans when you are away is to find a friendly cafe, and ask for the beans that they use. was doing this before home roasting some years ago. was in rarotonga last year, and running low, and the local cafe used Toasted espresso, they won gold medal at MICE a couple of years ago, and the roast date was 14 days before. Was pleased. Have Aeropress and hand grinder, will travel.

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    I've transitioned to the Aldi beans full time for a while while I am having a period of extreme stingyness.

    I make milk based pretty much exclusively and for that kind of thing I'm finding them quite passable. When I start feeling more like my Aeropress or Brewover style things I'll need to move back to actual good beans.

    I got a rock in one of my bags of Aldi beans. Only a small one but it fouled the burrs on my grinder (no damage). So I tweeted Aldi about it. They gave me a call right back, organised for me to drop the 4/5ths empty bag back next time I was in. Refunded me the bag. Gave me a new bag and sent me on my way. About 2 weeks later they sent me a letter saying how they'd chased it up with the supplier who'd told them they'd had issues with their destoner and had had it serviced as a result. In the letter was $20 gift cards as well. Really good service.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuaneDibbley View Post
    I've transitioned to the Aldi beans full time for a while while I am having a period of extreme stingyness.
    With an admission like that, it's a good thing you're not from Melbs or you might have been hog-tied by a bunch of angry bearded hipster types, tarred and feathered and run out of town
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Goodness! how standards have slipped.
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    It's good to hear so many positive comments regarding the taste of Aldi beans from people with discerning and experienced palates, it's pretty much identical to the feedback I have had for some time now from coffee drinkers with less experience than those in this forum. Good to have a backstop when out of home roast, Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Ok. Bought the medium and dark roasted Aldi beans. Opened the dark. Lets get the obvious out of the way- no one is going to confuse this with expensive premium coffee. If it is given a used by date of 1 year after roast, my bag was roasted 3 weeks ago. Having said that, at $10.99 per kg it drinks way better than it should at the price. Espresso shot had heaps of dark crema, chocolate and caramel, and lots of sweetness. Unusual amount of sweetness. Aftertaste though was pretty rough, and a quick follow up glass of water is good to have handy 😀
    Had a couple more shots of the dark roast. The upfront chocolate and caramel sweetness gives way to a strong aftertaste of nuclear fallout. Bean removal from hopper ceremony has been performed.

    Have now loaded up the Aldi medium roast. Ran 18.6g in, and 26g out at 93 degrees. Flavour initially doesnt seem to have the flaws of the dark roast. Will report back after a few more.
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    Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

    Wow the Aldi bean sounds like a bit of an exception to the supermarket bean rule.

    The fact that they show a roast date is a great start. And when you add that this date is around 2 weeks ago, thats pretty much unheard of in a supermarket bean.

    Often the mass market stuff has been sitting around for months, especially the imported brands.

  39. #39
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    Supermarket beans, THE HORROR.

    I tried some Aldi coffee when I was staying in Melbourne with family in January. It was just through a Delonghi auto machine so it was hard to make a true judgement. The fact that I drank 2 or 3 of them when I didn't have time to make an Aeropress is a pretty good indicator though as I refuse to drink the garbage that comes out of the Colibri auto at work.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    OFF TOPIC, OFF TOPIC--------The title of the thread is
    "Supermarket beans, THE HORROR."

    Not the joy of supermarket beans, sooo lets hear more horror stories.

    PS, somehow don't feel inclined to take the Aldi bean support posts fr4om the Aldi cheer squad as very high praise, when a roaster, known and respected on the forum comes out in favour of em, perhaps, just perhaps, I'll take notice, have heard nothing to convince me to this point.

    On the other hand, maybe I could start a new thread called "Coffee Scrooges" a thread dedicated to those among us who are determined to hanging on to a 20 cent coin so tightly that the queens head screams. scrooge-mcduck.jpg
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    Caught this thread yesterday and could not resists having a look in Aldi this morning. Going by the aforementioned 1 year minus use bye = roast date, my bag of medium roast was a bit over 3 weeks old.


    Kudos to whoever roasts these cheap and nasty beans, really quality roast, very soluble for medium roast, grinds and pulls well.

    I tried pulling it a number of ways, 1:1, 1:5, 1:2, over various times 26 to 35 sec at 93C. Best at 1:1 to 1:5 in milk is ok I guess, most would be pretty happy.

    As espresso and long black my flavour notes were, HEAVY over ferment, wood, acidity is rough as guts, finish is unpleasant. At ristretto length it has nice syrupy body which gives an initial impression of lots of sweetness, this is where it ends for me, zero inherent sweetness.

    Reeks of mostly commodity grade natural / dry process brazils.

    If I was just going by flavour alone I have had better tasting Nespresso, albeit it is weak and watery.

    I am coming off primarily drinking high grown, washed, sweet and clean Colombians, so this could make it seem worse than it is.

    Still I guess they represent great value, but I would recommend people spend 1.5 X the money on something more palatable.

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    In today's paper on the front page I see that Vittoria is 'Celebrating Australian Fashion'....SOMEBODY is buying their coffee!



    I remember a story that makes me laugh whenever I think of it. When I bought my LM Linea the sales person told me that he had sold one previously to a fellow who wasn't able to get a good shot out of it.

    A home visit and a 'demonstration of the new owner pulling a shot' later and it was observed that the operator was filling the basket with Nescafe Blend 43....
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paolo View Post
    In today's paper on the front page I see that Vittoria is 'Celebrating Australian Fashion'....SOMEBODY is buying their coffee!



    I remember a story that makes me laugh whenever I think of it. When I bought my LM Linea the sales person told me that he had sold one previously to a fellow who wasn't able to get a good shot out of it.

    A home visit and a 'demonstration of the new owner pulling a shot' later and it was observed that the operator was filling the basket with Nescafe Blend 43....
    Regardless of what I think of their coffee, Vittoria certainly have a great advertising team.

    Blend 43 through an espresso machine eh? yet to try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    Caught this thread yesterday and could not resists having a look in Aldi this morning. Going by the aforementioned 1 year minus use bye = roast date, my bag of medium roast was a bit over 3 weeks old.


    Kudos to whoever roasts these cheap and nasty beans, really quality roast, very soluble for medium roast, grinds and pulls well.

    I tried pulling it a number of ways, 1:1, 1:5, 1:2, over various times 26 to 35 sec at 93C. Best at 1:1 to 1:5 in milk is ok I guess, most would be pretty happy.

    As espresso and long black my flavour notes were, HEAVY over ferment, wood, acidity is rough as guts, finish is unpleasant. At ristretto length it has nice syrupy body which gives an initial impression of lots of sweetness, this is where it ends for me, zero inherent sweetness.

    Reeks of mostly commodity grade natural / dry process brazils.

    If I was just going by flavour alone I have had better tasting Nespresso, albeit it is weak and watery.

    I am coming off primarily drinking high grown, washed, sweet and clean Colombians, so this could make it seem worse than it is.

    Still I guess they represent great value, but I would recommend people spend 1.5 X the money on something more palatable.
    Don't doubt on your judgment mate. It's roasty right off the bat but calms down after few days. However, you can best a nespresso for sure (following the trend here, I'd eat my 'aldi-flavoured' hat if it doesn't ). I pulled at 1:2 ratio (at 40-42 sec with 10 sec preinfusion on my lever) and the sweetness was very pronounced to me and my wife. I suspected it might be from Brazil too or might even be artificially added (couldn't replicate that elsewhere). More like brown/dark sugar than table/fruit sugar (plays well in FW/latte). They're definitely comodity grade otherwise the price doesn't add up, still pretty good for what it was. The expectation was not to beat the good well roasted beans (never was and never will).


    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Well done Steve. Good on you for trying it out.

    Paul...Don't mean to drag ya in you had that too at one point (you probably don't remember). Sorry!


    Anyway guys, this is not to get everyone to rush out for Aldi beans and expecting it'll beat your usual stuff (I thought I had that clear in my first and following post). But if you're in a pinch, it's not as bad as you had imagined and it's definitely at a higher level than the Victoria stuff (provided the turnover rate is decent and doesn't sit on shelf for months). I've tried that Victoria stuff and is nastyx1000 for sure.

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    For the people who have experimented with Aldi beans, which tends to be better for Espresso machines like the Breville, the medium or dark roast? - or doesn't it much matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    Still I guess they represent great value, but I would recommend people spend 1.5 X the money on something more palatable.
    Which more palatable beans are only 1.5 x the price?
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    Not sure what in the world is up to but man, this was not the original intention. I only tried the medium roast and it was almost on the borderline roasty for me (for the medium roast). Plus Melb's feedback above, I probably wouldn't touch the dark and not sure how it performs in a Breville. Maybe Yelta is right after all - we do have to start a new 'the-joy-of-supermarket-beans' thread!

    One thing about the Aldi beans - I can actually (or at least willing to) spend a full kilo of that to dial in (like what barista does in cafes - I am not talking about getting the flow right, which is easy- but how other parameters are interacting - temp, preinfusion, grind, different grinders, dose, time, ratio, effect of distribution and different distribution techniques, measuring the TDS with refractometer and checking my shot-to-shot consistency). All those can change the taste outcome quite significantly - something that I can't normally do that on my home roast (due to limited quantity and cost). For home roast - I just get the grind setting into ballpark and pull using my standard parameters, and assumed it's the best it can be.

    Quote Originally Posted by MavCN View Post
    Which more palatable beans are only 1.5 x the price?
    None that I know of...the closest would be 3x the price and most often 4x the price if you count shipping or getting locally in cafes. I would happily pay $16.5/kg and stop roasting if it can be had for that (more convenient and less labor intensive). But if delicious(not just passable) coffee can only be had at that 3x price or via home roast, I will still gladly go that route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post



    None that I know of...the closest would be 3x the price and most often 4x the price if you count shipping or getting locally in cafes. I would happily pay $16.5/kg and stop roasting if it can be had for that (more convenient and less labor intensive). But if delicious(not just passable) coffee can only be had at that 3x price or via home roast, I will still gladly go that route.
    Mmm the standard for my local roasters is 250g for $12-14. If I can find one who's only 1.5x the price of the Aldi I'll buy their stuff and never look back haha.

    I'd not bother with the dark roast. The medium is about as rugged as you'd want.

  48. #48
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Even seen some around Melbourne that costs $18 for 150-200g bag...I am pretty sure those are delicious coffee (meant for filter but luckily I only do espresso-based), and a lot of effort has been put into that (admire the effort and for pushing the limit, honest!). But man, I too wish I could have truffles every meal - reality is, the plain $5 button mushroom(and home roast mixed with Aldi when in a pinch) at Coles will have to do sometimes.
    Last edited by samuellaw178; 20th June 2016 at 01:51 PM.

  49. #49
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    I first saw the Aldi beans mentioned in the Golden Bean awards. Someone on the judging panel must have liked them.

    At my place of work, I supply my own roasted beans for the espresso machine. I'm used to getting compliments from colleagues, most of whom aren't used to freshly roasted beans.
    Earlier this year, I miscalculated my roasting and totally ran out of roasted beans.
    So I slipped down to Aldi and bought a bag of their medium roast, and hid the bag and passed it off as mine.
    I couldn't help asking subtle questions afterwards, thinking that I'd be told that it wasn't as good as usual. I'm afraid that all I got was compliments. I didn't feel that I wanted to let on that they actually came from Aldi.
    So maybe that's a comment on the quality of my own beans.
    But I'm wondering if this is an indicator of the oversupply of roasters in Melbourne. To supply reasonable quality brown beans at a price lower than I can buy greens.
    I have no idea what mark up Aldi have. Is anyone making a profit on selling to Aldi at their wholesale price?

  50. #50
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Had a couple more shots of the dark roast. The upfront chocolate and caramel sweetness gives way to a strong aftertaste of nuclear fallout. Bean removal from hopper ceremony has been performed.

    Have now loaded up the Aldi medium roast. Ran 18.6g in, and 26g out at 93 degrees. Flavour initially doesnt seem to have the flaws of the dark roast. Will report back after a few more.
    Have now run a series of shots of the medium roast. Have run enough shots of different ratios that I have a feel for it. Like it a bit more than the dark roast because it has less of a need to perform multiple rounds of Listerine mouthwash after each shot. Probably only 2 rounds of Listerine vs 3 for the dark roast which is a clear improvement. The off flavours are not as pronounced as in the darker roast but certainly still there. Overall, was interesting to see what $10.99 per kg espresso beans would deliver, but I would switch to an alternative type of drink (water?) If budget didn't stretch to a better grade of coffee bean than this.

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