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Thread: ...a blending odyssey

  1. #1
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    ...a blending odyssey

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hiya All,
    I recently bought this from (fellow CS) Robster:
    1.0 Colombian Caracolito Peaberry
    0.75 Colombia Valle del Cauca Supr. 06
    1.25 Guatemala Huehuetenango
    0.5 Costa Rica Santa Elena
    0.75 Dominican Republic Barahona AAA
    0.5 Brazil Cerrado Bold
    0.75 Panama Volcan Baru
    0.4 Yemen Mocha Ismaili 2005
    1.0 Yemen Ismaili 2006
    0.15 Ethiopian Mocha Harar Mao Horse 2005
    2.0 Ethiopian Harar 2006/07 Longberry natural
    0.25 Ethiopian Harar
    0.25 Ugandan Bugisu AA
    0.2 PNG Kimel A
    1.5 PNG Peaberry 2006
    0.4 PNG Sihereni AX
    1.25 Sumatra Mandheling Grade 1
    1.25 Indon Sulawesi Torajah Kalossi
    0.4 Ethiopian Yirgacheffe 1st Grade
    1.25 Ethiopian Limu Mocha (WP)
    0.5 Kenya AA
    3.0 Indian Monsoon Malabar
    0.6 Rwanda Cyangugu
    1.0 Malawi Pamwampba
    1.0 Zambia A Lupili Estate
    1.0 Mountain Top Coffee Boomerang naturals
    0.7 Mountain Top Coffee Boomerang washed
    0.75 Mountain Top Coffee Bundja extra fancy
    24.35kg Total (give or take)

    I thought it would be a great opportunity get stuck into some blending. I started looking through posts in the blending room for inspiration, and after sending a PM or 2 to those more knowledgeable than I for advice I thought Id start by having a go at the blend David Makin used to win the 06 WBC.
    See below.

  2. #2
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    David Makins 06 WBC blend

    You can read the thread that gave me the idea here in the blending room.

    I PMd Luca for some advice on where to start, thinking he had worked with this blend and might be able to offer some guidance.
    The blend called for Uganda Bugisu, PNG Kimmel, Monsoon Malabar, Indian Parchment Robusta and Brazil Pulped Macabus. I didnt have the Brazil Pulped Macabus, so I sub-ed it for a sundried Daterra, and I used Kaapi Royale instead of the Indian Parchment robusta. So it wasnt going to be an exact copy from the start. In addition to that I didnt know the exact ratios, and in addition to that Im certainly no Peter Wolf!

    Any way on Lucas advice and with some research into ideal profiles for each bean I settled on the following:
    30% Brazil Cerrado (sun-dried) (10min to 1/C, 5-6 o start of 2/C)
    30% Uganda Bugisu (12min to 1/C, 6 mins to start of 2/C)
    20% Indian Monsooned Malabar (9-10min to 1/C, 4 - 5mins to rolling 2/C)
    15% PNG Kimmel (10min to 1/C, 5mins to before 1st snaps of 2/C)
    5% Kaapi Royal Robusta (11min to 1/C, 20 secs into 2/C 4-5mins)

    This blend was rested for at least 3 weeks when used in comps, and it was blended pre roast.
    I thought with my roasting equipment and skill level I would get better results roasting the beans individually. So 3 weeks ago I roasted the Monsoon Malabar and the Kaapi Royale, bagged it up and rested it for 10 days, then added the Brazil and finally the PNG and Ugandan 4 days after that and rested it for 7 more days.

    The results were interesting. I was really looking forward to this one. Firstly, I need to say that (as usual) I lost control of the Monsoon Malabar as it approached 2nd Crack and went darker than I wanted...it oiled up a bit while resting. Also I think that by roasting the beans individually then blending I had an uphill battle in getting an even extraction, if that makes sense.

    This blend was nice. Heaps of crema, silky mouth feel and very sweet. It was very well behaved, and (dare to say) a bit boring. I prefer an aggressive espresso and this was just...nice. It cut through milk, but the only flavour I picked up was sweetness. As espresso it had a bit more depth, but I can only describe it as sweet and warm with a some high notes in the middle and a pleasant "espresso-like" acidic/ashy finish.

    Im sure I didnt nail this, but at a guess, I recken if I did, it would still be a little well behaved for my tastes. Then again, its highly likely that due to my substitutions, roasting technique and equipment and relative lack of skill, this bears little resemblance to the blend Im trying to copy!...So Im not sure what, if anything, I learned.
    It was fun though!

    Cheers, Anthony

  3. #3
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    Thats what I love about home roasting Anthony, its is one giant learning curve. Ive found its best to just get in there and experiment, everyones tastes are so different, my wife is the biggest critic of my roasts, I just watch her facial expressions when I try out a new blend out on her!!

  4. #4
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    "2.0 * Ethiopian Harar 2006/07 Longberry natural"

    You lucky bugger... I still remember how good this bean was! Give it a try as a S/O I doubt you will be disapointed.

    Happy Sipping. *:)

  5. #5
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve link=1221940147/0#3 date=1221953177
    "2.0 Ethiopian Harar 2006/07 Longberry natural"
    You lucky bugger... I still remember how good this bean was! Give it a try as a S/O I doubt you will be disapointed.
    Yeah, Ive been drinking it at work all week in the french press, its a beauty!

  6. #6
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    ...so my results in trying to replicate Makins 06 WBC blend were less than exciting.
    I wanted to tweak it a bit and try to come up with something that had all its good points (mouthfeel, crema, sweetness and user-friendliness) but had a bit more of an earthy punch, and clearer, brighter fruitiness. I still had some of the Monsoon Malabar, Kaapi Royale and Brazil Daterra roasted and resting, so I thought I would try this:

    30% Indian Monsoon Malabar (9-10min to 1/C, 5mins to start 1/C)
    20% Ethiopian Harrar Longberry (11mins to 1/C, 7mins to R2/C +10secs)
    15% Colombia Caracolito Peaberry (11mins to 1/C, 3mins to 1st snaps 2/C)
    15% Sulawesi Torajah (10mins to 1/C, 5-6mins to 2/C pull pre R2/C)
    15%Brazil Cerrado (10min to 1/C, 5-6 to start of 2/C)
    5% Kaapi Royal Robusta (11min to 1/C, 20 secs into 2/C 4-5mins)

    The results of this one were much more pleasing to my pallette (and my wifes).
    It was bigger and more complex and it had "grunt" - which is what I look for in an espresso blend. I assume it was the addition of the Sulawesi that gave more complexity to the warm sweet notes and the earthiness I was looking for, and the Harrar that gave the nice citrusy zing, which really highlighted the dry finish.

    **DISCLAIMER**
    Im not saying I have improved or outdone a WBC winning blend!
    I am saying that with my substitutions, guess-tamations and the limitations of my equipment and skill level I found this blend more pleasing to my palette.


    Im gonna work on this one, Ive got more of all these beans, so I will do another batch and see if I can improve it further...Ill keep posting the results.

    Ive still got around 20 kilos of great beans, most of which I will be using for blending experiments, so I plan to keep posting reports on the outcomes of my "blending odyssey"...Im replying to my own posts, but Im assuming that this is interesting reading to CSs like me who havent done a heap of blending...

    If youve got any ideas or suggestions for me Id love to hear them.
    Cheers, Anthony

  7. #7
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    Hey Anthony,

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeebreath link=1221940147/0#5 date=1221986336
    Im replying to my own posts, but Im assuming that this is interesting reading to CSs like me who havent done a heap of blending...
    Yep; true for me. I love reading about blending, despite the fact that after a couple of months trying out blending (immediately after I started roasting), I stopped doing it and have been drinking SOs almost exclusively for 3 months or so...

    One of the best things we did - which I think makes more sense when youre aiming to create a blend - was to have a cupping session with 4 different beans (no reason you couldnt do it with 5-6 different beans- except that it would be a challenge for ones palate) and then create a blend based on the results. We tried this HERE and found it a very good way of deciding how to create a blend using a particular set of already-roasted beans. I realise that you using a different "method", if you like.

    But I would highly recommend cupping everything you roast for a while so that you get used to what flavours are what and which beans they belong to. Ive gradually been learning that everyones palate is different... I still sometimes retain an impression of a bean based on how other people have described it rather than on what Ive experienced with it - and I need to quickly check myself and get rid of those impressions which come from the power-of-suggestion rather than my own empirical observations... if that makes sense. For example, lots of people here rave about PNG Wahgi, but I really havent found a roast of it thats resulted in an enjoyable coffee! No doubt I might enjoy it if someone tailored a roast to my taste, but I havent been able to nail it yet...

    Anyway, enough philosophy.
    Cheers
    Stuart.

  8. #8
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    More on the David Makin 06 WBC Blend

    As its rested further (its now at about 24 days) it has further developed.

    The PNG and Ugandan have bedded in more, giving a rich summer fruit tinge to the middle of the pallette- fantastic!
    However, the dry finish has now turned a little ashy - probably as result of over roasting the Monsson Malabar - and it really detracts from and overwhelms the cup profile.

    So this is not as boring as I initially reported it to be, and If I hadve nailed my roast of the Monsoon Malabar it may have been very nice indeed.

    Unfortunatly no more Ugandan or Kimmel...so maybe Ill never know!

    Cheers, Anthony

  9. #9
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    Re: ...a blending odyssey

    My next Blend:

    30% Indian Monsoon Malabar (9-10min to 1/C, 5mins to start 1/C)
    30% Australian Mountain Top Boomerang naturals(10mins to 1/C, 5mins to 2/C+30s)
    17.5% Kenya AA (12mins to 1/C, 5-6mins to 2/C pull pre R2/C)
    17.5% Costa Rica Santa Alma (12mins t0 1/C, 6mins pre 2/C)
    5% Kaapi Royal Robusta (11min to 1/C, 20 secs into 2/C 4-5mins)

    My Plan was to use Sulawesi Torajah (instead of the Kenyan), but my BM kicked the bucket half way through the roast- meaning 700g of Indonesias finest ended up in the bin... I had a stash of Kenyan resting, so I thought, what the hell...may as well try it out.

    The results were suprising, and well worth working on, particularly when brewed in the french press. Lots of rich malty sweetness and a great silky mouthfeel. It has a tonne of body and enough highnotes on the finish to make it interesting. Suprisingly low on acidity. Its pretty good as espresso also, particularly when milk is added, but Ill be brewing this in the french press I think.

    Im going to have a go at refining this blend by slightly reducing the % of the base beans (Monsoon Malabar/Mountain Top) and increasing both the Costa Rica and the Kenyan and take it from there.

    Ill keep you all posted.
    Cheers, Anthony



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