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Thread: some advice please!

  1. #1
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    some advice please!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im keen to try and get something good out of blending, but not having much luck. Whenever I blend I just seem to find I taste the unpleasant parts of each individual coffee, not improve things.

    I have done a bit of roasting the last few days, and have on hand:

    Ethiopian gambella naturals - I roasted this a bit darker than I usually do, about 50s into SC. It is pleasant, caramelly.

    Yemen - I find this quite intense. Flavours everywhere, heavy, earthy.

    Mexican organic - Cant really remember much about this one. Havent sampled this lot yet.

    PNG waghi aa - I really enjoy this one. Lots of flavours.

    Monsooned malabar - I have never had much luck with this one. Havent sampled this lot yet (still resting).

    So, here was my thinking. Ethiopian was good body, easy drinking. I thought this should be the main base of the blend. I put in 60% this. PNG was nice flavours, I put in 25% this. Yemen is good, but too intense for me, I put in 15%. The PNG to me didnt really contribute anything. I was tasting the ethiopian, but the Yemen was still a bit harsh, and this harshness ruined it for me.

    Here is what I am thinking for a second try: 60% PNG, 30% ethiopia, 10% yemen. Is that likely to work, or am I missing something?

    Thanks, Damian.

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    Re: some advice please!

    Two thoughts... First, what method will you be using to brew this blend?

    Second... If for espresso, I personally dont like to use a lot of the "eastern hemisphere" coffees in a blend. I think of them as spices or accents. I use a Brazil base and add something like a Costa Rican or Peruvian, and then something special like a Kenyan Peaberry or a Yemen (although I have not liked any of the few Yemens I have tried in the last few years, but thats another story). I use to use Sumatran and liked it a lot, but in the last few years it has been just too earthy for my tastes, which leads me to....

    The blend I use may be nasty to others, but that is the joy of home blending and roasting. You can experiment and find what you like... roasts, blends and done for specific brewing methods. And when you tire of it, just change. For example, I changed my blend a bit when I got the Kony because it was extracting a taste a bit differently from my Rocky (a subtle difference, but noticeable).

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    Re: some advice please!

    Hi Randy. Thanks for your response. this is for espresso. Will drink as espresso, or with a touch of milk.

    So maybe what I have roasted up will not blend well? I just figured if I had three coffees I was happy with, that had differing features I should be able to make them compliment each other to produce something better (ethiopia - caramel, good body; png - nice bright flavours; yemen - earthy, strong flavours but too strong for me)?

    Damian.

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    Re: some advice please!

    Yer - sounds like a pretty intense blend for espresso - make the hairs on the chest stand-up!. My thoughts are the same in that you might want to use a Brazil/Peru/Panama as a base bean to tone it down a bit - add some PNG for body and then finish off with some Ethiopian to add a highlight...

    The purists would probably also say never waste Yemen in a blend - strictly appreciate as a SO

    ;)

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    Re: some advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by simsy link=1226547764/0#3 date=1226584405
    The purists would probably also say never waste Yemen in a blend - strictly appreciate as a SO
    ;)
    The Yemen I was getting was special. I got it from a local commercial roaster. The owner, Rene Jennett passed on earlier in the year, and he took a lot of history with him. I tried to get him to slow down long enough to tell his story in detail for a book, but he never stopped long enough. He was there and helped start the specialty Coffee business on the west coast of the US, in the Fan Francisco Bay area, just after W.W.II.

    He had bought a pile of full bags that were found in a corner of a coffee brokers warehouse. At the bottom of the pile were three or four bags of Yemen that he called, "The real thing." Indeed, these beans were exactly that. From the very first roast I did in my Hearthware Gourmet I was using at the time, I learned where the term "Mocha" came from. He chocolaty notes from these beans was amazing. It really was like adding chocolate to coffee. It made for an amazing espresso. They were the most remarkable coffee I ever bought. I used them at about 25% of a blend. As a SO it would have been like eating a cocolate bar.

    The beans were old when they were found, and after about two years or so the beans finally turned. They were getting a bit soft and yellow and losing their character. I still tried to roast a batch. I tried to take it darker than usual in my Hottop and was pushing the roast deep into second- or at least trying to. They beans were so old that second was not very audible at all. Suddenly the smoke tripled in volume and I ejected the beans. They ignited when they hit the air.

    I purchased some Yemen a couple of times over the years from different sources, but for whatever reason, none have even come close to those "old school" beans. I miss those beans, and I deeply miss Rene.


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    Re: some advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1226547764/0#2 date=1226549710
    Hi Randy. *Thanks for your response. *this is for espresso. *Will drink as espresso, or with a touch of milk.

    So maybe what I have roasted up will not blend well?*
    There is no way anyone other than you can answer that.
    Might as well ask opinions as to what type of underwear you should be using. * :D * [briefs work best for me, but I wear an XL glove, so YMMV] * ::)

    Since we are discussing the taste of a food product, the answers will be totally subjective. We would all agree that either burnt beans or green beans would make very bad espresso if ground and brewed, but between those there is a world of flavors to experience. The same can be said for blending.

    I like a smoother, sweeter espresso. I was using Colombian as a bash but it was overpowering the other coffees I was using so I switched to a Brazilian base. Something like:

    50% Brazilian
    25% Peru or Costa Rican.
    25% choice of African (Kenyan, Ethiopian, Yemen), Indian, or Sumatran, etc., to taste

    That makes a good starting point. It also works fairly well as a pre-blend, although if I had some really good Yemen I would probably roast that separately. Once you get that working you can modify the percentages of the origins, such as the following which might make a nice breakfast espresso for a morning kick:

    40% Brazilian
    25% Peru or Costa Rican.
    20% Yemen
    15% Monsooned Malabar

    Its the joy of home roasting.

    But as I said, taste is subjective. Some folks would look at my first blend and think it too mellow, and the second as just too much. It works for me, and thats all that matters.

    It also depends on the roast, the profile, the roaster, etc.

    How do you find out? Experiment.

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    Re: some advice please!

    Thanks Simsy, Randy.

    Sounds like a bit more experimentation is required. I am also going to get some of the brazil bourbon bold from beanbay next week, so hopefully that will help me along, and allow me to try some of the mentioned blends.

    I tried a little more this morning. I made up the mexican, ethiopian, png, and yemen at the same time to compare. They are actually all very nice individually! I could happily drink any - but I just feel I should be able to improve with a blend.

    I really like the mexican, ethiopian, and png. But I decided to start with the mexican and ethiopian, and see if I could put them together to get some of the sweetness into the ethiopian (which is sweet in itself, but in a different way). I went 50/50 for each. the ethiopian got dominated again. I really want to taste the ethiopian, so next I will go 25/75 and se what I get. Now I just have to wait til I can taste something again - my 2 year old daughter loves chilli cashews, and insisted we share some.

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    Re: some advice please!

    ok, I can taste again!

    the 75 ethiopia/25 mex went ok. It is starting to get to the point where both are coming through, but still wouldnt say it is an improvement. Individually, they both have something special which defines them, but together they seem to lose the specialness they had. I wouldnt say it is bad, but they are better individually.

    7 coffees down in the last hour - time for a break. Next I will try the ethoipian with the png.

  9. #9
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    Re: some advice please!

    All this blending is a great excuse to cosume heaps of coffee....................as if one needs and excuse!!!

  10. #10
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    Re: some advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by simsy link=1226547764/0#3 date=1226584405
    The purists would probably also say never waste Yemen in a blend - strictly appreciate as a SO ;)
    Agreed....And I am a purist! ;D ;)

    Yemen is one of the best tasting coffees around with the hint of chocolate/caramel on the palate.

    Should not be blended, very similar as the JBM.

    -Linda

  11. #11
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    Re: some advice please!

    must be something wrong with my tastebuds! out of these, the yemen is probably my least favourite. Maybe I roasted it wrong, but I find it a bit intense.

  12. #12
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    Re: some advice please!

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1226547764/0#10 date=1226652374
    must be something wrong with my tastebuds! out of these, the yemen is probably my least favourite. Maybe I roasted it wrong, but I find it a bit intense.
    Yep, it is intense Damian but when you get the roast right with decent quality beans, it not only knocks your socks off but leaves you wanting more and more. With the Yemens, you really need to have patience when roasting em.... Dont hurry too much into First Crack (FC), you need to maintain a rising gradient that will get you to Rolling FC at around 14 minutes or so and then taper off the gradient even more so that you cruise into Second Crack (SC) about 6-7 minutes later, maintaining a very slight gradient until a lazy Rolling SC starts to kick off about 45 seconds after the start and then hold this for another 30 seconds or so, then immediately cool.

    Bag em as soon as theyre down to around 40-50C and then allow at least 4-5 days to rest and degas. Usually leave mine for about 7 days before opening the bag. After that, its just heaven in a cup... My favourite coffee bar none.

    Hey Randy, I think youre correct about recent Yemens not being as good as those of yore but the last couple that Andy has discovered are real beauts. Might be worth your while to dip your toes into the warm, balmy waters of the Red Sea again ;) ;D

    Mal.

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    Re: some advice please!

    Hi Mal, You dont know how close that sounds to what I did! Although I was about 5 mins from from 1st to starting 2nd. Maybe its just I need to rest it some more - it is only 2 days in. I wont give up on it yet.

    I tried the ethiopian with the png this afternoon 2:1 ratio. I would say that these beans to me fit together much better than the ethiopian/mexican. they seemed to compliment each other a bit more, rather than being mangled together. Is anyone (who has a better ability to describe taste than me!) able to tell me why this may be the case? Still wouldnt say there was an improvement though.

    I will play around with this a bit more, but I think my best move is probably to roast up some of the recommended beans from suggested blends to try and get a better idea of what blending has to offer.

    Damian.

  14. #14
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    Re: some advice please!

    Hi again Damian,

    Well mate, Id leave it for a minimum of 5 days before breaking the bag seal but in the end, maybe Yemeni beans are just not your cup of, errr.... Coffee :-?
    Were all different, as we often regale to new home roasters and it may be that your palate just isnt suited to Yemen. Theres nothing wrong with that though as there are heaps of other great coffees out there, just take a look at the latest BeanBay list... Mind boggling to say the least :o

    For me, I really dont like the majority of Brazil coffees but do enjoy Colombian, Bolivian and Peruvian grown varieties. Its probably been close to 5 years since I last bought a Brazil bean....

    All the best mate, :)
    Mal.

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    Re: some advice please!

    nope - I was a touch harsh on the yemen. I remembered from a previous roast not liking it, but I reopened this one 8 days in and kind of good!!! Maybe I stuffed up the initial roast - I seem to recall I did my first batch of this when I had just changed over to my new roaster.

    Also roasted up some sulawesi and sumatra yesterday to add to my blending experiment. Ill do some of the brazil as soon as it arrives. The monsooned malabar should be coming good soon as well, so lots to try!

    My current roasted list is:
    monsoon malabar AA, yemen bani ismail, sumatra mandheling takengon organic, sulawesi rante kapua torajah, etihopian gambella sundried, PGN waghi AA.

    I must be able to do something good in terms of blending!!! We will see!



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