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Thread: Cuba Honduras El Salvador

  1. #1
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    Cuba Honduras El Salvador

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Che (769x1024).jpg

    Ok, let me start this post by saying I've just bought my first roaster and roasted my first three batches of green beans. Yay! I am therefore dealing with the conflicting emotions of unfettered excitement and cautious humility

    The roaster is a Gene. The greens are current CS beanbay releases of Cuba Escambray, Honduras Montana De Comayagua and El Salvador Comasagua

    Given it was my first crack at this (groan!) I was delighted with the results, especially as 3 guests used to me thrusting random coffees at them for critical appraisal all rated it quite highly before knowing it was my own work! Hence the unfettered excitement

    What I gave them was a blend of all three of the above, having previously sampled the roasted coffees on my own as individual espressi, and then made a blending decision

    Individual comments are as follows. Can't say I have particularly good sense of how to accurately describe coffee yet, or how to get the best out of the roaster. Hence the cautious humility

    Cuba - Roasted to maybe CS8-9. (I don't have a CS card, so this is based on my monitor screen). Savoury-edged espresso. Hint of smokiness. More astringent than acidic?
    Honduras - Roasted to maybe CS8. Tangy, limey. Quite rich
    El Salvador - Roasted a bit lighter than planned, maybe CS7-8. This one was richer and fudgy-flavoured, but less tangy than the Honduras despite the visibily lighter roast

    Blended trial was not, as the 'CHE' photo may suggest, Cuba-led, but was 50% Honduras, 25% El Sal, 25% Cuba. Drunk as a flat white the consensus was milk chocolate. This was backed to my taste with hints of citrus and a savoury edge. My own quality assessment versus admittedly low-set expectations was close-but-no-cigar. I've since re-roasted someof the El Sal one notch darker hoping I can get a more dark chocolate-like hit and more cut through in milk, and will re-blend at 40H/40E/20C

    I also need to learn a lot more about driving the Gene. But that's something for another forum category

    Has anyone else tried any of these three greens?

    Cheers
    Last edited by trickydicky2; 23rd June 2013 at 07:54 PM. Reason: missed something out

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    Quick update now the roasted beans are 5 days old. Firstly everything seems clearer now, and mainly tastes better!

    The good - I really like the Honduras and the El Salvador. Even with a novice roaster at the wheel, these are both lovely coffees

    The Honduras is still zingy but less 'green' in flavour than when I tasted it on day 3, and seems more complex and at the same time more mellow . Goes well as a zesty single origin espresso. Also has the guts to more than cut through in milk. I'd rate it 7/10

    The El Salvador seems to have got bigger in flavour. In the medium roast it has a butterscotch aroma in the bag, and has an opulent caramel clinginess in the mouth brewed as an espresso. With milk it has a deep chocolatey character. Also 7/10

    Even better is a 50/50 blend of these two. You get structure and bite from the Honduras plus a buxom richness from the El Salavador, like a double date with Sophia Loren and Sofia Vergara. I'd rate this (the coffee, that is) as an 8/10

    Overall, I am just so pleased that home-roasted coffee can taste so good, so quickly! This is going to be fun

    I haven't yet tried the darker roast of the El Salvador I did on Sunday - Maybe tomorrow. Hopefully it should be a beaut

    The Cuban, on the other hand, was not so much to my liking. It seems more austere and dry as an espresso. If it was a single malt whisky, then it would be something light-ish from Islay. Maybe I roasted it wrong. Based on roast 1 I'd give it no more than a 5/10. Any suggestions on how to get the best out of this one? I'm thinking a lighter roast might be more aromatic maybe

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    I've just got back from a week in the sticks, in which I took the Aeropress and the El Salvador, roasted to about CS8. Really enjoyed it, particularly after I adjusted to a slightly coarser grind than I use on other Centrals (e.g. either of the last 2 Guatemalas). Not sure I'd blend this with two other centrals, probably use a Brazil as 50% base, with the El Sal and maybe the Harrar / Sidamo as the third bean (for espresso purposes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Not sure I'd blend this with two other centrals, probably use a Brazil as 50% base, with the El Sal and maybe the Harrar / Sidamo as the third bean (for espresso purposes).
    Sounds like a classic blend. Pre- or post-roast blending? Let us know how it goes?

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwantfm View Post
    Sounds like a classic blend. Pre- or post-roast blending? Let us know how it goes?
    Generally pre-blended. Though I might do the Brazil separate and take it a bit darker than the other two. Nothing wrong with blending the 3 centrals (I've tried it)....just doesn't seem to serve much purpose relative to enjoying any of them as a SO. I've had some nice blends that were 2/3 South American 1/3 Central (I tend to drink lattes, with the occasional ristretto).

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    OK, success with the latest roasts...

    El Salvador - Took it higher this time, to a CS9/10. Brings out the dark cocoa flavours. Great as single origin with milk. I also like it 50/50 with the Honduras where you get a nice balance of richness and tanginess

    Cuba - Went lower. CS7/8. This came out more aromatic and less astringent than the higher roast. It's still quite a subtle coffee, but I like it more at this roast level. In an espresso I got a combination of orange/lemon and a sweet/savoury caramel character a bit like the aroma of a dark freshly roasted beef. The astringent finish is still there, but better balanced. I also tried it with milk and this highlighted a fragrant, savoury/dry character that works surprisingly well for a lighter roast. On a cold, wet winter morning the response from my other half was, "Delicious. Should have made it a double"

    If anyone in Sydney wants to try playing with some of the Cuba Escambray, let me know. Maybe we can swap some beans?

    Re the comment from Barry on blending using more varied origins, I am looking forward to trying this once I have more green beans to play with! For example I'm really keen to try pairing East African coffees with Central or South American coffees. That said, I also like the idea of "tonal" blending within a tighter range of origins, especially as varietals, growing conditions and processing have the potential to add so much variety within a given origin
    Last edited by trickydicky2; 30th June 2013 at 09:32 AM. Reason: typo

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    I have played around with roasting profile and now got much better results with the Cuba Escambray. Original roasts were 'hot and fast' getting to about CS9 roast in 13-14

    I roasted lower and slower, finishing at start of second crack at 19.5 minutes, colour about CS8 (although guessing in absence of a printed CS card). The flavour differences are significant - It's now much richer, more aromatic, fuller bodied, less sour, less harsh/burnt and with more length of flavour. Overall a rich, mellow, savoury-edged coffee with enough guts to make a fantastic flat white. I would now rate this a solid 7/10



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