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Newbie, coffee bean questions

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  • Newbie, coffee bean questions

    Hey guys
    Im about to buy the Breville BES900 and smartgrinder.
    i will order my beans online from 1 of the sponsor sites but being xmas now i wont get it for awhile so my question is
    "what beans should i buy now so i can use it over xmas and new year"?
    Whats a good coffee bean for cappucinos easily accessible from a cafe or local major retail store? Im in Newcastle.

    What do i need to look out for with roasting dates? No older than 2 months?
    Is an espresso bean the same as cappucino beans?

    I read some beans can be too oily for the breville smart grinder. Is this true? Any i should avoid?

    Hope you can help.

  • #2
    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs

    Go to the section on CS home page 'Good Coffee Where?' - NSW- Newcastle/Hunter and read posts #37, #40 & #41.
    These places should all have recently roasted quality beans.

    Have a good Christmas


    • #3
      Thanks Chok.
      So these cafes sell beans also yes?

      Anything i need to look out for ie. Beans no older than a month etc.?


      • #4
        Most coffee shops/cafes have their roast on sale for take home purchase. Caps', lattes, machiatos, piccolos & flat whites are all
        espresso based coffee drinks, i.e. make espresso, add milk. Roast is the same, your taste is the variable.

        Don't buy coffee without a roast date on the package.
        Coffee is generally at it's best, for espresso, somewhere between day 7 and day 15-21,
        so buy beans with a roast date that fits in with your use pattern.
        It's also a good idea, as an experiment, if you can, to start some beans at day 2 or 3 in
        your espresso machine to see the development of body, flavour and balance.
        If buying filter roast beans for a press or pour-over, days 3-15 might be a tighter range.

        Last edited by chokkidog; 23 December 2012, 12:28 PM. Reason: added top paragraph


        • #5
          Ok so coffee roasted between day 7 and 21 is generally best. But for a novice like me, it should still be ok on day 40 right if it takes me that long to finish it. Ie. i buy only 7 days old but it takes me a month or so to finish so it doesnt go really bad by then right?

          How many grams of coffee is usually used for 1 cappucino as a guess? Just trying to work out what ill use in a month


          • #6
            Yes, for espresso you generally want beans roasted between 7 and 21 days prior to use.

            If you use the double basket, which you're advised to do until you get the hang of the machine, you'll use 18-20g at a time, plus a couple of grams purging the grinder each session and maybe one or two more if you overfill and level off. The single basket takes 14g if it's filled properly. Don't use the double wall baskets! If you haven't used the machine or grinder before, which as a newbie I'm guessing you haven't, you will almost certainly use up some coffee, perhaps 200g or more, just getting the grind and tamp right and getting used to the machine.

            You don't have to buy 1kg of beans as most local roasters often sell smaller quantities. Work out what you think you might need for no more than two weeks and buy that quantity. If you use it quicker and still haven't been able to take delivery of beans ordered online, you can always go back to the local roaster and get some more beans that are in the appropriate date range.
            Last edited by; 23 December 2012, 01:20 PM. Reason: Spelling!


            • #7
              depends on a lot of things but lets say with purging and a bit of waste you use an average of 15gms per shot
              ( I use 18-22 ). A 250gm bag will therefore make 16 shots, so at 1 shot per day......................

              By all means keep your coffee for 40 days, it's your coffee and your loss,
              ( quality, freshness and the frustration of grind adjustments required as coffee beans go from fresh to stale ).
              Can I suggest you use the search engine on this site as well as google to explore the topic of 'how to make espresso'?


              • #8
                Thankg guys. I will do. Who would have that coffee was so complicated
                promise to contribute in the future as i learn more.

                Hopefully the search function can tell me what Banjo meant by double baskets etc. as i have no idea what he meant ))))


                • #9
                  Nah, coffee isn't complicated but all the hype around it might make it seem that way!
                  Once you have a practical understanding of the processes involved and get some good, consistent results under your belt
                  and into your cup, you'll be in a delicious groove!

                  Sure, there will be hiccups along the way but once overcome, they only serve to increase our knowledge.

                  Ask questions, enjoy the journey :-)


                  • #10
                    Chokkidog is right, nothing complicated about espresso, some of the nerdy types just make it seem that way.
                    Just remember, only change one variable at a time, you will be up and running in no time at all.


                    • #11
                      I'm not trying to make it difficult, and it'll all be second nature to you in no time. 12 months ago I was in the same place you are now, and it was somewhat bewildering to me as well.

                      The BDB comes with four filter baskets which go in the portafilter (handle). There are two single-wall filters for use with fresh ground coffee, and two double-wall filters for use with pre-ground (stale) coffee which won't extract reasonable(?) coffee or produce crema without them. There is a double and a single of each, generally to produce a double or a single shot.

                      All will be revealed when you open the box.

                      Browse/search the BES900 owners' thread in the mid-range machines forum for lots of useful info, and probably even more less-than-useful info . Check out youtube for BES900 and other videos and the how-to videos at How to Make Coffee - Coffee Machine Steam Grinders Makers Commercial Domestic Italian Automatic. The latter aren't of the BES900, but they're good for technique.

                      Welcome to the forum and enjoy the journey!


                      • #12
                        Thanks guy. I really appreciate it.
                        banjo, can u clarify 1 thing for me, i should start off using the double basket single walled yes? And as i get better move to single basket single wall yes?
                        Whats the difference/reasoning between these 2?


                        • #13
                          Yes, that's my suggestion. Another name for a "double-walled" basket is a "pressurised" basket.

                          You could read or browse through all 3600 posts in the BES900 thread and draw your own conclusions, but to save you the trouble (for now ) my personal take is that some people have found the single basket more difficult to use, and some even recommend not to use it at all. There are others that have no difficulty with the single basket and swear by it. I'm among those that found the single basket tricky, but I haven't tried it for some time. Anyway, most of the time I'm making two coffees at once; even my first extraction of the day is an espresso and a flat white, just for me!

                          Those that advocate using the double basket even if you only want a single suggest either throwing the second shot away or using it for iced coffee or dessert or something. There'e even a thread near this one about using frozen shots for summer drinks.

                          If you're only going to make coffee for yourself and you don't want a double shot, by all means try the single. There's no real reason why you shouldn't be able to master it, but you'll probably find that it needs a finer grind than the double. Just be sure to put enough coffee in it. If you're going to make a reasonable number of coffees at a time or you like your coffee strong, you may prefer to start with the double.

                          That was my rationale, but we don't know your coffee-making intentions and it's really your choice anyway. Have fun with it and we look forward to hearing about your progress.


                          • #14
                            Thanks so much Banjo


                            • #15
                              Coffee will last a month if you keep it sealed. I get 1kg per month from Andy in two 500g bags (as otherwise the postage is too much) and it takes a month to get through it. If I keep one bag sealed until I need it its still good (but not at its best) at the end of the month.