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a request for strong doesn't mean bitterly undrinkable

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  • a request for strong doesn't mean bitterly undrinkable

    Hi, first time poster here and I'm afraid it's going to be a rant.

    I like a stronger taste to my coffee but seven out of ten I'm served verge on the side of undrinkable. When I ask for strong, I don't automatically mean a double shot - how could I, you may be serving a particularly strong blend or single origin in your cafe or that day.

    I live in Melbourne where to add to my woes I have to ask for hot so that I don't get (to my mind) a tepid milk drink but I have to say I am bitterly disappointed by 7 out of ten coffees I have unless I go to certain cafes and hopefully get served by certain baristas.

    Is it really up to me to ask how each cafe serves a strong? I do not want a double shot that skins my palette - apparently according to my favoured barista I need a double ristretto of stronger coffees. When it's done right there is nothing better, luckily I have found where to get my morning hit and the guys at the cafe get it just right ...most of the time.

    As for the granular muck I just consumed here on the Gold Coast, well I don't know why I bother.

    I guess the reason I'm posting is to find out what's reasonable to ask for because on more than one occasion I've been met with a blank stare when I ask how an establishment serves a strong as if there's no other way than doubling up what they do. Surely they must realise that for the most of us, it is entirely unpalatable and therefore some other ground needs to be explored for those of us looking for something that isn't like a slightly coffee flavoured warmed milk shake.

  • #2
    Welcome theyin,

    Unusual way to introduce yourself to the forum

    Do you really think that ordering a 'strong' X will result in you being served a different blend of beans? Be very unlikely I'd think...and if it did happen, I'd think the barista would say 'would you like to try today's special blend' etc.

    A 'strong' coffee is going to refer to to the ratio of brewed coffee to milk. And, like your barista friend suggested, the flavour profile will also be affected by the extraction.

    In terms of your broader desire to ask for a strong and get exactly what you want.......How would a barista even begin to imagine what your tastebuds' definition of 'strong' might be. Are you interested in darker roast flavours? Or just a less milky taste? A touch more bitterness? The word 'strong' doesn't help too much.

    Cheers

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    • #3
      Welcome theyin,

      The 7/10 poor people in your gunsights who get it wrong may well conclude that what you actually like is overroasted coffee with scalded milk.

      Perhaps you should purchase your own gear. You can then blame the mirror if it's not right.

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      • #4
        Yes welcome Theyin to CS

        So that it can't be said ( on this site or elsewhere) that Qld'ers are uncharitable and / or don't wuv our Victorian cousins

        Can I suggest you try out Site Sponsor - Silipo Coffee whilst your on the Goldy.
        Richard is a a ripper bloke and I've never had a bad shot when I've been there.
        Look up their details here under 'sponsors' on the main page!

        And he'll probably be able to tell you where the better cafes are on the Gold Coast that can make your coffee as ordered. as an added bonus!


        Rider - no I'm not his brother / son / father / 2nd cousin by marriage / next door neighbour growing up etc etc
        Yes he did go over and above the call of duty to help me diagnose / sort out a grinder issue I was having once.
        And IMHO is 1/ an excellent example of what a coffee industry pro is - professional in their approach and passionate about good coffee. 2/ Happy to contribute / pass on his knowledge and experience when able.
        Which the above in short applies to those site sponsors here I've had contact with / or have benefited from freely giving of their knowledg and experience.

        As for when your hols are over - Melb cafes....
        I'll leave that to TC or others down that way.
        Good Luck
        E A
        Last edited by EspressoAdventurer; 3 January 2016, 02:37 PM.

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        • #5
          I used to roast coffee for some of the people at work. There was one lady who said that she wanted something 'stronger'.

          I eventually came to realise that what she was after was what she was used to from her favourite cafe...over-roasted, oily beans.

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          • #6
            "Strong" is so subjective it's virtually meaningless. Are you saying you want a 'strong' single shot? I'm not even sure what that is.

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            • #7
              Took me years to understand that when someone asks for a "STRONG" coffee typically they want dark and bitter (over extracted).

              Ordering strong will often mean that the "barista" (term used loosely here) will run a shot longer and extract more of the bitter end of the pour.

              I suspect that Theyin has a taste for that style of shot and the current trend in Melbourne of bright, light and sometimes sour roasts are at the opposite of the flavour spectrum.

              Not wrong, just different and I agree with Chris, your best bet will be to buy you own gear, start home roasting and then you can produce exactly what you like!

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              • #8
                As LeroyC says, the term strong is very subjective.

                To me it's a shot bursting with intense flavour, certainly not under or over roasted, both extremes are unpalatable to me.

                My preference is beans roasted to around CS9, no oiliness out of the roaster, however by the time I've used most of the batch of 750 grams green (about a week) some of the beans have developed a few oily patches.

                As far as flavour is concerned, beans of different origins and types have their own characteristics, after roasting for a while and a bit of experimentation you will find you have a preference for some types/origins over others, it really is down to personal taste.

                Interestingly I had a conversation with my wife this morning comparing cafe/restaurant coffee to my own roasts through my own machine, I commented that probably nine out of 10 brews we buy when out and about don't even come close to what I produce at home, she agreed, although now and again we are pleasantly surprised.

                Am I biased? probably.

                Do I roast my own? you bet, have been doing so for for about 7 years.

                Pic below is my first roasting setup in 2009, pretty much a dog bowl roaster, it worked well, I now use a Coretto.



                Click image for larger version

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                Last edited by Yelta; 3 January 2016, 06:48 PM.

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                • #9
                  People asking for a 'strong' coffee is something I encounter all too often at my Saturday market stall.

                  When asked to articulate what they mean by 'strong' 99 out of 100 can't do it.

                  Theyin.... (welcome to CS)... if you want to be taken seriously by the cafés you go to, learn what it is that you really want.

                  Once you have worked out what it is that you want, go and find the cafés that can fulfill your

                  requests, after all, we're not asking for two spoons of Nescafé, instead of one.

                  Maybe what you want is not a 'strong' coffee but a 'bold' coffee.... either way there is no point

                  going to a coffee shop that can't fill your order.

                  Not all beans and not all roasts are able to be made in such a way that pleases all palates.

                  You aren't going to find an Italian style espresso in a '3rd wave' café peddling sour, overly fruity

                  coffee, it just won't happen, nor will a coffee roasted specifically for espresso be

                  necessarily good with milk... horses for courses.

                  Otherwise... I agree with Chris, get the necessary kit to DIY.
                  Last edited by chokkidog; 4 January 2016, 06:50 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
                    People asking for a 'strong' coffee is something I encounter all too often at my Saturday market stall.

                    When asked to articulate what they mean by 'strong' 99 out of 100 can't do it.

                    Theyin.... (welcome to CS)... if you want to be taken seriously by the cafés you go to, learn what it is that you really want.

                    Once you have worked out what it is that you want go and find the cafés that can fulfil your

                    requests, after all, we're not asking for two spoons of Nescafé, instead of one.

                    Maybe what you want is not a 'strong' coffee but a 'bold' coffee.... either way there is no point

                    going to a coffee shop that can't fill your order.

                    Not all beans and not all roasts are able to be made in such a way that pleases all palates.

                    You aren't going to find an Italian style espresso in a '3rd wave' peddling sour, overly fruity

                    coffee, it just won't happen, nor will a coffee roasted specifically for espresso be

                    necessarily good with milk... horses for courses.

                    Otherwise... I agree with Chris, get the necessary kit to DIY.
                    Well said Chokki.

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                    • #11
                      a request for strong doesn't mean bitterly undrinkable

                      Other than a one off changing beans or the roast, how does the OP expect a strong coffee to be made other than with a double shot?

                      As for the super hot milk, no. Just no.
                      Last edited by herzog; 5 January 2016, 10:06 AM.

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                      • #12
                        My version of strong is a double ristretto in a 'small' latte.

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                        • #13
                          I still cant believe the number of cafes here in melbourne that split their shots especially for takeaway - and half the time they end up dumping the 'spare' shot or serving it cold anyway! I just wont go back to anywhere that splits shots, even less so considering i can roast my own at home and have a commercial machine on my kitchen to extract on - cant justify paying for an inferior product!

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