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Coffee in Thailand

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  • Coffee in Thailand

    My wife runs a humble homestay in a typically small agricultural community in Thailand that no one has ever thought about visiting. So I have started a Coffee Corner where I am trying out the local coffees. When I started I thought I knew what I liked and the difference between a good coffee and a not so good coffee. But I now know that what I really like, is condensed milk and that everyone has a different idea about the other stuff we drink.

    I always understood Vietnamese coffee was supposed to be a cut above the rest. I have however since found out that the Vietnamese themselves, prefer Robusta beans to Arabica and that they too consider the quality of the condensed milk to be far more important.

    Why are Arabica beans better than Robusta? Are Arabica beans better than Robusta? Is it acceptable to blend? Besides reducing the cost of premium coffee why would one want to blend? How do Thai beans rate in the open market?
    Last edited by backtofront; 11 December 2016, 01:20 PM.

  • #2
    You probably need the robustly flavoured robusta to cut through the condensed milk.

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    • #3
      Learning slowly. My last lot of beans from a coffee shop in Bangkok were a medium dark rather than the usual dark roast and the condensed milk is now sitting at the back of the fridge waiting for a special occasion.

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      • #4
        Welcome b2f...

        Highly recommend reading through this very educational list of articles.
        Will help you on your way to understanding the ins and outs of the coffee snob world...
        Coffee Reference Section | CoffeeReview.com

        Mal.

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        • #5
          Am still a bit confused about the difference between Robusta and Arabica beans. I have always understood that Arabica beans are in a class of their own. Yet aficionados talk about Vietnamese coffee in hushed tones and from what I can establish Vietnam is mostly Robusta.

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          • #6
            And, mostly not very good Robusta either...

            You can get good and bad beans of both types. Growers who have a passion for what they're doing, with knowledge and experienced gained over many years, will try to provide the best quality beans they can for the speciality market. I actually have a couple of Robusta varieties that are very nice to drink without the addition of Arabica. Mostly though, I use Robusta to add some punch, extra body and intensity to a blend, where I'm trying to replicate an Italian style espresso in the cup...

            If you do a search on Google for Robusta vs. Arabica pros and cons, you will find plenty of information...

            Mal.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dimal View Post
              And, mostly not very good Robusta either...

              If you do a search on Google for Robusta vs. Arabica pros and cons, you will find plenty of information...

              Mal.
              This was one of the reasons I asked.

              It looks to me as if tastes and trends in coffee are driven by price and availability. For me it always used to be an open fire, a slight chill on the air and a hot horribly sweet brew. I am as guilty as the next of deliberately drowning out the taste of burnt rubber with the sweet stuff. But as I try to add some perspective on quality and drink more and more, I find the buzz I get from Robusta to be disorientating and in fact unpleasant.

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              • #8
                I reckon you would change your mind if you could sample some excellent Robusta...
                Maybe wait until you're in a location where this is possible.

                Mal.

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                • #9
                  What makes an excellent Robusta? Is it the cultivar, the bean? The roast?

                  The traditional Italian dark roast is supposed to have evolved in order to burn off the caffine and hide the taste of the Robusta bean. I assume that the roasting process is all important. A poor roast will ruin a good bean. Is the converse true? A good roaster can get the most from a bad bean? Does a dark roast work well with a quality Arabica bean? What is the shelf life of a bean? How long can you keep a sealed coffee, once it has been ground? Some say a year, others no longer than 45 days.
                  Last edited by backtofront; 14 December 2016, 08:02 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Ground coffee? Seconds to minutes depending on who you ask

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by backtofront View Post
                      What makes an excellent Robusta? Is it the cultivar, the bean? The roast?

                      The traditional Italian dark roast is supposed to have evolved in order to burn off the caffine and hide the taste of the Robusta bean.
                      You cannot burn off caffeine without completely incinerating the beans. Caffeine gets destroyed around 290C which is way higher then the temperature of the beans during a roast, including dark italian/french roasts.


                      Originally posted by backtofront View Post
                      Does a dark roast work well with a quality Arabica bean? What is the shelf life of a bean? How long can you keep a sealed coffee, once it has been ground? Some say a year, others no longer than 45 days.
                      It depends on what you're after. You can get decent coffee out of dark roasted Arabica beans as long as you extract it accordingly. If you drink your coffee white, a dark roast is somewhat better at imparting sweetness and cocoa notes to it.

                      Ground coffee is supposed to be used within minutes of grinding it. Once you ground it the aromatics are starting to evaporate. Vacuum sealing the grinds will only suck away some more aromatics.

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                      • #12
                        Do you have much experience with Robusta? I was looking at the Vietnamese coffee Trung Nguyên. Do they produce a decent coffee? Could their product be classed as an exotic coffee? I suspect that there was more sales talk than substance there.

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