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Thread: Supreme Beans

  1. #1
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    Supreme Beans

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have a Spaz S1 at home and have found that for a high-end semi-commercial machine, its pretty finicky. You have to work hard for a good shot and be really consistent and there is not much margin for error even with the pre-infusion chamber (which I have since removed). After giving most of the beans in Melbourne a go over the last 18 months or so, the only roaster I seem to get really consistent espresso with is Supreme. Im trying to work why this bean suits my machine, in the hope that I can seek out other like roasters for a bit of variety every now and then. Any ideas?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Gday Slippy,
    when you say that the La Spaz is finnicky and you have to work hard for a good shot, what results are you getting that would indicate that you arent getting a good shot at the moment?

    I know that might sound like a silly question, but people judge their shots using different parameters. Some judge by the time taken for the shot to achieve the 30/60mls, the time to blonding of the shot, the taste, the absences of tiger striping or even the shape of the pour (if it doesnt look like a mouse/rat tail, it doesnt make the grade).

    In relation to the use of that particular roaster to achieve your desired results, different beans and roast levels like different pour temperatures, and as the La Spaz has good temperature control, that will probably have a big bearing on your results.

    Anyhow, let us know some of your symptoms and Im sure that there will be a solution forthcoming.

    All the best,
    Steve.

  3. #3
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    depends on the bean, but have had probs with all of the above. Biggest problem though is early blonding. I have just jammed a triple basket in the handle, but even with the extra coffee I get blonding too early in the shot. Consistency is also a problem and while Im willing to accept my technique is probably not WBC standard, it doesnt seem as though there should be that big a variance in mottling, viscosity, speed of pour and flavour from day to day. I dont, however, have these problems with Supreme beans. I have tried everything from Padre to Five Senses and everything in between, single estates and blends. I was also hoping the machine would bring out a bit more brightness and fruit. I really do have a love/hate relationship with my machine.

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    Re: Supreme Beans

    what grinder are you using?

  5. #5
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Quote Originally Posted by 6877726B6B627D72686F1B0 link=1257893304/2#2 date=1257922119
    it doesnt seem as though there should be that big a variance in mottling, viscosity, speed of pour and flavour from day to day.
    Hate to tell you but small variations in conditions day to day and technique will have some pretty massive effects. Interesting however that one bean gives you consistency when the others dont, is it only one blend of supreme or all? That would seem strange to me.

  6. #6
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E16131306173C0E020D5554630 link=1257893304/3#3 date=1257926867
    what grinder are you using?
    Good question...cant wait for the answer...

  7. #7
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    good question. sounds like a distribution issue or a dose issue, you could try reverting to a double basket and dosing a bit lower?

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    Re: Supreme Beans

    btw, could a mod clarify what the guidelines are regarding non-sponsor roaster suggestions? increasingly sponsors seem to roast, and roasters seem to sponsor.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Early blonding, especially when it seems to come on all of a sudden during a shot, is usually an indication of channeling within the puck.

    When youve poured a shot that has blonded (is that even a word ;D) early, knock the puck out and check it for worm holes, especially around the side of the puck.

    The La Spaz does have deep baskets, which should go some way to eliminating the channeling, but as Coffeehorse mentioned, your troubles do seem to be related to dose and/or distribution within the basket.

  10. #10
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Could also be worn grinder blades, no point speculating, need more info

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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Using a mazzer mini and its less than a year old so Id be surprised if its the blades. As for the roast, I get it from batch in st kilda and its the same each time. Have checked my pucks intermittently and theyre pretty solid and smooth, although if i get lazy, i do get some channeling. The standard double basket - deep as it is - is succeptible to channeling if you down dose, but theres not much margin for error with the shower head/grouphead set up if youre trying to updose either (you just end up mashing the puck against the shower head. As for my technique with the triple basket, Im collapsing twice and levelling off with a dosing tool to maintain consitsency. I have had spurts of success with other beans, but almost invariably, I get one or two god shots among a lot of substandard shots. Had a degree of success with some Dukes Guatemalan single origin, but over the course of a week I only had a couple of good days. Even taking into account the natural variances in the roast as it ages I find this a bit weird. When I get good shots out of my machine theyre as good as youll get anywhere, but as I said in the original post, I feel like I should get more consistently good espresso out of my machine and reckon my technique is good enough to do so. Bit frustrating really. Also I know someone else with the same machine that has similar problems and he is more experienced than me.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B46474C564B565B220 link=1257893304/7#7 date=1257930160
    btw, could a mod clarify what the guidelines are regarding non-sponsor roaster suggestions?
    Im not a Mod, but personally think its fine to discuss non-sponsor roaster suggestions, so long as you dont provide a link to their website. I wouldnt think it productive to post negative remarks.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B46474C564B565B220 link=1257893304/7#7 date=1257930160
    increasingly sponsors seem to roast, and roasters seem to sponsor.
    I dont know if its on the increase, but as this site is predominantly about coffee, its probably why they are Sponsors in the first place.


  13. #13
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    thanks dennis,

    that was about my understanding! Just that there are a few incredibly forgiving blends (you might even be able to suggest one of your own) such as Coffee Alchemys Goodness Galileo and single origins like Meccas Ethiopia Beloya #16.

    These give a very exact taste profile when correct, and easy diagnosis.

    @slippyfist

    1) Do you have a non-spouted portafilter? (a hammer could fix this if you dont)
    2) Do you have a naked portafilter?
    3) Where do you live? Muahahaha

    As you mentioned Padre, Id be guessing Balmain/Rozelle in Sydney, but you could be anywhere. If youre in Sydney Id be happy to meet you and see if I can help.

  14. #14
    hazchem
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D50515A405D404D340 link=1257893304/12#12 date=1257999629
    3) Where do you live? Muahahaha

    As you mentioned Padre, Id be guessing Balmain/Rozelle in Sydney, but you could be anywhere.
    coffeehorse, given that slippyfist said -

    Quote Originally Posted by 47585D44444D525D4740340 link=1257893304/10#10 date=1257943607
    As for the roast, I get it from batch in st kilda
    I doubt theyre in our neck of the woods. Although it is making me pine for the corned beef hash on the breakfast menu at batch!

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    Re: Supreme Beans

    aha!

    we should meet up tomorrow and consume a brew or two at the usual. why not give me a call on the old blower?

  16. #16
    hazchem
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    slippyfist, I appreciate that your questions and the current problems you are facing relate to the La Spaz you have at home, can I ask if you have similar issues with the same beans on other machines? Also, did the vendor you bought the La Spaz from test it and set it up before you picked it up?

    I am by NO means an expert in this kind of thing, but I wonder if its running too hot, or too cold, if that might be part of this issue?

    on an unrelated note, can you grab me some takeaway corned beef hash from batch and send it up to Sydney? cheers, ta ;) :D

  17. #17
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    I would start with the grind if i was you?

    With an average grind and decent tamp you might get an acceptable shot but i would guess(if i have to) that its a case of grind vs temp followed closely by temps. With a correct dose and tamp it could only be a case of temperature i would think?

    I had similar problems on my Dalla Corte(also 54mm baskets) when i got it. I burnt my way through a kilo of beans in the first day in an attempt to get used to it. I find i get a bit of channeling if my tamp is off and it is a bit of a gusher when my grind is too course. Still drinkable most of the time though.

    Good luck and try have a second set of eyes on it?

  18. #18
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Hi Slippyfist,

    Unfortunately there are a lot of things that could be a problem, so theres a large element of stabbing in the dark here. By far the fastest way to get to the bottom of it would be to have some one-on-one time with a really good barista that can taste what you are making. Failing that, the more information that you can give us, the better. Futility aside, trying to fix these problems is always fun, so Ill throw a few more stabs at some of the clues that you have given us ...

    Inconsistency ...

    I take it that you get shots that pour with a fairly similar volume/time with Supreme, but not with others. Is it possible that you are getting consistent shots with Supreme because you have used it enough to be able to find the grind setting quickly? Other coffees might take some dialing in. Theres also the issue that most grinders dont really purge out everything that is ground through them, which can be worked around by purging a few grams of coffee before every shot and after changing each grind setting.

    Unfortunately, now is the worst time of the year to be looking for consistency for your coffee. The heat really makes a difference. You might want to look at storing your coffee somewhere relatively cool, with few temperature fluctuations. A styrofoam box or esky (without ice) could be good; a dedicated wine fridge set at a high temperature would probably be better. If you are trying coffee that comes in an unsealed paper bag, it might help to put that bag into a small plastic container.

    To eliminate yourself as a source of error, try buying some coffee, dialing it in and then timing five shots in a row. You should be able to get within a few seconds for the same volume. Make sure that you use as close to the same steps each time as possible. Each rap of the portafilter, for example, gets more coffee into the handle, so you should always rap it the same number of times. If you have an elaborate dose/distribution technique, it might help to simplify it. A few years ago in preparing for the WBC, we did a bunch of tests and simply dosing, striking off and tamping once seemed to be the most consistent. Now, with the timer grinders, we at last seem to have WBC competitors playing around with this idea.

    Early blonding

    Grind coarser, dose more. However, if you like shots that are more acidic and fruity at the expense of body, a lower dose and finer grind might do better for you ... but it will blonde earlier.

    I suppose that theres a remote possibility that it could be due to the water dispersion pattern. Maybe remove the screens, remove the dispersion block and scrub it all clean. While youre at it, I seem to remember that the S1 has a few different dispersion blocks - check if you have the thick dispersion block or the thin one. Machines with shower screens that sit low are often described as finnicky, so you might want to make sure that you have the thin dispersion block.

    The other possibility, I suppose, is high brew pressures. The S1 doesnt have a brew pressure gauge, does it? Didnt that only come in on the S1 V2? In this case, you might want to see if you can grab a PF pressure gauge to test. 9 bar is the "magic number," but I dont know why - I have had great success at 8 bar.

    Temperature

    Given that you have an S1, incorrect temperature adjustment is something that will always spring to mind. The thing is that I dont think that that would actually make that much difference to the flow rate. Still, if you are also having problems with flavour, this might be a problem.

    I got to have a quick play around with a prototype multi-boiler machine at a friends cafe a few months back. The person that had lent the machine to be checked out had removed all of the manufacturers labels from it, but we thought that it was likely a La Spaziale because thats what the groups looked like. We found that the coffee started to taste worse as the day progressed. The problem was fixed a fair bit when we dropped the temperature a whopping 4C. It seems that the group really heated up a lot during use. Our speculation was that this was the consequence of having a group that seemed to be a chunk of metal bolted to a boiler rather than a saturated group. Against that background, it might help to make sure that you are giving your machine heaps of time to come up to temperature and arent making heaps of shots back to back.

    I think that there is a range of temperatures from about 91C to about 95C in which the optimum brew temperatures for most commercial espresso blends in Melbourne that I have tasted lie. The last time that I had the Supreme blend, I thought that it sat at the hot end of that scale. If you are trying other coffees, particularly ones that are roasted darker, you might find that they are at their best a few degrees colder than Supreme.

    Fruit and brightness ...

    It would be interesting to see how you went with Supremes Fair Trade Organic blend. Last time I had it, it was quite heavy bodied and less fruity than the Supreme blend.

    African coffees might be a good start. Ethiopian coffees have really interesting fruit, but they are of variable quality. One of the washed coffees like a Kenyan, Rwandan or a Burundi coffee should deliver consistent shots with a bit of fruit and some good acidity. Theres some Kenyan Gaikundo doing the rounds at the moment that is definitely one of my top coffees of the year. St Ali, Five Senses and Veneziano have some. Seven Seeds have a Burundi Bwayi that has a nice brightness to it.

    Finally, its nice to see Supreme getting talked up online. Theyre great and dont get the attention that they deserve.

    Hope that helps,
    Luca

  19. #19
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Ive used a bit of Supreme this year as a guest coffee and its been great. Blonding happen to me at the beginning and it was due to technique and lack of knowledge on the blend. But it tasted great and better than most coffees that didnt go blond. It peaked differently to what I was use to as well. But we fixed the problem and had great coffee from Supreme.
    Switch to a conical grinder and that will fix your blonding problems.
    Also buying coffees at cafes can be a problem. Cafes can get really hot at night time and that can kill a coffee. Some mornings I go into a cafe that around 30.C...... lucky for me, my coffee is in wine fridges.

  20. #20
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    Re: Supreme Beans

    so true andyL - popped into a local cafe and was consumed with worry regardidng what kind of temp those poor beans had to put up with, let alone the poor folks trying to chill out w/o aircon.
    anyone convinced their missus that they NEED a wine fridge for the brown? thats OT, but

    I have the same machine and can vouch for supreme generally providing thick, gloopy acidic/cocoa goodness without dosing higher than usual.

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    Re: Supreme Beans

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 68716765040 link=1257893304/17#17 date=1258028319
    Finally, its nice to see Supreme getting talked up online. *Theyre great and dont get the attention that they deserve.
    Agreed. *I was on holiday in Port Douglas in July and didnít expect to find decent coffee. *But a place called re:hab up there produced what were at least as good as, if not the best double espressos Iíve ever had. *As they were using Supreme I sought them out back at home and was wrapt to find the factory is just a suburb away from me.

    The Fairtrade Organic is my fave. *Great body and lots of syrupy chocolate which is what I really like. *I also find it easy to produce consistently good results with.




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