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Thread: Bean tip please.

  1. #1
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    Bean tip please.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    hi guys

    Ok, for quite a while now Ive been roasting, grinding and brewing Peru Ceja de Selva and using exclusively in cappuccino. I have it half strength and use oat milk and sugar. (damned lactose). Anyhow, I would like to move towards espresso but I find espresso rather strong and bitter.

    I realise my palette will have to change and that it will be a process, but could you guys offer a suggestion for a beginner bean as far as taste goes. Obviously, something requiring precision roasting etc is out for now....

  2. #2
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    The beauty about coffee is you're never going to stop learning. No matter what level of expertise someone holds in the field they will always be learning.

    I would suggest if you're home roasting to start at one end of the scale and work backward or forward. For example start by dumping the beans fairly light, then take them a tiny bit darker and so on, until you've got them too dark that they are un drinkable as an espresso, or too light they are sour and underdeveloped.

    Only ever make small changes because once you learn what you enjoy you will understand what change you made effected the cup in a positive way for your personal desire.

    I'd succumb to the fact that you're going to need to go thru a bit of beans and there's going to be wastage so stock up and understand that you will be throwing some in the bin. You won't learn until you make mistakes.

    Although there are so many factors that could be affecting your cup. For example your espresso preparation routine could be perfect or way out of whack, if that's the case then no matter how good the beans are you're going to ruin them by not extracting them correctly.

    Good luck on your journey! There is plenty of good help around here and when you get stuck on a particular step search the forum because I can guarantee whatever the question, it's been answered somewhere here!

  3. #3
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    I think bitterness is more due to flaws in ones technique than the beans themselves. The usual comment guests make about my coffee is that it isn't bitter and I suspect its the same for most people who make specialty coffee. Andy's Brazil Premium Bourbon is pretty easy to make without it being bitter.
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  4. #4
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugeye View Post
    hi guys

    Ok, for quite a while now Ive been roasting, grinding and brewing Peru Ceja de Selva and using exclusively in cappuccino. I have it half strength and use oat milk and sugar. (damned lactose). Anyhow, I would like to move towards espresso but I find espresso rather strong and bitter.

    I realise my palette will have to change and that it will be a process, but could you guys offer a suggestion for a beginner bean as far as taste goes. Obviously, something requiring precision roasting etc is out for now....
    Hi there.

    you've made some comments that frankly, make your question impossible to answer except to say, what's wrong with starting with what you already use (Ceja de Selva)?
    For example:
    "...Half strength...". We don't know what that means in your case: does it mean half volume/half dose/over extracted etc?
    "...I find espresso rather strong and bitter...". In view of your "half strength" comment, it could be your own coffee making technique that is making your coffee taste "rather strong and bitter". One of the things I used to tell my students in espresso making classes, is that if you try and brew "weak" espresso, it invariably ends up tasting strong and bitter. When you fix up the proportions of the various variables and brew the correct way for a "normal" coffee, the brew smooths out on the palate and loses its bitter character (despite that it has been brewed normally rather than weakly)....

    That means, that trying to brew weak espresso can and does induce a strong and bitter character, if the weak brew is not executed properly. Grinding too coarse to try and weaken a brew also destroys an espresso, and is a common occurence in people that claim they don't like espresso because its too strong. They try to weaken it by grinding coarsely, making the coffee worse and shooting themselves in the foot. The only way to execute a weak tasting espresso, is to brew normal strength, and then add water.

    All that is very easily demonstrated.

    Additionally, the character of your roasted product very much depends on how you roast it and at what stage you stop the roast. Leaving out any discussion on the time of roasting (fast or slow) and just looking at colour. The lighter the colour, the more acidic the resulting brew. Many people mistake acidity for so called "bitterness". The darker you roast, the smoother it becomes until you reach the point where it starts to take on an ashy character, and that is real, roast induced bitterness.

    So there is bitterness from roasting technique, and there is bitterness from grinding and brewing technique.

    I could continue, but best not to complicate the matter too much in this reply.

    Ergo. My reply....what's wrong with continuing to roast the Peruvian coffee you are already using. Experiment with the end colour of the roast, and brew the coffee per normal strength using the correct grind and dose.

    Anything else including recommending you use some other coffee, is just going to needlessly complicate matters for you.

    Hope that helps .

  5. #5
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    I din't have a lot to add to the discussion except to say that if I was going to recommend an "espresso trainer" it would have been that Peru or maybe the Brazil pulped naturals mentioned above.

    Pour it short and slow and you should end up with a thick, viscous syrup that has near no bitterness.
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  6. #6
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    Hi Bugeye, i used to have my coffee as ice blended beverages laced with generous amount of syrup. Espresso was a gradual and acquired taste primarily as a cheap and accessible drink to keep me awake back in my Uni days. Perhaps you may like to start from having Americano (i.e espresso + hot water) and reducing hot water vol over time. You will be sipping espresso and describing subtle flavour nuances in not too distant future.
    Good luck

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    Hi guys.
    Thanks for all the replies.

    TOK, Im no barista and I doubt I have the time to become one. However, my half strength is just that. I use the single dose portafilter to pour cappuccino for two people.

    I have tried the same techniques for my espresso, but they didnt work. even though the cappuccinos taste good.

    brendogs Thanks for the input.. Using the highly precise method of popcorn maker roasted coffee outside in varying light levels and varying temperatures, consistency of roast is not accurate but is usually not too bad. I intend to get Andy's behmor later this year, but for now the popcorn maker will do.

    I have ordered a new batch of beans yesterday, but in the mean time I have played around making the espresso over and over and tasting as I go.. (tricky really because your taste gets altered with each coffee).
    But on reading another site, I found a technique that made all the difference. They called it 'start stop' meaning you don't put the cup under until a little has gone into the tray. The sour taste has gone and in its place new flavors have appeared. the bitterness is much lower, but still there a bit. however, it is quite 'pleasant' to drink nonetheless.

    On a financial note. I worked out by skipping the oat milk, it will take me only 6 months to pay for the new roaster..

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    My my... I seem to have solved my difficulty.

    First of all, I am still performing a 'start dump' until I see the black turn to slightly creamy. The bean I am now using is Ethiopian Gambella Sundried. I put just under a teaspoon of sugar in the cup. 22 second pour after the start dump. (Breville machine with in built grinder) No sourness, no bitterness. Lots of subtle tastes. Quite wonderful.

    Tastes amazing. I would never in a pink fit believed that I would enjoy 'black' coffee at all, let alone so soon.

    I will probably start reducing the sugar down to half a teaspoon later, but for now, just under a level metric teaspoon is working well.

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    I noticed you said you use a single dose portafilter to pour cappuccino for 2 people?

    Does that mean you are pouring 2 x 30ml of coffee out of only a single dose basket, but with the double spouts?

    I sure hope not

  10. #10
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by depecid View Post
    I noticed you said you use a single dose portafilter to pour cappuccino for 2 people?

    Does that mean you are pouring 2 x 30ml of coffee out of only a single dose basket, but with the double spouts?

    I sure hope not
    haha.. yep. thats exactly what I WAS doing for over a year.

    But espresso is my new life. we shall no longer speak of the old primitive ways.



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