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Thread: Coffee Alchemy quality?

  1. #1
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    Coffee Alchemy quality?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello all. First time poster, long time reader.

    A quick comment/question about Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville. I have been buying their beans for over a decade, Hairy Chest being the mainstay. I was living overseas for much of that time, and even then, I had beans brought or sent over to me, such was my craving.

    Of late though, I feel that the quality has dropped. I can't remember exactly when, but it is recent - maybe six months to a year ago. The taste isn't as deep and rich as I used to find it, and it's visible in the shot too. Hairy Chest used to be up there with the best coffee I'd ever had. It'd go up and down a little from time to time, which is normal enough, but it's not coming back up for me now.

    I haven't changed my equipment. I've been using the same two machines (Silvia, and a Breville dual boiler thing), and the same grinders (Rocky, Compak). All running in order.

    I'm wondering if anyone else here has had a similar experience with CA, perhaps with these beans in particular? I wonder if it's me, my equipment, or the beans. I do not mean to cast aspersions on Coffee Alchemy (quietly, I hope the problem is me).

  2. #2
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    How old is the machine and grinder and have they both been cleaned/ serviced/ descaled etc over the course of their life?

    I regularly get coffee and beans from Gumption in the Sydney CBD (Goodness Galileo blend), which is the same owners as Alchemy, and it's been consistently good over the past few years

  3. #3
    Junior Member Alain's Avatar
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    Have to ask... are you buying from Marrickville or one of the city locations?

    I used to buy from either Gumption or Micro but found the batches were either already a week old or had no date on them at all. The staff would hand write whatever dates they had on a post it note at the register right before handing over the bag. I also found the quality quickly deteriorated shortly after purchasing (maybe only good for a week) which lead me to believe that the roast date written was in fact false... or is this just me too?

    Buying form Marrickville is a different story though... all bags are always only a day or two old and all labels are preprinted / stamped.

  4. #4
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    I buy almost weekly from CA but don't buy the blends anymore. I buy a different SO each time.
    I actually prefer my beans to age about a week on average and now that Marrickville is so much busier than the old days, I either have to put up with fresher beans or try to manage the aging buying before I finish my current bag.

    I have never noticed any difference in quality and just wonder if you have become too used to the same blend and need a change.
    I have heard Hazel discuss how to keep the consistency of a blend when a component bean is different in the current crop to the previous one.
    Believe me, she doesn't want you to taste any difference.
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  5. #5
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    As an aside...Alchemy was my epiphany coffee, I liked coffee before but they showed me just how good a coffee could be. I was on one of those Food Safaris (based on SBS show) and the starting point was near their shop, so I grabbed one while waiting... it was all downhill after that :-)
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  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the replies.

    I have been buying from Marrickville.

    Silvia is about ten years old, has a PID, and is regularly descaled. Breville is about two years old, was descaled maybe six months ago. The burrs in both grinders are fine. I weigh every dose. Tamp pressure is consistent. I use bottomless portafilters, and watch every shot.

    I'm living down in Melbourne now, and I usually order CA beans, but recently I've tried Code Black's 3056 a few times. That coffee gets me the desired shot quality out of both machines, which caused me to start pondering the quality of Hairy Chest more deeply. I just don't like the taste of 3056 as much as the old Hairy Chest.

    I have sometimes wondered whether I just needed a change, but nothing else I've tried so far matches up.

    Anyway, I feel somewhat reassured that it's not the beans. I'll play around with my setup and method, and see if something shifts.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somakusha View Post
    Thank you all for the replies.

    I have been buying from Marrickville.

    Silvia is about ten years old, has a PID, and is regularly descaled. Breville is about two years old, was descaled maybe six months ago. The burrs in both grinders are fine. I weigh every dose. Tamp pressure is consistent. I use bottomless portafilters, and watch every shot.

    I'm living down in Melbourne now, and I usually order CA beans, but recently I've tried Code Black's 3056 a few times. That coffee gets me the desired shot quality out of both machines, which caused me to start pondering the quality of Hairy Chest more deeply. I just don't like the taste of 3056 as much as the old Hairy Chest.

    I have sometimes wondered whether I just needed a change, but nothing else I've tried so far matches up.

    Anyway, I feel somewhat reassured that it's not the beans. I'll play around with my setup and method, and see if something shifts.
    Hazel and the team are dedicated to the pursuit of providing quality coffee and have always been about the coffee speaking for itself and not having to have huge marketing or flashy promotions to sell coffee.

    I would recommend trying coffee from many different source's and then go back to the Hairy Chest after a little break, if it speaks to you again, you'll know it is still the coffee you like to drink.

    Don't be afraid to experiment with different recipes for the extration, maybe reduce the output or grind finer to slow the shot, sometimes just a few grams more or less can have a huge bearing on the flavour in the cup.

    The other thing is don't be afraid to ask the guys at Coffee Alchemy about the process, they might have some good advice for you or explain why you're tasting something different. Ask to speak to Dan or Sam and get them to give you a ballpark recipe for that coffee and maybe mention your concerns. They are kind enough to take your feedback onboard and I'm sure will be able to help you improve the result.

    If they don't help you I'll be very surprised, as they have always had time for the individual, this is why they are one of my favourite group's of coffee people and always have been.
    Last edited by Jono_Willmer; 10th October 2018 at 09:03 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Jono_Willmer View Post
    Hazel and the team are dedicated to the pursuit of providing quality coffee and have always been about the coffee speaking for itself and not having to have huge marketing or flashy promotions to sell coffee.

    I would recommend trying coffee from many different source's and then go back to the Hairy Chest after a little break, if it speaks to you again, you'll know it is still the coffee you like to drink.

    Don't be afraid to experiment with different recipes for the extration, maybe reduce the output or grind finer to slow the shot, sometimes just a few grams more or less and have a huge bearing on the flavour in the cup.

    The other thing is don't be afraid to ask the guys at Coffee Alchemy about the process, they might have some good advice for you or explain why you're tasting something different. Ask to speak to Dan or Sam and get them to give you a ballpark recipe for that coffee and maybe mention your concerns. They are kind enough to take your feedback onboard and I'm sure will be able to help you improve the result.

    If they don't help you I'll be very surprised as they have always had time for the individual, this is why they are one of my favourite group of coffee people and always have been.
    Very kind words there Jono. I'd never heard of Coffee Alchemy to be honest, but I'm now keen to give them a go sometime
    Jono_Willmer likes this.



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