Espresso Advice

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Espresso Advice

Postby chico » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:29 pm

Hey guys, i need a little help here. I am not an Espresso drinker but i have some friends who have Espresso machines and want me to roast some beans for them.

My first questions is, does this look like a decent mix of beans:

40% Brazil Cerrado
20% El Salvador Everest
20% Yemen Mocha
20% Sumatra Mandheling

Secondly, to what level should an Espresso bean be roasted to? I always thought there were supposed to be roasted to French roast level, but i am reading up on it and it seems just to be a matter of taste. I just want to give them a decent Espresso so any suggestions on roast levels would be appreciated.
Thanks
Chico
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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby gfoster » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:35 pm

I'm not a big fan of sumatrans, although other people are. They just taste too much like dirty tobacco for my tastes.

Honestly, that looks a little bit like a dog's breakfast blend to me. I'd advice roasting a batch of each of those beans separately and then tasting each individually as espresso to see what they may or may not bring to the table. Then you can blend to taste and experiment with post blend roast levels.

I generally prefer my espresso be be roasted a bit lighter, to a vienna roast. There's really no such thing as an "espresso roast". Different beans react differently of course, and if you are using a bean with a lot of high bright notes or a fruit bomb (Ethiopians or Africans for example) you want to roast them a bit lighter to preserve those notes. I'll take those to a City+ or a City++ level. Central Americans have deep chocolate tones to them, can stand darker roast levels well and can serve as an anchor for the blend. The chocolates on those really jump out at Vienna levels. I have some Brazilian Formosa that, when I roast it to a Vienna stage, it comes out of the portafilter like honey. It's way too one-dimensional for espresso straight by itself IMO, but I blend it half and half with a DP Ethiopian (like Harrar) at a City+ and I get all the chocolate covered fruit bomb goodness you can imagine that way. I really like using a rich chocolatey central as an anchor for my espresso and then building stuff around it.

I have found that if I take a bunch of different beans all the way to a true French roast I can hardly tell the difference between them anymore. Besides, if you roast to a true French you'll lose a lot of the body and it can end up thin and watery instead of thick and syrupy like you want.

I know that this is sort of an answer without an answer, but truly "it depends". It's a lot of trial and error.

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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby chico » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:01 pm

Thanks Gary! You actually probably helped more than you realize. Since i have been roasting for the last year, i have really enjoyed the Ethiopians. I also liked the El Salvador Everest and Brazil Joao de Campos Yellow Catuai. So i think i'll start off with what you suggest, take the Ethiopian to City+ and the others to Vienna and see how it goes. Thanks again!
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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby gfoster » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:29 am

Good, I'm glad you managed to glean something useful out of my ramblings :)

You'll have to let me know how your experiments turn out!

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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby chico » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:56 am

Gary, the blend went over great! Thanks for the help! You made me look good and that is tough to do :P
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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby gfoster » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:51 am

Nice. Did you go with your original blend or tweak it?

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Re: Espresso Advice

Postby chico » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:55 am

I went with your suggestions, did the El Salvador Everest to Vienna and the DP Harrar to city+ and it came out great. People who used french presses on it liked it as well. I totally got the "chocolate covered fruit bomb"! Thanks again!
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