HomeRoast Digest

Topic: "Crowd pleaser" coffee for company meetings (15 msgs / 489 lines)
1) From: Scott Marquardt
OK, I'm taking on provision of coffee for regularly scheduled meetings.
Quite a responsibility.
 Attendees will be "coffee likers," by which I mean they don't "love" coffe=
enough to be adventurous. So I'm wondering: which green coffees (which I'll
likely roast to FC) are sure to be safe for such a crew? Safe, but darned
good. And, optionally, interesting enough to perhaps turn some of these
folks into coffee lovers.
 Any ideas?
 For that matter, which beans will give me a lot of bang for the buck? The
economics of this might drive my threshhold price down a bit. ;-)

2) From: Ed Quesada
Scott Marquardt wrote:
I would take SM's recomendation on a good "House Coffee". I just ordered 
20 lbs of Papua New Guinea -Goroka A to start my inventory (I hope to 
maintain about 100 lbs as time/budget permits) It is very resonably 
priced and I have not been disapointed with "chocolate" finish coffee's. 
I am a newbie roaster, so I am sure someone has more advice on the 
biggest bang for your buck.

3) From: Alchemist John
I would go for a Brazil. The yellow Bourbon is really nice.  It is a 
nice nutty cup that has a good cocoa backdrop.
At 21:31 9/29/2005, you wrote:
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

4) From: Dan Bollinger
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I would make up a blend.   50/50 Brazil and Central for light, nutty =
flavors.  Or a classic Mocha Java, 50/50    Blends will give you depth =
and a 'delicious' cup, moreso than single origins.   Dan

5) From: Gary Townsend
 Dan Bollinger wrote:
 I'd have to second Dan's comments, I'm sippin' on a 3 day rested vacpot of
harrar/Sumatra blended 50/50 and roasted to Full City right now ;-) and it'=
a nice friendly enjoyable cup of coffee. The aroma during the grinding
process is intoxicating on it's own.
My second choice would be a Guatemalan, as my wife prefers them, 3rd choice
would be the Bugisu, another friendly coffee to share with friends.
 Good luck!

6) From: DavidMLewis
I'd have to second the recommendation for a PNG. At your proposed Full City roast, it's going to have more of the taste people associate with "coffee" than almost anything else. I've used it in just this situation with good results.
"Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."
-- André Gide

7) From: Rick Copple
Gary Townsend wrote:
Speaking of the Uganda Bugisu, I can see why Les likes this one so much. 
A really nice cup of coffee that seemed to grow on me as I drank it 
today. Has that Sumatra like touch without being overbearing, and good 
flavor. I think I'm going to like this one and will keep it on my 
favorite list! It would do well as a SO coffee that people would like, 
especially if they like Sumatra coffees often sold at specialty shops.
Another suggestion, a couple of coffees I've seen Tom describe as simply 
a good balanced cup of coffee, or it has "coffee flavor" which I would 
suppose simply means it is the flavor most people would associated with 
"coffee". I would imagine any coffee described like that in Tom's notes 
would probably do the trick. Some people like interesting changes of 
flavor, some don't. They would rather have Foldgers...they are use to 
stale bitter coffee and in their mind that is what coffee should taste 
like or they don't like it.
To each his or her own I suppose!
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

8) From: Rick Copple
Oh, I just had one suggestion to add. I had forgotten about this one 
till I decided to roast some today for a wedding present. The Coasta 
Rican Peaberry is a good winner for good coffee most people would like. 
Nothing wild there, just good coffee with chocolate notes that accent 
the flavor. That one would probably be a winner pretty much with 
everyone, roasted to a full city or full city+
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

9) From: Scott Marquardt
Well, I'm willing to go there. A noob to home-roasting this spring, the one
thing that's intimidating me is blending. I just don't have the palatal
imagination to confidently go there. But you've inspired me. The
satisfaction of the utterly uninitiated (my Folgers-drinking colleagues) is
a noble calling! ;-)
 But help me out, here. I'll gladly sally forth with the Americas blends.
But I'm whimpering a bit about the "classic" Mocha Java. "Classic" sounds
like "everyone knows what this is" -- and I don't. I don't know if I've eve=
had a blend like this so that I'd even know what I'm looking for.
 If someone with a lot of experience (this has to be spot on as a first
impression for me) wouldn't mind recommending EXACTLY which coffees to try,
and how far to roast each, I'd be most grateful.
 On 9/30/05, Dan Bollinger  wrote:

10) From: jim-seaman
If someone with a lot of experience (this has to be spot on as a first
impression for me) wouldn't mind recommending EXACTLY which coffees to try,
and how far to roast each, I'd be most grateful.
I'm in the same boat (fairly new roaster). Have a look at this:http://www.sweetmarias.com/blending.htmlThere's even some recipe's for Mokha-Java about 1/3 down the page.
Good luck,
Woodinville, WA

11) From: Les
Remember to brew it weak for the meeting. We homeroasters get used to
drinking a nice rich full cup of coffee. These poor folks are used to stale
coffee that can't be brewed strong.
 On 10/3/05, jim-seaman  wrote:

12) From: Rick Copple
Scott Marquardt wrote:
As someone who has been roasting since last December, I haven't worked 
on blending much. However, recently obtaining an espresso machine has 
renewed that interest in me to some degree. I believe Tom has in his 
library a good article on blending, what you are shooting for, what 
types of flavor categories make a good blend, etc.
Most of my blends up to this point have been pretty much a "Hey, I've 
only got half a pots worth of these beans...what can I add to them to 
make a pot of coffee?" Then I'll look over my other roasted beans and 
land on what I think might be a good choice. That is pretty much hit and 
miss though. I've had some decent blends that way, I wouldn't say 
outstanding though I do recall one that came out pretty good with an 
almost peach like quality in the cup. Now I don't even recall what that 
was! It's not like I record these things down! (But I should, especially 
when I hit on a good one.)
However, today I did a blend for a different reason. Not because I 
didn't have enough beans, but a particular bean that I had roasted, and 
I still have a pound or two green left always seemed to come out a bit 
too close to the sour/bright side for me. I've always been a bit sad 
about that, primarily because this bean, the Tanzanian Songea AAA around 
last December made the best cup of coffee I've ever had. I even made 
some for a choir party and everyone just raved about what a great cup of 
coffee it was. I became instantly famous in the church for making good 
home roast. I destroyed that somewhat later in learning how to roast 
some things, but still, that was by far the best coffee I've roasted.
Back then, being really green myself at this, I had only ordered one 
pound. I didn't yet realize that coffee had a cycle, and that if I find 
something I really like I should immediately order more to stock up a 
bit for when the bean runs out. Apparently I bought that pound towards 
the end of a cycle. So when I returned to order some more, I got 5# of 
it, which I'm still using up. However, when I roasted it, it didn't have 
the same deep dutch chocolate flavor that I was able to get. I've tried 
roasting it in the popper, I've tried roasting it in the wok. I've 
roasted dark to light and simply cannot get what I had before. So I came 
to the conclusion that between that pound and the 5# I ordered, Tom must 
have run out of the first lot and received a new lot in. Either that, or 
something happened to that one pound in route that really imparted that 
great flavor to it! (I wouldn't even want to speculate what that might 
be!) So, I've ever been in search of that flavor again. I've noticed 
that Tom has run out of the Tanzanian for this year, and so my hopes are 
stirred that he might be able to find a new lot when the crops start 
coming in on it that match that first lot I tasted.
Anyway, I'm getting towards the end of a pound of the Tanzanian that I 
roasted to a city+ in hopes that maybe a good drawn out roast to city+ 
might do the trick. Well, it did come out pretty good, but it still has 
that "almost-to-the-edge-of-sour" taste that prevents it from getting 
any deep rich dutch chocolate in there. So I was going to make a pot of 
the Tanzanian this morning and a thought occurred to me. If you aren't 
all that crazy about the flavor of this lot, perhaps using it in a blend 
will work better than drinking it SO?
Now, I'm not saying you should try this, since you seem to want 
something that will work the first time...and I don't know if this would 
work for you, but I was impressed with the blend I ended up with. One of 
the things Tom says in his article is that the goal of blending is to 
have the combination be better than what they are alone, or I would 
interject, will create a flavor at least as good as any of the SO 
flavors alone, even if different. What you don't want to do is pull the 
great flavor of a coffee down by mixing it with flavors that will only 
offset it, conflict with it, so that it becomes just a bland cup of 
coffee. I've had some of those in my "I'm short" blends.
So I began looking at what I had roasted to see what would work. I knew 
I needed to put in something that had a deep flavor to it to counter the 
high end almost sour notes in the Tanzanian. I had roasted some Robusta 
the night before, and though I thought that would indeed take a "bite" 
out of the high end, I wanted to let it rest some more. However, I might 
try that in a one cup just to experiment. What I landed on, however, was 
some Indian Monsooned Malabar Elephant I had roasted to a good full 
city+. I figured that would be interesting enough.
So I made a blend, somewhere around 60% Tanzanian and 40% Malabar and 
brewed a pot of it up. Wow, I think I hit on something here! The Malabar 
does a good job of bringing the Tanzanian down to earth. However, it did 
more than just that, it drew out a deeper dutch chocoloate flavor in the 
Tanzanian! This made a great cup of coffee, almost as good as that first 
Tanzanian. I say almost, because there is still a good amount of Malabar 
flavor in it that is a bit more overpowering than I would like. So I'm 
thinking I need to cut back on the Malabar a bit, maybe a 75% Tanzanian 
and 25% Malabar. If I can find the right mixture here, I feel that I can 
use the Malabar to make the Tanzanian bring out that great flavor I had 
the first time. It seems the Malabar flavor not only holds down the 
higher notes that have been covering up the dutch chocolate, but also 
support the chocolate flavors as well to boast them up.
So now that I'm thinking I'm onto something, I may have just come up 
with a blend that creates the best tasting coffee in the world! I just 
need to tweak it a bit more. I'll let the list know what I finally land 
on. However, this blend is only good for another couple pounds of 
Tanzanian. When the next lot comes in, I'll have to see what that one is 
like and re-do it. I'm impressed, however, with how well that blend came 
out. It is definitely my best one to date.
All that not so much to give you a blend to roast, as I probably need to 
refine it anyway and you can't get these Tanzanian beans if you don't 
already have them, but to indicate that one of the joys of blending is 
to discover these things for yourself. Sure, you will create some bland 
blends. I would suggest roasting the beans first, then mixing and 
matching so as to do just one pot or cup of them to see if they work or 
not. That way, you haven't done in a whole roasted batch of beans if it 
turns out bad. And spending plenty of time getting to know the flavors 
of the SO will also help, as you need to know not only what type of 
flavor you are shooting for but also what the flavors are out there that 
will get you close to that goal.
Because everyone's taste are a bit different too, what one person finds 
extremely good you may think is ho-hum. So, for instance, I think that 
Tanzanian I had first time around was the best coffee I've ever tasted. 
Les might still prefer the Ugandan or the Yellow Bourbon. The only way 
you will find what really works for you is through experience. I'm not 
saying don't get suggestions, they can make for some good starting 
points. However, they will only give you a recipe, they won't teach you 
how to blend, just what some good blends taste like. Learning how to 
blend means just learning what works and what doesn't, and sometimes a 
lot more of what doesn't than what does, because you only have to find 
what works once. It would be interesting to have Tom tell us how many 
different combinations of beans he tried out before he landed on the 
current Monkey Blend. Unless he was really lucky, he probably went 
through several different attempts before he found what worked. (Now he 
will probably come on and tell us that he got it right on the second 
So, like you, I'm learning and getting more interested in this blending 
thing, though I greatly enjoy getting to taste the natural flavors of 
the different regions in SO.
One other note not really related to this. I roasted some Robusta 
yesterday. I got it primarily for working on espresso blends, just for 
the experience if nothing else. I went ahead and brewed up one cup of it 
just to taste this horrible coffee everyone puts down. You know, it 
wasn't all that bad. Yea, it had a bit more of an edge to it than the 
other beans, which seemed to increase as the cup cooled, but it still 
had some good flavor in it too. My son said he really liked it. I doubt 
I'll be making pots of it, but it was a lot better tasting than the 
impression most people leave you with when talking about robusta. Of 
course, these are quality robusta beans from Tom's. I'm sure the 
majority of them out there do indeed taste like hot tire rubber mixed 
with melting tar out on a 102 degrees SW TX highway at midday, with a 
few bugs mixed in for protein. ;-)
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

13) From: Les
If you are getting sour tastes, this is the second time this has been
mentioned, your roast profiles must be messed up. Are you starting out hot?
It sounds like you are ramping up too fast and roasting the outside of the
bean faster than the inside. The seared steak affect! To me there is nothin=
better than a nice carboned surfaced rare - medium rare Porterhouse. A very
hot grill is needed to seal those juices in! Not so good in the coffee bean
roasting business. You want to ramp up so you are getting the yellow look t=
the bean and the grassy smell at about 6 minutes. This is when you will see
the beans expand and begin to expel moisture. My guess is you hit the right
profile on the Tanzanian beans the first time that is why it tasted so good=
 On 10/3/05, Rick Copple  wrote:

14) From: an iconoclast
Well, I have found blending in the last couple of weeks.  I used to
blend only when I didn't have enough of one bean to do a whole pot,
but not anymore.
I am now mixing roasted beans in their storage containers and calling
them a blend.  This week I have equal parts Guatemalan Coban and PNG
in one container and the Brazil YB in a seperate container.  I mix
half Guat/PNG and half Brazil and get the most wonderful, sweet
chocolate cup.  I also do the same for my decafs.  I mix half
Tanzanian Peaberry and Mexican Esmeralda/Costa Rican blend. If it's
not too late in the day, I add a small amount of the Brazil YB.  Pure
sweet chocolate.  That Brazil YB as Les has suggested just does
wonderful things when blended with others, but because of blending I
know I will still get great coffee even if my "favorite" isn't
Since I use a HG/DB/colander with bottom heat, I try to slow down
first crack as much as possible especially with beans that tend to be
bright, so I think roast profile is a factor as Les suggests below.
And now it's time to put in another order as I'm getting close to
getting under 50 lbs of stash. Yeah!
Take care,

15) From: Rick Copple
Les wrote:
Hi Les,
I've probably mentioned it about the same bean too. I've tried all 
different things with this bean, but for some reason there is a higher 
note at the light roast and but not the dutch chocolate flavor that I 
remember at the darker roast.
I do usually heat up the wok for a bit, but I believe on this bean since 
I was going for a light roast, I turned it down as soon as I put the 
beans in the wok. Usually I will leave it high for 30 seconds to a 
minute depending on how many beans I'm roasting and what I'm roasting 
and what degree of roast I'm shooting for. For lighter roast, I usually 
either don't preheat at all or turn it down when I put the beans in.
I should say that I'm saying on the edge of sour, not really quite 
there. The coffee itself, even at city+ taste fine, and has some nice 
notes in it. However, especially at this lighter roast, there is that 
close to sour edge that becomes more noticeable as the cup cools. I 
wouldn't say the coffee is sour (though I have roasted this bean before 
and did have it come out like that when I was still getting down wok 
roasting), just that it has a very bright end that it didn't the first 
time, and I can tell it is that bright end that is hiding the dutch 
chocolate flavor.
Not unless you consider 15 minutes to first crack to be too fast a ramp. :-)
That would be hard to do since the first time was in a popper, and it 
was a very fast roasting popper too. 4.5 minutes you were at Vienna. 
Hitting city+ was, to put it mildly, a shot in the dark though I did get 
pretty good at it.
When I got in the 5 pounds, it didn't come out the same in the popper. I 
couldn't understand it at the time. Then I started wok roasting them and 
at the time I was still learning how to do that, so I ended up with some 
sour batches out of that, one that I recall was basically undrinkable.
I've since learned that roasting in the wok, no matter what level you go 
for, you want to take 1/2# out to around 15 minutes total and 1# to 
around 20. Once I started doing that, even my light roast started 
spending enough time in the wok to cook through good. So for a pound of 
Tanzanian that I shot for city+ last time, spent around 20 minutes in 
the wok total and my profile to 1st crack was in the vicinity of 16-17 
minutes. I can't imagine that is the problem.
I really don't know exactly why this batch of them are so different. I 
assumed I must have missed a lot change or something. I know also that 
even within the same lot you can have variances of taste, and maybe that 
is what happened with either the 1# I had first time (ended up with the 
cream of the crop) or the 5# I received hit a deader bag of beans. For 
all I know someone could have opened up the box in route for inspection, 
dumped the beans out under a heat lamp to examine them and then got 
distracted and left them there for a couple hours before they came back 
to reseal the box. Who knows.
At any rate, adding the Malabar seemed to quiet down those high end 
notes and let the chocolate out. I also tried 10% Malabar, but that was 
too little. Not as good. I also did try about 15% Robusta in it, and 
that actually came out really good. It did give it a little bite, but 
the chocolate flavors that came out were really good. I'm thinking cut 
the Robusta down to 10% and see if that doesn't come out perfect.
I used up my roasted stash of it, and I have about another pound of the 
original 5. I'm thinking to go for full city. Don't know if it will hit 
the same chocolate flavor, but it should be good coffee. The other 
option, send them to you and see what you think and whether you can do 
anything with them. Of course, the problem with that is I won't be there 
to try out a cup and see if that is the flavor I recall. :-)
But if you find the same issues, then I know it isn't just me.
Keep in mind, I'm not saying the coffee is sour or bad. Just that I 
can't get it to the level of the best tasting coffee I had with that 
first pound. It is still pretty good coffee. But I didn't buy 5#s of it 
to have just pretty good coffee...you know what I mean! :-)
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

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