HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Intelligencia Silverlake (30 msgs / 719 lines)
1) From: K W Matley
Interesting experience yesterday. I moved to the Silverlake area of Los 
Angeles in 1999 and was dismayed at the really poor quality of the 
coffee I found everywhere. I finally found a roaster I liked somewhat, 
but became frustrated when I could not count on them to offer the 
coffee I liked consistently. From there I began ordering online and of 
course eventually stumbled upon Sweet Maria's.
Two years ago I left Silverlake to live in the foothills above 
Glendale. Lately I've been hearing about the new high-end coffee shops 
in, yep, Silverlake. There are two, Intelligencia and Lamill. Since I'd 
heard about Intelligencia on this list I decided I'd give it a try on 
my next trip back to Silverlake. 
First, Intelligencia is a very hip place. When I first drove by, there 
were perhaps 75 people standing around in front, looking very cool. I 
couldn't find a place to park and went on and finished the rest of my 
business. I returned about 90 minutes later to find that the crowd was 
much reduced, probably 25 people at the tables in front. Feeling less 
than cool in my age-faded jeans and my old t-shirt I went in and 
ordered an espresso. They were very pleasant and soon delivered a cup 
of espresso and a tumbler of sparkling water. 
Now here's the point of the story. I've had espresso maybe twice in my 
life, once in Paris and once upon my return at a place called New 
Helvetia in Sacramento. I always drink either FP or Vac, but reading 
this list has had me wondering what the big deal with espresso is, as 
neither cup I'd had before was that memorable. The cup they served me 
at Intelligencia contained perhaps a tablespoon and a half of dark 
liquid with a very pretty crema (sp?) on top. I started with the 
sparkling water, and tried the coffee.  It was barely warm and fairly 
bitter. Kind of a nice aftertaste, but, really, not worth the fuss and 
the difficulty of parking. 
So I guess I still don't get espresso. Having no real basis to judge 
what I had at Intelligencia from, I don't know if I got a bad cup or if 
I'm not capable of appreciating this form of coffee. I'd be interested 
if someone who has been to Inteligencia Silverlake and knows what they 
are drinking could offer their impression of the espresso there. 
Sorry this is so long. Hopefully it's not too boring.
Oh, I got to be seen with some really cool people and the sparkling 
water was really nice!
Ken
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2) From: Jamie Dolan
Intelligencia is held in fairly high regard by many, perhaps not the
same level as some of the small custom shops that visit here, but it
is well regarded.
<Snip>
Somebody screwed up.  "barely warm" -- Thats Not even close, Your
espresso should be so hot that you just about burn your mouth on it,
and it will be if they have pre warmed the cups and pull the shot
properly.
<Snip>
Sorry have not been there.  I just know of Inteligencia, have had
there roasted beans, and had numberous shots from them at the SCAA
show.  So I have a very good idea of what they are all about.  They
made me one of the most memorable cap's I have ever had in my life,
wonderful art, wonderful flavor, nice and hot.
I am sorry you had a bad experiance with them.  I don't know what else
to say other than to tell you that your experiance was not what it
should have been.
Traditional Cap's in a 6 ounce espresso cup and saucer are just my
favorite thing,,, 3,4,5,6, even 7 a day...yum...
<Snip>
I hope you can find a way to try espresso again, made properly and served HOT.
Jamie
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3) From: Sandy Andina
Gotta agree with Jamie--Intelligentsia here in Chicago would never  
serve a shot that wasn't piping hot. I love their trad caps so much I  
bought the Black Cat cups and saucers to make them (and learned how,  
right down to pouring a heart rather than a rosetta).
On Jul 10, 2008, at 11:45 PM, Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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4) From: Julie Tieszen
Sandy,
I should have looked you up when I was in Chicago. I couldn't get enough of the Intelligensia coffee and I even made the trek up to Metropolis which was also wonderful. I want someone to show me that I could produce drinks like that in my home! (if I took the time to learn all the techniques and had the right equipment.)
Julie
----- Original Message ----
From: Sandy Andina 
To: homeroast
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 12:55:05 AM
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Intelligencia Silverlake
Gotta agree with Jamie--Intelligentsia here in Chicago would never  
serve a shot that wasn't piping hot. I love their trad caps so much I  
bought the Black Cat cups and saucers to make them (and learned how,  
right down to pouring a heart rather than a rosetta).
On Jul 10, 2008, at 11:45 PM, Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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5) From: Les
Julie, thanks for the side light on the topic, but  Ken''s question was
basically, "Did I get a good espresso at Intelligensia?"  We need to try to
stay on topic. He needs our help.  He hasn't had a good espresso yet.
Ken, in my opinion,  you were served a "sink shot."  You need to visit Mike
in Vancouver or Stumptown in Portland, or Blue Bottle in San Franciso, or
Bare Foot Roasters in San Francisco.  However, if I wanted a good espresso,
I would visit my own kitchen or Alchemist John, or any other
homeroaster-espresso lover on the list.  I have not been to Intelligensia,
but I have had a couple of their blends.  In my opinion, most often the best
espressos are made at home.  I bought an espresso machine to prove to myself
that it wasn't good coffee.  In the end, I was converted to the "dark side."
Les
On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 6:17 AM, Julie Tieszen  wrote:
<Snip>
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6) From: Julie Tieszen
Yes, I strayed a bit, sorry. I didn't have straight espresso at Intelligensia. I guess I can't answer Ken's specific question except to say that all 5 of the milk drinks I ordered containing their straight espresso were awesome. I'm deducing that had I tried a straight shot that it would have NOT tasted like the one Ken had in LA. But I can't say whether or not the shot would have been "acceptable" as an awesome shot of espresso.
IMHO,
Julie
----- Original Message ----
From: Les 
To: homeroast
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 9:34:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Intelligencia Silverlake
Julie, thanks for the side light on the topic, but  Ken''s question was
basically, "Did I get a good espresso at Intelligensia?"  We need to try to
stay on topic. He needs our help.  He hasn't had a good espresso yet.
Ken, in my opinion,  you were served a "sink shot."  You need to visit Mike
in Vancouver or Stumptown in Portland, or Blue Bottle in San Franciso, or
Bare Foot Roasters in San Francisco.  However, if I wanted a good espresso,
I would visit my own kitchen or Alchemist John, or any other
homeroaster-espresso lover on the list.  I have not been to Intelligensia,
but I have had a couple of their blends.  In my opinion, most often the best
espressos are made at home.  I bought an espresso machine to prove to myself
that it wasn't good coffee.  In the end, I was converted to the "dark side."
Les
On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 6:17 AM, Julie Tieszen  wrote:
<Snip>
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7) From: K W Matley
Thanks, Les, and all for the responses. Looks like the consensus is 
that I haven't yet tried a good shot of espresso. Guess I'll keep 
looking. I'm gonna try Lamill. They're a smaller operation and their 
website at least promises wonderful things. There's also a small 
roaster in Pasadena, a little hole in the wall that I only know by 
smell. I should give them a try. And of course next time I'm in 
Vancouver, Portland, of San Francisco I'll look up the locals. Thanks 
again.
Ken
On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 06:34:38 -0700, Les wrote:
<Snip>
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8) From: Benjamin VerHage
I've been to both locations. Since I live in San Diego I was able to visit the LA location on a couple different occasions. It was good, but nothing super special IMO. The first trip was better than the second as far as cup quality was concerned. Both times I ordered an espresso and americano.
A couple months ago I went to Chicago for work and was excited to try the Intelligentsia(s) there. I visited two locations a total of 10 times and I was thoroughly impressed. The drinks were excellent, baristas top notch. Not to mention the ambiance felt more like a "real" coffee shop to me (that's more of a cultural LA vs Chicago thing though). They just seem to really shine in Chi, but for LA they're still definitely near the top.
I did have one funny observation at the LA location. I waiting in a huge line of the stereotypical LA people and when I got to the counter, ordered my espresso. The barista was happy to make the drink to me, like it was a rare thing to be ordered there. Then right next to me someone asked a real dumb question which we both overheard. He just kind of shook his head, sighed, and said "that's it...time to move to Portland." It was pretty funny.
Ben
--- On Thu, 7/10/08, Sandy Andina  wrote:
From: Sandy Andina 
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Intelligencia Silverlake
To: homeroast
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 9:55 PM
Gotta agree with Jamie--Intelligentsia here in Chicago would never  
serve a shot that wasn't piping hot. I love their trad caps so much I  
bought the Black Cat cups and saucers to make them (and learned how,  
right down to pouring a heart rather than a rosetta).
On Jul 10, 2008, at 11:45 PM, Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
Your
<Snip>
judge
<Snip>
<Snip>http://www.sweetmariascoffee.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemIdx20Sandy Andina">http://lists.sweetmariascoffee.com/listinfo.cgi/homeroast-sweetmariascoffee.com<Snip>http://www.sweetmariascoffee.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemIdx20Sandy Andina
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9) From: Ira
At 07:06 AM 7/11/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
I've had one Cappa at Intelengensia Silver Lake and I'll likely never 
go back, Even if I felt like complaining, trying to fight my way back 
to the counter seemed like too much trouble. Caffe Luxxe in Santa 
Monica on the other hand made me the best Cappa I've ever had.
Ira
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10) From: Ira
At 08:00 AM 7/11/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
Make sure to try Caffe Luxxe on Montana in Santa Monica.
Ira
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11) From: Peter Genuardi
Ken -
I was at the Silver Lake location two weeks ago.  Had a great double shot of
espresso served with a side glass of sparkling water.  Also had a several of
their other single varieties prepared in the clover.
I thought the espresso was certainly hot enough and the regular coffee was
of right coffee to water proportions and brewed correctly (in a $11k Clover,
it's hard to argue).
Are you sure you didn't get your espresso and take your time getting to your
table or seat to consume it?
The laws of thermodynamics do apply there despite their outstanding
barristi, equipment, and clover machines...and like everything else, if left
for a few minutes, the espresso will cool.
That said, a bad shot can be had anywhere...so, try it one more time and if
it's lousy, I'll buy you another shot next time you come to Colorado.
 - Peter
On 7/11/08, Ira  wrote:
<Snip>
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12) From: Les
Ken,
There has to be someone on this list in the LA area  that could email you
privately and invite you over for a "homeroast"  double shot.  If I had to
go somewhere besides my kitchen in Douglas County, Oregon for a shot, I
would head up to Alchemist John's house.  The best shot I ever had from Mike
McKoffee wasn't at his store, but at his house.  I am an advocate for you
can get it better at home.  I don't know many baristas that can take the
time to build a shot like a good home brarista.  That isn't to say there are
not some awesome professional baristas out there!  I am not that snobbish.
Les
On 7/11/08, Ira  wrote:
<Snip>
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13) From: Barry Luterman
One of the best shots I ever had was at MiKe's house too.
On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 8:00 AM, Les  wrote:
<Snip>
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14) From: K W Matley
Took me less than 30 seconds to get to my first sip.... I was pretty 
anxious to see what all the fuss is about.
On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 10:32:01 -0600, Peter Genuardi wrote:
rgue).
<Snip>
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15) From: K W Matley
'salready happened. We'll be setting a time. Thanks.
Ken
On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 11:00:53 -0700, Les wrote:
<Snip>
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16) From: K W Matley
Thanks. It's been a couple of years since I've been to Santa Monica (20 
miles is a very long trip when you're going across L.A.) but I'll give 
it a try next time I'm there. Thanks.
Ken
On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:13:07 -0700, Ira wrote:
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17) From: Allon Stern
On Jul 11, 2008, at 1:57 PM, sci wrote:
<Snip>
Agreed. One time I went to Brew Mountain in Purcellville VA for an  
espresso (double ristretto) and the barista pulled a shot, shook his  
head, dumped it (maybe after a little taste), adjusted his tamp or  
the grind, pulled another one, etc., and only when he was satisfied  
with the quality did he hand me the cup. And boy did it knock my  
socks off. I had never had such a heavenly shot, and I'd been pulling  
espresso shots for years.
At that point, I stopped making milk drinks and started concentrating  
really hard on my form. I've pulled shots that made it to that level  
of intense taste, but not consistently. A good shot "paints the  
tongue" (props to Mr. Illy, RIP). It stays on your palate for hours.  
You wake up remembering that shot, and when you sit in front of the  
machine, you try to recreate it.
-
allon
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18) From: Bryan Wray
Anybody that ever opened at one of the shops I managed had to allow 10-15 minutes before the shopped even opened to do nothing but pull shots and dial in the grind.  Before I opened the shop I would probably taste the crema off of 20 shots or more.  Sink shots should be common (at least if there is something off with the grind).  The number one rule at any shop should be, "If you couldn't have made it better, sink it."  Better to lose one drink than one customer.  That goes for shots, milk, whatever.  Any person who calls themselves a "barista" should adopt this principle.  I'm tired of a person who pulls a lever twice, pushes a tamper down, and pushes a button on a machine being called a barista.  It's a slap in the face to those of us who actually give a crap.
-Bry
"It is my hope that people realize that coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery service, it can be a culinary art"- Chris Owens of Cafe Grumpy in NYC.
--- On Fri, 7/11/08, Allon Stern  wrote:
<Snip>
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19) From: Allon Stern
On Jul 11, 2008, at 6:56 PM, Bryan Wray wrote:
<Snip>
You said it! I've seen very few places that pull shots like they  
care. Those places that do, I like to support, even if they are more  
expensive, because they're definitely worth it.
-
allon
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20) From: miKe mcKoffee
There's an element that seems to be over looked. Much like a shot of Scotch,
a shot of espresso is an acquired taste. That was Ken's grand total 3rd shot
ever in his life. It's quite possible it was a respectable shot. It is
indeed quite possible is was not respectable shot but who knows. I'd
definitely not wholesale trust it was a bad shot from a completely
inexperienced espresso palate. Personally I didn't really acquire a taste
for straight shots until pulling shots almost daily at home for around two
years. Some people never acquire a taste for a straight shot, too intense
for them.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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21) From: Bryan Wray
I just didn't have the guts to say this from the get go, but now that you put it out there, this is what I have been thinking from the start.  The "barely warm" part is weird to me, but I also had the thought that the crema is going to cool *much* faster than the liquid itself, so if he just sucked crema off the top it wouldn't have been as warm as he might have expected it to be and then by the time he got to liquid... well.  But I have had some of the sweetest shots in my life and passed them to friends that don't drink straight 'spro and they'll say it's the most bitter thing they have ever tasted.  I think it's just a matter of getting used to the intensity of 'spro.  It certainly is an acquired taste and maybe he just has yet to acquire the taste.  I don't know this is all speculation, 100% guesses.  None of us were there, we can't speak for what went on, but I can say I have not once had anything other than an absolutely stellar shot from
 Intelligentsia (all Chicago locations, however).  Also, Ken, sorry I keep referring to you as "he" and "him;" kinda rude...  at least it seems that way to me now that I am glancing it over.  And also, I don't mean to belittle you at all, or anything.  I don't know if it came across that way or not, but not at all the intention.  Just trying to "get to the bottom of it."
-Bry
"It is my hope that people realize that coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery service, it can be a culinary art"- Chris Owens of Cafe Grumpy in NYC.
--- On Fri, 7/11/08, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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22) From: Brian Kamnetz
I'm pretty much a rookie on espresso, but I think it can be like fine
whiskeys in that a little bit of water can open it up and make the
otherwise compressed flavors more accessible. Not a lot of water, like
in an Americano, but just a bit, maybe as much as there is espresso.
That may be a good way for some people or maybe many people to first
experience espresso. Bryan, actually I wish I would have thought of
this last Christmas when you were drawing shots for me and my sister
and niece. I think it was a bit much for them, especially my sister,
who was a gamer and tried them all, but maybe may have enjoyed the
shots a bit more if they were opened up just a bit.
Brian
On 7/11/08, Bryan Wray  wrote:
<Snip>
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23) From: raymanowen
" I've had espresso maybe twice in my life..."
After '96 until 2005, my number was exactly 1X, and I wasn't looking forward
to number 2. As you have observed, many on the list fairly wax poetic about
espresso. I wondered what the misteak was.
I knew about the trustworthy resource of this list, yet nearly all were very
complimentary of espresso brews. Hah! I resolved to put the lie to that kind
of thinking, but I had to try it for myself and try hard not to botch it.
I proved three things:
   - Espresso brewing doesn't make bad coffee- the guys hadn't been lying-
   - I could do a good shot, and it could be made better. The Grinder is
   King for all brewing-
   - 0.999 of coffee shops care not or cannot do better than repulsive shots
   with miserably roasted beans, ground and waiting in the coin changer,
   awaiting dosing-
My Celtic Critic would never seek any kind of coffee or espresso drink on
her own, which is a Plus. It was grim when Novo's barista said he dislikes
straight shots, but likes the Clover.
Cheers, Mabuhay, iechyd da -RayO, aka Opa!
Got grinder?
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24) From: K W Matley
This is, of course, the underlying question. It's why I was asking for 
other people's impression of this particular Intelligencia. I thought 
others' impressions would at least weight the odds for me. If everyone 
who replied said that the place was great, then baring a random bad 
shot, then maybe I just don't like espresso (yet?). If everyone said 
the place sucked, well that would weight the odds the other way. As it 
is, the replies were mixed, so it's hard to say.
I will say that I was most disappointed at the coolness of the shot. 
The crema was cold and the coffee was just warm. I was also surprised 
at the size of it. The little demitasse was maybe 1/3 full, including 
crema--maybe that's the usual, who knows?
I forgot to mention in my original post that previous to the 
Intelligencia experience the last shot I had was almost 15 years ago.
I've had some suggestions from locals and one invite for a home 
tasting. Maybe I'll go back to Intelligencia in a month and see how the 
experience compares.
Thanks, all.
Ken
On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 18:43:45 -0700, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
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25) From: Les
Ken,
All the more why I think it is important to get together with a good
homeroaster - Home Barista.  The other option is to follow the path of
exploring the Dark-Side for yourself.  I am going to get on the stick and
get our "From Oregon with Love" espresso kit back into action again.  It
didn't take long to make an average espresso.  However when I pulled the
"nectar of the gods." the first time, I was amazed.  A sweet, full flavored
intense coffee with no bitterness with an awesome lingering aftertaste that
kept the cup alive for at least 20 minutes.  Differrent machines produce
different results.  I personally enjoy the shots that come out of a lever
more than any other machine.  I am also a firm believer that espresso is a
drink, not a roast.  So roasters like Mike McKoffee, Stumptown, Sweet
Marias, Blue Bottle, and Barefoot Roasters roast the beans to bring out the
best flavor in the bean regardless of the brew method.  Most roasters think
they have to go dark for espresso.  I am not sure what Intelligencia's
philosophy is.
Les   AKA  Dr. Crema
On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 7:14 AM, K W Matley  wrote:
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26) From: peterz
While lurking on the list I learn a lot, but I do not have the taste 
perception of most, so I stay quiet mostly.
All my coffee I drink with half and half and sugar.
Yup, each cup I try without, but the condiments quickly go in.
Along the path of "what am I missing" here on the list, I decided to try 
espresso.
I found a few machines in thrift shops, repaired them, and am generally 
happy with the results.
Even if some of my results are sink shots.
The news is that Espresso is GREAT!
This is the only way to prepare coffee so I can drink it WITHOUT cream 
and sugar. :)
Not being one to think that I can really do this espresso making thing 
with a 10 buck espresso machine, I asked the list if there may be any 
good espresso shops in Las Vegas, NV, the nearest big town to me.
We do have a few *$ in town, but I steer clear of them.
Went and found one in a coffee shop somewhere near the top of Caesar's 
Palace.
The Barista even ground some fresh in his giant Mazzer, when I commented 
that I wanted fresh ground; and what he gave me was pretty good. 
Although I do like mine better , I was still able to drink and enjoy 
with no added attractions.
Continue your quest, you may like what you find :)
PeterZ
K W Matley wrote:
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27) From: Sandy Andina
On Jul 12, 2008, at 10:04 AM, Les wrote:
<Snip>
Their regular Black Cat is a medium roast--roughly FC, as is their Kid  
O Organic. The decaf Black Cat is more like Vienna.  And their rival,  
Metropolis, roasts its Red Line Blend to just about a C+ (northern  
Italian, similar roast degree to Seattle's Caffe d'Arte's Firenze  
blend).  Too dark a roast, IMHO, loses the nuances of the blend and  
thins out the crema.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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28) From: Bryan Wray
Is their Decaf BC really this dark?  I always just
assumed it was due to the fact that decaf beans
generally look quite a few shades darker than they
actually are.  But that being said, I haven't looked
at a decaf BC bean in over a year and they have
greatly changed their blends (all of them) since this
time, so I might be off the mark on this one.
-Bry
"It is my hope that people realize that coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery service, it can be a culinary art"- Chris Owens of Cafe Grumpy in NYC.
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29) From: Sandy Andina
Most decafs start out darker and tend to be roasted to FC+ to Vienna  
in order to develop flavor. Because there is no chaff, there isn't  
much of a first crack, either.
On Jul 12, 2008, at 7:10 PM, Bryan Wray wrote:
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30) From: miKe mcKoffee
With decaf it's really tough to gauge actual degree of roast by whole bean
appearance but rather judge the grind. A decaf can appear quite dark roasted
yet be much lighter ground. Hadn't done hardly any decaf roasting prior to
mcKona Koffee becoming a reality. Maybe two decaf roasts in 7 prior years.
Very glad I've roasted for years with bean mass temp instrumentation, made
dialing in decaf much easier now that I had to.
As far as I know lack of chaff has zero influence on whether a bean has a
vigorous 1st crack.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIIhttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
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