HomeRoast Digest


Topic: First Time Espresso Owner (23 msgs / 1101 lines)
1) From: Tree House
OK,
I just took the plunge this last week and picked up a used Mazzer Jolly and
a used Expobar Office Control. I have been looking into the espresso looking
glass for several years now. The Jolly had to be shipped from St. Paul to
Atlanta where I live and the Expobar was local. Actually got a lesson from
the seller before I took it home.
I placed an order with Tom for some espresso beans but they are not here and
I want to get started with the new toys. I have a bunch of green beans that
I bought for FP, TV, etc. I roasted a couple of poundes of several different
kinds. Which ones will give me the best flavor as a SO espresso. My daughter
is here and she has several years of Barista experience so my learning curve
will not be quite vertical.
What I have roasted:
 Coasta Rican FC
 Tanzia Peaberry C+
 Guatamala Dry Process FC-FC+
 Misty Valley FC+
These all have 48 hours rest as of today, Friday
I'm thinking the Misty Valley will give me the best taste but not until it
has rested a couple more days.
I really do not want to buy any roasted espresso beans and hope the above
will get me started. My order from Tom will not get here until after
Memorial day.
Thanks for the help and comments. I am looking forward to this part of my
coffee journey.
Gary
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2) From: decrisce.md
In my opinion, you do not need special beans or special roasts to make excellent shots. I have really loved and been amazed at the flavor differences of all types of beans at roasts from city on up, in terms of espresso. 
What you do need is understanding of the grinder settings, tamping pressure and technique, and heat surfing methods for your specific machine, in order to hit the golden rule of 2 ozs in 25 seconds (approximately). Also helpful to know the machine parts, how to master steaming, cleaning shower head and gasket. 
There is no time like the present. I absolutely loved the imv as a single origin shot, and enjoy pulling shots everyday from the roast day til the coffee is gone, to see how the taste changes over time. 
I'd love to hear your comments as you move along this path. 
-

3) From: Derek Bradford
In case you haven't already done so, be sure to thoroughly clean all your
equipment before you start using it.  Just a couple days of lax cleaning on
my equipment is noticeable in the cup.  I don't know how the Jolly was used,
but you may want a new set of burrs for it as well.
As far as which beans on your list might be best, they'll all be good.
Personally, I'm a big fan of IMV as an SO, but I drink all my coffee as SO.
The others will be fine, though (and this goes for the IMV as well) there
may be flavor peaks or voids you may not be happy with.  Lots of people used
to advocate the perfect blend resulting in a relatively flat flavor
profile--balanced and rounded with a few spikes of interest here and
there--but there's a lot more interest in SO shots now.  It seems like
people have stopped trying to drink for that "coffee" flavor and have begun
to accept the nuance (sometimes not at all subtle) of SO coffee.  Try it all
and see what you like.
Welcome to the dark side, btw.
--Derek
On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM, Tree House  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau
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4) From: Tree House
I have been reading about the dark side for a long time and thought I knew
what it was. WRONG. Don't know until you get there. I got there.
Machines are clean, got a set of new burrs coming, did a proper cleaning
back flush on the espresso machine. Previous owner said the existing burrs
were good, but....
Noticed a lot of clumping of the grounds when the grind fills the doser.
I have ordered a quality tamper. Currently tamping with a platic model.
I will update my progress. It looks like it will be an interesting journey.
Could use a good GPS for espresso making:)
Thaks for the help.
Gary

5) From: Michael Dhabolt
Gary,
I'll ditto on the "Welcome to the dark side".
Nothing wrong with any of your beans as SO shots.  You may find the
first two in the list a bit bright but they will be yummy blended with
the second two.  By all means try them all as SO shots then do a
little blending, may as well start now.
Mike (just plain)
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6) From: miKe mcKoffee
Ditto Welcome to the Dark Side, Enjoy the Journey. What you begin you path
with depends on how you want to approach it. If your goal is to quickly gain
reasonable shot consistency then you'd be well advised to start with one
bean, preferably a forgiving blend targeted specifically for espresso. Stick
with it and only it until you've gotten comfortable learning how differing
the dose, shot temp, grind fineness, shot duration and shot volume and
varying all the various combinations affect the shot. Once you've gotten
consistently good with that bean/blend then move on to another. Doing this
can greatly shorten the learning curve.
OTOH bouncing from bean to bean just for the fun of it has it merits.
Specifically the "fun of it" versus learning to actually get good at the art
and science of espresso. Oh you can eventually still get good at it, but it
can take years instead of weeks or months.
Of the four SO's you listed I'd only recommend the Guat and IMV for an
espresso beginner, but not short rested. Sure you can pull shots short
rested, that's doesn't mean they'd be much good. Shots of virtually nothing
will really pull decently without a minimun 3 or 4 days rest, 5 better
usually 7 more like it and especially with brighter beans your speaking of 9
to 12 days often best. What might yield a totally hair raising way out of
balance unpleasant shot too young can often soar properly rested. And THAT's
with having a farily decent handle on how to ATTEMPT to get a good shot! =
FWIW I've been focusing specifically on the "shot", as in how is it as a
straight shot. Americanos or with micro foamed milk can hide a multitude of
sins. (Yet are (usually) even better with a shot they sings in it's own
right.) OTOH the Rwanda I'm currently running in my SO grinder at Paradise
Café can be "on the bright side" for many regardless the shot parameter y=
et
sings exceedingly well macchiato or cappucino. Personally I do like it as a
straight shot change of pace as do some customers, but I can be a bit of an
"acid head" when it comes to coffee. What I really like is how it's extreme
buttery smooth mouthfeel kicks in after the initial milk chocolate and
citrus and spice blast... Oh, there was virtually no way to get a really
good shot with the Rwanda LFC (just before 2nd, 15min USRC) until 7+ days
rest. Even though I knew better I put it in the hopper day 4 rest ('cuz a
couple customers kept bugging me to try it), and then fought it's shots for
4 or 5 more days before it really began to sing.
There is no right or wrong path on the Journey. And while it's the Journey
not the Destination that matters, it is indeed quite satisfying to be able
to walk up to a machine and rather consistently pull good to excellent shots
with few sinkers. Which is not to say I'm EVER fully satisfied with any
roast or shot. Well, not counting the once in a blue moon Godshot. But have
only pulled 8 of them IIRC (that I know of, as in consumed myself) in my 8
years Following the Dark Side. Oh sure many excellent, stellar even
fantastic shots but it's rare to find that shot that knocks me off my feet
as the heavens open and the angels sing...rare indeed and worth every
hundred or thousand shots in between.
Debi's says she's hungry and time for me to take her to dinner so I'll quit
rambling...
Slave to the Bean Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.NorwestCoffee.com
URL 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://www.norwestcoffee.com/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/=
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7) From: raymanowen
" I have a bunch of green beans that I bought for FP, TV, etc.
I roasted a couple of poundes of several different kinds.
Which ones will give me the best flavor as a SO espresso...
I placed an order with Tom for some espresso beans but they are not here and
I want to get started with the new toys."
In my opinion, you will have lower blood pressure and greater success with
all coffee brewing if retard the throttle from the Starbucks barista level
to the pure joy, no pressure of the joy of home roasting.
Espresso is nothing more than a brewing method, and it sounds like you have
a couple of excellent pieces of equipment. (Put New Burrs In The Jolly To
Start, sir.)
The difference between coffee beans and espresso beans is the spelling.
I know from experience that you can get overwhelming flavor and aroma from
the same beans used to drip brew or other method when you do it right with
Expobar/ Jolly set up. Most of your espresso brewing success will come from
the familiarity you develop with the grinder.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
-- 
Persist in old ways; expect new results - suborn Insanity...
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8) From: Sandy Andina
I'd also like to add my welcome! But also, don't be afraid to roast a  
little lighter than you might expect.
On May 22, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Michael Dhabolt wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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9) From: Michael Dhabolt
Gary,
You mentioned that the machines seller spent a little time with you
demonstrating the machine.  I certainly don't want to minimize the
help he has been, but .... spending a little time on this site:http://www.home-barista.com/faqs-and-favorites-digest.htmlPay particular attention to write-ups that mention anything about shot
temperature management, surfing etc. If you haven't already perused
the offerings at Home Barista, I'd start with Espresso 101 and go from
there.  I have yet to read an article there that hasn't had at least a
few valuable nuggets and some of them are seriously enlightening.  You
can get lost in the forums, leave that for a little later.
There are some fairly expensive pieces of instrumentation that make
the whole thing easier to get the hang of, but there are also a lot of
how-to's and hints spread across Home Barista that will get you there
without money involved.  Discipline, and pulling a lot of shots - yes
certainly.  You may as well do it right and develop the skills now
rather than having to re-learn after developing poor technique.
miKes suggestion to (after you've played for a while) pick a blend
that will be consistent and stay with it while you're skill building
is good advice.  You'll find rather quickly that consistency in
everything is paramount.  Staying with a single blend will benefit you
with a lot of positive feed back as your skills build by allowing you
to fully appreciate the change in quality that comes with good skills
and technique.  Bouncing from bean to bean and blend to blend is fun
but leaves you wondering if it was the coffee or the skill that you
are tasting.
Mike (just plain)
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10) From: Tree House
Mike,
Thanks for the advice. The HB & CG sites have been invaluable to me already.
I agree, there is a lot of great information there and I have read and read
and read. The FAQ's on those two sites have answered a lot of my questions
and lurking on them has also helped. I delayed my entry to the dark side
until I could find or afford an HX unit as I did not want to have to temp
surf or got through the dancing that a single boiler machine requires. Also
knew there was no point in getting a espresso machine without a
corresponding grinder. Since I exclusively use a Zass for my consumption
now, I knoew I would not want to have to hand grind for espresso even if it
is capable. All that said, there is no substitute for experience. You can
read about swimming all you want but until you jump in the water, well, you
get the idea, you live on the dark side.
As soon as I go through the coffees I have just roasted, I will settle into
one coffee. By then the new burrs, scale and tamper will be here. I have
already undreseed one of the PF's and use it naked to critique my pull. Also
use WDT to fluff the grounds and eliminate the clumping. I am currently
thinking about going doserless but have not found a good mod yet for the
Jolly. If I continue with the doser, I will need to install the plastic
chute at the bottom to keep the grounds under control. I could go either way
here. For now I will have to vac the stale ground out before each day's use.
I am not sure how grinding into a PF will work.
Now the next question is which coffee to stick with to improve my skill. I
have 5# each of the three new Kenya beans and 5# of Monkey blend.
The Kenya's are all rated 92 or higher. So, should I try  one of those or
the blend or a different bean.
So many coffees, so little time!
Gary

11) From: decrisce.md
The kenya as a SO is too much for most people (I like it), but the Monkey was made for just that purpose. Can't go wrong there. 
I use a doserless Rocky and used to grind right into the PF. I did notice clumping but didn't pay it much attention. After reading, I decided to grind into a small metal bowl, and then break up the clumps with essentially a toothpick (long shishkebob skewer). It worked well and gave more predictable shots, so I have continued to use it. 
Its funny that people here use the term 'dark side.' Since I started homeroasting, I moved over to the 'light' side. 
Enjoy. 
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

12) From: Michael Wascher
When I got my espresso machine I tried to minimize the variables, then added
them in one at a time.
I started with a small can of pre-ground Illy. It let me learn a consistent
tamp ... with proper extraction time & volume.
Once I got through that I roasted some relatively crappy beans (had some
non-SM beans that a kind EBay seller included with a purchase). This let me
dial in the grind.
This was followed by temp-surfing the machine, still using the relatively
crappy beans ... though by this time I was getting some very drinkable
shots.
Then I started with some good beans.
I've been spoiled since -- even though my equipment is relatively primitive,
the shots are better than what I can get commercially. Except for espresso
pulled by me or other SMers, I've had only one barely acceptable shot in the
last year.
On Sat, May 23, 2009 at 6:01 AM, Tree House  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"...wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good." --Gabriel Garcia
Marquez
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13) From: J.W.Bullfrog
Don't forget to try out americano's. I had a faema compact plumbed in for
years, and 95% of what I drank was americanos.
Two other thing;, caught the grounds in an espresso cup, it matches the the
porta fliter dia well. Put the pf outside down on top of the cup, and turn
over. Also, a Thor tamper helps.
Well at least the astheitics of the whole process. (did I mention I own 5 or
6)
On Sat, May 23, 2009 at 9:05 AM, Michael Wascher  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
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14) From: Tree House
Les an I are already acquainted if you know what I mean.
I do love americanos but really want to tease the flavors out of the beans
in an espresso so now it is practice, practice, practice.
Oh, my bride does not drink coffee, our kitchen is a bit small but have a
laundry room right next to it so we are looking for just the right base
cabinet so I can claim some space.
Who knew what I was getting into.:)
I generally roast on the lighter side so I can experience the bean profiles
that Tom note in his write up.
Gary

15) From: J.W.Bullfrog
My bride doesn't either so it was always a bone of contention about counter
space. But since the new job is not a home office situation, both of the
faema compacts sit in the basement lonely.
Ben
On Sat, May 23, 2009 at 10:19 AM, Tree House wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
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16) From: Tree House
Thanks RayO,
"The difference between coffee beans and espresso beans is the spelling.
I know from experience that you can get overwhelming flavor and aroma from
the same beans used to drip brew or other method when you do it right with
Expobar/ Jolly set up."
That is exactly what I thought, just hadn't heard it said quite that way. I
really do not like dark roasted beans anyway.
Gary

17) From: Michael Dhabolt
Gary,
<Snip>
Good thinking!
Mike (just plain)
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18) From: miKe mcKoffee
Reply bottom posted... 
 On 
<Snip>
I agree and disagree. But first must point out a seemingly all too often
held misconception, that being roasting specifically for espresso means
roasting dark. May be true "old school", but not modern culinary espresso.
Ok that's out of the way. While I agree a roast targeted for non-espresso
brewing "can" usually pull a decent shot with the right shot parameters, the
same bean roasted targeted specifically for espresso will more often than
not pull a better shot more balanced shot and be more forgiving to pull, ie
less chance of a bad shot. Espresso extraction tends to intensify bean
attributes but not equally, more weighted towards elevating acidity. A
bright bean roasted for non-espresso brewing can be extremely difficult to
pull a shot that is not sour or bitter, often hair raisingly so. Might take
a dozen or so attempts to get a decent shot even with good experience. Same
bean in the hands of a beginner could burn through pounds of shots and never
get a good one. Now the same bean roasted to same finish degree of roast but
with an "espresso taming" profile will be much more forgiving to pull.
OTOH those extremely hard to pull beans "can" sometimes yield the most
amazing shots once figured out. 
There's much more to roasting than simply turning beans brown and how dark
brown.
Slave to the Bean Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.NorwestCoffee.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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19) From: Tree House
Thanks Mike,
I'm with ya and get it. I was mostly referring to heavy bodied really dark
roasted oily beans like *$.
A good bean at FC or FC+ well rested with the right roast and flavor profile
is a bell ringer. I have experienced that with a lot of the SM coffees and
in particular IMV & Harar many times. Even hadunsolicited comments from
others about the blueberry flavors. In one case, my son a Navy man,
absolutely did not like the flavor of either. He prefers a dark Sumatra. I
really enjoyed some Eithoipian DP that I got from SM last fall roasted to a
C and had an incredible flavor as Tom had profiled. All were brewed with a
FP.
My goal is to be able to intensify those same flavor profiles and enjoy them
in an espresso.
Grasshopper has much to learn!
Gary

20) From: miKe mcKoffee
Sounds like you understand not to judge and try to emulate at home what
"good" espresso is supposed to be by Charbucks! OTOH a great way to learn is
to find a truly good shop that pulls great shots and also sells their beans.
Taste the shots pulled by them, talk to them about their shot parameters,
then work to replicate those shots with their beans at home.
One thing I had to learn when I went professional and opened a café was
NEVER offer a "house" coffee that was not a "coffee tasting coffee". Extreme
flavors in great coffees are not usually what the average person expects or
wants. I got complaints for serving coffees like IMV etc. This was when I
was still brewing "house" coffee in 48oz press pots held short time (max
45min) in airpots. Since switching to every cup brewed to order via pour
over station it's another ball game now giving customers the choice of every
coffee I roast. If an average Joe Blow asks for a house coffee I simply ask
if they prefer a medium or darker bolder roast and brew either my McLouglin
House Blend (City+ pre-roast blend of 4 Central and South Americans) or my
Vienna Gloriette Blend (FC+ Light Vienna pre-roast blend of an African,
Indonesian, SHB Central and South American) accordingly. I go through more
Vienna than any of the other 10 or so coffees I offer. Those really "into"
coffee take the time to read the offerings and their descriptions, sometimes
ask questions sometimes not and decide accordingly.
miKe
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21) From: Mike Koenig
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22) From: kevin creason
On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 1:12 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote,
<Snip>
Hey, that's just what I discovered all on my lonesome this week.  I am
playing with the Fiorenzato grinder I picked up thanks to Craig and his
list, since last Saturday.
It took a couple of weeks of disassembly and massive amounts of washing and
scrubbing to get the old beastie clean. The burrs look ok but in addition to
cleaning I was also able to measure them so I am now able to order some from
espresso-parts very soon.
<Snip>
-- 
-Kevin
/* Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you
with experience. */
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23) From: Tree House
Ok,
We are making progress.
The Misty Valley has a 6 day rest. The grinder is adjusted to provide a 25
second pour.
Did a cooling flush, ground, tamped, pulled and wah lah. A really good and
drinkable shot; smooth, not bitter, just flavorful.
I can feel myself sliding down this slippery slope.
New burrs came today so they will be installed and adjusted tomorrow.
I'm liking this espresso journey.
Thanks to everyone for your help.
Gary


HomeRoast Digest