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Topic: blend with robustas (13 msgs / 454 lines)
1) From: silas coelho
I'm a 'freshman' in blend's for expresso, in fact SO was always my passion,
but lately I'm trying to give a little bit of 'body' to a Brazil Minas
Gerais , using around 10% (weight) of Mexican Robusta. I'm not sure if I
will be able to get enough body with just 10%, and really affraid to get the
'nasty' aftertaste that I got when I added same robusta to a Java Kajumas
(just gave me horrible aftertaste-did only to experiment the 'robusta'
effect').
Does the robusta really can help on the 'body' for Brazilians? Or was just
this Mexican Robusta not a good choice on the Robusta universe? Are these
10% (weight) enough? Am I missing anything?
Silas
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2) From: Joseph Robertson
Silas,
I was down at the SCAA event in Anaheim a few weeks ago. One of my goals was
to pick up samples of Robusta from other parts of the world. Organic Fair
Trade or not. I would like to start using a small part in one of my espresso
blends for added "body" and or enhance creama. Not to mention a small
caffeine boost or bump to the over all blend. Silas? Are you using this
robusta for your espresso blend?
 I have found from some tasting tests that there is a big big wide world of
Robusta out there. Many farms that grow Robusta do not use , ( shall we say
) a lot of care and TLC with this crop or coffee version. I say this based
on my conversation with an Indian lady who owns a plantation in the
Himalaya's. The pratice of this Robusta farm is companion planting. The
Robusta plants are dispersed among spices and herbs and some shade plants.
She gave me a sample of their top grade. As did the farmers from Vietnam. I
found the farmers of Vietnam to be very honest. All samples were labeled by
there grading system. I will sample roast each including the Mexican and do
a side by side cupping to see how they compare.
(((Tom, please chime in on this if you can help me with comments on the
farms and ground level.))) I have yet to have my first in country visit of a
farm. Much less a Robusta farm. My visits with the farmers are limited to a
few so not enough to go into the farming practice's much.
I brought back some samples of Robusta from Mexico, Vietnam, and India. I
have used a IRoast2 on the Mexico samples before. When I drank it straight,
I thought it was somewhat earthy and old socks but I would not, not drink it
if it was my only choice like it was for my grandmother and mother and
generations before me who used to pop the seal on a Folgers can for the hiss
and sweet ( so we thought ) smell of fresh coffee, aaaahhhhh, I mean
fresh ground Robusta,truth be known.
I have sampled Indian Robusta before. I thought I was having a flash back
from the '60's. A whiff of incense and spices crossed my nose just after
grinding with my Zass and a real floral explosion occurred when I pushed
down on my AeroPress. It was so far from what I thought coffee smelled and
tasted like I had to summon Linda, the real nose and palate of the family.
She also could not believe this.
This visit to the convention and meeting the owner of the Himalayan farm has
helped me understand why there can be some many different experience's with
Robusta or any coffee for that matter. Not many farmers take the care to
companion plant with spices and herbs and the like. I have no doubt some
cross pollination is taking place. I have these samples close by and often
open the bag from Vietnam and then have friends smell the little bottle of
dark multicolored beans from the Himalayan farm. I hesitate to roast them. I
won't be able to share this nose test. I need more samples.
Cheers,
JoeR
On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 11:18 AM, silas coelho wrote:
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3) From: Ryan M. Ward
Joeseph,
I hope you will keep us posted on your exploration of Robusta. I am very curious so hear about any interesting revelations. On my end, I hear all the time that Robusta coffee is the bad coffee. I have often wondered if there are really good quality robustas that can compete in flavor with good arabicas- perhaps with a very interesting character not seen in arabica land.
-- 
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4) From: Joseph Robertson
Ryan,
What I have heard lately is suggesting that some farmers are doing some neat
things with companion planting and really fine tuning the possibilities
with the Robusta varietal. I don't want to go as far to say genetic
engineering but I would not be surprised. Robusta has gotten a bad rap for
years. This has keep the price low for us end users. I can't wait to
play/taste/blend with it. The Italians have for years used a ( I think 10%
or less or more) portion in 'spro blends for a wonderful thick yummy creama.
In one class I had a study was shown on the caffeine/ blood level uptake of
Robusta compared with Arabica. I was blown away. The caffeine blood level
uptake/curve of Arabica was a sharp spike compared to Robusta. In other
words the graph of Robusta looked like a rapid climb to a long platow (did I
spell that right?) then a long buzz time before the effects wore off, so to
speak compared to the up and down spike/buzz time of Arabica.
My thoughts were, ohhh, effect where's off and I need another cup in a
couple hrs. compared to a Robusta experience.
Very interesting stuff.
Joe
On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 2:07 PM, Ryan M. Ward
wrote:
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5) From: michael brown
I have a couple of experiences with Robusta.  
Firstly, on topic, i bought some from SW a while back to try to work into some espresso blends i was working on.  Heard it was good for crema.  While it might have been, it was bad for flavor (in my taste).  I would encourage you to try it.  If for nothing else, a learning tool.  I can now easily pick up on which competetors have robusta in their blends and feel more confident that mine is more "flavorful."  Try the robusta at 5, 10, and 15% and then, if you can, replace the robusta with a sumatra or guatemala and taste the difference.
Second, after i tried the robusta in my blends and didn't like it, i had some left over.  A friend of mine kept asking for darker and darker beans.  So i took this robusta and burned it, roasted it WAY to dark.  And guess what?  He loved it!  Geesh.  Only goes to show, it's all a matter of taste.  
To piggyback on taste.  I have two main espresso blends.  My House Espresso and "Traditional Espresso" (complete with quotations).  My house is a little sweet, mellow bodied blend.  I love it.  Then the "Traditional Espresso" i named with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.  If you want "traditional," i'll give you "traditional."  It's more bold, rich chocolate, heavy body, primarily dark roast coffees.  And guess what?  People love it!  A guy in town who sells espresso machines, equipment, and trains uses my "traditional blend" as his teaching coffee.  (there is no robusta in my "traditional")  Only goes to show...
Oh and when i ran out of Robusta, i've yet to find a coffee that is a sufficient substitute for that friend who wants burnt.  I got close with a sumatra, but "just wasn't the same."
Michael B
b'ham, AL
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6) From: Joseph Robertson
Michael,
thank you for your input on this. I'm still and will always be in a stage of
"A Padawan" when it comes to a spro pro. So that said, I really apreciate
your comments on using Robusta in a spro blend.
Annnnnd, as has been said before, there is no accounting for bad taste when
it comes to coffee or anything else
. ;^))))
JoeR
On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 9:42 PM, michael brown  wrote:
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7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Interesting thread. First I'll say without question Robusta is NOT required
for good crema or deep taste and body in an espresso shot. Currently I've
roasted Robusta only once many years ago when Tom first started his "ugh"
(thumbs down) offerings with a low grade Vietnamese Robusta. Man that stuff
was so foul I couldn't get a hasmet team to take it away!
Which is not to say all Robusta is low grade be it from Vietnam or other
origin. This was proven quite resoundingly at the PNW Gathering II during a
cupping of Panama samples (IIRC) Tom hosted with two sleepers. One a high
quality Robusta and the other a very rare and sought after bean, Island of
St. Helena, treated most abysmally. The ISH was roasted and sealed in a
canning jar straight from the roast while HOT and left sealed until the
Gathering. During the cupping virtually without fail everyone picked the
same terrible tasting coffee as the Robusta. Surprise, surprise. It was NOT
the Robusta but the fouly treated ISH!
And now almost a decade later I've begun researching quality Robusta for a
specific reason. Developing a high octane dark Northern Italian style blend
to the tune of 20 to 30lb a week to begin. They're now using the formerly
Coffee People now Diedrich roasted Black Tiger as their secondary espresso
accounting for about 25% of their total wholesale bean purchaes, to be
replaced by my under development King Cobra, who's venon brings down Tigers
& Elephants but lifts people:) And I'm going to launch it at my coffeehouses
too. Give people what they want so you can do what you want with other
coffees! Oh, and my Delirium will be replacing their current main espresso,
Hairbender. 
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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8) From: Marty Wooten
 congrats on the account miKe
Marty
On Sun, May 16, 2010 at 3:53 AM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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9) From: Peter Louton
Hi all,
First, Mike mcKoffee, contact me off thread.  Peter 
Also, I've been experimenting with my roasts and trying to come up with something decent out of my ECM Giatto and Rocky Grinder.  My last frankenblend was a Brazilian Fazendo? Not at home to check, and the other was a Sumatran.  Just those two about 50% each.  Using Behmor, I stopped each one right at the beginning of the second crack.  Using triple basket and bottomless portafilter got some really interesting shots.  First sip no matter what was slightly bitter, unless one scooped off crema or mixed it in then bitterness wasn't there.  Flavors were a rich chocolate and cardamon, at least I thought it was cardamon, but the best part was that the taste stayed a long time.  It was still lacking some bright citrus flavors, but I can have lots of fun playing.
I know a little of topic, but going to Grand canyon South Rim and I didn't know if anybody know of a decent local coffee shop or roaster or brewer to support?  
Todays cup Kenyan Peaberry from SM.  Bottoms up 
Peter
-- Sent from my Palm Pre
On May 16, 2010 3:54, miKe mcKoffee <mcKona> wrote: 
Interesting thread. First I'll say without question Robusta is NOT required
for good crema or deep taste and body in an espresso shot. Currently I've
roasted Robusta only once many years ago when Tom first started his "ugh"
(thumbs down) offerings with a low grade Vietnamese Robusta. Man that stuff
was so foul I couldn't get a hasmet team to take it away!
Which is not to say all Robusta is low grade be it from Vietnam or other
origin. This was proven quite resoundingly at the PNW Gathering II during a
cupping of Panama samples (IIRC) Tom hosted with two sleepers. One a high
quality Robusta and the other a very rare and sought after bean, Island of
St. Helena, treated most abysmally. The ISH was roasted and sealed in a
canning jar straight from the roast while HOT and left sealed until the
Gathering. During the cupping virtually without fail everyone picked the
same terrible tasting coffee as the Robusta. Surprise, surprise. It was NOT
the Robusta but the fouly treated ISH!
And now almost a decade later I've begun researching quality Robusta for a
specific reason. Developing a high octane dark Northern Italian style blend
to the tune of 20 to 30lb a week to begin. They're now using the formerly
Coffee People now Diedrich roasted Black Tiger as their secondary espresso
accounting for about 25% of their total wholesale bean purchaes, to be
replaced by my under development King Cobra, who's venon brings down Tigers
& Elephants but lifts people:) And I'm going to launch it at my coffeehouses
too. Give people what they want so you can do what you want with other
coffees! Oh, and my Delirium will be replacing their current main espresso,
Hairbender. 
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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10) From: silas coelho
Uau
Nobody will believe how much I'm enjoining being part of this list. A some
how simple question suddenly became a Encyclopedia of knowledge, truly
amazing.
Mike, you mentioned  "... terrible tasting coffee as the Robusta  ..." it
is interesting, because I do use canned jar (fully sealed? as much as you
can get from those you buy in supermarket without any special tool to close
it), but instead of save it warm (after roast), I wait a day, or but less to
close it. And it interesting, so far I could not detect anything so badly on
save the roasted beans on that way. But, I'm relying on your expertise to do
a test. I just roast Brazil Canaan State - Minas Gerais to FC+, and will
save some in an open jar, and some with lid closed (after a day only), and
let see what will  happens.
Regarding Robustas, I'm traveling to Brazil at beginning of june, and will
try to get some robustas from there ('Conillon variety, the most common one
there). I know that the Robustas are produced in some of south east states
(Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo and specially Espirito Santo), I'll try to get some
samples, lets see.
Joe Robertson
Yes, I'm using this for a Espresso Blends, in fact  I heard some where
(maybe on SM online library) that robustas are not, regularly used for drip,
that is why I did not even tried, also considering that some of my friend
complained of the 'strong palate (?)' of my coffees (Almost always SO's), I
gave a try with robustas, just to increase crema and body.
Grato
Silas
Contritionem praecedit superbia,
et ante ruinam exaltatio spiritus (Prov 16:18)
https://sites.google.com/site/coelhosefamilia/
2010/5/16 Peter Louton 
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11) From: miKe mcKoffee
That was an intentional test of destroying a great coffee. Sealed in jar
HOT, as in not cooled at all before sealing. ZERO cooling end of roast. Put
in sealed jar to basically "bake" from it's own heat... 
Once a coffee cooled storing in sealed jar is fine.
miKe 
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12) From: miKe mcKoffee
I should note in my defense that I was NOT the one who chose to use ISH as
the coffee to destroy. I loved the stuff too much. It was our Alchemist! 
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13) From: miKe mcKoffee
Amazing, 4:2:4 India Robusta AB Cherry: Monsooned Malabar AA: Brazil
Moreninha Formosa, 15min post roast, 25min grind rest and pull. Didn't kill
me! Actually quite decent for a Dark Northern Italian high octane blend,
even ridiculously young. Final test pull before setting aside to let it rest
14g slope walled ridgeless basket fine grind dosed ~17.5g, 198f, 2oz, 35sec.
Test batch CCR HT two batch mélange roasted post roast blended: 6.4:1.6oz
Robusta:MM French 475f 17:00, 6.4:1.6oz Brazil:MM FC+ 455f: 16:30.
I'd roasted and formulated the blend ratios many ways many times "in my
mind" since ordering the 25# Robusta for testing Monday. Planned to roast
the Robusta much like MM targeted for SO espresso, leisurely and dark, and
preliminary says it's pretty close to what I wanted, though maybe not
"quite" dark enough as a direct replace for Black Tiger. In truth wanted to
go another maybe 5f or so higher and tried to adjust the CCR HT profile
while in the final stage but it would only adjust up to 475f. Been using the
sucker close to 3 years and didn't realize 475f was the MAX bean temp
allowed running automated profile!  I knew max environment temp allowed was
485f then the heater auto kills so thought I could go higher than 475f with
bean temp too, my bad. By the time I figured it out was too late to finish
the roast manual. Was about to switch to manual but bean temp hit 475f and
it auto-dumped. FWIW though roasting similar to MM targeted for SO espresso
not pulled blazing hot (207-209f) like MM SO espresso! MM SO straight shots
ya gotta tame the Zombie funk with some heat:)
More will be revealed both roast wise and shot parameter wise....
I suspect part of the problem with the Mex Robusta may have been how
roasted. Or not...
Slave to the Bean  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.
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