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Topic: Non bitter coffee (9 msgs / 200 lines)
1) From: The Scarlet Wombat
I am a coffee fanatic and will drink many kinds and profiles, my wife, 
however, enjoys coffees with a minimum of bitterness.  She has grown to 
really enjoy my Americanos, but she really likes them best when I use a 
coffee with a minimum of bitterness.  She has a problem tasting bitter, any 
at all seems overwhelming to her.
I had a small amount of Peru organic and she favors this, very low 
bitterness.  I would appreciate suggestions from others for a bean to roast 
that has very low bitterness in the flavor.  I tend to favor dry processed 
coffees, finding Sumatran and Ethiopian to be my favorites, but am looking 
for something less bitter to make my wife happy.  Fixing different coffees 
for different people is easy when you pull shots for Americanos, as I grind 
for each cup individually.
Thanks all,
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2) From: jim gundlach
On Saturday, September 21, 2002, at 06:20 AM, The Scarlet Wombat wrote:
Sounds like she may be a super-taster.  Try the Uganda Budadiri AA-S and 
the Timor Organic Aifu .
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
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3) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
it seems to me the bitterness in Americano is caused much more by other
factors than by bean selection.
First of all, coffee roasted just to the Northern Italian (not to dark)
level seem to be naturally sweet, not bitter.
Overextracting coffee by running too much water through the ground beans.
The extraction must be stopped before the water starts extracting the biter
components of the coffee. Overextraction may be cased by extracting over 25
seconds, improperly tamped coffee, or improper pre-infusion cycle. when
water finds some "gap" in the coffee, it goes through the path of least
resistance and overextracts some coffee. That explanation is based on David
Schomer theories, but experience seems to conform that "unevenly dense"
coffee tastes bitter.
Other factors which I believe can cause bitterness are:
 - Some "old" coffee left in espresso the machine.  That may be caused just
by poor cleaning, not backflushing (when you do not make one cup right after
other), and similar things.
 - Some old ground coffee left in the grinder. (I vacuum clean the grinder
after each cup unless making several cups within seconds one from each
 - Too much coffee in the basket.  When there is not enough space for the
coffee to expand, it seems that the water overextracts some parts of the
ground coffee, casing bitterness. (Well, this really belongs into the
"Overextracting" paragraph above.)
 - Too hot water or too hot coffee in the basket.  That's why "temperature
surfing" might be needed. Also, if the coffee is left in the group basket it
seems to overheat and taste bitter. I try to start the
pre-extraction/extraction cycle within less than two seconds after putting
the portafilter into the machine.
 -- Water not hot enough, I believe, causes the coffee to taste sour, not
Does anyone have any comments, corrections or additions? I guess that proper
CSA members should find at least something wrong with my shot on the
explanation of a bitter shot!  :-)
Have a nice weekend, Lubos
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4) From: The Scarlet Wombat
Jim, she is, indeed, a super taster.  She has had the Uganda Budadiri and 
thought it more bitter than the Peruvian organic, perhaps I'll just get a 
fiver of that from Tom and always have it on hand.
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5) From: The Scarlet Wombat
Thanks, Irene and Lubos.  Actually, I have already developed very good 
espresso and Americanos, paying attention to all the factors you mentioned, 
they are a good check list for anyone not happy with their coffee.
In my wife's case, as Jim noted, she is what is called a "super 
taster."  This means that certain flavors she finds highly 
accentuated.  The slightest amount of bitterness, an amount you and I would 
not even notice, she finds overwhelming and unpalatable.
She likes my coffee, and finds the Americanos the best of the lot, but she 
finds that one coffee, the Peruvian organic, to be lower in bitterness than 
any other.  I was just hoping to get suggestions for other non-bitter 
coffees, as my tastes do not sense subtle amounts of bitterness like hers do.
One note, some espresso machines cannot be backflushed.  I believe mine, 
the SL90, is one of those.
Thanks again for all the suggestions,
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6) From: NOEL HONG
Have you sampled any of the natural sun dried bean?  Tom usually has one sun 
dried Brazilian available.  Roasting either of the varieties SM has carried 
this year to 10-40 seconds into the 2nd crack (HWP) has yielded a sweet to 
sweet-chocholate-bittersweet cup. The Mexican Loxica(sp?) San Augustine 
roasted anywhere from 0-40 sec 2nd crack has a "simple", relatively clean, 
"sweet" to sweet-bitter taste.  The surface of beans roasted in my HWP 
@~40sec just start showing an oily sheen that seems to get sucked back into 
beans after/during degassing. I use the Brazillians either straight up or as 
a base for a norther Italian style espresso.
Noel V. Hong
email: nhong32590
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7) From: John
No problem with any of that here. I would go with old coffee as my
number one indicator. If I get any bitterness, I know its time to scrub
On Sat, 2002-09-21 at 07:44, Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
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8) From: C. Marley
The Scarlet Wombat wrote:
I have found Miel a very sweet, smooth coffee.  Slow-roast it just up to
2nd crack or even a little less. Coffee is problematic for
super-tasters, because the underlying taste of all coffee is bitter.  We
normal tasters don't notice it unless the aroma and sweetness are
Try a normal shot of city+ roasted Miel diluted with water to 6 ounces,
with milk and a tiny bit of sugar and see if she finds it bitter.
For the conservation of the Tibetan Lhasa Apso,
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9) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 07:03 9/22/02, C. Marley typed:
I would believe that.  I actually find Ugandan rather bittersweet.
Agreed, that is a conundrum.  My recommendation would be to try one of the 
Brazilian ones, maybe the organic Minas.  I am having my first cup of  this 
years Papua New Guinea and am finding it very smooth and do not notice a 
trace of bitterness.
Good luck.  My partner is this way with spicy food.  If I can even barely 
think I taste hotness in  a dish, it is at her upper tolerance 
limit.  Trying to answer "well, is it hot?" is real "fun" :-}
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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