HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Visit to Mayorga (15 msgs / 756 lines)
1) From: R.N.Kyle
Thanks Mike it all makes sense now. body/mouth feel/finish. I could =
always understand heavy bodied coffee verses lite bodied coffee. I just =
never understood the reason why HB coffee stayed with me longer. It's =
the legs :O)
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

2) From: Ben Treichel
good input. learned something.
Michael Horowitz wrote:
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3) From: Michael Horowitz
First off, I'd like to thank all the folks who provided input to my
question "What am I tasting?". 
I called my roaster/greens supplier and asked if I could talk over a cup
with him. Brought along a thermos of my latest and a sample of the grinds.
Should have also brought a sample of the bean so he could see the level of
1.	I asked him to look at the grind, knowing that I could be overextracting
if my grind was too small. He opined the grind was too small and suggested
reducing my steeping time to three minutes (French Press). Alternatively,
I'll look carefully at the grinder and see if I can take it apart and maybe
tweak it; that will get rid of some of the 'fiber'. I may see a difference
if I increase my 4T. to 5T. since I'm reducing the steeping time.
2.	I mentioned that after the coffee was cold, I could taste grapefruit in
the background. He pointed out drinking hot coffee  masked the flavors; let
it cool.
3.	Main reason for visiting was to ask the question "what is that I'm
tasting". As you may recall, I was very concerned I was
processing/preparing my brew such that I was off any continuum of roasting
-  that the standard terms did not apply. In fact, based on 'where' on my
tongue I was detecting the sensation, we determined I was sensing both
bitterness and acidity. The solution was to roast longer; in fact, Matt
suggested trying for the peak of a rolling second crack or just a bit more;
that would cut down the acidic taste; 
4.	When drinking coffee (vice testing), he enjoys cream and sugar; to stand
up to these additives, he recommends any of the Central American coffees.
5.	He mentioned the concept of 'body'. Using milk and water as examples, he
asked me to recall how milk seemed to coat the inside of my mouth, while
water just washed away. That is 'body'. It's the same thing with wine;
swirling the wine in the glass allows one to observe how much clings to the
walls. A heavy body takes it's time and forms 'legs' as it runs down the
walls. No body = no legs and the wine goes down the walls in sheets.
I guess now it's just a matter of trying these suggestions. - Mike
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4) From: Dan Bollinger
Mike, thanks for sharing!  I commend you on taking your brew to an expert
and asking for advice.  :)  I'd like to add some comments to 'body'. 'Body'
is our body's sensory perception of viscosity.  Viscosity is how thick or
thin a liquid is.  'Body' can be felt, but sometimes two liquids with the
same viscosity will give us different sensations. That's because of how our
body measures viscosity.  In his example above, I'd say he was right on IF
he suggested skim milk.  That's because whole milk contains fat and fat will
increase the 'body' in a liquid even though the viscosity may remain about
the same.  Comparing water to skim milk will be a better teaching aid for
discerning 'body' than whole milk.
Now, onto 'legs'.  This is one of the most persistent wine falsehoods
around.  The so-called 'legs' that wine shows has nothing whatsoever to do
with 'body'.  And, it has absolutely nothing to do with wine quality!  I
learned this from a Professor of Eonology.  I could give you his
credentials, but we don't have enough bandwidth for that. He has done tests
and shown that the leg phenomemon in a wine glass is nothing more that the
alcohol evaporating into vapor from the pool of liquid and then condensing
on the cooler walls of the glass and running back down into the pool. He
made great 'legs' using nothing more than grain alcohol and water. If some
wine produces more 'legs' than others, its simply because the temperature of
the wine and environment are just right and the shape of the glass contains
the vapor. I hope this dispels this falsehood forever.   Dan
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5) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 06:55 2/2/2003, Dan Bollinger typed:
That was quite the good post about tasting, although I noted the same item 
about legs.   Thanks for beating me too the explanation, I really was not 
in the mood to look up a reference.
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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6) From: Simpson
Of course you should roast and consume your coffee however you wish, but
just a few comments If I may:
1) There is quite a bit of support for the notion that at standard pressure
one cannot easily over extract coffee. Consider 'middle eastern' coffee...
ground fine as talcum and boiled, but not over extracted. Over extraction
can happen with the espresso process because the pressure... the ability to
intrude into the coffee's structural material, is much, much higher.
2) Good idea to increase your coffee if you are going to reduce the steep
time. Also make sure you don't let the coffee steep at too low a temp...
always a risk with a press. Preheating the press and wrapping it with a
towel (or a Kozee) as well as covering the top during the steep may be
3) I'm pretty sure roast degree may be an issue because it has such an
effect on acidity. Tom has a very 'tuned' palate and tends to like bright
tastes associated with the maximum, reasonable amount of varietal
difference... at least that's my impression. That happens with a lighter
roast, and many of his roasting recommendations suggest a light roast.  If
you aren't there yet with your own tasting (and I'm not... too much
'acidity' makes me pucker) then roasting a bit darker can be helpful.
HOWEVER, to just automatically take every bean into second crack, much less
"peak of a rolling second crack or just a bit more" would be throwing the
baby out with the brew water. Er, in my opinion, of course. There is a
tendency to roast darker when one is just starting out because, A) it looks
nice with even roasts and a pretty brown color, and B) that's how starbux
does it, so it must be right. Wrong. 
I guess it's ok to post these links...http://www.coffeeresearch.org/coffee/roasting2.htmA quote, "From tasting pure sugar versus its caramelized component it is
evident that uncaramelized sugar is much sweeter.  The dark color of coffee
is directly related to the caramelization of the sucrose in coffee.
Therefore, to maximize sweetness you want to minimize the carmelization of
sucrose, yet you do not want to roast too lightly or bitter tasting
compounds will not thermally degrade.  Stop the roast somewhere between the
end of the first crack and less than half way through the second crack.  Do
not roast well into or past the second crack." Note that this is a treatise
on roasting for espresso, so it may even be overstating the (weak) case for
dark roasting a trifle. It is a balance. If you are too far towards the
light end, then there is no reason to swing your pendulum all the way to a
charbux style.
Also, here's another link, not by Tom but could have been!http://www.coffeereview.com/article.cfm?IDYA quote, "In recent years there has been a noticeable "shrinking of the
bandwidth" in the offerings of American specialty roasters. With rare
exceptions most craft roasters roast all of their coffees in a range from
moderately dark to very dark by international standards.
There are any number of reasons why this is the case. One is that few
smaller roasters have had the chance to apprentice with expert cuppers and
are often largely or entirely self-taught. The tendency under such
circumstances is to roast aesthetically, and coffee evens out in appearance
and is at its most appealing from a visual perspective when the beans have
entered second pop. Then there is the huge matter of the influence of
Starbucks and its many imitators, who are shaping consumer palates on what
can seem like every street corner in the country to associate the smoky
tang of dark roast with sophistication."
So it may be useful to ruin a roast or two of a neutral bean by charring
the dickens out of it just so you know what it tastes like. But for regular
roasting of coffee you actually intend to drink for pleasure... balance,
balance, balance.
4) As to milk and sugar in coffee, another quote from the first article
above, and yes, it's about espresso but the principles hold with other brew
methods as well, in my opinion. "Espresso potential is maximized in
roasting when you maximize the sweetness and aroma of the coffee while
minimizing the bitterness and acidity.  Most people focus on the latter and
therefore roast extremely dark, yet without sweetness and aroma the
espresso will never be palatable.  This explains the unpopularity of
straight espresso and the popularity of espresso based drinks where either
milk or other flavors are used to replace the sweetness that was lost by
roasting darkly."
In other words we have a tendency to roast too darkly for many reasons,
none of them having to do with the coffee in the cup, and then we cover up
our sins with dairy and sugar. Mmmm.
So my advice is different from your local shopkeeper's. 
1) Roast a little more darkly if you wish but think hard and long before
you take a good coffee automatically more than a few snaps into second
crack... and even that is too far for many delicate tastes.
2) Brew with the right temps and water/coffee ratio. You want to grind as
fine as you can without clogging a filter so don't go too coarse. 
3) Stop most roasts at or before second crack if you want to taste the
coffee rather than the roast.
4) Eschew milk and sugar while you are trying to sort all this out. They
cover up a multitude of sins, and you want to stop all that sinning,
5) Try lots of different coffees and brewing methods. Drink until you find
the coffee that really trips your trigger. It mat very well be that you
won't like the big acid coffees at first, or indeed, ever. OK, then try
sumatra or the other Indonesian coffees from Tom and avoid Kenyas and other
acidy coffees for awhile (or forever... it's your coffee!)http://sweetmarias.com/coffee.indonesia.sumatra.html#blue_batakThe bottom line is, if your palate is new to fresh coffee, and whose isn't
in this country until you begin to roast your own, then high levels of
acidity may be difficult at first for some. The fix isn't to roast the
flavor out of the coffee but rather to converge on your tasting enjoyment
through practice with tasting and perhaps a trifle darker roast. Just don't
kill the coffee flavor. Try drinking coffee without adulterants so you may
get used to actual coffee taste then add them back if you still want them.
My final advice is to heat some hot water as you are brewing your full
strength coffee, then thin the final brew with freshly heated water. This
dilution done after brewing doesn't throw off the coffee brewing process
but decreases the amount of flavor intensity without making it go away
altogether. I still do this with some coffees... it's a useful practice I
Enjoy your coffee, Michael!
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On 2/2/2003 at 9:29 AM Michael Horowitz wrote:
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7) From: jim gundlach
On Sunday, February 2, 2003, at 09:32 AM, Simpson wrote:
   >cut some very good information<
     I would just add that learning about and experiencing all these 
differences in coffees, roasting, grinding, and brewing are what makes 
the coffee experience such a satisfying indulgence.  And you don't have 
to be rich, although it can get expensive, to enjoy it.  Since the 
coffee's change from crop to crop and  there always seems to be 
something new to learn it is a life enriching activity you can enjoy 
for the rest of your life.  Remember that on his death bed Napoleon 
Bonaparte is said to have asked for a cup of ISH coffee as his last 
request.  You don't have to wait to the end to enjoy some of the good 
Jim Gundlach
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8) From: Simpson
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On 2/2/2003 at 10:21 AM jim gundlach wrote:
He was just hoping he wouldn't die until he could drink it, and that it
would take the customary 9 months to be available. Clever fellow!
Practicing what I was preaching I am drinking harrar roasted somewhat
lighter than is my usual... it is more bitter than I prefer but I used the
dilution trick and am quite pleased with the taste.. the sweetness and
berriness are marked.  Tom's of course... I have grown used to the sweet
mellowness of espresso and must grow used to drip again. Awww... poor me!
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9) From: Dan Bollinger
Funny!  fyi: NB died on St. Helena.  Dan
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10) From: John Abbott
So does that mean ISH isn't organic :9)

11) From: Dan Bollinger
LOL!  Yes!  NB was buried in France.  :)  
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12) From: Mark Neuhausen
Good initiative on your part.  I also saw your posting of this on alt.coffee
and in the homeroasters message board.  I read the various comments with
interest.  I had a thought while working on something else.  As you try
different things, I suggest you vary one thing at a time, a controlled
experiement.  For example, if you steep the coffee less long due the to
fineness of your grind, keep the amount of coffee constant initially.  And
then if it tastes weak, add more coffee the next time.  You have many
variables that all interrelate.
Tom of Sweet Marias recommends a finer grind for the French Press and a
shorter steeping time.  But the standard coffee measure is still used.  My
understanding of the brewing process is that there are solubles in the
coffee that are readily soluble in water, and these are bitter (or sometimes
sour).  Caffeine is one of them.  There are then the coffee oils that are
less soluble, and need the time to steep or the pressure of an espresso
machine to get them out.  And then if one overextracts, the even less
soluble contents of the coffee are again bitter.  On an espresso machine, I
know the standard measure and the temperature and that I need a 25-30 second
extraction.  The French Press gets more complex as the extraction time
varies based on the fineness of the coffee grind among other things.
Enjoy the journey.  And I recommend a step at a time.
And for Martin, I was a little surprised to see the recommendation of
Central American coffees to cut through the milk, unless roasted past
rolling second crack.  I find the Central Americans a little acidic, but
very mellow and easily lost in milk drinks.  I use the fuller bodies
Sulawesi and Sumatra coffees in milk drinks.  Then again, I hardly ever
roast much into second crack, so I don't get the caramel flavor that does
come through milk well (ala Starbucks).

13) From: Michael Horowitz
Well, maybe this is something we can discuss when we sip a cup together.
I concur with your 'one variable at a time' suggestion.
I"m working on a question but not satisfied with how I'm framing it: has to
do with wanting to taste the various flavors, trying to avoid the acidic
sensation, roasting long (and perhaps wiping out those more gentle flavos),
and liking coffee with milk/sugar. - Can't wait to see how that will turn
out! - Mike
At 12:21 AM 2/3/03 -0500, Mark Neuhausen wrote:
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14) From: R.N.Kyle
Thanks Ted I just got around to reading this post, it is enlightening.
Ron Kyle
Anderson SC

15) From: Ed Needham
I hope you intend to post this on alt.coffee also.  It is worthy of going 'on
the record'.  Great post Ted.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!http://www.homeroaster.comed

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