Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Articles: CoffeeGeek Columnist Feedback
Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
Support Coffee Kids
Coffee Kids is a non profit charity working with farming communities around the world. Donate today!
www.coffeekids.org
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Articles > Columnist... > Battle North...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 7 of 25 first page | last page previous page | next page
Author Messages
Philosopher
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 188
Location: Australia
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 2:39am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

MarkPrince Said:

Re - mirroring Ken's choices

I stated in the first article (peets, baskets and blends) why I didn't go with Ken's choices.
I felt fairly confident that, if I'd mirrored Ken's choices, Black Cat would have come out on top.
It was about trying to see if scoring stale coffees in the 90+ point range was justified.
Once again, on blend choices: I wanted to open it up to blends that a) I felt were easily available to many of the consumers reading this website, and b) include a few that maybe some of you haven't tried before
What I'd probably do if I were to do this again in the future is cut it way down - maybe 6 blends, tops. Italian vs US / Canada again.

Posted October 13, 2007 link

Mark,

You may have had something else in mind but the tone of your first article was slightly different:

"Can you believe Black Cat gets an 88, and Segafredo gets a 93? Or that five Italian blends scored higher than Black Cat?"

"It got me so worked up that a few days later, I visited on of Vancouver's top importers of all things Italian (Bosa Foods), and had a long chat with one of the owners and principal buyers about Italian coffee blends. I plan to put Ken's tasting and comparisons to the test somewhat and do my own coffee review of some top Italian blends vs. some top (North) American espresso blends. And no, no Starbucks or Peet's in the mix "

"I really, really want to give the Italian blends their best shot at besting the select North American blends we'll be using"

"So here's the coffees we are going with, representing the great country of Italy:"





Why not just eliminate the US vs Canada vs Italy which is really irrelevant to the discussion.  Just say you will judge a variety of blends from around the world.  They would be tested in random order.  Not Canada today and Italy tomorrow or fresh today, stale tomorrow.    Accompanied with each report is a specific reference about each blend whether it was stale or fresh, boutique or high volume, local or imported.  Don't make generalizations about 'best on offer' or 'commercially available'
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Philosopher
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 188
Location: Australia
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 5:28am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

"I visited on of Vancouver's top importers of all things Italian (Bosa Foods), and had a long chat with one of the owners and principal buyers about Italian coffee blends. I plan to put Ken's tasting and comparisons to the test somewhat and do my own coffee review of some top Italian blends vs. some top (North) American espresso blends."

Mark,

I acknowledge that your choices were limited whilst your overseas contacts were away for the silly season.  However,  the alternative path you took probably did not guarantee a good representation of Italian blends.

It would be the same as if some Italian agent wanted to showcase a line-up of sports cars.  What would you think if he contacted a US dealer in Rome to see if he could organise a few vehicles to line up against his Ferraris and Lamborghinis.  

Questo Chrysler č pių lento di mia nonna

I have to agree with Jason.  Unlike wine, imported coffee is something that most people are unlikely to ever enjoy in its best state.  It will be more of a novelty rather than a satisfying experience.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
mrgnomer
Senior Member
mrgnomer
Joined: 16 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: NA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Silvia, Olympia...
Grinder: Zass., Macap M4 stepless,...
Vac Pot: Yama, Bodum E Santos
Drip: French Press, ibrik, Moka...
Roaster: Hottop programmable, IRoast2
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 7:37am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

Philosopher Said:

I have to agree with Jason.  Unlike wine, imported coffee is something that most people are unlikely to ever enjoy in its best state.  It will be more of a novelty rather than a satisfying experience.

Posted October 13, 2007 link

Maybe so but from what I've read of the travels of others in Italy and Europe and from my own experiences at seriously Italian trattorias roast freshness isn't as vital of a focus.  The grinders were good grinders will full hoppers of beans who knows how long were sitting in there.  The volume of espresso I couldn't see being high enough to empty out those monster hoppers daily.

The espresso was pretty darn good, though.

So yes, it probably would be a novelty to get a just roasted coffee from a European/Italian roaster but not for the reasons one might think.  I think it's not because they can't, it's because they're not focussed on it. Should that justify an opinion that North American artisan roasts are better for espresso because they go out the day roasted to arrive within 3 or so days?  Not necessarily.  That needs to be fairly evaluated, which I think it was.  For crema and taste quality I'd agree that roast freshness is important but I've let some of my own roasts sit for more than 2 weeks and I find with some they get better with age.  A month to a few months though...that's a little long.

Ideal, then, is relative.  Here on Coffeegeek and other forums the North American consensus is freshness is as important as grinder and hand.  Over in Europe, traditionally, I don't think it's the same.

As was said already, if Italian/European roasters don't focus on freshness as part of their marketing that's their choice.  Their roasts should be tested in the condition that they can be reasonably purchased, although it probably would be a great way to write off a trip to Italy just to buy a few kilos of a fresh roast to take home with you for testing ;)

With regards to Mark's evaluation being a response to Ken Davids, sure it was.  Ken Davids review inspired a passionate poke in the eye from Mark.  Mark's said as much that he wished he'd have been less forceful 'cause it looks like the exchange put Ken on the defensive and might have turned him away rather than welcomed him to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.  Feuding over coffee and coffee evaluation doesn't help advance it and I hope relationships with respected advocates can be healed.  I think Mark is trying to do that.

Ken made his picks.  Mark made his picks.  Mark sought advice, polled those with experience and tried to be fair to good Italian roasters by picking what was considered the best available to compare with what's considered on top for North America.  It wasn't an evaluation to critique Ken's or his choices.  Why should it have been?  It was an evaluation brought about as a response to a questionable review.  It put forward a more comprehensive and transparent and dare I say more competent testing procedure that would be more fair to the roasts and provide a more honest review.  Instead of just being critical and saying it could have and should have been done better Mark stepped forward and tried to do it.  It's a very good step forward.  I'm not for straining out gnats and swallowing camels.  I not only appreciate Mark's effort but really hope he keeps it up.
back to top
 View Profile Contact via AOL Instant Messenger Link to this post
thetrvlr
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever, Saeco...
Grinder: Macap MC4 Stepless,...
Drip: French Press
Roaster: iRoast2
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

MarkPrince Said:

In response to this, I contacted Vince. His reply:

"Hi Mark,
We ship Canada Post all the time. Have this customer give us a call.

UPS is screwing up a lot and we're going to change them. It doesn't cost $20 to ship one pound.

Thanks,
Vince"

Posted October 12, 2007 link

Thank you, I will call them.

My comment: I would hope you'd give any roaster that seems to have something "wrong", ie, in this case, a pricing problem on shipping, the benefit of the doubt, and either email them directly or call them to find out why it costs 125% of the coffee price to ship within their own country?

Mark

Quote from their Web site (as of 10/13/2007): Click here

Shipping Policy

Please place all orders by Sunday, 12:00am Pacific Time.  We will be roasting all orders on Mondays and will ship on Tuesdays.  Upon ordering you will be given a tracking number to follow your shipment.  All shipments are made with UPS.  Shipments are made on Tuesdays and your location will determine length of shipment.


They leave little doubt about their shipping policy.

In addition, I did go through their online ordering system to place an order.  When I got to the point of choosing a delivery option, UPS was the only option.  The shipping cost was $20.01 for 1 lb.  I realize I could have increased the order size to reduce the cost per lb, but I don't like dealing with UPS.  I believe Canada post will be about half of that amount.


My friendly comment:  Online retailers should have accurate up to date information on their Web sites.  They could be losing customers, and not even know it.


On another note, have you considered some green bean espresso blends in future comparisons for the home roasters?  They could be mixed blends from some of the grean bean suppliers, or recommended blends from the CG members.  It would be interesting to see how home roasted beans can compare with the pros.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
GaryH
Senior Member
GaryH
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 2,530
Location: San Jose California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Macap M4 Doserless
Vac Pot: none
Drip: yes
Roaster: none
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

I copied the espresso ranking data into Excel and made a chart showing each category. As the overall ratings increase, typically the individual ratings for each category also increase.  The higher scoring blends also have a higher barista score so looks like a better blend is more forgiving.

GaryH: Coffee_ranking1.jpg
(Click for larger image)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
GaryH
Senior Member
GaryH
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 2,530
Location: San Jose California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Macap M4 Doserless
Vac Pot: none
Drip: yes
Roaster: none
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 10:02am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

Since the ranking data is in Excel, I took a less serious look at the results and had some sarcastic fun playing with the numbers.

In the average Starbucks wannebe coffee house, baristas are not allowed dial in the blend. Adjusting the grinder is a job only the owner does (once a day in the morning). During the pour the barista should not waste time looking at the quality of the shot pour, but use the time wisely and take the next customers order. Bottom line you know. So the "Barista score" category is just plain evil.

The "Judge's overall" category sounds so judgmental.

Since more than 95 percent of the people order milk based drinks, doesn't that mean that the milk category is ten times more important?

And with all the sugar milk drinks all that espresso sweetness doesn't really matter.

Who cares about espresso body when poured into a 20oz milk beverage. That category got to go too.

Steamed milk aroma is much more important than espresso aroma.

After-taste? What's that?

IIRC the stale Italian beans were supposed to get a 10% bonus.

Crema and acidity is good. You don't want the customers to think they are just getting hot milk.

So here are the new ranking results. North American espresso beans didn't do so well. The four top places are all stale Italian beans! Looks like Illy climbed way to the top to second place. Pellini "Top" Espresso Blend even scored over 100!!! Looks like stale Italian espresso beans are the best choice for a Starbucks wannebe coffee houses.

All roads lead to Illy. Maybe I should recalculate the numbers giving stale Italian espresso beans a 20% bonus?

(all meant in good fun)

GaryH: Coffee_ranking2.jpg
(Click for larger image)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 10:03am
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

ecocup Said:

What is really at issue here is probably the title of the article - it was no more a battle of NA vs Italy than would the olympics be a contest of equals if Italy sent over an average adult-league basketball team to play the US NBA All Stars.

Posted October 12, 2007 link

I seem to recall the US lost that contest.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,582
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

Cool charts Gary!

But the second one doesn't make much sense to me. One of the mish'es (too fun to be a mission, so it's a mish) of CoffeeGeek is to wean people off milk drinks flavoured with a bit o' espresso, and get them tuned into espresso (or coffee) first, then add a bit of milk ;)

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,582
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

Philosopher Said:

Mark,

You may have had something else in mind but the tone of your first article was slightly different:

"Can you believe Black Cat gets an 88, and Segafredo gets a 93? Or that five Italian blends scored higher than Black Cat?"

"It got me so worked up that a few days later, I visited on of Vancouver's top importers of all things Italian (Bosa Foods), and had a long chat with one of the owners and principal buyers about Italian coffee blends. I plan to put Ken's tasting and comparisons to the test somewhat and do my own coffee review of some top Italian blends vs. some top (North) American espresso blends. And no, no Starbucks or Peet's in the mix "

"I really, really want to give the Italian blends their best shot at besting the select North American blends we'll be using"

"So here's the coffees we are going with, representing the great country of Italy:"
'

Posted October 13, 2007 link

You're quoting me kind of out of context - I say "Black Cat" in the initial comment because, IMO, it was the only "top" quality blend in Ken's test, and with the possible exception of Peets (if Ken mail ordered it, it's shipped the day they roast it), the only fresh blend in the test.

I was worked up, more than anything else, about yet another article that seemed to gloss over the freshness issue with espresso. I had the same reaction to Ken's article that I would an article in the Globe and Mail proclaiming Nestle Capsules are top quality, or Illy Pods are the future of quality espresso, or nitrogen flushed, preground is just as good as anything else, etc etc.

If Ken had included several "boutique" coffees, and the 5 Italian - roasted blends scored higher, I'd probably mention one of the others. As it was, Black Cat was the only one in his test.

And as it was, Black Cat didn't finish top in our test - it was third, and  tie with a much less known blend - Counter Culture's Aficionado blend.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
GaryH
Senior Member
GaryH
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 2,530
Location: San Jose California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Macap M4 Doserless
Vac Pot: none
Drip: yes
Roaster: none
Posted Sat Oct 13, 2007, 6:39pm
Subject: Re: Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results by Mark Prince
 

This morning I pulled these double 1oz ristrettos using San Jose Ocana Guatemala CE #2 beans that were roasted at Barefoot. The ristrettos tasted exactly as described by Kenneth Davids in his review in October 2007 (flavor description copied below). Kenneth Davids is obviously a very bright guy and seems to me that he definately knows his stuff. I have a lot of respect for him. So I still don't understand why Ken rated stale Italian coffee beans in the 90s. Maybe the Italian blends he used were quite fresh and not really all that stale.



Barefoot Coffee Roasters San Jose Ocana Guatemala CE #2
Santa Clara, California
Reviewed: October 2007

Overall Rating: 93 points

Aroma: 8
Acidity: 8
Body: 8
Flavor: 9
Aftertaste: 9
Roast (Agtron): Medium (49/65)

Origin: Sacatepequez region, Guatemala
Notes: A prize winner in the 2007 Guatemala Cup of Excellence (www.cupofexcellence.org) competition, where as a green (unroasted) coffee it placed second out of hundreds of entries, attracting a score of 91.5 from an international jury. Barefoot Coffee Roasters is an award-winning and widely recognized small-batch roasting company that describes itself as "a happy little cafe and roastery in the heart of Silicon Valley." Visit www.barefootcoffeeroasters.com or call 408-248-4500 for more information.

Blind Assessment: A quiet, very soft coffee with delicate but lush aromatics. In the nose distinct flowers, lemon, butter. The cup displays a gently bright acidity, silky, buttery mouthfeel, and a finely balanced bouquet of coffee fruit, cocoa and lemon. The cocoa softens toward chocolate in the long finish.

Who should drink it: Those looking for spring in the fall.

GaryH: Barefoot_San_Jose_Ocana1.jpg
(Click for larger image)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 7 of 25 first page | last page previous page | next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Articles > Columnist... > Battle North...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Coffee Kids
Help folks who help folks in coffee producing nations.
coffeekids.org
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.326987028122)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+