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CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
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robncindy
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robncindy
Joined: 18 Aug 2005
Posts: 46
Location: Maryland
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky/Baratza...
Drip: Melitta/Bodum Columbia FP
Posted Sat Jul 7, 2007, 7:07pm
Subject: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Questions or comments podcast@coffeegeek.com or call the voicemail line at 1-206-965-8185, or Skype to Skype - search for the CoffeeGeek username.

Take your pick on how to listen:

RSS Feed link for subscribing, or

CG Podcast 056 MP3 File for straight downloading.

Apple iTunes direct link.

Show Notes

Intro (0:06)
- "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues", by The White Stripes

CG News (2:56)
- Rancilio Silvia First Look and video (3:08)
- New articles coming: Detailed and Quick Shot Reviews (5:03)

Emails Answered! (5:31)
- John Brinkman of baristaunderground.com writes in regarding a South African barista champion (Willem Pienaar) competing in the WBC this year (5:34)
- Brian Marshall sends in his thanks, leading Mark to talk about "benevolent coffee snobs" (8:25)
- Andrew Levine of Hamburg, Germany, sent in a long email with many, many newbie questions about making espresso with the Rancilio Silvia; see Mark's video, Rancilio Silvia Shot Walkthrough (12:47)
- Miles Spathelf asks for a comparison between two multi-purpose grinders for french press coffee, the KitchenAid Pro Line and Baratza Virtuoso (28:18)
- Laurel Clark asks if espresso can be made with single origin beans as well as espresso blends (37:26)
- Don Grafum wants to know what "pure Arabic coffee" is (43:57)
- Sheridan Adams asks about the Rancilio Jacky and the "upside down" brewing method for the Aeropress (48:28)
- Chris Mossop wants to know how restaurants with 3 Michelin stars - such as The Fat Duck - can serve pod coffee! (53:12)
- Patrick Smith wants Mark to settle a debate about freezing coffee (57:25)

Wrap Up
- "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues", by The White Stripes (1:05:25)
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Spelunx
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 27
Location: Australia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Sunbeam EM0480
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2007, 4:03am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Great Podcast, I always enjoy the question and answer sessions, but I also loved the last Podcast on Coffee in Oz!


My only request is:

Could you be mindful of your international audience?  Do you think you would be able to give measurements in both metric and imperial?  That would be great!  I went to school in the 80's, so only learned the metric system, so ounces and Fahrenheit mean little to me.

Cheers.


Spelunx, (in Oz)
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2007, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

I'm in a weird position where

- I started going to school when Canada was still using imperial measurements
- Though I've been learning metric since I was 8 or 9, it took a long time for Canada, my friends, my parents, etc to conversion over
- 75% of the people I talk to in the world of coffee and espresso deal in US measurements.
- still to this day, I refer to some things in imperial, like my weight, height, stuff like that. Driving speeds, ordering food in a deli, etc are all metric now.

In addition, I've found I could "think" in metric or US measurements, but I can't convert them on the fly. I know some basic stuff (ie, 1 US oz = 30mls roughly) and that  lb is just shy of half a kilo, but I don't know off the top of my head what 12 US oz is in weight in grams, or what 30lbs of tamper pressure is. Sure, I've repeatedly looked it up, converted all these things, etc, but when I'm talking off the cuff, I can't process it.

So I have to stick with one or the other. You may find in some of the reviews I write, when I do my job well, I do both measurements - that's cuz I have a converter on my windows desktop to do it. But other times, I just seem to jump from US measurements (1oz pour, 30lbs pressure, 12oz of coffee) to metric in other parts (use 18g, pull 30mls, etc). Another thing I never remember is what 9BAR is in kpc (kilos per square centimetre?) lol. Always 135psi ;)

I'll try to do more measurements showing both US and metric, but the real solution here? The US has to for once, follow the lead of the rest of the world, and switch over to metric ;) Come on USA... you can do it! :D

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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robncindy
Moderator
robncindy
Joined: 18 Aug 2005
Posts: 46
Location: Maryland
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky/Baratza...
Drip: Melitta/Bodum Columbia FP
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2007, 3:25pm
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

But, but... we did! We have 1 and 2 liter bottles of soda!

 
Cindy

"In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences - yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours."  -- the Dalai Lama
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iEmil
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iEmil
Joined: 5 Apr 2006
Posts: 14
Location: Gesunda, Sweden
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ09 -PID
Grinder: OE Pharos
Vac Pot: Bodum
Roaster: Behmor, IMEX, Toper Cafemino
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2007, 6:32am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Hi Mark!

A nice podcast as always !!
Can you explain more about the "upside down" brewing method for the Aeropress, e.g. tips and tricks....

/Greetings from Sweden!

 
www.iEmil.se
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harrymanback
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harrymanback
Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 219
Location: slo*cal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: expobar brewtus ii
Grinder: la cimbali md6, baratza...
Drip: nah...bodum press(es)
Roaster: modded wear•ever popcorn...
Posted Sun Jul 15, 2007, 2:40am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

ok, so i acknowledge that people have different tastes when it comes to the absolute finest of the coffee world.  and it's important to keep in mind that while we bicker and argue about the tiniest of things, we still have way more in common than the other 99% of coffee drinkers.  yet...don't care for single origin espresso?  come on man!

i love espresso blends, but i also love single origins.  ok, some are one-dimensional -- and if anything are best as an "ingredient" to the larger whole of a blend -- but there are some that are cRazY amazing on their own.  this year's yirgi kampi is exceptional and has a ton of body, as well.  if you try one single origin this year, try this.  i also had a peaberry last year from guatemala that was earth shattering -- very bright (i know, i know mark...but really, not in a bitter sense) with powerful fig and soft cherry flavors.  and the kneebuckler i often have at barefoot, a sidamo made up of two roast profiles, does indeed always do what the name suggests.

i think the wonderful thing about espresso is enjoying all the diversity that is there among the top shelf: from one blend to another, from a straight shot to a macchiato to a capp, and yes, from one s.o. to another.  a ton of respect for you, mark, for what you've done on this site and in the the vast majority of the opinions you've posted, but i gotta (respecfully) totally disagree with you here.

harry.

 
"i should pull up the hardwood to see if there's carpet underneath! . . . no, that's never the case."
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sun Jul 15, 2007, 3:29am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Hi Harry.

I hear you, and fully acknowledge I'm in a vocal minority (though perhaps not overall - more below) on the subject of single origin espresso shots. There's a lot of very vocal online fans of the brewing modus, and everytime I pipe up, there's interesting discussion, to say the least. ;)

But even though the likes of Andy Schecter have called me out on it (ie, quoted me saying absolutes before, and how I changed my mind or stance on other things), unless things radically change in coffee in the next few years, I'm pretty confident in my opinion on this.

I covered it in this and other podcasts, but I'll put my reasons in bullet point here again

- espresso brewing is a magnifying glass. It'll amplify the most powerful notes in a coffee, both the good and bad.
- espresso brewing is harsh. Flavours that come out in delicate brewing methods (cupping, vac pot, clover, press) tend to get obliterated in espresso brewing (I'll talk up three examples below)
- espresso brewing, especially on temperature controlled machines, will expose a coffee's flaws more than other brewing methods.
- espresso, for me, is a journey with a lot of interesting highlights. A god shot for me is one that constantly surprises me throughout the tasting, with different and morphing nuances.
- espresso blends, when done right, highlight artistry in the master roaster / blender. The ones who "get it" know how to use various coffees to a) balance good and bad flavours, b) morph flavour a with flavour b to deliver brand new flavour c (the sum is greater than the parts thing), and c) make espresso the journey I love.

I could go on, but the above points are probably my most important ones.

I mentioned that I find espresso obliterates the more delicate flavours in some coffees. Three that come to mind right away are Kona (Smithfarms, yum), The Esmeralda Especiale, and the recent Biloya Special that Paradise Roasters had. I've had all three as SO shots as well as on the Clover (except for the Kona), press, cupping, vac pot, you name it.

All three coffees, *to my tastebuds* become somewhat dulled and one dimensional as espresso shots. Kona fares the worst - it's an exceedingly delicate coffee to me. It's a particular challenge, because I've found you have to be urber-careful when brewing it even as a vacpot or press to get those most-subtle hints of jasmine, spices and bare wifts of chocolate, that, once you do get them, just blow you away. The Biloya as a press or vacpot just sings a myriad of flavours, including a different start (citrus chocolate) and finish (almost a honeydew lemon) that made me think - hrmm, this might be good as espresso. But nope, it just became a kind of dulled, "it's coffee" experience as espresso.

One thing I like to clarify when this topic comes up. I firmly believe anyone who roasts and blends should be pulling SO espressos constantly. Because how else will they know what flavours their blending arts will achieve? Identify strong pluses and minues in a coffee, when pulled as espresso, then find other coffees that will play well with that SO, work the blend, and create magic.

I also believe that, for culinary, tasting, sensory and evaluation skills-building, pulling SOs is a must.

But for enjoyment of espresso? I just don't enjoy SO shots very much. It's a bit like going to school for me. It's not something I took great pleasure in as it happened, but the experience and knowledge gained benefit me, so I enjoy that aspect.

Also, the whole "SO" wave of excitement out there, something that's only a few years old (at least in terms of rock star baristas talking it up online) is just that - a recent trend that a lot of longer-term espresso enthusiasts and professionals don't quite understand. I mentioned "vocal" above. I often wish that a lot of the very respected professionals in the world of espresso who don't participate much online would talk more about their feelings on this subject. I know from private talks that a lot of them don't think much of it. Maybe they just think this is a fad (as I kinda feel), or just don't care enough to get into any online arguments about it.

Me... I luuuuuuv online arguments. Often too much for my own good ;)

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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harrymanback
Senior Member
harrymanback
Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 219
Location: slo*cal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: expobar brewtus ii
Grinder: la cimbali md6, baratza...
Drip: nah...bodum press(es)
Roaster: modded wear•ever popcorn...
Posted Sun Jul 15, 2007, 4:45am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

i enjoy a healthy "discussion," as well.  :}

i don't think we can go back and forth on this one too much, however, since i agree with just about everything you just said.  in agreemant: as you mentioned espresso being a harsh brewing method, i've always felt espresso creates more powerful flavors while other brewing methods create more obvious flavors.  espresso hits you like a tone of bricks, and then the lingering notes dance around your head like the stars around wile e. coyote's head.  another place to see this, is how the flavors become more pronounced but less "wiley" as the cup cools.

in agreement: blends can be wonderful and yet extremely different from one another.  i've had some blends that not only hit different notes, but seem to transition slowly from flavor to flavor, a la violet beauregarde and her willy wonka gum; while i've also had others that simply transition so quickly and smoothly, you're not quite sure what just happened.  but regardless of the trip, each sip (even within the same cup) often registers something different on one's palate, probably partly because your brain is catching up with all that is going on and partly because the flavor profile is changing rapidly as the cup cools and adjusts to atmospheric pressure.

in agreement: some s.o. coffees don't do well as espresso, while sing in other brewing methods (i've found yirgi's are often like this).  roasters should drink s.o. shots often to understand what they're putting into their blends (i'm not a roaster, but i'd imagine going simply off cupping notes can be very misleading).  also, coffee geeks should as well, educationally speaking if for no other reason.

all that being said, there are some s.o.'s that, while they won't surprise you from sip to sip, will have you looking forward to that next sip...and the next...and the, hey it's gone!  :*(  and i can understand, no matter how good a s.o. or a blend is, not wanting to drink just that one week after week.  but there are quite a few i enjoy having there in the mix: these same few that i'd miss horribly even if i had the best blends to choose from all day everyday...ok, so i want your job.  :D

idk, maybe this is just old school vs. new school.  i'm definitely not as entrenched as you in my espresso opinions and am still learning and discovering (only really been exposed to this world for about three years).  and i'm sure there are "rock stars" out there who gloss over blends way too blithely.  but a person can enjoy both rock 'n roll and jazz, right?  and i sure hope rock 'n roll is here to stay....and man, try that kampi!

hare.

 
"i should pull up the hardwood to see if there's carpet underneath! . . . no, that's never the case."
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Spelunx
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 27
Location: Australia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Sunbeam EM0480
Posted Mon Jul 23, 2007, 6:37am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your reply.

Goodluck with the next podcast!
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CupaJoeKid
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CupaJoeKid
Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 208
Location: Cary, NC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Silvia w/ PID, pressure mod
Grinder: Mazzer Mini P
Vac Pot: nada, french press
Drip: See french press
Roaster: WB Poppery II w/ control box
Posted Wed Jul 25, 2007, 10:35am
Subject: Re: CG Podcast 056 - Emails Answered
 

Mark,

Just a few quick comments on the show, as always a diversity of opinions and experiences out there, so let me chime in with a couple things.

Rancilio steaming: I strongly recommend people try it both ways.  The issue with pulling the shot second is that the Silvia brewhead heats up a LOT by the time you finish steaming, and can take so long to cool down to a reasonable temp even with flushing that your milk can be ruined from delay.  My routine is to pull the shot directly into a heated capp cup, immediately switch to steam mode, clean the group and gasket, and then open up the wand to let out any trapped water or wet steam.  By this time the boiler is up around 275F, actively heating producing prodigious steam and below the turn-off on the thermostat.  Steam to your heart's content, and pour directly into your capp cup.  It works brilliantly with no temp problems.

Single-origin: You guys have already conversed a bit on this, so let me just throw in that this subject needs a lot of qualification around the question.  Sure, if you take an acidic African or Central bean roasted to a light profile and put it through the espresso process, you are going to come out with something that most people would find useful only for stripping paint (albeit absolutely beautiful done in a french press).  However, take a nice, high quality low grown Brazil or Bolivian and roast it to a light Vienna, and it can be among the nicest shots, let alone SO shots, you'll ever experience in your life.  Given that many classic Italian "blends" turn up to be 100% Brazil, often the same bean, it's hard to discount SO entirely.  That said, my house blend is a combo of South American, Central, Indo and African, so trust me that I appreciate complexity as much as you.  I just think the SO debate deserves a bit of considered qualification in order to be meaningful.

Freezing coffee: Home-barista just did a piece on this.  From a practical standpoint, many folks cannot get to the shop frequently enough to keep completely fresh coffee at hand.  Freezing is entirely reasonable, and when you freeze immediately after roasting in sealed glass (pre de-gassing), you will never be able to tell the difference.  When I home roast, I break a batch into a number of jars and freeze all but what I can immediately degass and use, and bring jars out of the freezer a couple of days before I will need them.   This is equally applicable to coffees that you purchase very close to roast date.  If you are purchasing beans through the mail that may already be heading toward old, well, you have a separate problem because you aren't exactly going to be paying to ship 1/4 pounds several times a week anyway.  In my experience, immediately freezing coffees in this case is preferable to leaving them out at room temp, although not as ideal as freezing extremely fresh coffee as close to roasting as possible.  Keep the practicality in mind - freezing is a lesser of evils, and in the case of immediate freezing, shown through blind tasting to have no effect.

Must run here Mark.  As always, I enjoy and appreciate the podcast, keep it rolling.

PS: I swear Fat Duck was one of the places I hit in Bray during my time living in the UK - I wish I remembered the experience better!  I always tended to prefer unbelievably good cheeses served with a pint of real ale out of a cask laid on its side and tapped with a simple spigot.
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