Posted Sun May 5, 2013, 4:08pm Subject: Espresso blending help please!
Hi, I have been home roasting for Aeropress and French press coffee, but recently became the proud owner of a Gaggia Classic. I've currently got about 25 lbs of green coffee, and wonder if I list what I've got, if any of the experienced espresso roasters/blenders could suggest a blend that uses some of the beans I already own?
Currently I have:
1 lb Mex Organic Terruno Nayarita 1/2 lb Costa Rican Fruita De Oro 10 lb El Salv. RFA Adelaide 5 lb Columbian Supremo
Decaf: 5 lb Costa Rican BCT Dota Select 1/2 lb Guatemala MC Decaf 2 lb Columbia MC Decaf 1/2 lb Mexico Royal Select
Any suggestions of other beans I need to order to blend with what I have on hand?
Posted Tue May 7, 2013, 4:32pm Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
Sweet Maria's has this info: http://www.sweetmarias.com/blending.php I'm not an expert on blending but I believe you'll hear that the Central Americans are too bright to be the main component in an Espresso (except for Brazils). You might want to get some Brazil beans but beyond that I defer to those who are more knowledgeable than me. Sweet Maria's espresso blends, by the way, are excellent! I also liked coffeeroasters.com espresso blends.
DavecUK Senior Member Joined: 21 Sep 2005 Posts: 1,322 Location: UK Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 3:43am Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
You definitelty need some Brazilians as a base for some blends, a Sumatra would be useful as well.
Apart from that some of the coffees are best drunk as a single origin (SO), others can be blended, but it's a shame to blend them.. I have marked accordingly, with the best method first.
1 lb Mex Organic Terruno Nayarita (Blend, SO) 1/2 lb Costa Rican Fruita De Oro (SO or Blend) 10 lb El Salv. RFA Adelaide (SO or Blend) 5 lb Columbian Supremo (SO only)
Decaf: 5 lb Costa Rican BCT Dota Select (SO or Blend 1/2 lb Guatemala MC Decaf (SO, never blend) 2 lb Columbia MC Decaf (SO never blend) 1/2 lb Mexico Royal Select (Blend, SO)
Also just some food for thought on blending. It's often used to produce a consistent coffee taste for an outlet, supplier cafe etc..As coffee supplies and crops vary over the years. Blending allows them to maintain a constant flavour profile. It's a moot point whether it improves a coffee. It "might" in certain circumstances be beneficial e.g. like apple and cinnamon, or apple and blackberry, or might not work e.g. apple and peach. In the main, a really good single origin bean has enough flavour complexity to be enjoyed as a single origin. The blending from roasters often makes a cheaper beans acceptable in the cup.
It's not to say that blending is always wrong, it's not, but it's not the necessity many people believe it to be. As a home roaster, you have the luxury of doing what the bigger commercial boys cant..... roast each type of coffee completely separately, to exactly the right level and profile, then mix them. The large commercial roasters still put the whole blend in a drum and roast it....which severely limits blending possibilities and gives much of the blend a sub optimal roast profile. This of course is exactly what you can and should do with such small quantities of coffee. Roast them all correctly and separately and afterwards blend as you want to find out what works. if it doesn't, then at least you have not blended the whole batch!!
Posted Thu May 9, 2013, 9:55am Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
2 parts - Brazil does make a good "base." From what I have read, Illy is the world's largest importer of Brazilian coffee. 1 Part - Blend with a Central of South American (Peru, Guat, Costa Rican, etc.) 1 part - And add an African or Indonesian (Ethiopian, Tanzanian, Yemen, etc.)
But that is just a starting point. I blend on the whim of the moment. It also depends on whether you drink it straight or with milk.
Posted Thu May 9, 2013, 11:43am Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
I would start by doing small batch roastings at City and FC+ of each coffee you have and learn what their characteristics are as SO espressos. Take copious notes. Think about what might be missing in one coffee that might be added by another to create a balanced (or leaning in a particular direction) taste profile. And, also, what might be out of balance in one coffee that could be balanced by the characteristics of a different coffee. Then, blend for the flavor profile you want.
I alway blend post-roast, myself, as that enables me to find the best roast level for each bean to bring out the elements they excel at.
Since coffee is food, and we want food to taste good, I think blending for specific flavor profiles is preferable to generic rules about x% this and x% that. Means that things will vary as the coffee harvests vary from season to season, but that's what food and agricultural products do. And it's the advantage of home-roasting—you get to roast for what you want to taste.
yakster Senior Member Joined: 25 Feb 2009 Posts: 1,013 Location: San Jose, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Factory / La Peppina... Grinder: Vario / Kyocera Vac Pot: Yama 8 + Pyrex Lox-in Rod Drip: Brazen / Kalita / Chemex /... Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 12:19pm Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
+1 on trying the coffee first as SOE and post-roast blending. If you roast up several of your coffees, you can blend by the cup by weighing out different percentages for each shot (assuming that you single-dose your grinder) and take note of the blend components and percentages that you like. I would limit this exercise to three or at most four different coffees in a blend. Make sure to take notes or you may end up really liking a shot but not remembering how you go there.
Posted Fri May 17, 2013, 9:17pm Subject: Re: Espresso blending help please!
Thanks for all the advice and direction! I ordered a bit of BCT Espresso blend to get and idea of a flavor "baseline", and because it was less $/lb than the Brazilians. (I've been spending a little more $$ on coffee stuff than I should lately - can anyone relate?)
Having been drinking SO espresso up til now, my initial impression is that the BCT has a much more pronounced body than the El Salvadore I just finished. The SO is really nice when I get a good pull on the Gaggia and drink straight. (Still learning how to do espresso well, and I suspect I will always be to some extent) I roasted a batch of BCT Espresso about 30 sec into 2C. The BCT is definitely better for milk-based drinks whereas the SO seemed to get a bit lost. I had been trying to cram 18 g in the basket to get enough espresso to cut through in a 12 oz cup, but the BCT makes more of a statement so to speak...
So is the Brazil or possible a Sumatra that brings that stronger "COFFEE" vs "coffee" flavor? Or is it the Robusto that does that?
Also, someone here or on the HB forum was saying that they did an espresso blend that was 75% MM Gold and 25% Sumatra. Seems quite unique, and I'm wondering what I might expect when incorporating MM into a blend. It seems like most people use MM as an enhancer rather than a base. I am wondering because along with the BCT Espresso, I got some MM.
Even though it's true that stale Robusta can still produce a lot of crema, I wouldn't go so far as to generally disregard it as poor quality coffee. It's just a different variety than Arabica. Coffea canephora is less sensitive to disease, heat and humidity, and it yields higher crops, which is why it can be produced cheaper. However, there's a limited quantity of high quality fresh Robusta around, just like there's low quality stale Arabica. It all depends...
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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