Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 12:17pm Subject: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Hey everyone! Newcomer here. :-)
I have an Aeropress at home - I buy all kinds of medium roast Guatelmalan / Costa Rican / Ethiopian beans, whatever the barristas think is the best. I use a basic Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill to grind. I like the coffee I make with it but I don't LOVE it. But lately I've had some cortado experiences that have made me realize there's a certain flavor I love so much that I find myself going out of my way to go to the places that have it. I've had cortados like this in Brooklyn at a place called Cocoa Bar, and in Long Island City at a place called Sweetleaf.
In coffee shops I've had a lot of machiatto / cortados (machatti and cortadi?) that I could take or leave. Maybe it's just because they weren't that great. I'm new to coffee connoisseurship so I don't know much. I can taste when the beans are burnt and I know I hate that flavor.
The flavor I do love: I'm not sure how to describe it except to say:
it tastes incredibly clean and pure, in a way like drinking clean pure mountain water, but with an intense incredible taste; and
the flavor makes me think of a bright, green, fresh, springy kind of flavor, almost herby like a cilantro. I'm not saying this fresh green flavor is actually BECAUSE the beans are greener or less roasted or whatever. The green/fresh/springy/tangy may be more a mental association more than it is a literal description of the flavor.
Does anyone have ANY idea what I'm talking about? :-)
I've tried home-brewed espresso at various friends' places (e.g. Nespresso) and it wasn't the same. Also. obviously. it's not the same at Starbucks, which just doesn't have that fresh taste.
What flavor/process/roast am I thinking of, and how do I ask for it / figure out what places are likely to have it?
How can I recreate this flavor at home? I'm prepared to ditch my Aeropress and switch to an espresso maker if there is a machine that could recreate this experience for me at home.
Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 5:36pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Not enough to go on to give you a really good answer. More often than not, beans are the biggest part of the equation. Start by asking the shops to identify the bean/blend, and brew whatever it is they're brewing the best way that you can.
Sometimes the right bean alone doesn't do the trick and you have to turn to technique or technique and equipment.
Aeropress coffee is not espresso. That alone may be the limiting factor, I can't say. At least the Aeropress, as a piece of brewing equipment, when combined with good beans, good technique and a good grinder can turn out a damn nice cup of coffee.
It's going to hurt to read this, but in terms of what a brew grinder can and should do, yours is on the wrong side of marginal.
Skylar Senior Member Joined: 15 Apr 2004 Posts: 137 Location: New Jersey Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: lelit espresso Grinder: lelit grinder Vac Pot: B. D. Electric Drip: chemex Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 6:09pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
I think you may be describing not taste at all, but aromatic experiences (the nose knows, lol).
I have had a strikingly similar experience grinding fresh beans in a hand grinder (hario skerton) and doing them in a sort of press called an "impress". I am not at all suggesting you buy one of those, but I seriously would ask you to consider a better grinder as well as using fresh roast. The hand grinder I mentioned is less than $50 and has become my default grinder for an A. M. cup. I would guess it would work with your aeropress.
If you are looking to replicate a coffee shop's espresso drinks you are outa luck. To do that you will need a major cash infusion for a stepless grinder (minimum $250 new) and a sbdu espresso machine (300 refurb, and significantly more new).
Still, my simple prep in the A. M., with less than $100 for the grinder and press is a delight.
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 4:31pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Thanks for the responses!
Coffeenoobi and BDL: Good idea - next time I'm in New York I'll do a cortado crawl and ask them about the bean / blend / notes / roast / brew.
BDL and Sky: I'm totally willing to get a better grinder, though hand cranking won't really work with my schedule. Not that I'm some high roller - I definitely would have to save up for a while before I could swing a purchase. And yes, I'm totally down to get something refurbished.
If I'm going to get both a grinder and an espresso maker, are there any good combination grinder/espresso maker machines, or are those all pretty much POS's?
Ryebread119 Senior Member Joined: 30 Jul 2013 Posts: 21 Location: Maine Expertise: Pro Barista
Espresso: Elektra Sixties Grinder: Mazzer Mini Drip: Chemex
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 9:10pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
I read this and knew exactly what you were talking about. The only way I can explain the flavor of a local cafe's espresso is by saying it tastes like "green". Not sure of their espresso blend, I'll ask next time I'm in. Let me know about the blend in your shop, it'd be interesting to find out if their espresso is "built" the same.
Listen to the steam, the sign of a good drink is in it's acoustics.
Posted Mon Jan 27, 2014, 12:32pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Ryebread119: I'm so gratified to hear someone else knows what I'm talking about! Maybe I'm not crazy after all.
I won't be back in New York for another month (and here in Ottawa Canada I haven't found good espresso yet) but I 100% will ask around next time I'm there. And yes, please, do the same and report back on your results!
Foggers Senior Member Joined: 13 Jul 2013 Posts: 5 Location: SFBayArea Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: JC super auto, Grinder: Super Jolly, Preciso Drip: Keurig +generic
Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014, 8:22pm Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Hi, I'm a real newcomer here too.
I think I've tasted the same kind of coffee flavor one time too. I'd also describe it as fresh, green, springtime, very nuanced, no strong "roasted" flavor. It was different than anything from any cafe. He had top notch equipment and all dialed in-- a digital Super Jolly, a beautiful PID E61 espresso machine, measured the bean weight, etc etc. It was also the first home barista coffee I'd ever had. Amazing!
He said it was medium roast beans from Whole Foods, in the SF Bay Area. I'm not sure if you have those stores where you are.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,781 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32 Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Msl. Com. brewers Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 7:18am Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
OP, your grinder is little more than a whirly blade chopper and the "burrs" that it uses only look the part. If you open the grinder, you will find "nubs" sticking up on the "burrs" they are not supposed to be there, they act the same way as the blade in a spice chopper spinning at high speed, you will always get the same "grind" as the chopper will give, dust to boulders. I know, I had fallen for the same grinder when I first started out, sorry about that. A REAL grinder will go a LONG way to improving your brew.
Foggers, I am a bit confused. You list Super Auto in your profile and then say you have a PID E61, uh, not often found together. To that, you are aware that a PID on a HX machine is not useful to the brew process as it controls the steam temp of the water not the brew water, right? It is nifty to look at and it is easy to adjust for sure but pretty non effictive on a HX machine for brewing as it is the cooling flush that establishes the brew temp on a HX machine. Just saying.
It is not a bad thing to have one and there is a reasonable argument that it is more durable than a Pressure Stat and it is more quiet than most of the Pressure Stats on the market.
Sometimes you can find fresh beans at Whole Foods but it is very dependent on your local store, any close to me do not get fresh beans. You need to look for a roast ON date and calculate from there the age of the beans. We do have a list of favored roasters though if anyone is interested in it.
Welcome to the board
In real life, my name is Wayne P. Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 423 Location: Internet Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 8:07am Subject: Re: what's that green springy espresso flavor?
Welcome to CG. The crux of your observation sounds centered arount the beans (blend) and roast, of which I have no opinion.
I do have an opinion regarding the grinder. If you drink only one or two cups of coffee at home, you do have time for a hand grinder. The issue is, most people do not look forward to the exertion, especially before having one's first coffee, but it is very much worth it in terms of the improvement in your coffee life. It is inexpensive enough that you can get one without saving up for it. If you appreciate taste in the way that it sounds like you do, the flavor difference will amaze you. You do not have to grind as fine for an Aeropress as you would for an espresso infusion - therefore, your 'workout' will be less. If you wind up buying an espresso machine, the finer grind will require that you work at it a little longer and then you may want to buy a motorized grinder.
Other opinions: keep watching the CG Buy, Sell, Trade posts. They can be a good source for used grinders. Not all grinders can grind espresso fineness and most good espresso grinders cannot grind coarse enough for brewing - although they may do okay for the Aeropress.
An excellent entry espresso machine is the Mypressi handheld. It gives an honest, quality espresso infusion and it will teach you about the interplay of grind, tamp and temperature. It infuses by using the pressure of gas cartridges. Most people who have mentioned cartridges as a downside do not even own the machine. These cartridges are cheap and easy to obtain in a restaurant city like NY, or on ebay, or on creamright.com. The cost of using cartridges may add about 10 cents to the cost of a cup of coffee. There are many discussions about Mypressi in these forums (fora?). Yes, they are still in business.
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