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Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
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HB
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Apr 2003
Posts: 2,913
Location: Cary, NC
Posted Wed Mar 30, 2005, 6:07am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

I'm finishing the last of Blend X today. The words that keeps popping into my head are "crisp, clean finish." Like Mike noted, it's a nicely drinkable espresso with a teenie bit of front brightness. I believe the roaster modified the blend and roast level slightly for our opinion, so it may not match the typical descriptions you'll read about it.

The last two days I've been pulling shots of this blend on Elektra (spring lever). Espressos seem clearer and more flavorful from it. The cappuccino was great, although I'll go against Kevin's earlier comment and suggest this blend is really best in small milk (i.e., ~three ounces) to avoid being overpowered.

-- Dan

 
www.home-barista.com
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PhuNam
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 15
Location: Raleigh, NC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac La Cafetera
Grinder: Isomac La Cafetera
Drip: VillaWare
Posted Fri Apr 1, 2005, 12:42pm
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

It's time for the unveiling:

the fine espresso blend we tested is:

(insert drumroll.wav here)

"Ambrosia"

provided by

Caffè Fresco™ Specialty Coffee Roaster of Pittston, PA.

Our thanks to  Anthony Sciandra (Founder/Roaster) for graciously providing, and allowing us to test his blend!

Should you decide to visit his site, here's the link:

www.caffefresco.us


Once again, our thanks to Tony for the opportunity to test his espresso!!

Kevin
(for all the RTP Coffee Geeks)
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CupaJoeKid
Senior Member
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 Fri Apr 8, 2005, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

OK, my turn to finally type something.

This week, in honor of our friend Daryn and his involvement with Costa Rica in developing an all CR espresso (http://www.scaa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1325), I roasted up some wet-process Tarrazu samples that were sitting in my greens box.

I roasted the same bean to three different roast levels:

50% light vienna (just to blue smoke)
25% FC (a few ticks of 2nd)
25% French-ish (20 seconds of blue smoke)

I had always postulated that roast level was the defining characteristic in espresso.  In other words, no matter the origin, they will taste to some degree similar at a given roast level.

Boy was I wrong ;)

Even with the heavier roasts (which were nice BTW), the character of CR coffees came through loud and clear, even a bit of that typical metallic finish.  A nice lively beginning of fruit (Peter suggested the possibility of tangerine and that might have been what I tasted), a nice middle, and a finish that DanK said "went like a torpedo".  Clean as you can get.  

To really put some contrast in, the other grinder was set up with pure Brazil.  You want to talk about extremes!

I think all agreed that the all CR espresso certainly wasn't a negative experience, and had some good qualities.  I know with esp Peter and I, we miss our favorite bases of Brazils and Sumatrans.  It would be extremely interesting to see what a natural dry process coffee from CR would be like.

-mike
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HB
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Apr 2003
Posts: 2,913
Location: Cary, NC
Posted Mon Apr 25, 2005, 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

After skipping a week for the SCAA conference, we returned to the lab for Mike's Aficionado remix taste test. I arrived late and missed all but the last shot he pulled. But before leaving, he handed out bags mysteriously labeled #1, #2, and #3. Since the samples were small and I'm known to burn through 1/3rd pound of coffee tweaking the grinder, I also snagged a half pound of Toscano, which Mike said would pull slightly finer than his test blends.

I've finished the first pass through the three samples and I must say Mike certainly has improved on the old Counter Culture standby. Sorry guys, this puts to rest any claim that his win in the pro versus popper shootout was a quirk. Peter has talked about making Aficionado a "guest" blend created by enthusiasts; it will be interesting to see if the concept works.

Other news:

  1. After I chided Peter about the nice La Marzocco GB-5 at the ESI booth versus the "old" Linea in the espresso lab, he confided that an upgrade is in the works. Yeah! There's only that pesky issue of money to be settled. No problem, we'll be patient.
  2. Lino, David, Richard, Mike, and I are still tossing back-and-forth the Super Jolly paint job options. Powercoat paint is apparently the best choice, and still no takers on cherry red with airbrushed flames. On a related note, Lino reports some progress on the SJ doserless mod. Stay tuned.

Do you  live in the Triangle and want to join us? Send me a note and I'll add you to our distribution list.

-- Dan

 
www.home-barista.com
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bluesforpablo
Senior Member
bluesforpablo
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Posts: 86
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Professional

Drip: French Press
Roaster: Counter Culture Coffee
Posted Thu Apr 28, 2005, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

Mike's samples were fun!   My wife had to strap me down after trying them all!   We did straight, americano, and lattes out of each sample.   General impressions at 203F was #1 held up nicely in each drink.   Nobody was impressed with #2.  #3 started out strong as a straight and latte but disappointed as an americano.

Based on some of your other comments I would guess to say that #2 would do better at a lower temp.  We didn't have enough of #2 (ahh, heh-eh-heh-eh ummmm yeah) to try to temp surf.

 
Geoff Corey
www.geoffcorey.com
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beta14ok
Senior Member
beta14ok
Joined: 3 Mar 2003
Posts: 41
Location: Apex, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Mondiale
Grinder: Faema S6..or jez crunchum w/...
Vac Pot: Nope....Press-Pot only
Drip: Nope....Press-Pot only
Roaster: Counter-Culture-Coffee!
Posted Fri Apr 29, 2005, 8:22pm
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

We had a nice turn-out this morning at the CCC-lab this Friday morning.

I had also played with the three blends. #2 was actually fairly balanced at low temp, but #3 was down right yucky. Both Mike's and Geoff's recomendations were that these blends needed higher temperatures like 203F......those guys have PIDs and Mondiale doesn't ............so,  based on Abe's E61-HX temp adjustment charts I did indeed crank-up the temp.......I don't own a thermometer, but the change was not subtle. #3 opened-up into a nice tasting shot and #2 paled. #1 was still pretty tart as a straight shot, but calmed-down quite a bit with the rise in temp. I had the oportunity to listen to Mike and Peter chat about the feedback Mike had received from each of the testers. The short story is that Mike sent me home with blend #4. I don't remember the componants, but I expect that this one will still want to be run hot. Peter and Mike both confirmed that the Brazil for #4 has been roasted deeper than for either #1, #2, or #3......this may make it a little more forgiving with regard to temperature settings.

The eye opener for me is that Temp makes a huge deal...particularly with lighter roast blends like these. My routine with Mondiale has been to purge until the "water-dance" is finished and then an aproximately equal volume more, then lock and pull. This is mostly idiot proof, (always best for me!), with Toscano or Forte......both have big wacks of dark-roast....as Mike pointed out. But this routine wasn't working on these lighter roasts and I was ready to reject #3  as yucky until my fellow geeks sent me back to school to learn about allowing time for the temp to rebound after the flush. Now I need to spend some time with a thermometer and measure-out my own temp charts for Mondiale. My daughter, Aubrey, thinks I should quit messin' with that stuff and just upgrade to one of the new LM single group machines..........dream-on girl!

I didn't get to visit much with the gang over by the Linea, but I observed some very nice lattes and macchiatos commin' off. And Richard kindly pulled a double espresso for me...Thanks!

All good fun.......and I learn somethin' new each time! ...even if it how not to pronounce "nuclear" and contribute to the down-fall of American society.
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CupaJoeKid
Senior Member
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 Sat Apr 30, 2005, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

Since these are my blends I'll limit my comments and let my tasters speak for themselves, but I have definitely learned quite a bit myself about temp adjustments.  Most all of my home blends are roasted as a couple of varieties in each roaster load, and each load gets taken to light Vienna.  Not exactly the most sophisticated way to get the optimal roast for each bean, but hey, it works for me.  Playing with the reblend of Aficionado has been challenging because I have tried to relate my blending experiments at home to use of stocks roasted by CCC.  And that is indeed a different game.  Even with exactly the same proportions, and what would appear to be relatively close roast levels, the shots are coming out extremely different.  Good, but in a much different way.  For sure, much more bright at the very least.

As David points out, pulling a dark roasted blend is actually pretty foolproof.  Even though I sit on a PID'ed machine, most of the time I move the temp (and it is rare) it is due to superstition, boredom, or trying to adjust around a roast that I might have blown.  Tasting these new blends with obviously extremely competent, yet lighter, roasts by CCC have really opened my eyes to how critical pull temp really is.  A three degree swing is the difference between a nasty acrid shot, and something that actually tastes quite nice.

From the three tasters' experiments, we've definitely found some variation across the tasters; maybe a bad day, differences in warmup time, palate, technique, etc.  But there was a lot of consistency and we did determine that overall #1 was the most solid for balance and taste, as well as being the most versatile.  So, we are going to run with those proportions of base, body, acidity and accent beans.  We have decided to swap out to a different Central (acidity) for #4 for this round of tasting.  At least in the shot I just did a few minutes ago, the results were extremely promising.

-mike
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beta14ok
Senior Member
beta14ok
Joined: 3 Mar 2003
Posts: 41
Location: Apex, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Mondiale
Grinder: Faema S6..or jez crunchum w/...
Vac Pot: Nope....Press-Pot only
Drip: Nope....Press-Pot only
Roaster: Counter-Culture-Coffee!
Posted Sat May 14, 2005, 1:37pm
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

Friday the 13th of May -

Let's see...Richard, John, Lino, the-ever-beautiful Isabella (favoring the new Ken Nye Espresso Craft chrome-tamper), Dan, and myself turned-out for the Espresso Lab.

Read about Lino's doserless Mazzer grinder mod w/ picture of the "creature" we were playing with here:

Read about the Urnex Grindz here:

Will somebody post that fruit-bomb blend we were sampling.....very interesting stuff!

-dmm
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cubiro
Senior Member
cubiro
Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Troy, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Fiorenzato Briccoletta,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Solis 166
Vac Pot: none
Drip: what is that?
Roaster: The Poppery
Posted Tue May 17, 2005, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

Hi,
I was just wondering if you could give me some tips on blends.  I have used sweetmarias's monkey, amber and italian for some time.  Recently, I have been roasting caracolillo coffee company's blend as well as some Venezuelan Miramar Organic.
We did not get a chance to talk much at CCC that one friday.  I am the guy that lives two hours away in Troy.

 
jordi
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HB
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Apr 2003
Posts: 2,913
Location: Cary, NC
Posted Wed May 18, 2005, 9:05am
Subject: Re: Friday Espresso Lab at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC
 

Hey Jordi, you should hook up with Mike Walsh. We've been road testing his blends for awhile now and I think he's nailed a winner. BTW, I really appreciate you taking the time to drive all the way from Troy to meet with us, it was a real pleasure.

-- Dan

 
www.home-barista.com
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