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Date: 27 Jan 2007 08:13:51
From:
Subject: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
which green beans to purchase.

Given that I've never actually *tried* any single origin or blends out
there, do you think it is ster to purchase a bunch of single
origins from somewhere like Sweet ia's or CoffeeWholesalers and see
how they taste individually to get an idea of how that particular
region (i.e: Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, etc) is, and then look into
blending a couple of the single origins I tested into something
"more"? OR would it be wise to purchase a blend such as Malabar Gold,
Monkey, or Moka Kadir which I know is good (I know it's subjective,
but the majority seem to like them)? Part of me likes the blend
method because this way if I don't like the taste than I can eliminate
the variable of it being the beans and contribute it to my lack of
roasting experience, whereas if I did it with a single origin I
wouldn't be sure probably if it's just the bean or how I roasted
them. But another part of me wouldn't mind testing out single origins
to get a feel for how they taste.

What do you think? If you could even give suggestions on which single
origins or blends to go with (whatever answer you decide), that would
be helpful as well as there is a lot out there and as I said, I'm
pretty much clueless as to how they are.

Rob





 
Date:
From:
Subject:


 
Date: 28 Jan 2007 10:39:44
From: Bob Wilson
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
<robgct@gmail.com > wrote:

> I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
> it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
> and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
> beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
> ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
> which green beans to purchase.
>
> Given that I've never actually *tried* any single origin or blends out
> there, do you think it is ster to purchase a bunch of single
> origins from somewhere like Sweet ia's or CoffeeWholesalers and see
> how they taste individually to get an idea of how that particular
> region (i.e: Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, etc) is, and then look into
> blending . . .

YES! Once you've mapped the different taste vectors, you can blend the
roasted beans in different proportions to achieve the bend that matches
what you want. Just be patient and perform the experiment.

When I got my first espresso machine, I started with small samples of
each, non-blended coffee from the superket. At that time, I made
cappuccinos using condensed and sweetened condensed milk. At this time,
I was using a blend I made in the store, half espresso and french-roast.

Later, I brought the machine into work and started buying coffee from
the local roaster. This led to reducing the amount of milk and switching
between their espresso roast and Sumatrian. I continued to experiment
and eventually tried the Kona.

I started roasting my own using Sumatrian and separately, Kona. Again,
the proportion of milk got smaller and I was pretty happy. Then I found
Smithfarms Kona.

A funny thing happened when Smithfarms turned out to be very affordable.
I stopped buying Sumatrian and home roasted my Kona. At work the ratio
of milk to coffee soon disappeared and now I drink straight, Knoa
expresso shots.

When I have to drink commerical coffee, I alway make sure milk products
are avaiable and sad to say, find it is needed. But when I drink my home
roasted Kona, I don't need it diluted.

This whole exercise started in 1997 and didn't stablize until about
2002-2003. So don't be impatient but do the job right. You'll ultimately
be much, much happier.

BTW, I have not tried Blue Mountain nor a host of various coffees folks
swear by. I just know what I like in my cuppa and that is what I'm
getting, now.

One last thing, I found store grinders to less than consistent and often
contaminated by previous 'flavored' coffees. I went with a manual, burr
grinder and other than making the mistake of getting the 'knee held'
one, have been pretty happy.

Bob Wilson


 
Date: 28 Jan 2007 06:14:33
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
shall, Andy, and Danny (all guys a lot more experienced than I) are
right on target. You're taking on too many variables at once. Get
your grinding and preparation techniques in hand first, then move on
to roasting.

Espresso blends differ dramatically in taste and those differences
become more apparent as you gain experience. Brewing beans from good
commercial roasters (Intelligentsia is my fave but there are a number
of others) will help you to learn the differences and to settle on
what tastes best to you. Then you can home in on that taste with your
home roasts.

You may find it helpful to invite an experienced friend (if available)
to come over and help you, not just with technique but also with
calibrating your taste buds. Otherwise, you are likely to flounder
for a good while, as many of us--myself included--did.

Good luck!



 
Date: 27 Jan 2007 17:34:17
From:
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
Short answer: roast pre-roast blends from recommended vendors.

Good advice about the sample packs. By the time you start to
recognize the characteristics of the SO, you're done with that sample,
and then good luck trying to remember why you liked it.. By far, the
slowest learning curve (compared to roasting and pulling shots) is the
cupping curve. You might recognize a stunning shot when it hits your
mouth, but it's a long slow climb to learn how to translate that shot
into useful information for roasting, blending, shot-pulling.

OTOH, I wouldn't discourage you from the I-Roast. Just buy 5 lbs of a
recommended pre-roast espresso blend, and get to learn the blend and
machine. Plenty of people to help coach you with that particular I-
Roast/blend match, and if not "professional quality," it will be good
and replicable. And fun.

Most important is having an external way to calibrate your final cup---
so that you know better what to aspire to. Ordering high-quality
roasted beans is a good. Also (maybe better), locate a fine cafe and
compare your work with theirs. In my case, I believe that it was
shall who recommended a brilliant cafe that's only 5 minutes from
my house----Cafe Luxxe. After a few visits I began to rethink the
ever-so-fine distinction between "whoa! bright" and sour. Been
working on that. Another example: a very careful barista at a Peets
in Freemont CA, served me a sweet and creamy caramel shot that was
"some Indians" and "a little robusta." ?? And that sent me off
on several new directions.

Did I say, "have fun"?
Have fun.
tin

On Jan 27, 2:37 pm, Andy Schecter
<schec...@remove.me.rochester.rr.com > wrote:
> shall wrote:
> > What you want to do at the beginning is keep your variables to a
> > minimum.
> <snip>
> > So, I would suggest you find some reasonably priced, good quality,
> > professionally roasted coffee.
> <snip>
> > Then, when you have your technique down, sample the world!Very wise advice. I wish you had told me this when I started out, shall!
>
> -Andy S



 
Date: 27 Jan 2007 18:33:02
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
On 27 Jan 2007 08:13:51 -0800, robgct@gmail.com wrote:

>I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
>it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
>and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
>beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
>ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
>which green beans to purchase.

Let me suggest an entirely different approach. If you scan the history
of new Silvia/Rocky owners, you will see hundreds of cries for help as
they learn the quirks of their machines. It usually takes a few weeks
or even months for them to settle on a ritual of weight, grind,
distribution and tamp that works in an acceptably predictable way (It
certainly did for me). While all this is going on, they are burning
through many pounds of coffee.

What you want to do at the beginning is keep your variables to a
minimum. It's the only way to figure out what you are doing wrong,
and, trust me, at first you will be doing most things wrong, even if
you have experience with other equipment. You most definitely do not
want to be learning how to make espresso and how to roast coffee,
while running through a smorgasbord of beans, all at the same time.

So, I would suggest you find some reasonably priced, good quality,
professionally roasted coffee. Since you say there are no roasters in
your area (are you sure?), you should know that Barry Jarrett is
offering free shipping, and you won't do much better than his Decatur
Street or Taliaferro blends. Wherever you live in the U.S., you will
get it at or near its prime. www.rileys-coffee.com/

Then, when you have your technique down, sample the world!

shall


  
Date: 28 Jan 2007 17:51:08
From: Espressopithecus (Java Man)
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
In article <fp5nr21pmrgbd00tvp3p7iem9tljhu0c7l@4ax.com >,
mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net says...
> when you have your technique down, sample the world!
>
Sage advice.

Rick


  
Date: 28 Jan 2007 10:09:44
From: Danny
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight
shall wrote:
> On 27 Jan 2007 08:13:51 -0800, robgct@gmail.com wrote:
>
>
>>I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
>>it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
>>and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
>>beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
>>ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
>>which green beans to purchase.
>
>
> Let me suggest an entirely different approach. If you scan the history
> of new Silvia/Rocky owners, you will see hundreds of cries for help as
> they learn the quirks of their machines. It usually takes a few weeks
> or even months for them to settle on a ritual of weight, grind,
> distribution and tamp that works in an acceptably predictable way (It
> certainly did for me). While all this is going on, they are burning
> through many pounds of coffee.
>
> What you want to do at the beginning is keep your variables to a
> minimum. It's the only way to figure out what you are doing wrong,
> and, trust me, at first you will be doing most things wrong, even if
> you have experience with other equipment. You most definitely do not
> want to be learning how to make espresso and how to roast coffee,
> while running through a smorgasbord of beans, all at the same time.
>
> So, I would suggest you find some reasonably priced, good quality,
> professionally roasted coffee. Since you say there are no roasters in
> your area (are you sure?), you should know that Barry Jarrett is
> offering free shipping, and you won't do much better than his Decatur
> Street or Taliaferro blends. Wherever you live in the U.S., you will
> get it at or near its prime. www.rileys-coffee.com/
>
> Then, when you have your technique down, sample the world!
>
> shall

I completely agree. There are going to be too many variables to be
able to accurately pin a problem on one thing. I'd use a commercial
espresso blend until I was happy with my espresso technique before I
started home roasting and creating blends.

--
Regards, Danny

http://www.gaggia-espresso.com (a purely hobby site)
http://www.malabargold.co.uk (UK/EU ordering for Malabar Gold blend)



  
Date: 27 Jan 2007 17:37:25
From: Andy Schecter
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight
shall wrote:
> What you want to do at the beginning is keep your variables to a
> minimum.
<snip >
> So, I would suggest you find some reasonably priced, good quality,
> professionally roasted coffee.
<snip >
> Then, when you have your technique down, sample the world!

Very wise advice. I wish you had told me this when I started out, shall!

-Andy S


 
Date: 27 Jan 2007 10:17:20
From: LF
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?


On Jan 27, 11:13 am, rob...@gmail.com wrote:
> I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I<snip> What do you think? If you could even give suggestions on which single
> origins or blends to go with <snip>

Rob,
I agree with Robt and Lloyd about trying a SM sample pack. I did just
that about ago. My $0.02 about the iRoast: 1. Single origin
expresso is a little easier to roast. The iRoast tends to roast
fast, and my favorite blend (SMs Liquid Amber) contains beans that
roast differently. That said, I just stuck with roasting Liquid Amber
until it came out to my satisfactioin.
2. The temp. settings and temp. feedback from the iRoast are way
off. I found that getting a thermometer (SM has a good digitial one
for $30 and a good analog one for $5) really helped me learn to use
the iRoast. I drilled a hole thru the cap and the chaff collector,
and put the sensor from an analog themometer into the bean mass. If
you want to maintain your warranty, you probably should get the
digital thermometer, and snake the lead wire into the bean chamber.
The digitial one is closer to "instant read."

Best,
Larry



 
Date: 27 Jan 2007 16:35:03
From: Robert Harmon
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
Howdy Rob!
Correct answer? D, all of the above.

Since you'll be roasting green beans what's to stop you from ordering a
sampler of SO's from Sweet ia's AND a blend such as their Monkey or
Donkey blend? You'd have a better basis for analyzing the SO's as you switch
back & forth from blend to SO combinations.

BTW, congrats on joining this group of fanatics. We're mostly harmless,
occasionally helpful, sometimes humorous, and every once in a while out &
out aggravating. But, we all love coffee & promote it in our own ways.
ENJOY!
--
Robert (Gig 'em!) Harmon
http://tinyurl.com/pou2y
http://tinyurl.com/psfob
http://tinyurl.com/fkd6r

<robgct@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1169914431.570207.240370@k78g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
> it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
> and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
> beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
> ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
> which green beans to purchase.
>
> Given that I've never actually *tried* any single origin or blends out
> there, do you think it is ster to purchase a bunch of single
> origins from somewhere like Sweet ia's or CoffeeWholesalers and see
> how they taste individually to get an idea of how that particular
> region (i.e: Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, etc) is, and then look into
> blending a couple of the single origins I tested into something
> "more"? OR would it be wise to purchase a blend such as Malabar Gold,
> Monkey, or Moka Kadir which I know is good (I know it's subjective,
> but the majority seem to like them)? Part of me likes the blend
> method because this way if I don't like the taste than I can eliminate
> the variable of it being the beans and contribute it to my lack of
> roasting experience, whereas if I did it with a single origin I
> wouldn't be sure probably if it's just the bean or how I roasted
> them. But another part of me wouldn't mind testing out single origins
> to get a feel for how they taste.
>
> What do you think? If you could even give suggestions on which single
> origins or blends to go with (whatever answer you decide), that would
> be helpful as well as there is a lot out there and as I said, I'm
> pretty much clueless as to how they are.
>
> Rob
>




  
Date: 27 Jan 2007 11:24:24
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: First timer: should I try single origin first or jump straight to blends?
I agree with you, Robert. I know of no other way to find out which
coffees please more (or less) than getting a sample pack. I've done
that with every order because the varieties change fairly often at SM.

One downside I noticed in them is that occasionally they will put a
coffee in there that is close to end of sales and if you like it you
can't then order some more. That happened with one of my orders. Got a
delicious Kenya Gethumbwini but couldn't order more later.

Also, when you order a sample pack, you can email them with the order
nummber and ask for something to be in there, like a couple of blends or
a decaf. While they won't guarantee that it will happen, it usually
does. SM is quite accomodating I've found.

Lloyd


In article <XaLuh.15889$yx6.2239@newsread2.news.pas.earthlink.net >,
"Robert Harmon" <r_h_harmon@Zhotmail.com > wrote:

> Howdy Rob!
> Correct answer? D, all of the above.
>
> Since you'll be roasting green beans what's to stop you from ordering a
> sampler of SO's from Sweet ia's AND a blend such as their Monkey or
> Donkey blend? You'd have a better basis for analyzing the SO's as you switch
> back & forth from blend to SO combinations.
>
> BTW, congrats on joining this group of fanatics. We're mostly harmless,
> occasionally helpful, sometimes humorous, and every once in a while out &
> out aggravating. But, we all love coffee & promote it in our own ways.
> ENJOY!
> --
> Robert (Gig 'em!) Harmon
> http://tinyurl.com/pou2y
> http://tinyurl.com/psfob
> http://tinyurl.com/fkd6r
>
> <robgct@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1169914431.570207.240370@k78g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > I'm very new to espresso and home roasting. I actually just got into
> > it about 2-4 weeks ago. That said, I have a Silvia/Rocky coming soon
> > and decided I also wanted to jump in and roast my own to ensure my
> > beans are fresh (given that there's no local roasters). So I plan on
> > ordering a Hearthware iRoast 2, but I'm having trouble deciding on
> > which green beans to purchase.
> >
> > Given that I've never actually *tried* any single origin or blends out
> > there, do you think it is ster to purchase a bunch of single
> > origins from somewhere like Sweet ia's or CoffeeWholesalers and see
> > how they taste individually to get an idea of how that particular
> > region (i.e: Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, etc) is, and then look into
> > blending a couple of the single origins I tested into something
> > "more"? OR would it be wise to purchase a blend such as Malabar Gold,
> > Monkey, or Moka Kadir which I know is good (I know it's subjective,
> > but the majority seem to like them)? Part of me likes the blend
> > method because this way if I don't like the taste than I can eliminate
> > the variable of it being the beans and contribute it to my lack of
> > roasting experience, whereas if I did it with a single origin I
> > wouldn't be sure probably if it's just the bean or how I roasted
> > them. But another part of me wouldn't mind testing out single origins
> > to get a feel for how they taste.
> >
> > What do you think? If you could even give suggestions on which single
> > origins or blends to go with (whatever answer you decide), that would
> > be helpful as well as there is a lot out there and as I said, I'm
> > pretty much clueless as to how they are.
> >
> > Rob
> >