Costa Rican El Portillo

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Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby dsc » Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:32 pm

Hi everyone,

I got a pack of this CoE (250g) a few days ago and I have to say it's a rather picky little bastard. Tried it as a double with around 14.5g doses and I had to seriously turn my grinder down to a finer grind (a couple of notches) to get anything drinkable. But even than I got stange looking pours, thin, too little crema and too little coffee in the cup (coarser grind setting produced blond gushers). I also tried it as a FP and it was really nice, sweet, chocalate-like, a bit spicy which of course doesn't change the fact that I still can't produce a decent tasting espresso.

Anyone had similar problems? or is it only me and my crappy skills? I will try it again today with a slightly bigger dose (15.5g) but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to perfect it, as I only have like 50g left.

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby Bennicus » Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:53 pm

Just finished the last of my 500g bag of this today, I didn't manage to get a decent shot out of it but I only tried 3 or 4 times, rest of it I used in the FP as I was enjoying it so much there I didn't want to waste it trying to get the perfect shot!
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby quoad » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:20 pm

OK...

I really struggled with this in the Elektra MCAL (lever). The pour seemed ok - but I couldn't get any body or, frankly, flavour. Thin is definitely the word; though all the shots I'm pouring atm are ristretto range (1 oz-ish), as I haven't yet worked out how to re-crank the lever without wrecking the puck.

In the Zaff, it's been more forgiving. I've been able to get far more consistent pours - and've gotten a far better idea of the profile Steve describes on HB. Still nothing earth-shattering, but much more of a rounded, deeper cup. With a tingle of elderflower-ish-ness.

There've still been a few spritzy / dodgy shots, mind - more so than usual. It also seemed to benefit from being left for a few days - fresh through in the post I was having a much harder time wi it.

HOWEVER. Still have 250g left.

Having read your comments, gents, I think the remainder'll be vacpotted :)
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby dsc » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:35 pm

Hi there,

I've just ordered some more from SMC and I'm really curious how it's going to work, especially now when I discovered that you need a proper medium-heavy tamp on the Elektra to get anything good out of it.

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby quoad » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:56 pm

Will be interested to hear how it goes, dsc!
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby Glenn » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:09 pm

No probs so far - had a dozen espressos from my bag and each time worked out great - taste and mouthfeel as described.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby dsc » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:11 pm

Hi again,

so I got the package on Saturday and, at least for now, I have to stick to what I said before. As a FP it's a lovely thing, seriously. Tried it with a rather coarse grind, temps somewhere in the range of 92*C, dose around 65g/1l and I let it brew for 4min. The result was very nice, again as mentioned before, chocolate, nuts, a little bit 'roasty' (if that's a word) but I'm not surprised as it was almost fresh from the roaster. Again I got that funny, spicy, chilli kind of flavour, as well as something which tastes like ozon ?! I can't define it, but it's a really fresh, 'full of oxygen' kind of taste.

On Sunday I tried it as espresso and the same thing as before happened. Had to turn down my grinder to get a proper pour, the dose I'm using now (14-14.5g) seems very low as this coffee is quite heavy. This means that my tamper got stuck on the ridge before I could properly tamp the bastard. Still it gave a rather nice extraction, blonding a bit to fast, but it's probably too fresh to use yet anyway. I brewed it at 92-93*C and it was bloody sour, I mean seriously lemon juice all the way. I will try to brew two more shots today and see what happens (using 15g).

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby Gwilym » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:46 pm

have had great filters from El Portillo but would not think it would be suitable for espresso, i better try it.
How about asking them about their latest espresso blend. It is not on their website but I am sure Taste of Bitter Love on the Hackney Road sell it
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby dsc » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:20 pm

Hi again,

I've tried it as espresso and I have to say that something is very wrong here, but I'm not sure what. I've set my grinder to deliver a rather tight ristretto and at 93*C it was again very sour. Reduced the grinder setting by a notch and rasied the dose to 15g. Tried it at 93*C again and again it was sour, tried it at 94*C and it was a bit better, but still not as good as it should be. To top it all it blonds really fast, even though it start beautifully, with an even beading and drops of dark brown liquid.

Not sure if it's still too fresh, or if I'm doing something wrong, but I will probably stick to FP when brewing Portillo in the future.

Gwilym have you tried it as an espresso already?

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby kingseven » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:10 pm

The El Portillo we roast isn't really intended for espresso - more for traditional brewing. With coffees like that if you push them further in the roast they may be good in an espresso machine but when brewed normally will have lost a lot of their fun and distinct characteristics.

Espresso machines, IMHO, are one of the most flawed brewing coffee devices available.
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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby dsc » Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:50 pm

Hi James,

I'm just really surprised to see how hard it is to get something good out of it, especially hearing how people are doing espressi based on this coffee and getting good results. It just looks like no matter what I do it stays sour. I guess this will be one of those coffees for the morning, from the press.

Regards,
dsc.
"This week I are mostly...trying to build a grinder..."

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RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby syscrusher » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:28 am

I didn't touch this on the espresso machine. As others have said, the bean itself to a degree, and the roast are not suited to espresso. Maybe as a component of a blend it could work, but the brightness and acidity will be overwhelming on espresso.

On the French Press though, I really enjoyed Portillo. Big and juicy.
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Re: RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby Gwilym » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:45 pm

dsc wrote:
Gwilym have you tried it as an espresso already?



tried it today. no luck. will stick to my filter cone
all this trying, testing, tasting is one of the things about coffee that frustrates me but has me addicted
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RE: Re: RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby darrensandford » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:50 am

I am trying the hasbean one at the moment, and have had three lovely sweet shots from it so far, all not-heavily dosed normal doubles.
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RE: Re: RE: Costa Rican El Portillo

Postby Chrisweaver » Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:22 am

I'm also trying the Hasbean El Portillo. But even looking at the paleness of the roast, I wouldn't put it near my machine.

As a pour-over coffee using the swiss gold, I'm getting the strong cherry/marzipam notes, and certainly the brightness, but alas it isn't enough to change my opinions on Costa Rican coffee, just not the profile for me!
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