Sour British Beans

Tell us about the latest beans you've discovered and blends you've tried

Moderators: CakeBoy, GreenBean, Gouezeri, bruceb

RE: Grazie!

Postby CakeBoy » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:30 am

Piero wrote:Is the preferred espresso bean in the UK like the sour British tomato ..


I missed the bit where the OP opined about British tomatoes until it was quoted above by Isjms, and I must object old boy. By all means say anything about our coffee, and indeed our battery acid (which I personally rather enjoy as an after dinner digestive) but I say, steady on old stick, British tomatoes are another matter entirely! ;)

Good grief, they'll be having a dig at the old King Eddies next and then where will we be? :lol:

Seriously though, straight out of a home greenhouse and the old 'toms' are wonderfully sweet and juicy. I loikes 'matoes me :P
www.CakeBoy.co.uk
International muffin blagger

Iberital L'Anna 1 Gp Hand-Fill | Wega Orion 2 Gp | Bezzera 1 Gp | Rancilio Audrey PID | Spidem Trevi
Iberital MC2 Timed | Macap M4 DS & MXA DS | Mazzer SJ | Starbucks Barista Grinder (Dualit E60/Solis 166)
Pinhalense 2x500g Gas Batch/Sample Roaster | Gene Cafe | IMEX CR-100
Aerobie | eSantos | Zassenhaus | Bodum P/Over | Chemex | Hario Woodneck | Timer Filter
User avatar
CakeBoy
 
Posts: 9973
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:43 pm
Location: Oxfordshire, England

Postby Piero » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:48 pm

Isjms wrote:

... the preferred bean is actually the sour Italian charcoal on aisle 17


?? Please explain what this means.


Johnny Foreigner
Piero
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:59 pm
Location: UK

Postby Bombcup » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:54 pm

I think it's your casual use of stereotyping which is just far too easy to turn straight back at you, given the impression here that most Italian espresso is a ghastly abomination of oil covered jet black robusta.

I'm sure you don't think this is entirely true. Neither do I, which is why I wouldn't start a thread questioning why Italians like low quality over-roasted espresso.
User avatar
Bombcup
 
Posts: 860
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Wellingborough, Northants

Postby lsjms » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:13 pm

Haha.

The big espresso roasters blends like Illy and Lavazza as well as the chain cafes et al are available in the supermarkets and are likely the first espresso for a lot of people, I now find them sour, burnt, stale and unpleasant. Our national average taste is for what I think of as Italian style, but this forum is not really about average and the nation is learning.

I was implying that knowledge of a countries food is fine thing. I know what a good tomato is and I can tell you where to get some if you wish as well as coffee. I wish you would do the same for us and suggest a good Italian roaster, because I sort of struggle to see what Italian coffee is all about. Yes you guys invented it, but we invented football and we are s**te at that.
User avatar
lsjms
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:53 pm
Location: London, UK

Postby Piero » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:56 pm

Please look at what I originally wrote. It was interrogative.

I made no assertions about British beans but simply asked questions, hoping that such questions would not receive affirmative replies that there actually was a preference for sourness in the UK. I wanted more recommendations for UK beans that would dispel the notion of any national penchant for sourness. Since then I've tried beans that really do dispel this idea, from roasters like James' Gourmet.

The best coffee in Italy, for me, came from small local roasters in the towns I lived in. For example there were 3 or 4 in Ragusa, Sicily, offering a range of beans & blends, the more expensive sometimes evoking a quasi-mystical espresso experience when fresh. (Many locals were of course content to buy the cheapest black, oily, 40% robusta blends or ground Lavazza for their stovetops.) The next time I visit such places I could ask them to send fresh beans to me here in the UK, but I hesitate because they usually want payment in cash, it's complicated, etc.

There still of course remains a difference in taste & preference, and there are some beans from UK roasters (e.g. Hasbean) I find very acidic, no matter how I prepare shots using them. De gustibus...
Piero
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:59 pm
Location: UK

Postby Chris » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:28 pm

Quasi-mystical espresso, that's my favourite kind! Sicily is a place I was always hoping to visit, now I have a few extra reasons ;o) What are the names of those roasters and what cafes whould you suggest we visit to have a taste?

Kind of changing the discussion a bit but I am really interested.

Glad you were able to come to your own conclusion on this... Will have to try some of James's beans too soon.

Cheers
Chris
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:55 pm
Location: London

Postby Chris » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:31 pm

Oh and you should have a try of the Nude Espresso blend as it might be more to your taste. I've had it a few times at their bar recently and was really impressed.
Chris
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:55 pm
Location: London

Postby Viernes » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:34 pm

I'd like to ask about the new SquareMile Summer Blend but in the end, probably most of you will say that it's very sweet and for me will be very sour like the past Spring blend... Hehe, I'm start to suspect that the "problem" must be my own understanding of "how espresso should taste" and, like Piero, seems to be different of what you guys like. :)

Anyways, how about SQM Summer blend? :roll:
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II ♦ Mypressi Twist ♦ Eva Solo ♦ Hario TCA-5
Mahlkönig K30 Vario ♦ Mahlkönig Vario
Quest M3 ♦ Gene Café
User avatar
Viernes
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:11 am
Location: close to Madrid, Spain

Postby jossy » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:16 pm

oton wrote:
Anyways, how about SQM Summer blend? :roll:


Excellent and super-bright! (probably indeed too sour for you :P )
It's less "alive" than the spring blend for me, but more complex with more spice and punch. I think basically that it's the Colombia El Meridiano that I fell in love with in the spring blend: I roasted some myself (beans from James Gourmet) and it's a wonderful coffee with a very rounded sweet acidity, even in my amateur roasts. In the Spring Blend it really came alive.

I was thinking of doing a round tasting coffees in various places (when I get back from holidays) with pH paper at hand to see how the true acidity compares to perceived sourness or brightness. I'll report on this forum if I ever get around to it (I have a daytime job as well :roll: )
Quest M3 - iRoast2 - Mahlkönig Vario - PIDed Gaggia Classic at home - - Electric Cezve/Ibriki and Iberital MC2 at work - Aeroporess - Hario TCA Syphons - Hario Skerton and Porlex Hand Grinders - Chemex
User avatar
jossy
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:02 pm
Location: London, UK

Postby Viernes » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:22 pm

jossy wrote: super-bright!

Image

I'm going to try it anyway. :lol:


Kingseven, let my coffee roast a couple of minutes more, please. :lol: :lol:
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II ♦ Mypressi Twist ♦ Eva Solo ♦ Hario TCA-5
Mahlkönig K30 Vario ♦ Mahlkönig Vario
Quest M3 ♦ Gene Café
User avatar
Viernes
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:11 am
Location: close to Madrid, Spain

Postby Gouezeri » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Your request might fare better if it was directed at either of the talented female roasters that do all of the roasting for SQM!

I also wonder whether you might not enjoy the Flat White/Milk Bar blend. I don't think SQM sell it retail, but I do believe it is on sale in the Flat White/Milk Bar cafés, so you could get some sent.
This week I are feeling sleepy!
User avatar
Gouezeri
 
Posts: 4187
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:56 am

Postby Viernes » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:13 pm

Female roastas!? Oh Yeah!! :D I was kidding anyway, I did my order in the morning. :)

Whats that flat white blend?!?
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II ♦ Mypressi Twist ♦ Eva Solo ♦ Hario TCA-5
Mahlkönig K30 Vario ♦ Mahlkönig Vario
Quest M3 ♦ Gene Café
User avatar
Viernes
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:11 am
Location: close to Madrid, Spain

Postby ahgee2 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:14 pm

oton wrote:Whats that flat white blend?!?


It's a bespoke blend that Square Mile produce for Flat White and Milk Bar, two excellent cafes in Soho, London. Gouezeri is suggesting that it might be less bright than their retail offering, but if it is it's not by much. I've had super-bright (and super-delicious) shots pulled for me in both these cafes.

Oton, I've really enjoyed reading your beautifully illustrated "this is what sour looks like" posts, made me laugh every time! But as someone who divides their time between the UK and Spain (not far from Madrid), perhaps I can shed some light on the taste conundrum.

The espresso you get offered in a typical Madrid bar, and what you'd get offered in, say, Milk Bar, are just totally different drinks. One is made from mostly low grade commidity coffee, usually with a significant proportion roasted torrefacto (ie. sprayed with sugar) to sweeten it up a little. It's probably several months post-roast before you get to drink it. The other is blended from single estate coffees and expertly roasted (often lightly!) to bring out the nuances of the particular beans. It is consumed within a few weeks of roasting at most.

I really used to enjoy Madrid coffee, and would source all my beans for home consumption from Cafes la Mexicana and Cafe y Te. And so I would have gone on quite happily had I not stumbled upon the speciality scene and taken up home roasting. These days, I buy mostly greens but every now and then treat myself to something from one of the leading UK roasters to see what I'm aiming for. Like you, with my palate tuned to Madrid torrefacto, I initially found these way too acidic. Like you, I then started to question everything about my espresso technique - grind, dose, temperature - but nothing I did would tone down that acidity very much. Then I took myself down to London one day, spent a highly caffeinated day sampling espressos at some of Soho's finest cafes (with frequent pit stops at Princi for cake...) until it dawned on me: it's supposed to taste like this!

For the rest of my story, I think Jossy summed it all up nicely earlier in this thread. I came to love this style of coffee and find that it offers so much more, in terms of complexity and nuance, than what I was happily drinking before. So when your Square Mile summer espresso arrives next week, don't worry about your technique (the kit you've got is more than capable of bringing the best out of it), but instead try to ask yourself what it is that people like about this stuff! Look beyond the acidity - which should be positively refreshing - to the depth of flavour beneath it. And if you can't find anything, well that's no problem at all, everyone has different tastes, and you're lucky since there are plenty of places in Madrid where you can pick up the style of coffee you like!

Hasta luego,

Andrew
ahgee2
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:02 pm
Location: Cambridge UK

coffee in Sicily

Postby Piero » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:34 pm

Chris asks about roasters & bars in Sicily.

I'm familiar with the south eastern part of the island. (The north & north west around Palermo are too full of mafia scum.) There are virtually no tourists, apart from Taormina, next to Mt Etna, and there are many beautiful towns. One of my favourite baroque stone towns is Noto, which is stunningly lovely, quiet and inexpensive. There aren't many shops there, but the visitor should visit every bar and sample the espresso. You may also find a roaster (sometimes with 'Torrefazione' on the sign outside.) Try Siracusa for a city with some wonderful bars.

It depends on which part of a town you visit. The poorer areas will have some dark little bars filled with dark little locals playing cards and eyeing the visitor-intruder suspiciously. They are always courteous, but many hardly speak Italian, let alone English, and their local dialect is almost a growl. Sometimes their coffee will be crap; sometimes stupendous.

Stand at the counter to drink your espresso (if you sit they charge more than the legally prescribed price per cup.) Simply ask for "un caffe'" or "due caffe'" (one or 2 espressos) or "un espresso" ("ristretto" will get you a small thimbleful). (Only foreigners say 'please' or 'thank you', unless they're doing you a special favour.) If you really like the coffee, some bars will sell you some of their bar 'miscela' (blend): ask for 'un etto' (100 grams) or 'due etti' (200g). ('Chicchi' means unground beans (pronounced 'kick-y'))

I wonder if the idea of a coffee tour would work, like a gastronomic one. The food, incidentally, from this area is wonderful and surprisingly cheap. I salivatingly recall the most fabulous Ravioli di ricotta (with pork gravy) in a tiny trattoria down a back street in Noto.

Go for it, Chris!
Pavoni lever, R Silvia
Piero
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:59 pm
Location: UK

RE: coffee in Sicily

Postby Chris » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:54 pm

Thanks for the write up Piero, sounds amazing... I think a coffee and food tour would be very interesting as a tourist offering.

Many thanks
Chris
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:55 pm
Location: London

PreviousNext

Return to Beans, Blending and Cupping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest