Sour British Beans

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

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Postby Piero » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:12 pm

Two more UK roasters I've found who sell some very nice low-acidity blends are Roberts & Co and Buono Espresso. I suppose I'm used to a dark roast and find it difficult to enjoy the lighter ones.
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Postby RolandGlew » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:27 pm

One quick extra thought Piero & Oton, some roasters - particularly HasBean - send out very fresh beans. I'm a big fan of acidity, but I've had a couple of bags that have improved for a bit of rest and degassing - it might be worth resting your beans for a week and seeing if that improves it for you.

Glad you found some UK roasters you're enjoying Piero :)
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Postby Viernes » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:52 pm

Much thanks for the long answer Andrew!! :shock:

ahgee2 wrote:
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!


Yep. I know about the "torrefacto" situation here. Some bars serves it, and you can buy it in the supermarkets. The funny thing is that when you go to the supermrkt, you can see 2 types of coffee, one called "Natural" and the other called "Mezcla" (Blend). The "Natural" means only coffee without sugar (Torrefacto) and the "Mezcla" one means a blend of "natural" with "torrefacto" which usually is 70/30 or 50/50! Nothing to do with the term "Blend" of different S.O. :roll:

Anyways, I barely drink coffee in the spanish bars. Most of times, is not always, the coffee is baaaaad, with stale beans, with dirty PF&Groups, and over or under extracted.

Italian coffee was that made me have interest about the coffee world. Some shots drinked in Sardinia but specially some on a little italian bar in Stockholm (Sosta Espresso Bar)


So when your Square Mile summer espresso arrives next week, don't worry about your technique, 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.


I'M READY!!, I'M READY!!!

Image

Image

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Last edited by Viernes on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ahgee2 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:27 pm

So, how was it ??? (waits patiently while Oton goes and finds another visual representation of sour to entertain us all with ....)
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Postby Viernes » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:46 am

:(

Unfortunately I haven't recieved yet. Very strange. The postman should be making some good cafes.
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Postby Kaz » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:50 pm

This discussion has highlighted some of the questions I have had regarding the sourness/acidity/citrus question. Some time ago I asked a barista in Monmouth (Borough Market) to explain to me, if he could, the difference between a sour shot and a citrus one. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer and perhaps the question wasn’t fair - the place was, as usual, very busy. Then yesterday I passed by Flat White and decided to pop in and ordered a Flat White for the first time. OK, it’s not the purest way to taste coffee but I did detect a ‘brightness’ to the blend which is not present in the coffees I’ve had in Italy and at home. I’m generally not a fan of coffees with an acidic/bright taste but this was very good. I’ve pulled some pretty sour shots myself during this infuriating, enjoyable and unending coffee journey and as far as I’m concerned, if a shot is sour then it whacks you in the palate and that is all you remember. With a bright/acidic/citrussy coffee the acidity will not overpower the other elements (and that’s what I experienced at Flat White).

It all depends what your benchmark is. Mine has always been the Italian way - rich blends etc. But there are others...as I’m learning...
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Postby Bombcup » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:23 am

Kaz - you've answered your own question nicely, the difference is largely a matter of balance and perception.

Just as the chocolate and caramel tones live perilously close to bitter and burnt flavours, the other end of the scale treads a tightrope between delicate fruit flavours and overblown sourness.

Obviously citrus tones are the result of acidity, and acid is inherently sour. Just as an orange will be sour if it's picked too early and the sugar hasn't fully developed, coffees with a significant acid content need to be roasted and extracted in such a way that the acidity develops into desirable fruit tones, keeping a grip on it so the cup does not become unbalanced, tipping the overall flavour towards sourness.

One man's zippy apple finish will always be another man's face contortingly sour, which is where one decides either that that particular coffee is not for them or perseveres in an effort to 'get' this crazy coffee.
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Postby Viernes » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:04 pm

ahgee2 wrote:So, how was it ??? (waits patiently while Oton goes and finds another visual representation of sour to entertain us all with ....)


O.K. I tried it:

Image

Is it graphic enough?

:lol: J/K.

I have to say that this blend, along with the forum comments ;), has been an eye opener. The blend is acid of course, or should I say 'sour', however I like it. It seems that this kind of espresso (This should be called espresso? Italian espresso, no way, IMO) needs palate training as an acquired taste, which is funny, because the coffee itself, and I mean in the Italian way, it's an acquired taste, but this "USA/UK/3rd Wave Espresso" or whatever you call it needs to retraining the palate again.

Well, I tried the blend at 94ºC/15gr/50ml (If I increase the dose I find the acidity overwhelming). (The 94ºC is not accurate and probably is 95ºC or more, I haven't a Scace) - Found bitter cocoa, raw (bitter) almonds, flowers & fruits. The shot have acidity (specially when it starts to cold) but seems too much temp, hence the bitter tastes.

Tried at 91ºC too. Bitterness is gone. Huge acidity from the first sip. Orange notes? Flowers - bergamote?. Not sure.

I found the best balance at 93ºC (in my machine). Decreased acidity, no bitterness. Fruits and flowers notes are more controlled... I have to say: this is freaking delicious. I give the cup to my girlfriend (she always drinks the coffee with milk): "This is good. Yummy"


Here it is the "good" pic:

Image


:wink:
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Postby ahgee2 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:39 pm

What a fantastic looking shot, and "freaking delicious" too, seems this story is coming to a happy ending. I really like your observation about coffee being an acquired taste, and bright espresso being another level of acquired taste after that. That's a path I certainly went down ....

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Postby jossy » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:00 pm

I just started a batch of SqM Colonia San Juan espresso roast (I had the same coffee in filter over the holidays). I think that the old Oton would have loved it.... less acidity, more yummy cake sort of notes. I can't see it as an espresso roast on the site but you may be able to get it by putting in a note with your order that you want it roasted for espresso (I bought it in a shop). On the other hand, it seems like the new Oton is developing a taste for acidity, so perhaps he would now find that this one lacks brightness....

I love the way Oton is giving us his evolution in real-time and it really makes me re-live my own discoveries of a few months back. Thanks a lot Oton!!

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Postby Viernes » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:27 pm

ahgee2 wrote:What a fantastic looking shot, and "freaking delicious" too, seems this story is coming to a happy ending. I really like your observation about coffee being an acquired taste, and bright espresso being another level of acquired taste after that. That's a path I certainly went down ....

Andrew


Thanks. :D. But it's not the end already, the coffee learning path it's a long way... I need to taste this coffees from first hand, with the 20gr doses recommended from a Synesso and from a good barista... I'm planning a trip to London in october. :P

I just started a batch of SqM Colonia San Juan espresso roast (I had the same coffee in filter over the holidays). I think that the old Oton would have loved it.... less acidity, more yummy cake sort of notes. I can't see it as an espresso roast on the site but you may be able to get it by putting in a note with your order that you want it roasted for espresso (I bought it in a shop). On the other hand, it seems like the new Oton is developing a taste for acidity, so perhaps he would now find that this one lacks brightness....

I love the way Oton is giving us his evolution in real-time and it really makes me re-live my own discoveries of a few months back. Thanks a lot Oton!!


Nothing to thank for. It's my pleasure for learning in this forum, guys.

I have Colonia San Juan for Espresso too. :) But I have to tell you I prefer the summer blend. The best thing of this coffee, as the description says, is the mouthfeel. Very buttery.

I have too the Tegu AA. And dispite it's seems roasted for drip, I just pull a espresso shot from it. 95ºC/15gr/55ml. Tasting it right now while I wrote this post... I like it. Beatifull smell, lots of forest fruits in the palate. I helped myself with a little sugar :wink: When it cools down, some kind of herbal taste appears. I'd like to blend this coffee with a rich cocoa/vanilla one as a base. Low the acidity and keep some fruity flavors would be ideal.
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Postby jossy » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:04 pm

oton wrote: I'm planning a trip to London in october. :P


Give us a shout when you know the dates. It would be fun to meet and sample some London coffees together. I am sure that Andrew will want to join (we had planned a London visit together a while ago but it never materialised...)
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Postby Gouezeri » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:11 pm

I'm back in London in October (mid to late) and am bound to be visiting the regulars along with SQM. It's actually good fun to see how the same coffee is pulled in different cafes, it really highlights the importance of the barista and the versatility of the coffees roasted by SQM of course! It is always possible that we could organise a jolly, we'll have to see closer to the time.
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Postby Piero » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:11 pm

Sorry, guys. No matter how hard I try I just can't enjoy acidic beans, like Oton has learned to do. My partner and I have tried shot after shot, at different temperatures, etc. of some highly commended singles and blends, telling ourselves how wonderful they were supposed to be, but my mouth twisted in revulsion and she simply spat them out saying how awful they tasted.

I have tried hard. You may call me unadventurous or philistine, but it's such a relief to get back to almost non-acidic, non-fruity Italian blends (like the one from Buono Espresso) and wallow in the sheer pleasure of overdosing on the rich (yes, even oily!) beans. I've now given up experimenting with acidic beans, as it was becoming a really unpleasant experience.
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Postby Gouezeri » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:42 am

Send some SQM or HB my way, and I'll send you all the Italian stuff I am being forced to drink at the moment! :lol:
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Ok, I'll admit it, it's not all bad here, I did have a syphon of Limoncillo Pacamara for breakfast.
Ah, the sweet taste of home!

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