Latest exploration

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

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Latest exploration

Postby dr.chris » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:29 am

We have been long time users of Monmouth coffee. Their standard espresso seems to be one of the few that on a good day work well both as espresso and in milk drinks.

After Anna's recent problems we decided to have a look at some other beans. We are not always as satisified as we'd like with Monmouth of late and it isnt cheap.

So here is a list of the coffees we have been trying at home

Roberts Sienna. As used in our local cafe (actually pretty well according to the wife). Proved to be a bit so so at home

Hasbeen Deerhunter, from North Tea Power. Interesting and odd experience. I kept on tweaking the grind and never got it right. The coffee always came through too fast and too blond, but it always tasted good, well, 'complex'. I enjoyed it but honestly wouldnt want it every day.

Monsoon estates. We got 4 blends from them. Their standard espresso wasnt that great, but the others were, one of which was a monsoon malabar. The other 2 were the Guatemalan monte rosa and I think the mocha java but could be wrong. Espresso wise they were OK but much better with milk according to the wife, and these were the ones she liked most.

Rave - hurave (christmas blend) sumatran and standard espresso. A complete contrast. Subtle lovely flavours in espresso but way too subtle in a capucinno. I liked them, not least because they almost seem foolproof, in that the espresso's always came out of Anna looking fantastic. The sumatran was properly orangy as well. I liked the hurave most of all.

And then there was circle coffee. A local company to us in Manchester who supplies coffeefix and grindsmiths, who both use Barnraiser. Barnraiser is the one other coffee we have found that works well both in espresso and in capucinno. We had a mini coffee crawl in Manchester last Friday and managed to pop in and see a roast in progress. The poor guy was very patient with us :). They are starting a new business (Heart and Graft, based at the same site as was used for Cup North) and its going to be fun watching what they do. We came back with the barnraiser and another blend which he advised us would work well with milk. Its all very promising.
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Postby GreenBean » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:26 am

That all sounds like fun, Chris :D
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Postby dr.chris » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:05 pm

Such hard work :)

Seriously though there does seem to be a lot more roasters around these days, or maybe its just the internet making them more visible. Good times. Would be better if 90% of cafes with espresso machines actually knew what a decent espresso looked like, but one step at a time :). Which reminds me. We also went into a chocolate themed cafe. The chocolate cake was fantastic, the hot chocolate good if not amazing, but we did see an espresso come out of an Elektra coffee machine that didnt look good at all.

Heart and Graft have 2 small adjacent units in an old building on the borders of Salford and Manchester city center. One houses their nice new roaster, the other I believe is going to house some espresso machines ('The Marzocco kit should be there soon' )and they intend to do cupping, barrista training etc. The machine side is being run by Uno coffee service (i.e. Jason the engineer who came and fixed Anna for us). It gave me such a buzz seeing the setup.
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Postby GreenBean » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:16 am

dr.chris wrote:Such hard work :)

Yes, sampling all that coffee and the occasional chocolate cake must be absolutely exhausting. :wink: :D
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Postby CakeBoy » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:32 pm

Great fun Chris! For anyone looking around, have a peep at Exotic Coffee from Oxford. We have tried their Oxford Blend and Gentlemen's Blend. They produce a very nice balanced flat white, nothing out of the ordinary in terms of acidity or nuances, but a top notch Colombian all round coffee for those times you just fancy something that nails the fundamentals totally :)
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Postby sicinius » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:14 am

We have a roaster in Canterbury now, who's a fan of Bolivian coffee. Marzocco's, baristas and everything! Slowly, the penny is dropping. Went to a friend's house for dinner a few weeks ago and the cafetiere had gone and he was using a Chemex and two members of the family have recently bought De Longhi espresso machines.

The truth may finally be out there. [Though it's not yet safe to tell people how long you spent on the bathroom scales learning to tamp at 20psi or how much you have spent on grinders - we're not THERE yet]

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186311-d4773842-Reviews-Micro_Roastery-Canterbury_Kent_England.html#photos
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Postby dr.chris » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:59 am

CakeBoy wrote:Great fun Chris! For anyone looking around, have a peep at Exotic Coffee from Oxford. We have tried their Oxford Blend and Gentlemen's Blend. They produce a very nice balanced flat white, nothing out of the ordinary in terms of acidity or nuances, but a top notch Colombian all round coffee for those times you just fancy something that nails the fundamentals totally :)


We were on a (long overdue) trip to Oxford at the weekend and made it to the Summertown farmers market where Exotic Coffee had a stall. I had a espresso and the wife had a cap of the Yirgacheffe they were serving from a Fracino machine. It was interesting in a nice way - but expensive ( £2 for the double espresso and £3 for the cappucino - both take aways). Oxford being Oxford maybe that isnt such a surprise :)

Had some nice coffees in the Missing Bean though
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Postby CakeBoy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:58 am

That was expensive! Oddly, they are decent value for a bag, though they have altered their postage structure recently in a prohibitive way for us. It would have been interesting to compare their pour to that produced at home.

It's been some years since I last visited The Missing Bean, but it's a lovely spot. I think they have changed roasters for the better since these days too. I forget who they used to use but they were a higher end commercial roasters and a bit toasty for my taste, though the staff pulled excellently crafted coffees :)
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Postby dr.chris » Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:42 pm

Apparently the missing bean now roast their own.

http://www.themissingbean.co.uk/our-coffee

The wife was less impressed than usual tbh, but it was probably closer to what I like.

Currently drinking Colombian Suarez from Rave. I wouldn't say it is outstanding but it is very nice. At 13/kg its very competitively priced and I prefer it to their signature blend. The wife is still on the Monsoon estates coffee. Its nice having lots of different coffees hanging around :)

Talking of Oxford we decided we would miss the St Helena new crop from Cardews. It was slightly more expensive :shock:
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Postby CakeBoy » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:05 am

I remember popping in there many years back. Didn't buy anything, the assistant was unable to provide roast dates.
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Postby bruceb » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:08 am

I asked about roast dates at a roastery not too long ago and was told "The beans should be used before March 2016. Can't beat that, can you?
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby GreenBean » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:05 pm

bruceb wrote:I asked about roast dates at a roastery not too long ago and was told "The beans should be used before March 2016. Can't beat that, can you?

I am pleased to say that I can not :wink: I get the impression that this sort of response is less common than it used to be so I guess we are making progress :D
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Re: Latest exploration

Postby bruceb » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:46 pm

Well, I was so desperate, having run out of beans and just not finding the time or energy to roast so I bought a bag of "Fair Trade" Guatemalan roasted beans a few weeks ago. I made one shot and then binned the whole bag. They were rancid, not just stale, and tasted like damp cardboard. I roasted a kg of Yirg that evening. Even fresh out of the roaster it was heavenly. Sorry if this OT, but I didn't want to start a new thread on this note. :roll:
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Re: Latest exploration

Postby dr.chris » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:36 pm

It shouldnt be that way but if I see the words 'fair trade' on coffee I expect the worst
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Re: Latest exploration

Postby CakeBoy » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:30 pm

It's incredible how much rancid coffee is sold as fresh. Sorry to hear it Bruce, glad you have some tasty Yirg on the go now.
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