making espresso with random starbucks coffees

_kaj_

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Oct 24, 2010
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I got my Delonghi EC270 a month ago, and have been making espresso every morning. So far, I have used only Starbucks coffees to make the espresso (I take the new bag into a local sbux, and ask them to grind)

Sumatra Siborong-Borong
Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Sulawesi
Pike Place Roast

I bought some of these while I was in Europe a month ago, as they're not available in Korea, where I live now. I was told that Espresso Roast was meant for espresso machines, but I haven't tried it yet.

I really enjoyed Sumatra Siborong-Borong, it was a real treat every morning. I expected something bitter then first time I made it, but was pleasantly surprised.

I'm wondering what kind of beans others use to make espresso. Is there a "right" bean to use for making espresso, that I'm not aware of? Is this weird that I'm using all kinds of beans to make espresso?

Thoughts? Opinions?

_kaj_
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
You'd be much better off buying your own proper grinder. Anything preground isn't going to give optimal results. Will also say what you're getting at Starbucks is going to be stale right off the shelf, so again not optimal results. I know it may seem like a decent place to start to "get your feet wet" but there are MUCH better options. Something you will have to research in the area you live in.

As you probably know, espresso is a brew method. There is no particular bean that must be used for espresso. BUT some bean origins/roast levels are much better suited for the temperature/pressure involved in espresso extraction.

Nothing weird at all regarding you using all sorts of beans to experiment. That's really the only way to determine what YOU like. Just don't set what you get from Starbucks as the standard by which all others should be compared. For example, their version of Ethiopia Sidamo can be much different than every other version of Sidamo you get from other roasters.

Some beans can be too dark or too light for really good espresso. My personal favorite is a medium roast level Brazil Ipanema. Nice and nutty, with heavy bittersweet cocoa notes. My personal favorite bean for drip coffee is Ethiopia Sidamo. I tried blending it with the Brazil to get the best of both worlds in espresso but didn't like it as the Sidamo simply made the blend way too bright, meaning too citrusy for my tastes. It's all about experimentation and in coffee there is no right or wrong... just what you like. Later!
 

crema

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Oct 26, 2010
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First of all, Hi you guys, I am new here.
I agree, your taste in coffee is very personal, and to my opinion it is a great experience exploring it.
Once you understand the terms, (rich aroma, dark roast and so on) and manage to relate them to your own taste, you will probably discover a whole new world of possibilities. Starbucks might be the beginning of your journey. But please don't end it there. You can find some help on my web site.
There is a link to a tool that let's you compare coffee beans. See you later...
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,588
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Central North Carolina
Crema, you must be a newbie to forums as you should know posting links to anything on your very first post isn't very wise. Makes things a bit suspicious as to what your purpose is. Later!
 

crema

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Oct 26, 2010
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Yes, I am new.
Thanks for your input, I honestly thought referring to your profile is ok.
Never again, I promise. :wink:
 

ArabBeaker

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Sep 19, 2008
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New Zealand
Hi Kaj,
Is there a "right" bean to use for making espresso,

Yes !

Well actually yes, and no. :) The "right" bean would be the one that is optimally fresh and ground immediately before use. But I understand thats not what you mean, right ?

I say "no", because the choice of origin is a personal one just as the way it is roasted is also a personal preference and one of the great things about todays' espresso culture is that so many of the world's coffee beans are obtainable through local importers and distributors. I might add that even once you have selected the "right" bean or bean blend for you, consistant roasting and grinding then become very important.

Where ever you buy your coffee doesn't really matter, its whether it satifies you. Whether its Starbucks, the Supermarket or whether you pick your own off your tree out back, its all about satisfaction.
For me, I enjoy the ability to sample many of the beans from around the world by ordering online and roasting them at home, then blending them to see if I can come up with the "perfect" espresso.
Sometimes I think I have succeded and other times I know I have not.
What I can say with absolute certainty, is that many of my friends and family drink coffee in town and when they come to visit me and I give them freshly roasted espresso, invariably they tell me its better than what they get in town.

Now for me, thats satisfying.
 
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_kaj_

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Oct 24, 2010
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Wow... didn't expect much in terms of replies, but totally appreciate every word you guys and/or gals typed!

shadow745 said:
You'd be much better off buying your own proper grinder. Anything preground isn't going to give optimal results. Will also say what you're getting at Starbucks is going to be stale right off the shelf, so again not optimal results. I know it may seem like a decent place to start to "get your feet wet" but there are MUCH better options. Something you will have to research in the area you live in.

I have thought about getting a grinder - seems as if the good ones are the "burr" grinders, and these are costly. i realize there are blade grinders as well and some actually recommend those for a more fine/espresso grind. had anybody had any experience with the blade grinders?

I also understand about the Sbux coffee being "stale". It's been sitting in a bag for a while after roasting - I know that's far from optimal.

There are MORE and MORE cafes in Seoul, Korea now that do their own roasting. The issue with that is that they're doing this more for the marketing aspect than having fresh roasted coffee. The roasters are prominently displayed in the store/cafe fronts and in some places, jars full of beans in direct sunlight. yikes? there are some good cafes though, that are well known and apparently do a fantastic job of roasting. i'll have to hit those up and buy small pouches and give them a try. I AM still getting my feet wet.

It's all about experimentation and in coffee there is no right or wrong... just what you like. Later!

I'll keep that in mind too! Thanks!


ArabBeaker said:
The "right" bean would be the one that is optimally fresh and ground immediately before use. But I understand thats not what you mean, right ?

RIGHT! But you just made me think more about this, which is good.

For me, I enjoy the ability to sample many of the beans from around the world by ordering online and roasting them at home, then blending them to see if I can come up with the "perfect" espresso.

I'm seriously new to this... Haven't thought about ordering online and getting shipped. Could you please PM me a link or two of websites you use to buy? Can they also roast before sending? I don't have a grinder, let alone a roaster, but the grinder is easier to obtain.

Cheers!

_kaj_
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
DO NOT waste your time with a blade "grinder" as these have no place in coffee. They use high speed blades to chop the beans into smaller pieces. Most people think as long as you reach the needed fineness with ground coffee it doesn't matter how you get there, but that is far from the truth. These things lead to alot of inconsistent particle sizes and lots of dust/heat buildup. You need a grinder that has decent burrs that actually slice/shave the beans to the desired fineness. If you don't have the $$$ to buy a good electric burr grinder look into a decent hand mill as most hand mills use conical burrs with proper design/good materials. These $100 or less hand mills are on par with $500+ electric grinders and simply require a bit of energy/time to use. Now some hand mills are better than others, but if you go this route you can look further into these options.

Fresh roasted is of upmost importance, but the beans have to be roasted properly for maximum results. Do look for smaller "micro" roasters as they will focus on bringing out the best a bean has to offer. Rather than simply roasting large quantities on a commercial level that usually won't be great for espresso. Later!
 
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_kaj_

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Oct 24, 2010
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thank you! you're a wealth of info :)

I have seen several hand mills, and have thought about getting one. think i'll get one, as I don't mind putting in a little effort to grind at home. it might just make the coffee making experience a bit more interesting. any brand you recommend as far as hand grinders? there are quite a few to choose from...
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
Personally I like the older refurbished hand mills offered for sale from Orphan Espresso. They find older, better built hand mills then strip/clean them and then grade according to what they're capable of. Their "espresso grade" hand mills are among the best available. There are new hand mills available from Kyocera, Porlex, Zassenhaus, Peugeot, etc., but not all of these new hand mills are espresso capable. Later!
 
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_kaj_

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Oct 24, 2010
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I checked out Orphan Espresso, and their website is down. Not sure if the company is still around or not, or if this is just a temporary thing.
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
It seems to be working fine now... click on what grinder type you're interested in (probably espresso grade) and a window will open up showing what, if anything, is available at the moment. OE does sell new hand mills, but I highly recommend their refurbished mills as old stock is way better than the newer stuff that is out now. Sometimes they don't have much up for sale because they refurbish every grinder by hand, as well as lever machine restoration, but when they do have grinders they go FAST.

Grinding by hand isn't for everybody, but if you want something with great grind consistency at a low cost ($100 or less) hand mills are really the only way to go. Later!

http://www.orphanespresso.com/VINTAGE-H ... c_238.html
 

ArabBeaker

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Sep 19, 2008
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New Zealand
_kaj_ said:
Could you please PM me a link or two of websites you use to buy? Can they also roast before sending? I don't have a grinder, let alone a roaster, but the grinder is easier to obtain.

Cheers!

_kaj_
I'm in New Zealand, but I'm sure there will be a supplier near you somewhere. Perhaps you could Google and find out.
Cheers.
 
I really enjoyed Sumatra Siborong-Borong, it was a real treat every morning. I expected something bitter then first time I made it, but was pleasantly surprised.

are you talking about the Luwak Coffee harvested in Sumatra? I heard it's really good. The kopi luwak coffee bean is supposedly sweet, having to go through digestion of a certain civet cat. heard of them?
 

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