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How do YOU blend for espresso?
threwitallaway
Some espresso aficionados rely on "SO" or, a Single origin to run through their espresso machines. Others blend two or more coffees to get more balance/variety of flavor from their extractions. If you blend, do you do so BEFORE roasting or AFTER roasting; including differing roast levels of the beans? How do you do it, and would you care to share your favorite blend/method with the forum? (You don't have to though!)

Just curious

-n8
__________________________________________
Hottop B-2K w barryR thermocouple mod, Mazzer Mini /Super Jolly burrs, Salvatore E-61 group machine, Aeropress, French press.
 
Bodka Coffee
My most popular espresso is Main Squeeze. I pre blend it. The Guatemalan espresso blend I do is a melange, and therefore is post blended.
USRC 5 kg
 
HoldTheOnions
I have found blending is more likely to improve flavors of average roasts than to hurt them for reasons I can't know. If I am experimenting, then I usually throw the duds together after tasting with better results. Exception being if I burn a roast.

I have never tried blending before roasting, but it sounds interesting.
 
fransg
In a book about roasting I just read about a method of blending that I had never heard about before: instead of mixing different types of beans, mix different roasts of the same bean. One advantage is that you can save on buying stock from different sources, the moisture % of the green beans is obviously the same, and you can mix a lighter roast with a darker roast profile.
HG One & Londinium I -- Mazzer Mini E & Rocket Giotto -- La Pavoni's -- Fracino Roastilino with PXG4 - Artisan - Tonino
 
HoldTheOnions

Quote

fransg wrote:

In a book about roasting I just read about a method of blending that I had never heard about before: instead of mixing different types of beans, mix different roasts of the same bean. One advantage is that you can save on buying stock from different sources, the moisture % of the green beans is obviously the same, and you can mix a lighter roast with a darker roast profile.


Just curious, did it say anything about it making poor/average roasts taste better? It seems to me it does, just curious if anyone else finds this to be true.
 
threwitallaway
@fransg, I guess you could do that also. Many roasters just drop the bean at various stages of development by opening the chute or lever to do what is known as a "Melange" roast; basically what you're describing but during the roast process rather than blending after.

I am really curious about successes and failures of espresso blending. I am approaching it by pre-blending the coffees I think I want for espresso, and THEN roasting them together to one level. It will take some time and effort to find blends that work well for my tastes when being roasted together.

At the moment trying an Ethiopian Yirg, Sumatra, Yemen blend at about 430F drop temp. The chocolate aroma coming off of this was enticing! Alas, I have to wait about 5 more days before sampling... Shock

-nate
__________________________________________
Hottop B-2K w barryR thermocouple mod, Mazzer Mini /Super Jolly burrs, Salvatore E-61 group machine, Aeropress, French press.
 
fransg

Quote

Just curious, did it say anything about it making poor/average roasts taste better? It seems to me it does, just curious if anyone else finds this to be true.


From reading the book I understand that there is no way to use a poor roast to improve a blend. You use good roasts that work well together.

Quote

"Too often there is the tendency to correct the faults affecting
one component by resorting to a product full of qualities.
For example it is not uncommon to combine washed coffee
featuring fl oral and fruity notes to earthy Robusta: not only
the light notes will disappear, but it is very likely that acidity
will arise enhancing the astringency features typical of Canephora
even more.
A whole different output would be obtained combining the
above mentioned washed coffee with a natural perfectly
baked one lacking in fl oral notes, yet highlighting an articulated
vanilla and cocoa roasted smell. In this case reciprocal
emphatization would be triggered."


(International Institute of Coffee Tasters
ESPRESSO ITALIANO ROASTING
Author: Luigi Odello)
HG One & Londinium I -- Mazzer Mini E & Rocket Giotto -- La Pavoni's -- Fracino Roastilino with PXG4 - Artisan - Tonino
 
boar_d_laze
As I understnad it, commercial, third-wave roasters are split on pre and post roast blending.

Most of my 2012 and 2013 roasting for our espresso and the roast we used to supply our friends as 'all purpose" was a pre-roast blend. Before I started roasting, I'd make up blends from pre-roasted coffees, usually including a little bit of something fairly dark.

But that was a long time ago. Now I roast everything to about the same level and the idea of taking a blend component much darker or lighter isn't appealing to us. Besides, taking a bean which only made up a fifth of a blend to a different level than the other beans is a commitment to roasting an awufl lot of coffee. Might work for you, though.

The most common blending technique for espresso is to use a bean with a lot of mouthfeel and "weight" as the "base," compriising at least 50% of the blend. Other beans are then added for life and interest. Most commercial blends seem to be made up of at least four beans.

The most common bases are probably Sumatrans and Brazilians. I prefer weighty Guats.

Some commercial roasters use inexpensive beans for their blends, because there's not a lot of point in selling beans they can sell for more as stand alone SOs. Others, mostly stick to beans in their SO inventory.

Commercial European roasters often use a little bit of Robusta as a way of adding "zip," and making stale coffees behave as though they were fresher. I screwed around with a couple of Robustas, and they can keep it.

As an amateur, I don't have any beans around that I wouldn't roast as an SO. I just don't find $3/lb beans that attractive; and don't roast enough to make $6/lb beans prohibitive. That's not a comment on anyone else. If you like the challenge of blending less expensive beans to make a nice blend, I think it's great.

Profit isn't a concern for us. But, costs can be; $7/lb is too much. Why? Because I say so. Our Beautiful Friendship blend, which Ginny tried last Holiday Swap, was thrree Centrals, 1:1:1. I had to stop making it because one of the components, Panama Elida Natural became too epensive for blending; and since June, 2014, all of my roasting has been SO.

Most pre-roast belnds are created by roasting a bunch of different beans with the same profile grinding, brewing and then wet blending, to determine the best combinations and ratios. Once those are established, the profile is tweaked. Wet blending allows you to really zero in on your proportions, while saving a lot of time.

I know of one commercial roaster who tried "melange" roasting, but didn't stick with it. It's not a commercial technique if for no other reason than it's impossible to get consistent proprtions. That's enough to put me off; and besides, my roaster uses the same fan for the drum and tray. But I know a few amateurs -- mostly from H-B -- who do it and seem happy enough.

Rich
Edited by boar_d_laze on 12/29/2014 9:37 AM
USRC 1lb Roaster, Chemex+Kone, Espro, Various FPs, Royal Siphon Vacuum, Yama Ice Drip Tower, Bunnzilla, La Cimbali M21 Casa, Ceado E92.
CookFoodGood
 
threwitallaway
@boar_d_laze, Rich, I never even thought of wet blending as a potential development tool for espresso blends. Goes to show you what I don't know! It seems like an excellent tecnique, and I will put it to work ASAP.

I'm a big Ethiopian fan so I am looking for a rich but fruity cup. I am the type who can stick with a particular espresso for a long time. For years, in my ignorance of course, I used Danesi Gold as my espresso. Now I want my own dependable, and more important, fresh roasted espresso. And yes, I know the beans need some time (a week I understand) to mellow and de-gas, it isn't 4-7 months like the Danesi beans!

Again, I appreciate your insight on the wet blending. I believe that is the best solution.

Thanks!
-nate
__________________________________________
Hottop B-2K w barryR thermocouple mod, Mazzer Mini /Super Jolly burrs, Salvatore E-61 group machine, Aeropress, French press.
 
therabidweasel
I use all ways mentioned but melange. I get the most consistent results with pre roast blends but some post roast blends are really great, I just prefer pre-roast. That said, each time I roast espresso I blend together two seperate roasts to get enough quantity for a week. I try to use duplicate roasts, but even with PID via HTRI/Artisan I am skeptical that the resulting batches are truly identical.

Re. Robusta, I once bought a high-grade Indian from SM that added a specific character of cherry cordial (the sickly sweet filled chocolate candy) that was awesome. Used <10% it was almost always welcome with my blends. It did produce too much crema with monsooned though and a little goes a very long way.

Finally, and this is more controversial than robusta typically, i tend to age my espresso coffees post-roast in the refrigerator for 15 days or so. I discovered this by accident by trying to maintain good coffee while I was away on travel and it really does seem to improve about 60% of my espressos. Those it doesnt improve still taste great in a nel pot. Maybe they just taste better because my palate has been denied their deliciousness when prepared in some great gear tweaked to my preferences?
 
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