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Author Topic: How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?  (Read 3615 times)

samuellaw178

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« on: 05/12/2014, 05:10 PM »
With the blessing of so many great selection, not only from various suppliers, but also from the same supplier, how do you choose the green bean you want to buy (and keeping them under control)?

I will be quite surprised that I'm the only one facing this trouble. Unless you're the gotta catch 'em all shopper. :rofl:

Normally, I go through the tasting notes/description of all the beans, then shortlist which may suit my taste best. I often have two troubles i) my shopping cart easily exceeds my budget and I can't possibly finish them under reasonable time frame. ii) the descriptions are hard to compare because there's no single standard description system. On top of that, some description is all about the farm history and nothing about the beans flavor/roast. As much as I like the sentiments, I'm currently buying the beans for drinking, not the farm... ^-^

Another shortlisting criteria that I use is I first decide whether I want the greens for filter or espresso. For filter, it is easier by going for Ethiopians/Kenya/fruity origin. But to find the right bean for espresso, especially one that can stand up against milk, is very difficult. I had a perfect crop(Mountain Top Estate) from about 2 years ago that cuts through milk nicely and leave a complex lasting aftertaste. But sadly that isn't available anymore and I have a hard time finding beans like that. Blending may be the workaround, but I can't seem to put together a blend that cuts through milk. It doesn't make sense either how blending a few weak tasting(in milk) beans can produce a result that shines in milk. For me blending only works for espresso by increasing the complexity, not in milk.

Would love to hear how do you go about it. ;D



Dry bean.

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #1 on: 05/12/2014, 06:05 PM »
I adopt the shotgun approach, love a bit of a mystery in my life so attempt to vary my selection and not fixate on a single variety that may or may not be available in the future.

Over a time you will find there are some origins/varieties that suit your taste more than others, I dislike coffee from SE Asia so that's off my list, preference is for beans from South America, Africa and The Yemen.

My suggestion is, try as many as possible and form your own opinion. :)

Cheers,

Dry Bean.

Old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill. (Willie Nelson)

cosmic_couple22

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #2 on: 06/12/2014, 12:06 AM »
Well stored green beans last very well, so buying a small amount of a few varieties shouldn't cause usage problems and expose the taste buds to some delights. 

What is your preferred taste profile, do you like clean in the cup or more viscous coffee's? that would help members offer some more specific bean options for you.  As for tasting notes you could read notes from a few different suppliers and roasters and have as many descriptors, so I can only suggest to do lots of reading on a specific bean before purchasing to ensure it meets your expectation.

Myself, I go more with Dry bean vary the beans develop the palette and along the way you will find some outstanding beans.

Good luck

Chester
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Koffee Kosmo

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/2014, 12:23 AM »
I try to get beans from every growing continent when it's possible

My tastes change with the seasons
I tend to favour African beans in winter

KK
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mycuppa

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/2014, 11:30 AM »

But to find the right bean for espresso, especially one that can stand up against milk, is very difficult. I had a perfect crop(Mountain Top Estate) from about 2 years ago that cuts through milk nicely and leave a complex lasting aftertaste. But sadly that isn't available anymore and I have a hard time finding beans like that. Blending may be the workaround, but I can't seem to put together a blend that cuts through milk. It doesn't make sense either how blending a few weak tasting(in milk) beans can produce a result that shines in milk. For me blending only works for espresso by increasing the complexity, not in milk.

Would love to hear how do you go about it. ;D

If you are struggling to produce a roasted coffee that works with milk, my guess is that you need to look at how you roast coffee as the reason, rather than thinking the answer is all in the beans.

It does not matter if you talk about a single origin or a blend.......if it's not working in milk, then you need to look at what's happening during the roast profile.

samuellaw178

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #5 on: 06/12/2014, 02:47 PM »
Thanks mycuppa for the points. Well taken.

I suppose 'not working with milk' and 'not cutting through milk' are not the right description. The flat white are lovely themselves. Typical double shot(16g coffee) in 190ml cup. The coffee is easily discernable and not lost. Would be happy to have that everyday. But I'm looking for the additional x factor that I sometimes gets in the specialty cafe(or some of the beans I got).

For me, the x factor is when you take a sip, the complexity is so high/dimensional and the flavor notes are dancing/transforming on your palette. And most importantly, the aftertaste/finish is very long. Most my flat whites represents the coffee notes pretty well, but the complexity and lingering finish are lacking. Could this be due to roasting profile as well and any idea how it could be improved?

As of now, I'm using Baby Roaster. Roasting time is typically 13-15 min(from cold), with about 3-4 min development time. Tried shorter roast time but didn't like the result. Not sure how I could improve in that department.

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #6 on: 06/12/2014, 03:35 PM »
Well, one thing is for sure, the quality of raw coffees arriving into AUS over the last 7 years has improved significantly - and continues to improve at dramatically rapid rates each year.

Putting aside issues such as droughts in Brazil, Roya in Central America, the occasional patchy conditions in Africa, etc. overall the quality keeps trending upwards.

What is also happening at the same time is what I refer to as the "expectation gap".

There are two sides of the expectation gap - one is about your reference point (memory) and the other is about how you go about doing things.

I hear all sorts of interesting comments and plenty of throw-away lines from customers and people in the industry such as this little gem......."I wish coffee tasted like the early era of specialty coffee back 5 years ago - contemporary coffee has lost it's way".

My response to that is always along these lines......................well, take a look at your coffee journey......where did you come from, what were you doing back then, how did it taste and compare it to where you are now.

We all know our palates are highly adaptive.

We taste a wonderful cup and the conditioning we had at that moment defines and etches a memory.

With subsequent cups that are not the same, combined with the conditions at that moment may result in us deeming (or judging) the cup in our hand, in front of us right now = not as good as the cup in our memory.

How developed was our palate at the time we experienced the memorable cup versus now. What made the memorable cup stand-out.....was it a new sensation ? it could be many things.

The 2nd part of the expectation gap is how we do things.

It's perhaps not a fair comparison to rate a coffee from the Baby Roaster to an industrial/commercial roaster.

They are vastly different in how they process the roasting of coffee as you would expect a difference in the cup.

It would be akin to comparing a 1980's model standard car (Commodore) with a Forumla 1 racecar - yep.......they both get you moving from A to B and in some cases they both achieve about the same level of performance if stuck in traffic, but it's the way in which they do it that differs.

Drink too much coffee and everything tastes pretty average.

Try a simple experiment - jump off the coffee bandwagon (cold turkey) for 3-5 days, endure the uncomfortable headaches and then make your milk-based espresso.

Tell us what you discover.

samuellaw178

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #7 on: 06/12/2014, 03:40 PM »
Seems like opinions here are to try and find what you like, which is what I'm doing now. For example, I just ordered about 6kg of different variety from BG. Will slowly go through the list (like 50 or more?) in my subsequent order.But I suspect that will be about 3 months before my next order...

Well stored green beans last very well, so buying a small amount of a few varieties shouldn't cause usage problems and expose the taste buds to some delights. 

What is your preferred taste profile, do you like clean in the cup or more viscous coffee's? that would help members offer some more specific bean options for you.  As for tasting notes you could read notes from a few different suppliers and roasters and have as many descriptors, so I can only suggest to do lots of reading on a specific bean before purchasing to ensure it meets your expectation.

Thanks Chester, I think I will ask for suggestion the next time before I order. My preference seems to be sweet and complex/dimensional flavors, with low to medium acidity. I guess that's a difficult task because some of the complex flavors are always associated with high acidity.

I am currently staying in shared house. So keeping too much greens at hand is a problem. I try to keep it below 10kg whenever possible. I wish but don't have a personal silo here. :P

samuellaw178

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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #8 on: 06/12/2014, 03:59 PM »
As usual, precious gems there mycuppa. Really appreciate that!

I agree with your points on the expectation gap (1). I certainly am guilty of doing so sometimes. I still remember how I had my first 'godshot' 3 years back, but looking back it may just be rated 'above average' by my palette now. But the comparison I had was from recent experience (about 1 month) and some from just last few weeks(my own roast), where I am pretty confident my palette is rather established by now. So I thought there must be something I can do to improve what I'm doing(by choosing the green more carefully). 

I agree generally the beans quality in Australia are outstanding, especially recent years. Coffee has never been this good in any other place in the world. But I am personally curious, there is a huge spread of price $10-25 for green beans. Am I wise to assume that it is not the absolute indicator to the taste because the pricing may be due to external factor (supply quantity, farm, etc), given the same supplier? For instance, I have bean A and bean B. Landing cost of bean A>B, but B cups better. Do I charge more for B, or do I sell according to the landing cost? (Hope that's not a sensitive area otherwise please just ignore)

I'm not expecting the Baby Roaster to achieve the same as $10000+ roasters (nor it should). But I just hope I can do things in the right direction so I could hit that more often.

Your jumping off coffee bandwagon suggestion......is really tough to execute at the moment. Haha! Maybe in a few weeks/months, but not now because I have so many thing to try. :P


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How do you choose the right 'one' (green bean)?
« Reply #9 on: 06/12/2014, 04:44 PM »
Cost of green beans is a complex topic - part science and part finger in the air.

There can be a relationship between quality and price up to a certain level, then speculation kicks in and it's anyone's guess.

Think of a game where you try and anticipate input costs, reference points (C-index), transportation and warehousing, financing, insurance, risk, market dynamics, hedging, futures and then finger in the air by way of what the market will tolerate in terms of price...........and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, then overlay the prevailing business conditions of the seller (their market and volume margin objectives), the competitive landscape, etc. I could go into further analysis but it is rather pointless actually.

Are Sumatrans worth a 25-30% premium on Colombians ? Only if you want to purchase Sumatrans because demand outstrips supply (apparently, but I always seem to be able to find a nice quality Sumatran to purchase).

Yesterday, I took delivery of some expensive Brazils. They are in the higher scale of price and certainly quality. But are they worth 25 - 30% more than the already high quality Brazil's I had in my warehouse ? I had 2x 84 point Brazils side by side, yet one was $2 a kilo more expensive, or $2000 a pallet as I buy them by the pallet - well, in fact it's more than that because you lose 16% with shrinkage.

The seller told me confidentially they cannot even buy coffee from the farmer for the price I pay for it delivered into my warehouse from another broker.

The spectrum is too wide to develop rules unfortunately.

Putting aside any supply issues from origin, assuming normal or standard crop yields, then my sense is that coffees up to maybe 82 - 84 points have some relationship between price and quality. Once you get above that level, you place your fate into the hands of the seller.

Just like luxury cars - try having a comparative discussion with dealers above various marquees and they laugh at you.

Oh, and another point...........points are points are points.........yes, you would hope that Q-graders are on their game  !

Bezzera

 

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