malachi wrote:MarkP wrote:Why do you think there's no CoE blends for espresso out there.
2 - emotional (why would you blend such a beautiful coffee)
Financials I get.
Emotional? I prefer to save (and savour) coffee emotions for the situations, not necessarily the coffee itself. But I do understand that others get emotional specifically about specific coffees. We saw the massive love in with the Esmerelda two years ago (which to be honest, I just couldn't join in on), and we've seen it with various coffees since. The closest I've probably come to this was with the long lost, but never forgotten Maui Moka Kaanapali. I still feel sad about that coffee.
But even if it's all about the "beautiful coffee", then why not take two or three beautiful coffees and do what espresso is best at - making the sum greater than the parts. That's what espresso does, that no other brewing method has the ability to do (again, for Nick, IMO): it literally has the power to take parts put into a whole, and make that whole greater than any one component. It's been my experience.
Now, to answer one of your earlier questions - "what makes good espresso". This also is an answer to Peter's excellent post. It's something I wrote to Vince Piccolo a few days ago:
I wonder at times if my "ideal" espresso is the same as others. I wrote on coffeed that I demand a lot of espresso because for me, when it's good, it's complex, surprising, and has a multitude of taste sensations, differentiating from start to finish. That literally is my best definition of what espresso is.
I prefer a deep body but as many delicate and lighter notes as I can get. If a shot gives me deep chocolate / tobacco / earthy body, and also gives me citrus / berry / floral mid and high notes, I'm in heaven. If I taste anything resembling sharpness / sourness / bitter / puckering tastes, I'm thrown off, and call it a bad representation of what espresso is.
If the shot gives me the same tastes at the start as it does in the finish, then I don't like it. I expect espresso to be complex and a bit morphy too - the best espressos I've ever had have completely surprised me in how they represent different tastes in first taste vs. aftertaste. I've had espresso from blends where I knew the cupping characteristics of every component - but in the shot pull, some of those flavours would combine and morph into something completely new and different, something not found on the cupping table, and something not found when the shots were pulled as SO coffees.
Even better, the espresso that can handle cooling down a bit - 95% of them can't.
This is why I'm on a bit of an evangelist mission against proclaiming SO espressos as "the next big thing". As an evaluation tool, it's crucial; but as something to savour and enjoy, something to be the poster child for what espresso should be, I haven't found it yet, and its not from lack of trying. This year alone, I've pulled over 50 different coffees, including over 35 SO CoE coffees, as espresso, only be let down by the boring profiles, or amplified notes that, when cupped are nice, but when pulled, are just too much
(note - the above, and the next part is all part of an email I wrote this to Vince, and will risk a big backlash by posting this publicly, but it's what I do - if I feel strongly about an issue, I'll speak up about it - I don't like saying one thing privately, and another thing publicly, if I can help it. The funny thing is, more people seem to agree with me privately than publicly on this issue lol
Another reason why this SO trend bothers me so much - I really do see it as a lack of respect shown towards what espresso (the process) is supposed to be, and ditto towards the art of blending. It's the lazy person's way out (my opinion lol). Just like I think triple baskets pulling short doubles, and double baskets pulling single ristrettos are crutches and the lazy way to getting a decent shot, I see SO shot pulls as the lazy way to building an espresso. The art of the blend is something not enough of the "young guns" in this biz seem to have much respect for these days... IMO of course
Pulling El-Salvs all week this week, I am (roasted up 10 of them today).I roasted them all to full city ++ (about 20 seconds into second crack). Might not be dark enough?
Neway... there's my long, convoluted answer. I want to add one more thing though - while I think Peter's responses are great, in the back of my mind, I also weigh where he's coming from - a company that markets a SO espresso. Mind you, it's one that was used and helped win the WBC last year; so what do I know...
but still, that's the long time focus of George and Co - highlighting the SO coffees. Peter, I've taken Daterra myself - the rare times I had a lb bag - and taken a few choice other coffees and blended in some amazing red fruit notes that, well, just made it that much better to my palate. On its own, I find it is still lacking - at least as far as my own personal definition of espresso is. Again, it's a WBC winner, so what do I know. All I know is what I like.
I've also taken similar CoE coffees from the same auction samples (different farms), and even then, struggled to get something that wasn't too amplified one way or another. I understand (and definitely have experienced) a wide range of taste flavours from coffees from the same region, same country, and even in some cases, same farm; however - it's a degree of difference that doesn't (in my experience) match the degree of difference I find from taking completely different region coffees and blending them for espresso.
Gawd - there's more I want to type about - like how some very famous "blends" haven't been doing it for me for a while now, the rare times I try them - and recently, I discovered why I found them boring and flat.... the blend isn't much of a blend... but I won't mention specific brands. But I have much, heaps respect for the art of blending, and I worry that maybe this art is falling by the wayside, much to the epiphany moment espresso's chagrin.