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Robert Warren

Coffee Roaster Blog

Espresso Blending Tricks

Why don't you talk about blending generally speaking? Blending for the press pot or filter machine does not should be as precise. For example it's a far weaker area of the cup compared to espresso and some rules can not be broken in espresso blending that really works well when you look at the filter blends. Espresso blending is an art.

Why is me a professional?

Well, i have been blending for espresso in the commercial setting of a coffee shop for four years and now have created more than 200 blends from 60 different origins in search of the perfect blend, and drunk many tens of thousands of cups of espresso not only for enjoyment (it's a difficult job) but also in the quest for the higher espresso. My Has Bean Espresso blend is just one of the most popular coffees I sell, and contains received critical acclaim from people when you look at the trade, but more to the point from customers.

Just what exactly makes an excellent blend?

I've surely got to start off by saying i believe I know best and of course this will be true, however these are my rules and never yours. Don't be afraid to break them if you were to think it's going to work. One man's ristretto is yet another man's poison.

Good espresso arises from blends. This is the most widely used thinking within the coffee world, and I need to say I agree. But on saying that it is of vital importance you taste all your single-origin coffees within the espresso machine. Tasting single origins and cupping them let you know what they taste like alone. So when you are looking for only a little sweetness, you can refer to your experiences of tasting it at origin and think I'll add some...

It is also a smart idea to keep detailed notes of cupping experiences plus don't be afraid to go back again and attempt something else. We know that certain day you try a shot and it's really awful, additionally the next it really is perfection, so more than one session is very important. Also, a good idea is usually to cup such as the professionals. Only here is it possible to get an atmosphere when it comes to coffee? It really is all well and good trying it in the espresso machine, however it can be a lazy means of finding tastes. Make your palate work and here you can compare. Only with comparisons will you comprehend the real differences between the coffees.

Work, work and work. Your blend will never be carried out in the first mix. It mustn't be achieved by the 10th attempt. As soon as it finally is really what you're after, it's going to change as soon as the following crops rotate in. It's a continuing procedure of cupping, tasting, adapting and repeat. Your blend won't ever be finished and when anyone lets you know theirs is, do not trust them. With many variables going into the espresso no shot is ever going to be the exact same and no blend will be the same.

What makes a poor blend?

A poor espresso blend is similar to no other. If the roaster gets this wrong he will be lambasted forever and likely lose his customers. If a filter blend isn't to a person's taste he can be forgiven and it will be put down seriously to palate, or just not their variety of coffee. Also, the ratio of coffee to water is much higher so mistakes are highlighted.

Bad espresso blends are over complicated, under complicated, too smooth, too bitter, too fresh, too stale... I could carry on but I'm certain you get the picture. The best espresso blend wouldn't make my catalog. It is too rich, full-bodied and expensive for me personally to offer retail. A roaster's job is to look for some middle ground to help keep everyone happy, and never to go past an acceptable limit a good way or perhaps the other.

One rule I always follow whatever is always to avoid acidic coffees like Kenyans. As a young and foolish roaster with my love for Kenyan coffee, I thought this may be carried over to my love for espresso. Alas, it had been a waste to see a good Kenyan / Costa Rican blend about to be disposed of until i discovered it to be the greatest filter blend I experienced ever created, that I have sold out of this day on and is my most popular filter blend within the catalog. So even from mistakes, small triumphs can be found.


A fairly important part of good espresso blending. There are two main schools of thought on whether to roast as a blend or separately. For the commercial roaster, it is easier to post blend (and indeed the most famous) since this significantly reduces waste. If he's got already roasted some Colombian up for an order, you can easily add the others for this into the blend. The thinking behind this too is you can treat each bean as a person.

However, i favor to pre-blend and roast it all together. All I am able to tell you is my experience has revealed me that I get the most effective results because of this. You get a more even cup, the blend tastes as though it belongs together. You can get very anal about every section of the process of creating espresso, but I go with what works in my situation.

I agree or at the very least can relate with David Schomer of many things inside the Espresso Coffee Professional Techniques book (which is a must-read for the espresso enthusiast) but on the roast type, we agree. David Schomer calls it a Northern Italian Roast. I call it medium/dark roast. It's just at the point where in actuality the beans seem like they want to shine with oils but try not to. A deep mahogany brown. In the event that you take it any more you get a bitter cup which contrary to what Starbucks is attempting to share with us is certainly not what good espresso is all about. If you must vary the above mentioned roast then go just a little lighter, but avoid the charcoal blend.

So think about it then, provide us with your recipe!

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe:  As a commercial Roaster I stopped stocking Yirgacheffe for a complete year. It was due to (for me, not the industries) an undesirable Yirg crop that lacked the vibrancy I keep company with it. I went along to Sidamo (so good, certainly a lot better than 2012 crop Yirgacheffe), Djimma (a genuine mistake - it was a great cup, however the bean grade was very poor which meant 20 minutes before roasting were spent fishing out the pebbles). However, nothing gives my espresso the lift it requires like a good Yirgacheffe. So now it really is back, it is good and it's in most of my blends without a doubt. It gives the cup citrus bursts and combines with the other smoother beans to balance the cup.

Ethiopian Longberry Harar: I Am a convert. For decades We have refused to stock this bean. Why? Well, I place it right down to a negative experience and listening to others into the trade. I cupped in this way back at the very start of Has Bean online. It absolutely was the most rancid cup of coffee We have ever drunk. It was acidic towards the max and worse than some robustas I'd tried. Therefore I stayed away, until 2 months or more ago. Once I cupped it I made the decision to get some there and then. An excellent addition to a blend, but only in smaller amounts; it adds some flavor but avoids overpowering your blend. It has a very distinctive taste comparable to that of Yemen coffees.

Brazil Bourbon Fazenda Cachoeira: Until only significantly less than 12 months ago the best Brazilian I stocked was a generic Santos. Brazil's coffee is boring (therefore I thought), flat and dull so why bother looking for just one estate that will taste exactly like cheap old Santos? Well that was what I thought until I was convinced by a very good friend to use a few of this. This sweet smooth little number is ideal in any espresso blend and it has improved my blends beyond some other factor.

Colombian La Manuela: Smooth again but with no fresh sweetness of F. Cachoeira. It has a more silky sweetness and provides the cup more body. An amazing bean that sits well when you look at the blend.

Brazil Santa Terazina: Its smooth subtlety calms down an over-sweet blend and can add substance to 1 where or else you would have "citrus overkill". That is also great when you yourself have a blend that you think can there be but once in fact there is certainly way too much going on within the cup. A calmer.

Bolivian Organic: an excellent bean that provides chocolate hints into the blend and roasts like a dream. It's a great quality bean that adds to any blend.

ROBUSTA: I do not care what anyone says in my opinion, i have never tasted a better espresso blend than one with Robusta. Now lower amounts (less than 10%) are rules of thumb, and its own surely got to be great quality robusta (there is some available to you. I have tasted robustas better than some arabica beans I've been sent). Don't be a snob, it adds a little caffeine kick to a blend, and it offers you great crema and balances out of the cup. I have blends without robusta in them which can be great, but none are better than those blends which do contain Robusta. Do not let pre-conceptions stop you trying this; with amounts as little as 10% you cannot even taste it, however it gives the cup much more.

Conclusion: This can be a short guide to espresso blending and roasting. I possibly could write a book with recipes and alike in, but I'm wondering what amount of of you are still awake reading a few pages. It's all about opinions and taste and undoubtedly: mine is right and in case you disagree you're wrong except if, you become a client and then it's Sorry sir/madam I am a fool.

For me personally, the blend is the most essential element of good espresso. I'm able to get around a useless machine or no tamp, and I also can go buy some water in bottles. I will buy a stove-top Moka pot for only over a tenner and I also've used some unusual tamps in past times.  If the blend is bad: well, you cannot make a doppio out of a sow's ear!

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