Ok, here's the story.  A lady comes in my shop and orders an espresso.  Her accent told me she was from Italy.  She gets her espresso and exclames, "You Americans like your espresso so strong!"  I ask if it was over extracted or something and she explains that in her aria of northern Italy they roast their espressos very light.  She grabs a bag of a Costa Rica that I had  roasted very lightly (I had dumped it right as I hear the very first pops of second crack 435 or so?) and sais that the roast level she was looking for was lighter than that.  So I had some samples and partial bags of Tanzanian peaberry and some Brazil Peaberry that we had decided not to reorder.  I roasted them to just after first crack.  Maybe 390 or so.  I like it, but my business partner hates it pulled as an espresso.  It's very sweet, tangy and a rather nice body.  

So here are my questions:  Has anyone else ever played with lighter espresso roasts?  Has anyone ever been to a place (like Italy) where espresso is roasted lighter?  Has anyone ever roasted anything like that?  What roast level did you take it to?  Just share your experience and let me know what you think.

Views: 652

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

americans get a pretty bad rap for having sub par drinks.
which is stupid.
were just non traditional and we explore.
ive had better coffee and beer in muncie indiana then ive had in germany and various other such places in europe.
thats one thing i dont mind about this side of the pond.
Check out PT's coffee. Their a reputable roaster (2008 roaster of the year) and they tend to roast pretty light, not sure about the profile of their espresso's though
Joel,
At the last SCAA Event in Anaheim Ca. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with the owner of Nuova Simonelli, Gianni Gassatini. After expressing my gratitude for the great machine he came up with that we have in our shop he went on to say it was the roasters that the credit should go to for his machines putting out such great drinks. At this time I also asked him what he thought about the espresso in Italy, his home land. His response was interesting to say the least. He said, In Italy we have one espresso in the north and another in the south. Aside from that we don't really venture out of the old ways. He went on to say here in the US it's much better. Americans are not afraid to step outside of the box and experiment, push the envelope. Very nice to meet and share a few moments at the USBC that day.
Joe

-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


joel said:
americans get a pretty bad rap for having sub par drinks.
which is stupid.
were just non traditional and we explore.
ive had better coffee and beer in muncie indiana then ive had in germany and various other such places in europe.
thats one thing i dont mind about this side of the pond.
I mis-spoke. Gianni Cassatini is not the owner but a consultant for Nuova Simonelli.

Joseph Robertson said:
Joel,
At the last SCAA Event in Anaheim Ca. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with the owner of Nuova Simonelli, Gianni Cassatini. After expressing my gratitude for the great machine he came up with that we have in our shop he went on to say it was the roasters that the credit should go to for his machines putting out such great drinks. At this time I also asked him what he thought about the espresso in Italy, his home land. His response was interesting to say the least. He said, In Italy we have one espresso in the north and another in the south. Aside from that we don't really venture out of the old ways. He went on to say here in the US it's much better. Americans are not afraid to step outside of the box and experiment, push the envelope. Very nice to meet and share a few moments at the USBC that day.
Joe

-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


joel said:
americans get a pretty bad rap for having sub par drinks.
which is stupid.
were just non traditional and we explore.
ive had better coffee and beer in muncie indiana then ive had in germany and various other such places in europe.
thats one thing i dont mind about this side of the pond.
I completely agree: italians are rather conservatives and one cannot depart from the classics (caffe, cappuccino, latte macchiato etc). It's nice to see that americans like to experiment. But here is the problem: coffee shops in Italy are very different from one another. America is the land of standards: macdonald, starbucks etc. you get the same experience/taste in Seattle and Miami. People are used to that and expect that. In Italy is the complete opposite, hence why some have horrible culinary experiences, others have excellent ones. You can be pretty sure to have a bad espresso in an autogrill (coffee shop/bar on the highways). But then you could have an excellent coffee just around the corner. I grew up just outside of Milan. My mom goes to the same 'torrefazione' since the early 70s. The man selects his beans, blends them and roast them. He's been doing this for 50 years. At the front he's got a small coffe shop where he brews his beans. It's heaven on earth. Don't believe when someone says that in Italy they only serve Lavazza, Segafredo etc. It's not accurate and certainly misleading. Likewise, don't believe when someone from Italy tells you this is what coffee taste like in Italy, because every baar is different.



Joseph Robertson said:
I mis-spoke. Gianni Cassatini is not the owner but a consultant for Nuova Simonelli.

Joseph Robertson said:
Joel,
At the last SCAA Event in Anaheim Ca. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with the owner of Nuova Simonelli, Gianni Cassatini. After expressing my gratitude for the great machine he came up with that we have in our shop he went on to say it was the roasters that the credit should go to for his machines putting out such great drinks. At this time I also asked him what he thought about the espresso in Italy, his home land. His response was interesting to say the least. He said, In Italy we have one espresso in the north and another in the south. Aside from that we don't really venture out of the old ways. He went on to say here in the US it's much better. Americans are not afraid to step outside of the box and experiment, push the envelope. Very nice to meet and share a few moments at the USBC that day.
Joe

-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


joel said:
americans get a pretty bad rap for having sub par drinks.
which is stupid.
were just non traditional and we explore.
ive had better coffee and beer in muncie indiana then ive had in germany and various other such places in europe.
thats one thing i dont mind about this side of the pond.
Tommasino,
Thank you very much for your first hand account input on this. We Americans are know for our over simplification of complex topics. Or for that matter the topic does not even have to be that complex.
It is assumed by many that Italy is the home of great espresso because it is the birth place of espresso. Just goes to show, Caveat Emptor no matter what country your visiting or from.
Joseph



Tommasino said:
I completely agree: italians are rather conservatives and one cannot depart from the classics (caffe, cappuccino, latte macchiato etc). It's nice to see that americans like to experiment. But here is the problem: coffee shops in Italy are very different from one another. America is the land of standards: macdonald, starbucks etc. you get the same experience/taste in Seattle and Miami. People are used to that and expect that. In Italy is the complete opposite, hence why some have horrible culinary experiences, others have excellent ones. You can be pretty sure to have a bad espresso in an autogrill (coffee shop/bar on the highways). But then you could have an excellent coffee just around the corner. I grew up just outside of Milan. My mom goes to the same 'torrefazione' since the early 70s. The man selects his beans, blends them and roast them. He's been doing this for 50 years. At the front he's got a small coffe shop where he brews his beans. It's heaven on earth. Don't believe when someone says that in Italy they only serve Lavazza, Segafredo etc. It's not accurate and certainly misleading. Likewise, don't believe when someone from Italy tells you this is what coffee taste like in Italy, because every baar is different.



Joseph Robertson said:
I mis-spoke. Gianni Cassatini is not the owner but a consultant for Nuova Simonelli.

Joseph Robertson said:
Joel,
At the last SCAA Event in Anaheim Ca. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with the owner of Nuova Simonelli, Gianni Cassatini. After expressing my gratitude for the great machine he came up with that we have in our shop he went on to say it was the roasters that the credit should go to for his machines putting out such great drinks. At this time I also asked him what he thought about the espresso in Italy, his home land. His response was interesting to say the least. He said, In Italy we have one espresso in the north and another in the south. Aside from that we don't really venture out of the old ways. He went on to say here in the US it's much better. Americans are not afraid to step outside of the box and experiment, push the envelope. Very nice to meet and share a few moments at the USBC that day.
Joe

-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


joel said:
americans get a pretty bad rap for having sub par drinks.
which is stupid.
were just non traditional and we explore.
ive had better coffee and beer in muncie indiana then ive had in germany and various other such places in europe.
thats one thing i dont mind about this side of the pond.
Just had a customer last week claim the same thing... saying "I'm from Seattle and we sure know our coffee"... I made him the purist 16 oz. cappuccino he had ordered then asked him to describe what he tasted to make sure he was pleased with it. He describes it as "rich, good balance between the dairy/coffee" and that was about it. It does get annoying though.


Fraser Jamieson said:
Well, no one on here is Italy bashing. I'm certainly not. (I've got too many Italian friends to do that safely)

In truth, we've had some "experts" here visiting from Washinton State too...and they actually used the phrase: "We're from Seattle...we know our coffee." (OK, I guess that was two phrases)

Anyway, they were full of themselves and didn't know poop about what they were talking about.

My basic point was that trying to adjust your roasting standards to match those of some mythical espresso capital is a big mistake.
sometimes you just have to say "thank you" and smile. the people that must assert their superiority will 95 times out of 100 not want to be informed on any topic that will clash with what the "know." that's fine, they're happy with themselves and know where to get what they want, it may not be your shop. (plus it's enjoyable to know how much better your drinks are than what they drink. secrets are fun!)

in regards to what a good roast is for espresso, as long as you get a great shot, it doesn't matter the level. personally, i like to think of a good shot compared to a cocktail; it needs to be balanced in sweetness, sourness, and complexity. roast to that, not to "darkness" and you're golden.
Ahhh, espresso. The quest for the God shot begins with a roaster sourcing beans and planning roast profiles. The problem is that everyone's espresso God seems to be different, therefore it makes it difficult for one specific blend or roast to satisfy everyone's palate. (That's just in ONE community, not including region differences or different nationalities. Here in Auburn, Alabama we get folks from the South, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, New York and all over the country coming to school and looking for an espresso bar that's decent enough to consume on a daily basis. Trust me, they all seem to want different drinks and roast levels depending on where they're from. We also have people from ALL OVER the world from the international students association and people coming in to teach different courses. France, East Africa, Sweden, Japan and my favorite customers, the Arabic guys. They drink more espresso than anyone I've ever seen. and they are effin serious about its quality. If it weren't for Abdullah's (My most regular Arabic espresso customer) constant demand for sweet, deep, smooth, nutty 'spro, I probably wouldn't have come up with Brass Knuckle Mojo. It at least wouldn't have been near as bad ass. (Brass Knuckle is the house espresso we use in my shop)

I also roast for another shop down the street, and they use a lighter espresso. Each shop that I roast for gets a new blend of espresso, all depending on what they're demographics are and how they want it to taste. A third one is looking into buying mine, which means I'm about to get to the drawing board for a third blend. The way he's been talking to me about it, I feel like he's going to be one of those folks who wants it like tar. We're working on it and talking about how flavor doesn't increase with darker and darker and darker roasting. I'm hoping to get a Le Nez du Cafe soon so I can start showing the shops what exactly we're looking for from the origins to put in the spro.


I'd like to have more espresso grinders in our shop so we could offer different roast levels and blends. OR jump on the pretentious train of offering multiple single origin spros. No, it's not a balanced beverage. It's an experience. Ethiopian Harrar ristretto will change your entire day for the better.

I rambled all of this to say,

it's impossible to please all the coffee drinkers of the world with one espresso blend in your shop. One likes it light, or God forbid... white (ick), one likes it dark, one likes it liquid carbon. We carry a dark espresso tht's easy to drink naked ristretto as well as delicious in lattes. All of our baristas love it, and they tell customers they love it. We believe it's awesome, and most of the time, so do our customers. For the ones who prefer a light espresso, they are guided to the back room- the roastery- to see a pound of Velvet Hammer, the lighter espresso option we carry. I also custom blend anything people want by the pound, so if a snobby Italian lady with amazing shoes and a taste for first crack espresso comes in, I would by all means roast her a pound of what she wants. I could probably come up with a post blend on the spot of some light stuff to pull an espresso with for her.

I'm feeling the need to go and pull some light roast shot vs. dark roast shots. Perhaps we'll have a barista lab tom morning and take notes. It's always fun to get a nerdy experiment going for our barista journal.
If you have a good enough coffee to start then you should be able to keep a lighter roast on the bean to get a very flavorful espresso. If the bean is slightly off as far as the balance then when you try estracting a shot at a light roast it could come out too acidic and not have enough body. I prefer a city or full city roast on an espresso roat but the coffee has to be extremely well balanced and would probably score at least an 88. Other coffees that might score slightly lower can still make amazing shots of espresso but you might have to take them slightly darker to tone down the brighter notes and end up with a smooth espresso.

You first have to really start out on the cupping table with your coffee and the different roast levels. If you have a coffee that has a great balance then you want to find the exact roasting profile to maximize the sweetness in the coffee. You will find this out by sample roasting many different profiles and cupping them. Then you can try a production roast and pull some shots.

Think of roasting coffee like cooking a steak. If you roast the coffee too long you will start to lose the true flavor of the bean and only taste the roast. Just like when you cook that steak on the grill and burn it. You can't make a coffee better by roasting it darker, you can only lose quality.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2022   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service