Jump to content
IGNORED

Any love for "traditional" Italian beans?


Recommended Posts

Hi, 

I'm just reaching out to see whether anybody has any love for old school, made in Italy, traditional espresso beans. I'm not talking about Rave Italian Job, or Union Revelation, but the likes of Kimbo, Mokarabia, Hausbrandt, even - dare I say - Illy/Segafredo/Lavazza?!? ?

Yes, my usual beans will be Rocko Mountain, or Honduran, or some 'modern' espresso blend, but I do like the occasional guilty pleasure of some dark, industrial, crema-heavy beans. A cafe near me (Ginevra) actually sells a 100% Robusta from Sicily, which I like to partake in occasionally.

I imagine people might say "no roast date" and "robusta is evil", but is this coffee fundamentally beneath us, as coffee nerds, is it genuinely unpleasant, or can we dabble? I'd love to hear a recommendation for a particular Italian bean, from someone who also drinks 'modern' coffee.

Cheers 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 114
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Sooooooo....sod it...had to try it.... A cheap 14g (completely non precision) basket and a rattling 58mm tamper I bought ages ago for the Gaggia Classic, 1kg bag of Kimbo Superiore (roast date 2n

Personally, for me, the whole coffee experience started straight with Italian espressos without sugar (thanks to my father's habits) and perhaps it is my taste buds which are way too accommodated afte

Yes that is for 40 hours per week although I am apparently slightly out of date as that was the value for 2017. It is now on €600 per month (€8820 per year). Other countries in Europe have even lower

Posted Images

I'm still new in the world of espresso really so I'm still trying things. I have had Lavazza from the supermarket, the Oro ones, they are drinkable but I don't enjoy them like I do other fresh beans.

I think from my experience so far I prefer lighter roasts, I had some LSOL beans that were amazing, really need to get on another LSOL list actually.

I would be tempted to try some Illy beans, but they are more expensive than Lavazza, priced closer to fresh beans that are also likely to be much better.

You mentioned Union Revelation, I've had these a couple of times, last time I found them too dark.

Is it just me or do lighter roasts seem to be more popular now?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am light roast person as well. I shy away from anything dark.

Saying that, I was in Italy earlier this year and didn’t take any coffee gear. I had an espresso or two there and they were surprisingly enjoyable. Would I drink it everyday? Hell no.

I also do enjoy an occasional natural Brazilian bean that’s still light(ish) as it’s quite nice in milk.

It’s like whisky - I might be into peaty stuff, but give me a nice Speyside dram and I won’t turn away from it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not too sure what a traditional Italian bean is but I'm pretty certain it would suit me. I'm a coffee heathen, dark roasts all the way. My tastebuds aren't what they used to be and notes of this, that and the other are lost on me. I do however drink milk based coffees, never an espresso.

Edited by DDoe
Spelling mistake
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, PPapa said:


It’s like whisky - I might be into peaty stuff, but give me a nice Speyside dram and I won’t turn away from it.

This is a good point - I normally drink decent beer (Trappists, strong American IPA's etc.), but now and again only an ice cold cooking lager will do!

I think it can be the same with coffee, it's good to be able to enjoy simple, robust beans as well as complex, distinctive ones. I like the concept of The Comfort Espresso, something reliable which requires little thought.

Perhaps I am talking-down Italian style espresso though...

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a good point - I normally drink decent beer (Trappists, strong American IPA's etc.), but now and again only an ice cold cooking lager will do!
I think it can be the same with coffee, it's good to be able to enjoy simple, robust beans as well as complex, distinctive ones. I like the concept of The Comfort Espresso, something reliable which requires little thought.
Perhaps I am talking-down Italian style espresso though...

It’s more of a “well made drink can still be good, just not to ones tastes”.

I don’t subscribe to comfort espresso at home, that’s not why I have an espresso machine at home. I could get mediocre espresso at half a dozen shops nearby.

Sounds snobbish, but I guess that’s where we are at.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect “comfort espresso” means very different things to each person, perhaps? “Comfort” doesn’t have to mean poor quality, mediocre, over-roasted, or a low-end coffee grade, does it? ? I have not tasted Lavazza or Illy beans, nor the Kimbo beans, so I cannot speak to those & whether they offer comfort or dismay. However, my local roaster makes a lovely espresso blend —medium roast, and far from “dark”— that I would describe as very “comforting” (deep down, right into my boots, comforting!), but never mediocre, dull or uninteresting.

I won’t judge any espresso until I taste the cup.?

Edited by Slowpress
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CoolingFlush said:

My next purchase is going to be a kilo of Square Mile Red Brick, but after that I think I'll take a punt on Kimbo Superior, and report back on whether or not they're awful!

Taking a hit for the team! Good on ya! Be sure to let us know how it tasted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether you like it or not is the important thing.

Having said that, I don't buy into this "Robusta can be good" argument at all. Yes, I know that there are ok Robustas out there, but 99.99% is rubbish. It seriously has to be one of the finest examples anywhere in the world to be any good. Even then, it has all the disadvantages of the cheaper stuff, like massively too high a caffeine content and isn't any cheaper than an average Arabica which would probably taste better. The ordinary Robustas are only used as a cheap filler in what is usually an over roasted blend. In Italy, it's often in there to try and coax a crema from stale beans. Don't forget, in Italy people are used to paying less than a euro for espresso so it needs to be cheap and ( hopefully ) cheerful. The average Italian would scoff at the very concept of third wave roasting and the prices charged, just like your average Brit is so used to drinking crap builders tea, they never actually buy the real stuff, just dust in a bag.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nikko said:

In reality, significantly higher prices here compared to Italy do not produce a better coffee - on the contrary. 

In reality, it does. 

In Italy you can get a passable espresso almost anywhere, but you'll really struggle to get a good one as the quality of the beans are so poor. Most places are loaned their machines and then tied in to using the beans of the company that supplies it. This is always cheep commodity coffee. Do you think that stale, cheap, commodity beans with plenty of low grade Robusta will make an interesting v60 or even espresso?  There's a reason why just about every other developed nation is willing to buy a better grade of beans.

That's talking about the home enthusiasts market, if you were referring to there being no consistency in the skills of baristas in the UK, I'd agree. It's so ingrained in Italian culture, you'd struggle to get a piss poor espresso.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, CoolingFlush said:

My next purchase is going to be a kilo of Square Mile Red Brick, but after that I think I'll take a punt on Kimbo Superior, and report back on whether or not they're awful!

They’ll be shite, but if you like ‘em, you like ‘em!

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is going to be a high-stakes tasting, whenever I get around to it. I so want it to be good, and I don't even know why! (Probably because of my memories of coffee in Italy, and with getting into coffee around the millennium, "Italian" was still held in the highest regard). I do fear that it'll be bad!

Interesting debate, "Is Italian coffee actually horrible?"?

Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, CoolingFlush said:

This is going to be a high-stakes tasting, whenever I get around to it. I so want it to be good, and I don't even know why! (Probably because of my memories of coffee in Italy, and with getting into coffee around the millennium, "Italian" was still held in the highest regard). I do fear that it'll be bad!

Interesting debate, "Is Italian coffee actually horrible?"?

You may like it, but people on this forum aren't going to be interested in it because there isn't anything to be of interest. The world owes a lot to Italy and it's coffee culture but they've hit on a recipe and kept it that way for over half a century. The rest of the world has now caught up and largely passed them by. There are roughly the same number of people in Italy as Britain and they are much more likely to drink espresso, yet there's literally hundreds of speciality roasters in the UK, but very few in Italy. The cheap commodity roasters like Lavazza rule the roost there and the amazing speciality roasters like Gardelli do a lot of their business outside of Italy.

Why not order some Kimbo off Amazon and at the same time buy some beans direct from Gardelli and see which you prefer?

Edited by cold war kid
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, cold war kid said:

Why not order some Kimbo off Amazon and at the same time buy some beans direct from Gardelli and see which you prefer?

Goes to Gardelli website. Sees Gesha Village Microlot for €100. Cancels Italian roaster challenge.?

 

9 hours ago, cold war kid said:

The world owes a lot to Italy and it's coffee culture but they've hit on a recipe and kept it that way for over half a century. The rest of the world has now caught up and largely passed them by.

You make a great point, I think you are probably right?. To borrow a concept from beer, though, the Germans and Czechs have contributed enormously to the culture of quality beer over the centuries, and still have some of the highest "per head" beer consumptions in Europe, with beer ingrained in society's as a commodity and a national duty, much like the Italian espresso in Italy. Beer too has moved on, and you may not get the latest habanero and peanut butter Imperial stout from breweries like Hacker-Pschorr or Ùnêtické, but few beer boffins would deny the brilliance of the simple, bold traditional drinks the old breweries still produce (and they continue to score highly on the ratings platforms). They are seen as classics, but in contrast it seems that "old" coffee does not receive this sort of reverence, in the world of espresso.?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
You make a great point, I think you are probably right[emoji108]. To borrow a concept from beer, though, the Germans and Czechs have contributed enormously to the culture of quality beer over the centuries, and still have some of the highest "per head" beer consumptions in Europe, with beer ingrained in society's as a commodity and a national duty, much like the Italian espresso in Italy. Beer too has moved on, and you may not get the latest habanero and peanut butter Imperial stout from breweries like Hacker-Pschorr or Ùnêtické, but few beer boffins would deny the brilliance of the simple, bold traditional drinks the old breweries still produce (and they continue to score highly on the ratings platforms). They are seen as classics, but in contrast it seems that "old" coffee does not receive this sort of reverence, in the world of espresso.[emoji22]
There are a hell of alot more German & Czech breweries (some villages even have 2!) than Italian roasters (where a few giants have swallowed the market) so it's not the best comparison.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • About
    Coffee Forums UK is the UK's premier coffee forum Started in June 2008 by Glenn Watson, we now have more than 24000 mainly UK based members, and welcome more than 3000 members and visitors from around the world each day! With strategic investment and digital expertise from the Jackson Lockhart team (Tait Pollack and Adam Bateman), we are taking Coffee Forums UK to the next level, and are delighted to share the journey with you.

    New Members:
    We are often referred to as the friendliest forum on the web and we look forward to welcoming you onboard. Please read our Terms of Use. We stick by them, existing members please familiarise yourselves with them.


    Advertising

    Coffee Forums Media Kit

    Click Here To Buy Advertising Space 
    £100 p/m when paid yearly, up-to: 690000 banner impressions per month!


    Donate / Sponsor

    Get Your Supporter Badge Today (per year)

    image.png



    Coffee Forums Logo
     




×
×
  • Create New...