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Coffee bean suppliers and quality


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Is there much variation in quality between roasters? I suppose what I’m asking is whether or not there is a lot of skill and judgement involved in roasting beans, and if so, are some roasters more skilled than others in producing beans with pleasing flavours. In a similar vein, do roasters have an in house style? By this I mean do they adjust the roast to suit their preferences, so some might be smoother than others, or more fruity. Obviously the beans themselves will differ depending on the origin. 

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15 minutes ago, BunniesAreEvil said:

Is there much variation in quality between roasters? I suppose what I’m asking is whether or not there is a lot of skill and judgement involved in roasting beans, and if so, are some roasters more skilled than others in producing beans with pleasing flavours. In a similar vein, do roasters have an in house style? By this I mean do they adjust the roast to suit their preferences, so some might be smoother than others, or more fruity. Obviously the beans themselves will differ depending on the origin. 

Yes.

This quality depends on

  • Green coffee quality used
  • The Roaster itself (mechanical)
  • Roasters do sometimes have an in house style
  • Blending skills
  • Skill and experience of the roaster, in both developing and maintaining profiles.
  • Talent

The origin itself may play a big part, some roasters (machines) roast certain origins processes better than others, some roasters (people) roast some origins better than others, especially if they specialise in them.

Quality doesn't depend on the time someone has been roasting, or the amount they have roasted. e.g. same experience 200 times over doesn't mean 200 times more experience. 100 tons roasted might just mean very large batches in a commercial roastery. 10 years experience might mean 10 years formulaic roasting with a computer where they press a button, or follow the same written procedure for that coffee, irrespective of how the coffee is that year...quite common in some larger commercial operations which will remain nameless.

Edited by DavecUK
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CFUK, the biggest, best and most friendly forum in the UK...with a wealth of knowledge among its many members.

 

 

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Now Dave has replied there's nothing much left to say, but I was going to say think of it like a cake. Not all ingredients are equal to start with, and then there's the temperature stability of the oven, and ultimately the skill of the baker.

Then there's the person making the coffee.  You could spend £££ on a boutique roaster's Gesha and still cock up the extraction. 

Ultimately, it's rubbish in = rubbish out, but spending big bucks is no guarantee of an enjoyable drink, and of course the stakes (and expectations) are higher. I rarely buy very expensive coffee, but I almost always use a tried and trusted roastery, based on my budget, experience and expectations. This forum is a good place to get recommendations of whom to buy from. They are definitely not all the same. Also, it depends on your preference on origin and roast style. For example, Baytown, Coffee Compass and Hasbean are all respected sources, but you'll prefer one to the other most likely. 

Edited by hotmetal
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There is indeed a difference. How you tell is the problem…..

Generally I would say the more info on their website the better. I personally wouldn’t buy from a roaster that just lists a coffee origin ie. Brazil with no further info for example.

There are loads of amazing roasters out there in the U.K. but also lots of people that are just cashing in on interest in quality coffee. They are usually very branding focused and throw around buzzwords like artisanal and small batch but the rest of the info is very thin.

Recommendations are usually a good place to start if you tell members what it is you like for example light and fruity filter. 

 

 

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www.blackcatcoffee.co.uk

Coffee | Espresso Machines | Grinders | Accessories

Izzo Alex Duetto and Alex Leva now in stock!

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@BunniesAreEvil I should have added that we have a lot of great roasters who advertise and support the forum where members have enjoyed some excellent coffees. So it's not hard to find great coffee, "tried and tasted" by forum members..

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Thanks all. I might try one of the advertisers. I’ve been trying Waitrose beans, and some brands in Waitrose, as they’re cheap. The Waitrose beans are pretty good, as is the Machu Pichu, very chocolatey. Union Revelation was good, Union Natural Spirit was tasteless. No idea on roast date in most cases though. It’s hard to say what I like due to inexperience, but chocolate and caramel are good, hazelnut is so so, honey (Masenga Hill) is good, fruity is good. I use a Moka pot with the hopper half full. 

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43 minutes ago, BunniesAreEvil said:

Thanks all. I might try one of the advertisers. I’ve been trying Waitrose beans, and some brands in Waitrose, as they’re cheap. The Waitrose beans are pretty good, as is the Machu Pichu, very chocolatey. Union Revelation was good, Union Natural Spirit was tasteless. No idea on roast date in most cases though. It’s hard to say what I like due to inexperience, but chocolate and caramel are good, hazelnut is so so, honey (Masenga Hill) is good, fruity is good. I use a Moka pot with the hopper half full. 

Use the forum sponsors, they have discounts (check that section). I recommend:

Crown and Canvas - First Light

Altitude - Captain's Roast

BlackCat Coffee - Chocolate Point Blend

Coffee By The Casuals - Bom Jesus.

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Sage Barista Express, Mazzer Royal w/ DW Kit.

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At the risk of sounding partisan, while we're on the subject, I order from Black Cat (above) fairly regularly in my rotation and have always enjoyed his wares. Have just finished some Ethiopian natural from him (Haru?) and would recommend. 

The only beans I would buy from a supermarket (in emergency if I mess up my orders) is Union Yayu Forest, Union Bobolink, or Modern Standard. Pay close attention to the roast date though. Ignore BBE as its hopelessly optimistic and only there for legal reasons. What roasted beans are still good after a year?!

Edited by hotmetal
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