Recent trends to "improve" upon the processing methods and techniques of Sumatran coffees are resulting in some mixed outcomes. OK, let me confess upfront I am a fan of quality Sumatran coffees. Sumatrans are an ugly looking green bean, they don't smell particularly nice in green or fresh roasted form and can at times have all sorts of various colours and shapes (screen size).
Most roasters use quite basic and rudimentary methods to evaluate and select beans. Unfortunately, many use price as a key criteria to their buying decisions - restricted to purchasing their beans within price-bands to ensure it fits into the operating budget so they have sufficient funds to spend on the stuff that means nothing to cup quality - like marketing and freebies that are demanded by cafes, etc. Some roasters rely solely on very small samples that are roasted by the brokers and sent in the mail to trial. We are talking here about 100 - 150g samples that are sent in waxed paper bags - reality is that these sample may provide some insight as to the bean character, but it is clearly an insufficient sample size to adequately evaluate a coffee bean's true potential. You can waste 100g trying to dial in the grinder properly, then you have 1 or 2 shots to taste the coffee - it's simply not enough.
If you are looking for a great general purpose bean - one that is well-rounded, complete and offers the full flavor wheel.........what would you pick ? I've long thought about the concept of balance and equalization within the roast chamber when roasting blends. Of course, there are all sorts of reactions (up to 800 actually, or more than 4 times as many chemical transformations compared to wine) occurring during a roast cycle.
If you are looking for a great general purpose bean - one that is well-rounded, complete and offers the full flavor wheel.........what would you pick ? It is a question often posed to coffee roasters.............."what is the best bean ?" Of course, there is no single answer and it's the question I dread as the second most difficult problem to solve after being thrown the "recommend a coffee to me" curve-ball.
A quality stainless stovetop makes better coffee than most sub $500 espresso machines. Right up front, I declare we currently do not sell moka pots on mycuppa. A couple of days before last Xmas, I was still contemplating the decision of whether to drive from Melbourne to Newcastle as we have done for many years, or fly to save time and energy.
Coffee is a fresh food that will stale inside of approved packaging. The only way to ensure fresh roasted coffee is to purchase online from a specialty supplier who places the roast date on the pack. We hear it often..............barely a week will pass without a few callers asking the same question........ "we love your coffee........why don't you put your coffee in the supermarket so we can buy it when we are doing our weekly shopping ?"